Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is 3D worth money?

When you sit down with your family for a movie night, can you tell the difference between the regular version and the 3D version? If yes, then the movie was worth it. In my opinion 3D is not worth it. I think the money could be better spent by making special effects better especially in action movies. When you think about it, is it worth spending millions and millions of dollars to make an only a few aspects in the movie more noticeable?
Older movies that have already been out for 10 to 20 years are getting the upgrade. One of Disney’s best selling classics is “Beauty and the Beast” is getting re-released in 3D. The story line isn’t changing at all in the any of the re-released movies they just have better picture quality, so should they be released again? If the money’s there and the moneys coming then the way movies are produced will always be changing.
Movies that have been released in the last decade are not considered new. Disney movies that are newer are being re-released in 3D in the nest few years. These movies include “Cars”, and “Finding Nemo”. There are many other companies besides Disney, like IMAX and Warner Bros.
3D movies are becoming more and more common. In the next few years all movies in theaters will probably be in 3D to prevent from spending more money re-releasing them. The money to make a movie can be hundreds of millions of dollars. To make a 3D movie can be double what a regular movie is. Just think about how pricey you two hour movie is.

Lady Vikes preparing to win out

  By: Taryn Matheny

   The Ripley High School Girls’ basketball team has played in a number of games up to this point. They know their strengths and weaknesses netter now and are hoping to use that down the final stretch of games to win. The Lady Vikes’ record is 3-9, but they have competed well against their opponents. They have played in many close games where it came down to a buzzer beater or them losing by only a few points.
  A recent game they played in was on January 18 against Lincoln County where they looked to really take control of the game. They had great performances from key players and they were able to finish the game with a win. The final score of the game was 60-49. It was really a great showing by the Vikings and they look to continue this for the rest of the season.
   Another recent game was at Capital where they looked to control the game, until Capital took a late run to send it into overtime. The Lady Vikes’ couldn’t hold on in overtime and they lost with a final score of 49-40.
   They have shown that they can win, such as The Rod Hudson Tournament that took place at Ripley High School. They won their first game in the tournament against Petersburg with a score of 58-44. Then they won first place by beating rival Ravenswood 49-35.
   “We are just going to try our hardest in this last stretch of games and hopefully we can win out,” said senior Paige Smith.
   The Lady Vikes’ look to get on a winning streak and win out the rest of their games to end the regular season. If you get a chance then you should come support the girls in their next game during senior night at home against St. Albans.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who is even running? A basic summary of the Republican primary

By: Sarah Smith

If you’re an American, this is a very important year for you, especially if you’re old enough to vote. In November, we’re going to pick the single most powerful man in the world (there are no longer any women running). These coming months up through June are especially important if you’re a Republican as you’ll be choosing the man who will be running against incumbent President Obama. After the dropouts of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, John Huntsman, and Rick Perry there are only four men running for the Republican nomination. As strong proponents of civil responsibility, we here at The Viking Press have compiled a list of candidates and their stances on some important issues to help you make an informed decision about who will run the country.

The current frontrunner or the Republican primary is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. He’s a Mormon and if he wins the presidency, he will be the most religiously diverse president since John F. Kennedy. He’s pro-life and supports the creation of a Constitutional ban on abortion. He’s against gay marriage and civil unions, but believes gay couples should be able to adopt. He has also expressed interest in creating a traditional marriage amendment to the Constitution. He blames old welfare programs for our current economic problems and believes welfare reform is the best way to fix them.

Rick Santorum took first in the Iowa Caucus but fell out of the top three in the New Hampshire primary. He is a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. This is the one you’ve heard of saying that gay marriage was essentially the same thing as bestiality and pedophilia. He’s one of the most conservative candidates in the race. He opposes marriage, unions, and adoption rights for gay couples, wants to put a federal ban on abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, and is dead set against legalizing marijuana. He wants to remove sexual education from schools and insert teaching that abstinence as the only birth control method.

