April 24, 2006

April 24, 2006: #1

Daycare / Childcare

Daycare bad for the brain? Lydia Lovric, Winnipeg Sun CNEWS Forum via Ne0_North, 4/10/2006


This is your brain. This is your brain on -- day care? While day-care activists insist that children thrive in day care, a new book challenges the notion that kids require formal child care.

Raising Babies -- Should Under 3s Go to Nursery? is the latest offering from Australian psychologist Steve Biddulph. He argues that day care is damaging to babies' brain chemistry. [. . . . ]




Tom Brodbek: Phoney child-care stats -- "academics shopping around shoddy studies and passing them off as real academic research."

The more the child-care lobby tries to justify its position on why we need a national day-care program, the more it seems to hurt its own cause.

University of Manitoba professor Susan Prentice did a "study" -- and I use that term loosely -- to show how bad the child-care shortage is in Winnipeg.

Her group, the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, [....]

Her study is flawed
because the numbers are fraught with errors. Put it this way, if her findings were reviewed by a group of her peers in an academic setting, she'd be laughed off campus. [....]




Universal preschool is inviting universal disaster -- "has pernicious unintended consequences" Shikha Dalmia, Lisa Snell, Sunday, December 4, 2005
Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst and Lisa Snell director of education policy at Reason Foundation

[. . . . ] The final price tag for Quebec's day care program is 33 times what was originally projected: It was supposed to cost $230 million over five years, but now gobbles $1.7 billion every year.

With this kind of spending, one would think that Quebec was offering top-notch day care to every tot, toddler and teen.

Think again.

Much of the increased spending has gone not toward increased access, but increased costs. Day care worker unions, on the threat of strike, negotiated a 40 percent increase in wages over four years. The cost of care has doubled since the program began, with the annual per-infant cost now exceeding $15,000.

Besides unions, the other major reason for the skyrocketing costs is that when people don't pay the full price for a service, they consume more of it -- what economists call the problem of the moral hazard: Quebecois taxpayers pay 80 to 90 percent of the cost of care, requiring parents to pitch in only $7 a day. [. . . . ]


There is much more to learn.

Pierre Lefebvre, an economics professor at Universite du Quebec, has just completed a study comparing 4- to 5-year-olds in Quebec with kids elsewhere in Canada and found that Quebec kids have no better scores on the Peabody vocabulary test -- the most widely used indicator of school readiness.





Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage fraud is sweeping across Canada -- The criminals are sophisticated, and often victims don't know they've been scammed until it's too late January 12, 2006, Macleans, via newsbeat1

[. . . . ] The Real Estate Council of Alberta measured fraud over a recent 12 month period and discovered 2,700 occurrences in Alberta alone. Sometimes it's a case of stolen identity (a mortgage is taken out in your name), in other instances a home is stolen from under the owner when fraudsters forge phony documents, pay the land transfer tax to secure the title to a house and either sell it or re-mortgage it. In the West, the scam most often involves "straw" buyers who agree to take out mortgages in their own name in return for a quick payoff. "The buyer usually knows something is illegal but is led to believe it's just a legal loophole," says Const. Terry Schmidt of the RCMP's Commercial Crime Section in northern Alberta. "So he signs mortgage papers, collects a small cheque, and walks away believing his part in the deal is over, except he's the one the banks will come after once the mortgage is defaulted on." [. . . . ]

"The banks go straight to the collateral," says Simoes. "We discovered the fraud within two weeks and presented the police with the fraudster's cellphone number, but instead of going after him, the police interrogated my brother and then the mortgage company sued us. The banks walk away singing Dixie while the homeowner gets screwed." [. . . . ]




Random real estate fraud exposed with random acts of title insurance MARCH 22, 2006, CCN Matthews

First Canadian Title, Canada's leading provider of title insurance, is taking the unprecedented step of awarding title insurance policies to Canadian home owners and waiving the premiums in an effort to raise awareness of the growing incidence of real estate title fraud in Canada. [. . . . ]




Mortgage Fraud Mar. 24, 05, report -- Google: report

Very informative
Search: online registry, Teranet



Progressivism and Entropy Steve Janke, April 08, 2006 via R, and thanks

Let us say for the sake of argument that conservatives strive for general stability. That is to say, they are generally satisfied with the status quo and resist dramatic change. When they do desire change, it is usually a very focused and specific change that can be objectively measured in order to determine success. Take for example the Conservative government's five priorities. A very specific set of goals, limited in number and scope, achievable and measurable.

Liberals seem to think that the status quo is generally bad. For them, progress is anything that is not what it is like today.

And there is where the laziness comes in. It is related to entropy. [. . . . ]

The size of government is a function of this difference is "progress". Conservatives believe in having only as much government as you need to fulfill a specific set of goals. Any more does not help reach those goals and so does not help progress (indeed is an impediment in terms of wasted tax dollars). Liberals believe in large governments involved in all aspects of society. That provides the maximum capacity for changing things, which to them is the equivalent of maximum progress. [. . . . ]





Rebel Pierre Link Byfield, Apr. 14, 06

[. . . . ] He was the perennial rebel, the perennial irresponsible show-off, and always fascinated by totalitarian power.

[....] That's why he so loved hobnobbing with Fidel Castro, Mao and others whose hands were stained crimson with innocent blood.

Whether or not he agreed with these monsters, he admired them, and said so.

His one consistent thought -- utterly conventional in that day -- was the state must manage society, and that free markets are somehow unfair and inefficient.

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