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    News Round-Up: Monday, February 3, 2014

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    A man was arrested for threatening a former President; a Super Bowl commercial sparks controversy; a convicted murderer escapes a Michigan prison, a man lost at sea for over a year is found; and a new report sheds light on the controversial Keystone Pipeline. Meanwhile, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his NYC apartment; J.K. Rowling drops a Harry Potter bombshell; and the Super Bowl spawned some decent commercials and social media moments.

    - Veronica + Maura 


    Man arrested after allegedly threatening to kill George W. Bush: http://rtvote.com/LrGlW4
    A New York man threatened to kill former President George W. Bush on Friday. Allegedly, the man, Benjamin Smith, had an interest in one of Bush’s daughters, Barbara. Smith’s mother alerted police after she found a note discussing his plans and discovered that a rifle was missing from their home. Police found Smith in Manhattan with a loaded rifle, ammunition boxes, gasoline, and a machete and arrested him.

    Coca-Cola “America” ad sparks strong reactions: http://rtvote.com/1gGGPqa
    The Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad featuring “America the Beautiful” sung in eight different languages has sparked controversy around the Internet. People took to Twitter and Facebook to express their opinions. Some criticized the linguistic diversity, saying basically that “in America, we speak English.” Others, however, praised the commercial, saying it was an accurate portrayal of American diversity. Coca-Cola plans to air a longer version of the commercial during the Sochi Olympics. 

    Killer escapes Michigan prison, briefly abducts woman: http://rtvote.com/1ekLPPv
    A search that began in Michigan has become nationwide after a Michigan prisoner had escaped on Sunday. The man, 40-year-old Michael David Elliot allegedly escaped from Iona Correctional Facility by escaping through a hole in the fence. He then kidnapped a woman; she escaped and called police when he stopped to buy gas.

    Marshall Islands castaway details fishing trip gone awry: http://rtvote.com/1nIT1as
    Jose Salvador Alvarenga was found on the Marshall Islands a year after his disappearance. He said after his rescue that he and his traveling partner were blown off course when the fishing boat they were in lost engine power. His traveling companion starved to death after four months, but Alvarenga survived on fish, rainwater, and turtles, among other things. Police are trying to confirm his story while he seeks medical attention.

    Report: Keystone pipeline would have minimal environmental impact: http://rtvote.com/1lx7B6x
    According to a new State Department report, the highly controversial Keystone Pipeline will not have significant environmental effects. This could cause more pressure for President Obama to approve it. Republicans and moderate Democrats are excited, calling on the President to approve the pipeline for the jobs it could create. Environmentalists and Democrats, however, say that the report has failed to recognize the environmental impact of the initial oil extraction. If President Obama approves the pipeline, he could garner more support from the GOP House.


    The 10 best social media moments from Super Bowl XLVIII: http://rtvote.com/1dmjzpl

    Philip Seymour Hoffman, dead at age 46: http://rtvote.com/1eN7FpJ

    J.K. Rowling drops a Harry Potter bombshell: http://rtvote.com/1esTf1A

    Super Bowl recap- see the best commercials here: http://rtvote.com/1k49yWi

    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


    Thursday, March 1st, 2012

    Britain has removed its embassy from Damascus while rebels retreat from another Syrian city; states will work to drug test welfare recipients; the oldest couple ever gets married; a federal judge is caught sending a racist joke to friends about President Obama; and a court will announce its decision on a Florida voting rights case today. Additionally, President Obama claims he has known about Jeremy Lin’s talents for a while; Andrew Breitbart dies; and Tim Tebow goes on a date with Taylor Swift.


    Syrian rebels reportedly retreat from Bab Amr in face of army onslaught http://wapo.st/yRzEgP
    Syrian resistance fighters are staging a tactical retreat from the Bab Amr area. After heavy shelling from Assad forces, the rebels have decided it was not in the citizens’ best interest for them to remain in the area. The
    region lacks food, medicine, and weapons needed for protection. Also, Britain has closed its embassy in Damascus in order to protect their employees there. However, they will continue to pressure the Assad regime to end the current spat of violence.

    States consider drug testing welfare recipients http://usat.ly/zArJnV
    Florida has put in place a law to drug test every person attempting to receive welfare, while Missouri and Arizona have passed laws that will allow them to test people who they are suspicious of using drugs. The bills would require individuals to pay for the drug test and if they pass, they would be reimbursed for the costs. The idea is that these laws would prevent drug use and welfare fraud. Opponents of these bills feel they are unnecessary intrusions into the personal lives of the poor. Additionally, this would set the precedent of drug testing others who receive government funds such as soldiers and college students.

    Ben Bernanke strikes cautious tone amid signs economic recovery accelerating http://wapo.st/yGJMRO
    Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, is impressed with the growth and stability of the US economy as of late. Right now, the recovery is accelerating, European markets are starting to settle and the jobless rateis dropping. However, other indicators show that this may not be permanent.Local governments are laying off workers, it is still hard to get credit, the housing market has yet to fully recover and the prices of gasoline are rapidly increasing. The Fed has predicted that by 2014 the unemployment rate might fall to under 7 percent.

    Elderly couple’s wedding may be one for the record books http://usat.ly/zZCxKF
    A 98 year-old man married his 95 year-old beau on Wednesday. The couple, who tied the knot on leap day, are probably the oldest couple ever to be married, surpassing a French couple by about two years. The California couple, a widow and a widower, met 18 years ago on Yom Kippur. They never intended on getting married but after almost two decades of “living in sin” they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After the two minute civil ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated by grabbing lunch at a nearby International House of Pancakes.

