The military says it's dangerous to depend exclusively on fossil fuels, and has launched a program to develop alternative fuels for use by military vehicles. Energy consumption is a big expense for the Pentagon. But some members of Congress don't think the military should be a laboratory for finding energy alternatives, and say the military should not be spending money on this kind of research at a time when defense dollars are shrinking.
Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis was a man-made catastrophe that could have been prevented. That's the conclusion of an investigative commission set up by Japan's parliament and released today. The disaster spread radioactive material over a wide area. It also forced thousands of Japanese from their homes and led Japan to shut down almost all of its nuclear reactors.
Let's face it. When we call someplace a tree-lined street in a leafy suburb, the implication is not that its residents live among deadly hazards. The intent is generally flattering. We like trees - you know, radio shows are hosted by fools like me, but only God can make a tree - except when 70-mile-per-hour winds blow through your neighborhood, as they did in many neighborhoods around Washington, D.C. last Friday.
Among the provisions of the health care law is that each state has to set up a health insurance exchange, a marketplace where people can compare health plans and then purchase coverage. There are lots of questions about how this will work and we'll try to answer some of them now with Alan Weil. He's the executive director with the nonprofit National Academy for State Health Policy.