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    News Round-Up: December 11, 2013

    Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

    The Nevada family that never returned from playing in the snow has been found and rescued; Senator Ted Cruz walks out on Cuban President Raul Castro’s speech at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service; and a family struggles to get people to help those with mental illnesses. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato talks about her struggles with cocaine addiction, and Kate Winslet gives birth to her first child!

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Meteor explodes over Arizona; big meteor shower begins,http://rtvote.com/IPLo1k
    A tremendous boom rattled the houses of residents in Tucson, Arizona. The largest meteor shower of the year, Geminid, seemed to be giving them a sneak preview. A dash cam caught the spectacular meteor on video. The Geminid meter shower officially starts Thursday.

    Senator’s chief of staff under investigation involving child porn allegations,http://rtvote.com/1jOt0od
    Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said Tuesday that law enforcement officials were searching the home of his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, regarding allegations involving child pornography. The Senator has placed Mr. Loskarn on administrative leave without pay. His office is fully cooperating with the investigation.

    Lost Nevada family warmed rocks by fire to survive snow for 2 days,http://rtvote.com/18C9iV8
    The Nevada family that went out to play in the snow and never returned has finally been found and rescued. James Glanton, 34, and his girlfriend, Christina McIntee, remained calm after their jeep overturned and slid down an embankment, trapping them in the cold weather. Glanton and McIntee cleverly warmed rocks to start a fire to keep the children, 3 to 10, warm at night. The hospital says they are stable with no frostbite, just some exposure issues.

    Sen. Cruz walks out on Castro speech at Mandela memorial,http://rtvote.com/18mkKcz
    Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, part of a Congressional delegation at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, walked out of the service when Cuban President Raul Castro took to the stage and delivered his speech. A spokesperson for Cruz stated they he hopes that Castro can learn from the lessons of Mandela by releasing his political prisoners and holding free elections for the Cuban people. Before eulogizing Mandela, President Obama shook Raul Castro’s hand – a remarkable gesture between the leaders of two nations that have not shared diplomacy in over half a century.

    ‘My Son is Mentally Ill’ So Listen Uphttp://rtvote.com/1iXk16p
    Stephanie Escamilla and her 14-year-old son tell their powerful story of having a family member who has a mental illness. They urge this nation and its people to stop neglecting those who are mentally ill. 1 in 4 American adults suffer from mental illness; 1 in 5 children have a mental disorder. Something has to be done for those who are oftentimes bullied, ignored, and marginalized in society for their condition.

     

    CULTURAL

    LeAnn Rimes Breaks Down in Tears Singing at American Country Awards,http://rtvote.com/1iXmKwx

    Demi Lovato Talks Past Drug Use: “I Couldn’t Go 30 Minutes to an Hour Without Cocaine,” http://rtvote.com/1gpHuev

    Kate Winslet Gives Birth to a Baby Boy, Her First child With Husband Ned Rocknroll, http://rtvote.com/1h0kjot

    Katy Perry: Russell Brand Wanted Me to Have Children as a Way of Control,http://rtvote.com/18mnd6H

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: December 3, 2013

    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

    A former medical technician is sentenced to 39 years for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C; an American, who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, pleads for rescue; and Seattle Seahawks fans cause (another) earthquake. Meanwhile, Paul Walker’s private vigil was a beautiful show of love and support, and Dylan Sprouse makes some pretty awesome (and wise) statements to counter Joe Jonas’ whining over Disney and fame.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Ex-hospital worker gets 39 years for causing hepatitis C outbreak,http://rtvote.com/1c9aGiI
    A former New Hampshire medical technician was convicted for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year. David Kwiatkowski began working at the Exeter Hospital ten months after he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. He injected himself with stolen syringes of the painkiller fentanyl from patients scheduled for surgery, tainting them with his blood, and then he filled them with saline and replaced the syringes for use in medical procedures. Thirty people were diagnosed with the potentially fatal virus because of Kwiatkowski.

    Obama to launch new health care law campaignhttp://rtvote.com/1jh0cVh
    The Affordable Care Act has come under a lot of political pressure since its rollout in October. In the coming weeks, the Obama administration will highlight what they call successful aspects of the law. They plan on educating the public on Obamacare by emphasizing a different benefit each day until the December 23rdenrollment deadline for January 1st coverage.

