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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

    CRUCIAL

    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.

    CULTURAL

    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: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

    A shipwreck in South Korea leaves nearly 300 missing; a large al Qaeda meeting video surfaces and unsettles United States intelligence; a cold case has been solved after over 40 years; and two backpacks wreak havoc at the Boston Marathon Commemorative Ceremonies. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital; Paul Walker’s brothers will help finish filming Fast & Furious 7; and Pharrell shares a “Happy” moment with Oprah despite some tears.

    - Veronica + Maura

     CRUCIAL

    Rescuers search dark, cold sea for survivors of shipwreck off South Korea: http://rtvote.com/1t9Riha
    300 people are still missing after a ferry, charged with taking passengers to a South Korean resort, capsized and sank Wednesday. Rescue teams are still searching the Yellow Sea for potential survivors. Out of the 459 people on board, four people (three men and one woman) are known to be dead and 164 have been rescued. Most of the passengers were students and teachers from a high school in Seoul, who were on a four-day field trip to an island resort nearby. A loud bang was heard before the ship began to rapidly take on water. The crew told the passengers to put on lifejackets and jump into the ocean. Some survivors said they tried to help people get out, but were not able to in time. The cause of the accident remains a mystery.

    Unsettling video shows large al Qaeda meeting in Yemen: http://rtvote.com/1qJdDjo
    A video deemed authentic by the US government shows what has been considered the largest gathering of al Qaeda militants in years. What’s more, either the CIA or the Pentagon did not know the gathering was occurring or they could not get a drone there in time. US officials have yet to comment on their lack of action, but the video is being heavily analyzed by US intelligence. Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the group’s second in command leader worldwide, is depicted to be standing in the open greeting followers, completely unconcerned that he could be hit by a drone strike. He said in his speech: “We must eliminate the cross…. The bearer of the cross is America.” Experts say there is cause for worry, stating that the recent video means that a new round of plotting is at hand. The al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is the most dangerous sect of the terrorist organization.

    Case of missing South Dakota girls solved after 40 years: http://rtvote.com/1mcP4th
    Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller were on their way to a party in 1971 when they mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Authorities originally believed it was homicide, but were forced to drop the charges against the accused man due to false evidence. Since then, the case was considered a cold case. Last September, a car was found in a creek near the girls’ destinations. Inside were skeletal remains found in the cab of the car and Miller’s driver’s license, as well as personal items like notes and photographs. DNA analysis of the remains confirmed the identities of Jackson and Miller. There was no sign of alcohol, the keys were in the car’s ignition, the car was in gear, and a tire was damaged. 40 years later, the police are finally able to provide the families with a definitive answer: the girls’ deaths were an accident.

    Man with ‘hoax device’ frays nerves at Boston Marathon site: http://rtvote.com/1gANfSa
    Commemorative ceremonies for the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing had just ended when police found two backpacks and a suspicious person, forcing them to evacuate the area. The man was lurking with a backpack near the Boylston Street finish line and was “acting peculiarly”. The Boston Police Department called in the bomb squad and blew up both backpacks as a precaution. Police also arrested the man, the owner of only one of the bags, who said the bag contained a rice cooker. The contents of the other bag are unknown. The man was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct.

    Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes: http://rtvote.com/Qpuue1
    A study published in a neuroscience journal found that recreation marijuana use (as in, using a few times a week) is “enough to physically alter crucial brain structures”. Since there is little research on the effects of casual marijuana smoking, this study shed some light on the subject. Hans Breiter, the leader of the study, analyzed the brains of 20 light marijuana users and 20 nonsmokers. The brains of the smokers began to change in two major areas- the areas linked with emotion, motivation, and mental illnesses. The study parallels with the study of Staci Gruber, who focused on a batch of heavier marijuana smokers but found similar results. She said that the studies show that marijuana “is not quite the benign substance people thought it was.”

