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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

    Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

    A Ukrainian naval base is taken over in Crimea; data has been deleted from the pilot of the missing Flight 370’s flight simulator; the results of the Illinois primary election are in; and an Icelandic volcano might be close to erupting. Meanwhile, it was a big night for TV on Tuesday: get the scoop on the season finale of Pretty Little Liars and some inside information on Glee’s final season; plus, Mick Jagger talks about the suicide of L’Wren Scott; and celebrities react to L.A.’s earthquake on Twitter- see what they had to say!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Data deleted from pilot’s simulator, official says: http://rtvote.com/1qUkx6B
    Hishammuddin Hussein, an official looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, noticed that some of the data from the pilot of the flight’s (Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah) flight simulator had been deleted. This has raised suspicions because the files saved from the flight simulator are not that large and do not take up a lot of room once saved and stored. Also, pilots use the data to track their progress, so to delete parts of it would be unusual. Flight 370 is nearing the 13th day of its disappearance, and the search area spans nearly 3 million square miles. United States officials believe, however, that the plane is probably in the southern part of the search area or at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

    Pro-Russians storm Ukrainian navy base in Crimea: http://rtvote.com/1mhaeso
    Tensions between Russians and Ukrainians in Crimea are readily increasing. On Wednesday, 300 pro-Russian supporters took over the Ukrainian naval post in Sevastopol, Crimea, just a day after Crimea voted to become part of Russia. No shots were fired between the pro-Russian supporters and the Ukrainian naval personnel, but the Ukrainian flags on the naval headquarters were replaced with Russian ones. This occurred one day after a Ukrainian military member was killed, another was injured, and others were captured when gunmen attacked the base in Simferopol, Crimea.

    Bruce Rauner wins close GOP primary in Illinois: http://rtvote.com/1eRGfj2
    Bruce Rauner, the 57-year-old billionaire businessman who set a state campaign finance record by funneling $6 million of his own money into his campaign, defeated state Senator Kirk Dillard in the GOP primary by a pretty close margin. He will contest incumbent governor Pat Quinn in November, who is regarded as one of the most vulnerable Democratic governors in the United States. For Senate, the GOP nominee is Jim Oberweis; however, his chance of winning against Democratic Senator Dick Durbin in November is slim. For election result numbers, click here.

    Iceland’s Hekla volcano could blow soon, claims scientist: http://rtvote.com/1j3DSRF
    A geoscientist from the University of Iceland claims that one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, dubbed “Hekla,” could erupt in the near future. A sign of a coming eruption is bulging rock and ground on the volcano’s northern side; this means the amount of magma under the volcano is increasing. Apparently, there is more magma under Hekla today than there was in 2000, when it last erupted. Hekla has a reputation for erupting with little or short notice, so geoscientists are keeping a close watch on the volcano for signs of eruption.

    CULTURAL

    Rock legend Mick Jagger talks about the suicide of L’Wren Scotthttp://rtvote.com/1l3TnZT

    The Giver Trailer Premiers: Watch Katie Holmes, Jeff Bridges, and Meryl Streep in Action: http://rtvote.com/Nu7Xe8 

    Read celebrity reactions to the L.A. earthquake: http://rtvote.com/1p472xm

    Pretty Little Liars season 4 episode recap- talk about intense! http://rtvote.com/OwVqI5

    Which beloved characters will remain for Glee’s final season? http://rtvote.com/1fF5Hb3

    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: Tuesday, March 18, 2014

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

    Wendy Davis might turn Texas purple; Hillary Clinton has an Iowa army; and President Obama keeps moving with his Ukraine Strategy. Meanwhile, Brittany Murphy’s final movie has been released four years after her death;Dancing With the Stars has its opening night; and yesterday’s Los Angeles Earthquake resulted in a pretty hilarious reaction from newscasters.

    Also, today is the Primary Election in Illinois! Visit Rock the Vote’s Election Center to find all the info you need: http://rtvote.com/TdeABy. But don’t forget: polls close at 7:00pm!

