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    When you think of a mom who is on government assistance, a certain image usually comes to mind. It's true whether you are willing to admit it or not. So it's not a surprise that Darlena Cunha's recent confession has caused quite a stir. The mom of twins admits to being on food stamps and driving a Mercedes. The thought seems to incense people. In their minds, she can't possibly deserve the help. She must be cheating the system.

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    It's wonderful to hear news of anyone who has unexpectedly won enough money to significantly change his or her life. But it's especially sweet to find out that the latest big lotto winner comes from an underprivileged community and is now in the unique position to help out her family members. Ira Curry just came forward as one of two winners to score a portion of the $648 Mega Millions jackpot. The lucky woman, who will clear about $120 million when all is said and done, lives in Georgia but grew up in a disadvantaged section of the Bronx in New York City.

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    Just hours after they probably sliced into turkeys, toasted the holiday, and gave thanks for everything wonderful in their lives, some eager shoppers said "to hell with graciousness" and elbowed their way into packed stores to -- literally -- battle it out over hot items. So, which piece of merchandise stood out as the one most worthy of slaying crowds to conquer? No, not iPads or a laptop (my guess) and not even that precious Elmo doll that promises your child a lifetime of hugs and affection.

    It's still way too early on Black Friday to declare this the item of the season, but the one that has (so far) brought out the worst in people is...

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    On Thursday, President Obama apologized to the multitude of Americans that are losing their health care plans as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

    "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he said in an exclusive interview at the White House. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."

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    When Officer Vicki Thomas caught Jessica Robles trying to steal $300 worth of food at a Miami grocery store, she didn't automatically cuff her and read her Miranda Rights -- though she certainly could have. Instead, she talked to her like a human being and what she discovered broke her heart. Robles is a single mom who has three children at home and no food to feed them. She says she was desperate to provide nourishment for her 12-year-old daughter and two young sons. What Thomas did next was nothing short of inspirational. 

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    In a press conference Thursday morning, President Obama addressed the end of the government shutdown, and urged members of Congress to “move on from the manufactured crisis.” You know, because our government being unable to work together and compromise is manufactured.

    So if this whole thing was a “manufactured crisis,” then who manufactured it? His normal go-to culprit in the blame game is the GOP in general, or President Bush or Rush Limbaugh specifically, but this time he went more personal.

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    It's over -- it's finally over -- at least for a few months! The government shutdown, which lasted a whopping 16 days, has been lifted after the Senate voted 81 to 18 late last night to approve a proposal that they somehow found the ability to put their hard heads together and concoct. The House followed with a sad 285 to 144 vote in favor of the proposal and it was finally signed by President Obama at 12:30 a.m.

    So it goes without saying, it was a long night for our elected leaders, but hey, it was an even longer night for all of those furloughed workers who finally got news that they can return to work today -- and that at the very least they'll be receiving back pay for the days of work they missed. But the longest night of all, perhaps, could be claimed by one vocal White House stenographer who made her feelings known as the bill was being passed. 

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    Are you sick and tired of hearing the same people lodge complaints about the government shutdown on news programs? Even my close friends' tweet-insults at whichever politician they're peeved at in the moment are getting bor-ring to read. Words don't do a whole lot to change the situation or further a political cause, do they?

    But while most of us rattle our rants on Facebook and go back to eating lunch, an unassuming 45-year-old man named Chris Cox quietly bought a lawn mower, threw on jeans and a T-shirt, and headed up from South Carolina to Washington, D.C. He has made more of an impact than the millions screaming for change by doing something totally wacky and awesome: mowing the lawn in front of the Lincoln Memorial

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    Just when we were getting used to the government shutdown (not really) another government crisis looms: The debt ceiling. The way people talk about it, hitting this deadline (October 17) sounds like economic Armageddon. Debt ceiling crisis = zombie apocalypse. Is it really that bad? And what is the debt limit crisis, anyway? You're not the only one mulling over these scintillating questions. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele are also getting worked up over the debt ceiling. Let's see what they have to say.

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    Five U.S. service members died over the weekend in Afghanistan, and now the government is refusing to shell out a $100,000 benefit to their families to help with the immediate costs of burying a loved one killed while serving their country.

    A “death gratuity” is usually wired to the families within 36 hours. It’s intended to cover funeral costs, time lost at work, and travel expenses to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to witness the return of their loved ones in flag-draped coffins.

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