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    News Round-Up: November 1, 2013

    Friday, November 1st, 2013

    Food stamp cuts set in; a super-sophisticated secret underground tunnel used for smuggling drugs from Mexico to the U.S. is discovered; and the iPad Air makes its debut. Meanwhile, Heidi Klum officially wins the Most Awesome Celebrity award for her Halloween costume, and Kristin Stewart reunites with Robert Pattinson.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Families brace as billions in food stamp cuts set inhttp://rtvote.com/1ahKIba
    Benefit cuts to food stamp recipients begin today. This comes from Congress’s decision to cut $5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in exchange for increased education funding and school nutrition programs. An increased number of needy Americans will turn to organizations that already provide meals to hungry citizens, like food pantries and the Campaign Against Hunger.

    US discovers huge hi-tech Mexican drug-smuggling tunnelhttp://rtvote.com/1hzxE8o
    Authorities have discovered one of the most sophisticated drug smuggling passages, running from warehouses in Tijuana to San Diego. The secret underground tunnel is the length of almost six football fields and is equipped with lighting, ventilation, and an electric rail system. Upon discovery, authorities found 8.5 tons of marijuana and 327 pounds of cocaine.

    Trick or treat? Canada seizes three cocaine-filled pumpkins at airporthttp://rtvote.com/1f8kcX6
    Canadian officials seized three pumpkins at the Montreal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. Cocaine-filled pumpkins, that is. Authorities found them while searching through a female traveler’s luggage. An investigation is currently underway.

    Internal notes show paltry initial enrollment in Obamacarehttp://rtvote.com/16SO7x0
    Notes from a “war room” meeting at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance revealed that only six Americans successfully enrolled in the federal health care exchange on the first day of the rollout. This number has been gradually increasing, and Joanne Peters, a Health and Human Services spokeswoman, is confident that the pace of enrollment will pick up.

    Best Deals for iPad Airhttp://rtvote.com/HsZRQG
    The new iPad Air debuts today – but before you whip out your wallet, make sure you read through this. Find out where and how to get the best deals on Apple’s latest gimmick.
     

    PUNDITS

    Senator Bernie Sanders discusses how our healthcare system could be more cost-effective without sacrificing programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in “Don’t cut the big benefit programs,”http://rtvote.com/1h614NS

    Facebook users and USA Today readers weigh in on HHS Secretary Sebelius’s apology at Wednesday’s congressional hearing in “Should Sebelius step down for Obamacare woes?” http://rtvote.com/17xwg4F

    CULTURAL

    Heidi Klum goes geriatric for Halloween, http://rtvote.com/1hzs7Pq

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Sue YouTube Cofounder Over Leaked Proposal Footage,http://rtvote.com/1bJBE1x

    Kristen Stewart Spends Time With Robert Pattinson at His House: All the Details and New Photos,http://rtvote.com/17BSr7D

    Pamela Anderson Chops Off Hair, Is Unrecognizable With New Pixie Cut, http://rtvote.com/16SVUuS

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 22, 2013

    Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

    The U.S.’s drone strikes are being heavily criticized internationally; many mourn the death of a heroic teacher, who passed during a school shooting Monday; and the unemployment rate dropped only slightly, but things may not be as bad as they seem. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye are engaged, and Pauly D is now a father!

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL 

    Six Key Parts of a New Report That May Change Your View on Droneshttp://rtvote.com/1eGD9Qz
    A report has been issued by the international NGO Human Rights Watch, that accuses the U.S. of failing to comply with international law in its use of drones to fight counterterrorism. The author, Letta Tayler, focuses on six specific drone strikes that caused the death of 82 people; at least 57 of the casualties were civilians. Non-governmental organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have criticized the civilian deaths as well as the Obama administration’s continued approval of drone strikes when no imminent threat is defined.

    Meeting set over Iraq veteran’s SpongeBob gravestonehttp://rtvote.com/1fT9nuN
    Kimberly Walker, 28, was an Iraq veteran and a lover of SpongeBob Squarepants. The Army vet was beaten and strangled in a Colorado hotel room, and her boyfriend, another Army soldier, has been charged with her murder. Her family ordered a seven-foot headstone of Mr. Squarepants, clad in an Army uniform, to be erected in her honor. However, cemetery officials have deemed it inappropriate for a traditional resting ground. They have removed the headstone and are meeting with the family to discuss alternative options.

