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    News Round-Up: Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    The Department of Defense proposes some extreme military cuts; Deval Patrick may be considering running for president; and a strange polio-like disease strikes five kids. Meanwhile, view the top 15 moments at the Sochi Olympics; Alec Baldwin has harsh words for some celebrities; and Pharrell’s “Smoky the Bear” Grammy’s hat is up for auction.

    - Veronica + Maura


    Defense Department to cut Army to pre-WWII size:http://rtvote.com/1pjsT6W
    The Department of Defense will present a new defense budget Monday that will decrease defense spending. The budget outlines a plan intent on reducing the Army to the size it was before World War Two (between 440,000 and 450,000 troops) and plans on removing a class of Air Force attack jets. The bill, supported by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, protects funding for cyberwarfare and security as well as special operations programs. Congressional leaders with large military populations in the area they represent may provide a strong opposition to the budget.

    Mass. Gov Patrick: ‘Maybe’ I’ll run for president:http://rtvote.com/1k4j7lg
    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick told Politico that he might consider a run for president in the future. He originally dismissed rumors of a 2016 presidential bid because he was afraid of the impact the election would have on his family. Patrick said that he and his wife would have to agree on running if he ever considered it. Patrick is not running for a third gubernatorial term this year.

    Longest-serving Congressman to retire:http://rtvote.com/1cHUd9x
    Michigan Representative John Dingell, 87, will retire from the House of Representatives when his 29th term ends later this year. A champion of healthcare reform, environmental protection, gun control, worker’s rights, and gun rights, Dingell has an impressive congressional accomplishments sheet. Serving in Congress has taken a toll on his physical health, and he continually expressed frustration with the increasingly partisan Congressional gridlock. Dingell’s retirement is now one of many, as more congressmen and senators call for retirement. Although his Michigan district is considered a safety district for Democrats, the Congressman or woman who takes his place will have a tough act to follow.

    Polio-like illness found in five California children:http://rtvote.com/1epOTnD
    Between August 2012 and July 2013, five California children have become paralyzed in one or more of their limbs. Doctors ruled out polio because all of the affected children had been vaccinated against the disease, despite their ailment having polio-like qualities. Instead, two of the five children have been diagnosed with enterovirus 68, an incredibly rare disease that is from the same family as polio. Since 2000, there have been 47 cases of enterovirus 68 in the United States. Health officials are not concerned about the possibility of an outbreak, stressing the rarity of the illness.

    Students, say goodbye to snow days:http://rtvote.com/OtTD74
    Teachers are beginning to utilize technology to teach at home. Because this winter has been difficult for many areas of the country, some schools have run out of snow days. Teachers in some school districts have begun to teach online during snow days, requiring students to log in to a program online to keep track of attendance and grades. This prevents students from missing too many school days, which would require school officials to take days away from spring break.


    See the most memorable moments from the Sochi Olympics:http://rtvote.com/1fnoTj4

    Brooke-Burke Charvet ousted from her DWTS hosting job:http://rtvote.com/1eb5gt5

    Alec Baldwin’s harsh New York essay:http://rtvote.com/1gwSMKa

    You can buy Pharrell’s infamous Grammy hat:http://rtvote.com/1mD9Ju3

    Liam Neeson discusses Natasha Richardson’s death:http://rtvote.com/1pjQ9ll

    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 15, 2013

    Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

    The House GOP’s new plan fails; a ‘zombie’ drug gains popularity; and the Supreme Court has agreed to review the greenhouse gases case. Meanwhile, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the Golden Globes for the next two years, and Brad Pitt promotes the importance of 12 Years a Slave.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Republican Leaders Back Off New Planhttp://rtvote.com/194MTlm
    This morning, House Republican leaders tried to devise a new proposal to reopen the government and alter parts of Obamacare, but it failed to garner enough support from the rest of the Republican party. Speaker John Boehner stated that “there are a lot of opinions” in his party. Everyone is aware of the October 17th debt deadline, but Republicans still appear to be unrelenting on the condition of depriving members of Congress and the White House of subsidies when they buy health insurance under the new Obamacare system.

    Florida boy, 6, drowns in Carnival cruise ship poolhttp://rtvote.com/1ghJki7
    A 6-year-old boy, who was in the pool with his 10-year-old brother, drowned aboard cruise ship Carnival Victory. The poolside DJ first saw the child struggling in the water, and a guest pulled him out of the pool. He was pronounced dead after unsuccessful attempts at reviving him. Carnival Cruise pools do not have lifeguards; the cruise line’s policy requires children under 13 to be supervised by parents.

