Technology

If your image of Milwaukee is largely derived from Laverne and Shirley re-runs, think again.

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V: Tea Party TV

I didn’t watch much television as a kid. But when the miniseries “V” came out in 1983, when I was eleven years old, it was event television for the entire family. The sci-fi series used an alien invasion of Earth under friendly guise as a metaphor for fascism. Rather than Jews, the aliens targeted scientists (whose knowledge made them dangerous) as scapegoats. By the standards of early 1980s television, which were quite low, “V” was gripping drama. Last night, ABC aired the pilot episode of a remake of “V.” I had to watch. The episode was so-so.

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One of the big business stories today was that Warren Buffett is planning to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which boasts one of the largest freight-rail networks in the country. Buffett told reporters that the move was "an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States." That's certainly encouraging. But there's also a less-noticed energy angle here. Specifically, the BNSF railway serves a lot of coal fields in the West, including Wyoming's vast Powder River Basin, and hauls enough coal on its routes to supply about 10 percent of the electricity in the United States.

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Much is in question today as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Barbara Boxer tries to push ahead with work on climate-change legislation, with Republicans threatening a boycott of the markup.

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At the risk of seeming like I’m kissing up to the boss’s family, I have to flag this great essay by Jonathan Safran Foer in The Wall Street Journal making the Swiftian case for eating dog. After all, pigs are just as smart, but there’s nothing keeping most of us from firing up the spit-roaster. And of course, throughout history many people have taken to canine cuisine. It’s worth pointing out a few highlights from his essay. Here’s the best plank of his argument, the environmental reason for putting Fido on the dinner menu: Three to four million dogs and cats are euthanized annually.

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Now Google is in. In compelling testimony to the Energy and Public Works Committee last week, the director of climate change and energy initiatives for the company's philanthropy (Google.org), Dan Reicher, mounted a powerful argument that the federal government should invest at least $15 billion a year of climate bill revenues in clean energy research and development. Declared Reicher: Putting a price on carbon, while absolutely necessary, is not sufficient to address the climate problem and importantly, will not put the U.S.

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As if we needed more reminding, the country has a huge gap between costs required for transportation needs and the funding sources to pay for them.

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Ezra Klein, channeling Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson: There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs so much more than health care in any other country: because we pay so much more for each unit of care.

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Two years ago, I wrote about my long-standing problems with Comcast’s broadband and television service. The intermittent outages, the frequent slowdowns, the unavailable phone support, and the incompetent repair people, to whom Comcast had outsourced its service to customers. So why did I stick with Comcast? Well, the people Verizon sent over couldn’t figure out how to connect the FIOS line from the garage across the house to the cable television and computer. In addition, Comcast not only promised to be good but made me one of those $99 a month offers for phone, internet, and TV that I couldn

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Misrepresentations

Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He blogs daily at the Health Access Weblog and is a regular contributor to the Treatment. A week ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was upset when The Yes Men, a group of pranksters and activists, held a fake press conference, claiming that the Chamber has reversed their opposition to climate change legislation. It’s true that the Chamber was misrepresented.

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