    Prisoner in Cuba appeals to Obamahttp://rtvote.com/1cjmQJj
    Alan Gross, 64, is an American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years. He was a subcontractor within the U.S. Agency for International Development, who was arrested for trying to set up Internet access, which would have bypassed local restrictions, for Cuba’s small Jewish community. The Associated Press reported that Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine their government. Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, feels like the U.S. government has forgotten and abandoned him.

    Couple fined for negative online reviewhttp://rtvote.com/187UthU
    In 2008, John Palmer bought Christmas gifts for his wife off of a site called KlearGear.com. When the purchases never arrived, his wife, Jen Palmer, posted a negative review of the site on ripoffreport.com. More than three years later, KlearGear.com fined the couple $3,500 for allegedly violating its terms of use contract, which prohibits the customer from taking any negative action against KlearGear.com. The site reported the couple’s unpaid fine to a collections agency, and their credit score took a huge hit. The Palmers are fighting back and seeking justice. Legal experts warn that more companies are using this type of language in the fine print as protection.

    Seattle Seahawks fans caused an ‘earthquake’ on Monday night,http://rtvote.com/18eMxtd
    Fans inside CenturyLink Field got so excited over Michael Bennett’s 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown Monday night that their jumping registered a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake. And this isn’t the first time. The first seismic outburst caused by fans in CenturyLink Field was in 2011 when Marshawn Lynch made a legendary touchdown run that clinched a playoff win for the Seahawks over the Saints.

     

    CULTURAL

    Natalie Portman: Chris Hemsworth’s Wife Elsa Pataky Grabbed a Wig and Stood in for Me in Thor: The Dark World Love Scene, http://rtvote.com/1jhaTac

    Paul Walker’s Private Vigil: Vin Diesel Addresses Fans, Family Members Pay Respects at Crash Site, http://rtvote.com/IJK9lk

    Dylan Sprouse Calls Joe Jonas’ Disney Grievances B.S.: He “Fell for the Allure of Fame,” http://rtvote.com/1cjuT8V

    Elan Gale Hoax: Bachelor Producer Admits He Faked Thanksgiving Airplane Travel Feud, http://rtvote.com/IEwrzo

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    NEWS ROUND-UP: TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012

    Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

    Al Jazeera has decided to not air video of the shootings in Toulouse; Congress will not vote on a short term highway bill; the Pope is visiting Cuba; and South Sudan accuses North Sudan of bombing them. Also, Bobby Brown was set to re-marry Whitney Houston, and Mitt Romney says he enjoyed ‘The Hunger Games.’

    Aaron + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Al Jazeera Will Not Air French Rampage Video http://nyti.ms/GVQVuS
    Al Jazeera’s Paris bureau has video copy taken by the Toulouse gunman during his last murders. The station has announced it will not run the video, as it sheds no new light on the matter and would be in poor taste. Nicolas Sarkozy has publicly come out against any stations running film of the shootings. French prosecutors said they would allow stations to air the footage, but Al Jazeera still decided against it.

    Short-term highway funding bill scrapped http://wapo.st/GSJpWF
    House Republicans were unable to obtain the two thirds majority needed to pass their temporary highway budget. If the current highway bill lapses then the government won’t be able to collect millions in gas taxes, and many construction workers will be out of a job. John Boehner pushed a short term bill that did not get much support from Democrats. Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing to vote on the bill that already passed in the Senate and would be more of a permanent fix.

    Syria accepts U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan http://usat.ly/GTbi2K
    Both China and Syria have agreed to Kofi Annan’s peace plan in Syria. The plan calls for a temporary cease fire and political talks led by the Assad regime. The United States and many western nations have argued that Assad has lost all legitimacy and should step down. However, China feels that the situation can be worked out through talks.

    Pope Benedict XVI Visits Cuba http://abcn.ws/H8uNnA
    Cuba is going through its second Papal visit since its revolution. Pope Benedict is hoping that he can help spur change on the communist island. Although only 10% of Cubans regularly attend mass, many more Cubans view themselves as Catholics. Benedict is set to meet with Raul Castro in a meeting of octogenarians. Benedict has made comments against Marxism but will not be hypercritical of the island’s politics. He’s hoping to strike a balance and actually gain the ear of their leaders.

