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I'm sure this New York Times article will put an end to the bullying of Billy

A Boy the Bullies Love to Beat Up, Repeatedly - New York Times

But seriously, what can schools do to stop bullying? It was a huge problem when I went to and it seems to have only gotten worse with the addition of social networking technology.

I had a friend a few years younger than me who had a short mohawk. Because he was opinionated and smart and dressed like a punk in a school full of jocks and wiggers (as we so tastefully called them, though I prefer the British "chav") he was often bullied. But he wasn't a small kid by any means, so the bullying was a step removed. When he turned his back, people would throw soda or pizza or apples at him in the cafeteria. He'd get shoved from behind in the halls. And so on. One day he went to the vice-principal and complained about his treatment, and that no one ever did anything to stop it. The vice-principal--a man whose only duty was finding and punishing miscreants--told my friend that he deserved it. And that if he didn't want to be bullied he should wear a normal haircut and dress like everyone else.

Do schools tacitly approve of bullying as a natural form of social order? What do you think?

Not long after, a boy on the school bus pummeled Billy, but somehow Billy was the one suspended, despite his pleas that the bus’s security camera would prove his innocence. Days later, Ms. Wolfe recalls, the principal summoned her, presented a box of tissues, and played the bus video that clearly showed Billy was telling the truth.

Things got worse. At Woodland Junior High School, some boys in a wood shop class goaded a bigger boy into believing that Billy had been talking trash about his mother. Billy, busy building a miniature house, didn’t see it coming: the boy hit him so hard in the left cheek that he briefly lost consciousness.

Ms. Wolfe remembers the family dentist sewing up the inside of Billy’s cheek, and a school official refusing to call the police, saying it looked like Billy got what he deserved. Most of all, she remembers the sight of her son.

Operation Winter Soldier: Iraq vets discuss the war

Winter Soldier

While on tank patrol through the narrow streets of Abu Ghraib, just west of Baghdad, Pfc. Clifton Hicks was given an order. Abu Ghraib had become a "free-fire zone," Hicks was told, and no "friendlies" or civilians remained in the area. "Game on. All weapons free," his captain said. Upon that command, Hicks's unit opened a furious fusillade, firing wildly into cars, at people scurrying for cover, at anything that moved. Sent in to survey the damage, Hicks found the area littered with human and animal corpses, including women and children, but he saw no military gear or weapons of any kind near the bodies. In the aftermath of the massacre, Hicks was told that his unit had killed 700-800 "enemy combatants." But he knew the dead were not terrorists or insurgents; they were innocent Iraqis. "I will agree to swear to that till the day I die," he said. "I didn't see one enemy on that operation."

Hicks soberly recounted this bloody incident to a packed auditorium in Silver Spring, Maryland, as part of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, a summit hosted March 13-16 by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Modeled after the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation--in which Vietnam veterans, including John Kerry, testified in Detroit about US atrocities in Vietnam--this incarnation featured more than fifty veterans and active-duty service members testifying about engaging in or witnessing atrocities and war crimes against Iraqi and Afghan civilians. As a precondition for participation, IVAW required veterans to provide corroborating evidence such as photographs, videos and additional witnesses. Former marine Scott Camil, 61, who spoke at the first Winter Soldier event, attended the conference along with seven fellow Vietnam-era witnesses. "When we came home, the World War II and Korean War veterans did not support our activities. I know how that feels," Camil said quietly. "We're not going to let it happen to these guys."

March 21, 2008

Hospitals recycling medical implements to save money

Pandagon :: Recycling the saw that cut you open :: March :: 2008

In a bid to save costs and stem a rising tide of medical waste, hospitals are recycling a growing number of medical devices labeled as single-use, from scissors and scrubs to the sharp blades surgeons use to saw through bones.

Recycling medical devices labeled for single use is legal as long as certain Food and Drug Administration guidelines are followed. But the practice, which involves shipping devices to reprocessing facilities to be cleaned, sterilized and tested for reuse, has raised concerns about safety. Medical device makers say their single-use products are just that, and pose a higher risk of failure and harm when recycled.

…At Catholic Healthcare West, the nation’s eighth-largest hospital system, a wide range of medical devices labeled as “single use” are reprocessed each year. Last year, the San Francisco-based concern figures it reduced waste volume by 41 tons and saved $1.8 million.

“The safe use of these reprocessed devices helps us conserve resources so we can be more cost-effective in delivering care” says Sister Susan Vickers, vice president of community health. “And we are diverting significant amounts of medical waste, which definitely benefits our planet.”

The linking page mentions that prions--the vectors of mad cow--are not killed by sterilization procedures.