In Other News...
Best Buy Hearts Speakeasy
The $30 billion Best Buy electronics chain bought the Seattle-based internet-technologies company Speakeasy for $97 million this week. Best Buy, a Fortune 500 company, has 1,150 stores worldwide. Speakeasy started as an internet cafe in 1994, became an Internet provider for indie local businesses (full disclosure, they're our ISP), and then became an even bigger IT services company. With about 300 employees now, Speakeasy reported $80 million in 2006 revenues. Best Buy, based in Minnesota, is currently under investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General's Office for accusations of bait-and-switch pricing. NANCY DREW
Port Candidate Hearts Republicans
Port commission candidate Bill Bryant, who is challenging liberal commissioner Alec Fisken, quotes Democrat Barack Obama at length in a recent campaign mailing. He also cites preserving "family wage jobs" and cleaning up polluted Elliott Bay as his two top priorities. So he's a union proponent and an environmentalist, right? Actually, no—he's a Republican. Since 1999, the waterfront trade consultant has donated thousands to conservative Republicans, including former U.S. Representative Slade Gorton ($1,000), President George W. Bush ($3,000), Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike McGavick ($4,200), Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell ($1,000), Republican gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi ($1,500), and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carlson ($500), among many others who aren't exactly environmental and union stalwarts. ERICA C. BARNETT
King County Hearts Environment
King County will get $1.9 million from the federal government to fund a pay-as-you-drive insurance program—a system that charges for insurance by the mile. The county and Unigard Insurance will use the money to install GPS systems in 5,000 vehicles and track how many miles they drive.
Environmental groups support pay-as-you-drive programs because they make drivers more conscious of their driving choices, reducing congestion and pollution in the process. Among the goals of King County's pay-as-you-drive program: reducing vehicle miles traveled by 12 percent, and increasing carpool miles by 5 percent. ERICA C. BARNETT