    Flesh-rotting ‘krokodil’ drug emerges in USAhttp://rtvote.com/1fA9uLP
    A cheap heroine knockoff drug, called Krokodil, began gaining popularity in Russia in the early 2000s. The drug has started to be used in the United States. Krokodil gives the user a high, and then rots his or her skin soon after, sometimes even deteriorating the skin all the way down to the bone.

    Supreme Court to Review Greenhouse Gases Casehttp://rtvote.com/1ghMLW2
    The Supreme Court has agreed to review a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s unprecedented regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. The High Court will determine whether the EPA overstepped its authority and whether the EPA’s ability to regulate automobile emissions of greenhouse gases also applies to power plants and factories.

    Madeleine McCann case: 1,000 responses to new police appealhttp://rtvote.com/194NtiR
    Madeleine McCann was three years old when she was abducted from her family’s holiday villa in Portugal in 2007. The investigation has continued ever since then, but a new TV appeal has triggered almost 1,000 responses. New leads have emerged, as two different people have given the police the same name based on computer-generated sketches of the suspect. London’s Metropolitan Police Service is offering a reward of $32,000 for information that can lead to the identification, arrest, and prosecution of the person who abducted Madeleine.


    Steven Bellovin blames Washington politics for HealthCare.gov’s glitches in “Why healthcare.gov has so many problems,” http://rtvote.com/194OW8S

    Journalists weigh in on the upcoming Supreme Court case on Michigan’s Proposal 2 in “Affirmative action vs. voters: Opinionline,” http://rtvote.com/194PJXB


    Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Hosting Golden Globe Awards in 2014 and 2015, http://rtvote.com/1ghSjzL

    Brad Pitt Talks About Turning 50 and the Importance of 12 Years a Slavehttp://rtvote.com/194Qoby

    Natalie Portman Talks Moving to Paris, Dealing with Drunk Fans, and Avoiding Confrontation,http://rtvote.com/1fA4FlJ

    Miley Cyrus Raps With French Montana in “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’” Remix, http://rtvote.com/1eoopFN


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

    News Round-Up: Friday, May 31, 2013

    Friday, May 31st, 2013

    A U.S. woman is freed from Mexican jail; a Texas man becomes person of interest in ricin-letter investigation; Arvind Mahankali wins the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee; Defense Secretary Hagal talks cyber-security; video shows Boston bombings suspects at a gym three days before attacks; more storms hit the midwest; a woolly mammoth carcass is found in Russia; a Michigan woman is reported dead in Syria; and Obama pushed Congress to do something about student loan interest rates by July 1. Meanwhile, a park employee pleads not guilty to a dry ice blast at Disneyland, and Philip Seymour Hoffman enters rehab for narcotic abuse.

    Maura + Alexis


    U.S. woman held in Mexico on drug smuggling charge freed, http://cbsn.ws/Zi9V4y
    An Arizona woman was freed from a Mexico jail after spending a week there on a suspected drug smuggling charge. Thanks to security footage from the bus, she was proven not guilty and was let go. Yanira Maldonado was arrested by the Mexican military last week after they found 12 pounds of pot under her bus seat at a security checkpoint. Maldonado was released from prison late Thursday night.

    Ricin-letter investigation identifies Texas man as person of interest, http://cbsn.ws/13oXaEW
    A Texas man was identified as a suspect Thursday in the case of ricin-laced threat letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and to President Obama. Police have not yet arrested him. The man is merely being questioned by the FBI at this point.

    Arvind Mahankali Wins The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, http://huff.to/ZhV1v6
    Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-oldl from Queens, N.Y., wins the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee. He won the spelling bee with the word “knaidel,” a German derived Yiddish word that means a small mass of dough, like a dumpling. Mahankali had tied for ninth in 2010, tied for third in 2011, finished third in 2012 and finally won in 2013.

    Cyber threats pose ‘stealthy, insidious’ danger: defense chief, http://reut.rs/18CPAtm
    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke today about cyber threats and their ability to pose a “quiet, stealthy, insidious” danger to the US and other nations. Hagel said that he would address the topic in his speech on Saturday to the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore. He also expressed that the issue would likely become a talking point in a brief meeting with Chinese delegates on the margins of the conference. He finished with a call to action that included creating “rules of the road” between the US and every other nation with regard to cyber conflict.