    Democrats release budget to compete with Ryan plan http://wapo.st/GTDwKW
    House Democrats have come out with a rival budget to the Paul Ryan plan. Written by Maryland Rep Chris Van Hollen, this budget would not touch big entitlement spending but instead, would use a mix of tax hikes on the wealthy and other budget cuts to curtail the deficit. While Ryan’s plan leaves the federal budget balanced by 2040, the Van Hollen plan doesn’t have an exact date as to when the deficit would cease to exist. Also, this budget would increase the debt even though it would slow down deficit increases.

    South Sudan accuses North of bombing oil fields http://f24.my/GVbv5Q
    South Sudan claims that Sudan bombed oil fields on their poorly demarcated border. These claims were backed by Chinese oil corporations who were doing business in the region at the time. Because of this, the President of Sudan will put his visit to the South on hold. The visit would have included a discussion regarding the two nations’ border and how to divide oil profits. Oil fields are all in the South, but the South is landlocked causing the pipes to travel through the north.

    Despite more college grads, U.S. workforce needs even more http://usat.ly/H83DbY
    More and more Americans are earning college degrees. However the rates are not occurring fast enough for the growing economy. By 2025, employers will need millions more college graduates than the amount US colleges will have produced. For the first time ever, over 30% of Americans have earned their bachelors degrees. Unfortunately, America still places 16th on the proportion of citizens with a college degree.

    CULTURAL:

    PETA Backs Khloé Kardashian Odom Despite Quitting Group, Wishes She “Had More Influence” Over Kim, http://eonli.ne/Hhhuym

    Bobby Brown Planned To Re-Marry Whitney Houston In Vegas? http://bit.ly/HeDTd5

    Miley Cyrus: “I’m not engaged” to Liam Hemsworth http://cbsn.ws/HgceK3

    Mitt Romney: I liked ‘The Hunger Games’ http://politi.co/Hds35K

    Aaron Ghitelman
    Bio:

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



    NEWS ROUND-UP: THURSDAY, MARCH 1ST

    Thursday, March 1st, 2012

    Britain has removed its embassy from Damascus while rebels retreat from another Syrian city; states will work to drug test welfare recipients; the oldest couple ever gets married; a federal judge is caught sending a racist joke to friends about President Obama; and a court will announce its decision on a Florida voting rights case today. Additionally, President Obama claims he has known about Jeremy Lin’s talents for a while; Andrew Breitbart dies; and Tim Tebow goes on a date with Taylor Swift.

    CRUCIAL:

    Syrian rebels reportedly retreat from Bab Amr in face of army onslaught http://wapo.st/yRzEgP
    Syrian resistance fighters are staging a tactical retreat from the Bab Amr area. After heavy shelling from Assad forces, the rebels have decided it was not in the citizens’ best interest for them to remain in the area. The
    region lacks food, medicine, and weapons needed for protection. Also, Britain has closed its embassy in Damascus in order to protect their employees there. However, they will continue to pressure the Assad regime to end the current spat of violence.

    States consider drug testing welfare recipients http://usat.ly/zArJnV
    Florida has put in place a law to drug test every person attempting to receive welfare, while Missouri and Arizona have passed laws that will allow them to test people who they are suspicious of using drugs. The bills would require individuals to pay for the drug test and if they pass, they would be reimbursed for the costs. The idea is that these laws would prevent drug use and welfare fraud. Opponents of these bills feel they are unnecessary intrusions into the personal lives of the poor. Additionally, this would set the precedent of drug testing others who receive government funds such as soldiers and college students.

    Ben Bernanke strikes cautious tone amid signs economic recovery accelerating http://wapo.st/yGJMRO
    Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, is impressed with the growth and stability of the US economy as of late. Right now, the recovery is accelerating, European markets are starting to settle and the jobless rateis dropping. However, other indicators show that this may not be permanent.Local governments are laying off workers, it is still hard to get credit, the housing market has yet to fully recover and the prices of gasoline are rapidly increasing. The Fed has predicted that by 2014 the unemployment rate might fall to under 7 percent.

