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What You Missed This Week

1. Omaha school shooting ends in tragedy
Yet another tragic school shooting hasleft the suspected gunman — a 17-year-old student — and the vice principal dead. It leaves everyone wondering how a kid gets a gun (although in this case the suspected gunman’s father was a police officer, and the gun was allegedly his), and what prompts a kid to do something this frighteningly awful.

2. Elizabeth Edwards omits John Edwards from her will
Just under a month after she passed away from cancer, the details of Elizabeth Edwards’ will were revealed. Most notably, she left instructions for who should care for her minor children in the event that they’re left with no living parents, and she left nothing for her estranged husband, John Edwards. Would the headlines have been less salacious, and could she have spared her kids some additional heartache if she had divorced her lying and cheating husband? Or was she displaying an act of outrageous strength and commitment by dying as she was still married to the man who humiliated her in her final few years of life?

3. Princess Boy author brings princess son on the Today show
A 5-year-old boy who prefers sparkles to soccer and pink to any other color appeared on the Today show with his mom, who said she and her husband fully support their son. But at some point does the support start to look like exploitation, especially if there are books to sell on the topic? Or is it no different than entering you children into beauty pageants or taking them to auditions if they say they say they’re okay with it?

4. Are falling dead birds the sign of the apocalypse?
On New Year’s Eve, thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of Arkansas, and thousands of dead birds fell from the sky, prompting fears that the End of Days is in sight. Making conspiracy theorists even more, well, conspiratorial, hundreds of dead birds appeared on a highway in Louisiana. While New Year’s Eve fireworks are thought to be the cause of some of the dead birds, scientists haven’t been able to explain away all of the mass deaths.

5. The repeal of Obamacare seems imminent
The historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was only passed last March, but it looks like it might be short-lived, as reports indicate that House Republicans plan to vote to repeal it on January 12 when they take control of 112th Congress. What this will mean for the millions of uninsured families who had hope for adequate coverage for the first time, and whether the fight could go before the Supreme Court remains to be seen.

6. Hospital bans photos during labor
A hospital in Maryland is no longer allowing any kind of photography in the delivery room while a mother is giving birth. The policy was put in place to ensure the doctors aren’t distracted, and to allow the mothers to relax, although many mothers apparently aren’t too happy about having restrictions placed on how and when they can record the birth of their babies. And four nursing students in Kansas were expelled from their community college after posing for photos with a placenta and then posting them on Facebook. One of the students has filed a complaint in court and asked to be reinstated, arguing that her teacher kinda sorta gave permission, or rather, didn’t exactly stop them from doing it, nor were any rules actually violated.

7. Oprah’s new network good news for parents
While there’s no question Oprah can talk — and talk well — for 60 minutes at a pop, but can she program a network 24/7 and compel her viewers to tune in en masse the way they have to her for 25 years? Danielle says yes. She says the shows are largely focused on self-improvement, and people work with experts to get to the root of their problems. It could be the Next Big Thing for moms, especially if the Oprah Winfrey Network can sustain the worthwhile lessons and avoid the salaciousness of so many other cable networks.

8. Mind-reading babies make a splash
As it turns out, babies as young as seven months are quite possibly capable of reading another person’s mind. It was previously believed that empathy wasn’t possible until age 3 or 4, but a new scientific study finds that babies tend to stare longer at sites that are unexpected, which could mean that they’re not necessarily seeing and thinking the world from their (point of) view only. Madeline wonders if this could mean there might be an earlier test for autism, since those with spectrum disorders often tend to see life only through their own perspective.

9. Is selling Girl Scout cookies actually good for girls?
The ubiquitous cookies go on sale today, but what are young girls actually learning by pushing Thin Mints on their parents’ co-workers, friends and neighbors? They’re supposedly doing it to earn badges in strength and self-worth, but since so many do so little of the work themselves, is the lesson doing more harm than good? A worthy debate the next time you’re munching on a box of Tagalongs.

10. A Michigan couple plasters adoption hopes on a billboard
A married couple who tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child turned to adoption this summer, and then last month they turned to a billboard to get their message out. While most choose a much more discreet path in order to complete their family, the adoption agency with whom the couple is working applauded their efforts, and said some people wait years to get a child, and they see nothing wrong with letting your passion for family be heard loud and clear.

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