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No Vaccinations: Serious Ramifications

Vaccines. We all generally know that they are meant to protect us from diseases that are considered horrible and dangerous to us, to the point that we deemed it necessary to create special drugs for prevention of these diseases. There is, however, a great deal of controversy on what these are really made of, and if they are safe to give our children, or if its even important to still vaccinate children.

It is still very, very important to vaccinate children. They are tremendously helpful in preventing diseases that could otherwise wreak havoc, but for some reason, people tend to ignore these facts and choose not to vaccinate their children. This is due to the fear of their children contracting a mental illness, such as autism, or any other number of claims.These claims are completely false and have no basis in reality. This past December, a study looked at 1.2 million children who were vaccinated and no link was found between the development of autism and vaccinations. To be fair, some children have adverse reactions of varying degrees but these are extremely rare, 1/1,000,000 to be exact. When these reactions occur, we hear about them and the anti vaccination movement kicks into high gear.

A large problem is that people don’t understand how vaccines work and how they are composed. Vaccines are made up of weakened or even killed parts of a virus that are responsible for causing the infection. Because of the weakened or dead state of the virus, it can’t actually give you the disease, but it teaches your immune system how to deal with and fight the disease effectively so you aren’t able to contract it when you come into contact with germs from that disease.

The problem is people believe these fallacies, and this stems from people trusting anecdotal data from various others who are not scientists and have little actual authority on the subject. Rather than seeking information from medical research done by trusted institutions and PSA’s from the CDC. A Pew research study showed that people believe anecdotal evidence from random people and celebrities 50% more than they believe research papers and scientists.

To help combat this problem, we should remove religious and philosophical vaccination exemptions. When you vaccinate your child, you aren’t doing it just for the safety of your child, but everyone elses. Some people, though extremely rare, are unable to be vaccinated due to medical issues. By having your child vaccinated, you are helping to protect everyone elses children from getting the disease.There are many reasons why you should definitely vaccinate your children, and almost none for why you shouldn’t.

The Reports of Ebola Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

There has been a significant amount of hype and hysteria about the Ebola virus; how contagious is it, is it a threat to the U.S. and so on. For a topic so widely covered by the media it is a wonder why there is so much misinformation spreading around about it. The problem is that the media is the one spreading this misinformation about the disease. A recent study showed that people who followed Ebola in the news actually knew less about it than their seemingly uninformed counterparts. This is done in an attempt to over sensationalise the disease in order to increase viewer and readership. The oversensationlism and misinformation about Ebola is a problem, so here are some real facts to educate and put this disease in perspective.

People are led to believe that Ebola is one of the most dangerous diseases in the world. While this much maybe true, to the extent of which is not. Today, more people will die of AIDs and HIV than people that have died in the latest Ebola epidemic. This is dangerous because AIDs and HIV are significantly more dangerous than Ebola, but everyone is talking about Ebola and ignoring more serious and pressing diseases.

Ebola isn’t even the most deadly thing out there either. Your chances of catching and dying of Ebola are about 1 in 200,000,000. The odds of dying from a lightning strike are 1 in 700,000. You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu. Your odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 17,625. Ebola is far less likely to kill you than just about anything.

A lot of people don’t think there is a cure for Ebola, and currently there isn’t one, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t treatable. Two American medical missionaries were infected with Ebola and were flown back to the U.S. and were sent to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. There they were cared for and treated for the disease and were the first patients ever to receive an experimental new Ebola medicine called Zmapp. The Ebola virus is classified as a dumb virus. It doesn’t evolve and change, and since it is currently not airborne, it will never be airborne. It can only be contracted from coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual. This makes it harder to contract the virus, but it is still a threat. The reason why it is spreading so much in Africa is due to the burial custom of washing the body, and the healthcare system over there is nothing compared to modern systems in more developed parts of the world.

Ebola is a very dangerous disease that should not be taken lightly, but in the same breath you shouldn’t over hype or exaggerate it either.

