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    News Round-Up: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014



    April 8th, 2014

    UConn wins a victory in the NCAA Tourney; Russia threatens civil war; and a recent study revealed a gender gap in wages at the White House. Meanwhile, Simon Cowell is not proud of his extramarital affair; Blake Shelton dissed Brittany Spears; and Erin Andrews responds to rumors of “diva” behavior.

    -Gianna & Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Shabazz Napier, UConn too much for Kentucky, seize national title: http://rtvote.com/1ipKJOX
    Last night, UConn took home an NCAA win. Senior guard Shabazz Napier’s performance of 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists, ultimately led the UConn Huskies to a 60-54 victory over the University of Kentucky. One key aspect of the 6 point victory was Kentucky’s 11 missed free throws. When UConn’s coach, Kevin Ollie, was asked about his team’s victory he said: “Somebody told me we were Cinderellas, and I was like, no, we’re UConn, This is what we do.”

    As Obama Spotlights Gender Gap in Wages, His Own Payroll Draws Scrutiny: http://rtvote.com/PMe1Rd
    Today, President Obama will call attention to the fact that women make on average only 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. However, a recent January study has shown that women in the White House only fare slightly better, making 88 cents for every dollar that a man earns. As midterm elections are swiftly approaching, this study reveals yet another political sensitivity to a complicated set of gender related issues and gender related policy.

    Russia warns of civil war if Ukraine uses force to quell eastern revolts: http://rtvote.com/1g2x5Ew
    On Tuesday, as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities, Russia warned that any use of force in Ukraine’s eastern region could lead to civil war.The Russian government released a statement on their website saying: “We are calling for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which could lead to civil war.”As this situation progresses, US Navy warship, USS Donald Cook, is due to enter the Black Sea no later than Thursday to demonstrate support for Eastern European allies.

    Katie Couric: LBJ’s Daughters On Civil Rights Act At 50: http://rtvote.com/1eoFcan
    In a recent interview with Katie Couric, former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, discussed the Civil Rights Act in light of the Civil Rights summit to be held at their father’s library this week, which will include civil rights leaders and four living U.S. Presidents. The duo also discussed gay rights and marriage equality as being the civil rights issue of today.

    CULTURAL

    “Simon Cowell “Not Proud” of Lauren Silverman Extramarital Affair”: http://rtvote.com/1lNXERw

    “Blake Shelton Disses Britney Spears at the ACM Awards”: http://rtvote.com/1mZr38L

    “Erin Andrews Responds to Rumors of “Diva” Behavior on Dancing With the Stars”: http://rtvote.com/1kH3JLC

    “16 Things Drake Looked Like When Kentucky Lost The National Championship”: http://rtvote.com/PMBamm

    Gianna Judkins
    Bio: My name is Gianna Judkins& I'm a proud Angeleno. I'm also a Political Science Major at Howard University. I pride myself in being Michelle Obama's biggest fan and always being "FLOTUS Inspired”! As a Political Science major, my ultimate goal is to one day call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue my office. I'm a very determined young woman who understands the power of education and value of hard work while striving to achieve my goal of being one of the nation's next great leaders. I'm not that serious all the time though, for fun I enjoying singing in the choir and hanging out with friends.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    News Round-Up: Monday, April 7, 2014



    April 7th, 2014

    The latest lead for missing flight might be the most credible one yet; more major Ukrainian cities fall to Russian protesters; the Ebola virus in Africa has some concern for a worldwide outbreak; and diseases previously eradicated in the United States are making a deadly comeback. Meanwhile, legendary actor Mickey Rooney dies at age 93; the royal family lands “down under”; and Hillary Clinton’s photo with Pussy Riot dominates the web.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Malaysia Flight 370: New signal sounds ‘just like’ one from a plane’s beacon: http://rtvote.com/1hTMVls
    The Ocean Shield, an Australian naval vessel containing a United States pinger locator, found signals in the Indian Ocean that appear to be from an airplane on Sunday. The signals are ones specially designed to be picked up by recorders and are not natural sounds. They were located in a part of the Indian Ocean that’s 14,800 feet deep. Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said that investigators also have a “visual locator on a screen” as well as the sound data. However, he says searching in deep marine waters could take days, but that “we are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be.” As of Monday, the search for Flight 370 has lasted 31 days.