    Nevada school shooting victim was ‘trained to help’http://rtvote.com/1eGHvHe
    Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, is a hero. On Monday, he was shot and killed in the school shooting. Mr. Landsberry, an adored teacher, husband, father, and member of the Nevada Air National Guard, stepped in front of another male student who seemed to be the shooter’s next target. Mr. Landsberry calmly tried to stop the shooter and was subsequently killed. The targeted male student was not harmed. The Monday shooting left two students wounded, and the shooter also took his own life.

    First Take: Not many jobs – but the right kindhttp://rtvote.com/19s1jw5
    Reports reveal that only 148,000 jobs were added in September – 32,000 short of expectations. Unemployment dropped from August’s 7.3% to 7.2%. However, a closer look at the types of jobs gained gives us more optimism about the future. Several sectors essential for a 2014 recovery benefitted from these job gains; among them are construction, government, business services, transportation, and retailing.

    Facebook lets beheading clips return to social networkhttp://rtvote.com/19s3Whr
    Facebook temporarily banned decapitation clips in May after a slew of complaints claimed that these videos could cause long-term psychological damage. The social media firm has brought them back because they believe users should be free to watch, share, and condemn such videos and behaviors. Many have critiqued the firm for its actions, including some of Facebook’s own staff members. The social media site has updated its terms and conditions to state that any photos or videos that “glorify violence” will be removed, among other banned material.
     

    CULTURAL

    Melissa McCarthy: ‘I picked the coat!’, http://rtvote.com/1gC3Een

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Engaged, http://rtvote.com/1eGRSLc

    Kelly Clarkson’s Country Wedding: Details on the Dress, Venue, and More, http://rtvote.com/1fTm09j

    Pauly D is a Dad! Jersey Shore Alum “Very Excited” About Newborn Daughter, http://rtvote.com/1gC57RF

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Thursday, October 17th, 2013

    Cory Booker, wins NJ Senate seat; a 16-day government shutdown ends; and Facebook loosens privacy rules for young teenagers. Meanwhile, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are discussed, and Glee will be ending after season six.

    -Maura + Veronica

    CRUCIAL

    Shutdown Over, Government Slowly Gets Back to Normal, http://rtvote.com/1fFojwF
    After a 16-day shutdown, the United States government is back to work as of Thursday morning.  The political standoff ended shortly before the midnight deadline that would have frozen the country’s ability to borrow money.  This agreement will fund the government until January 15, 2014 and opens the doors to further budget negotiations in the weeks ahead.

    How Members of Congress Voted to End the Shutdownhttp://rtvote.com/1etRL5C
    The House voted last night to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling in a final tally of 285-144. A webpage published by the Washington Post allows citizens to easily view the results of the vote. Which way did your representative vote? 

    Slavery Still Grips Tens of Millions Worldwide, Report Says, http://rtvote.com/1etOrYj
    Slavery still exists worldwide and new reports highlights just how severe and widespread it is. In total, it is estimated that 29.8 million people are enslaved around the world. A revolutionary report on this issue, called the Global Slavery Index 2013, was just released. The report found that there are 162 countries with slavery, including the United States, Canada, and Western European nations.

    Facebook Eases Privacy Rules for Teenagers, http://rtvote.com/1gn5yz7
    Amid high profile debates over child bullying and sexual predators, Facebook announced Wednesday that it is loosening its privacy rules for teenagers on its site. Facebook described these changes (which allow post statuses, videos, and images to be seen by anyone) as giving more choices to 13-17 year olds. Others argue that Facebook’s requirement for people to post under their true identity places larger scale risks for young people using the website.

    2013 ELECTIONS
    New Jersey

    Cory Booker Wins Special Senate Electionhttp://rtvote.com/1fFqoIL
    Two-term New Jersey mayor Cory Booker was announced as a winner in the NJ Special Senate election late Wednesday evening.  With a 55%-44% lead and 99% precincts reporting, Republican opponent Steve Lonegan conceded. With an endorsement from President Obama and 1.5 million Twitter followers, Mr. Booker was a projected winner early on in the race. In his victory speech he declared: “If you voted for me, I will make you proud. If you didn’t vote for me, I will work every single day to earn your trust.”

    CULTURAL

    Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, LL Cool J among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, http://rtvote.com/1etVccy

    Veteran character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74, http://rtvote.com/1etV3FZ

    Kerry Washington To Host ‘SNL’ For The First Time Nov. 2, http://rtvote.com/19aHQzP

    Ryan Murphy: Glee Ending After Next Season, Series Finale Will “Honor” Cory Monteith”,http://rtvote.com/1fFu9hu

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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



    News Round-Up: October 16, 2013

    Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

    An L.A. airport employee is arrested for the dry ice blasts at LAX; two minors are arrested for bullying a 14-year-old into suicide; and Senate resumes control of negotiations with one day to go before the debt deadline hits. Meanwhile, Ke$ha confesses that ghosts haunted her body, and Rihanna’s tweets get a string of people arrested in Thailand.