The Cyber Wild West

Net neutrality. It’s a concept that most people don’t understand or even know about but affects us all every day. Net neutrality states that ISP’s ( internet service providers) such as Time Warner and Comcast have to provide equal access to all content and applications, despite the source, and they cannot block or favor any application or content over another. What this means is that Comcast can’t block Twitter and give Facebook a better connection, allowing you to access Facebook easier and also giving it more traffic because you can’t access Twitter. This would be illegal because Comcast is not allowed to block access to Twitter, and it is showing strong favor towards Facebook by speeding up its connection. Whether or not this rule is needed is what the debate in Washington is currently about.

November 2013, Tom Wheeler is appointed to the head of the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC). This brought up questions about whether President Obama would keep his campaign promises to protect net neutrality. Why does this bring up questions? The reason is because Tom Wheeler is the former President of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) which are all lobbying groups for the ISP’s, and they are against net neutrality. They are against net neutrality because they want to essentially tax internet companies, and the companies that pay will get special treatment. The only problem with the whole net neutrality debate is that it hasn’t evolved much in over a decade.

What the debate should really be about is how to make the internet as neutral as possible. The internet isn’t neutral anymore, and it hasn’t been for years. Most of the internet traffic is generated by 30 different companies which include Netflix, Google, and Facebook. The number of companies generating internet traffic is on the decline. In 2009 there were 150 companies generating half of the internet traffic, and now we’re already down to 30. For such a small number of companies to generate so much traffic, they have direct plug-ins into ISP servers. They are called Content Delivery Networks, or CDN’s. CDN’s offer faster internet service than what is commercially available to the average consumer. So when answering the question, is the internet neutral? The answer is an emphatic no, and framing the debate as such is just wrong.

On the other end of this, you have people advocating the outlaw of this and various other practices to make the internet neutral again, but this too comes with its own fair share of problems. For instance, without these direct links to ISP servers, services such as Youtube and Netflix wouldn’t be able to operate at the capacity needed to handle all of the internet traffic they receive. The real problem lies with the ISP’s and the total lack of competition between them.

Most people realize that in their area they only have one or two cable companies competing against each other. This is because there aren’t that many cable companies anymore, and the ones that are still around have made arrangements of who can control what area. Most of them have merged into giant super corporations. The five largest being Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Charter communications, and Verizon FiOS. After these companies you just have a list of smaller companies operating in just a few states such as Armstrong and Google Fibre. To make things worse, Comcast and Time Warner are trying to merge and then would control a majority of the U.S. internet service area. This would essentially be creating a monopoly.

The problem becomes even more complicated when you throw mobile internet access from things like phones into the mix. Currently, mobile carriers’ internet access isn’t under the same regulation as other internet access companies such as Comcast and Time Warner. There has been great debate on whether or not to give wireless companies the same standing and regulation, and the debate gets more heated as mobile carriers break net neutrality rules. Several carriers have started offering a new “zero rating” wireless plan. These new data plans allow users to browse certain websites and apps without it being held against their monthly data usage. This breaks net neutrality because the mobile carriers are showing favoritism towards certain websites and apps such as facebook.

To really solve the problem of open internet, you need to increase competition. Increasing competition between internet companies, both wired and wireless, would cause them to innovate and give the best possible service to keep their profit margins up and stay in business. There are a few ways this could be done. The easiest and least controversial would be to start trust busting, Theodore Roosevelt style. If you break up companies such as Time Warner and Comcast, that would dramatically increase competition amongst themselves because they all want as much money as possible. Another good, but significantly more controversial wa, is to subsidise the internet. This would mean an internet service run by the government. That sentence strikes fear into the hearts of many but it isn’t as scary as it sounds. A public option would be owned by the people and would be regulated by the people, and you would have to never worry about it merging with other companies.

The internet is the modern day wild west. Setting effective regulation that won’t stifle growth is a complete nightmare, and that is why it is important for everyone to be informed and vocal on the topic.

Welcome to The Real World

Do you ever feel like you’re 17 going on 37? I know I do. Let me tell you about my life. I’m 17 and a senior in high school. I’ve been working at Dunkin Donuts since June of 2013. You may not think that a coffee shop is hard work at all, but when you have to get 600+ cars out in less than 100 seconds per car for 8 hours straight, it is honestly very hard. You have to go from taking orders, to specially making coffees for people and trying to remember if the guest wanted sprinkles or not. I believe kids my age shouldn’t have to work. High school is supposed to be the time of your life, why waste it working your life away? I am worn out!