Ron Paul was third in the Iowa Caucus and second in the New Hampshire primary. A U.S. Representative form Texas, he’s pro-life and supports a federal ban on abortion. However, he does support stem cell research on a donation basis. His official profile says he supports state’s rights to decide on the legalization of marijuana though he has supported bills to legalize marijuana in the past. Paul wants to cut spending but his official profile does not say which kind of spending he wishes to cut. He says the government should stay out of the “gay agenda”, though we’ve had no word yet on what that means.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was out of the top three in Iowa and New Hampshire but won South Carolina. Gingrich believes that education is and hard work will lead to a better life. Education is his answer to the current economic struggle. He is pro-life and supports a federal ban on abortion. He wishes to deny funding to Planned Parenthood and stem cell research. He is against adoption rights for gay couples, but believes they should be afforded some rights as couples. He also wants to deny welfare to teenage mothers.

If you’re a Democrat, Barack Obama is your man. He’s the only one running so there isn’t a Democratic primary for this election. The choice was made for you by the other Democrats who didn’t run.

Sarah Says: stop making mean religious statements

By: Sarah Smith

I am a Christian. I have never been ashamed of this and I won’t deny it. But I will never, ever disrespect or judge anyone else on their difference or lack of religion. We haven’t walked the same path, we haven’t lived the same life; we’re different. There are people who don’t share my beliefs, both religious and non-religious folk, who have a few choice phrases that make me sad. For example:

“God hates (insert group name here)”. This is where Christians get their reputation for being bigots, haters, and generally ignorant people. Well, here’s the thing; if I’ve been listening correctly at church for 18 years, God loves everybody. Hate is not part of the being of God. The first and greatest commandment God gave his people is “love thy neighbor”. Not “love thy neighbor unless he’s black” or “love thy neighbor unless he’s gay.” No, it’s love thy neighbor, no fine print. The Christian church, using God’s name has done a really bad job of this over the years (e.g. the Crusades, the Inquisition, every other war you learned about in history class last year) but there’s no way it should still be so badly interpreted in this modern day and age. As much as this frustrates me about my own religion, there are phrases used by non-Christian or non-religious groups that get under my skin just as much. Kind of like:

“God is not great.” Okay, so this is the title of a book written by the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, who was an adamant Atheist and a brilliant man. His book doesn’t bother me as it is intelligent and well researched and it’s more about the problems with religion than the problem with a god. What I can’t stand is when non-religious people use this as ammo against Christians in arguments. “Your God’s not real”, “he doesn’t really have magical powers”, whatever. I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong or that there’s no is to prove or disprove the existence of a supreme being. I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t say this because it’s one of the most insulting things you can say to a Christian. It’s so ingrained in their psyche, so much a part of them that it’s be like me telling you “I hate you mom. She’s a terrible person, a horrible mother, and really ugly.” Unless you have problems with your mom that would probably bother you. So stop saying its equivalent to Christians.

“Muslims hate America”. This is probably the silliest and most uninformed statement any individual can make. For one thing, there are over 2 million Muslims in the United States. I have a feeling that they wouldn’t live here voluntarily if they hated this country any more than your average, red-blooded American. For another, Islam as a religion is pacifistic. Pacifism is one of the key teachings of Islam. The few violent attacks you hear about are extremist groups who aren’t accepted by the Islamic nation as a whole. It’d be like saying all Christians are KKK members or like the people from Westboro Baptist “Church”. One group of crazies ruins the world’s image of the entire religion.

“My ideas/beliefs/theories are better than yours”. Well no, they’re not. They’re different, but there’s no way of saying which ideology is “better”. As of yet I’ve never been dead and I’ve never met anyone who’s been dead before so I can’t tell you what happens to you after you kick it. Sure, you’ll hear stories about light and angels, but there’s no way of proving whether or not these are real or hallucinations. You can’t prove it, I can’t prove it, and live is frankly a lot easier if we just get along. Everybody love everybody, regardless of belief system.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Benefits of period scheduling

