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    News Round-Up: October 29, 2013

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Hawaii is up next to legalize gay marriage; an official review on NSA programs is underway; and social media sites criticize tasteless blackface and Trayvon Martin costumes. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers break up, and Julianne Hough receives some intense criticism for her offensive Halloween costume.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Hawaii governor expects gay marriage bill to pass ‘within week’,http://rtvote.com/1f1FWUw
    Hawaii’s legislature is expected to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage “within a week or so.” The state’s House of Representatives will pass the bill on Thursday if it passes Senate; both chambers have Democratic majorities. Governor Neil Abercrombie stated that he hopes the bill will pass before January, at the very latest.

    White House: Review will address global NSA concernshttp://rtvote.com/1gXYp8Q
    As more nations become enraged by NSA’s spying programs, the White House has assured the public that the collection of data on allies will not continue. A review of these programs is currently in the works, and a report on the review will be due by the end of the year. Spain is the latest country that has joined in on protests against the U.S.’s surveillance tactics; others include Germany, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Trick-or-treating takes a tasteless turnhttp://rtvote.com/1g9uU2E
    Halloween is right around the corner, and so are some of the most offensive costumes in Halloween history. Some of the more tasteless trick-or-treaters are donning Ariel Castro costumes, blackface costumes, and even Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman costumes. There has been a backlash on social media sites (rightfully so) against such getups, and the Utah Jazz and Julianne Hough have received such criticism.

    5 killed in Dallas-area shootings; suspect arrestedhttp://rtvote.com/1f1LVZx
    Police have arrested Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, for killing five people in a shooting spree in the small town of Terrell, Texas. The murders started at 5 PM Monday, and Brownlow was captured and arrested early Tuesday. The victims have not been officially identified.

    Report: White House knew plans would be canceled under ACA,http://rtvote.com/1gY57eY
    About 50%-75% of 14 million consumers who buy health insurance individually will have their plans cancelled in the next year because their current policies fail to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Initially, the White House said that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010, could be kept even if they did not meet the requirements of the new healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services later narrowed that provision. NBC News reports that the Obama administration has known for three years that people’s insurance would be canceled. The White House has responded that those whose policies are voided will be automatically shifted to plans with better protections. Additionally, they claim that nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their plans, but the failure of some plans to meet the new minimum standards should be expected.


    George Clooney and John Prendergast discuss what should be done to stop the chaos in Sudan in “Sudan could become a second Syria,” http://rtvote.com/1f1Puij

    Errol Louis talks about Banksy’s insensitive slam against New Yorkers and Americans in “Banksy’s insult shows he’s clueless about New York,” http://rtvote.com/19PKcV9


    Julianne Hough Goes Blackface as Orange is the New Black Character for Halloween Costume, http://rtvote.com/1gY8ouS

    Jonas Brothers Break Up: “It was a Unanimous Decision,” http://rtvote.com/1gY8H8U

    Dax Shepard Doesn’t Have a Wedding Ring, Says It Cost Him $142 to Marry Kristen Bell,http://rtvote.com/1gY9t63

    Adam Levine Says Fiancée Behati Prinsloo Made Him Believe in Marriage,http://rtvote.com/1gY9R4i


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

    News Round-Up: October 28, 2013

    Monday, October 28th, 2013

    President Obama halts NSA programs that have been targeting 35 world leaders; Dr. Conrad Murray is released from prison, after serving two years for his role in the death of the King of Pop; and the NY mayoral debate is postponed out of respect for the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, Chris Breezy gets arrested in DC, and Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr call it splits.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Report: President Obama unaware of spyinghttp://rtvote.com/1eZvWv1
    The NSA has been monitoring the communications of 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years. The White House was previously unaware of this, but upon discovery during an internal review of NSA programs this summer, President Obama halted these operations immediately. European allies are upset by the news, and German intelligence officials have been sent to the U.S. for discussions.

    Conrad Murray’s jail time for killing Michael Jackson ends Mondayhttp://rtvote.com/19MRYz4
    Dr. Conrad Murray, the man charged for involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson’s death, is set to become a free man today after serving only two years of a four-year sentence. He is being let out early because of California prison rules that give an additional day credit for each day served. In 2011, a jury concluded that Dr. Murray’s negligence led to the death of the King of Pop, specifically from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.