I have worked the craziest shifts. I’m talking  4 am, all summer long. My summer consisted of working at four in the morning, coming home at noon, napping till four and doing things for myself until 10, so I had enough sleep for work the next morning. This was 40 hours a week. Talk about stressed out. I’m also a shift leader. I practically run the store while my manager can’t. I have asked myself so many times, “why am I doing this to myself?” I have been told by my parents from the day I got my license, that I needed a job.  Thus, here I am.

At first it wasn’t so bad because I had money. With money, I bought myself whatever I wanted including food whenever I was out. Now, I have nothing to buy, but I’m still suckered into my job and I can’t seem to get away.  Everyday seems to get worse and worse. I’m to the point where I feel like I have no time for  myself.  I’m a hard worker and when others don’t seem to care, it really bothers me. Sometimes I want to  walk out and never step foot into a work place again.

I think that having a job for high school students is very  challenging.  Some people may say that it’s a good experience to have a job at a  young age because it demonstrates good responsibility and maturity. They don’t take into consideration that the kids have no free time after they are done balancing their classwork and after school activities. It’s harder than many would believe. I just may be different than other student, but I believe that working hard leaves enough time to rest, but hardworking people still use these resting moments to work. So, if you have a choice in the matter, opt out of working during your high school years unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Engineering at YSU and What it Takes to Make it

On April 24th, former Springfield Local valedictorian Hailey Sullivan gave a presentation centered on the Engineering Program at Youngstown State University (YSU) for the Springfield Science Club. Ms. Sullivan is currently working toward a major in Chemical Engineering and plans to double major in Biochemistry with 3 minors accompanying her degrees. She is a member and the future secretary of The Society of Women Engineers, aims to be a Teaching Assistant for the First Year Engineering program next year, and shows great potential to succeed in her future endeavors at YSU.
“College is definitely different than high school.” says Ms. Sullivan. “I’m very happy for choosing YSU’s program… It’s definitely provided me with a lot of opportunities that I might not have gotten at other schools.” During her presentation, Ms. Sullivan explained that she participates in several Engineering related group organizations and has taken part in numerous municipal outreach programs in order to implement her and her colleagues STEM skills into the local community.
When asked for advice for future YSU Engineer hopefuls, Ms. Sullivan went on to say that “If you want to go into Engineering, you have to be very disciplined and self-motivated. And you definitely can’t be afraid to ask questions.” She further emphasized that one of engineering’s main components is problem solving, working with one’s peers and colleagues is essential to building this crucial skill.
Ms. Sullivan’s production was well received by the members of Science Club. “Her presentation was very informative!” says Angie Cotto-Ramos. “She had great pictures and info.” T-Mac also found Ms. Sullivan’s oration to be interesting, specifically stating “Hailey was a very good speaker, her presentation intrigued me.” She covered the basis of what engineering is like at YSU thoroughly yet efficiently, just as an engineer should.
Ms. Sullivan provided additional advice to those planning to attend college. ‘Go to class. A lot of the material is online, but the important information is going to be what you learn from professors.” Going off of that statement, she encourages that one buckles down and does homework. “ You don’t get points, and doing problems over and over might seem redundant but that’s how you learn material.” In addition, Ms. Sullivan discussed the importance of getting out there and getting involved. Not only is it a great way to meet like-minded people and form friendships, it also holds the powerful tool of networking and getting one’s name out there, which can be very useful for finding internships and future careers.

