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    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


    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.



    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

    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, July 5, 2012

    Thursday, July 5th, 2012

    Iran says that it is ‘ready to fire missiles at U.S. bases;’ WikiLeaks has data from 2.4 million Syrian government e-mails; and 3 children drown in the Iowa River after 4th of July celebrations. Meanwhile, Steve Nash goes to the LA Lakers, and Jena Malone will play Johanna Mason in the Hunger Games sequel.

    Maureen + Caitlin


    Iran ‘ready to fire missiles at US bases,’ http://bit.ly/NCNZqe
    A commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said that the country is “ready to fire missiles” at U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf within minutes of an attack on Iran. In response to increased U.S. military presence, missiles have been aimed at 35 U.S. military bases in the Middle East and Israel. This announcement comes after the Revolutionary Guard participated in a three-day war game exercise called Great Prophet Seven, which Iranian officials claimed was to show defiance against western pressure, especially the oil sanctions that went into effect this week.

    WikiLeaks has data from 2.4 million Syrian emails, http://lat.ms/OtTzQD
    WikiLeaks announced today that it will publish 2.4 million Syrian government emails. An official said that the emails, covering August 2006 through March 2012, show a relationship between Assad’s government and Western companies. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that both Syria and the people in the emails will find the document dump “embarrassing.”  The source of the emails remains undisclosed.

    Six arrested in London anti-terror operation, http://bbc.in/LzIJ8e
    Scotland Yard has arrested five men and one woman, all between the ages of 18 and 30, who are suspected of terrorism in London. This is just one of several cases of arrests over the last few months on terror-related suspicions or incidents. London’s Metropolitan Police are concerned about potential acts of terrorism ahead of the Olympic Games. The group apprehended is not believed to have been involved with any plans related to the summer event.

    3 Children, Ages 7 to 9, Found Dead in Iowa River, http://abcn.ws/OtXRHD
    Three children were found dead in the Iowa River last night after apparently drowning during Independence Day celebrations. Police searched for the two girls, ages 7 and 9, and one boy, age 7, after they were separated from the rest of the children swimming in the river. Though the river is relatively shallow from the recent draught, the Marshalltown, Iowa Police Chief said there are still parts of the water that are over 12 feet deep. Another child drowned in the Iowa River last month.


    Lakers to acquire Steve Nash in sign-and-trade deal with the Suns, http://lat.ms/PdQzJm

    Frank Ocean reveals he’s gay, http://bit.ly/LVZby9

    Lifeguard Fired in Florida for Saving a Life, http://bit.ly/NazZrq

    Jena Malone to play Johanna Mason in ‘Catching Fire,’ http://bit.ly/NCTPIk

    Claire Danes & Hugh Dancy Expecting First Child, http://bit.ly/MLBMF4

    Maureen Dolan
    Bio: Maureen is the Marketing & Communications intern for Rock the Vote.

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


    Thursday, February 16th, 2012

    Iran’s leaders react to sanctions; the Greek bailout is starting to unravel; Xi Jinping visits Iowa; unemployment applications continue to drop; Rick Santorum releases his tax returns, and Minnesotans protest voter ID laws. Elsewhere, Buzz Bissinger talks newspaper sales in Philadelphia; New Jersey will fly its flags at half staff in honor of Whitney Houston; and “The Colbert Report” is on temporary hiatus.

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Aggressive Acts by Iran Signal Pressure on Its Leadership, http://nyti.ms/wZuwW7
    Iranian leaders are posturing after the West has tightened sanctions due to Iran’s nuclear strides and its terrorist attacks abroad. In response, Iran will immediately cut off a portion of oil supply to the EU. There has been recent speculation that Israel is prepared to use force in order to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program. Experts are saying that Iran’s recent actions indicate its willingness to fight back if Israel or the United States attacks.

    8 Young Afghans Killed in Strike, NATO Acknowledges, http://nyti.ms/zx5IiU
    Eight Afghan boys have been killed in a bombing in a remote mountainous region of Afghanistan. Afghan officials claim that the boys were unarmed civilians. The families of the deceased have stated that the boys were tending to goats outside of the village. NATO officials have said that they observed the boys with weapons acting in a tactical fashion. Both Afghanistan and NATO agree that there was a search for a weapons cache in the area nearby. According to some of the families, a few of the boys who died were 12 years of age or younger.

    Doubting Greeks’ Resolve, Euro Zone May Hold Back Full Bailout, http://nyti.ms/wEQMvZ
    The EU has yet to hand over the $170 billion that was agreed upon to bail out the Greece. The money was never going to be given in a lump sum because German officials feared that Greece would misuse it and cut back on the austerity measures they insisted on. German economists are voicing their concerns over whether Greek officials can be trustworthy with the bail out. As a result, Greek officials are making incendiary statements towards Germany while protestors burn German flags.

