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A Manhattan Project for Energy?

Can new energy research save the world? The economy? Supporters say, “Yes, invest now.” Budget-cutters say, “Forget it.”

Sandia National Laboratories shows Stirling Energy System's SunCatcher solar power dishes in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP)

Congress tried and failed to put a price on carbon, to unleash market forces to find an alternative to cheap and dirty fossil fuels. With that chance gone for now, advocates are saying: O.K. then, let’s invest directly, public money, big-time, in research to find breakthrough, game-changing clean energy — on a “Manhattan project” scale.

Opponents, Tea Party Republicans, say we can’t afford it, and that budget-cutting must be priority number one. But the rest of the world is moving. Will the U.S. be left behind?

We look at spending, budget-cutting, and the call for a giant push for clean energy.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Ryan Lizza, correspondent for The New Yorker. Read his inside account of how climate-energy legislation was derailed: “As the World Burns.”

Steven Hayward, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who focuses on energy and the environment. Read his new paper, written jointly with the Brookings Institution and the Breakthrough Institute, on “Post-Partisan Power.”

Michael Greenstone, professor of environmental economics at MIT. He served as chief economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama and was part of the administration’s efforts to pass the energy plan. He is also director of the Brooking Institution’s Hamilton Project, a public policy forum that produces research on economic and civic issues.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of  FreedomWorks, an advocacy organization that works to promote smaller government and has close ties with the Tea Party movement.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

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Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

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Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

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