An Open Letter to the Teachers of Springfield

With incredibly long and difficult training, a poor rate of employment, and increasingly awful pay, I’d say it’s pretty obvious that no one goes into teaching for the money. They go into it because they have passion for their subject, because they care about the future and they care about the kids. Everyone can name at least one teacher who has really changed them and might have even inspired a love for a certain subject. Our teachers strive to be that changing force for their students; the point of this article is to reassure you guys that you’re doing a good job and to thank you for doing so.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who came into freshman year barely interested in any aspects of the education system. And thanks to our teachers, I’ll be leaving Springfield Local High School with a passion for history, a love of reading, and even an appreciation of the institution of Algebra. (Sorry science teachers, it’s not that I don’t like you, I just don’t like science that much). These changes didn’t just randomly hit me one morning; they came from teachers like Mr. Snyder introducing what could be boring concepts on a whiteboard with interesting and fun activities that really imprint the ideas in your mind. I don’t think there’ll ever be a graduate of Springfield who doesn’t look back and remember how Mr. Snyder introduces the trench warfare of World War I or the Red Scare of the 1950’s. And teachers like Mr. Slopek, who manage to not only make stories like Julius Caesar understandable, but also amusing. I can honestly say that I barely read books until after Mr. Slopek hit us with books like Grendel and Deadline. And don’t even get me started on how foreign math problems were until Mrs. Loutitt came into my life and showed me the light. There’s a lot more to talk about, I could talk about how much teachers like Mrs. Mullane, Ms. Fried, and even just a couple weeks with Mr. Simcox in Chiarello’s class have changed how I view so many things.
I don’t have the room here to talk about everything and I don’t need to. This is just one person’s testimonial, and there are another 70 kids in just my grade who feel the same way. Thank you all for taking what you keep telling us would be “an unwise career choice”, because if not for you we wouldn’t be the people we’ve grown into today. Even the few of you that I don’t get along with have helped me become who I am today, and I’m in your debt. I know this might not mean as much to you as a full bank account, but I hope it lessens the sting a little bit. Please don’t ever lose your passions!

Prom Body?

Prom date check, prom dress check, prom shoes check, prom body? So many students around Springfield are excited for prom, but are their bodies ready to look and feel beautiful in their dresses and suits. Eating right and exercising every day is very difficult. All the temptations of club and organizations selling candy at school is very hard to resist, so here is recipe I found that is not only healthy but delicious as well, so you can eat healthy and still work on your prom body.
Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake:
Ingredients:
Crumb Topping
1/4 cup Fiber One Original bran cereal
3 tbsp. old-fashioned oats
3 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. granulated white sugar (or HG Alternative)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
Cake
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar (or HG Alternative)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1/2 cup club soda
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crumb topping, place cereal in a sealable plastic bag. Seal bag, and finely crush cereal with a meat mallet or other heavy utensil. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl. Add all other topping ingredients to the bowl except butter, and mix well. Add butter, and mash and stir until uniform.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk thoroughly.
In a medium-large bowl, combine pumpkin, egg substitute, club soda, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until uniform. Add mixture to the large bowl, and whisk until uniform.
Pour cake batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Let cool for 30 minutes. Slice into squares, and eat!
MAKES 9 SERVINGS
Serving: 1 piece (1/9th of recipe)
Calories: 166
Fat: 1.5g
Sodium: 255mg
Carbs: 34.5g
Fiber: 3.5g
Sugars: 18g
Protein: 4.5g
HG Alternative: If made with an equal amount of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) in place of the granulated white sugar, each serving will have 119 calories, 22g carbs, and 4.5g sugars (PointsPlus® value 3*).

