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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


    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.


    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


    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


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

    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

    You’re Never Too Old To Trick Or Vote

    Monday, October 28th, 2013

    Picture this: you’re passionate about democracy (obviously) and you’re looking for the best, spoooooookiest way to get your community out to the polls this fall.

    You probably already know that knocking on doors is the best way to get out the vote (increasing voter turnout by a whopping 8-12%, according to some Yale brainiacs).

    And what is the one day each year people expect a knock on their door (and greet said knocker with candy)? Halloween. Because scaring is caring.

    And when does Halloween happen to fall on the calendar? Always a few days before the election.

    So you may be too old to Trick or Treat, but you’re never too old to Trick or Vote.

    Founded in 2004 in Portland, Oregon, Trick or Vote is the nation’s largest nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort…in costume. It’s where you get to dress up like your favorite witch, wizard or Deputy House Whip and remind your local coven to vote.

    Although 2013 is an off-year, there are tons of important elections being decided on November 5th. Governors will be elected in Virginia and New Jersey, over 30 large cities are electing mayors, and there are local elections across the nation. Trick or Vote gives community organizers a chance to do something different with their important work (and add some candy to their usual diet of pizza and exhaustion).

    I’m sure you’re now wondering, “How do I get in on this sweet democratic action? Do I need to get bitten by a zombie or one of those shiny Twilight vampires?”

    No, silly. Just sign up to volunteer at one of the many Trick or Vote events across the country. You can find an event to attend at www.trickorvote.org, or sign up to ghost host your own event at http://trickorvote.org/signup2013/!

    C’mon, all the ghoul kids are doing it.

    -Emily Alsleben, National Programs Manager/ Empower Ranger, Bus Federation

    Trick or Vote is a nonpartisan program of the Bus Federation Civic Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to finding innovative ways of engaging the next generation in what it calls “hands-on democracy.” Trick or Vote is a strictly nonpartisan tool for engaging more people in our democracy, and it does not endorse any candidate, issue or ballot measure. But it does think your costume looks nice.

    Bio: This is a guest blog account. Have a blog you want to share with the RTV community? E-mail us at streetteam@rockthevote.com and we'll go from there!

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

    Volunteers Spook Out the Vote

    Monday, November 1st, 2010

    Maybe that Batman costume from when you were five years-old is a little snug now, but you’re never too old to Trick or Vote.

    This Halloween weekend, hundreds of volunteers hit the streets for Rock the Vote’s Trick or Vote events, part of the nationwide, costumed canvas event to get out the vote before Election Day tomorrow.

    Dressed in their best Halloween costumes, volunteers knocked on doors around the country in Philadelphia, Columbus, Chapel Hill, and Gainesville. They made thousands of face to face contacts, which research shows is the best way to get people to the polls. Instead of asking for candy, volunteers offered a treat of their own – polling location information and voter guides with a list of candidates and big ballot issues.

    Spreading democracy was some scary good fun, and so was meeting all of the great people who came out to join the celebration.We had volunteers from all over America, and then some foreign friends as well. Those from outside the country were not only excited about helping to increase young voter turnout for the midterm elections, but for some it was also their first Halloween!

    Our volunteers rocked, and in some places, they were joined by some serious rockers. In Columbus, volunteers did some Trick or Vote training and worked the streets with the band OK Go. At the end of the day, Chapel Hill volunteers got to see Passion Pit’s concert for free and Columbus volunteers got to do the same for OK Go.

    In Gainesville, volunteers kept the Halloween theme going all night when they caught a showing of Dracula, a new take on the old tale from Gainesville’s Hippodrome State Theater. Philadelphia trick or voters gathered together for some great food and prizes at Philly hotspot Marathon Grill.

    We want to thank everyone who came out for some Halloween fun and helped us remind thousands of young people that there is an election tomorrow that will affect their future.

    Tom Yarnell
    Bio: Tom is a former Rock the Vote communications team member who now works for an intellectual property law firm in DC. He loves sports and coming back to blog for RTV!
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com