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    NEWS ROUND-UP: FRIDAY, APRIL 18th, 2014

    Friday, April 18th, 2014

    In today’s news, prosecutors seek justice against captain of capsized South Korean ferry; the White House announces 8 million healthcare registrations; a Mount Everest avalanche kills 12; and Chelsea Clinton officially announces that she is expecting her first child. Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan opens up on Watch What Happens Live; Victoria Beckham posts a cozy 40th birthday photo with her hubby; and Idris Elba welcomes a baby boy.

    - Austin + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Chelsea Clinton Announces Child on the Way http://rtvote.com/1f2a4xQ
    Yup, it’s true! Chelsea Clinton, only daughter to former President Bill Clinton and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, is expecting a child with husband Marc Mazvinsky. She said “I certainly feel all the better, whether it’s a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong female leaders.” Both Bill and Hillary Clinton expressed their excitement via twitter.

    Prosecutors Seek Arrest for Captain of Capsized Ferry http://rtvote.com/1jd91xk
    After a South Korean ferry transporting high school students capsized on Tuesday, prosecutors are seeking criminal charges against Captain Lee Jun-seok. Jun-seok has been accused of abandoning the ship prematurely. In what is fast becoming one of South Korea’s worst tragedies in decades, 28 deaths were confirmed and 268 were unaccounted for as of Friday, April 18th.

    Obama Announces 8M Enrollments Through Health Exchange http://rtvote.com/1f2aHaL
    The Obama administration is now claiming the open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act a success. In a press conference yesterday, President Obama announced that more than 8 million people have registered for health insurance through the exchange. Of those, 35% are in the critical 18-35 age group needed for the law’s success. Republican leaders responded to yesterday’s announcement by challenging the President to release numbers of the newly insured (the report includes individuals who were previously insured and switched policies through the exchange).

    12 Killed in Mt. Everest Avalanche http://rtvote.com/1jd9saX
    An unexpected avalanche early Friday morning killed at least 12 Nepalese guides and left 3 missing. The guides were stationed at “Camp 2,” located at 17,380 feet, and had left early in the morning to fasten ropes for hundreds of climbers. Agence France-Presse is calling it one of the deadliest avalanches to strike the mountain in recent history.

    Deal Reached to Ease Tension in Ukraine http://rtvote.com/1lfRV3b
    After weeks of tension, Eastern Ukraine is moving to scale down tensions in the region. The Geneva agreement, the result of a six-hour meeting between officials from Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union, and Russia, calls for illegal armed groups to disarm themselves and vacate occupied buildings in Eastern Ukraine. The agreement, however, is noteworthy for what it does not include. The agreement fails to require Russia to remove its troops from the region and does not address the recent Russian annexation of Crimea, which many in the West have yet to acknowledge as legitimate.

    CULTURAL

    Victoria Beckham Gets Cozy With Shirtless David Beckham on Her 40th Birthday, http://rtvote.com/RuW4rl

    Lindsay Lohan Defends Her Mom Dina, Explains Coachella Partying and More on Watch What Happens Live, http://rtvote.com/1hThvfJ

    Casting the Magic Mike Sequel: Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Taye Diggs and More!, http://rtvote.com/1lgd8Ks

    Idris Elba Welcomes Baby Winston, http://rtvote.com/RuWFtl

    austin@rockthevote.com
    Bio:
    @austin_estes
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Why Healthcare Matters: My Story

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    As a senior in college, there are a few things that have the ability to instantly put me on edge:

    The first is when anyone asks me that burning question, “What do you plan on doing after you graduate?” This one typically earns the inquisitor a blank stare and some made-up, adult-friendly response so that I won’t have to justify my actual plan to take a year off to enjoy my youth, and enroll in Law School in the fall of 2015.  

    The second is when I’m faced with anything that has to do with health and related health care costs.

    For the sake of current event relevancy, and the close of enrollment for Obamacare, this blog post is going to focus on the latter of the two. So here’s my story:

    I come from a midwest, middle-class, single-mother household and I’ve been working since I could legally hold a job– but it wasn’t until my sophomore year in college when my mother retired and I started working more that things became difficult with my health care coverage. Long story short, I got the boot.


    According to my mother’s health care representative, when I became eligible for part-time benefits at my then employer, I became ineligible for coverage under my mother’s plan– the care that I’d depended on my entire life!  But what my mother’s health care provider did not understand was that I had NO intention of enrolling in coverage under my current employer for the following reasons:

    1. I worked at a grocery store and it was just a college job. My focus was on school and I knew that if the two ever came into conflict, work would have to take the back burner.

