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    News Round-Up: Thursday, February 27, 2014

    Thursday, February 27th, 2014

    Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoes SB 1062; Michelle Obama supports the FDA’s new rules for food labels; President Obama unveils “My Brother’s Keeper”; and NASA discovers 715 new planets. Meanwhile, Seth Rogan goes to Washington; Fast & Furious 7 resumes production soon; and it’s almost Oscar Night: see the nominees one more time!

    - Veronica + Maura


    Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoes anti-gay bill: http://rtvote.com/1hshIoc
    Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, the highly controversial Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to or turn away members of the LGBT community based on religious beliefs. Brewer said in a statement: “I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.” Opponents to the bill praised Brewer, while supporters of the bill believed the veto was a shot to religious freedom.

    Obama to detail program to help minority youth: http://rtvote.com/1fLN6xW
    President Obama will announce details on his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative on Thursday. The initiative is a partnership between businesses, organizations, and the government that will hopefully help “high risk” minority men stay out of jail through skills training. Several philanthropic groups have already pledged to funnel $200 million over the next five years into the program. The Obama administration and the organizations involved will analyze the effectiveness of existing programs that have similar aims as “My Brother’s Keeper” does and figure out how they can be reformed or maintained to improve effectiveness.

    Nutrition labels getting a makeover: http://rtvote.com/1ccfA5d
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed changing the nutrition labels found on every packaged food and drink. New labels would put a heavier focus on calories per serving and percent daily value, and the serving sizes will be changed to reflect the average amount of the product people consume. First Lady Michelle Obama is vehemently supporting the changes, saying in a press release that the new labels will “make a big difference for families all across the country.”

    Seoul: N. Korea fired short-range missiles into sea: http://rtvote.com/1ftGjum
    South Korean officials report that North Korea fired four short-range missiles into the sea on Thursday in an apparent protest of military exercises occurring between the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang believes that these exercises are a “rehearsal for invasion”. The launch could also be a plea for international attention in order to obtain more aid negotiations from foreign countries.

    NASA discovers 715 new planets: http://rtvote.com/1gEUNE6
    NASA announced Wednesday that they have found 715 new planets, making it the largest planetary discovery in history. To put this in perspective, before the announcement, there had been 1,000 planets discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. Four of these planets, scientists believe, have the potential to support life. The four are each about twice the size of Earth, and one orbits a star half the size of the sun every 30 days. The planets were discovered using the Kepler space observatory’s telescope. Launched in 2009, these 715 planets are only from Kepler’s first two years in space, meaning there could be more to come.


    Watch Seth Rogan in Congress! http://rtvote.com/1jDz3v7

    More Bieber drama after police release footage: http://rtvote.com/1jDzrKf

    Are Matthew Bellamy and Kate Hudson breaking up? http://rtvote.com/1cq4nZk 

    Fast & Furious 7 scheduled to resume production in April: http://rtvote.com/1eqa9OS

    Quick refresher before Oscars Sunday: see the nominees! http://rtvote.com/1mIZq7C

    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: October 22, 2013

    Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

    The U.S.’s drone strikes are being heavily criticized internationally; many mourn the death of a heroic teacher, who passed during a school shooting Monday; and the unemployment rate dropped only slightly, but things may not be as bad as they seem. Meanwhile, Kim and Kanye are engaged, and Pauly D is now a father!

    -Sandy + Maura


    Six Key Parts of a New Report That May Change Your View on Droneshttp://rtvote.com/1eGD9Qz
    A report has been issued by the international NGO Human Rights Watch, that accuses the U.S. of failing to comply with international law in its use of drones to fight counterterrorism. The author, Letta Tayler, focuses on six specific drone strikes that caused the death of 82 people; at least 57 of the casualties were civilians. Non-governmental organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have criticized the civilian deaths as well as the Obama administration’s continued approval of drone strikes when no imminent threat is defined.

