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May 10, 2011

What "Means-Testing Medicare" really means

It's the popular new idea for how to save Medicare, since the methods that would actually help (importing drugs from Canada, negotiating cheaper drug prices here, etc) are off the table. And what Means-Testing means is basically applying a sliding scale to Medicare payments. It would remain cheap for the utterly poor, but for anyone who has money in the bank Medicare would soak them. Quite probably for a lot of money. Means-Testing | Talking Points Memo
To really move the needle you need to cut benefits way way down the economic scale -- maybe not for seniors who are barely scraping by. But certainly for what we might call the comfortable elderly. People who are living benefit check to benefit check but with some savings to enjoy some of the comforts of life in retirement. That's what means-testing really means. Making those folks pay a much bigger slice of their health care costs. Historically, progressives have opposed this not only because it cuts back benefits for people who need them but because over time it makes Medicare into something more like poor relief -- or like Medicaid, which operates on principle something like a means-tested program. That, the argument goes, weakens political support for the program over time and makes the quality of the program itself deteriorate because it's not something the broad mass of the public is invested in.

Twitpic quietly changes Terms of Service, they can now sell any pic you upload

Also, any images you delete they can keep and will also sell those. Twitpic - Share photos and videos on Twitter
You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic's (and its successors' and affiliates') business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in media Content you submit to the Service terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your media from the Service provided that any sub-license by Twitpic to use, reproduce or distribute the Content prior to such termination may be perpetual and irrevocable.
*via Kevin Church on twitter*

This is why the people who build iPods and iPads are killing themselves

The below conditions are *after* the recent labor reforms Apple insisted on. ThinkProgress -- Meet The Workers Who Make Your iPad: 100 Hours Of Overtime, No-Suicide Pacts, Standing For 14 Hours A Day
– Workers Are Being Asked To Work 80-100 Hours Of Overtime: Despite promises by Apple and Foxconn to limit overtime work to 36 hours a month, SACOM researchers found that in some factories, like in Chengdu, it is typical for workers to work 80-100 hours overtime instead. This is actually 2-3 times the legal limit of allowed overtime work. – Workers Are Being Forced To Sign ‘No-Suicide’ Pacts: In the wake of a huge wave of suicides at Foxconn plants, the company began reforming its practices related to the suicides. Among these changes included installing anti-suicide nets to catch workers who attempted to leap out of company windows. Yet workers are also being forced to sign a non-suicide pact as a condition of employment. As part of the pact, the employees families have to promise “not sue the company, bring excessive demands, take drastic actions that would damage the company’s reputation or cause trouble that would hurt normal operations” in the case of a suicide. – Employees Regularly Are Forced To Stand For 14 Hours A Day: SACOM found that workers in Chengdu “usually…have to stand for 14 hours a day.” “I don’t understand why we can’t sit. And we can’t bring our cell phone to the shop floor. Even the cell phone without camera is prohibited,” said one worker to the SACOM researchers. – Employees Are Crammed Together In Dormitories With Squalid Living Conditions: In Chengdu, where almost all workers live in company-owned dormitories, the number of employees placed in a dormitory room range from 6 to 22. Employees’ living quarters are also under factory rules, and workers cannot even bring basic items such as hair dryers into their dorms. “Some of my roommates weep in the dormitory. I want to cry as well but my tears have not come out,” one 19 year-old employee told SACOM