    -Gianna & Maura

    CRUCIAL 

    As Barack Obama’s Ukraine strategy rolls on, so does Vladimir Putin’s,http://rtvote.com/1d9ZIRe
    President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, both moved forward on Monday with their strategy on the Ukraine crisis seemingly unphased by the other. President Obama revealed on Monday that he is issuing sanctions against Russia in an attempt to the get the White House proclaimed Russian “cronies” in line and perhaps reach President Putin. The sanctions put in place by President Obama are the most aggressive sanctions taken against Russia by a US President since the end of the Cold War.

    Wendy Davis Is One Step Closer To Turning Texas Purple, http://rtvote.com/1fW8wZY
    A recent poll in Texas shows that State Senate Democrat Wendy Davis is within single digits of her Republican opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott for the 2014 Gubernatorial election. This poll is just another indicator that Texas voters are no longer reliably red. The single digit margin is impressive for Wendy Davis, when comparing the 2002 gubernatorial election where Republican candidate Rick Perry won by almost 18 points over his Democratic opponent.  Wendy Davis has a serious shot at becoming governor when looking at the recent poll and her ability to sway women voters.

    Ohio State University Has a Case of the Mumps: http://rtvote.com/1izSIwo
    If you go to Ohio State University, be cautious when sharing drinks. A recent outbreak of the Mumps has infected 23 students and faculty over the past month. Although there is currently no cure for the disease, lasting effects are rare and recovery usually takes no more than two weeks. All the same, public health officials are warning students to take precautions to avoid infection.

    Illinois Gets Ready to Rock the Vote: http://rtvote.com/1gL3Hik
    Voters in Illinois today head to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2014 primary election. Republicans will choose among primary candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, and state treasurer, while Democrats face little competition to replace incumbent Governor Pat Quinn.The Chicago Tribune also reports that voters will now experience a new electronic voter verification system that matches the voter’s signature with the precinct’s records. Pretty nifty! Happy voting, Illinois!

    Joe Scarborough: ‘No Plans’ to Run for President, http://rtvote.com/1nATSfU
    The host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, a former four-term congressman who has been actively flirting with the idea of running for the 2016 Republican nomination, spent the weekend in New Hampshire wow-ing and possibly wooing the party faithful. But, you can all stop speculating… Joe Scarborough announced today to the Daily Beast that he has no plans to run for office. 

    Hillary Deploys Iowa Army, http://rtvote.com/1gK4PCW
    The Ready For Hillary super PAC lived up to it’s name this past weekend by organizing in 84 of Iowa’s 99 counties for Hillary. Although, Iowa Caucuses are two years away, The Ready for Hillary super PAC is showing that they are a force to be reckoned with. Ready for Hillary managed to gather 250 volunteers in those 84 counties and they are currently the only super PAC with boots on the ground for a potential Democratic 2016 hopeful.

     

    CULTURAL

    Dancing With the Stars Season 18 Premiere Recap: Who Dazzled?Who Fell Flat? (Spoilers!):http://rtvote.com/1oos5w1

    Kate Winslet Explains Son Bear’s Middle Name Blaze: Ned Rocknroll and I Met During Fire on Richard Branson’s Island:http://rtvote.com/NqPMWN

    Brittany Murphy’s Final Film Something Wicked Released Four Years After Star’s Death:http://rtvote.com/1nAWo5Z

    Glee Roll Call! Who’s In and Who’s Out for the Final Season:http://rtvote.com/1fF5Hb3

    Los Angeles Earthquake Makes News Anchors Slightly Overreact on Live TV—Watch Now!:http://rtvote.com/1g6FnMF

    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: Thursday, January 24, 2014

    Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

    A strange new agency is being formed in Florida; a young Illinois girl murders her younger sister; a supernova provides a spectacle for astronomers both amateur and professional; and polls about the United States’ beliefs on income inequality are released. Meanwhile, the story everyone is talking about: Justin Bieber’s arrest; a new celebrity couple become engaged; and some of the biggest ‘90’s stars are returning to TV for the Super Bowl.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Good with people? Willing to capture crocodile, if needed? Apply now! http://rtvote.com/KNOPr5
    Advertisements for “crocodile response agents” have been circulating around Florida due to the increasing number of crocodiles being born. To be considered, a person must be “flexible, mature, a good listener, and non-confrontational,” although experience is optional. Crocodiles have been moving back into residential areas along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Florida Keys. The program currently consists of nine agents who make $25 an hour.