    2. I wasn’t planning on staying there long term.

    3. My grocery store job didn’t allow me to be fully self sufficient.

    4. Coverage under my current employer was on the pricey side

    5. My mom’s coverage was much better and cheaper. Switching providers would have been…impractical to say the least.

    For a student who was only making $11.40 an hour as a cashier, I soon found myself at a crossroads between personal expenses and health care. Ultimately and ironically, I took the road most traveled by; that of personal expenses which included important everyday things like food, books, incidentals, toiletries, transportation, etc…

    I didn’t have health care but I figured: “I’m young, I’m healthy, I heal fast and I’ll just avoid getting hurt.” And while I was privileged enough to have minimal coverage under my University’s student health service, every “doctor” visit required me to wait for hours upon hours in the unorganized, overcrowded student health center only for me to be prescribed a $10 round of antibiotics or return a few weeks later with another health problem. I did not have a primary care physician, I couldn’t get my teeth professionally cleaned, I couldn’t get vision check-ups, I couldn’t visit my University’s actual hospital, and most of all, I wasn’t receiving quality medical attention.

    Luckily me and my mother discovered a flaw in the system.  My mother’s health care provider had no hesitation removing me from her coverage, but they had not made her aware that despite her retirement and my increased work hours, my full-time student status maintained my eligibility to remain under her coverage. After a long year, my health care was reinstated, and while I to this day lack vision and dental insurance, I am grateful to have at least some of my bearings back.

    People like my father, haven’t been so fortunate.  He has been uninsured for the past 15 years and admits to not being seen by a doctor in 5 or 6 years.  As a freelance carpenter needless to say, he is at constant risk.  I remember growing up and quizzing him on why he would never go to the hospital for his work related injuries (once he drilled a hole through his thumb) only to hear him quickly change the subject and tell me that he was “fine.” Another time, he passed out at work due to high blood pressure but became infuriated with his colleague for calling an ambulance because my dad had to foot an $800 bill. It took me some time to realize, he wasn’t  pretending to be tough, he had to be.  He wasn’t “fine,” he just didn’t have the means to seek medical attention.

    While I only experienced the inconvenience of not having health-care for a year, I got a feel for what it was like to be uninsured. I compare it to walking on ice, while I’m wearing shoes that have no traction– I could make some strategic steps to avoid slipping but a certain degree of my environment was out of my control; similar to how someone can take precautionary measures to protect his/her/zes health, but some elements and risks will always remain out of grasp.

    Yes, our universities and colleges typically cover some health expenses, but said coverage is limited and only lasts while we are enrolled in classes. Many students in college have parents who are retired or nearing retirement, and will be faced with the fear and challenge of losing support after graduation. Many young people are uninsured or have uninsured family members.

    As a working college student, and daughter of an uninsured father, my experiences with the US health care system have been none other than interesting. While it is relatively simple, this is my  family’s story. This is my perspective. I challenge you to tell your own. Make your voice heard. Inquire about what legislators are and are not doing when it comes to your health care. Try to become as well versed as possible on your medical coverage rights because honestly (to quote the academy award winning rap group Three 6 Mafia), “It’s hard out here for a pimp.”

    Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire
    Bio: Saundrea "Drea" Shropshire is currently a senior at Howard University. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Swahili Studies, she plans to attend law school in the fall of 2015. An avid biker, knitter, painter, movie enthusiast, music junkie, reader and writer, she takes on all tasks with the utmost tenacity and dedication. She also has many leather-bound books, and her apartment smells of rich mahogany.

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



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

    A building in Harlem collapses in an explosion; the White House continues to court Millennials in healthcare enrollment; the missing Malaysian Airline search continues; a Guantanamo Bay prisoner files a lawsuit against President Obama; and Jerry Sandusky’s wife defends her husband’s innocence. Meanwhile, Chris Pine gets arrested for a DUI; the Big Bang Theory is renewed for 3 seasons (Hurrah!); and two mash-up videos will help you giggle your way through Hump-day (they are NSFW though!).

    - Maura + Austin

    CRUCIAL

    1 dead, 15 Hurt Harlem Building Collapse, http://rtvote.com/1nM8hTg
    A deadly explosion Wednesday morning has caused the collapse of two five-story buildings in East Harlem, NY. There were 15 people injured and one person pronounced dead. A witness said that locals have been smelling gas for weeks and when the explosion occurred she saw people flying out of the building.  Con Edison, the NY utilities company, had been called to the area to check a possible gas leak at 9am ET this morning.

