The WonkLine: October 18, 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.


According to a new report from McKinsey & Co., the U.S. draws just 23 percent of its teachers from the top third of college graduates, compared to 100 percent in countries like Finland and South Korea.

The portrait of American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten “as a demonic opponent of change…is out of date, according to many education experts.”

The New York Times looks at the rise and fall of New York student achievement.

Health Care

“A review of Peter Orszag’s daily schedules shows his sustained focus on healthcare reform as soon as he joined President Obama’s Cabinet.”


“A federal judge in Virginia will hear arguments Monday in one of the nation’s leading cases arguing that the federal health care law is unconstitutional.”

“Public support for the Democrats’ health care overhaul dipped in the last month — but the percentage of Democrats who say they’ll go the polls to defend the law rose.”


The OCC, a top federal bank regulator, doesn’t believe homeowners have been harmed by the foreclosure fraud scandal, “despite multiple reports of banks mistakenly evicting homeowners who aren’t even in foreclosure.”

The Treasury Department is once again “delaying the release of a much anticipated report on whether China is manipulating its currency until world leaders complete a series of meetings on the issue.”


Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs “is trying to rehabilitate its public reputation with an ad campaign that, among other things, tries to show how it helps create jobs.”


A small city in Arizona, Tolleson, has joined the U.S. Justice Department’s suit against the state’s immigration law which will go to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 1. Kris Kobach confirmed that he is working with Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (R-AZ) to write a bill that would develop a state law to change the way children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants are granted citizenship. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism in Germany had been a “total failure,” noting that “we kidded ourselves into believing that they [immigrant guest workers] wouldn’t stay and would leave.”

LGBT Equality

“Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) signaled over the weekend that he would filibuster any measure put forth in the Senate aiming to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during a lame-duck session following the November midterm election.”

“Wedding businesses were just as excited as equal rights groups when gay marriage became legal in the Granite State earlier this year. It opened up a new market during one of the worst economic periods the country has ever seen.”


“This election will be the first since the 1990s without a measure to ban gay marriage on any state ballot, yet the divisive issue is roiling races across the country during a time of tumult for the gay rights movement.”

Climate Change

Catastrophic flooding from record rains and a super typhoon has killed 13 people in Russia, affected half a million people in Vietnam, caused “tens of millions of dollars” of damage in Australia, and battered the Philippines.

Although “water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth’s greenhouse effect,” a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that “the planet’s temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.”

From Oregon to Wisconsin, voters question how they can trust candidates like Art Robinson and Ron Johnson who are global warming deniers.

National Security

“Chinese authorities have allowed rowdy anti-Japanese demonstrations in several cities to defuse simmering public anger over a territorial dispute with Japan and to prevent the frustrations from being turned against the Chinese regime itself.” “Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is in Tehran on Monday to garner support for his premiership bid, as his chief rival Iyad Allawi accused Iran of meddling in Baghdad’s political affairs.” “Pakistan’s dominant political force in Karachi has stepped up pressure on the government to protect its workers after violence again raised fears of instability in the country’s commercial capital.”