    Xi Jinping visits Iowa, where the diplomatic equivalent of love is in the air, http://wapo.st/x01pzp
    Future Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to return to Iowa, a state he visited as a lowly agricultural official in the 1980s. In 1985, he stayed in Muscatine, Iowa where, with a tiny budget, Jinping slept at the house of a Iowa couple, his bed surrounded by their son’s Star Trek figurines. The visit left a huge mark on Jinping, and he hopes to use his trip to Iowa to show how the US and China need to remain strong partners.

    GM earns highest profit ever in 2011 at $7.6B; union workers to get $7,000 in profit sharing, http://wapo.st/x0GY57
    Strong sales in both the United States and China are responsible for GM’s biggest profit ever in 2011, eclipsing its profits from the late 1990s boom in SUV and Truck sales. The profits have occurred 2 years after the US government bailed out the car manufacturer. However, not all is perfect for GM; the car giant lost money in both Europe and South America which has caused its stocks to not improve as much as it’d like. The US government has a large share of those stocks and is waiting for them to improve before selling them off to recoup money from the bailout.

    Hundreds crowd state Capitol to oppose anti-voting rights amendment http://bit.ly/wQ3ZfH
    Minnesotans are protesting a bill that would rid of same day registration and limit voting to those with who do not have a valid photo ID. According to Minnesota’s Secretary of State, this law would disenfranchise over 200,000 voters, many of whom are elderly, impoverished or homeless. The ruling against same day registration would affect over half a million people who register at the polls. 200 people protested the bill that would force many to cast provisional ballots and would delay many election results.

    Voting rights group files suit over Texas registration practices http://bit.ly/wlgSOp
    Voting for America has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas, alleging that they have suppressed voting. The suit centers around what Voting for America feels are illegal laws that limit who can vote. It also points out instances where voters have been asked for photo IDs even though the law has yet to be implemented. In Galveston, many voters were mistakenly listed as first time voters and then were incorrectly asked to present ID cards. Critics of this lawsuit allege that Voting for America is a front for the scandal ridden ACORN and say that it has ties to the White House.


    Whitney Houston’s funeral to be broadcast online; Gov. Christie defends decision to fly flags half-staff, http://wapo.st/xBdnBk

    Stephen Colbert’s show cancels taping Wednesday night, http://wapo.st/wzxQ5Y

    REGGIE BUSH: I’m NOT Back with Kim Kardashian, http://bit.ly/wAb0E5

    Black Thought and Questlove On Board for GrassROOTS Charity Concert in Philly, http://bit.ly/z57IiI

    Big L Mourned 13 Years Later on Anniversary of Passing, http://bit.ly/wnYSLc

    Aaron Ghitelman

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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

    Rick Santorum makes an unexpected comeback in three state contests; Proposition 8 has been overturned by U.S. Circuit Court; and Obama shows gains over Romney in Virginia. Meanwhile, violence in Syria continues; Russian scientists have reached an Antarctic subglacial lake the size of New Jersey; and Daniel Radcliffe admits to groupie one night stands.

    Kelly + Caitlin


    Syria: Homs under ‘heaviest’ shelling yet, http://bbc.in/AhOpGA
    After President Bashar al-Assad promised yesterday that he would end violence in Syria, 40 people have since died in Homs from heavy shelling. Civilians are hiding inside buildings, running low on food, and unable to travel because of sniper fire in the streets. The continued shelling comes after Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution last week that backed a new Arab League plan for Syria. The plan involved Assad handing power to a deputy who would oversee a transition of power. Syria has become increasingly violent and isolated since the resolution was blocked.

    Russians Claim To Have Punched Through To Antarctic ‘Subglacial Lake,’ http://n.pr/xuaLJX
    Russian scientists announced today that they have successfully drilled through two miles of ice to reach Lake Vostok in Antarctica. The “lake” is roughly the size of New Jersey. Scientists have been drilling to Lake Vostok for about 50 years. The initial spurt of water from the lake, released when scientists finally broke through, has risen up and frozen in the drill hole. Likely contaminated from drilling chemicals, the scientists’ plan is to return next December to draw clean water.

    Prop 8, California’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Declared Unconstitutional, http://huff.to/zABLfQ
    Yesterday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, noting that the ban serves no other purpose than to “lessen the status and human dignity” of gay people. Proposition 8 was approved by California voters in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote. The circuit court opinion cited that the law has no other purpose than to single out gay couples exclusively from marriage, since California already grants them all the rights and benefits of marriage if they register as domestic partners. The one dissenting judge wrote that the ban would help ensure that children are raised by married, opposite-sex couples. Gay rights activists were very pleased because the decision allows the controversy over Proposition 8 to move to the Supreme Court, where it is expected that the justices will affirm the trend of the appeals courts’ reversal of the ban.

    White House hinting compromise on birth control, http://bit.ly/AqStxy
    Amid outcry from conservative leaders and the Catholic Church, the Obama Administration is rumored to discuss a compromise on contraception coverage. A White House spokesman confirmed the belief that women working for church-affiliated employers should have access to birth control, but that the White House will also seek to accommodate ways to allay Catholic employer concerns. An option for compromise could include allowing a church-affiliated employer to not cover birth control and instead, refer employees to an insurer who would provide the coverage.  Another would expand the definition of “religious employer” to be affiliated with houses of worship and institutions, which would allow them to be exempt from the healthcare mandate.

