Grapevine: Smallpox or a Big Deal?

New drug investment or waste of money?


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Smallpox or Big Deal?

The Obama administration is said to be pushing a half billion dollar contract to buy an experimental drug that may not be needed or effective.

The Los Angeles Times reports SIGA Technologies won a no-bid contract to supply an expensive smallpox drug meant to boost the nation's bio-defense stockpiles.

Smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978. The new drug is untested on humans. An epidemiologist who is an expert on the virus calls the drug -- quote -- "a waste of time and a waste of money."

The controlling shareholder of SIGA Technologies is big-time Democratic donor Ronald Perelman.

The Health and Human Services official who has overseen contract negotiations says the drug would strengthen the nation's preparedness and that the deal was awarded strictly on merit.

Note to Self

Fans are going to have to shrug off a mistake included in the retail packaging of the movie "Atlas Shrugged."

Ayn Rand's 1957 novel is known for advocating a society driven by rational self-interest.

However, the title sheet on the DVD and Blu Ray versions says self-sacrifice, the opposite of what Rand advocated.

The production company has apologized and offered replacement covers but notes the irony is inescapable.

99% Problems

And finally, rap mogul Jay-Z and filmmaker Michael Moore are jumping on the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon with both capitalist feet.

Jay-Z's clothing line is selling "Occupy All Streets" T-shirts for $22.

But many protesters are complaining because apparently none of the profits are going toward the movement.

And Moore has gotten attention for visiting a number of Occupy camps while on a book tour promoting his $27 a pop memoir.