    Girl, 14, stabs sister 40 times because she felt unappreciated: http://rtvote.com/1dyGJst
    An 11-year-old Illinois girl is dead after being stabbed nearly 40 times by her older sister. The sister initially called the police using an intruder as a cover story, but later confessed to the crime when questioned. The 14-year-old sister was angry at her sister for not appreciating all that she did for her. She has been arrested and charged with murder.

    Supernova! Exploding star lights up nearby Cigar Galaxy: http://rtvote.com/1iqKrMZ
    A supernova, also known as an exploding star, has just become visible in the night sky. It is located between the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and is so bright that it is easily visible for people to see through a telescope (or even a pair of binoculars) in the Northern Hemisphere. The phenomenon is approximately 12 million light-years away from Earth. Although exciting to behold, astronomers may be able to use the supernova to help study dark energy.

    Poll: United we stand on wealth gap: http://rtvote.com/1f9qlna
    A new poll shows that 65% of Americans surveyed believe that the gap between the wealthiest people and the rest has increased. People also believe that the system “unfairly favors the wealthy.” Interestingly enough, nearly the same percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents also believe that inequality is growing, and a majority of those surveyed believes that the government must take action to curb inequality. 

    CULTURAL

    Justin Bieber arrested for DUI and drag racing: http://rtvote.com/1hOxIRb 

    A Full House reunion commercial during the Super Bowl: is an even bigger reunion in the works? http://rtvote.com/1mx973E

    Megan Park and Tyler Hilton are engaged! http://rtvote.com/1f9hxh5

    Ralph Lauren returns to design the 2014 United States Olympic uniforms. See the pictures here: http://rtvote.com/1f9i8i

    He’s back! Bill Cosby returns to NBC to star in a new family comedy: http://rtvote.com/1egECdY

    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 6, 2013

    Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

    Results from the 2013 elections are analyzed after victors are announced—with wins by Christie, McAuliffe, and De Blasio capturing the headlines; talks of gay marriage being legal in Illinois emerge; and the mayor of Toronto publically admits to smoking crack. Meanwhile, excitement brews around the 2013 CMA’s and a Hunger Games star cuts off their hair (can you guess who?).

    - Sandy + Maura
    CRUCIAL

    Christie wins re-election; seen as prelude to 2016http://rtvote.com/1cEFYEh
    Last night, Republican incumbent Chris Christie won re-election in New Jersey’s governor race with the help of female and Hispanic voters, beating out Democratic Senator Barbara Buono with over 60% of the total votes. This sets Governor Christie up as a very possible Republican candidate to run for president in 2016. However, Christie has yet to reveal his plans for a presidential candidacy.

    De Blasio Is Elected New York City Mayor in Landslidehttp://rtvote.com/1cEG0fz
    Bill de Blasio won NYC’s mayoral race, defeating his opponent, Joseph J. Lhota, by a margin of 49 percentage points, with 99 percent of the votes counted. De Blasio, a supporter of very liberal change, won over many New Yorkers by acknowledging rising frustrations with income inequality, aggressive policing tactics, and lack of affordable housing. The new mayor will become the first Democrat to lead NY in a generation.

    Why Terry McAuliffe barely wonhttp://rtvote.com/19DNkV2
    In the days leading up to Election Day, public opinion polls showed that Democrat Terry McAuliffe had a very good lead on Republican Ken Cuccinelli for Virginia’s governor race. The final results pegged McAuliffe as the winner, but only by less than 3 percentage points leaving the race much closer than expected.

    Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinoishttp://rtvote.com/1hNol4Q
    Will Illinois be the 15th state to legalize gay marriage? It sure seems like it! Lawmakers approved a bill that extended the right to wed to same-sex couples yesterday. Governor Pat Quinn plans to sign the bill, which would go into effect on June 1, 2014.

