So the White House and congressional leaders got together with union representatives, and came to an agreement on the so-called "Cadillac tax" provision of health reform, the one labor was opposing because it could tax their benefits. Some of the details, as Jonathan Cohnexplains, are as follows:
-- Exempting vision and dental benefits from the calculations of plan value
-- Raising the threshold at which the tax kicks in, from $23,000 a year for a family plan to $24,000 a year. (The threshold for individuals goes from $8,500 to $8,900.)
-- Making additional adjustments to the formula based on age and gender
Jonah Lehrershares some research indicating that people with higher IQs seem to have minds that are quite active when at rest – in other words, they're daydreamers. As Lehrer notes, daydreaming has a bad reputation. "Children in school are encouraged to stop daydreaming and 'focus,' and wandering minds are often cited as a leading cause of traffic accidents.
Via Sociological Images, the Modern Language Association has created a terrific set of interactive maps showing where people speak different languages all over the country. You can map a particular language, compare states down to the county or zip code level, and get all kinds of interesting data (the data come from the census – your tax dollars at work).
There are lots of interesting things here – did you know that after English, Spanish, Chinese, French, and German, the language most commonly spoken in the U.S. is Tagalog? More than Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, or Polish.
We all know that America has an obesity problem. But guess what – as usual, our brave advertising executives have the answer. First, there's this ad for Nutella. "As a mom," our friendly actress says, "I'm a great believer in Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread I use to get my kids to eat healthy foods." And what are these "healthy foods," you ask? Bread. With Nutella on it. If you're hungry for more healthy food, you could try taking a carrot, wrapping it in a slice of bacon, and dipping it in chocolate frosting.
Language is a many-splendored thing, and we should applaud those who explore its farther reaches in search of the most descriptive, interesting, or ear-pleasing variations to use in their speaking and writing. But sometimes, esoteric language is used to obscure and exclude rather that to enlighten and illuminate.
Though I'm not much of a fan of Chief Justice John Roberts, I have to give him credit for something he did in court yesterday, calling attention to the scourge that is "orthogonal":
Supreme Court justices deal in words, and they are always on the lookout for new ones.