To find more recipes like this one go to HungryGirl.com

Politician for Sale

Most people agree with the idea that there is some level of corruption in the state and federal government but are unsure of the extent of said corruption. Most people tend to believe that the corruption is limited to a few politicians and has minimal effect on government policy. The truth of this matter is much darker.
A large majority of politicians take part in some level of corrupt actions, for which they end up working for big business, not the people. Every election cycle, companies spend millions in “donations” to political candidates, hoping to get them elected. Some people may ask what the problem in this is; after all they’re not breaking the law by doing this, but this only serves to prove my point. The amount of money a single person can donate to a candidate is about $2600 but can change due to inflation.
The problem comes when a person or group of people create an “authorized” campaign committee. Authorized campaign committees are allowed to give 2,0005, which is a huge sum of money. To create an authorized campaign committee, you need to get it authorized by the FEC or the IRS, but the commissioners in charge of the FEC and IRs are chosen by the president and voted on by congress. These are the same people that big businesses funnel millions of dollars into each election cycle, creating a vicious cycle of corruption. In return for these companies giving campaign funds to the politicians, they give them tax cuts and create loopholes for them in the tax code. All of this information can be found on the FEC’s website, so they aren’t even trying to hide this and politicians and contributors may bank on the fact that the average American doesn’t thoroughly research politicians that are running for offices.
There are various loopholes created by the politicians that big businesses use to avoid paying the legal amount of 35% in taxes. 1 out of 4 American corporations don’t pay a cent in federal income tax, and most pay less than half of what the tax codes state they should. 83 of the 100 largest U.S. corporations use tax havens to save their companies millions and even billions. They set up their IP’s (intellectual property) in foreign places like Ireland that have lower taxes so they don’t pay the U.S. rate even though these subsidiary boards still meet in the U.S. like in the case of Apple. Apple set up offices and subsidiaries in places with low corporate taxes like Reno Nevada, the British Virgin Islands, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Most of these are no more than a couple person offices with a mailbox. These offices play no part in designing iPhones, iPads, or assisting AppleCare; they are merely there to lower their corporate taxes by filing them there instead of their headquarters in California. Using this technique, they only pay about 9.8% in taxes, compared to the average of 24%.
Companies also set up bank accounts in offshore places so they don’t have to pay taxes on them. By setting up these shell companies, larger companies avoid paying a large percent of taxes, and in some cases, taxes altogether. For instance, a California corporation that is based and operates in California pays 8.84% in taxes, but a Corporation based in Nevada but operates in California pays 0% in taxes. Certain industries also get large subsidies that allow them to pay even less. The energy industries, specifically oil, coal, and natural gas, are infamous for demanding more and more subsidies.
Another great example of this corruption is the Koch brothers who are notorious for spending millions in campaign contributions to republican candidates and the Republican Party each election cycle. They are practically buying politicians with this practice. Because of these campaign contributions, the Republican candidates can discredit the Democrats. These Republicans then do whatever the Koch brothers want them to do because they won’t get reelected without their campaign contributions, which usually involves tax breaks, oil subsidies, and the occasional deregulation. On occasion, they will give money to charity and donate money to various public and private institutions, but they get this money back by writing it off on their tax returns. The Koch brothers aren’t the only ones who do this, virtually every corporation in America does this, and they do it on a federal, state, and even on a local level.
Our archaic tax codes do not suffice in the 21st century even though they worked fine before the internet revolution. To fix this, we need more transparent tax codes that don’t allow for loopholes created by politicians that have been bought by corporations. The first step in this arduous process will be to get money out of politics, so our elected politicians work for the people again, not for corporations. There needs to be a fair limit on how much money can be donated to politicians and specific individuals that don’t allow corporations to outspend the rest of the population. After this is achieved, the tax codes need rewritten so they don’t allow for things like tax havens so corporations can’t dodge taxes. Then we need to stop giving subsidies to industries that don’t need them. This large increase in government revenue will greatly lower how much deficit spending the government does each year and would make it much easier to balance the budget each year, decreasing the likeliness of another government shutdown.
Getting money out of politics and limiting government corruption is just the first step along the road to national recovery. Our current congress has been called the biggest do-nothing congress in recent history. This is further evidence that we are living in another gilded age of politics, just like the late 19th century, and there are numerous comparisons that can be drawn. There is a political stalemate between Republicans and Democrats, and politicians are elected based on electability, not on their stance on the important issues. Politicians are more worried about the success of big business and not the people, creating a giant gap of disparity between the rich and the middle class. Most politicians are mediocre, having given little contributions. Most people can only name a few politicians, including the president, one or two of his staff members, a congressman, and maybe a governor.
Not every politician is corrupt, and it’s not just the Republican Party either. A fair share of Democrats that believe in supporting corporations over the people are bought by large corporations, and some are not apt to taking a strong stance against the corruption. Those who are, are typically few in numbers and get out voted, along with the few Republicans that aren’t corrupt. Getting money out of politics would allow us to have a majority of politicians that are good willed and do what’s best for the people of the United States, not what’s best for the corporations.

By: James Reese

Picketing the Picketer: Why Fred Phelps’ funeral should not be protested.

