Call it the Tuesday lunch special – a little two of everything today.
Fact and fiction
If you haven’t seen this Salon piece yet, read on. Last week, Fox News talking head Sean Hannity set out to show just how badly the Affordable Care Act was hurting ordinary Americans, introducing us to six of them — three couples — with stories to tell.
And tell they did. But the problem was, much of what they had to say was inaccurate, inconsistent and at times just flat out wrong.
Writer Eric Stern tells what happened when he fact-checked their claims. Spoiler alert — had they even tried a health exchange to see how they’d fare, Hannity’s guests would have learned that with an ACA health insurance policy, their coverage would be cheaper and better.
For the facts about health insurance under the ACA and to get an estimate of how much you’d pay for a policy, visit this helpful Kaiser Family Foundation website.
Parents and kids
Speaking of misconceptions, “enough with the standardized testing,” said nearly 80 percent of parents at one New York City K-2 elementary school who opted out of having their children take a required test– forcing the school to cancel it.
Many experts now say that continuous testing only promotes rote learning at the expense of other skills — like learning how to think.
And four-year-olds just don’t need the stress, one mother said.
What they do need, says writer and digital media guru Bill Jensen, are better playgrounds.
Playgrounds can be a veritable lab for socialization and creativity — skills most children (and plenty of adults, for that matter) need to refine.
But over the years, we’ve allowed them — like tests — to become safe and standardized, Jensen says. As he tells writer Celeste Hamilton Dennis in this IdealistBlog piece:
Back in the 60s, our playground crafters took a cue from Europe’s and designed spaces unafraid to venture beyond the traditional four S’s: slide, seesaw, swing, and sandbox. We had giant rocket ships, hinged robots, fabulous circus wagons, and more—with all sorts of frills and thrills.
But they were too high. And too rough. Kids fell and broke bones. And got splinters. So we sued. Downsized. And in the process, Billy argues, stunted kids’ imaginations and contributed to the nation’s growing childhood obesity problem.
Jensen has launched Epic Playgrounds, a nonprofit that aims “to get kids ages eight through twelve excited about being outside again, before they start doing all those things you see on after school specials.”
Old and new
And speaking of playgrounds, if you’ve been in Washington, D.C. lately, you may have walked past the U.S. Supreme Court building looking like someone had attached a jungle-gym to its exterior.
No, that structure was not for justices at play, but rather served as the scaffolding for a needed facelift. Much of the exterior had been surrounded by protective netting since November 2005, when about 80 pounds of marble fell from exterior molding to a plaza below.
Cleaning and repairing the marble facade began in May 2012, and all scaffolding is scheduled to be removed by this November.