    -Sandy + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    L.A. airport employee arrested in dry ice blastshttp://rtvote.com/1er3DFr
    Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair, has been taken into custody for allegedly planting plastic bottles of dry ice on a tarmac and in one of the airport’s employee restrooms last week. Nobody was hurt in either incidents, but the blasts could have seriously injured anyone who was in close proximity. Bennett’s motives are unknown.

    Police chief: 64 Cleveland officers broke rules in shootinghttp://rtvote.com/1gklnGU
    More than 60 police officers will be disciplined for a 23-minute police chase that happened November 29, 2012. Police pursued a speeding car and opened fire after they thought they heard a gunshot and saw a gun in the car, although no weapon was ever found. Two unarmed people were shot and killed in the officers’ hailstorm of 137 bullets.

    Thefts from nursing home trust funds target the elderlyhttp://rtvote.com/1gknkmK
    The problem of resident trust funds being stolen or mismanaged is a growing problem. Employees or administrators at U.S. nursing homes or other long-term care institutions have taken large sums of money from trust funds. However, these crimes of trust fund theft are not easy to detect, and they are relatively easy to carry out because of the lack of safeguards in the system.

    Shutdown, Day 16: Can nation avert default?http://rtvote.com/1fCAslM
    Just ONE day away from the debt deadline! So, what’s going on in DC right now? Here are some top highlights: the Senate has resumed control of negotiations after the House GOP pulled their bill yesterday; Fitch Ratings, one of the largest debt-rating companies, has threatened to possibly downgrade the U.S.’s AAA bond rating; the Pew Research Center has released a new poll that says 51% of Americans think that raising the debt limit by tomorrow is essential to avoid economic crisis. Will Congress reach an agreement before it’s too late? Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

    Sheriff: Taunting post leads to arrests in Rebecca Sedwick bullying deathhttp://rtvote.com/1erd0oI
    12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide last month by jumping off the top of an abandoned concrete plant. The bullying Sedwick endured by a 14-year-old girl and another 12-year-old girl allegedly prompted her to end her life. The girls were charged with stalking for allegedly harassing Sedwick at school and online. The 14-year-old posted a taunting Facebook message after Sedwick’s death, prompting police to arrest her.

    PUNDITS

    Bruce Schneier discusses privacy in an information age being fostered by the government and private companies in “Your life, under constant surveillance,” http://rtvote.com/1gktGTb

    LZ Granderson reminds us that before we call the men and women of Congress “idiots”, we should remember we put them there in “We Created – and Deserve – the Idiots in Washington,” http://rtvote.com/1fCPpEB

    CULTURAL

    Ke$ha Reveals Ghosts Haunted Her Body, http://rtvote.com/1erhg7A

    Was Britney Spears’ Body Airbrushed in the “Work Bitch” Music Video? See the Before and After,http://rtvote.com/197kL13

    Ivanka Trump Gives Birth to a Baby Boy, http://rtvote.com/1fCQLis

    Rihanna’s Tweets Leave Trail of Arrests After Thailand Visit, http://rtvote.com/1gkwtMb

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    Do you think we can make college more affordable?

    Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

    This week we started a dialogue about college affordability. Today the president kicked off a bus tour launching his” A Better Bargain for the Middle Class” campaign and as I watched the president unveil his plan to Make College More Affordable”, I thought to myself what does this mean? what will this reform really look like? As many of you stated on our Facebook page, we’re tired of talk- we want ACTION!

    The truth is, there is no quick fix to this problem BUT we are finally having a substantive discussion about student debt and college affordability. A college education is the ticket to upward mobility in our society yet today students graduate with more than $26,000 in debt so we can’t go about business as usual.

    Here’s a breakdown of the major points of President Obama’s Plan:

    1) Rating colleges- the idea of creating a better value for students and providing a ranking based on opportunities and outcomes

    2) New competition between colleges- the goal is to drive down costs, and making college more affordable

    3) Ways to manage and afford debt- making sure borrowers can afford their federal student loans

    For more information about the President’s plan, join us on a call with the White House to discuss this plan and get your questions answered.

    Call Information
    Today, August 22nd at 5:00 PM EST. 

    Register for the Conference call here.  (You will receive the conference line after registering)

     

    What are your thoughts? Do you think we can make college more affordable? Share your comments below!

    -Maura 

     

     

    Maura
    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

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