AirTalk

Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

AirTalk for

AirTalk for September 15, 2011

Segments From This Episode

Mercer 21114

It’s a tough economy for green technology

Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer based in Fremont, CA, declared operations would cease on August 31st and filed for bankruptcy last week. In a time when many businesses are forced to throw in the towel, this is hardly news. However, this particular company received a $535-million loan guarantee in 2009 approved by the Obama administration, arranged by the Energy Department and processed by the Federal Financing Bank, which is under purview of the Treasury Department. The company’s failure has now led to Congressional hearings by a House Energy subcommittee of government officials, as well as investigative probes by the FBI and the inspector generals of both the Energy and Treasury Departments. House Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of rushing the loan approval, ignoring economic red flags of the company’s poor performance and putting half a billion dollars in taxpayer money at risk. The White House has responded by saying the loan was already in the process of being granted when Obama took office, and it was simply a push to stimulate the economy and create more jobs. What does Solyndra’s bankruptcy mean for the future of green technology? Did the Obama administration act too hastily in supporting the innovative company? Were Solyndra employees misleading government officials with financial reports? What will the Congressional hearings and investigative probes uncover?
Mercer 21116

Palestinians push for statehood at the United Nations

When world leaders descend on New York City for the annual General Assembly next week, they could be asked to consider a new member. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to seek recognition for a Palestinian state by the United Nations. The move has caused a whirlwind of diplomatic activity for the last days, weeks and months. The United States has tried to use its leverage to dissuade the Palestinian initiative -- including a promise to veto any application for statehood made to the Security Council. That would leave Palestinians with the option of pursuing status as a nonmember observer state (Abbas very likely has the required votes from UN members to support the move). Former President Jimmy Carter called the proposal a "real step forward." Whereas, the Obama administration has said resuming peace talks is the only way forward. It sent two more high-level envoys to the region yesterday to negotiate with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a last-ditch effort to stop the UN bid. Why is the Palestinian leadership pursuing this path? What could the consequences be for all the stakeholders? How could it impact the current impasse in negotiations? Who supports the move and who is opposed?
Mercer 21117

Where’s the (tainted) beef?

The United States Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that they would require the beef industry to test for six more strains of e.Coli bacteria than they already do. Beef manufacturers have had to test for one type of e.Coli for nearly two decades, after tainted meat sold at a Jack In The Box restaurant killed 4 people and sickened 700 in 1993. According to the USDA, they’re too often stuck behind the 8-ball, scrambling to react to an outbreak instead of stopping them before they start. They say regulatory policy must change and evolve, just as food borne pathogens have. The meat industry is steamed about the new regulations. They say it’s expensive to implement and the science just doesn’t hold up. According to the American Meat Institute, the industry’s oldest and largest trade group, they want to eliminate toxic beef from the food supply just as much as the USDA, but there’s just not enough evidence linking ground beef to outbreaks. They also insist that increasing the number of pathogens that manufacturers must test for won’t positively impact public health and will increase the cost of their products for consumers. The argument essentially comes down to science: do these six strains of e.Coli sicken consumers? If they do why would the beef industry want to keep them on the market? If they don’t, why would the USDA want to hamper an important U.S industry with unnecessary regulations?
Mercer 21090

Scientology, America’s most secretive religion

Despite its significant following and its high-profile adherents like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, the ins and outs of Scientology remain for the most part a well-kept secret. Rolling Stone journalist Janet Reitman spent five years researching the organization to uncover what lies behind its fortress of mystery. In her new book “Inside Scientology” she recounts the life stories of current and ex-members as well as the story behind the controversial founder of the Church, science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Recent Episodes from AirTalk

AirTalk for July 31, 2015

Larry sits down with former LAPD Police Chief and current NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to get his take on the state of policing. Also, Amnesty International will meet next week in Dublin to debate a proposal to decriminalize prostitution. Then, Artistic Director Cameron Bailey is in Los Angeles this week to help Film Independent kick off a series on Canadian films at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

AirTalk for July 30, 2015

As 14 large wildfires burn in California and the drought continues, two California members of Congress are working respectively to help the state combat both. Also, a study shows same-sex couples might be more effective when it comes to divvying up the chores. Then, as the nation marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this week we look at the latest tech helping those with disabilities.

AirTalk for July 29, 2015

With republican candidates ranging from Jeb Bush to Donald Trump set to debate on Fox News next week, are national polls the best way to determine which candidates debate? Also, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously voted to ban firearm magazines with a capacity of more than 10 bullets. Then, author Marc Lewis argues that addiction is not a disease and why the disease model prevents healing.

AirTalk for July 28, 2015

Now that Boston is out of the picture, could L.A. beat out the likes of Rome, Paris and Hamburg for the 2024 Olympics? Also, tech giants are pushing back against a federal funding bill that would require the companies to report suspicious activity on their networks that could be terrorist-related. Then, an incident at an Atlanta Braves game has sparked a conversation on whether it is ethical to out unfaithful men and women.

Browse the AirTalk Archives

    Enjoy AirTalk? Try KPCC’s other programs.