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Nov 17, 2011

GET SYRIAS, BOLTON!

Today: Energy Sec. Defends Solyndra Loan , Occupiers Should Join the Co-Op Movement , Mom of Sandusky Adoptee Speaks
The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet: Afternoon

November 17, 2011
INTERVENTION

With Syria's imminent suspension from the Arab League, the end seems nigh for President Bashar al-Assad. Should the U.S. help push him out? Former representative to the U.N. John Bolton says no—because President Obama isn't up to the job. Unlike other countries swept up in the Arab Spring, Syria is effectively a satellite of Iran, which is likely concealing elements of its nuclear weapons program there. Pushing for regime change in Syria would pull the U.S. into direct military confrontation with Iran. And while overthrowing Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian government are worthy goals, Bolton says Obama "shows few signs he wants to shift course, possesses the political will to oust the ayatollahs, or is up to the sustained effort necessary."

SOLYNDRA

In testimony before Congress, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said no one from the White House ever contacted him to make a political decision on the now-defunct solar-energy company Solyndra. "I want to be clear: over the course of Solyndra's loan guarantee, I did not make any decision based on political considerations," said Chu. He also said he had never heard of George Kaiser, a fundraiser for President Obama who had invested in the company, until after Solyndra went bankrupt. As for the decision to restructure Solyndra's stimulus loan after it ran into financial trouble, Chu said that it was a tough decision and that he takes responsibility for it. "Immediate bankruptcy meant a 100 percent certainty of default, with an unfinished plant as collateral. Restructuring improved the chance of recovering taxpayer money by giving the company a fighting chance at success," Chu said.

OCCUPY

Occupy Wall Street's big day of action is off to a dramatic start, with about 75 protesters already arrested as they tried to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. Demonstrators clashed with police, who had set up barricades around the exchange, and trading began on time at 9:30 a.m. The throngs of protesters and the metal barricades set up by police brought traffic in the area to a standstill. The protest comes exactly two months after the activists first occupied Zuccotti Park and two days after they were evicted by police. After congregating around the exchange, protesters plan to block several major transportation hubs and then proceed to Zuccotti Park. There were arrests around the country as demonstrators were evicted in Dallas, resulting in 18 arrests, marchers in Portland were arrested when they tried to cross the Steel Bridge in defiance of police and Los Angeles police arrested at least 20 people during an attempt to shut down a downtown intersection.

PENN STATE

The biological mother of a boy adopted by Jerry Sandusky said Thursday that she had contacted authorities because she was afraid for her son's safety. "My son was afraid of Jerry," said Debra Long. Long's son, now known as Matt Sandusky, first encountered the former Penn State assistant coach in 1995 via the Second Mile, a foster-care organization, before being adopted by the Sanduskys at the age of 18. Matt Sandusky has not been named as one of the 10 victims of alleged sexual assault by his adopted father, but Long said she identified troubling behavior from her son after being taken in by Sandusky. Long said Matt attempted suicide just four months after moving into the Sandusky home, and although Matt still supports his adopted father, the mother of Matt's children has obtained a court order that prohibits Jerry Sandusky from being alone with them.

REJECTED

Rick Perry walked into this one. The presidential candidate—the guy whose "oops" moment at a recent GOP debate was widely ridiculed—challenged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to a debate. "I am in Washington Monday and would love to engage you in a public debate about my Overhaul Washington plan versus the congressional status quo," he wrote to Pelosi. Pelosi responded during a news conference, saying she'll be busy visiting Portland, California, and, "that's two ... I can't remember what the third thing is." Perry has been pushing a government overhaul that, in part, would make Congress a part-time legislature. 


GAY RIGHTS
Calif. Supreme Court Rules for Prop 8
Says the law can be defended in court.
FALLOUT
Japan Bans Fukushima Rice
Because of radiation near quake-damaged power plant.
SCARY
Chicago Gunman Kills Self at FedEx
Former employee opened fire.
ROYALS
Is Kate Middleton Pregnant?
Tabloids abuzz with rumors.
VIRAL
Obama Smooches Chávez in New Ad
Benetton campaign creates storm of controversy.
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