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EpiPen price increases get lawmakers scrutiny 6 MIN, 32 SEC

As a new year begins, schools and parents are grappling with a price increase for EpiPens — recommended by Congress for all schools and many public places. It's used against life-threatening allergic reactions that happen fast. One EpiPen cost $57 when the company Mylan took over the product. Now it's only selling it two at a time and charging $600. Cynthia Koons, healthcare reporter for Bloomberg News, says there are a lot of dynamics at work.

Guests:
Cynthia Koons, Bloomberg News (@CynthiaLKoons)

More:
Senator Grassley on EpiPen cost increase

Private prisons: justice and profits 34 MIN, 47 SEC

Incarcerating criminal convicts is part of the justice system, which is run by government. So, why do we have private prisons? It goes back to the Reagan Administration, the War on Drugs and the crackdown on crime, which led federal prisons to be overcrowded. But the government refused to build new ones. Privatization was said to be cheaper and more efficient — and a new, very profitable, industry was born. Now, the Obama Administration says private prisons are unsafe, unhealthy and too expensive. As it ends the practice, will states and the Immigration Service go along? 

Guests:
Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post (@mattzap)
Shane Bauer, Mother Jones (@shane_bauer)
Issa Arnita, MTC Management & Training Corporation
David Fathi, American Civil Liberties Union (@davidcfathi)

More:
DOJ Inspector General's report on the monitoring of contract prisons
Bloomberg on IG report using shaky stats to drop private prisons
Zapotosky on the Justice Department's plan to end use of private prisons
Bauer on his four months as a private prison guard
Mother Jones on the Corrections Corporation of America
ACLU on call for ICE to follow DOJ in dropping private prisons

Remembering Lou Pearlman, pop Svengali and con man 8 MIN, 33 SEC

Lou Pearlman was a pioneer in reality TV and the boy-band industry -- but he was also a crook. One critic says we live, in some respects, in a world he created. It includes reality TV, the Backstreet Boys and 'NSync. But Pearlman conned some of the boy bands out of their earnings and went to prison owing millions to investors in fraudulent business schemes. John Seabrook, who has written about him for the New Yorker, has more on the pop music impresario's contributions to culture -- and crime. 

Guests:
John Seabrook, New Yorker magazine (@jmseabrook)

The Song Machine

John Seabrook

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