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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
    School shootings. School bus accidents. These are the things that keep parents up at night. Now there's a new worry on the horizon that brings the two together: school bus shootings like the one that claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl in Florida this morning. The girl was doing what millions of kids across the nation, kids like my own daughter, were doing this morning. She was riding the bus along with her 7-year-old sibling and other students on their way to three different schools in the Miami area. 

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Maternity leave is a hot button issue for mothers in a country that lags far behind most first world nations in providing for new moms. But the ACLU of New Mexico isn't looking to fight for some time off from your job right now. They're too focused on trying to set up a teen maternity leave. That's one way to deal with the teen pregnancy problem, huh? Get these girls more time away from school?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    We've been hearing the word hazing thrown around a lot more in the last few years as more parents stick up for their kids and take their battles to the public forum. But there's something wrong with calling the horrors that allegedly happened to innocent young boys on the soccer team at Maine West High School in Illinois a form of hazing. That term is too innocent, not indicative of the depravity of what happens when children are sexually assaulted. Children. Sexually assaulted. Sodomized, in fact. And this is hazing? I don't believe so.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Well, here we are. It's Thanksgiving week, and the world is up in arms once again over what's becoming known as the Black Friday creep. Or, as some would call it, Black Thursday. There's talk of boycotts on behalf of the American worker wrested from their turkey daze to sell pieces of plastic made in China dirt cheap. America? Let's get a grip. Dialing back Black Friday to begin on the holiday itself is hardly the outrage it's being made out to be. On behalf of a family where "working the holiday" is par for the course, let me just say welcome to the club.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Mark this one on the calendars, y'all. Today I feel "as one" with a Kennedy! Douglas Kennedy, to be exact, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He was acquitted this week of child endangerment and harassment charges all stemming from an incident in a hospital with his own baby. It's a win for the tragic Kennedy clan, but it's more than that. Douglas Kennedy's acquittal is a win for parents everywhere. It's all there in black and white. Sometimes a parent knows best. And to heck with the medical community.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    The superheroes were out in the Glee Thanksgiving episode, and boy did Gleeks ever need them. Blaine Warbler went back to Dalton and got suckered into singing a Kelly Clarkson song with the blazered bunch. Worse: he found things weren't so bad on the dark side. Those guys can carry a tune! And they're all natty dressers. But let me serve up your "thankful moment" for the evening right now.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Get ready, get set, the hunt for the hot holiday toys of 2012 is on, Moms and Dads. Whether you're Black Friday shopping (good luck!) or hoping to get it all done online this year, chances are your kid has asked for something that made one of the "must buy" toy lists. But is it worth spending the cash or are you going to spend hours going from store to store to find that one toy only to have your kid abandon it 20 minutes after opening? Sadly, there are no guarantees. But here at The Stir, we have the next best thing. We gathered 10 of the hottest toys of the various 2012 holiday toys, from the Wii U to the Furby. Then we gathered a group of real kids and let them loose with the whole pile. We wanted to know what they really thought. Are these toys worth the hunt? Are they worth the price?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    If you're a working mom whose kids went to school for at least part of the holiday week, you probably had to make some tough decisions. Were you going to take time off to go to that holiday play or were you going to work on through, hoping your kids would understand? I have almost always been in the second camp. And the truth is, it's not always because I can't go to my daughter's school functions. I just feel guilty asking for time away from work to do something with my kid. It's not the working mom guilt you're used to hearing about. It's not the feelings moms are supposed to get that they're slighting their kids because of work.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    So their SAT scores are in. The college visits are done. Now it's time to start whittling down your teenager's choices. There's the college that offers to let them get their four-year degree over with in three years. And then there's the college that offers your kid the chance to bring their gun to school! Yes, gun dorms are the latest thing giving empty nesting parents agita.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    How's this for a question that doesn't usually come up at Mommy and me? Would you give your 7-year-old marijuana? Erin Purchase does, and her ex-husband is none too happy about it. Agree with him? Just wait. Erin's daughter has cancer. Mykayla Comstock is already being pumped full of chemotherapy drugs. Still think giving a 7-year-old pot is such a big deal?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    I've always been one of those "dogs are part of the family" kind of people. My own two dogs are currently sleeping on my couch while I work. But the heartbreaking death of parents who drowned while trying to rescue their dog over the weekend in California is testing even my devotion to my pets. The unidentified mother and father left at least one child orphaned, a daughter who called 911. Their 16-year-old son is also listed as missing, believed to have been sucked into the sea at the Big Lagoon beach north of Eureka as he too entered the water to rescue the pup. As for the dog?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Leave it to Farrah Abraham to start a pissing match with her reality TV co-stars! The Teen Mom has always been known for speaking her mind, and she wasn't pulling any punches recently. Abraham called out some of MTV's teen mothers as "very not intelligent." Daaaaang! Them's fighting words, Farrah! But that doesn't mean she shouldn't have said them.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    The latest missing child case is one sure to strike fear in the hearts of parents who have to share custody of their kids. Thirteen-year-old Dylan Redwine went to his dad's house for a visit right before Thanksgiving on a court order. Sadly, no one has seen the missing Colorado boy since, and every time the cops turn around, their leads are coming up empty.  Right now, the lack of answers is creating only questions. And none of them look good.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    Just one tragic "baby left in car dies" story is one too many. But after years of hearing about children abandoned on freezing cold or boiling hot days by careless parents, there's a new and equally tragic twist out of Oklahoma today. It wasn't too hot outside, and Cody Butler's daughter doesn't seem to have been abandoned in the cold. In fact, his baby girl died in a heated car while dad was allegedly standing right outside! It's all so strange that cops themselves say they're confused. But that hasn't stopped them from carting Butler off to jail on charges of child neglect and second-degree manslaughter.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    It's been a bad week for dog lovers. First there was the news that three members of a family died after their dog ran into the water in California. Now we're hearing that 11 puppies were discovered in a park in southeastern Pennsylvania, all dead and all skinned. Is anyone else thinking band of deranged thugs? Or maybe a serial killer in the making?

