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    News Round-Up: December 10, 2013

    Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

    Some Colorado residents are preparing their guns for some drone-hunting; the winter weather is closing offices, getting flights cancelled, and posing a real safety threat; and GM names the very first woman to run a major automaker. Meanwhile, Lea Michele releases a preview of her debut single, and Miley is named MTV’s best artist of 2013.

    -Sandy + Maura



    Colorado town’s vote on drone ordinance postponedhttp://rtvote.com/18zSP6I
    A vote on a drone ordinance is currently on hold as a court determines the ordinance’s legality. If passed, it would allow Deer Trail residents to shoot down federal drones. The FAA is concerned that this could lead to criminal or civil liability. Responses are mixed; one of the biggest concerns of drone use is trespassing.

    Extreme cold raises fears for 2 adults, 4 children missing in Nevada snowhttp://rtvote.com/J23bCO
    As the winter weather hits many parts of the U.S., federal offices in DC close as more sleet and snow are expected. New York and Philadelphia are expected to receive several inches of snow, and temperatures will drop to about 10-20 degrees below normal in many areas. Rescue teams in Nevada are also searching for two adults and four children who went out to play in the snow and never returned. Please keep warm and stay safe, everyone.

    Friends say student killed by officer was gentle; police say he struck officerhttp://rtvote.com/1hKFvBV
    Robert Cameron Redus, 23, who many describe as a gentle and compassionate honor student, was shot and killed by a campus police officer at his Catholic college in Texas last week. Redus allegedly hit the officer with his own baton after a night of drinking, and when Redus failed to comply with Cpl. Christopher Carter’s orders to stop resisting, Carter fired six shots at Redus. Five of those shots hit Redus and ended the student’s life.

    GM names Mary Barra as CEO – first woman to run major automakerhttp://rtvote.com/1bAhbP4
    Mary Barra, an executive vice president and 33-year GM veteran, will succeed current CEO Dan Akerson on January 15 and become the first woman to run a major automaker. GM shares are up more than 40% so far this year, and the company has earned nearly $20 billion in net income since 2010 – the year it returned to profitability after emerging from bankruptcy. Congrats, Mary Barra! This is huge!

    Can airships revolutionize transportation in world’s harshest environments?http://rtvote.com/19zuzij
    First, the drones. Now, new and improved airships? Scientists and engineers are really making strides in the world of technology. U.S.-based airship company Aeros and Icelandic airline Icelandair Cargo intend to team up to develop a new air freight service cross the Arctic. They hope to deliver standard cargo, troops, and disaster relief supplies into remote and inhospitable terrain. The new airship, dubbed the Aeroscraft, is capable of true vertical takeoff and landing, thus eliminating the need for runways. Aeros has also hinted at possible use of these airships as “floating hotels” and “sky yachts for millionaires” in the future.



    Lea Michele Releases Preview of Debut Single “Cannonball” – Plus, Check Out Her Album Cover for Louder,http://rtvote.com/1kwe1wF

    Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie Have a Simple Life Reunion in Miami, http://rtvote.com/1bv3Y99

    Brandi Glanville Apologizes for Her Racist Joke on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hillshttp://rtvote.com/18ztyXt

    Miley Cyrus is MTV’s best artist of 2013, http://rtvote.com/18ktcsM


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

    News Round-Up: Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Thursday, July 25th, 2013

    Former Chinese Communist Party leader indicted on bribery charges; federal charges brought against SAC hedge fund; details emerge about the fatal train crash in Spain; Eric Holder protects Texas voters; and the House votes ‘No’ on defunding domestic NSA wiretapping program. Meanwhile, President George H.W. Bush shaves head to honor cancer patient; Jason Sudeikis announces departure from ‘SNL’; and new Elijah Wood film is banned in New Zealand.

    - Ally + Maura

    Fallen Leader Is Indicted in China, 

    Former Chinese Communist Party leader, Bo Xilai, has been indicted for charges of bribery, corruption and abuse of power. This comes over a year after Mr. Bo was removed from office after accusations “of taking about $3.3 million in bribes, [and] embezzling almost $1 million.” His wife also murdered British business executive Neil Heywood in 2011, for which she was given a suspended death sentence.