    Toronto Mayor Admits Crack Use, as Wild Ride in Office Continueshttp://rtvote.com/1baaqkI
    Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, 44, is no stranger to public acts of drunken belligerence and other inappropriate behavior. In May, Ford denied smoking crack cocaine when questioned, but yesterday he officially admitted to using the drug. However, don’t expect him to be stepping down anytime soon. Up until this point, his right-of-center, suburban supporters have remained loyal. However, this most recent scandal may have been too much for his core constituency.

    CULTURAL

    Jennifer Lawrence Cuts Off Hair—See Pixie Cut on Hunger Games Star, http://rtvote.com/18ZxEHe

    Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz Tour Kicks Off on Valentine’s Day 2014, http://rtvote.com/17F8UtU

    CMA Awards Ballot: Who should/will win?, http://rtvote.com/HxFMIB

    Lady Gaga to Sing In Space in 2015, http://rtvote.com/1arWPT8

    Kris Jenner Celebrates 58th Birthday with Family, Given Cake with Her Face on it, http://rtvote.com/17N1zGz

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    A Visit to the White House: Signing the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act into Law

    Monday, August 12th, 2013

    On Friday, I accompanied the National Political Director of Rock the Vote, Amanda Brown, to the White House to watch President Obama sign the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act into law. We arrived at the White House in the early afternoon, swiftly moved through security, and proceeded to the West Wing where we were cordially greeted by White House staff. After giving up our cell phones, we were ushered into the Roosevelt room, where we mingled with Senators, advocates, and students who supported the bill.  Along with meeting Senators Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Angus King (Maine), I had the pleasure of meeting my own homestate Senator, Dick Durban (Illinois). After chatting it up with the group, the White House staff directed us into a small corridor that connected the Roosevelt room to the President’s office. There, we waited for the President to open the door and welcome us into the Oval Office. He greeted us with a pleasant “Hello there!” and shook each of our hands as we introduced ourselves. Thereafter, we surrounded the desk and watched the President sign his name on the bill, one pen at a time. Over the cacophony of cameras snapping photos, the President made jokes mentioning that it felt really good to sign a bipartisan bill. It isn’t something he’s done in a while, “hint, hint,” he urged. We concluded our visit by taking a photo with the President and doing an interview with White House staff.

    The student loan bill is a bipartisan bill that links student loan rates to the market’s interest rates. As the economy improves, the present rates which are 3.9% for undergraduates and 5.4% for graduate students, will also increase but will be capped at 8.25%. When Congress failed to come to a consensus in late July, student loan rates doubled to more than 6% with no foresight on what the interest rate forecast would look like in coming years.

    As a graduate student with undergraduate and graduate loans, the outcome of this bill and subsequent congressional conversations directly affect me. This bill is not ideal – as a self-interested student, I want the lowest interest rate possible. As the economy starts improving, my rates will increase and that’s unsettling! An interest rate increase only becomes warranted when the job market shows the same improvement that economy shows. And in the last few months we haven’t seen that correlation. Instead, what we’ve seen is an increase in economic growth and recovery coupled with relative stagnation in the job market. Fortunately, the interest cap is helpful because it allows students like me to envision our worst-case loan-debt scenario and make risk-adjusted financial decisions accordingly. From a historical perspective the student loan bill is symbolic for two reasons: First, it creates a space for long overdue conversations about the student debt crisis, college affordability, and educational equality. Second, this example of bipartisan support and congressional collaboration represents a glimmer of hope for citizens who have found themselves disenchanted with the democratic process because of partisanship and months of gridlock on the Hill.

    Amanda Hall
    Bio: Originally from Hyde Park, a neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago, Amanda traded city life for greener pastures when she moved to New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Amanda earned a B.A. in Classics and a minor in International Studies. As an undergraduate, she traveled around the world and received a series of fellowship awards for her interests in academic research. After graduating, Amanda joined the Teach For America New York Corps and concurrently earned an M.A in Education at Fordham University. She taught 6th-8th grade Special Education in our nation’s poorest congressional district. From this experience, Amanda became deeply invested not only in education equality but also income equality and civic engagement. This summer Amanda is working closely with the National Political Director of Rock the Vote. In the Fall, she will begin a dual Master’s degree in International and World History at Columbia University and the London School of Economics.
    @amandajoycehall
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com