Last Wednesday (March 19th, 2014), the pastor and figure-head of the recently infamous Westboro Baptist Church passed away, at the age of 85. Phelps’ church was known for brandishing very radical and impetuous chants and signs during its countless protests and picketing of the funerals of soldiers, young children, members of the LGBT community, and several other people who met tragic ends.
In response, there have been several rallying calls to protest, picket, and even celebrate Phelps’ own funeral, backed by ideas such as “What goes around comes around” or “He and his followers deserve to know how they made people feel, and they should suffer the same grief that he brought upon the families of others.” And while these and countless other validations for the action against Phelps can be seen as “fair” in the old biblical saying “an eye for an eye”, one should take pause and allow one’s thoughts to digest a related Ghandi quote: “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
Firstly, it’s important to understand the message behind the Westboro Baptist Church’s ideology, or in other words, the reason they have protested events held private and mournful for the typical America. On the WBC website FAQ page when asked “What would you do if a homosexual attended your church?” they responded: “By a fear of God, we would declare the whole counsel of God to them, lest their blood should be on our hands. We would share the Gospel (good news) with them, and we would treat them like we would treat any other person on this earth. We would treat them with kindness, and follow those scriptural injunctions that require that we preach the gospel to every creature.” In several other statements, they constantly refer to the Bible to give reason to and back up what they’re doing, using “God’s Word” itself to justify its actions. So in essence, they are just practicing their own religion.
Even still, to many people they are still spreading hate, fear, and prejudice across America, and they deserve to get a taste of what it’s like from the other end. So why is picketing Fred Phelps’ funeral a bad idea?
Well, it depends on how you look at it. Most religions around the world share a similar version of the Golden Rule (Treat everyone how you would like to be treated). So simply enough, one could just practice one’s own religion, or just apply the Golden Rule in general. One could also make the claim that protesting Phelps’ funeral would be stooping to their level, and that one should be better than that.
In addition, the WBC only survives off the media attention it receives from their protests. If a retaliation demonstration occurred at Phelps’ grave, the press would flock to the story. This provides incentive and just another example to help the WBC further victimize itself and promote a rally cry for further protests by the WBC. If no picketing or unexpected acts of kindness occur at the funeral, with the head of their church gone, it’s quite likely that the organization will fall apart and become just a part of history.
My personal reasons to refrain from a protest of Phelps’ funeral are different, however. After all the pain and turmoil his organization has put people through, it makes sense to want revenge. But people can easily become blind to the fact this is an old man, who has a family like you and I. Not picketing is just common courtesy, rather than saving face for an underlying goal. Our world is one that focuses on hate, one that neglects uplifting and positive stories in place of tragedies and sob-stories just because it’s an easier sell. It may feel good to “avenge the wrongs” of what the WBC has done, but it isn’t going to change the past, and may hazardously alter the future. Yet, my question is, why add to the hatred? To hate one who hates is to hate one-self, after all. So instead of firing revenge backed animosity to Fred Phelps and his family, I propose that one says nothing, or better yet, offers condolences and sympathy.
(note: I’m a supporter of equal rights for everyone, including racial minorities, different sexualities, and women, and do not support the West Boro Baptist Church nor its actions. I just feel it’s healthier to forgive and let go rather than seek revenge and add to the suffering.)

By: Sam Cappelli

BREAKFAST WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

The day is finally upon the hungry bellies that populate America. That’s right; Taco Bell is now serving breakfast. No more 9AM quarrels about if it’s really worth it to have that same Nacho Supreme you dined upon last night for your morning mealtime as well. Beginning March 27th, you will finally be able to satisfy those breakfast/Mexican food cravings you’ve had to deal with all of your life.

You can’t spell Cinnabon Delight without… well… “delight”.

Starting with 6 products including drip coffee, Taco Bell hopes to gain a foothold in the fast-food chains’ increasingly popular breakfast menus. McDonald’s in particular points out that roughly 20% of their profit can be attributed to breakfast sales. Mmmmm, Egg McMuffins.

There’s Burritos… But then there’s BREAKFAST BURRITOS.

(note: that doesn’t mean your stomach will thank you later)
In order to be competitive, Taco Bell plans to extend its breakfast serving-time period to 11AM, a half an hour past McDonald’s. (Yeah take that McMuffins! Oh, wait, where are you going? I’m sorry, please come back, I didn’t mean it!) According to their “data”, the popular cliental of Taco Bell consists of young adults, ages 18-28. Taking this into consideration, they feel that the extended time will bring in extra business, due to the idea that most customers of Taco Bell aren’t out of bed in time to meet the 10:30AM time provided by McDonald’s. According to KanasCity.com, “Taco Bell enters the crowded fast-food breakfast field with food items designed to appeal to its fan base of young dudes.”

