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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    Almost 1,600 veterans are forced to wait for care from a doctor; a new Georgia law allows guns in school districts, bars; and lawmakers threaten to pull funding from public universities. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome their new son; a teen with terminal cancer raises over $1,000,000 for charity; and a runway model criticizes thin-shaming.

    -Veronica + Maura


    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list: http://rtvote.com/ROzEle
    Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix, Arizona created a scheme to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans had no choice but to wait for months for doctoral care. At least 40 of those veterans suffered and died because they could not get care. What’s worse? The management at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix knew about and defended the waiting list. A former doctor at the hospital said there were two lists the hospital used: one that was shown to Washington that proves that people were getting care (the “sham” list) and the other that showed how veterans had to wait for up to a year: the “real” list. The hospital also did not preserve records and could make it seem as though a person never came in for an appointment. After the allegations came to a head, Congress has ordered all records to be preserved.

    Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches: http://rtvote.com/1k9l9lb
    Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that would allow guns to be carried into previously gun-free zones: like bars, churches, school zones, airports, and government buildings. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 (or the “guns everywhere bill” as dubbed by opponents) was lobbied for by GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun rights organization and will go into effect on July 1st of this year. 5% of Georgia’s population has passed background checks necessary to own a gun, and Deal says that this legislation “gives added protection to those who have played by the rules.” Some people, like members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, refuse to allow guns in their sanctuary. Others regard the law as ridiculous because the state has refused to expand healthcare and accept Obamacare but allows its citizens to own guns. However, the Safe Carry Protection Act has garnered wide support from members of the NRA and other supporters of the right to carry.

    Lawmakers pressure universities with threat to pull funds: http://rtvote.com/1f7AGTC
    States are threatening to pull funding from universities based on the information they teach, the things professors say, and the organizations partnered with the schools. For example, in South Carolina, funding is threatened at two different universities because students were asked to read a book discussing homosexuality. In Kansas, lawmakers threatened to “withhold appropriations” after a professor tweeted anti-NRA rhetoric. Some states have also banned universities from sending money to organizations that support things like unionization and boycotts that the state did not support. Colleges and lawmakers are trying to work together to find common ground.

    Ukraine tense as Russia launches military drills, activists die in clashes: http://rtvote.com/ROW3yJ
    After Russian forces practiced military drills near the Russian-Ukraine border, Ukrainian officials claim that they killed five pro-Russian militant activists. The deaths occurred as the Ukrainian military attempted to remove barricades from around Slavyansk, a Ukrainian city occupied by pro-Russian activists. Russian Vladimir Putin was quick to respond, saying: “If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it, beyond any doubt, is a very serious crime.” He also threatened “consequences” to the Ukrainians. Foreign nations, like the United States and countries represented in NATO, have expressed worry at the 40,000 Russian troops that have gathered at the border and have asked Russian forces to back down.


    Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome baby Otis! http://rtvote.com/1k9D1MJ

    The Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill tragically dies in freak accident: http://rtvote.com/1gUsLnK

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, loses her brother in accident: http://rtvote.com/1hq099r

    Jodie Foster is married! Congrats! http://rtvote.com/1nscIF1

    Terminally ill teen raises over $1,000,000 for charity: http://rtvote.com/1ptSRXQ

    Runway model: “If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful about being small”: http://rtvote.com/1lJpkbh

    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: November 8, 2013

    Friday, November 8th, 2013

    October tells a surprisingly positive story of job growth; the strongest tropical cyclone in history hits the Philippines; and Toronto mayor Rob Ford keeps finding himself in trouble. Meanwhile, Johnny Galecki finally spills on the secret relationship he shared with Kaley Cuoco, and Renee Zellweger shoots down anorexic rumors like a boss.

    -Sandy + Maura



    U.S. added surprisingly strong 204,000 jobs in October, http://rtvote.com/1bieyPr
    Despite the 16-day government shutdown, the U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose from 7.2% to 7.3% in September, but that was most likely due to the temporarily furloughed federal workers. October’s surprising job growth was an encouraging sign that many companies just shrugged off the shutdown and continued to accelerate their activity.

    Obama says he is sorry for ‘You can keep it’ declaration, http://rtvote.com/HD0GWV
    In a NBC interview Thursday, President Obama apologized that some Americans were forced to lose their current healthcare plan as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, the president assured Americans that they could keep their current plans if they did not change since the passing of the ACA. After receiving heavy criticism for that statement, Obama reminded us that those whose plans would be cancelled will be receiving much better healthcare policies at the same or cheaper rates.

    Super Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps strongest ever, plows across Philippineshttp://rtvote.com/1cIzKTT
    Super Typhoon Haiyan is a Category 5 hurricane that first hit Samar, Philippines, at 4:30 AM Friday. It may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history. Officials are trying to determine the extent of the damage Haiyan has done thus far, but what they do know for sure is that Haiyan poses a very real danger. Three people have been reported dead, and seven are injured. Among the most vulnerable are people living in tents on the island of Bohol, where a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit last month. As Haiyan continues on its path, Rock the Vote sends its warmest wishes to those being affected by the storm. Stay safe, everyone.

