We kid you not

Issue 

Racism rampant in schools

"More than two-thirds of young people are the victims of racism at school, with first-generation migrant girls in years 11 and 12 most at risk.

"A national study has found that racism permeates Australian schools, with 80 per cent of secondary students from non-Anglo backgrounds and 55 per cent of students from Anglo backgrounds saying they had experienced racial vilification.

"Interviews conducted with 900 secondary-school students across Australia also found Anglo-Australian youths displayed consistent prejudice towards other cultural groups, particularly towards darker-skinned students from places such as Africa and India."

— A November 19 Age article.

United States: Cop tasers 10-year-old girl

"A US police officer in a small Arkansas town used a stun gun on an unruly 10-year-old girl after he said her mother gave him permission to do so …

"[Officer Dustin] Bradshaw's report said the girl screamed, kicked and resisted any time her mother tried to get her in the shower before bed.

"Her mother told me to Tase her if I needed to", he wrote …

"[Mayor Vernon McDaniel said:] 'People here feel like that he made a mistake in using a Taser, and maybe he did, but we will not know until we get an impartial investigation '

"Police Chief Jim Noggle said no disciplinary action was taken against Bradshaw."

— A November 19 Associated Press article.

United States: All marriage banned by Texas anti-gay law?

"Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 [Texas] constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state …

"[T]he troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares: 'This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.'

"Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively 'eliminates marriage in Texas,' including common-law marriages.

"She calls it a 'massive mistake' …"

— A November 18 Fort Worth Star-Telegram article.

United States: A shit system

"In the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation's 25,000 sewage systems — including those in major cities — have reported violating the law by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and elsewhere, according to data from state environmental agencies and the
Environmental Protection Agency …

"There is no national record-keeping of how many illnesses are caused by sewage spills. But academic research suggests that as many as 20 million people each year become ill from drinking water containing bacteria and other pathogens that are often spread by untreated waste.

"A 2007 study published in the journal Pediatrics, focusing on one Milwaukee hospital, indicated that the number of children suffering from serious diarrhea rose whenever local sewers overflowed.

"Another study, published in 2008 in the Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health, estimated that as many as four million people become sick each year in California from swimming in waters containing the kind of pollution often linked to untreated sewage."

— The November 23 New York Times.

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