By: David Hicks

The argument of block scheduling vs. period scheduling has been a common topic for the educational system throughout the U.S. Both have some down sides to them. In some classes, more time is needed like gym in periods Others where less time is needed like math, where you brain starts to short circuit and you start erasing what you learned earlier in the block. I think that from the academic view point, the periods would be the best option.
Both can cause problems for students and teachers alike. For example, teachers in a period will only have 45 minutes for planning. Your physical education will also suffer from the lack of time. In blocks you have a harder chance to recover lost credit because you don’t get half credits and you don’t have classes all year.
Having a lot of time in a single setting like a classroom can have a serious effect on a kid’s grade, having to sit in the same class then forget when you go to the next. The prolong amount of time in block scheduling can only be effective if the student processes the steps or facts into his long term memory, which a lot of times takes repetition. Even if you spent a great deal of time and work to convert it, the students will soon forget it as soon as they leave for next semester.
Periods, the teachers can have the students for two semesters and have a better chance of having them remember what they learned for a great deal of time because of the longer year round practice. This can lead to better standardized test scores and larger amounts of brighter children to go out in the world to make it a better place. This would not be the best options for most schools that suffer in english and reading, because you need to have a greater amount of straight time to read and do activities or modules. However, this is a great way to increase the children’s knowledge in math and science.
In my personal opinion, I believe periods are better for us, the students, and it is only for our benefits. It gives us a chance to have all our classes throughout the year and increases our chance of remembering what we have done in class for a long time even after you have finished it. Periods give us a chance to succeed and I feel that with periods we will.

Winter survival tips

By: David Hicks

Bad things happen in life, and if you hadn’t realized then you need to get with the program. What really counts is if you’re prepared when these horrible events occur. Being knowledgeable can go a long way when your or someone else’s life is on the line. The winter months is or has to be the hardest to go through if you got lost or injured and needed rescued. So teaching you a few tips and hints about survival may just increase your chances and allow you to return home to a cozy couch and hot chocolate. These tips may one day save your life, let’s just hope you won’t have to use them.
You’re out on a hike in the middle of the winter. Then you suddenly realize that while your mind was wondering you strayed off the path, really far off the path. So now you’re lost with no supplies and nobody has a clue where you are at. The number one thing you want to do is find shelter. Without proper shelter you will take the wind on directly, possibly wet your clothes, and deal with harsh weather which could all lead to hyperthermia or frostbite. You can create a barrier of some kind by using pine limbs or some form of evergreen and you can lay it as a teepee kind of tent. As you’re setting up your barrier, make sure you clear the snow off the ground where your shelter is.
The next important item is a source of heat. You need to build a fire as quickly as possible. There are multiple ways you can do this, but you always need to have the same wood-type progression which is, kindling and leaves and then sticks that are dry and are much larger. You can use a bow which can be made from a stick with a string tied on its ends, then a second stick wrapped around the string once. With wood or a rock at the top to apply pressure and some sticks at the bottom to collect the friction, you then take the bow back and forth. You then apply leaves and thin kindling, and you have your fire.
Now getting stuck out in the woods sounds a little extreme, so here is one last tip that will help no matter how much trouble you are. Make sure you can always get in contact with someone in case of an emergency. Bring either a cell phone or if one is not available at least tell someone you are going out. Never go out into the woods alone and unprepared for an accident. Being unprepared is the number one cause for losing to Mother Nature in the game of survival.

Random Sports: Extreme Ironing

By: David Hicks

Extreme sports are very stupid and dangerous, and for reasons unknown to me they are growing around the world. From snowboarding to skateboarding, these crazy athletes do things to make their way to the top that are “extremely” stupid, like jumping off mountains and parachuting. This individual sport puts abnormality and stupidity together along with house work. Yes, house work. People have been competing in an extreme sport that has to do with one of the most annoying chores to do. Extreme Ironing is all about unshaken courage, balance, and being just plain crazy.
The object of this sport is self-explanatory. The participants have to find a spot to set up the ironing board and themselves in a crazy position, much like planking. Then they have to successfully iron a shirt without messing up. People have been on mountains, on cars, sky diving, and even underwater. Then they take pictures and send it in to try to become the worlds best ironer. This sports popularity is on the rise. It could one day be something to replace baseball or NASCAR.
This may be weird like extreme couponing which takes no athletic ability at all, but you don’t see the couponing people putting themselves in danger. I believe that soon enough you will see people one-upping each other with ironing boards. Until then look it up on your computer and get a first hand look where people have gone and been. Maybe you can be the next crazy man ironing his work clothes on a taxi going to work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Block Scheduling

