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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Normally I would say there's no difference between biological parents and parents who adopt. Parents are parents, period. But the story of the Minnesota couple accused of starving their adopted 8-year-old son nearly to death and making him endure unspeakable abuses draws a line between the two. Mona and Russell Hauer were blessed with the opportunity to adopt a little boy, and if police allegations prove true, they took that blessing and destroyed it in the most heinous way possible. The Hauers, who also have a biological child and adopted their 8-year-old son's two siblings, are accused of some six felonies for actions that are far from parent-like. Their son is 8, but when doctors examined him, he was the size of a 4-year-old, and his brain had atrophied due to malnutrition.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    If you think it's hard being a single mom, try being Kailyn Lowry. The star of Teen Mom 2 has been single parenting son Isaac while the whole world watches. On top of that, she doesn't even have her own parents around to help her out. In fact, Kailyn had some pretty harsh words for the people who brought her into the world when she sat down with The Stir to talk about the third season of her MTV reality show. Kailyn was 16 when she got pregnant with the son of a guy she'd been dating off and on for just nine months. Now, with Teen Mom 2 premiering on Monday, November 12 (the show has moved to a new night), Kailyn has had a chance to look back on what started it all. She told The Stir how she thinks she ended up 16 & Pregnant, and how she's going to keep her son from being a teen parent.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Jenelle Evans is nothing if not a lightning rod for criticism. The Teen Mom 2 star may just be the most controversial out of a show that's controversial in and of itself. So how does Evans deal with it all? She uses it clean up her act. That's right! With the third season of Teen Mom 2 set to premiere on Monday, November 12, Jenelle sat down with The Stir to tell us why she's glad she was arrested and put on probation (!), and why you might want to be careful about what you say about her on the Internet. Some of her confessions may surprise you:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    America, we've got four more years! President Barack Obama has officially been re-elected! It's time to join the chorus of Americans saying, "Thank you, Ohio." The Buckeye State has just ensured Obama's legacy! Even with Florida and Virginia listed as "too close to call," the results out of Ohio have ensured the Obama/Biden ticket has enough votes to win the electoral college with 274 to Romney's 203. The Romney/Ryan campaign, meanwhile, couldn't even carry Massachusetts, where Romney was once governor, or Wisconsin, the state that sent Paul Ryan to Congress. So what does four more years with Obama mean for America?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Well, it's happened. President Barack Obama has been re-elected. After first threatening to fight, Mitt Romney conceded. So what does this actually mean? What will four more years under President Barack Obama mean for the moms in America, the families in America? More than who the president is, I think the average American cares about what the president can do for them. I know I do. I had my daughter in mind (and by my side) as I cast my vote. And keeping Obama in office protects a range of benefits for moms and families. Check them out:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Do you ever look at some people and wonder why they chose a particular line of work because it's just about the last thing they should be doing? Consider the nurse who just got sentenced to 10 years in jail for allowing a 14-year-old girl to starve to death. A 14-year-old girl, I should say, who had cerebral palsy and was under Mollie Parsons' care. Allowing a child to die of malnutrition is the very antithesis of what the nursing profession is all about. We look to these women and men as professional nurturers, the people who seek out the job specifically because they care about people. But Parsons didn't care for 14-year-old Makayla Norman.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Some parents are disgusting. Really disgusting. They'll pick up a pacifier from just about anywhere and pop it in their baby's mouth. But are you ready to be really grossed out, Moms and Dads? You know that pacifier that has turned your screaming baby into a sweet little dumpling who actually sleeps through the night? It's absolutely crawling with germs, and I do mean CRAWLING! Before you say no, duh, of course there are germs out there, but you have to eat a pound of dirt before you die, I'm not trying to be an alarmist here. But it's time some parents wake up to how absolutely disgusting they are! And you don't have to take my word for it: a new pacifier study out of the American Society for Clinical Pathology should make you clean up your act.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    There's a lot of criticism thrown at the girls on Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2, but when you look at many of the parents of these new mothers, it's no surprise their kids are struggling. Plenty of the reality stars are trying to turn into adults with little to no support from their parents. But South Dakota's Chelsea Houska and her uber-supportive parents Randy and Mary are the rare exception. The two are divorced but they've been there for their teen daughter and her little girl, Aubree, every step of the way. And when Chelsea sat down with The Stir to talk about the third season of Teen Mom 2, she had plenty to say about what parents should and shouldn't do if their teen ends up pregnant. And Chelsea had her fair share of words for people who have criticized dad Randy for spoiling her.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Have you ever opened up a bag your child packed for a trip and thought, "Why is she taking a hammer to the mall?" I have. Because a kid's idea of what's necessary and a parent's idea are about as far apart as Republicans and Democrats on the morning after election day. Let's face it: our kids are weird! And we love them for it, we really do. But as blogger Southern Yankee Mix reminded us when she revealed her 6-year-old's bizarre packing list (anyone else see the need to bring a lantern and "2 pritty ponys" to Granny's house?), you really realize what's important to your kids when you take a look inside their overnight bag! Think your kid has packed the craziest bag? Just wait until you hear what other children take along for the ride!