    Obamacare Enrollment Hits 4 Million, Including 25% Youth http://rtvote.com/1esr7s9
    According to the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment in the federal healthcare exchange has reached more than 4.2 million. Of those enrollees, only 25% are between the ages of 18-34, a key demographic that the administration has been targeting. Most recently, the President appeared on comedian Zach Galifianakis’ show “Between Two Ferns” to plug the healthcare site to Millennials. If the administration fails to hit its goal of 40% youth enrollment, it fears that insurance costs will increase for the millions of other enrollees. 

    Malaysia Airlines MH370: Last Communication Revealed,http://rtvote.com/1iArRi5
    New information released to the public shows that the last moments of communication from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, showed that everything was normal. The China bound plane went missing on Saturday with 239 people on board. As the plane reached the boundary between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace, the Malaysian air control announced it was handing over to Ho Chi Minh City Control. Minutes later, all contact was lost. The search continues for new information on what happened…

    Sandusky’s Wife Says He’s Innocent, Victims Manipulated,http://rtvote.com/1i6g8Zt
    The wife of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, insists that her husband “did not do the horrible crimes” that sent him to prison. Dottie Sandusky, who has been married to her husband for 47 years, claims that he is innocent, the victims were manipulated, and that the case against him was built on lies. Jerry Sandusky, 70, is serving a 30 to 60-year prison sentence for his 2012 conviction on 45 charges of child sexual abuse of young boys for over a period of 15 years.

    Guantanamo Bay Prisoner Files Historic Lawsuit Against Obama Over Force-Feedinghttp://rtvote.com/1hcoCfH
    On Tuesday, a historic lawsuit was introduced against the U.S. military prison’s force-feeding of detainees on hunger strikes, by an inmate of Guantanamo Bay. The Yemeni inmate, Emad Abdullah Hassan, contends that he has been “abusively force-fed” more than 5,000 times in the past seven years in an effort to end his hunger strikes, causing him severe internal injuries. The case marks the first legal challenge requiring a federal judge to oversee an inmate’s testimony on Guantanamo prison conditions. 

    CULTURAL 

    Chris Pine Arrested for DUI in New Zealand, http://rtvote.com/1gpXHLL

    Angelina Jolie Plans to Have More Preventative Cancer Surgery,http://rtvote.com/1idBx3u

    The Big Bang Theory Renewed! CBS Orders 3 More Seasons of the Smash Comedy, http://rtvote.com/1iANVZW

    Here is the Wolf of Sesame Street Mashup You’ve Been Waiting For,http://rtvote.com/1iANVZW

    Justin Bieber’s Bratty Deposition Video Gets Remixed by Seth Meyers,http://rtvote.com/1i6ANwA

     

    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: December 3, 2013

    Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

    A former medical technician is sentenced to 39 years for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C; an American, who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, pleads for rescue; and Seattle Seahawks fans cause (another) earthquake. Meanwhile, Paul Walker’s private vigil was a beautiful show of love and support, and Dylan Sprouse makes some pretty awesome (and wise) statements to counter Joe Jonas’ whining over Disney and fame.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Ex-hospital worker gets 39 years for causing hepatitis C outbreak,http://rtvote.com/1c9aGiI
    A former New Hampshire medical technician was convicted for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year. David Kwiatkowski began working at the Exeter Hospital ten months after he was diagnosed with hepatitis C. He injected himself with stolen syringes of the painkiller fentanyl from patients scheduled for surgery, tainting them with his blood, and then he filled them with saline and replaced the syringes for use in medical procedures. Thirty people were diagnosed with the potentially fatal virus because of Kwiatkowski.

    Obama to launch new health care law campaignhttp://rtvote.com/1jh0cVh
    The Affordable Care Act has come under a lot of political pressure since its rollout in October. In the coming weeks, the Obama administration will highlight what they call successful aspects of the law. They plan on educating the public on Obamacare by emphasizing a different benefit each day until the December 23rdenrollment deadline for January 1st coverage.

    Prisoner in Cuba appeals to Obamahttp://rtvote.com/1cjmQJj
    Alan Gross, 64, is an American who has been imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years. He was a subcontractor within the U.S. Agency for International Development, who was arrested for trying to set up Internet access, which would have bypassed local restrictions, for Cuba’s small Jewish community. The Associated Press reported that Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine their government. Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, feels like the U.S. government has forgotten and abandoned him.

    Couple fined for negative online reviewhttp://rtvote.com/187UthU
    In 2008, John Palmer bought Christmas gifts for his wife off of a site called KlearGear.com. When the purchases never arrived, his wife, Jen Palmer, posted a negative review of the site on ripoffreport.com. More than three years later, KlearGear.com fined the couple $3,500 for allegedly violating its terms of use contract, which prohibits the customer from taking any negative action against KlearGear.com. The site reported the couple’s unpaid fine to a collections agency, and their credit score took a huge hit. The Palmers are fighting back and seeking justice. Legal experts warn that more companies are using this type of language in the fine print as protection.

