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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    A stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school leaves 20 students injured; Rep. Vance McAllister’s staffer resigns after kissing incident; Police search for a possible serial sniper in Kansas City; and a new breakthrough in paralysis research has occurred. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway put a cabaret spin on some top hip hop songs; Prince George has a play date down under; and Miley discusses her freedom without Disney or Liam Hemsworth.

    Shameless Plug Alert: Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers, my (Veronica’s) hometown hockey team, on clinching a NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs spot last night. Let’s go Flyers!

    - Veronica + Maura


    DEVELOPING STORY: 20 injured in Pittsburgh-area high school stabbing: http://rtvote.com/1qqQ250
    At least 20 students have been injured at Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An adult is also being treated for an unspecified medical condition. Four students have been taken to the hospital via helicopter and some students’ injuries are life-threatening. A hallway and a classroom were the setting for the potentially deadly stabbing. All schools are now secure, but the district’s elementary schools are closed for the day. The suspect, a sophomore boy, is now in custody.

    Spinal cord work is unexpected shocker: ‘This is a breakthrough’: http://rtvote.com/1qiwa5T
    Neuroscientist Susan Harkema had been running a study to try to learn more about “nerve pathways” by stimulating the spinal cords of paralyzed people through electricity. However, she managed to enable her patients to move their legs. All of her patients have been able to move their toes, move their legs around, sit up on their own, and even do sit ups! Harkema says this is the first time electrical stimulation to the spine and show results. Co-founder of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Dr. Barth Green says that “This is a breakthrough. It shows you can have a living spinal cord under the layer of their injury.” Scientists hope this will open the door to the possibility of new breakthroughs.

    Staffer caught kissing Rep. McAllister resigns, while Congressman keeps his job: http://rtvote.com/1k3Q4Qr
    Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught on tape Monday kissing a staff member. The Congressman and the staffer, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, are both married. Peacock has since resigned her post as district scheduler to McAllister. McAllister, conversely, says he has “no plans to resign” and insists that he will campaign for reelection this year. On Monday, the Ouachita Citizen posted a surveillance video showing the two kissing. McAllister admitted the affair and apologized to his constituents: “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was “pleased” with the apology, but he has not yet commented on whether McAllister should keep his job.

    Kansas City authorities seek perpetrator after some shootings linked: http://rtvote.com/1kKJBby
    The FBI has joined the hunt for a shooter in Kansas City, Missouri area. So far, thirteen shootings have been reported along parts of Interstate 435 and Interstate 470, most of which are near exit and interchange ramps. No one has been killed, but three people have been wounded; one was shot in the arm, the others were shot in the leg. Law enforcement believes that at least a part of the thirteen shootings are linked. The FBI and ATF have put out a $7000 reward for anyone who might know anything about the shootings or the possible shooter(s).

    UConn Women’s Basketball completes 40-0 season: http://rtvote.com/1k3Y9ED
    UConn’s women’s basketball team has completed their 40-0 season with a 79-58 win over Notre Dame. They are now repeat champions and it is the fifth time the team has gone undefeated under the head coach, Geno Auriemma. Auriemma has won nine National Titles in nine tries after the win. Notre Dame finished 37-1 after the loss.


    Paul Rudd joins Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner for some Funny or Die fun: http://rtvote.com/R2X9GB

    Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway sing Broadway versions of…rap songs? http://rtvote.com/1lKl5J3

    Prince George’s royal play date: http://rtvote.com/ODqMfM

    Miley Cyrus talks “being free”: http://rtvote.com/1eks0sJ

    Samantha Harris diagnosed with breast cancer, due to receive double mastectomy: http://rtvote.com/1hsHbR3

    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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

    President Obama will have VP Biden lead the charge on gun control; an independent panel finds security flaws during the Benghazi attack; eight vaccination workers have been killed in Pakistan; Judge Robert Bork dies at 84; and Instagram tries to clarify its new policy. Meanwhile, TIME’s person of the year is President Obama, and Buzzfeed nostalgically lists 50 things you will never get for Christmas again.



    Biden to head gun policy push after Newtown shootings, http://reut.rs/U88OBf
    President Obama will have Vice President Biden lead the push for stricter gun control. The White House has decided to take action on the issue after the mass shooting in Newtown, CT, which left twenty children, seven adults, and the shooter, Adam Lanza, dead. At a vigil for the massacre, President Obama spoke to the people of Newtown saying he would “use whatever power this office” has to end gun-related tragedies. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president supports a ban on assault weapons and closing the “gun show” loophole.

    An independent panel has found that security was “grossly inadequate” during the September 11th attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi. “Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affair caused security officials to not be equipped for the type of attack that took place. The report also showed that no employee violated their responsibilities and no one should receive disciplinary action.

    Three more polio workers shot in Pakistan; eight dead in 48 hours, http://reut.rs/U7Ndsz
    The United Nations has pulled its vaccination workers from Pakistan’s streets after three more people administering polio vaccines were shot, two of them fatally. In total, eight vaccination workers have been killed in Pakistan in the past 48 hours. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the Taliban has issued threats against vaccination drives before. In this case, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says they did not carry out these particular attacks. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is rampant.

