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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 9, 2014

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    A stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school leaves 20 students injured; Rep. Vance McAllister’s staffer resigns after kissing incident; Police search for a possible serial sniper in Kansas City; and a new breakthrough in paralysis research has occurred. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway put a cabaret spin on some top hip hop songs; Prince George has a play date down under; and Miley discusses her freedom without Disney or Liam Hemsworth.

    Shameless Plug Alert: Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers, my (Veronica’s) hometown hockey team, on clinching a NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs spot last night. Let’s go Flyers!

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    DEVELOPING STORY: 20 injured in Pittsburgh-area high school stabbing: http://rtvote.com/1qqQ250
    At least 20 students have been injured at Franklin Regional Senior High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An adult is also being treated for an unspecified medical condition. Four students have been taken to the hospital via helicopter and some students’ injuries are life-threatening. A hallway and a classroom were the setting for the potentially deadly stabbing. All schools are now secure, but the district’s elementary schools are closed for the day. The suspect, a sophomore boy, is now in custody.

    Spinal cord work is unexpected shocker: ‘This is a breakthrough’: http://rtvote.com/1qiwa5T
    Neuroscientist Susan Harkema had been running a study to try to learn more about “nerve pathways” by stimulating the spinal cords of paralyzed people through electricity. However, she managed to enable her patients to move their legs. All of her patients have been able to move their toes, move their legs around, sit up on their own, and even do sit ups! Harkema says this is the first time electrical stimulation to the spine and show results. Co-founder of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Dr. Barth Green says that “This is a breakthrough. It shows you can have a living spinal cord under the layer of their injury.” Scientists hope this will open the door to the possibility of new breakthroughs.

    Staffer caught kissing Rep. McAllister resigns, while Congressman keeps his job: http://rtvote.com/1k3Q4Qr
    Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA) was caught on tape Monday kissing a staff member. The Congressman and the staffer, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, are both married. Peacock has since resigned her post as district scheduler to McAllister. McAllister, conversely, says he has “no plans to resign” and insists that he will campaign for reelection this year. On Monday, the Ouachita Citizen posted a surveillance video showing the two kissing. McAllister admitted the affair and apologized to his constituents: “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was “pleased” with the apology, but he has not yet commented on whether McAllister should keep his job.

    Kansas City authorities seek perpetrator after some shootings linked: http://rtvote.com/1kKJBby
    The FBI has joined the hunt for a shooter in Kansas City, Missouri area. So far, thirteen shootings have been reported along parts of Interstate 435 and Interstate 470, most of which are near exit and interchange ramps. No one has been killed, but three people have been wounded; one was shot in the arm, the others were shot in the leg. Law enforcement believes that at least a part of the thirteen shootings are linked. The FBI and ATF have put out a $7000 reward for anyone who might know anything about the shootings or the possible shooter(s).

    UConn Women’s Basketball completes 40-0 season: http://rtvote.com/1k3Y9ED
    UConn’s women’s basketball team has completed their 40-0 season with a 79-58 win over Notre Dame. They are now repeat champions and it is the fifth time the team has gone undefeated under the head coach, Geno Auriemma. Auriemma has won nine National Titles in nine tries after the win. Notre Dame finished 37-1 after the loss.

    CULTURAL

    Paul Rudd joins Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner for some Funny or Die fun: http://rtvote.com/R2X9GB

    Jimmy Fallon and Anne Hathaway sing Broadway versions of…rap songs? http://rtvote.com/1lKl5J3

    Prince George’s royal play date: http://rtvote.com/ODqMfM

    Miley Cyrus talks “being free”: http://rtvote.com/1eks0sJ

    Samantha Harris diagnosed with breast cancer, due to receive double mastectomy: http://rtvote.com/1hsHbR3

    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, June 25, 2013

    Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

    Zimmerman’s prosecutor fights to reveal calls to dispatcher upon encountering Martin; the Supreme Court rules on key provision of Voting Rights Act; John Kerry asks Russia to ‘Do the right thing’; President Obama will meet today with Congressional leaders on immigration reform and student loans; Turkish police arrest 20 protestors in Ankara; and President Obama will speak on climate change at Georgetown University. Meanwhile, George Lucas gets married, and Mariah Carey’s new album is delayed.

    Maura + Alexis

    CRUCIAL:

    Essential or irrelevant? Zimmerman prosecutor fights to reveal previous calls to cops, http://nbcnews.to/17yYkUK
    Today, a Florida judge will decide whether or not calls George Zimmerman made to a police dispatcher before killing Trayvon Martin will be admitted as evidence. Prosecutors have said the calls would provide the jury with insight into Zimmerman’s mental state when he first encountered Martin.

    High Court Voids Key Point of Voting Rights Act, http://rtvote.com/14uVZnO
    In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court justices ruled that a key Provision of the Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress can come up with an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities should require federal monitoring. The justices in favor of this ruling decided that the 40-year-old data doesn’t reflect racial progress in the United States.

    Kerry to Russia: ‘Do the right thing’ and return NSA leaker, http://nbcnews.to/14ltmsS
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asked Russia on Monday to “do the right thing” and keep Edward Snowden from fleeing Moscow and return him to the United States. Kerry talked about upholding “standards” and maintaining the “important” relationship we have with Russia.

    Obama to meet with Congressional leaders on immigration reform, http://bit.ly/178R9PB
    Today President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to garner support for a comprehensive immigration reform package and to discuss student loans. The meeting will be attended by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Vice President Biden.

    Turkish police detain 20 over anti-government protests, http://reut.rs/15BgNcq
    Special Turkish anti-terrorism police arrested and detained 20 protestors in Ankara today. The Prime Minister of Turkey has targeted 30 addresses in the capital, claiming that the demonstrators were manipulated by “terrorists.”

    Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2, http://es.pn/1a9fs3u
    With less than two minutes left in the game, the Blackhawks were down by one goal, yet they managed to score twice in the final 1:16 minutes granting them the victory – and the Stanley Cup. Bryan Bickell was responsible for tying the game with 1:16 minutes to go, and Dave Bolland was responsible for the winning goal.

    Obama planning to sidestep Congress for next phase in climate change agenda, http://fxn.ws/11E8AGP
    President Obama will give a speech today at Georgetown University outlining his plan to address climate change. Obama plan to combat climate change includes the first-ever federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions of existing power plants. The president is expected to announce today in his speech that he will be issuing a presidential memorandum to implement these new regulations. In other words, no congressional approval will be necessary.

    CULTURAL:

    George Lucas ties the knot, http://bit.ly/120SOC7

    Mariah Carey Album Delayed: ‘The Art Of Letting Go’ Pushed To ‘Give It Justice’, http://huff.to/11KytRJ

    P.O.D. On Kanye West: Sonny Sandoval Slams ‘Yeezus’ Rapper, http://huff.to/14oNRFg

    ‘Encyclopedia Brown’ Movie Adaptation Eyed By Warner Bros., http://huff.to/12n6bvA

    2013 Cannes Film Festival Fake Gunman Sentenced to 18 Months in Jail for Firing Blanks, http://eonli.ne/11Kobkx

    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