    U.S. files criminal charges against famed hedge fund, SAC, http://rtvote.com/13808QN

    Federal prosecutors Thursday, announced criminal charges against SAC Capital, citing “institutional practices” that allowed employee insider-trading to take place. The government charged the famed hedge fund with wire fraud and four counts of securities fraud. Charges against the firm could mark the end of SAC, which has already seen investors steadily pull out their money after previous legal troubles.

    AP analysis of video shows Spanish train was speeding when it derailed, killing dozens, http://rtvote.com/15MIbFT

    After a train derailment in Spain on Wednesday killed 80 passengers, analysis of video footage shows that the train was travelling between 40 and 70 mph above the 50mph speed limit.

    Plan to defund NSA phone collection program defeated, http://rtvote.com/137MNbc

    In a 217-205 vote on Wednesday, the House of Representatives decided against a plan to end the wiretapping program leaked by Edward Snowden. The plan would have allowed the NSA to collect phone records only for individuals connected to ongoing investigations.

    Eric Holder Wants Texas Voting Law Changes To Be Cleared By U.S., http://rtvote.com/137GqEN

    In light of last month’s Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder takes steps to protect voters in Texas against voting discrimination. Holder announced to the Urban League in Philadelphia that the Justice department will ask a federal court in San Antonio to mandate the state to obtain pre-approval before making changes to voting laws.


    Paula Deen’s Cook Tells of Slights, Steeped in History, http://rtvote.com/15MQoK9

    George H.W. Bush Shaves His Head in Honor of 2-year-old Cancer Patient, http://rtvote.com/137YyOY

    Elijah Wood’s Slasher Film Maniac Banned in New Zealand, http://rtvote.com/15N8hbN

    See Jason Sudeikis announce he’s leaving ‘SNL’ on ‘Late Show,’ http://rtvote.com/137YVc4

    Anthony Weiner’s Wife, Huma Abedin, Gives Props to Him in Harper’s Bazaar Days Before New Sexting Scandal, http://rtvote.com/137ZeE0


    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


    Monday, March 26th, 2012

    With a crucial election year on the horizon, Rock the Vote celebrated our Democracy Class program with our second annual Democracy Day this past Friday, March 23rd. From coast to coast on Democracy Day, Rock the Vote, along with educators across the country, taught Democracy Class to students, providing them with the tools they need to access voter registration and participation.

    On Democracy Day, Rock the Vote rallied with 200 students in Philadelphia with the historical National Constitution Center (NCC) and pumped the vote up at Los Angeles’ Roybal High School with the Youth Policy Institute (YPI). Both events garnered over 60 newly registered voters and secured another 60 pledges to vote. Both events included diverse audiences and speakers. At the NCC, surrounded locally by relevant landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, students from five different Philadelphia-area high schools gathered for a tour of the Center, followed by a Democracy Class taught by Rock the Vote President Heather Smith, local artist Nikki Jean and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carole Aichele. Uncle O, DJ at Power 99 FM, moderated the event and introduced RTV’s ‘History of Voting’ video featuring Perez Hilton, John Legend, Bridget Kelly and Darren Criss; David Eisner, NCC President and CEO also attended, along with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (via video message) and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. See media coverage from Democracy Day in Philadelphia from CBS Philly.

    3,000 miles and 300 more students away, YPI and Rock the Vote gathered at Roybal High School. Several set-up booths offered settings for students to discuss youth issues such as college costs and the future of the environment. There were also opportunities for chats with celebrity guests, and information on citizenship rights and local voting laws. RTV and YPI also co-hosted California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Los Angeles School Board President Monica Garcia, L.A. county registrar and county clerk Dean Logan, YPI President Dixon Slingerland, Rock the Vote’s Director of Development Amanda Brown, and Celebrity High artists such as School Gyrls, DJ James Andre Jefferson Jr., Reuben Cannon, Ncredible Hero and The Rangers. With so much entertainment, even SOS Bowen broke out into some dance moves. Among the speakers on stage, a sea of hand-made signs touted “Roybal Rocks the Vote” and the students’ enthusiasm for the day’s events.

    At both events, students wrote on chalkboards and customizable buttons why they vote – answers ranged from “because my voice matters” to “because I got swag.” Overall, young participants made sure their voices were heard. In L.A., the students stayed three hours later than scheduled (during a Friday afternoon!) to engage in activities, and in Philadelphia, students used the NCC’s constitutional artifacts and Democracy Class lesson plan to explain why they will vote in November.

