An Inclusive Litany


The China Youth Daily admitted that for the past thirty-six years, it had been falsifying its weather reports.

Soon after one investigation discovered many teachers in the New York City public school system who, desperate to raise students' performance on standardized tests, deliberately led them to cheat on those tests, another investigation uncovered systemic attendance fraud in which students marked as present in class were often attending another school, living abroad, in jail, or even dead.

The attendance fraud was discovered only when a civil rights group sued the state, charging that minority children in New York City were being educationally shortchanged. When the state thoroughly investigated the claim, it turned out the schools were receiving more taxpayer dollars—perhaps as much as $100 million a year—than they were legally entitled to.


By law, every video game sold in New Zealand must be rated by censors for sex and violence. As a result, censors spend countless hours playing games. The problem is that the censors usually aren't good enough to reach the game's higher levels to see what's there. Lawmakers are thus considering the idea of hiring expert gamers as censors.

Thousands of migrant workers descend on Washington state each year to pick cherries, and this always raises the question of where to house them. Growers thought they had come up with a perfect solution by setting up tent camps featuring hot showers, toilets, and clean drinking water. But the Labor Department noted that the camps didn't meet federal guidelines, which mandate tents with 7-foot-high walls and solid floors. The Department also said the camps had to have refrigerators and stoves, which the growers said was too expensive, so they didn't put up any camps at all. As a result, thousands of workers live as they always have: by sleeping in their cars or in sleeping bags in the forest.

Writing in Salon, Dan Savage detailed his efforts to infiltrate the presidential campaign of Republican garden gnome Gary Bauer and infect him and his staff with the flu, possibly taking him out of the race. As part of his plan, Mr. Savage tried to pass Bauer a pen he had chewed on, then licked a variety of objects: doorknobs, staplers, telephones, computer keyboards. "Then I stood in the kitchen and licked the rims of all the clean coffee cups drying in the rack."


A pregnant Scottish twelve-year-old said she wanted to keep her child, but that she was financially destitute, so the Catholic Church offered to pay the cost of rearing the child. Coming weeks after the British government launched a program to cut the number of teenage births, the offer provoked furious accusations of bribery. Sarah Colborn, head of the National Abortion Campaign, said: "We are talking of money being offered to a child to keep a baby, which removes choice."

In Lake City, Florida, the manager of a car dealership where vandals splashed acid on three dozen vehicles called the attack a hate crime because only Ford models were damaged.


The Los Angeles Times reported that a Y2K test at a sanitation plant revealed a huge potential for catastrophe because in the course of the test millions of gallons of sewage spilled into a park near the city. But it turns out the problem had nothing to do with the Y2K bug. When power was cycled off and on for the test, a valve defaulted to its open position, causing the spill.


Six foot two inch, 230-pound pro wrestler Nicole Bass sued the World Wrestling Federation for sexual harassment, demanding $120 million.

From Best Friends magazine, September/October 1999:
The foreman of an Irish highway project will face the fierce wrath of local fairies if his team cuts down a white-blossomed hawthorn bush in their construction path, according to local folklore authorities.

The 15-foot-high bush, they say, is home to some easily angered fairies.

Rather than tempt fate, construction crews have already rerouted other highways in 150 locations around Ireland that are said to be home to fairies.

In England, the Birmingham City Council condemned singing the song "Baa Baa Black Sheep" in local schools due to its "racial undertones" that, according to a spokesperson from the Working Group on Racism in Children's Resources, result "whenever the word black is attached to another word."


Cleanthi Peters, 57, sued the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida, for $15,000 because its haunted house scared her and her ten-year-old granddaughter and caused emotional distress to both.


In Wisconsin, Susan Bauer sued her local government after it demanded she mow her foot-high grass. Ms. Bauer claimed the Constitution gave her the right not to mow her grass. After that suit was rejected, Ms. Bauer filed another lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming she suffered from chronic back problems, and demanding exemption from the ordinance, even though the town offered to cut her grass for free. That lawsuit was also rejected.

From Y2K: It's Already Too Late, by Jason Kelly:
They did not understand that the woman screaming in Helsinki was not doing so out of crazy joy. She held her collapsed father while an outdoor symphony played into the freezing night. He clutched his chest, unaware that the tiny chip inside his pacemaker had stopped functioning when 2000 arrived. An ambulance might have shown up to help, but Helsinki's emergency dispatch system was dead. Newer model ambulances would not start. Hospitals lost power. A few people gathered to help the woman and her poor father, but they could do little for a stopped pacemaker. Crowds nearby continued feasting on reindeer steaks....


During television coverage of the new year's celebrations, ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings asked a fire chief if the hoses they used were Y2K-compliant. The chief responded that, as far as he knew, there were no computer chips in the hoses.

From "Rezedents Rights & Rispansabilities," a pamphlet distributed to Caribbean tenants by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD withdrew the pamphlet in September after receiving numerous complaints. While HUD routinely translates its documents into such languages as Spanish, French, Korean, and Portuguese, officials blamed this dialect translation variously on a contractor, the Government Printing Office, and some as yet unknown prankster.
Yuh as a rezedent, ave di rights ahn di rispansabilities to elp mek yuh HUD-assisted owzing ah behta owme fi yuh ahn yuh fambily. Dis brochure briefly liss some ahf yuh muos impowtant right ahn rispansabilities fi elp yuh get di muos owt ah yuh owme.

Yuh Rights:

  • Di right fi get reasonable notice, in writing fi ehni non-imergency inspeckshan aur ehni ahdah entry inna yuh apawtment.

  • Di right fi puoss materials in cammon areas fi infawm ahdah rezedents bout dem rights ahn also about apportunities ahf ow dem caan invalve demself in deir projeks.

  • Di rights fi recognition by prahpaty ownas ahn manigahs as smady dat ave a seh in rezedenshal community affairs.

  • Di right fi egual ahn fair treatment widowt regard to colour, religion, gendah, disability, familial status, national origin, aur age.

Yuh Rispansabilities:

  • Payin de carrek amount a rent pan a timely basis everi muhnt.

  • Conduktin yuhself in a mannah dat wuhduhn disturb yuh neighbahs.

  • Nat engagin in criminal aktivity inna di unit, common areas, aur grouns. Fi kyp yuh unit clean ahn nat littaryn di grouns aur common areas.

  • Fi comply wid local kwodes dat affek de ehlt aur safety ahf di rezedence.

As ah pawt ahfits dedication fi maintain di bes pawsible living enviornment fi all rezedents, yuh HUD field affice encourage ahn suppowts:

  • Promt considerashan ahn resalushan ahf rezedent complaints by ownas ahn manigahs.

  • Rezedent auganizashan ahn pawticipashan in decishans regawding di apawtment building dat ahfek di well-being ahf yuh owme.

If yuh belive dat yuh ave suffahd from discriminashan aur whud like more infahmashan, call 1-800-669-9777 aur cawl yuh lowkal HUD affice ahf Fair Owzing ahn Equal Appatunity.

[Ed.: The pamphlet also includes an introductory statement by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, "Sekretary Andrew M. Cuomo fella."]