    Meeting set over Iraq veteran’s SpongeBob gravestonehttp://rtvote.com/1fT9nuN
    Kimberly Walker, 28, was an Iraq veteran and a lover of SpongeBob Squarepants. The Army vet was beaten and strangled in a Colorado hotel room, and her boyfriend, another Army soldier, has been charged with her murder. Her family ordered a seven-foot headstone of Mr. Squarepants, clad in an Army uniform, to be erected in her honor. However, cemetery officials have deemed it inappropriate for a traditional resting ground. They have removed the headstone and are meeting with the family to discuss alternative options.

    Nevada school shooting victim was ‘trained to help’http://rtvote.com/1eGHvHe
    Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, is a hero. On Monday, he was shot and killed in the school shooting. Mr. Landsberry, an adored teacher, husband, father, and member of the Nevada Air National Guard, stepped in front of another male student who seemed to be the shooter’s next target. Mr. Landsberry calmly tried to stop the shooter and was subsequently killed. The targeted male student was not harmed. The Monday shooting left two students wounded, and the shooter also took his own life.

    First Take: Not many jobs – but the right kindhttp://rtvote.com/19s1jw5
    Reports reveal that only 148,000 jobs were added in September – 32,000 short of expectations. Unemployment dropped from August’s 7.3% to 7.2%. However, a closer look at the types of jobs gained gives us more optimism about the future. Several sectors essential for a 2014 recovery benefitted from these job gains; among them are construction, government, business services, transportation, and retailing.

    Facebook lets beheading clips return to social networkhttp://rtvote.com/19s3Whr
    Facebook temporarily banned decapitation clips in May after a slew of complaints claimed that these videos could cause long-term psychological damage. The social media firm has brought them back because they believe users should be free to watch, share, and condemn such videos and behaviors. Many have critiqued the firm for its actions, including some of Facebook’s own staff members. The social media site has updated its terms and conditions to state that any photos or videos that “glorify violence” will be removed, among other banned material.


    Melissa McCarthy: ‘I picked the coat!’, http://rtvote.com/1gC3Een

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Engaged, http://rtvote.com/1eGRSLc

    Kelly Clarkson’s Country Wedding: Details on the Dress, Venue, and More, http://rtvote.com/1fTm09j

    Pauly D is a Dad! Jersey Shore Alum “Very Excited” About Newborn Daughter, http://rtvote.com/1gC57RF


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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

    President Obama negotiates on job creation; NC Governor signs abortion bill into law; Israeli-Palestinian peace talks commence; and Zimbabwe youth set to take to the polls. Meanwhile, Lea Michelle reacts to Monteith’s passing; Taylor Swift sings with Carly Simon; and preview for season 3 of Homeland is released.

    - Ally + Maura


    With deficit negotiations at an impasse, Obama offers Republicans a ‘grand bargain’ on jobs, http://rtvote.com/1632bnU
    President Obama’s Tuesday trip to an Amazon.com distribution center prompts a proposal to invest in middle-class jobs. In order to see progress, the President will drop his former insistence on an individual tax overhaul. He will offer corporate tax cuts while demanding job creation.

    More than 100 teens rescued in weekend sex-trafficking raids, FBI says, http://rtvote.com/162Z92V
    Victims as young as age 13 were rescued in a nationwide sex-trafficking crackdown across over 70 cities. More than 100 teenagers were rescued, and 159 “pimps” were arrested. This was “the FBI’s largest action to date focusing on the recovery of sexually exploited children.”

    Pat McCrory Signs Controversial Abortion Bill Into Law, http://rtvote.com/13jIOIM
    After passing the state Senate and House earlier in July, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed an anti-abortion bill into law on Monday. The bill eliminates abortion coverage for those covered by State or Federal health plans, imposes regulations on abortion clinics, and bans sex-selective abortions. During his campaign for Governor last year, McCrory said he would not pass additional restrictions on abortion.

    A guide to the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian peace talkshttp://rtvote.com/1630gQ4
    Peace talks began in Washington last night between Israeli and Palestinian officials. They are expected to last nine months. This article outlines what to expect of the process and outcomes.