By: Taryn Matheny

   As a senior in high school, I have had to go through two different types of scheduling. Given a choice, I would choose block scheduling over periods every time. In block scheduling, I was able to get a better understanding of the subjects that I was learning. It was easier when you had one 90 minute class to discuss things when you only have 3 other classes, then everything else doesn’t get confused. Now, however, I go to class, the teacher takes role and I go to my next class. That isn’t really how it goes, but classes are short and we don’t get nearly as much accomplished as before. I get how teachers think, because they can go over a lot more subject matter in a year long class they think you can get more accomplished, but how many kids will remember this stuff? You might cover more in a year long class, but it is very difficult to remember things when you have 7 other classes to keep track of as well.
   In block scheduling, I didn’t have a lot of homework and that might not sound like a good thing, but having a 90 minute class I was then able to get a lot more class work done. I wasn’t always able to understand things, but in a longer class, a teacher can explain things to me a lot easier than in a short 50 minute class. As a middle school student I had period scheduling and a big thing to look forward to was going to the high school and only having four classes a day. As a high school student there are so many extra-curricular activities that it’s just hard having homework every day after school. It is of course very possible to do this, but after a long hard practice that is the last thing you want to do. With block scheduling you have more to do in your classes and less to do after school which allows you to do all of these activities after school and not have to worry about homework.
   Block scheduling might not be the best to prepare you for college, but I know periods have their flaws. Block scheduling is a better schedule for high school students, because they are kids and have a lot of activities that they participate in after school, such as sports, clubs, and extra academics. They have a lot of extra-curricular activities that they have going on to deal with besides school. Yes, I understand that students are always complaining about how they want to be treated like adults, but the fact is they are not adults. You can give them more responsibilities as they get older, but there is a big difference between a freshman and a senior. The freshman would probably have better success with a block schedule, because that would give them more time to go over a specific subject instead of barely going over a lot of things and taking a test on them without really having an understanding on what you have just gone over.
   I understand that college students have jobs and different activities that they have going on as well, but they are all adults. Most high school students are just kids and they might want to be treated like adults, but the majority of the under classmen won’t be able to handle all of the work as well as the sports and other activities they have going on as well. We are being prepared to handle this for the future, but do it by giving a little bit more responsibility at a time and not by a schedule with shorter classes and more homework.
   Block scheduling and period scheduling both have their goods and their bads. In my experience, I would go with block scheduling, because that was what I was more comfortable with. I got a better understanding of my classes and it wasn’t as bad of work to deal with while doing sports. I think this is just a better schedule for high school students.

Holiday Traditions sometimes differ

By: Taryn Matheny

   There are many holiday traditions that have changed or come about over the years. Families have their own traditions they like to do differently from others. Some families have a Christmas dinner with a big Christmas ham while other people have turkey or even deer meat instead for their dinner.
   Almost every family puts up Christmas lights outside to share their Christmas spirit. They may have a blow up Santa Clause or Frosty the Snowman in their front yard. They could have lights strung up all around the side of their house or hanging off of limbs on their trees.
   The tradition of the Christmas tree is also something that seems to have changed over the years. There is the traditional tree with lights and bulbs hanging from it. Some people cut down their own trees, other just by them at the store, and some people even hang theirs up upside down. The upside down Christmas tree has become a big thing recently as some people just wanted to try something different for their tradition.
   There is as well the mistletoe that hangs up and if you are caught under it with another person, you better be prepared for a kiss. Most kids love to set out cookies and milk for Santa Clause to eat as he brings them their presents. Another thing some people drink while they are with their family is eggnog.
   Parents sometimes let their kids open up gifts a little early, whether it is one present the day of Christmas Eve or one from their parents everyday until the day of Christmas. Families usually have to go to many different relatives homes to celebrate. They usually have to go to at least one on each side of the family.
   Traditions have changed and some have faded away while others have just recently come about. Everyone has their own traditions, from the upside down tree to the Christmas ham. It is something special to have those traditions, because every family has their own different way of doing things. New traditions will come and others will go, but Holiday traditions will always be here.

Have a charitable Christmas

By: Sarah Smith

Every year there is a dramatic rise in charitable participation around the holiday season. People feel obliged to help out their fellow man in a time when it becomes apparent how much they have and how much some others don’t have. This increase is not just in charities that already exist, but also in charities that pop up solely for the holidays.

One such charity is Project Christmas Child which is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and evangelical organization. Participants are told to fill a shoe box with hygiene products, school supplies, clothes, and small toys which will then be sent to a child in a third-world country that would otherwise not get any holiday gifts.

Another charity that works around Christmas is the Angel Tree ministry. Angel Tree allows criminals serving time in prison to connect with their children around the holidays by sending them gifts through volunteer surrogates.