    Russia trying to ‘dismember’ Ukraine through protests, Kiev says: http://rtvote.com/1jnRfcq
    Pro-Russian protesters have broken into and seized several important government buildings in Ukrainian cities this weekend, prompting Kiev to accuse Russia of attempting to ‘dismember’ Ukraine and replicate its actions in Crimea. Police said that some of the protesters had seized weapons while invading the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. The Donetsk People’s Republic, a new self-proclaimed legislative branch, said it would vote May 11th to join Russia. Current Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said that Russia was starting a “second wave of a special operation against Ukraine intended to overthrow the Kiev government.” Moscow has yet to offer its opinion or rebuttal.

    Anti-vaccine movement is giving diseases a 2nd life: http://rtvote.com/1lFPpoa
    As vaccination rates drop in the United States, diseases once deemed eradicated by the United States government-like whooping cough and measles-are now making a comeback. Measles outbreaks have recently been reported in New York, California, and Texas. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world and has a reputation for being a ruthless killer. Although vaccination rates hold at 90%, some states-like Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and Vermont-have noted that almost 5% of kindergartners have gone completely unvaccinated. The anti-vaccine movement has gained popularity as some celebrities have publicly denounced vaccinating their children. Some people still believe the now-debunked idea that vaccines cause autism, while others feel as though the government and pharmaceutical companies are not “trustworthy.”

    As Ebola spreads in Africa, how worried should West be? http://rtvote.com/1gDy9L1
    The Ebola virus, a deadly, easily contracted virus resulting in widespread outbreaks, has begun to spread throughout Africa. Ebola is almost always fatal, killing about 90% of people infected, and there are no vaccines or treatments. This current outbreak of the virus began in Guinea’s rainforests, moved to its capital city, and has now crossed over into Liberia. Workers in the area, however, have been able to answer definitely that, due to the extreme close contact needed to contract the disease, the likelihood of a worldwide epidemic is slim-to-none. Most people infected are health workers caring for the sick. Ebola is spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids like blood, sweat, or saliva, and can incubate in people for up to 21 days before symptoms are revealed.

    Bus hits student near High Point High School: http://rtvote.com/1h8nX1R
    A bus drifted across a road, hit an 8-year-old boy, and landed in a ditch. The boy was waiting for the bus to come when he was hit. Witnesses reacted quickly and were able to pull the boy out from underneath the bus. For an unknown reason, the bus driver left the bus with nine children on board and apparently did not set the emergency brake. He stayed at the scene of the accident as investigators attempted to determine the reason he left the bus, and is expected to face reckless endangerment charges. Five of the 9 students on the bus, along with the boy who was hit, were transported to the hospital. All children are in stable condition and will recover fully.

    CULTURAL

    Acting legend Mickey Rooney dies at 93: http://rtvote.com/1ikFbFq

    Hillary Clinton’s picture with Pussy Riot takes over the web: http://rtvote.com/OrXosE

    The Royals rock New Zealand and Australia: http://rtvote.com/1kjvv56

    The ACM’s were last night: see the arrival pictures! http://rtvote.com/PG7NlG

    Game of Thrones Season 4 premiere crashed HBO’s online stream: http://rtvote.com/QXynrC

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    News Round-Up: Friday, April 4th, 2014



    April 4th, 2014

    Two journalists are killed after an Afghan police officer opens fire; David Letterman announces his retirement after 22 years on the Late Show; the March jobs report shows 192K new jobs were added last month; Mozilla’s CEO resigns over same-sex marriage controversy; and scientists say there might be water on one of Saturn’s moons! Meanwhile, Kristen Bell proves her awesomeness and sings all of Anna’s voices from Frozen live (see the magic!); Emily Blunt talks about how amazing motherhood is; and James Franco admits to flirting with a 17 year-old.

    - Austin + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Foreign Journalists Killed in Afghanistan http://rtvote.com/1q09VQk
    Photographer Anja Niedringhaus (48) and reporter Kathy Gannon (60) were in eastern Afghanistan on assignment to cover preparations for the country’s upcoming elections. Both knew the country well and had spent several years reporting from in-country. Earlier this morning, the two journalists were traveling with a convoy of elections administrators when an Afghan police officer, who was part of the convoy, pointed his AK-47 into their vehicle and opened fire. This is believed to be the first time an Afghan police officer has intentionally killed a foreign journalist. The police officer in question is being held in custody.