    Swiss train crash: Driver’s body recovered after head-on train collision leaves 26 injuredhttp://rtvote.com/162Zt1A
    After two trains collided in Switzerland on Monday, 26 people were injured and one driver was killed. Switzerland is thought to have one of the safest rail systems in the world, but the event is striking, especially following last week’s deadly train crash in Spain.

    Youth, rural voters may hold key to Zimbabwe electionhttp://rtvote.com/19uSsvQ
    The influence of young voters is expected to be significant in tomorrow’s presidential election in Zimbabwe. In the first round of elections, neither candidate won a large enough margin of votes, thus leading to a second vote. Leading up to this second round, nearly 750,000 new voters have been registered (the country’s population is approximately 13 million). A representative of the Election Resource Centre says that “the winner will be whoever captures the new youth voters.”


    Lea Michele Breaks Her Silence: “Cory Monteith Will Forever Be in My Heart,” http://rtvote.com/13jJXQs

    Lindsay Lohan to Guest Host Chelsea Lately August 5!, http://rtvote.com/1630maG

    Taylor Swift Brings Carly Simon On Stage To Sing ‘You’re So Vain,’ http://rtvote.com/1630w1N

    1990 Things From The 90s To End The Nostalgia Once And For All, http://rtvote.com/1631jzG

    Homeland Season 3: First Trailer Teases Brody Trying to “Survive,” http://rtvote.com/1631Wcn

    Bio: My name is Ally Filler and I am a Field Intern at RTV this summer! I recently graduated from McGill University where I studied Linguistics. In addition to marveling at the linguistic hotspot that is Montreal and eating many croissants, I assisted hundreds of American students in their quest to vote from abroad. I'm excited to be a part of such an amazing team here at 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


    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.,
    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,
    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,
    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’,
    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.


    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

    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

    Guest Post: Invest in the Youth Vote

    Monday, October 25th, 2010
    Guest blog post Alexander Amend of Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action

    It’s a holy grail of sorts for political candidates: the Elusive Youth Vote. We’re energized, connected and numerous. Barack Obama roared into the presidency with a lively youth backing and now, ahead of the midterm elections, he’s looking to recapture the same enthusiasm on college campuses around the country.

    So what is it those politicians wonder? What are the issues that the youth vote wants to see addressed?  With the economy stalling on the road to recovery and eligible graduates pouring out of campuses the answer is pretty obvious: jobs, jobs and hopefully full-time jobs. And the most recent Rock The Vote nationwide poll bears that out. In two rounds of polling, 54 percent of respondents said that jobs and the economy demanded the most concern.  This no doubt reflects the sobering fact that back in July, 51.1 percent of Americans between 16 and 24 were unemployed.

    The proposals coming in from many candidates however, are dominated by a single figure: the deficit. “The government is mortgaging our children’s future,” runs the line. Drastic cuts across the board in spending is the only way to reduce this man-made monster.  Austerity looms. Video

    And while the deficit is a top concern to RTV poll respondents, the policy proposals that gained the most support in the polling take on a very different track: investment. Investing in government grants to make college more affordable and investing in renewable energy rank the highest — which is apt: the US ranks 12th in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees and is trailing China by nearly half in investing in clean energy.

    When the country was last so challenged by an economic depression, it took massive spending and investment to emerge from its grip. And like the average student who takes on a record $24,000 of debt to pay for college, they do so as an investment, while hindered by the lack of economic recovery, remains the best route to more and better jobs in the future.

    So some advice for the candidates who are looking to tap into the youth vote: don’t tell us that our future isn’t worth investing in. Otherwise, the support for your campaign might face something of a deficit.
    Rock the Vote
    Bio: Rock the Vote was founded in 1990 to organize artists and fight against censorship of musicians. Since then we've evolved to focus on empowering young people to get involved in the political process. We use pop culture, peer-to-peer organizing, and the latest technology to raise visibility of politics and demystify the process of registering to vote.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com