    Mayoral debate rescheduled to avoid Sandy anniversaryhttp://rtvote.com/19MVc5G
    The Campaign Finance Board has rescheduled New York’s mayoral debate from Tuesday to Wednesday so that it would not conflict with the first anniversary date of Hurricane Sandy. Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota both pushed for the move, saying that Tuesday “should be marked with solemn reflection.”

    N.D. town OKs building ban to deter Aryan enclavehttp://rtvote.com/1eZAr8G
    In Leith, North Dakota, a Canadian hate crimes fugitive has bought a home and twelve other lots. Craig Cobb, the neo-Nazi extremist, has invited all who hold white power views to join him in taking control of the small town. City officials have placed a moratorium on any new construction and are currently working on an ordinance that will require Cobb to install water and sewer services in his home; Cobb feels unfairly targeted by these actions.

    Was Beijing crash a planned attack?http://rtvote.com/1gVmU6G
    A Jeep plowed through pedestrians and policemen Monday, crashing in front of the Tiananmen Gate. Three of the car occupants and two bystanders died in the incident. An official investigation is underway, and it is not clear whether the crash was deliberate or accidental. Tiananmen Square has historically been the political heart of China, as evidenced by the infamous 1989 democracy protests.


    Robert Young voices his concerns on the bad decisions federal and state governments continue to make in the post-Hurricane Sandy effort in “Sandy, a year later, mistakes still made,” http://rtvote.com/1g6XHVs

    Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland discuss how the U.S. needs to do more to fix its drone program in “Did Obama keep his drone promises?” http://rtvote.com/1g6YGoC


    Chris Brown Arrested for Felony Assault Outside W Hotel in D.C., http://rtvote.com/19N0P3V

    Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr Split Up, http://rtvote.com/1g6Z1aI

    Alfonso Ribeiro, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Star, Welcomes Son Alfonso Lincoln, Jr., http://rtvote.com/19N1an7

    David Beckham Gets in Car Crash in Front of His Home, http://rtvote.com/1gVq9Lk


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

    Introduction to the Euro Crisis

    Monday, June 18th, 2012

    There are 17 nations in Europe that use the euro. Many economists warned when the euro was first conceived that it would not work in a crisis because of the way Europe is structured. The United States is a good comparison because each state has its own government, just as each country in Europe has its own government. But if there is a large housing bubble in Nevada, people can just move to California or Arizona – in Europe, the language and cultural barrier makes it difficult to move to a different country. The United States federal government will also end up taxing California or Arizona more to pay for the increased unemployment benefits and aid going to Nevada. There is no such federal government in Europe; each country sells its own bonds and spends its own money.

    The euro also led to big problems with prices rising in some countries faster than others. Let’s look at a model economy with two countries, country A and country B. The people in country A save all of their money and lend it to country B. The people in country B spend their money and the money they borrow from country A. Prices will rise in country B much faster than in country A. This is what happened in Europe – Germany was country A and the smaller countries, especially Ireland, Greece, Italy, and Spain, were country B. Now, after the financial crisis, prices are much higher in Spain than Germany, and these prices include the price of labor. No companies will move to Spain or start hiring there because labor costs are so high. Only crippling deflation in Spain or higher inflation in Germany can bring costs back in line.

    Why is Europe in crisis? The 2008 financial crisis was worldwide and the primary cause of the Eurozone’s problems right now. When it happened, it affected some countries in the Eurozone more than others. Tax revenue fell as people lost their jobs, and these countries had to spend money in order to keep unemployment down, causing them to take on more and more debt.

    The immediate problem is that some countries, such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal (the PIIGS countries) are paying very high interest rates on their new debt. When countries run deficits – and almost all countries run deficits most of the time – they have to borrow that money from the marketplace. People think that these countries are especially at risk of not being able to pay, so they charge very high interest rates. In return for help in paying these rates, Germany (the strongest Eurozone country) has demanded that these countries drastically cut spending and raise taxes, which looks good in the short term but hurts the economy. This austerity has cut off any economic recovery, and hurts the countries even more because tax revenue continues to fall.

    There are two main scenarios that are thought to be possible: the Euro stays together with much greater integration amongst countries, or the Euro breaks apart in some form.

