Monday, November 9, 2009

Your World In Review: Roadkill, Little Delinquents, Super Junk Food

Not Your Average Roadkill:
Driving comes with risks, and one of those risks is the possibility that you may have a run in with some of the other wildlife we share this earth with. Most accept the possibility that you may hit a deer, or antelope, or raccoon on your way home. But how about an elephant? That is exactly what happened to one Oklahoma couple driving home from church last Wednesday night. While driving down a rural highway, their SUV collided with an elephant that had escaped from the family fun circus at the Garfield County fairgrounds. Thankfully, the couple was not injured seriously. The 29 year old elephant suffered a broken tusk and an injured leg.

Little Delinquents
"I'm sure we've got many other devious kids in the district who are trying to figure out -how to duct tape a spoon and fork to their switchblades right now." -David Resler, vice president of the Christina Board of Education, in defense of zero-tolerance policies, speaking after a 6-year-old was suspended for bringing a multi-purpose utensil that including a knife, fork, and spoon to Downes Elementary in Newark, Delaware. Quoted In USA Today, 11-2~09, p. 3A.

See its statements like that which make school officials seem stupid. Seriously, you can't tell the difference between a 6-year-olds show N' Tell and a switchblade with a spoon duct-taped to it? And if you're really this lousy at determining intent among children, who put you in charge, anyway?

Super Junk-Food
Kellogg's is receiving flak for advertising on its Cocoa Krispies box that the sugary cereal "Now helps support your child's IMMUNITY." Kellogg’s claims that because it increased the vitamins A, C and E in their cereal from 10% to 25% of daily value, and since these vitamins help support the immune system, that their claim of Cocoa Krispies as an immune bolstering food is correct. Critics aren't so impressed. "This one belongs in the hall of fame," Kelley Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity told USA Today. (11-2-09, p. 3A) "By their logic, you can spray vitamins on a pile of leaves, and it will boost immunity." This comes as the FDA is cracking down on what it considers misleading labels on cereal and other food products.

Sewage in the Water Supply
In Iowa, raw sewage is being dumped into streams that provide drinking water for up to 500,000 residents, The Des Moines Register reported. ( In some stretches, the waterways carry almost nothing but sewage, and paddlers and fishers report seeing human waist. One in every five of the state's 1,910 city and commercial plants discharged more pollution than permits allowed over the last 5 years, and $3.5 billion will be needed from Iowa communities over the next 20 years to bring sewer systems up to Clean Water Act standards.

Busing low SES kids
USA Today reported that more than 60 school systems now use Socioeconomic Status (SES) as a factor in assignments, busing certain low income students to different schools. Since low income children tend to have more learning problems and do better amongst middle-class students, schools see it as a way to spread the burden.

Bear Thievery
The Journal of Mammaology reported that black bears at Yosemite National Park have begun to discern which cars have the goodies. They found that bears seem to have taken a special liking to breaking into minivans, which seem to get ravaged by bears more than any other type of car. Can't blame the bears. If I were after juice boxes and snacks, I'd probably head for the minivan too.

Vitamin D Deficiency
A new study in the journal Pediatrics estimated that around 6.4 million children, or 1 in 5 U.S. kids ages 1 to 11, are vitamin D deficient. Minorities are especially at risk...the survey suggested that nearly 90% of black children and 80% of Hispanic kids this age could be deficient. Learn more about this problem in our article: Vitamin D Deficiency in Children.

Child Poverty
"When I was 8-years-old, my dad went bankrupt and lost his business. I remember entering our apartment, and all the furniture was gone, our two cars were sold, there was no air-conditioning. Our whole life changed. My parents took me to the park where all the orphans sniffed glue to deal with the tragedies of their own lives. That made such an impression." -Singer Shakira, who grew up in Columbia, speaking about why she got involved in combating child poverty. It might also go to show that as bad as things may seem too many struggling families amidst this economy, there is almost always someone in a worse situation.

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