One Step Forward Two Steps Back

Grind for January 7th, 2019
“Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

Good Idea

The Headline

US House opens state-of-the-art daycare center

The Grind

House lawmakers and staff will soon have the opportunity to send their children to an exclusive daycare center with a playground that looks like a miniature National Mall.

“This is the only Washington Monument in DC that you can climb up,” jokes GOP lawmaker Kevin McCarthy, who helped design the playground and secure funds to build the facility.

The daycare center, which cost $12 million in taxpayer dollars and occupies 26,000 square feet of space adjacent to the Capitol, is expected to boost lawmakers’ attenance.

In response to criticism over the use of taxpayer funds to build the facility, McCarthy says it’s important to keep quality staff on the Hill no matter what:

“If somebody is working for you and wants to continue to serve government, but says ‘I don’t have daycare so I can’t stay here, the wait list is too long, the quality is not there,’ then you are disadvantaging who can actually serve and work in government at the same time.”

The Details

When it opens this month, the daycare center will have the capacity to care for up to 120 infants and toddlers. Later in the year, a second phase will add facilities and staff for up to 122 preschoolers.

Before the expansion, parents had to wait up to three years for daycare.

This means parents were putting their names on the waiting list before getting pregnant or in many cases leaving Capitol Hill to start a family.

“It’s really upsetting to see because they make the decision to leave the Hill and leave public service because the cost of private day care is difficult to maintain on some of the congressional salaries,” says Melissa Murphy, chief of staff for Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC).

The new daycare center will cost parents between $1,100 and $1,700 per month, which is far less than the average for private daycare in the DC area.


The Headline

Latest cyberattack targets major US newspapers

The Grind

Several major US newspapers were hit with a malware attack last weekend that left them unable to send content to the printing press.

Papers delayed by the attack include: the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, and South Florida’s Sun Sentinel

“Usually when someone tries to disrupt a significant digital resource like a newspaper, you’re looking at an experienced and sophisticated hacker,” explains Pam Dixon, who directs the nonprofit group World Privacy Forum.

In addition, the holidays are a “well known time for mischief” by hackers because they know organizations are thinly staffed.

The Details

While the source of the attack remains unknown, experts are certain it was launched from somewhere outside the US.

Because the hackers did not demand money or steal information, the attack was likely intended to prevent Americans from reading the news.

The idea that foreign actors could block the printing of newspapers is particularly troubling, as it would force Americans to get their news from less-reliable sources like social media.

Unfortunately up to 68% of American adults already get their news from social media (even if they don’t trust it).

The key takeaway here is that unless we do something to protect the media, we could be headed towards a future in which we can’t believe the newspapers.

And at that point, Democracy breaks down.

Did you know… Aluminum used to be more valuable than gold!