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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 6, 2014

    Thursday, March 6th, 2014

    Crimean lawmakers have voted to join Russia; a news anchor quits on her live show; Staples plans to close nearly 10 percent of its stores in and around the United States; and parents commit fraud for football. Meanwhile, kids recreate the 2014 Oscar’s best fashion looks; Katy Perry tries her hand at meteorology in Australia; Aaron Carter reveals lingering feelings for a Hollywood star; and see what Oscar winning actors actually do with the statue!

    - Veronica + Maura


    Breaking News: Crimea lawmakers vote to join Russia: http://rtvote.com/1dvBwGw
    Crimean lawmakers voted to leave Ukraine for Russia earlier, forcing citizens to choose if they want to remain in Ukraine or join Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, however, says that the referendum proposed by the Crimean lawmakers who voted for the separation has “no legal grounds at all” and is an “illegitimate decision.” Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko says that the referendum is indeed invalid because in Ukraine, referendums can only be passed by the national government. However, Crimea’s government is staunchly pro-Russia, and they do not recognize the interim, pro-West national government in Kiev.

    Anchor quits: I can’t be part of network ‘that whitewashes’ Putin’s actions: http://rtvote.com/1f1C2gy
    Russia Today news anchor Liz Wahl quit her job on-air at the end of her show on Wednesday. She said that due to her past (being a member of a family who fled Hungary to escape the Soviet Union in the 1950s), she “cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin.” The network responded, calling Wahl’s actions a “self-promotional stunt.” This action follows the similar outburst from Russia Today personality Abby Martin, who split from the pro-Russian repertoire and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea.

    Parents, students cheat to attend Atlanta school: http://rtvote.com/1f1GmMQ
    An Atlanta school is under fire from new cheating allegations coming to light. Parents of football players at Grady High School faked their children’s addresses solely so their children could play football at that school. Out of the 58 players on Grady High School’s football team, fourteen have faked papers. Currently, some students connected with the fraud have withdrawn from the school, and others had tuition bills sent to them. The school’s superintendent, Erroll Davis, is debating whether to press criminal or civil charges on the parents accused of fraud.

    Barbie, remove that Girl Scout tie, ad group says: http://rtvote.com/1cF9PHO
    A new ad featuring Barbie tied in with Girl Scouts has sparked controversy from consumer advocacy groups. The “Be Anything, Do Anything” patch allows Girl Scouts in kindergarten through third grade to look at different careers in a booklet with a Barbie theme. The groups believe that using Barbie as a role model for Girl Scouts “undermines the Girl Scouts vital mission.” Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, is bringing the issue to light now because the Girl Scouts of America did not agree to remove the partnership in private talks. Kelly Parisi, a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts, says that using Barbie enables them to tell girls that “they can do anything.”

    Staples to close 225 stores as sales move online: http://rtvote.com/1idGUOj
    Staples plans on closing 10 percent of its North American stores by the end of 2015. The store chain says nearly 50 percent of its sales are online, and that it wants to be more monetarily efficient. A majority of their 1,846 stores are in the United States, and Staples has yet to comment on how many jobs are being cut due to store closures. However, Staples CEO Ron Sargent says that the chain will not give up on actual stores due to the service customers can receive there, and the overall convenience of stores.


    What celebrities do with their Oscars: http://rtvote.com/NXNWgP

    Kids recreating Oscar looks: http://rtvote.com/1gUZOc3

    Here’s the host of the 2014 MTV Movie Awards! http://rtvote.com/1dvUsVM

    Katy Perry’s new day job: meteorologist? http://rtvote.com/1oulQ8d

    Aaron Carter can’t get over a romance that happened over 10 years ago! http://rtvote.com/1qbNqe3

    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

    Guide: Your Oscar Votes

    Friday, February 25th, 2011

    With the 83rd Academy Awards this weekend, you might be wondering who will wear the best (and worst) dresses, which celebrity will cry the most in their acceptance speech, which movie will take home the most Oscars, and, of course, which film will win Best Picture. But have you considered how the voting process for these actors and films works? If you’ve ever complained about waiting in a line or had a frustrating experience on Election Day, just be thankful you’re not one of the 6,404 Oscar voters—or one of the ballot counters who individually checks and quadruple checks each vote.

    While the whole process is shrouded in secrecy and security almost as intense as a papal conclave, technology plays very little role in it: ballots are filled out by hand, and each vote goes on to be counted by hand. Every Academy member votes for a winner in each category except Best Picture, in which they rank each of the ten films in order of preference. The ballots are sorted into piles of first-place votes, and the film with the largest stack of first-place votes, if over 50% of the total votes, wins. If not, the last place film’s ballots are redistributed to their second-place choices, a cycle that continues until one film has over 50% of the votes.

    If you understood that last sentence and can get past the extreme complexity of the system, I commend you and hope one day you can earn the coveted privilege of Academy membership. If not, I offer you some voting suggestions to pick Oscar winners this Sunday:

    • Do you like to include extra U’s in words like color and favorite? Vote for The King’s Speech.
    • Do you enjoy crying for a solid 103 minutes? Mark your ballot for Toy Story 3, and make sure your tears don’t smear the ink.
    • Are you looking for some motivation to go to the gym? Check the box next to Black Swan.
    • Do you think you could manage to find a way to hack into the Oscar voting system? Sway those votes to support The Social Network.
    • Are you intrigued by the mystery of graffiti artist Banksy? Vote for Exit Through the Gift Shop, and join me in anxiously awaiting his method of acceptance.
    • Want to hear some tunes other than the music that cuts off long acceptance speeches? Vote for Country Song.
    • Do you find catching up on sleep to be more beneficial than watching the Oscars? Sweet dreams, and consider cheering on Inception.

    Best of luck picking the most winners at your viewing parties, and make sure to tune in to the Oscars this Sunday, February 27th at 8 PM ET on ABC.

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

    National outcry against bullying

    Friday, October 8th, 2010

    Five young men committed suicide after being bullied in school last month for either being gay or being perceived as gay.

    The death of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi has received national attention in recent weeks; his suicide came shortly after Tyler discovered his roommate had broadcast a video over the Internet of him kissing a man in their dorm room. Tyler’s life came to a screeching halt after this humiliation led to him jumping from New York’s George Washington Bridge. His Facebook update simply read: Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.

    A few weeks later, 19-year-old Raymond Chase hanged himself in his dorm room after being bullied for his sexual orientation.

    The younger three boys commit suicide after being both physically and verbally harassed by their classmates. These are the latest in a string of bullying-related suicides this year. The high-profile stories have garnered a widespread response from everyone from students to politicians to celebrities.

    New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg said he would introduce legislation to ensure that schools enforce a strict code of conduct that prohibits bullying and harassment. The bill would also fund anti-bullying college programs, and implement new ways to deal with harassment complaints.

    This week, New York Mayor Bloomberg, San Diego Mayor Sanders and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford all announced that October 4th will be Blue Shirt Day- Day of Bullying Prevention.

    Celebrities from Ellen DeGeneres to MMA star Daniel Puder have responded to the suicides in their own way. DeGeneres posted a video reaching out to gay teens who might be struggling with bullying. Puder told TMZ his plan to stop bullying: “You email me, I’ll go fly to your school … and we’ll go talk to the bullies for you.” Other celebrities like Ke$ha, Jason Derulo, and Perez Hilton showed their support by posting videos to the It Gets Better Project on YouTube.

    What do you think needs to be done to address the high rate of suicides among the young LGBT community?

    Amanda Pagay

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