    Elderly couple’s wedding may be one for the record books http://usat.ly/zZCxKF
    A 98 year-old man married his 95 year-old beau on Wednesday. The couple, who tied the knot on leap day, are probably the oldest couple ever to be married, surpassing a French couple by about two years. The California couple, a widow and a widower, met 18 years ago on Yom Kippur. They never intended on getting married but after almost two decades of “living in sin” they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After the two minute civil ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated by grabbing lunch at a nearby International House of Pancakes.

    Egypt’s rulers face backlash after lifting travel ban on Americans http://bit.ly/zrE63p
    Egyptians are not happy that their government has reneged on their plans to prosecute Americans and limit their travels. Previously, the Egyptian government filed charges against several foreign NGOs, accusing them of being American agents and then banning their travel outside of the nation. But since that decision, America has placed a ton of pressure on the current rulers. It has threatened to pull its more than $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian Army. Egyptian citizens are disappointed and feel that this shows that the new rulers are no more independent than Mubarak’s regime.

    Federal judge forwards racially charged email about Obama http://bit.ly/wf2sKb
    Chief US Judge Richard Cebull admitted to forwarding a racist joke about President Obama to several friends. Some of those friends then forwarded the e-mail on and did not take off Cebull’s name from the e-mail. The judge who was initially appointed by George W. Bush apologized for the e-mail. Additionally, he said that he did not forward the e-mail because of its racist nature but because it was anti-Obama. Critics of the e-mail feel that it puts into question whether Cebull can rule fairly on issues of race.

    Romney Sets Off Furor on Contraception Bill http://nyti.ms/z0jt58
    Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney came out against a Senate Bill that would allow employers to limit coverage if they have a moral or religious objective to the procedures. This bill is a cause many conservatives are behind and this stance would probably put Romney’s conservative credentials further into question. But when re-asked about the issue, Romney and his aides then said he was in favor of it. Critics of this bill feel that it would infringe on individual rights while supporters feel it protects religious rights.

    Cuba drills for oil, but U.S. unprepared for spill http://wapo.st/zqBIaE
    Cuba has enlisted companies from several nations to look into drilling for oil on its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a frightening development for American environmentalists. The two nations are very close to each other
    and if a spill occurs during Cuban drilling then the Florida coast would be affected. Further complicating this issue is that the US embargo on Cuba is still going strong. Therefore, US officials are not allowed to formally talk to Cuban officials to make sure that the drilling is smart and safe.

    Florida voter restrictions challenged http://politi.co/zQXTot 
    Rock the Vote and other civic groups are challenging a Florida bill in court. The bill places onerous restrictions on third-party community registration. Attorney General Eric Holder has specifically criticized the Florida bill for its intentions to limit the vote.

    After Many Tough Choices, the Choice to Quit http://nyti.ms/xqs5or
    The New York Times has investigated Olympia Snowe’s decision to not seek re-election. Snowe, a moderate Republican who is a known supporter of women’s issues, has found her job in the US Senate increasingly stressful. The Maine Republican party has moved farther to the right, with the Governor’s office now occupied by a Tea Party member. Members of the Tea Party have harassed Snowe at home and national Republicans have pressured her in Washington to the point where she no longer desired to be a senator.

    CULTURAL:

    Obama: “I heard about Jeremy Lin early on,” http://usat.ly/wojqIb

    Davy Jones Dead: ‘Monkees’ Star Was 66, http://abcn.ws/yhpUNw

    Andrew Breitbart dead at 43, http://fxn.ws/wzHCPg

    Justin Bieber gets $100,000 hybrid car for 18th birthday, http://on.msnbc.com/wxA2o7

    Target pulls greeting card poking fun at Whitney Houston, http://bit.ly/zIRAHb

    Tim Tebow Had A “Dinner Date” With Taylor Swift, http://deadsp.in/ADgMVj

    Aaron Ghitelman
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Monday, January 30, 2012

    Monday, January 30th, 2012

    Middle East relations remain contentious as U.S. drones provoke Iraqi government officials, and more violence erupts in Damascus; Occupy Oakland uprising damages city buildings and causes clashing with police; and U.S. officials are set to testify against Cuban offshore drilling. Meanwhile, the original writers and cast of ‘Arrested Development’ will return for the Netflix series, and Madonna will release an exclusive video teaser on ‘American Idol’ this week.