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in video murder ranthttp://rtvote.com/18diPkJ
    And it just keeps getting worse. A video has been leaked, showing infamous mayor Rob Ford making threats to murder an unknown person. Ford has apologized, but this latest incident comes after he admitted to smoking crack cocaine earlier this week. On Sunday, he acknowledged on his radio show that he has a drinking problem. Nonetheless, he will not step down from office; councilors are increasing their calls for Ford to resign.

    Satellite falling to Earthhttp://rtvote.com/17jsT0T
    Watch where you’re going! A European satellite has run out of fuel, and fragments of the disintegrating, 2000-pound spacecraft will strike Earth’s surface within the next few days. The only problem? Nobody really knows where or when they will hit. The European Space Agency said the parts are likely to hit the ocean or unpopulated areas. In case they’re wrong, I would advise you to keep an eye out for any objects hurdling through the sky this weekend (and get out of the way).



    Johnny Galecki Talks About Secret Romance With Kaley Cuoco: “She’s Part of My Life,”http://rtvote.com/1fp4sz0

    Renee Zellweger Is Not Anorexic, Goes to the Gym to Keep Her “Sanity,” http://rtvote.com/16N2aHC

    Selena Gomez Says She’s Single and Having the “Best Year” Ever, http://rtvote.com/16N2hTB

    Justin Bieber Filmed Sleeping in Bed by Brazilian Girl, http://rtvote.com/1acCULt


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

    Qvisory’s Mission Lives on at Rock the Vote and LifeTuner

    Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    [Editor's note: Exciting news with more to come!]

    Qvisory is integrating its content, tools and services with two leading organizations – LifeTuner and Rock the Vote – to carry on its vision of economic security for young Americans. We recently sat down with the leaders of each organization to discuss the many ways that Qvisory users and all young adults will benefit from this announcement.

    Question: How did this come to be? Why did the three of you decide to work together?

    Gina Glanz, President, Qvisory: Qvisory’s commitment to providing young workers with resources to reach their financial, health and career goals generated a loyal group of followers. However, to meet the organization’s goals, Qvisory leadership understood the audience would need to grow bigger and faster – especially in light of the research data that showed the extraordinary impact of the economic recession on the lives of young people. Through past experience and discussions, Qvisory knew where it needed to go for leverage — LifeTuner (sponsored by AARP) and Rock the Vote. These two organizations represent the most forward looking and imaginative approaches to supporting young adults. We are delighted they will carry the Qvisory mission forward.

    Heather Smith, Executive Director, Rock the Vote: Qvisory shares our belief that education and positive reinforcement are the best ways to encourage and inspire advocacy. Young adults have an incredible opportunity to increase their share of voice in the political process but often lack the support and tools to take action. We look forward to expanding Rock the Vote’s presence and impact through the incorporation of Qvisory’s tools into our site.

    Diane Ty, Senior Vice President, AARP: LifeTuner and Qvisory have had multiple conversations about how we might work together because of our common mission: to inspire and empower young adults to achieve financial independence and take a more proactive approach towards building their futures. Qvisory has built an impressive knowledge library that will fit very well with existing LifeTuner resources.

    Question: What will this transition mean for the existing Qvisory community?

    Gina: LifeTuner is absorbing most of Qvisory’s content into its site (posted as blogs in the community section of LifeTuner.org), and offers robust tools and forums with expert participation to help increase user’s confidence in managing their money. The Rock the Vote audience will have a newly inspired advocacy agenda and, next year, will be able to access new products and services that meet their everyday life needs.

    Heather: We’re extremely excited to welcome the Qvisory community to Rock the Vote and hope they’ll contribute as passionately as they have on Qvisory.

    Diane: LifeTuner.org was designed for an audience that is similar to Qvisory’s. The Qvisory community will find a number of welcoming similarities between our sites. The tools and resources are very comparable and should help make the change pretty simple.

    Question: How will this change help young people overcome the current challenges they face?

    Gina: Our goal was to help young people take control of their personal finances as well as make change by influencing those who make decisions that impact their lives – corporate and government leaders. With a more robust set of tools on LifeTuner.org and the powerful voice of Rock the Vote, the Qvisory community gains valuable personal resources and collective strength.

    Heather: There are many complicated political issues facing this country and every one of them impacts young people on a daily if not hourly basis. How will new healthcare policies affect us? Are our leaders doing enough to support green energy? Most importantly, what can we all do ourselves to effect change? Our goal is to help the 45 million young adults in this country speak as one voice; adding Qvisory’s community will strengthen that goal.

    Diane: LifeTuner connects young people with financial experts who offer completely free and unbiased financial insight and tips in an ad-free environment. That’s extremely rare in today’s financial landscape. We know that individuals respond to different messages and want access to resources and tools. The more breadth we offer and the more young people we reach, the more lives we’ll be able to positively impact. Adding Qvisory’s content to our own widens LifeTuner’s reach.

    Question: Will there be any linkages between LifeTuner and Rock the Vote now?

    Heather: There’s an enormous amount of confluence between our missions and LifeTuner will be an important organization for us moving forward and vice versa.

    Diane: We’ll remain separate entities with our own focuses, Rock the Vote on political education and advocacy, and LifeTuner on financial literacy and independence, but given that we share the mission of educating young adults in an unbiased way, we’re definitely looking at opportunities to work together on future projects.

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