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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    Almost 1,600 veterans are forced to wait for care from a doctor; a new Georgia law allows guns in school districts, bars; and lawmakers threaten to pull funding from public universities. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome their new son; a teen with terminal cancer raises over $1,000,000 for charity; and a runway model criticizes thin-shaming.

    -Veronica + Maura


    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list: http://rtvote.com/ROzEle
    Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix, Arizona created a scheme to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans had no choice but to wait for months for doctoral care. At least 40 of those veterans suffered and died because they could not get care. What’s worse? The management at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix knew about and defended the waiting list. A former doctor at the hospital said there were two lists the hospital used: one that was shown to Washington that proves that people were getting care (the “sham” list) and the other that showed how veterans had to wait for up to a year: the “real” list. The hospital also did not preserve records and could make it seem as though a person never came in for an appointment. After the allegations came to a head, Congress has ordered all records to be preserved.

    Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches: http://rtvote.com/1k9l9lb
    Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that would allow guns to be carried into previously gun-free zones: like bars, churches, school zones, airports, and government buildings. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 (or the “guns everywhere bill” as dubbed by opponents) was lobbied for by GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun rights organization and will go into effect on July 1st of this year. 5% of Georgia’s population has passed background checks necessary to own a gun, and Deal says that this legislation “gives added protection to those who have played by the rules.” Some people, like members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, refuse to allow guns in their sanctuary. Others regard the law as ridiculous because the state has refused to expand healthcare and accept Obamacare but allows its citizens to own guns. However, the Safe Carry Protection Act has garnered wide support from members of the NRA and other supporters of the right to carry.

    Lawmakers pressure universities with threat to pull funds: http://rtvote.com/1f7AGTC
    States are threatening to pull funding from universities based on the information they teach, the things professors say, and the organizations partnered with the schools. For example, in South Carolina, funding is threatened at two different universities because students were asked to read a book discussing homosexuality. In Kansas, lawmakers threatened to “withhold appropriations” after a professor tweeted anti-NRA rhetoric. Some states have also banned universities from sending money to organizations that support things like unionization and boycotts that the state did not support. Colleges and lawmakers are trying to work together to find common ground.

    Ukraine tense as Russia launches military drills, activists die in clashes: http://rtvote.com/ROW3yJ
    After Russian forces practiced military drills near the Russian-Ukraine border, Ukrainian officials claim that they killed five pro-Russian militant activists. The deaths occurred as the Ukrainian military attempted to remove barricades from around Slavyansk, a Ukrainian city occupied by pro-Russian activists. Russian Vladimir Putin was quick to respond, saying: “If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it, beyond any doubt, is a very serious crime.” He also threatened “consequences” to the Ukrainians. Foreign nations, like the United States and countries represented in NATO, have expressed worry at the 40,000 Russian troops that have gathered at the border and have asked Russian forces to back down.


    Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome baby Otis! http://rtvote.com/1k9D1MJ

    The Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill tragically dies in freak accident: http://rtvote.com/1gUsLnK

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, loses her brother in accident: http://rtvote.com/1hq099r

    Jodie Foster is married! Congrats! http://rtvote.com/1nscIF1

    Terminally ill teen raises over $1,000,000 for charity: http://rtvote.com/1ptSRXQ

    Runway model: “If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful about being small”: http://rtvote.com/1lJpkbh

    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

    SOLFJ: Good Music, Great Cause

    Monday, April 18th, 2011

    Immediately after Japan’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake, there was a huge outpouring of support from organizations worldwide. Over a month later, though, we can’t forget the tragic devastation that the country is still facing. A new charity called Songs of Love for Japan is launching a flash sale over the next three days to remind people that Japan still needs help.

    By simultaneously raising money and rewarding you for your donation with new music, the people behind SOLFJ (a play-on the term solfège, the word for the scale of syllables Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do) banded together to make a difference by giving you two ways to help out: buy a limited $20 compilation album or a full $100 compilation album. 100% of net proceeds are going to ShelterBox, an organization committed to delivering emergency shelters and equipment to afflicted families. For every $1000 raised, SOLFJ and ShelterBox will deliver a tent, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a toolkit, a children’s activity pack, and other essential items to families who lost everything in the March earthquake.

    $100, or even $20, might seem like a lot, but think about the money you spent over the weekend. Friday night, you probably went out with some friends. Your happy hour drink was $5, your entrée was $10, and the movie, popcorn, and Coke were another $20. Saturday you filled up your car with a $50 tank of gas, then drove your friends to the mall where you dropped $60 on a new swimsuit and $5 on one of those delicious sugar cookies that you can only find in mall food courts. While I appreciate your diligence in single-handedly fixing our economy, you are also now $150 in the hole that you could have put toward a more rewarding cause.

    I’ve got a different plan for you this week. Invite your friends over for a cheap, homemade dinner and watch a movie on TV (might I suggest the early Oscar favorite, Lifetime’s William & Kate). There’s $20 you’ve each saved, and if you have at least four friends, the five of you can put your money toward a SOLFJ album, something clearly more meaningful than a tub of buttery popcorn and a cheesy RomCom, plus be rewarded with a new playlist to listen to all weekend.

    The Songs of Love album includes recordings by Sara Bareilles, Josh Ritter, Tori Amos, and Ani DiFranco, among 96 other artists. Over the next three days, you can purchase your album here, and follow the hashtag #SOLFJ on Twitter for updates.

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