There are a multitude of charities to provide holiday cheer to underprivileged families, especially their children, in the winter months such as Toys for Tots and My Two Front Teeth. Toys for Tots collects anonymous toy donations at big-name stores like Wal-Mart and Target to distribute to children over the holidays. My Two Front Teeth works to give children traditional holiday cheer such as trees and Christmas dinners.

Lady Vikes look for successful year

By: Taryn Matheny

   The Lady Vikings basketball team is ready to start getting some wins. They have had a couple of games so far and can improve from there. The team’s most recent game was a home game against South Charleston. They had an outstanding first half and were only down by one point at half time. The black eagles seemed to get a spark of energy after half time as they started off pressing the Vikings. The Lady Vikings continued to fight, but South Charleston forced some turnovers and then Ripley got into some foul trouble. Ripley continued to play hard against them, but was unable to come away with a victory with a final score of 63-35.
   The Lady Vikings also played the George Washington Patriots at home December 6. The team showed some good signs in making good passes and shots as well as hustling on defense. There were great performances by players on each team, but Ripley wasn’t able to come out with the win. The game ended with a final score of 70-50.
   “We won’t always get a win, but if we continue to play hard like that then we will have a lot more of them than losses,” said Coach Justin Frashier.
   The team has showed that they are able to play at a high level each game. The team has showed that they can win by winning a scrimmage earlier against Herbert Hoover with a score of 42-30. The team is looking to improve on there mistakes made in their scrimmages and games and to come away with some wins.
   “If we keep playing hard and improve on our mistakes then there can be a lot of games come out in our favor this season,” said Senior guard Rachel Stuck.
   The girls’ basketball team is looking to play hard and to get some wins this season. The Lady Vikes’ next game is December 20 at Sissonville, so if you get the chance you should come out and support them.

Wrestling team looks forward to amazing season

By: Emma Shinn

This year, the wrestling team is looking forward to a possible “history making” season, according to senior wrestler Jarred Burdette. “Not only do we have the potential to beat the number 1 team, Parkersburg South,” Burdette said, “but we could also bring home the state title this year.”
Among those helping the 23-member squad work toward that State title win are team stars and former state champions Jarred Simpkins, a junior, and Adam Bicak and David Hicks, both seniors. A few wrestlers who have been deemed “people to watch” by our returning champions are Burdette, juniors Nate Starkey and Daryl Hicks, and freshman Jake Martin. Also leading the team is Coach Matt Smith, a Ripley High graduate and former State Champion in wrestling himself.
The season began November 14, and extends through February 25, which is the last day of state competitions. Official practices have been held every day since the start of the season except for Sundays and Thanksgiving. Prior to that, some members of the team attended summer practices as well.
The team works extremely hard and requires a great deal of dedication. According to Burdette, the most challenging part of the wrestling season is simply “keeping everyone on the team focused and working to improve every day.”
However, many (if not all) of the boys would say that the rigorous training is worth it. For Burdette, the most enjoyable and rewarding aspect of the sport is watching all the hard work pay off on the mat.
The first wrestling meet of this season was the South Parkersburg Quad, held December 3. Ripley defeated Buckhannon-Upshur and Cabell Midland, but was unfortunately beaten by Parkersburg South. The team took 2nd place overall. Our boys also beat out Huntington in their second meet, defeating the team that had previously been ranked one place above them.

Sarah Says: college won't guarantee you a job

By: Sarah Smith

So, in my last column I discussed our generation feeling entitled to everything good in life. I mentioned that I would decide whether this feeling of entitlement was justified or not. That time is now.

Half of my brain really wants to say that we deserve to feel entitled. The other half wants to say that our entitlement is totally unfounded and ridiculous and we should just suck it up and grow some modesty.

If I’m being honest, neither reaction is correct. We don’t deserve to feel entitled; we’ve done nothing to earn the best of everything as a generation. Most of us don’t have college educations, full-time jobs, families to support, or any major responsibilities that we will face as adults. The catch comes not in what we have earned, but what we have been told we deserve. Our parents, teachers, and just about every adult we’ve ever encountered have told us since we’ve been born that if we fit a certain criteria, we can set about doing anything we want and the universe will morph itself to our request.

