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Traffic for the unlikely pair on Merriam-Webster’s website about doubled this year from the year before as the health care debate heated up and discussion intensified over “American capitalism” versus “European socialism.”

The choice was revealed by the dictionary’s editors Wednesday along with other top 10 picks for the year.

Also included were the election-related words democracy, globalization, marriage, bigot and malarkey, a term Vice President Joseph R. Biden used in his debate with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. Rounding out the top 10 were meme for the Internet phenomena that go viral, touche, schadenfreude and professional.


Governor hits opposition over labor union talks

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island House speaker is opposing Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s call for talks with labor unions seeking to overturn sweeping changes to the state retirement system.

Democrat Gordon D. Fox said Wednesday the dispute over the pension law should be settled in court and the time for negotiations was before the independent governor signed the changes into law.

Democratic Treasurer Gina Raimondo and an influential business-backed organization that supported the overhaul also oppose negotiations.

Mr. Chafee met Tuesday with two top labor officials. Any compromise would have to be approved by lawmakers.

The law was designed to save billions of dollars in future years by suspending pension increases and changing benefits for thousands of active and retired teachers and government workers.

A hearing on the state’s motion to dismiss the unions’ lawsuit is scheduled for Friday.


Johnson not definite on another Senate run

PIERRE — Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota is leaving open the possibility he will not seek re-election in 2014.

After former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds said last week he would challenge the Democratic incumbent, Mr. Johnson responded with a statement saying he intended to put together a winning campaign for a fourth term.

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