    Kelly + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    U.S. Drones Patrolling Its Skies Provoke Outrage in Iraq, http://nyti.ms/wDu5th
    The State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones to protect the United States Embassy and other U.S. buildings. Iraqi officials are outraged at the program, calling the aircraft an affront to Iraqi independence. The drones are meant to take over functions that the U.S. military used to perform as U.S. troops have been out of Iraq for over a month now. American contractors have been told that drones might soon be needed for other potentially “high-threat” countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan. The drones do not carry weapons and are meant to provide data and images of possible hazards.

    Syria Targets Rebels Based in Suburbs of Damascus, http://nyti.ms/zCetD9
    On Sunday, Syria sent soldiers, tanks, and armored vehicles to seek out pockets of rebel fighters as the country’s war escalated over the weekend. Blasts have continued, with Syrian authorities reporting a blown up gas pipeline near the border of northern Lebanon. In Damascus, black smoke hangs over buildings and electricity and water have been cut off to the area. Arab League nations have been pushing the U.N. Security Council to endorse their plan for political transition in Syria, calling for President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his deputy.

    Occupy Oakland arrests reach 400; City Hall vandalized, http://lat.ms/xtGn3W
    The Occupy Oakland movement turned ugly when protesters set to take over the city’s vacant Convention Center. As the takeover met police, protesters spread out to museums and eventually Oakland’s city hall. Demonstrators threw bottles, rocks, burning flares, and other objects at police officers. Over 400 arrests have been made. The downturn at Occupy Oakland comes as Occupy D.C. demonstrators are expected to be evicted today.

    Cuban Offshore Drilling Plans To Be Probed By Congressional Subcommittee Hearing, http://huff.to/y8lPsI
    At the satellite congressional subcommittee hearing today, just north of Miami Beach, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, experts and U.S. officials will testify on the risk of oil drilling off the coast of Cuba. As Cuba seeks to begin deep-water oil drilling, Congressional members and ecology experts will gauge if the U.S. is prepared for potential oil spills in this area.

    Newt: Mitt Can Have Florida But This Is Going All The Way To The Convention, http://bit.ly/zGb3A2
    Newt Gingrich says it isn’t over as Mitt Romney anticipates a win in tomorrow’s Florida primary. In the latest NBC poll, Romney is up by 15 percentage points in the state. However, Newt won’t be far behind if Romney wins Florida. Speaking on behalf of Gingrich’s campaign, former Sen. Fred Thompson says it boils down to the delegate count. Florida holds 50 winner-take-all delegates, comprising about 5 percent of the 1,144 needed at the time of the convention.

    Tech companies team up to combat email scams, http://bit.ly/w3xcy0
    Google and Microsoft, among many other technology companies, are combining efforts to stop email phishing scams. The goal in mind is to design a system which will authenticate emails from legitimate senders and weed out the scammers. The new system will be called DMARC, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance. A combination of email providers and email senders are on the team, including Yahoo, Bank of America, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

    No Thanks, Facebook: Poll Suggests Users Don’t Want Timeline, http://ti.me/zrJ0WV
    In a poll conducted with more than 4,000 Facebook users, most are reporting that they hate the new Timeline format. As Facebook aims to make Timeline mandatory, only 8 percent of polled users said they liked it. A large majority, 83 percent of poll users, had a negative take on the stalking gadget. Most of the negative responses were based on being “put-off” by the amount of personal information that surfaces when using Timeline.

    CULTURAL:

    Guns N’ Roses Announce February Concerts, http://bit.ly/xdV6x0

    ‘The Help’ nabs three kudos at SAG Awards, http://bit.ly/xp3pF5

    Tyler Perry Sets Cast for New ‘Madea’ Movie, http://bit.ly/yiIOR0

    ‘Arrested Development’ revival: entire cast confirmed for Netflix series with original writers, http://thedc.com/wbXFns

    Madonna Goes Cheerleader Chic In New Video: ‘Give Me All Your Luvin’ tease will air on ‘American Idol,’ http://on.mtv.com/yNSjPv

    Kelly Holleran
    Bio:

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