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    With all the sturm and drang over the election this week, it seems officials in Texas thought they'd get away with reinstating Judge William Adams to the bench. What? Name's not familiar? You may remember him as the judge who was caught on video beating his special needs daughter while screaming and cursing at her? This time a year ago Judge Adams' face was all over the news, and so was the video, captured by Adams' daughter Hillary (who has cerebral palsy) on her computer when she was 16. It shocked Americans enough that Adams was chased off the bench in Aransas County. But now Texas officials have decided he's the right man to adjudicate family court cases. Justice may not be blind, but it sounds like the officials in the Texas Supreme Court are.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    There is no horror for parents like the thought of losing a child. It could turn even the smartest, most grounded Mom or Dad into a raving lunatic. I can even understand why Jerri and Rufus McGill spent the days while their teenage son Rufus Arthur McGill was in a coma fighting for the right to harvest his sperm. But I can't say I think it was right. He's their son. Creating a new child that shares some of his DNA isn't going to dial them back to the days before he crashed his mom's car. 

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I love Chelsea Houska. She's one of the stars of Teen Mom 2 who really seems to "get" that being a parent is a big responsibility, and you have to throw yourself into it full tilt. But when I got the chance to sit down with her for a face-to-face interview about the third season of the MTV reality show, I knew there was one question that had to be asked: what the heck does she see in on-again/off-again boyfriend Adam Lind? It's what everyone wants to know about the sweet girl from South Dakota who keeps getting jerked around by, well, the jerk who fathered her daughter Aubree. So what's the skinny? Chelsea finally got honest about the allure of Adam and where they stand today.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Confession time! When my daughter was a baby, it was hard to resist buying her toys. Go ahead and shake your head at what a waste that is because babies are perfectly happy with a bunch of measuring cups, but there it is. Baby toys are hard to resist because they are so darn cute! But here's the other thing you learn about baby toys as the pile starts building up in your living room, er, baby's nursery. As cute as they are, they are 10 times more annoying.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Alessandra Ambrosio is one gutsy mama. The Brazilian model (you probably know her as the face of Victoria's Secret PINK?) took her young daughter Anja to work with her recently and let photographers for a London Fog campaign shoot photos of the little girl. Bare-chested photos! Now let me throw a disclaimer out right away. I'm not accusing anyone of kiddie porn here. I'm not even saying we've got a case of bad parenting -- video of the shoot shows a little girl absolutely delighted to be working with Mommy. The photos aren't even straight on, so the girl's chest area is covered by Alessandra's own. But there's a fine line between the days when it's OK for a little girl to run around without a shirt on and the day it very suddenly becomes "inappropriate."

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    We have good news and better news. Glee has returned to Thursday nights. Plus, you know that Grease episode we heard rumors about earlier this fall? Turns out we'll be getting multiple tastes of Glease lightning ... and plenty of Sue-style scandal to go with it. And while we're heaping on the good news, Finn is back to stay, and he's been joined by mini Finn, aka The Glee Project winner Blake Jenner! Looks like the end of Finchel just made room for a new version of everybody's favorite couple. So what all went down?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Heads up moms! We've got another baby product recall on our hands, and this one could leave you feeling sore. Some 38,000 glider/rockers sold by popular baby brand Graco are being pulled from the marketplace because the bases crack, dropping moms (and whoever is in her arms!) on the floor! So much for a nice, comfy place to cuddle with your baby! Think your glider/rocker might be on the list? Here's what you need to know to keep your nursery safe.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    It's been a rough week for Kailyn Lowry. She got slammed with a fake secret wedding story, and a store clerk insinuated the slim blond was looking fat. But if there was ever a time the Teen Mom 2 star should be on top of the world, it's now. Her show is starting its third season on Monday, and she's set to marry the love of her life, Javi Marroquin. Got that? Set to marry ... as in they aren't married yet! In fact, Kailyn was more than willing to spill the truth about her love life when she sat down with The Stir! From whether fans will get to see her wedding to how things are with ex-boyfriend Jo, Kailyn set the record straight:

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Ready for some outrage? A teacher allegedly taped two eighth grade students together as punishment. The hockey tape (did I mention this was in Canada?) binding the girls together was supposed to force them to get along. Crazy, huh? Trying to force kids to get along? Oh, you thought I meant taping kids together?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    A judge sent a strong message to parents who think it's OK to abuse their kids in the name of joking around this week. Andre Curry, the dad who wrapped his 1-year-old daughter in painter's tape last year, then posted photos of her to Facebook, has been convicted of domestic battery. His "joke" could cost him as much as seven years in an Illinois prison. Is that too much for a joke? I don't think so. At least not when the joke isn't very funny.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    With Teen Mom officially over, the four girls from MTV's first ever series profiling teenage mothers get to fade back into oblivion, or at least back away from the criticism. But with Teen Mom 2 about to start its third season, that's put even more pressure on stars like Chelsea Houska, Kailyn Lowry, Leah Calvert, and Jenelle Evans to defend why they're on TV. It's only natural that Chelsea, the South Dakota mom who seems best at avoiding the attention of the media, would step into the defender role. Aubree's mom shared with The Stir what it's like when her co-stars are wrapped up in scandal and why she's even more determined to keep the cameras rolling on her life.

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