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    A few years ago there was a viral video going 'round the web called "Present Face," a hilarious how-to on making the best face when you get a crappy holiday gift. But let's face it, y'all. We don't need comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates to show us how to react when we're ripping off the wrapping paper. Every year our kids have the most over-the-top, insane reactions to the stuff Santa has dropped off. Sometimes they're sweet. Sometimes they're just darn bratty. But they're pretty much always hilarious. Think your kid has the best present face ever? We've got some competition for them!

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    On an ordinary day, I have no sympathy for someone who takes a life in cold blood. But when you have a teen boy accused of killing his own father, you can bet there will be extenuating circumstances. And in the case of Christopher and Jill Thorpe's son, Channing Thorpe, the circumstances are particularly heartbreaking. Cops in Plant City say Christopher Thorpe had been fighting with his wife in the living room of their mobile home. Then the fight moved into the bedroom, and Christopher allegedly wrapped his hands around Jill's neck, choking the life out of his wife. Shooting his father, cops say, was the boy's way of protecting his mother.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    A mom got two life sentences for killing her kids this week in what is simultaneously the best and worst news of the week. The worst, of course, because Kelli Murphy murdered her two children in cold blood. Two children are gone in an act that's completely senseless. But as the family of little Liam and Madigan Murphy said in a statement to the media, the jurors did their job here. Kelli Murphy could have been convicted of reckless manslaughter. She could have gotten off with just parole. Instead, we were reminded this week by a Colorado court that children matter, that their lives have as much value as an adult's.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    This morning I opened my email to find exciting news! The first-ever tablet specially designed for babies is out for the holidays, and it's selling for the low, low price of nearly 90 bucks. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Another piece of crap babies don't really need to lure parents into the baby commerce trap! Moms! Dads! You're going to need to learn the following phrase once your kid hits the toddler years anyway, so listen up: just because it's there doesn't mean you need it.

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    Post by Jeanne Sager
    What a week Angus T. Jones has had. The highest paid kid actor on TV went from being the kid actor no one ever heard from to the kid actor everyone thinks is cuckoo for cocoa puffs thanks to his rant against Two and a Half Men this week. Needless to say, the producers over at the show that has made him mucho mondo megabucks over the years are not very happy, not even after Angus apologized for calling their TV show "filth" and suggesting Satan is on their side. But I can't be the only one wondering what it's going to be like for Angus when his mom gets a hold of him.

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