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FROM THIS EPISODE

Cash for Clunkers has run through almost a billion federal dollars in just ten days. With the Senate poised to come up with another two billion, are taxpayers funding a consumer frenzy that would have happened anyway? Also, Bill Clinton Meets Kim Jong Il in North Korea, and after 15 years the world's most expensive machine for studying physics still can't be turned on. What's wrong with Switzerland's Large Hadron Collider and what does it mean for learning about the origin of the Universe?


Banner image: Customers negotiate a deal at a Ford dealership August 3, 2009 in Countryside, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Producers:
Katie Cooper
Frances Anderton
Karen Radziner

Making News Bill Clinton Meets Kim Jong Il in North Korea 7 MIN, 39 SEC

The White House says Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea is "solely private," and that any official comment might "jeopardize" his mission. He's there to secure the release of two American journalists recently sentenced to 12 years at hard labor. Shortly after Clinton's arrival today, pictures of the former president with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il were circulated around the world. Selig Harrison, veteran of many visits to North Korea, is Director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy in Washington.

Guests:
Selig Harrison, Center for International Policy

Main Topic Cash for Clunkers: Does Haste Make Waste? 34 MIN, 1 SEC

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it "has worked better than any other stimulus program that was conceived." Starting slowly on July 1, "Cash for Clunkers" then exploded through almost $1 billion in the ten days. The House quickly approved another $2 billion before leaving for vacation, and this week the Senate appears ready to go along.  Auto dealers are ecstatic, but students of car culture say the summer jump in sales would have occurred anyway, without any government subsidy. One skeptic says trade-ins might end up costing taxpayers $20,000 apiece; others complain that past gas guzzling is being rewarded. We look at the unexpected benefits and unintended consequences of CARS.

Guests:
David Shepardson, Detroit News (@davidshepardson)
Pete Small, Sales Director, West Herr Auto Group
Jeremy Anwyl, CEO, Edmunds.com
Marc Cannon, Spokesman, AutoNation
Michael Conlon, Counsel, Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association

Reporter's Notebook Setbacks at Massive Particle Accelerator 9 MIN, 6 SEC

The Large Hadron Collider is a 17-mile underground racetrack where atomic particles will be accelerated to energies of seven trillion electron volts and be smashed together. When it was unveiled in Switzerland last September, some critics worried it might generate so much energy that a black hole would swallow the planet. Just weeks later, it suffered a debilitating accident, and now other problems have delayed the $9 billion LHC being turned on. Claudio Campagnari is a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Guests:
Claudio Campagnari, Professor of Physics, University of California-Santa Barbara

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