The WonkLine: November 17, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest public policy news. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below. You can also follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.

Climate Change

In an op-ed at Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post, climate disinformer Bjorn Lomborg falsely claims that the “best research we have” says that “global sea levels are not likely to rise more than about 20 inches by 2100,” using that lie to argue that “coping with climate change is something we know how to do.”

BP “has launched its biggest push yet to deep-clean the tourist beaches that were coated with crude” during the Gulf oil disaster, caused by the company’s “insufficient consideration of risk” and “lack of operating discipline.”


India “may endure floods 30 percent more severe in magnitude and heightened drought conditions by 2030 due to climate change.”


“State attorneys general and the country’s biggest lenders are negotiating to create a nationwide fund to compensate borrowers who can prove they lost their home in an improper foreclosure,” the Washington Post reports.

Bank of America blames investors for its inability to make loan modifications, but ProPublica isn’t buying it.

“Tax legislation being crafted in the U.S. Congress will also continue the popular Build America Bonds program that is set to end next month,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) told Reuters yesterday.


A new study of an Arizona-style immigration policy in Prince William County, Va., has found that it reduced the number of undocumented immigrants in the county, but that its effect on violent crime was inconclusive. President Obama joined top Congressional Democrats yesterday in urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act before it adjourns for the year and continue working on comprehensive immigration reform. Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) announced yesterday that he would implement all 131 recommendations in a year-old administration report including plans to provide in-state tuition rates and driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

National Security

TSA administrator John S. Pistole told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the TSA would continue to use full-body scan machines and intimate “pat-downs,” despite widespread criticisms of these measures as needlessly invasive and ineffective.


“NATO forces may still be leading some combat operations in Afghanistan beyond 2014, the alliance’s top civilian in the country said Wednesday, explaining the date given for shifting authority to the Afghan government is not a deadline.”

“Germany’s interior minister says he is ordering increased security in the country in light of what he says is a heightened threat from terrorism.”

Health Care

“New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, a fierce defender of President Obama’s health care reform, is asking Republicans who want to repeal the law to forgo their taxpayer-subsidized health insurance out of principle.”

“In the coming days, the Obama administration is expected to issue regulations that may determine the future of college-sponsored student health insurance plans.”

“Federal health-care reform will give Illinois the opportunity to transform Medicaid into a program that saves money, keeps patients healthier and attracts more doctors, a member of [Illinois] Gov. Pat Quinn’s cabinet said Tuesday.”

LGBT Equality

“Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) on Tuesday said he would schedule hearings as soon as the Pentagon finishes its report on the implications of repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.”


“The champion of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal in the U.S. House maintains that President Obama will provide the ‘full spectrum’ of engagement in getting the military’s gay ban repealed once the Pentagon completes its report on the issue.”

“Editorials in a Catholic prep school’s student newspaper about same-sex marriage and gay teenagers are sparking debate about free speech in Minnesota.”


A panel of top educators said yesterday that “programs that train teachers need to be radically revised.”

California is taking its first steps toward major teacher seniority changes, notes the Quick and the Ed.

Carol Scott asks if Al Gore, Sally Ride and the MythBusters can save science education.


A third lawsuit has been filed challenging an Oklahoma voter disenfranchisement initiative that was approved earlier this month. The Senate is such a dysfunctional institution it may not be able to pass a ban on animal snuff films before the year runs out. The Justices of the Supreme Court really don’t get technology, although Justice Breyer thinks they need to figure out Facebook.