A.M. Crunchwraps. Cooler than a Tony Hawk belt.

Featured items on the new breakfast menu include the following: Cinnabon Delights, Waffle Taco, Breakfast Burrito, AM Crunchwrap, and the AM Grilled Taco. More choices and variety will be added in the near future depending on the relative success of the current products. No nutritional information has been provided as of yet.

In closing, in a few short weeks, no longer will you have to choose between your favorite, delicious breakfast food, and mouth-watering Mexican cuisine. In no time at all, you’ll have the long-desired luxury of having the lesser of both at once!

If The Bible Said to Jump Off a Bridge, Would You?

The correct answer to that question is no. And yet for over a century now there has been a small minority of church leaders, mostly in the rural south, who handle extremely poisonous and deadly snakes almost daily as a part of their religious practice. These pastors have been in the news lately, thanks to the death of a man named Jamie Coots, a snake-handling pastor from Kentucky. His cause of death? You guessed it, bit by a poisonous snake! The Coots family has been handling snakes in the name of Jesus for four generations and even with this tragic death, the family says they will continue to do so.
While playing with deadly snakes might not seem like the best way to show devotion to religion, it is actually grounded in a Bible verse. Most snake-handlers quote Mark 16:18 as their reasoning for taking up the practice, which says, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.” Snake-handlers believe that they by drinking poisons and handling dangerous reptiles they are in fact expressing their faith in God, relying on his power to keep them safe. This is also why they will refuse medical treatment when they are ravaged by the effects of the poisons, even when their lives are in danger. These dangerous conditions are what led to ownership of poisonous reptiles being outlawed in many states, including Kentucky in 1947. Snake-handlers and their supporters claim this is an infringement upon their first amendment right to freedom of religion, but considering how well this law is upheld they haven’t much reason to be upset.
While I’m certainly a supporter of all freedoms, I think that maybe there’s better ways to show your religious devotion to your religion rather than playing with deadly reptiles. Maybe try helping out at a soup kitchen, giving clothes to the homeless, or going to a normal church that doesn’t have any poisonous snakes.

By: Ryan Lewis

Ambition and Motivation

In our modern day society, it seems that there are so many distractions and it makes it hard to be motivated or capitalize on ambition. As teenagers, we do what we can to get out of doing work and we procrastinate. We are even creative in ways to not do work, from going to bed early and saying that we’ll do it in the morning or to the classic “five minute break”. Some people may tell you that they don’t procrastinate, but everyone falls victim to it now and then.
Most teenagers that procrastinate do it because they find the work they have to do boring and in some cases mundane. What they fail to see or even ignore is the fact that the displeasure of doing the work is overshadowed by the displeasure that would be caused by failing and driving a potentially bright future into the ground. Doing the work won’t only give you a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when you walk into school and hand in your work, you’ll feel even better when you get into the position to achieve all of your goals in life.
Some people will say that school isn’t for them and therefore they don’t need to worry about school work. School may not be for everyone, but everyone needs to at least try. If you put in the effort required, you will succeed. The main reason people will say school isn’t for them is that they are focusing on becoming a musician or athlete. What they don’t realize is that a very small minority of people who try actually make it in these fields. Even the people who do make it need backup plans. Most athletes burn through their money after they retire and then they wish they would have tried harder in school because it would have made their lives easier. After they retire, they usually don’t have the qualifications to get decent jobs and are stuck taking shameful endorsement deals that can end up ruining their name or working the same jobs as the average high school dropout.
The message here is plain and simple: Try. Don’t take my word for it; do it yourself. If you put in the effort required, and some people will need to put in more work than others, you will succeed and achieve whatever goals you set your eyes on. Don’t get distracted by the everyday things like what kind of trouble Justin Bieber is getting into, or who got drafted to what sports team. Those things don’t affect you so you shouldn’t pay attention to them. Pick a goal you want to achieve and go for it. This applies to everything in life, and your life will be better for it.