    Egypt’s rulers face backlash after lifting travel ban on Americans http://bit.ly/zrE63p
    Egyptians are not happy that their government has reneged on their plans to prosecute Americans and limit their travels. Previously, the Egyptian government filed charges against several foreign NGOs, accusing them of being American agents and then banning their travel outside of the nation. But since that decision, America has placed a ton of pressure on the current rulers. It has threatened to pull its more than $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian Army. Egyptian citizens are disappointed and feel that this shows that the new rulers are no more independent than Mubarak’s regime.

    Federal judge forwards racially charged email about Obama http://bit.ly/wf2sKb
    Chief US Judge Richard Cebull admitted to forwarding a racist joke about President Obama to several friends. Some of those friends then forwarded the e-mail on and did not take off Cebull’s name from the e-mail. The judge who was initially appointed by George W. Bush apologized for the e-mail. Additionally, he said that he did not forward the e-mail because of its racist nature but because it was anti-Obama. Critics of the e-mail feel that it puts into question whether Cebull can rule fairly on issues of race.

    Romney Sets Off Furor on Contraception Bill http://nyti.ms/z0jt58
    Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney came out against a Senate Bill that would allow employers to limit coverage if they have a moral or religious objective to the procedures. This bill is a cause many conservatives are behind and this stance would probably put Romney’s conservative credentials further into question. But when re-asked about the issue, Romney and his aides then said he was in favor of it. Critics of this bill feel that it would infringe on individual rights while supporters feel it protects religious rights.

    Cuba drills for oil, but U.S. unprepared for spill http://wapo.st/zqBIaE
    Cuba has enlisted companies from several nations to look into drilling for oil on its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a frightening development for American environmentalists. The two nations are very close to each other
    and if a spill occurs during Cuban drilling then the Florida coast would be affected. Further complicating this issue is that the US embargo on Cuba is still going strong. Therefore, US officials are not allowed to formally talk to Cuban officials to make sure that the drilling is smart and safe.

    Florida voter restrictions challenged http://politi.co/zQXTot 
    Rock the Vote and other civic groups are challenging a Florida bill in court. The bill places onerous restrictions on third-party community registration. Attorney General Eric Holder has specifically criticized the Florida bill for its intentions to limit the vote.

    After Many Tough Choices, the Choice to Quit http://nyti.ms/xqs5or
    The New York Times has investigated Olympia Snowe’s decision to not seek re-election. Snowe, a moderate Republican who is a known supporter of women’s issues, has found her job in the US Senate increasingly stressful. The Maine Republican party has moved farther to the right, with the Governor’s office now occupied by a Tea Party member. Members of the Tea Party have harassed Snowe at home and national Republicans have pressured her in Washington to the point where she no longer desired to be a senator.


    Obama: “I heard about Jeremy Lin early on,” http://usat.ly/wojqIb

    Davy Jones Dead: ‘Monkees’ Star Was 66, http://abcn.ws/yhpUNw

    Andrew Breitbart dead at 43, http://fxn.ws/wzHCPg

    Justin Bieber gets $100,000 hybrid car for 18th birthday, http://on.msnbc.com/wxA2o7

    Target pulls greeting card poking fun at Whitney Houston, http://bit.ly/zIRAHb

    Tim Tebow Had A “Dinner Date” With Taylor Swift, http://deadsp.in/ADgMVj

    Aaron Ghitelman

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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

    Deep sea drilling begins again, The Governator plans a green energy global tour, and the U.S. sends war ships to Libya.  Meanwhile, Dancing with the Stars unveils its new cast and Oscar viewership was down on Sunday.


    Oil Drilling to Resume in the Gulfs’ Deep Waters, http://nyti.ms/hNzYlN

    Nobel Energy receives the first permit for deep sea drilling after the BP incident last spring. Permits will be reviewed individually and slowly, as opposed to the rapid approval given out before.

    U.S. Readies Military Options on Libya, http://nyti.ms/fi620d

    The United States has frozen assets and moved war ships towards Libya.  Foreign military intervention in the region is controversial from many different angles, and the movements serve mostly as a warning to Qaddafi.

    New Poll Finds Support for Public Employee Unions, http://huff.to/i20bIW

    Based on two polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, and CBS News and the New York Times, when the government and unions clash the public generally sides with unions.

    Edwards Lies Low, But That Won’t Last, http://nyti.ms/hvvVHY

    Edwards awaits the decision of a grand jury who will rule as to whether or not he knew that money from campaign donations was being used to hide his affair.

    Online Voter Registration Celebrates First Anniversary, http://bit.ly/hAox9u

    Oregon is one of the few states that allows online voter registration. After one year of use the system has proven to be cost effective and no voter fraud has been reported.

    The Governator Goes Green, http://politi.co/eKSOK0

    Schwarzenegger plans a world tour to promote green energy technology, focusing on how the United States will lose out against Europe and China if it cannot compete in this market.

    Unlikely opposition- gays who do not support gay marriage: http://bit.ly/g1jcC8

    Word of Chinese protests lead to harassment of foreign journalists: http://econ.st/hjqM1n

    The National Institute for Civil Discourse brings parties together: http://nyti.ms/htwu1P

    David Brooks offers guidelines for budget cuts: http://nyti.ms/gaN7oy


    Chris Brown goes platinum, Lady Gaga opts for a darker shade: http://bit.ly/fDrCjv

    Zach Galifianakis to reprise SNL stage: http://bit.ly/eNwmZd

    Dancing with the Stars cast revealed: http://eonli.ne/eljMcv

    Oscar ratings down from last year: http://bit.ly/eSiwen

    NBC launches American Idol rival: http://bit.ly/h0zaSi

    Kristin Andrews
    Bio: Kristin is Rock the Vote's Communications Intern

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