    Video shows Boston bombing suspects at gym days before attack, http://bit.ly/116PDrc
    A video shows that just three days before the Boston Marathon bombings, suspects Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were working out at local gym. The footage shows the brothers arriving at the Wai Kru mixed marital arts center just before 2:45 p.m. April 12. The manager of the gym noticed a distinct change in Tamerlan’s appearance – no more bushy beard. Looking back, the manager wonders if the shaving of his beard may have been part of an Islamic purification ritual that takes place before death.

    More Heavy Storms on Tap for the Midwest; 3 Dead, http://abcn.ws/13q7z39
    Up to a dozen tornados hit Arkansas on Thursday as well as one in Illinois and three in Oklahoma. Nine people were injured, and at least three were killed as a result of the storms in the region. Forecasters warn that large hail and more tornados are possible today.

    Russians Find Mammoth Carcass With Liquid Blood, http://bit.ly/10D2QN5
    Russian scientists uncovered a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood on Thursday. The animal carcass was found on a remote Arctic island. Scientists are excited at the prospects of cloning the Ice Age animal. The blood found was very dark but still in its liquid form. The blood of woolly mammoths apparently did not freeze in even extremely cold temperatures in order to keep the animals warm. The animal’s muscle tissue was also found in perfect condition.

    US State Department Probes Report of Michigan Woman Killed in Syria, http://abcn.ws/15oPEuZ
    The US State Department is currently investigating reports that a US woman has been killed in Syria. Syrian state television has reported that an American woman from Michigan had been killed by government forces while fighting alongside the opposition in Idlib province. The State Department told ABC News that it is aware of what is going on and it is seeking more information through Czech protecting power. Monday, Sen. John McCain crossed the Syrian border to meet with rebel forces.

    Obama pushes Congress on student loans, http://wapo.st/11sMVMA
    President Obama urged Congress on Friday to pass a student-loan bill by July 1. Obama said “If Congress doesn’t act by July 1, federal student loan rates are set to double.” He equated this increase in loan rates to an average of $1,000 per student of additional debt. Obama was also quoted saying, “The House bill isn’t smart, and it’s not fair, so I’m asking young people [...] to make their voices heard once again.” The rates will rise automatically to 6.8% if Congress does not pass a bill by the end of the month to extend lower rates.


    Disneyland Explosion: Park Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Dry Ice Blast, http://eonli.ne/19t6axo

    Billy Joel Gives Surprise Master Class for NYC High School Students, http://eonli.ne/19tfcKE

    Philip Seymour Hoffman Entered Detox for Narcotic Abuse, http://tmz.me/1169Mh7

    Boston Strong: Donnie Wahlberg, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Buffett and More Stars Come Together for Concert, http://eonli.ne/15otEjQ

    Lincoln Bell Shepard: See Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s 2-Month-Old Baby Girl!, http://eonli.ne/15mkx3j

    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

    All is Good in the Great Lakes State: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Secures a Victory for Voters

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

    Rick Snyder, the Republican Governor of Michigan, secured a last-second victory for voters that was reminiscent of the Wolverines’ comeback victory over Notre Dame. As time was winding down before the summer recess, Snyder hauled in the hopes of young people and lobbyists and vetoed the bill. Opponents of voter suppression were about as shocked and elated as the Michigan faithful were when Roy Roundtree grabbed Denard Robinson’s lob to the corner of the endzone as time was running out in the fourth quarter.
    Snyder vetoed three bills in total. One bill would have required voters to affirm that they were U.S. citizens before receiving a ballot. Another would have required absentee voters to show a photo ID when picking up a ballot. The third would have required training for organizations and people who wanted to participate in voter registration drives.
    These surprise vetoes left supporters of the bill in shock and “deeply disappointed.”
    Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger went on to say that “eligible voters need to know that their votes count and will not be canceled out by others who are ineligible to vote.”
    Supporters were ecstatic.
    “This is fantastic news,” Jessica Tramontana from Progress Michigan said. “To put unnecessary obstacles in the path to voting is ridiculous. So we applaud the governor’s veto.”
    These vetoes by the governor ensure that the most vulnerable voters maintain their say in the electoral process. These vetoes removed the potential roadblocks for young, old, poor, and disabled voters. They allow these demographics to keep electoral power and affect the outcome of the 2012 elections.
    The announcement’s timing was very fitting. It came down on the day before Independence Day, a day to honor America. This decision honors every American’s right to vote, which is crucial to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
    Voters in Michigan should celebrate this victory like the Big Blue fans did after their last second victory over Ohio State. But, instead of rushing the field, they should rush to the polls. The voter registration deadline for the Michigan state primary is Monday, and what better way could there be to celebrate this victory for voters and America than fulfilling your civic duty and registering to vote?