    Rick Santorum wins Republican votes in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, http://trib.in/z8GU07
    Despite less money and less visibility, Rick Santorum won three states yesterday: the Missouri primary and the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses. Santorum, in total, has won four states, the other being Iowa. The votes in Missouri will not affect awarding delegates at the convention later in the year, but more Republicans participated in the Missouri primary than in Nevada, resulting in a major symbolic victory over Mitt Romney. Ron Paul also edged out Romney in Minnesota, coming in second place.

    Obama leads Romney in Virginia poll, http://bit.ly/zdv2zN
    Virginia, now a famous swing state in presidential elections, is showing that in a hypothetical poll, Obama leads Romney 47 percent to 43 percent. The poll results has Obama at a 5 point increase from December. The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University, interviewed 1,544 registered Virginia voters. The poll findings also mention that, despite this encouraging state lead, Obama’s overall approval rating is still below 50 percent. Obama won Virginia in 2008, making him the first Democrat to win it in more than 40 years.

    Sprint sells 1.8 million iPhones but posts huge loss, http://cnnmon.ie/zOlkBB
    Joining AT&T and Verizon as the third national carrier to sell Apple’s iPhone last quarter, Sprint announced that while it sold 1.8 million iPhones, it is posting its biggest quarterly loss in three years. For the quarter, Sprint posted a $1.3 billion loss, 40 percent larger than the $929 million loss it recorded a year earlier. Sprint spokespeople remain hopeful, citing the company’s biggest customer growth in six years and average revenue per user rising by the highest rate in Sprint’s history. Apple sold 40 percent of iPhone products to Sprint customers, much above Verizon and AT&T.


    ‘It has happened!’ Squeaky clean Daniel Radcliffe implies he’s had one-night stands with groupies, http://bit.ly/waKhZh

    Adele’s Health Crisis and Comeback, http://bit.ly/xQPhjx

    Justice Sotomayor Appears On Sesame Street, http://bit.ly/AfQt7e

    2.1 million viewers live stream Super Bowl online, http://bit.ly/ws8T3m

    Ellen Degeneres addresses Prop 8 and J.C. Penney controversy, http://bit.ly/AjFHrs 

    Kelly Holleran

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

    A Valley High Student Recounts Rock the Caucus

    Thursday, January 19th, 2012

    Rock the Vote’s Rock the Caucus at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa was an event unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. When our assistant principal selected me to be a student candidate for the event’s mock caucus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought, “What’s this Rock the Caucus everyone is talking about? Why was I chosen to be a part of it?”

    Teaming up with Rock the Vote for Rock the Caucus ended up being a blast. Rock the Vote and the Iowa Secretary of State’s office invited all of the Republican Presidential Candidates to the event, and four campaigns ended up attending! The student candidate group, of which I was a part, had the chance to interview and escort the candidates – Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney’s sons, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul  – to the gymnasium where the event took place. I was assigned to interview and escort Ron Paul. It was rewarding to have one-on-one time with a presidential candidate! Through this experience I met so many wonderful and important people who want to make sure young people are involved in the political process.

    Rock the Caucus’ ability to rally the young voters of Valley High School was empowering. Throughout my high school career, I have never witnessed students have such an important platform to speak about the issues in their schools and communities and how to fix these issues. The four student candidates had a chance to take advantage of this opportunity. Each of us had one minute to stand up on stage and talk about three issues we would change at Valley High School.

    The most shocking part of the experience was the hundreds of news reporters, paparazzi, and video cameras that arrived when they heard the candidates would be speaking to us. I had never felt so nervous and excited at the same time… it was incredible! We not only had the attention of our classmates and administration, but also the attention of the nation. This made students realize what a huge role they have in voting and politics. Whether the student candidates spoke about our school dance policy, school food, support for school activities, P.E. classes, or finals, we were able to engage students on the issues that impact them. After we spoke, each of our assigned presidential candidates addressed the student body about problems that lay beyond the halls of our high school. Everyone had a lot of fun with this part – we only see candidates speak on TV, but the fact that they were speaking at our high school was unbelievable!

    After speaking about our school’s P.E. requirement, I ended up winning the student mock caucus, which was very cool. On top of that, people kept telling me they saw me on national television! It was amazing to have our speeches broadcast live to the nation.

    I think Rock the Caucus really helped to make young people aware of their role in society and the importance of their voice and vote. When we realize that we have the power to voice our opinions for others to hear, it encourages us to make our voices heard. I had so much fun teaming up with Rock the Vote. This event really changed my perspective on my role as a citizen, and I look forward to participating in politics in the future.

    Check out a few photos from Rock the Caucus here!

    Maddy Baker
    Bio: Senior at Valley High School and a Rock the Caucus student candidate.

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