Music educator Ivan Trevino (right) leads band practice for M5 Networks employees in Rochester, N.Y., who will play against other branches in a battle of the bands. The telecom company says it wants its employees to learn new things (and stay happy).
It's 4 o'clock on a Thursday, and instead of sitting in front of computer screens, a group of software engineers and customer service reps from M5 Networks is in the middle of band practice.
M5 is a telecom company based in New York City that offers Internet phone services. But it offers something else for its employees: At the Rochester, N.Y., office of M5, workers are gearing up for a companywide battle of the bands against other branches.
Our friends over at Planet Money produced a delightful podcast last Friday called "Who Killed Lard?" They finger a corporate perp: Proctor and Gamble's brilliant marketing campaign for the original Crisco, an alternative to lard that went on sale in 1911. "It's all vegetable! It's digestible!," it proclaimed.
The Internal Revenue Service is brining back an amnesty program for Americans who have stashed money in offshore accounts in order to dodge taxes. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced the program's renewal on Monday, saying the tax dodgers would have to pay back taxes and penalties but would not face any criminal charges.
<strong>Not Giving An Inch:</strong> You can expect to see lots of close contact in Monday's BCS national title game. Here, Eric Reid of the LSU Tigers defends against Michael Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Credit Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images
The consensus among college football's fans and analysts seems to be that tonight's BCS championship game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 LSU will be a defensive struggle, similar to the touchdown-free game the two teams played on Nov. 5, when LSU won in overtime, 9-6.
"These are the two top defenses in the country," NPR's Tom Goldman told David Greene on today's Morning Edition. "Alabama allows under 9 points a game; LSU is right behind, allowing only 10.5 points a game."
No, it's not quite going down. But health care spending in 2010 rose at the second-slowest rate in the last half-century.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that total health spending in the U.S. increased by 3.9 percent in 2010, just a notch above the slowest rate since the government started keeping track — 3.8 percent in 2009.
Overall, the U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, or $8,402 per person. That's 17.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.