Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clearing Off the Table

The family suggested, in the gentlest of terms, that I might do something about the stack of papers, magazines, clippings, and whatnot, that were stacked on the dining room table. It had spread from one stack in front of my "place" to take over two chairs and half the table. This will be a multi-step process but today I did sort through the stuff on the table. It was evenly split between blogging and work stuff. Much of it was still interesting but time had passed and the top was no longer quite so relevant. Here are a few of the items were not connected to legislation and therefore might have a longer shelf life:

Chinese anchor babies -- remember all the hubbub about the mythical hordes of women coming to the US to have children for nefarious purposes, but no one had proof of? Well, as it turns out there is an anchor baby issue but it is in Hong Kong not here. Women from mainland China have been going to Hong Kong to have children in such numbers that Hong Kong hospitals are putting a limit on the number of spots in their maternity wards for mainland moms. The attractions are an avoidance of the one-child policy and the fact that babies born there have local residency rights and can return later where there are "greater political and legal protections." (See "Hong Kong moves to curb births by mainland women," by Isabella Steger, Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2011)

Evidence based philanthropy -- Sandy Hingston writes in the June issue of Philadelphia Magazine about effective philanthropy ("How to give your fortune away"). I was fascinated by this paragraph:

The move toward metrics has brought some surprises. “Our team is both highly trained and used to being wrong,” Rosqueta says, grinning. Everybody’s heard of Scared Straight, which introduces at-risk young people to the consequences of bad behavior by taking them to visit prisons. Nobody’s heard of another charity, the Nurse-Family Partnership, which unites first-time low-income mothers with RNs who make home visits from pregnancy until a child’s second birthday. Yet evidence from 30 years of NFP’s work shows a 59 percent reduction in arrests by the time that child turns 15, among other benefits, for a return of nearly six bucks in social benefits for every dollar spent—increased tax revenues, lower welfare costs, reduced costs for health care and other social services. And the high-brand-awareness Scared Straight? A 2003 study found that participants were up to 28 percent more likely to offend in the future than they were before going through the program. It was doing more harm than good.

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