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    ‘26th Amendment’



    News Round-Up: Friday, July 1, 2011

    Friday, July 1st, 2011

    Obama is aiming for a deficit deal by July 22nd, Minnesota’s government has shut down after Democrats and Republicans could not compromise on a budget, the NBA enters a lockout, and the Strauss-Kahn case may be falling apart.

    Also, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment: http://bit.ly/ifZUXU; http://bit.ly/j63Mo9.  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez admits he has cancer, the Ohio governor signs a bill that allows guns in bars, and the demand for Google+ is through the roof.

    From everyone at Rock the Vote, have a very happy Fourth of July!

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry

    CRITICAL:

    Obama Pushes for a Deficit Deal by July 22, http://on.wsj.com/moDUsm

    With negotiations over a deficit deal seemingly falling apart, the Obama administration has announced that leaders in Congress have a strict deadline of July 22 to figure out a solution. A July 22 deadline would allow ten days to implement the plan before the Treasury defaults on August 2.

    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    Minnesota’s government shut down at midnight local time Friday after six months of negotiations between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the state’s Republican-controlled legislature failed to produce a budget compromise. At a late-night capitol press conference attended by the very GOP legislators with which Dayton was sparring, the governor blamed Republicans for refusing to budge from a no-tax increase position. A GOP legislator said Dayton “threw in the towel.”

    CBA expires, NBA locks out its players, http://es.pn/mNYRNJ

    The negotiations between NBA players and team owners are looking as hopeless as that of the debt ceiling. The NBA lockout started today after its collective bargaining agreement expired. Both sides’ demands are millions of dollars a part and could potentially cause the entire 2011-2012 season to be cancelled.

    Strauss-Kahn Case Seen as Near Collapse, http://nyti.ms/iMtV6U

    Investigators have found some major holes in the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  The housekeeper who is charging Strauss-Kahn with sexual assault, has since repeatedly lied, leading to discussions of whether or not to dismiss the felony charges.

    Chavez Says Cancerous Cells Removed, http://nyti.ms/iYgNFd

    In a morbid turn of events, oil markets reacted positively to the revelation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cancer. The anti-American and anti-capitalist leader is unpopular with businesses after he took over Venezuela’s oil industry. Poorer Venezuelans “widely love” Chavez for using oil revenues to build schools and clinics.

    Ohio governor signs law allowing guns in bars,
    http://reut.rs/iiWUHf

    Ohio gun owners will no longer have to leave their firearms at home when they go out for a drink. Republican Governor John Kasich has signed a new law that allows concealed weapons in not just bars, but shopping malls and sporting venues as well. Businesses can choose to ban or allow guns in their buildings.

    Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment, http://bit.ly/ifZUXU

    In honor of the 40th Anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has recognized the integral role young voters play in the electoral process.  In a statement she released, Schultz expresses that “while Republican governors and legislatures across the country attempt to hinder young people from voting, the Democratic Party will continue fighting to expand the electorate and make sure young voters are able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.”

    Thad McCotter to join W.H. race Friday, http://politi.co/jDYjTV

    Thaddeus McCotter may not be a very well-known politician, but he wants to be President. The four-term congressman from Michigan is the 8th Republican candidate to announce his campaign. He says new media tools like Twitter can let him compete with richer candidates that have better name recognition.

    Google can’t cope with demand for Google+, http://bit.ly/jZClIw

    Could Google+ surpass Facebook? It may be too soon to tell, but Google’s new social media program is off to a popular start. “Insane demand” for access to the invite-only beta version forced Google to shut off invitations until it could handle the new users.

    CULTURAL:

    Lil Wayne, Eminem Go Into Guinness World Records on Social Media Day, http://bit.ly/ltFdRr

    So You Think You Can Dance: Inside The ‘Heated’ Elimination Deliberations, http://bit.ly/jn1Z8T

    Ladies First: Sonya Thomas and the women’s movement in competitive eating, http://es.pn/k8e4A9

    ‘Transformers 3′ Makes $20+M Thursday; Breaks 2011 Opening Day Record On Way To $350M Global Cume For First 7 Days, http://bit.ly/lFapWJ

    Katie Scholick
    Bio: Duke University, Class of 2013 Majoring in Psychology, Certificate in Markets and Management.

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



    Democracy Day: A Call to Action

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

    Originally posted on Huffington Post by Ashley Garcia and Ammaarah Khan.

    Ashley Garcia and Ammaarah Khan are two high school seniors coming from opposite ends of the country with one very important interest in common: they are counting down the days to cast their first ballots, just like thousands of other young people across the country. Forty years ago, students and educators joined forces and fought to give 18-year-olds the right to vote with the passage of the 26th Amendment, and today, Rock the Vote is launching the first annual Democracy Day to invite thousands more young people to the conversation on the importance of civic engagement and voting. Rock the Vote briefly chatted with both Ammaarah and Ashley to find out what issues were most important to them.

    Rock the Vote: What problems are facing your neighborhood that you would like to see improved?

    Ammaarah Khan: New Jersey has been tightening its belt and cutting funds that impact education in all forms. In a town as large as Edison, these cuts hurt us. They cut clubs and teachers and slashed funding for many programs and classes that built students as individuals. Our schools are overcrowded and are slowly falling apart because we have no money to restore them. Edison students care about their neighborhood. They care about their education. I care. My only dream is that people will realize the importance of education and put some time into improving the infrastructure of the school instead of constantly lambasting them with ridicule.