    Seattle Seahawks fans caused an ‘earthquake’ on Monday night,http://rtvote.com/18eMxtd
    Fans inside CenturyLink Field got so excited over Michael Bennett’s 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown Monday night that their jumping registered a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake. And this isn’t the first time. The first seismic outburst caused by fans in CenturyLink Field was in 2011 when Marshawn Lynch made a legendary touchdown run that clinched a playoff win for the Seahawks over the Saints.

     

    CULTURAL

    Natalie Portman: Chris Hemsworth’s Wife Elsa Pataky Grabbed a Wig and Stood in for Me in Thor: The Dark World Love Scene, http://rtvote.com/1jhaTac

    Paul Walker’s Private Vigil: Vin Diesel Addresses Fans, Family Members Pay Respects at Crash Site, http://rtvote.com/IJK9lk

    Dylan Sprouse Calls Joe Jonas’ Disney Grievances B.S.: He “Fell for the Allure of Fame,” http://rtvote.com/1cjuT8V

    Elan Gale Hoax: Bachelor Producer Admits He Faked Thanksgiving Airplane Travel Feud, http://rtvote.com/IEwrzo

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: November 26, 2013

    Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    The Supreme Court will hear Hobby Lobby’s case that challenges Obamacare’s birth control coverage requirement; Hollywood partakes in animal cruelty; and the CIA has turned Guantanamo Bay prisoners into double agents. Meanwhile, Seth Rogen and James Franco make a painfully funny spoof of Kim and Kanye’s “Bound 2” video, and Kendall Jenner puts some Harry Styles rumors to rest.

    -Sandy + Maura

     

    CRUCIAL

    Supreme Court to take up Obamacare contraception casehttp://rtvote.com/1aVZJTO
    The Supreme Court has accepted an Obamacare law appeal over contraception coverage. The court justices will review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay. The issue of focus is whether private companies and non-profits can refuse this, based on the claim that it violates their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby, Inc. is one of the plaintiffs.

    ‘Pretty Woman’ producer says he was Israeli spyhttp://rtvote.com/1bl239I
    The Israeli-born producer behind Hollywood hits, like Pretty WomanFight Club, and L.A. Confidential, has revealed that he used to serve as an Israeli spy for years. Arnon Milchan said he helped buy technologies and arms on Israel’s behalf to operate nuclear bombs. The producer also said other big Hollywood names were connected to his covert affairs.

    Sandy Hook killer took motive to his gravehttp://rtvote.com/194lkGA
    Connecticut authorities have released a 44-page summary of their investigation on Adam Lanza – the shooter behind Newton’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza’s motive behind the atrocious crime remains a mystery, and he gave “no clear indication” that he planned the Sandy Hook killings. Lanza’s mental illness, reclusion, and obsession with school shootings are detailed in the report.

    Animals Were Harmed: Hollywood’s Nightmare of Death, Injury, and Secrecy Exposed,http://rtvote.com/1exhrP2
    Too many Hollywood films and television shows, including Life of PiThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, HBO’sLuck, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (the list goes on), have caused the brutal injuries and deaths of animals on set. The “No Animals Were Harmed” trademark accreditation in the ending credits means nothing anymore. It’s time to own up to animal cruelty, Hollywood… and it’s time for us to stop it.

    Penny Lane: Gitmo’s other secret CIA facilityhttp://rtvote.com/1hfZdVQ
    After 9/11, the CIA made double agents out of some Guantanamo Bay prisoners. They trained them and sent them home to help the U.S. kill former and current terrorists. The prisoners/double agents were promised freedom, the safety of their families, and some very hefty bags of money from the CIA’s secret accounts. The program was carried out in a secret facility, nicknamed Penny Lane, located yards away from the Guantanamo Bay prison. This has some heavy-duty controversy written all over it.

     

    CULTURAL

    Kim Kardashian Thinks Seth Rogen and James Franco’s “Bound 2” Parody Is…, http://rtvote.com/17QURPH

    Demi Lovato: “I Would Rather Sacrifice My Privacy to Help People,” http://rtvote.com/1bSyasn

    Kendall Jenner Breaks Her Silence About Harry Styles Dating Rumors: “We’re Friends,” http://rtvote.com/Il8pd3

    Kristen Bell Had to Make “Pretend Love” to Her Best Friend’s Husband Hours After Getting Married,http://rtvote.com/Il97Hu

    sandywu
    Bio:

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