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FROM THIS EPISODE

The bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra was today's political football on Capitol Hill as Energy Secretary Steven Chu got rough treatment from Republicans, including some who've taken advantage of guaranteed government loans. Was Solyndra an Obama boondoggle or the kind of risk government has to take to encourage "clean energy?" Also, protesters mark Occupy Wall Street's two-month anniversary with a "Day of Action," and the Obama Administration approves big money to develop a drug for smallpox — a disease eradicated 40 years ago.

Banner image: Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee about the government support for the failed solar panel company Solyndra on Capitol Hill November 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Karen Radziner
Caitlin Shamberg

Making News Occupy Wall Street's 'Day of Action' 7 MIN, 32 SEC

Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action" brought protesters into the streets from New York to Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon today. Greg Mitchell writes the OccupyUSA blog for TheNation.com and is author of the e-book, 40 Days that Shook the World: From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere.

Guests:
Greg Mitchell, The Nation (@GregMitch)

Main Topic Was Solyndra a "Clean Energy" Boondoggle? 34 MIN, 24 SEC

As "Occupy" protesters filled streets in New York, Los Angeles and other cities, Congress was bearing down on the federally guaranteed loan to Solyndra. At a Congressional hearing, House Republicans interrogated Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, about the half-billion federal dollars spent on the solar-panel company before it collapsed. Solyndra, a California maker of high-tech solar panels, was personally endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden. It received a half-billion dollar federally guaranteed loan from Chu's department before going bankrupt and firing all of its 1100 employees. Did a billionaire fundraiser have undue influence with the Obama Administration?  Is it a bad idea for government to pick winners? Are Republicans hypocritical to attack Solyndra when they've asked federal support for similar projects in their own Congressional districts? 

Guests:
Steven Mufson, Washington Post (@StevenMufson)
Daniel Stone, Newsweek (@danstone1)
Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense
Nancy Pfund, DBL Investors

Reporter's Notebook Siga Technology's Multi-Million Dollar Smallpox Drug Deal 8 MIN, 33 SEC

Eradicated for almost 40 years, Smallpox is known to exist in locked freezers in a Russian scientific institute and the US government. In case it might be available as a bio-weapon, the US has $1 billion worth of vaccine that works within four days of exposure, at a cost of $3 a dose. Now the Obama Human Health and Services Department has granted a sole-source contract for a pill to give people exposed too late for the vaccine to work. Its cost is $255 per dose, but it can't be tested to see if it would be effective. The contracting firm is controlled by a billionaire contributor to the Democratic Party. That's according to a lengthy investigative report in the Los Angeles Times by David Willman.

Guests:
David Willman, Los Angeles Times

The Mirage Man

David Willman

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