You might think, “Sarah, that’s ridiculous! Why on earth would our parents tell us something like that?”

That’s a really good question. I have no answer other than they don’t know what they’re doing to us. They tell us in such an indirect way that they don’t even notice what they’re saying. You might think this is still utter silliness, but let me continue.

Would you consider working at a fast food restaurant now? Okay, would you consider working at a fast food restaurant after you’ve graduated from high school? What about the same place after you’ve graduated from college? Odds are you wouldn’t dream of it. Why?

We’ve been told our entire lives that if we go to college studying and working very hard, we will be able to procure a job in our given field with a little effort but absolute certainty. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t actually work that way. Job markets are shrinking and our economy, quite frankly, sucks. The odds of us getting jobs in our desired field that pay enough to support us and our families are actually lower than the odds of us living at home for the rest of our natural born lives.

Well, why do adults tell us lies? Odds are they don’t know they’re lying. Our parents tell us these things because they hope that if we work hard and stay in school then we have a very good chance of getting a job. We add the “definitely” bit ourselves for some unknown reason. It is true: you almost have to have a college degree to get any decent job, but just because you have that degree does not guarantee you that decent job.

What we need to realize as a generation is that things are not black and white, cookie-cutter, or any other cliché term for cliché. We aren’t living a math problem: one life event plus another life event does not equal a perfect life. It’s possible that some of us could end up without jobs when we get to the age to enter the workforce, even if we all have really nice college degrees that we’ve framed and put up in our kitchen.

Here’s what’s great about…the Occupy movement

By: Emma Shinn

Lately, I’ve been hearing people around our school and community commenting on the Occupy movement – the nationwide peaceful protest that began with Occupy Wall Street in September. I grant that there are people in Ripley who have formed their own opinions about the movement and it’s motives – negative or positive – from legitimate sources. However, the most common statements I’ve heard are “I don’t know anything about it” or “I disapprove because of [a reason that does not actually have anything to do with the Occupy movement].”
The briefest factual summary of the movement I can give is that September 17 of this year, a group of peaceful protestors gathered in Zuccotti Park in New York City to express their discontent with the imbalance of wealth in America. (The richest 1% of people currently hold 42% of our nation’s wealth). Protestors were also unhappy with the lack of legal actions taken against the corrupt bankers in charge of the banks that are largely responsible for our current economic crisis. Similar protests sprang up almost immediately across the nation, each with its own name depending on its location (Occupy Oakland, Occupy Seattle, etc).
While there are many misconceptions regarding the Occupy movement, the one that I am most interested in correcting is the belief that the majority of protestors and/or supporters are unemployed bums who spend their time mooching off the government. The fact of the matter is this: the Occupy movement represents “the 99%.” In other words, these protestors are fighting for the rights of anyone who is not one of the wealthiest people in America. Unless you can think of anyone in Ripley who rakes in billions of dollars a year, everyone you come into contact with is being represented by the Occupy protestors. Even the one who don’t agree with the movement.
However, our town may not be the best indicator of the overall tone of the movement and people’s response to it. National polls have shown that a majority of Americans either actively support the movement, or, while disagreeing with the protestors, contend that they do have a right to assemble if they want.
There seems to be a belief among some voters that they should dislike the movement because their favorite politician or their political party does. In many cases, however, this is not true either. Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Buddy Roemer, and Gary Johnson have all expressed support for the movement and its message. I have yet to hear a Democrat publicly denounce the movement.
There are also those who are actually a part of the 99%, but oppose the protests on the grounds that it isn’t fair to the 1%, and that people are being needlessly targeted just for being wealthy. Unfortunately, that argument falls apart when you realize that a large number of 1%-ers (including celebrities and business moguls) actually support the movement themselves and claim they would not mind using their wealth to help meet the demands of the Occupy movement. Ways of going about that would vary depending on which 1%-er you were looking at.
One idea that has been mentioned on both sides of the economic scale is reversing the Bush Tax Cuts which would leave the 1% paying higher taxes, once again proportional to their counterparts in the 99%. Another method would be for people such as movie stars, sports players, and high-ranking business associates to take pay cuts in order to free up money that could be used to create and pay for new jobs.
Basically, all I’m asking is this: keep an open mind about these protests. Nobody is being unfairly punished (except those Americans who work themselves to the bone and have next to nothing to show for it), and nobody is being unfairly attacked (except the protestors who have been subject to police brutality for simply sitting on a sidewalk or standing in a park, and starting the occasional chant). If the demands of these protests were met by our government, it would mean nothing but good things for the people in our community and people like them all across America.
For more information on the Occupy movement, you can go to www.occupytogether.org or www.occupywallst.org. And remember, sometimes things aren’t about party politics. Some things are legitimately about taking care of other people, and fighting for the best interests of all of us.