    David Letterman Announces his Retirement After a 22 Year Run http://rtvote.com/1hIW8No
    On the Late Show last night, David Letterman announced that he will be retiring soon from the CBS network show that he has hosted since 1993. In a statement to his audience, he said “I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God.” The announcement came as a surprise to CBS. As Letterman announced on last night’s show, he phoned Leslie Moonves, the network chief executive, just before stepping out on stage.

    March Jobs Report Shows 192K New Jobs http://rtvote.com/1k7wqW4
    It’s the first Friday of the month, which means… *drum roll*… the BLS Jobs numbers are out! The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 192K jobs were added in March, which, though less than had been hoped for, still comes in 37K jobs higher than expected. The unemployment rate remains at 6.7%, mostly due to an increase of half-a-million people in the labor force (which is a good sign– more people looking for more jobs means more growth. Learned that one in Econ 101).

    Mozilla Co-Founder Resigns Over Gay-Rights Controversy http://rtvote.com/1dXXHrb
    Mozilla is learning a tough lesson this week: don’t poke the internet because it fights back. After news broke of CEO Brendan Eich’s opposition to same-sex marriage (the techie had donated $1000 to a campaign in support of California’s Prop 8), the tech world rose up in protest. The popular dating website OK Cupid banned users from accessing its website through the Mozilla Firefox web browser, urging “that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.” Eich has since resigned from his position, and Mozilla released a statement yesterday saying “we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.”

    Scientists Find Water on Saturn’s Moon http://rtvote.com/QLakfr
    All eyes are on Saturn’s moon Enceladus this week as scientists report the likelihood of a massive underwater ocean the size of Lake Superior. Enceladus is only 300 miles wide, which makes its diameter approximately the same width as the state of Arizona. So does this mean life could exist there? The jury is still out, but scientists say that life could “happen quickly” if conditions are right.

    CULTURAL

    Kristen Bell Sings “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” Live, Proves How Awesome She Really Is, http://rtvote.com/1hcpBQZ

    Snookie Reveals She’s Pregnant, Expecting Second Baby With Fiance Jionni LaValle, http://rtvote.com/1i7Benp

    James Franco Admits to Flirting With 17-Year-Old: “I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson”, http://rtvote.com/OhG21r

    Emma Stone Reveals She Still Gets Starstruck , Shares a Hidden Talent Inspired by the Spice Girls, http://rtvote.com/1jaBrtl

    Emily Blunt: Motherhood “Is Really the Coolest Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me”, http://rtvote.com/1mPLGHb

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 3, 2014



    April 3rd, 2014

    Another shooting hits Fort Hood Military Base; a major aftershock in Chile causes massive evacuations; the US allegedly tried to undermine the Cuban government through the creation of a fake social media account; and a woman in Australia goes missing after being “taken” by a shark. Meanwhile, James Franco allegedly tried to meet up with a teenager via Instagram; a man arrested for trespassing on Selena Gomez’s property is sentenced; and Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” have a phone conversation.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Fort Hood shooting spree: ‘Texans’ hearts are once again very heavy’: http://rtvote.com/1otWpcb
    Specialist Ivan Lopez went on a shooting spree Wednesday at Fort Hood Military Base in Killeen, Texas, wounding 16 and killing four others (including himself). All were army personnel. Lopez had had a history of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. After his 4-month tour in Iraq, Lopez began to undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Lopez used his own gun in the shooting; it was not registered to the base, making it against the rules to have it on the base. In contrast to the 2010 Fort Hood shooting, authorities do not suspect that terrorism was the driving force behind Lopez’s actions.

    New evacuations in Chile after major aftershock: http://rtvote.com/PmTToC
    A 7.2 magnitude aftershock rocked the northern coast of Chile Wednesday night, just days after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake caused tsunamis and six deaths. After the 7.2 aftershock, the Chilean Emergency Office issued new tsunami warnings and subsequent evacuations of the entire Chilean coast, driving 900,000 people from their homes. Fortunately, no damage, deaths, or injuries have been reported after the aftershock, which is one of over a dozen that have hit Chile over the past few days. The aftershock was felt in Peru as well, once again leaving no damage or injuries in its wake.