    CULTURAL

    Miley Cyrus lands in the hospital: http://rtvote.com/P5h4TE

    Paul Walker’s brothers to complete Fast & Furious 7 scenes: http://rtvote.com/1qJx0sP

    After a terminal brain cancer diagnosis, Valerie Harper says she is cancer-free! http://rtvote.com/1qJy3Ji

    Pharrell sheds tears with Oprah: watch the video! http://rtvote.com/1gGITfR

    Get the inside scoop on how Mila stays fit and healthy during her pregnancy: http://rtvote.com/1qJF0tD

    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, February 5, 2014

    Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

    Four people were arrested after being connected to the drugs found at Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apartment; Sochi hotels are nowhere near ready for people; CVS is ending their sale of tobacco; and Shaun White withdraws from an Olympic event. Meanwhile, the future of Paul Walker’s estate is revealed; Kylie Jenner is in the hospital; shocking news about Selena Gomez is released to the public; and controversy surrounds The Biggest Loser winner.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    4 arrested in connection with Hoffman drugs: http://rtvote.com/1kTwYvy
    Three men and one woman were arrested in a drug raid last night. Police believed those people were responsible for selling the heroin found in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apartment after his death. The raid uncovered 350 bags of heroin. Law enforcement officials have been gathering information on Hoffman’s last days to determine where he got the drugs. Hoffman had been a drug addict in the past, but was clean for over twenty years before relapsing last year.

    You can’t flush toilet paper in Sochi: http://rtvote.com/1eU7KYD
    Although the Winter Olympics start Friday, many people are saying that Sochi isn’t ready for the crowds. People have posted on Twitter and Facebook about a slew of problems, including how the bedrooms are tight and bare, the toilets don’t flush, some rooms don’t have heat, and others don’t have water. The government is dealing with stray dogs to prevent them from bothering visitors, and they are still on the lookout for potential terrorist threats.

    CVS ending tobacco sales: http://rtvote.com/1eqpQGO
    The popular drug store CVS announced that it will stop selling tobacco products.  Tobacco sales make up 3% of total sales and accounts for $2 billion in revenue. CVS president says that stopping the sale of tobacco products will ultimately protect the health of their customers and improves CVS’s reputation as a “health company”.

    Shaun White withdraws from slopestyle: http://rtvote.com/1dqBc7q
    The infamous US snowboarder Shaun White has decided to withdrawal from slopestyle snowboarding– 24 hours before he was due to compete. He was not favored in slopestyle, further adding to his decision to leave that competition. Instead, White wants to focus on bringing home his third gold medal in halfpipe snowboarding, which would make him the only American man to ever win an event in three consecutive Winter Olympics.

    CULTURAL

    Selena Gomez went to rehab?! Since when? http://rtvote.com/1iqyrId

    Paul Walker’s daughter inherits fortune: http://rtvote.com/1jfZKs5

    Kylie Jenner’s in the hospital because of a trampoline: http://rtvote.com/1brhedb

    Did The Biggest Loser winner lose too much? http://rtvote.com/1jg0NZd

    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: Friday, June 7, 2013

    Friday, June 7th, 2013

    The U.S. declassifies phone program details; the U.S. economy adds 175K jobs; Prince Philip enters hospital for surgery; the U.S. mines data from 9 domestic internet companies; Turkey’s Prime Minister says protests need to stop; the president of France calls for the release of two French journalists in Syria; the U.S. and China meet in California for an informal summit; and immigration reform could provide economic growth according to the National Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Meanwhile, Mel Brooks is honored with the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, and Justin Bieber cancels tour stop in Venezuela.

    Maura + Alexis

    CRUCIAL:

    US Declassifies Phone Program Details After Uproar, http://apne.ws/13pev1y
    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denounced Thursday the leaks of highly classified documents that revealed the programs and warned that America’s security will suffer. He claimed, “The unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.” He said that this clandestine practice would alter the behavior of U.S. enemies and make it more difficult to understand their intentions.

    US Employers add 175K Jobs, Rate up to 7.6 pct.,
    http://bit.ly/16PpLsV
    The U.S. economy was responsible for adding 175,000 jobs in May. Despite spending cuts and higher taxes, the job market maintains a healthy outlook. Unemployment rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent in April, according to the records of the Labor Department; however, the increase in unemployment was due to the fact that more people have begun looking for work – a good sign.

