President Biden is reimagining child care in the US.
Yesterday, he signed an executive order directing federal agencies to improve access to care for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities and to enhance conditions for caregivers. The EO calls on agencies to review their child care subsidy policy and look for different ways to expand child care access. It builds off of similar incentives the admin's already put in place. However, the order falls short of Biden’s earlier plan to provide over $225 billion to make child care affordable for all Americans. There’s no real timeline for when some of the directives will take effect, and the EO could be limited in its impact.
The order does not include additional funding. Instead, it puts the onus on agencies to use existing funds. Biden directed federal agencies to find grant programs that can help cover child care costs for federal workers. The VA has to expand its budget to provide more help to veterans who need home-based care. The Department of Health and Human Services will need to find ways to boost benefits and pay for early educators and remove or reduce copays for child care. The HHS will test a new dementia care model to support family caregivers. Biden said these directives are about Americans getting “the best value for the investments they’ve already made.”
Biden is trying to rack up support ahead of his re-election announcement. Child care is a top priority that has failed to crawl forward. Partly because lawmakers can't decide on how to address the rising costs of child care. The Labor Dept found that Americans spend anywhere between 8% and 19% of their incomes on child care. A majority of Skimm'rs also have no faith that the government will agree on a national policy. As for home care for seniors, the cost has jumped 40% in 10 years. While some advocacy and lobbying groups have applauded the EO, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said more action is needed in Congress “to make child care affordable and accessible in every part of the country.”
Access to care has been a growing problem for families all across the US. The pandemic only exacerbated the crisis. Now, more millennials are stuck balancing caring for their kids and elderly parents — all while the cost of hiring help continues to grow.
What ended before it could even start…
Fox News and Dominion’s trial. Yesterday, Fox News agreed to settle its defamation case with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Dominion sued Fox News for falsely claiming its voting machines were rigged against former President Trump in 2020 — asking for $1.6 billion in damages. The court system went through with a pre-trial hearing and jury selection. Now, everyone is home earlier than expected. The 11th-hour settlement also means none of Fox’s big names like Tucker Carlson and Rupert Murdoch will be testifying. Dominion said “Fox has admitted to telling lies” and that “money is accountability.” In a statement, Fox said they “acknowledge the court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false” and hope the settlement “allows the country to move forward from these issues.” However, that could be wishful thinking. Lawsuits involving Dominion and Fox News over similar defamation claims are making their way through the courts.
What's raising alarms in the parent group chat...
ADHD meds. Yesterday, a new study found that 1 in 4 teens reported misusing ADHD prescription drugs. Researchers surveyed more than 231,000 students in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades between 2005 and 2020. Schools with the highest rates of students with prescribed ADHD meds had a 36% higher risk of teens misusing the stimulants. Predominantly white schools and families where parents held a higher level of education were also more likely to see misuse. Health experts said students abuse the medication due to academic stress, but reportedly also to get a high when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Now, researchers say the findings are a “major wake-up call.” They noted prescription meds are safe to use…when needed. Otherwise, children and teens could face long-term effects like higher rates of depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.
What’s got people talking…
Oklahoma. Yesterday, a sheriff and two others were suspended from the sheriff’s association after a racist recording of them went public in McCurtain County. Last week, the McCurtain Gazette-News released clips of a recorded conversation where four officials are heard saying they want to hang Black people and hire hitmen to kill two local journalists. It sparked anger in the southeastern county, with residents and Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) calling on the officials to resign. Now, three of them have been suspended from the membership group. The sheriff’s office released a statement claiming the recordings were “altered” but didn’t explain how. Officials also said the recordings were illegal by not receiving consent from at least one of the parties involved and that there’s an investigation into how the recording went down. The newspaper said the audio was legally obtained.
Where there are updates…
Missouri. Yesterday, the 84-year-old man accused of shooting Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager, in Kansas City turned himself into police custody. He's since been released on bail. Meanwhile, Yarl is recovering at home from two gunshot wounds, including one to the head.
Russia. Yesterday, a judge upheld Evan Gershkovich's detention and denied his legal team’s request to free him on bail. The Wall Street Journal reporter will stay in prison until at least May 29 as he faces espionage charges.
Who’s got AI on the mind…
Elon Musk. Earlier this week, the billionaire said he’s going to create “TruthGPT.” He said it’ll be an alternative to the popular ChatGPT and will act as a “maximum truth-seeking AI” that's “unlikely to annihilate humans.” Someone’s been watching “The Terminator.”
…Oh and speaking of all things AI, Drake and The Weeknd’s newest collab, “Heart on My Sleeve,” has been pulled from streaming services…because they didn’t create it, but AI did. And one artist is refusing to accept an award for an AI-generated image. Talk about work smarter not harder.
Who’s saying ‘I know that’s right’...
Whose comeback might inspire another Lifetime movie…
Who's saying 'all that glitters is not gold (wine glasses)'...
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