    Crowd beats driver who stopped after hitting boy, 11: http://rtvote.com/1lqM7Fd
    On the East Side of Detroit, Michigan, a crowd beat a driver who hit an 11-year-old boy. The child was struck by the driver of a truck while trying to cross an intersection. The driver then got out of the car to check on the boy, at which point a crowd of approximately 30 people came to assist the child. Some members of the crowd then beat the driver, who sustained serious head injuries that could be life-threatening. The boy’s condition has not been released. Both the driver and the child were taken to the hospital.

    US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest: http://rtvote.com/1k3eXhG
    US government official Joe McSpedon, a team of technology contractors, and the Agency for International Development had been planning to undermine the communist government in Cuba by creating a fake social media website. The “Cuban Twitter,” or ZunZuneo, would have breached the information restrictions and bans put in place by the Cuban government. At its peak, the account reached thousands of Cuban citizens, giving many access to information that had previously been denied to them. Due to the financing being linked to a Cayman Islands account, the United State’s name was never connected with the project’s development. Whether the program is legal or not is unclear.

    Woman ‘taken’ by large shark in Australia: http://rtvote.com/1mDUf57
    63-year-old lifeguard Christine Armstrong was swimming in Tathra, Australia with her husband and fellow lifeguards when she disappeared. She headed off to shore alone, leaving her friends in the water, but appeared to never make it. A witness told police that he saw an 11-foot shark attacking something in the water that looked like a swimmer. After an investigation, neither Armstrong nor the shark could be found. Armstrong’s husband and friends who were with her that day are being given counseling to cope.

    CULTURAL

    British Olympic diver Tom Daley discusses his sexuality: http://rtvote.com/1fOPOzE

    It’s Amanda Bynes’ birthday! Take a look back through her career: http://rtvote.com/1scN1cd 

    James Franco tried to pick up a teenage girl on Instagram: http://rtvote.com/1gqOpyG

    Get the latest details about the guy arrested for trespassing at Selena Gomez’s house: http://rtvote.com/1hkyi5W

    Sarah Palin and “Vladimir Putin” talk: see the video! http://rtvote.com/QIBT8Z

    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    McCutcheon Who?



    April 3rd, 2014


    McCutcheon who? FEC what? What’s this all about?

    You can take my word on it: it’s a pretty big deal. We were hoping our friends on the Supreme Court bench would stick to their democratic principles and rule against McCutcheon. But they didn’t. And the consequences of the decision could fundamentally change the way elections work in our country.

    So who exactly is McCutcheon?

    McCutcheon is basically your run-of-the-mill Rich Uncle Pennybags. He’s a conservative businessman from Alabama who likes to donate thousands of dollars to political candidates. But he was a little sore after the last election when federal authorities told him he couldn’t donate more than the legal limit, which is set at $123,200.

    I know, bummer right? I can definitely relate. NOT!

    These limits, by the way, exist because of a rule in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, which aimed to limit corruption in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. In democracy-speak, that’s a good thing. It keeps our leaders honest (somewhat).

    So Mr. McCutcheon decided to take his case to the Supreme Court to overturn these limits. The case went to trial last October and we’ve been waiting since then for news on the Court’s decision.

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced its decision in a 5-4 vote to overturn the legal limits on campaign donations. This is a victory for Mr. McCutcheon and a loss for democracy.

    What does this decision mean for young people in America? Actually, quite a lot:
    • Rich people can give more money to help influence the outcome of elections. The wealthiest 1% now has even more power than before to throw money around and influence election outcomes. Is that fair?
    • Those of us (ahem, young people) who don’t have a ton of money will now have an even harder time getting our voice heard. With the youth unemployment rate hovering around 16%, there are few young people who could even come close to the existing donation limit.

    So what can we do about it?

    The Supreme Court overturned the limits because it believes that donating money to a political candidate is an expression of free speech. But if that’s the case, and money really does equal free speech, then doesn’t that suggest that people with more money have more freedom? I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t sound like democracy.

    If we stay informed, register to vote, and show up on Election Day, we can reclaim our inalienable right to participate in our democracy and influence our elected leaders. The power shifts to us.

    You with me? Visit www.rockthevote.com and register to vote today.

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com