    Prince Philip Enters Hospital in London for Surgery,
    http://nyti.ms/15Rw5wl
    Just a day after attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace, Prince Philip was admitted to a hospital in London Friday for surgery. Reports say the 92-year-old prince is in “very good health,” and that the surgery was planned long in advance.

    U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program, http://wapo.st/1888aNr
    The National Security Agency as well as the FBI are tapping into the central servers of nine, big, U.S. internet companies. The program, provided with the code name “PRISM”, is just now being made public. The program was launched from the remains of President George W. Bush’s domestic surveillance program in 2007. The approved program works primarily with foreign communications traffic that frequently flows through U.S. servers.

    Turkey’s Erdogan says he won’t yield ground to protesters,
    http://wapo.st/189LnRi
    Turkey’s Prime Minister returned Friday from his trip to Africa and immediately addressed his people saying that he has no tolerance for the protests going on and that they all must stop. He has promised to move forward with plans to raze Gezi Park despite all objections.

    French president urges release of 2 journalists believed at risk in Syria,  http://fxn.ws/11oufPq
    French President Francois Hollande called Friday for the release of two French journalists that went missing in Syria. Hollande is visiting Tokyo on a state visit, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to help him resolve the crisis and bring the journalists home safely.

    US-Chinese summit aimed at building a ‘new type of great power relationship’,
    http://nbcnews.to/18SUPFC
    President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet Friday and Saturday at Sunnylands, a retreat in California, for an informal summit to promote U.S.-China relations. The summit is meant to be informal so that issues of protocol do not get in the way. President Xi’s willingness to forgo formality shows the relaxed style that he has subscribed to since becoming head of state in March. The summit is expected to be “groundbreaking in U.S.-China relations.”

    Awaiting Immigration Reform, http://nyti.ms/192OREK
    According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, immigration reform has the potential to benefit the real estate and mortgage markets in the U.S. If Congress approves legislation that would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants, it is expected that the number of homebuyers will increase by three million. This increase in home purchases would generate about $500 billion in new mortgages. This change would be expected over the next 5 to 10 years.

    CULTURAL:

    Paris Jackson: Prince Michael Steps Out in Wake of Sister’s Alleged Suicide Attempt as Marilyn Manson Dedicates Song to Her, http://eonli.ne/19P9TW8

    Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban Perform “Highway Don’t Care” at CMA Fest 2013—Watch Now, http://eonli.ne/15H3JnE

    Mel Brooks Honored With AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, http://eonli.ne/19OXbH2

    Child Stars Who Quit Acting, http://huff.to/12veRae

    Justin Bieber’s Venezuelan Fans Upset Over Tour Snub, http://huff.to/12wpABx

    alexis.m@rockthevote.com
    Bio: My name is Alexis Macdermott and I will be starting my third year at Duke University this fall. I am currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in economics. I am a native of Southwest Florida and am an avid runner and film enthusiast. I look forward to joining the Marketing and Communications team for the summer here at RTV!

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



    Same-sex couples and hospital visits

    Friday, April 16th, 2010

    What if someone you loved was in the hospital and when you went to visit them, the hospital said no because you weren’t a family member of the patient? Well, that’s been happening in hospitals around the country for years to same-sex couples. One person gets sick and their partner can’t visit because they aren’t legally a family.

    President Obama, issued a memo for the Secretary of Health and Human Services that requires hospitals that take government money, in the form of medicare and medicaid to, “recognize a patient’s ‘designated partner’ in terms of visitation and health consultation rights.” While this isn’t the legalization of same-sex marriage, this is a big step in bringing equal rights to the LGBT community.

    This from ABC News’ Political Punch:

    “There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital,” the president writes in his memo. “In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean — a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them. Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides – whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay.”

    The memo says that the “designated partner” rule could impact members of some religious orders and seniors with no children who are currently “denied the support and comfort of a good friend,” but “uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”

    Noting that designated partner rules have been legislated in Delaware, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Carolina, the president writes that hospitals taking Medicare and Medicaid will have to give a patient’s “designated partner” the same visitation privileges as immediate family. Hospitals also have to respect “all patients’ advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies” and that designated representatives “have the right to make informed decisions regarding patients’ care.”

    You can read the President’s memo to the HHS Secretary by clicking here.

    Jason
    Bio:

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