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Southeastern Conference kings

Florida Gators vs. Alabama Crimson Tide. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the college football polls a week before the BCS computers start calculating ranks. One is the team that won the last BCS National Championship. The other is the team that would have won the BCS National Championship if it had not lost to the former. Who would have imagined the following season would shape up as it has, leaving both teams with paths leading back to a year ago and a repeat of the game that many say was the real national championship battle.
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Swine flu doom: Exaggeration at its best?

What is the difference between the bird flu and the swine flu?
For the bird flu you need tweet-ment . For the swine flu you need oink-ment.


If you’re like many Americans, you’ve been bombarded with warnings of the impending swine flu doom. Also, if you’re like many of us, you’re not all that worried about it.
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Swine flu shots at schools could do more harm than good

As a child, there was one thing that I hated. School.

Even when I was very young I dreaded the end of summer because I knew that I was soon to be in for nine months of being bossed around by the teacher and dealing with my peers who were always really annoying.

Each year as the little chillins return to their posts, I cannot help but breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I no longer have to deal with that.

This year brings a special celebration after reading that many school districts around the country are turning their schools into vaccination posts for the children.
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Swine flu vaccine

The swine flu has swept the world, caused quarantines of people in some countries, and generally been the most covered news story of the year outside of Michael Jackson’s death or Twilight romance gossip.  Fear has played a big role in the public’s interest in swine flu and its progression, and the media has played off of the fears very well to get more people to tune in.  An understanding of swine flu would go far to help the public base decisions and opinions on the disease on a more rational basis instead of having fear as a guide.
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Speculating Kim Jong-un: North Korea’s future ruler

By now you’ve heard that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, 67, may or may not have pancreatic cancer. The Associated Press reported, according to South Korean TV station YTN, Kimmy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was hospitalized for a stroke last August.

Of course, he’s not going to be excited in admitting his sickness. (Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst cancers to have, after all.) You can tell though, just by looking at him, that he’s not exactly in ship shape.

According to the American Cancer Society, he shouldn’t last more than a year.

It seems like great news that someone as (you can fill in the blank) as Mr. Jong-il won’t be a problem to us for very much longer. Think it through, however, because you know that he’s got someone just as wonderful as he is lined up to succeed him. While it has yet to be officially announced, all signs are pointing to his youngest son Kim Jong-un.

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Sexual abuse in the college sphere

When we were younger, our parents would always tell us “Don’t speak to strangers.” Today, children learn about “Stranger Danger” in schools across the country. As children, we don’t realize the terrors of what can result if you get caught with a creep. Adults give special attention to ensuring that children are safe from the horrors of life. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but we do try.

Once one crosses over into being a teenager, there isn’t as much of a focus on reminding people to be careful. Assuming once we get to a certain age we “should know better than to put ourselves in harm’s way.” It seems that by the time you’re in high school, you should be able to discern right from wrong, let alone when you get to college.

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Student loan dilemma

It’s not been an easy year for any of the world’s economies.  The housing market crumbled and took down banks and brokerages left and right, destroyed the American auto industry, which was once regarded too big to fail, and sapped the U.S. economy alone for over $1 trillion in stimulus money attempting to slow the free fall and break us out from the worst economic situation we’ve had in most of our lifetimes.

Unemployment has shot up, with the national average nearing 10 percent, while some metropolitan areas, such as El Centro, Calif., are looking at upwards of 26.9 percent unemployment.  

Jobs are hard to come by, and to make matters worse, jobs that pay enough to make ends meet are even more scarce.

There is, however, one group of people that the media keeps claiming are the beneficiaries of the moment: college students.  Student loans, scholarships, grants and cheap living make lives for these individuals easier, according to the news outlets and general consensus.  

I beg to differ on the matter.

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Social and personal problems, know the difference

Somewhere in the United States, a young mother is forced to choose between providing food or healthcare for herself and her children because she can’t afford to do both.

Meanwhile, a group of gang members decides to make a drive-by shooting in a rival gang’s territory, killing three innocent victims and wounding others.

In another portion of the country, a man is being sent to death-row, to the electric chair, for a crime he did not commit.

Still, somewhere else, a woman is denied employment because she’s black, not white.

Poverty, violence, justice, human rights, equality and crime are all examples of solid, contemporary social problems that can easily be found within the society we call our own here in the United States.

Only when a problem is recognized by the majority of society as threatening or harmful to the lives and commonly established values of the people, and that action should be taken against it, is the issue elevated to social status.

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Stress: American killer

The last time I can remember having a truly stress-free day, I was 5 years old and my grandparents were taking me to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse for the very first time. My biggest worries of that day were deciding whether or not to cry on the dinosaur ride, if would upset my grandmother by continuing to lick one side of my chocolate ice cream cone and watching it hit the ground in a big dribbling mess and how long I could take walking in the 95-degree Florida weather before diving into the cushiony seat and shade of my covered stroller.

Ah, those were the days.

Over the years, stress has increasingly become a major part of my life; so much so, that sometimes it’s hard going back to that day at Disney in my mind, recalling a time when I didn’t experience it for a good 24-hour period. From making sure I’m at work on time every day to completing homework and term papers on the right due dates, to being there for friends and family when they need me and then somehow maintaining a personal life (not to mention eating, paying bills and even maintaining a regular hygiene routine), it’s become rather difficult for me to balance my stress.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

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Sexism and social standards in the now

Rearing its ugly head only occasionally in the headlines throughout recent years only makes this social issue more serious and difficult to confront.

Sexism is one of the most covert social problems of today, yet it can be found in just about every aspect of life; from television to books and films, and from clothes to toys and even cereal boxes, this matter invades the lives of American people day in and day out, whether we’re aware of it or not. This is precisely why it is such a big deal. This issue attacks us from all angles, something like buck shot, almost impossible to avoid.

From the moment we come into this world we’re given a set gender role, or behaviors considered appropriate for whatever particular sex we are. For example, it is common for a girl to be given a very feminine name and to be dressed in a commonly accepted color for newborn girls – pink. The same thing goes for boys, who are commonly given masculine names and dressed in blue outfits, a stark contrast from the girl’s pink. Even celebratory items such as balloons and decorations make it definitively clear what the infant child’s sex is, like banners that read, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” It’s plain to see that society is very interested in making sure that these gender roles are set into motion from the very start.

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