    If the Euro stays together, there will have to be a massive bailout from Germany and the European Central Bank (their version of the United States Federal Reserve). In order to prevent this crisis from happening again, countries will likely have to integrate further, making the Eurozone look more like the United States, with states sending each other money. Nobody wants the Euro to break apart, but few want this greater integration right now.

    If the Euro does not survive, it is likely that Greece will exit first and go back to its pre-Euro currency, the Drachma. If Greece exits, many investors will expect Spain, Italy, and Portugal to exit, which will drive up their interest rates and force them to exit. The Euro may live on in countries relatively unaffected by the crisis, such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland. However, it would be a huge blow to the European economy and to the political stability of Europe.

    David Winegar
    Bio: David Winegar is the Digital Media intern for Rock the Vote. He is a sophomore at Duke University.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round-Up: Monday, July 25, 2011

    Monday, July 25th, 2011

    Asian, European, and American markets fall in early trading, U.S. debt talks remain stalled, there will be an Ethics Committee investigation into the conduct of Rep. David Wu, the Norway killer warns of ‘more cells,’ militants hang an 8-year-old boy in southern Afghanistan, and NFL players agree to a new collective bargaining agreement. Meanwhile, Google has offered a $30 million prize for the first private firm to make it to the moon, and China officials close fake Apple stores in Kunming city.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry


    Asian and European markets fall in early trading as U.S. debt talks remain stalled,
    With the August 2nd debt-ceiling deadline nearing, financial markets are bracing for a debt default. Markets have dipped in Japan, Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, England, France and Germany. In the U.S., the Dow lost more than 125 points just minutes after the opening bell.

    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Israel are calling for an Ethics Committee investigation into the conduct of Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), who allegedly had an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a family friend last Thanksgiving.

    Norway killings: Anders Behring Breivik warns of ‘more cells,’
    According to a Norwegian judge, Breivik admitted to bombing a government building and to shooting children at an island camp. The 32-year-old said he committed the crimes to prevent a Marxist Muslim takeover of Norway. He will be held in solitary confinement.

    Militants hang 8-year-old boy in southern Afghanistan,
    A police officer in Afghanistan’s southern city of Gereshk refused to give his police vehicle to militants. The militants retaliated by kidnapping and hanging his 8-year-old son. This violent act comes after the capitol of the Helmand province was transferred from US to Afghan control.

    Reports: NFL, players agree to new collective bargaining agreement,
    NFL owners and players have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. The player executive committee and 32 team reps are expected to cast their final votes via conference call around 11 a.m. According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, team facilities may be open later today.

    DMV says closure decisions aren’t final,
    Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is working on a plan that would close as many as 16 different DMV offices, one of the main locations where people can obtain photo ids. Walker’s administration wants to expand hours in other locations, adding 625 hours of DMV service per week. A Democratic lawmaker claims that the department is closing offices where Democratic constituents live and expanding hours in Republican districts. A State Department of Transportation official rejected the claim.

    GOP Makes Big Gains among White Voters,
    The country has shifted since President Obama’s landslide election in 2008. Republicans have gained ground on Democrats  through higher margins of white voters. The shift was especially pronounced for young and poor white voters.

    Race to the Moon Heats Up for Private Firms,
    29 private firms have signed up to be the first to make it to the moon. Google is putting up $30 million for the winner. The manager of NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data program, George Xenofos, expects one or more teams to make it.

    China officials close fake Apple stores in Kunming city,
    There are Chinese knockoff iPhones and iPods, but entire knockoff stores? An American blogger living in Kunming city discovered five elaborate fake stores, which sold genuine Apple products and employed workers who believed themselves to be Apple employees. Apple has yet to comment on the story.


    Amy Winehouse Wasn’t Breathing When Security Guard Found Her, http://on.mtv.com/qI4K6s

    Sofia Vergara Kisses Papa Smurf At NYC Premiere, http://bit.ly/owyZwv

    Jay-Z, Kanye West Announce Watch The Throne Release Date, Tour Dates, http://on.mtv.com/o5XXsX

    Kim Kardashian Doppelgänger Now Talking Smack About Old Navy Showdown, http://eonli.ne/n0vTuI

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

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