    Judge Bork Has Died, http://bit.ly/T7xDgU
    Robert Bork, the conservative judge whose Supreme Court nomination was rejected during Reagan’s presidency, died Wednesday of heart complications. He was 84. Bork was a law professor at Yale who taught Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Robert Reich, and John Bolton. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was famously shot down by Senate Democrats who went to great lengths to stop it, even leaking his video rental records. After the failed nomination, Bork went on to work at conservative think tanks and write books.

    Astronomers find possibly livable planet, http://bit.ly/T6OAYK
    Astronomers said on Tuesday that they have found a potentially livable planet twelve light-years from Earth. The star, Tau Ceti, has five planets orbiting it. One of the planets is located in the “habitable zone” where water could live on its surface. “This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many potentially habitable planets,” said Steven Vogt, the U.C. Santa Cruz astronomer on the international team.

    Instagram co-founder: “It is not our intention to sell your photos”, http://tnw.co/ZL5JLm
    Earlier this week, Instagram announced a new terms of services that implied the photo-sharing service could sell users’ photos to advertisers. The new policy created an uproar amongst users, causing Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom to issue a statement saying it is not the company’s “intention” to sell photos for a profit, and that it was Instagram’s fault for making the terms of service language “confusing.” Systrom added that the purpose of the new policy is to “create meaningful ways to help [users] discover new and interesting accounts, while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.”


    TIME Person of the Year is President Obama, http://on.today.com/T7hkze

    50 Things You Will Never Get For Christmas Again, http://bit.ly/YgQ8mC

    Eagle on video snatches kid in park — or does it?, http://usat.ly/UDw73T

    African-American Cowboys In Film: The Groundbreaking History Of Black Westerns, http://huff.to/TyVHry

    WATCH: Anne Hathaway & Samuel L. Jackson Have a ‘Funny or Die’ “Sad Off,” http://bit.ly/12phYNs

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    Monday Action

    Monday, March 8th, 2010

    Have you recovered from the Oscars? Happy with the winners? In addition to the glitz (and dramatized Nazi killing, bomb defusing, Avataring) on display last night, the world continues spinning. Here are a few nuggets:

    • Iraq: nearly two-thirds of all Iraqis voted in this weekend’s national elections, despite the threat – real and actual – of violence. Remarkable.
    • Health care: sounds like things are coming to a close on the details of the health care bill (more on that later). In the meantime, if you are in D.C. and want to get involved in some good old-fashioned protesting, tomorrow (Tuesday, March 9th) thousands of activists will hit the streets to protest big insurance and demand that Congress pass comprehensive health care reform now. March 9th is the day the health insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, is holding a national conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel to advance their agenda to defeat health care reform. Details on tomorrow’s protest are here: http://citizensposse.com/.
    • 2010 elections: really interesting poll from our friends at NDN about the 2010 electorate and how Millennials are shaping it. Check it out here.
    • Financial reform: Are you one of the 2.5 million people who have already watched this? If not, check this out from Funny or Die:

    What else is going on?

    Thomas Bates
    Bio: Thomas is Rock the Vote's Vice President of Civic Engagement.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    Our Video Response

    Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

    The latest Rock the Vote video – as intended – has sparked heated debate and some welcomed engagement. But some of the comments posted on our blog and other sites seem to miss the point. Perhaps a little context would help… the video is satire!

    It is meant to be a humorous way to cut through the noise at the end of the long slog on health care. It was, after all, written and produced by the talented team at Funny or Die. That should tell you something. It was meant to be a parody of the system, provocative, and, well, funny.

    The barrage of health care ads on TV and radio and constant news coverage for nearly a year have created a bit of fatigue around an issue that is actually at the point where real participation from constituents matters. The issue of health care is one of the top issues for our members and for young people nationally. The issue is being decided right now, and whether you like the bill or not, it won’t get any better if we are sitting on the sidelines.

    So, to spark conversation and get more young people to pay attention and speak out, we asked our friends at Funny or Die to make a video. They have a way of reaching those who are more likely to be surfing the web to find the latest humorous skits by SNL writers than to be tracking the health care debate on our website or CSPAN.com. We wanted to reach people . . . and have them reach right back. And, what can we say, “sex sells” – or in this case “no sex.”

    The video updates the old “call your Congressman” adage in a funny, provocative, and attention-grabbing way. The video, which seems to have done its job of getting attention, then acts as a bridge to the sections of our website where you can get serious information on what is at stake, what is in the current bills, how the process works, and how to take real action.

    We don’t want anyone to get “f**ked” by health care reform, so we have encouraged people to get educated and make their voice heard . . . any way they can. We want a health care plan that benefits young Americans by expanding coverage, eliminating discrimination for pre-existing conditions, and providing coverage that is affordable. That won’t happen unless young people are active and voicing their concerns, interests and needs to their members of Congress.

    And if you don’t agree with the video’s suggestion of “holding out” for health care, well, lucky for you…it is the season of giving.

    So, let the debate rage on, but lets also discuss how to improve the bill, what we want with health care reform, and how we are going to make our elected officials listen to us. We wish nothing more than to have young Americans pay attention to the critical decisions being made right now. And we wish you – all of you – a happy holiday.

    In that spirit, I will end this post with another video for you:

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