    Ashley Garcia: In Spring Hill, just taking a walk down the street displays two major problems in our community: inadequate public transportation and a lack of sidewalks. I have resided in the town for nearly eleven years, but have seen little effort to find any solutions to these problems. Our current busing system rarely runs and has a limited number of routes, making it impossible to depend on the bus as a reliable form of transportation. Not only is improved public transportation necessary in times of high gas prices, but also vital as we transition into a time of greater energy efficiency. As for sidewalks, kids who want to ride their bikes around their neighborhoods and men and women who want to get a morning workout through the community have few options, which has led to many safety issues. Even more importantly, since the beginning of the recent recession, Spring Hill has seen a failing economy that has brought huge unemployment along with it. It is time for something to be done to bring Spring Hill back from the recession it has been in for years before it’s simply too late for the area to survive.

    RTV: Do you think your elected officials are doing a good job talking to young people about issues that are important to them?

    AK: In the beginning, I began to give up hope because I believed that my elected officials no longer cared about the students. However, earlier this year the New Jersey state legislature, headed by Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono, held a town council meeting on the impact of budget cuts at my high school. Crammed in a high school auditorium, Senator Buono listened carefully to students and actively responded to their concerns. I think the elected officials in my district are trying to reach out, but I believe some other officials in my state are out of touch with us.

    AG: As I have become more politically involved in my community, I have been stunned by the lack of attention our politicians give our youth. Especially in my community, I have yet to see a single instance in which my elected officials have sought after the opinions of the area’s youth and asked what issues we believe need to be fixed. There seems to be a belief that young people are apathetic and indifferent about government and politics, but if we are asked what we think needs to be done to help our community, we’ll tell you. Young people are not just teenagers and college students who like to go to the beach and play video games, we have opinions and views that need to be heard in order to for elected officials to represent the community fully and truly.

    RTV: The 26th Amendment gave 18-year-olds the right to vote. Why is this right important to you?

    AK: My right to vote defines me. Ever since I was a young child, all I looked forward to was turning 18 and being able to vote. When I turned twelve, I told the poll workers my parents needed help in the booth — and election days became holidays for me. The competition, the passion, the feeling that a difference can be made through a vote. Just last month, I turned 18. The first thing I did was send in my voter registration form. The first election I will be able to vote in will be the school board election on April 27. Knowing that I will finally be able to have a say in my community means so much to me. I feel that now I can make a difference, no matter how small. I have a lot of ideas to share and opinions to talk about, and I feel as though voting is just the first step on this road to making my voice heard.

    AG: Although I am still a few months shy of turning 18, the 26th amendment has made a huge impact in my life. The right to vote is arguably the most important right given to the people in this country because it empowers and inspires its citizens to have the liberty to choose their leaders. I cannot imagine being forced to wait until my 21st birthday to mark a ballot. Even though 18 can seem like a young age to make a decision that will collectively impact the entire nation, it allows young people to take action and get involved in an arena they might not otherwise enter if forced to wait three more years. The 26th Amendment has allowed youth participation in our country and forced our elected officials to take a greater interest in their young voters. I look forward to the day I walk into my polling location for the first time to make my voice heard.

    RTV: What do you think is stopping young people from voting?

    AK: Maybe it’s the process, or a lack of motivation. I am spearheading a voter registration assembly at my high school to make everything that much easier: distributing the forms, walking my peers through the process, and mailing the forms out for everyone. This eliminates almost every piece of work for them. By motivating them at the assembly, I hope to instill a lifelong belief in the civic duty to vote. Once a person realizes the true importance of voting, then I honestly think it is impossible not to vote.

    AG: Even with a lower voting age and increased functions of technology available for youth participation, members of the young community continue to show low voter turnout across the nation. Every day in school, I sit among peers who see voting as a waste of time, as something reserved only for older people. At the time in your life when acne, dating, and what happened on “Jersey Shore” consume your every moment, it seems impossible to focus on what is going on politically in your community and country. Combined with the lack of recognition by the older members in our society and elected officials, the youth have been isolated into their own worlds, making many feel like our opinions don’t matter and that we can’t make a difference. We need to fix this and let young people know their voices are just as important as the voices of everyone else.

    RTV: What do you think is the best way to get students excited about voting?

    AK: The best way to get students excited to vote is to show them why voting is so important. Explaining why voting is an essential part of our democracy and highlighting how their votes are directly related to important decisions being made locally and nationally would motivate young people to turn out to the polls in far greater numbers.

    AG: As lower numbers students turn out to vote on Election Day, it is necessary that we reverse this and mobilize them as one of the most energetic and active forces in the country. When motivating our student population, I believe it is important to allow them to first see how important they are to society and to the political system by explaining how voting affects them and how important their votes really are. By engaging them in their civic duty to their communities and country, we will create a better environment where students know that their voices and votes really matter.

    It’s clear young people are ready to have a profound impact on their country, but without being invited to participate, it’s sometimes difficult to find the best avenues for participation. With the help of civically engaged students like Ammaarah, Ashley, and thousands more that Rock the Vote’s Democracy Day program will reach by the end of the school year, the millennial generation will be prepared to voice their opinions as a vital part of our country’s democracy. To participate in Democracy Day, sign up at democracyday.com.

    Aubrey Vaughan
    Bio: Aubrey is a field intern at Rock the Vote.
    @aubreyvaughan
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com