Well-known Christmas symbols have unusual origins

By: Lynzi Acree
Have you ever wondered what a pine tree has to do with Christ’s birth? Or mistletoe? Or what the Easter Bunny and his eggs have to do with Jesus waking up three days after being crucified?
The answer, to be perfectly honest, is absolutely nothing. These are all traditions which vastly predate Christianity. But why are they related now? Wonder no longer, dear reader, as your questions have been answered here!
Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25 when Jesus was probably born around September? Well, you have Roman Emperor Constantine to thank for that. In the fourth century, Constantine converted to Christianity and took all of Rome with him. There was a Pagan Winter Solstice celebration of the changing seasons every year on the 25th called Brumabia and a celebration leading up to it called Saturnailia taking place December 17-24. When Rome converted to Christianity, they didn’t want to lose their celebrations, so the festival became Christmas, no longer a birthday party for the Sun God, but now for the Son of God.
Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? Mistletoe was sacred to the Sun God and was thought to have great healing power. Kissing under the mistletoe was a celebration of the changing seasons, the death of the “old sun” and the birth of the new winter.
Why do we bring trees inside to celebrate? This tradition was first found in Egypt. Among many other cultures, the Egyptians treasured plants that remained living when everything else died. When winter solstice arrived, green palm leaves were brought inside to symbolize life’s triumph over death. Pine trees ended up being the universal “Christmas Tree” because they always stay green, even when everything else freezes over.
Who’s Santa Claus? Not to burst your bubble, but St. Nicholas (the closest person to Santa that ever lived) has been long dead for centuries. He was a Roman Catholic Bishop who gave dowries to the three daughters of a poor man thus beginning the tradition of giving gifts in secret. This tradition was continued with the idea of Santa and, in some areas, the three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus.
What other Pagan traditions are still around? Pagan traditions are hanging around everywhere from the exchange of wedding rings to Valentine’s Day and, as we’ve seen, Christmas. Easter was originally a celebration of Eastre, Pagan Goddess of spring and fertility. Eastre had a pet rabbit who laid eggs, representing fertility. Hence, the Easter Bunny and his eggs. Our collective past as humans is everywhere, understanding it is only half the story; appreciating it is the other.

Need something to do?

If you find yourself lounging around the house on a snow day and decide you or your little siblings could do with a fun treat, you should check out the following recipe. Peppermint Pals

Adopt-A-Family creates holiday cheer

“It can have a big impact. It means whether or not a family has a Christmas dinner. It means they have presents for the family,” states an anonymous benefactor of the Adopt-A-Family program (referred to from now on as “Anonymous”).

As the holiday season approaches, some begin to ponder what they hope to receive as a part of the festivities. While one could wish for a wide variety of fancy things, others hope for warm clothes for their family, some food, and maybe a toy or two for their child. Thankfully, programs like Adopt-A-Family are in place to help those households to meet their needs. Adopt-A-Family allows people to “adopt” a family; that is, they can donate necessities to a family in the local area. Items we may take for granted can be given to the family to help ensure them a better Christmas.

Of course, just because there is a program in place, doesn’t mean that help reaches everyone who needs it. Last year, 23 families were not “adopted” by the program. It may not seem like the largest number in the world, but that could be a father, mother, and children wishing for warmer clothes. It could be a struggling single parent providing for a few different children. The individual who spoke to us about the help they received comes from a home that houses five. If you need a better idea still of how many need the help, last year there were 205 local families in need, 48 of those being elderly couples.

“[Without the donations], it would not have been a great time for my family,” says Anonymous.

Certainly, quite a few of us could look through our closets and find a coat from our childhood scattered around; perhaps some gloves that just don’t fit anymore, and maybe even a few scattered toys. These things could just lie around in your house gathering dust, or they could be given to someone who would appreciate it in their troubled times.

“It brings the family closer because they have something to celebrate on Christmas day.”