The WonkLine: November 19, 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

With international climate negotiations resuming soon in Cancun, Mexico, activists assembled in Belize to demand a plan to save the world’s coral reefs, many of which have already become marine graveyards due to fossil fuel pollution.

Joining outgoing Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) blasted the “raft of newly elected GOP lawmakers” who follow the party line of “denying that climate change and global warming are occurring and that they are largely due to human activities.”


“The confirmed death toll from floods in Thailand which have hit the country for more than a month has risen to 232,” said a government report on Friday.


According to the latest figures, the Treasury Department could make up to a $4 billion dollar profit on its rescue of General Motors, receiving $40 billion from a $36 billion loan.

A top Treasury official admitted yesterday “that the government has still not imposed any fines on banks that do not comply with the Obama administration’s mortgage modification program.”

The Washington Post reports that “the financial services industry has launched an aggressive campaign on Capitol Hill to bolster the legality of the way companies have turned mortgages into securities and traded them across the globe in recent years.”


Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey filed a bill in the state legislature that is a copy of Arizona’s immigration law. Prince William County supervisors are calling on other localities in the Virginia Commonwealth to follow their lead and adopt an immigration policy similar to the one they put in place nearly three years ago. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) was unanimously elected chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and will become the voice of Latino Democrats on immigration, health care and education next year.


After anti-gay voters turned out three Iowa Supreme Court justices this month, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now calling for the remainder of the court to resign. Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) skipped out on a scheduled dinner with President Obama to speak to right-wing lawyers at the Federalist Society’s convention. The Washington Supreme Court held yesterday that schoolteachers are not allowed to have sex with their students. Glad that’s been cleared up.

LGBT Equality

Seventy-eight “mostly African or Middle-Eastern countries that voted to remove sexual orientation from the UN resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”


“Thirteen Democratic senators signaled strong support Thursday for ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and said they are willing to work well into December to ensure passage of a defense bill that would end the ban on gays openly serving in uniform.”

“Out gay Maryland senator Richard Madaleno said he is ‘guardedly optimistic’ that a marriage equality bill could pass the state legislature in early 2011.”


“Reading scores for the nation’s 12th-grade students have increased somewhat since they dropped to a historic low in 2005.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) “have introduced legislation in Congress that would require colleges receiving federal funds to designate cyberbullying as a form of harassment.”

New York City Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday “that the economy and the city’s demographics are the two challenges facing the public school system — which he anticipates will expand with a growing urban population.”