    Blaze Joel

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

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

    President Obama will reveal a corporate tax reform plan; two more journalists have died in Syria; Iran relations sour over nuclear negotiation talks; and Romney and Santorum duke it out in various national voting polls. Meanwhile, Google plans to sell “Terminator” glasses to augment the smartphone; President Obama continues his singing career; and Adele joins M.I.A. in flipping the bird on television.

    Kelly + Caitlin


    Obama to offer corporate tax reform plan, http://bit.ly/z5cZfo
    President Obama’s corporate tax reform plan will be unveiled by the Treasury Department today. The plan aims to reduce the rate paid by corporations, which would lower the overall tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. A senior administration official says that the lower rate would be funded by eliminating tax loopholes, subsidies, and expanding business taxes. The tax plan proposes more manufacturing research, development, and production of clean energy. It will also cut taxes and simplify the tax code for small U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs. The current corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world, with critics complaining that it discourages foreign investment and prohibits U.S. companies from competing internationally.

    2 Western journalists killed in Syria, opposition activists say, http://bit.ly/y74OJo
    Amid heavy shelling in the Syrian city of Homs, it’s reported that two Western journalists have been killed. The Sunday Times of London confirmed that British newspaper journalist Marie Colvin, who stayed in Syria a day later than originally planned in order to work on a story, has died. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has also confirmed that journalist Remi Ochlik was killed in a bombing. The deaths follow The New York Times’ loss of reporter Anthony Shadid, who was working in eastern Syria when he suffered a fatal asthma attack. In addition, twenty-seven Syrians were killed on Wednesday. The dead include 20 from the Bab Amr neighborhood of Homs, where Colvin and Ochlik were stationed.

    UN nuclear agency reports failed Iran talks, http://bit.ly/zU7sqn
    After a trip to Iran to investigate the country’s nuclear weapon strides, the U.N. nuclear agency is reporting failure, with an official citing not being able to “find a way forward” to talk with Iran about suspected arms. In addition to this, Tehran is resisting demands to discuss any nuclear activity even with international sanctions against Iran growing. Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency had hoped to talk to Iranian scientists about their weapons program and inspect documents related to nuclear work. Officials are reporting that they will try to remain in constructive spirits with Iran. It is now up to the 35-nation IAEA board to decide on its next response.

    NBC Poll: Romney, Santorum deadlocked in Michigan; Romney leads in Arizona, http://on.msnbc.com/wmr1HZ
    A week out before the Republican presidential primary in Michigan, a new poll shows Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are in a tie in Michigan, while Romney holds a cushioned lead in Arizona. Romney holds 37 percent of support in Michigan while Santorum holds 35 percent. Ron Paul is reported to have 13 percent and Newt Gingrich is coming in last with 8 percent.

    Santorum Up 9 Points Among Republican Voters, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Obama Edges Santorum, But Romney Is Too Close To Call, http://bit.ly/zHKdKO 
    In a national poll, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum now leads the Republican presidential race by 35 percent. Mitt Romney has scored 26 percent among nationwide Republican and Independent voters. In a November match-up, Obama shows to edge out Santorum, 47 to 44 percent, but still contends a close race with Romney, 46 percent to 44 percent. Newt Gingrich weighs in with 14 percent of support while Ron Paul holds 11 percent.

    Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End, http://nyti.ms/z4QYPU
    Doing away with the hassle of rummaging in pockets to find a smartphone, Google is creating a pair of glasses that will be able to stream information in front of the wearer’s eyeballs in real time. The glasses will go on sale publicly by the end of the year and are expected to cost around $250 to $600. The glasses will be Android-based, with a small screen sitting a few inches from the wearer’s eye. They will have a small camera built in which will monitor the wearer’s world and relay information about surrounding locations, buildings, and friends nearby. The product is reported to resemble a pair of Oakley Thumps.


    President Obama sings ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ with B.B. King and Buddy Guy, http://wapo.st/yHYtkI

    Adele flips off producers at Brit Awards, http://bit.ly/AkcI30

    Kourtney Kardashian Reveals Sex of Baby, http://eonli.ne/A7Vap4

    ‘Amazing Race’ producer Jeff Rice found dead in Africa of suspected poisoning, http://thedc.com/xlfF3B

    Massive Pink Diamond Discovered in Australia, Worth Over $10 Million, http://huff.to/zcnjeY

    Kelly Holleran

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