    Democracy Day underlined a key message for youth voters everywhere: pay attention and have a voice. Rendell urged students to recognize that they have an equal say in their democracy. Garcia told her young audience “your country needs you” and “you represent our future and our now.” With 500 more young voters informed on Democracy Day, and the ranks counting, the representation of young people is definitely increasing for 2012. Peter Rothberg from The Nation really sums up the power of Democracy Class in his recent piece, while The New York Times urges educators to sign up for the program here.

    Our second annual Democracy Day has come and gone, but it’s left a legacy for 2012. In fact, the day kicks off Rock the Vote’s 100 Days of Learning, where educators across the country teach a Democracy Class to their students between now and the end of the school year. Join them and sign up to for your free Democracy Class toolkit here: www.democracyday.com

    Kelly Holleran

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


    Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

    The man responsible for the shootings in Toulouse is dead;
    more people are criticizing the handling of Trayvon Martin’s death;
    unemployment numbers are going down; soldiers have seized power in Mali; and
    Romney is suffering after a gaffe by one of his aides. Elsewhere, Kris
    Humphries claims he doesn’t do things for money, Tim Tebow is headed to New
    York, and Rock the Vote’s “History of Voting” video featuring Perez Hilton,
    Darren Criss, and John Legend is released just in time for Democracy Day.


    French Slaying Suspect Dead After Police Raid Hideout http://nyti.ms/GM56rW
    A Frenchman responsible for the recent shootings in Toulouse is dead after a
    30 hour stand off with police. More than 200 rounds of ammunition were
    unloaded during the firefight, with two police officers suffering minor
    injuries. The shooter’s name was Mohammed Merah. Merah died after jumping
    out of a window with a gun in his hand while firing. The French government
    would have preferred to take Merah alive.

    City Criticizes Police Chief After Shooting http://nyti.ms/GMIxyL
    The City Council of Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Martin was
    killed, voted a show of no-confidence in their police chief after he has
    failed to arrest George Zimmerman, the man who killed Martin. Zimmerman
    claimed the shooting was in self defense, but his 911 calls and checkered
    history bring his story into question. In New York City, there was a protest
    in which demonstrators all wore hoodies, similar to what Martin was wearing
    when Zimmerman killed him.

    Emirates Says ‘Whole Load of Airlines’ Will Fail in Fuel
    Squeeze http://bloom.bg/GDXrZG
    Emirates, a Dubai-based airline that leads the world in international
    travel, is predicting that many other airlines will collapse as petrol
    prices increase. Regardless of how many companies will fold, the
    profitability will certain decrease as petrol prices rise. Advisors at
    Emirates are predicting that the industry will be devastated if there is
    another 10-15% rise in the cost of fuel.

    Weekly unemployment aid applications hit four-year low http://usat.ly/GLSHip
    New data shows that the economic turnaround is continuing. Under 350,000
    people applied for unemployment last week, the lowest total since 2008. The
    last several months have shown job growth, and predictors make it seem like
    the growth is continuing through March. Additionally, home sales have
    started to pick up and housing values might slowly return to their pre-bust

    Soldiers loot Mali presidential palace after ousting
    leader http://usat.ly/GOtIwQ
    In one of the few democracies operating in Africa, soldiers overthrew Mali
    President Amadou Toumani Toure. Toure was set to end his term in a few
    weeks, but soldiers felt it necessary to take over the government now. Their
    major grievance is the belief that Toure’s government was mishandling an
    ethnic insurgency in the nation’s north. Toure’s current location is not
    known. His former palace is being occupied by military leaders who have
    suspended the nation’s constitution, but claim they intend on transferring
    power back to the people after they quell the rebellion.

    Komen foundation continues to see fallout from Planned Parenthood
    controversy http://wapo.st/GFziSG
    Susan G Komen For The Cure is still reeling from a controversial decision to
    defund Planned Parenthood. Despite their about face, the Komen brand has
    severely suffered. The two locations which fought the decision hardest,
    Oregon and New York, are both losing executives who have decided to step
    down. The New York affiliate has also canceled several events because of
    lack funds.

    Lining up at Center City DMV – some to get voter IDs, others to protest the
    new law http://bit.ly/GGfORV
    Many people showed up to the Philadelphia DMV on a day designated for free
    photo IDs. These free IDs are being given out because Pennsylvania has
    changed its state law and now requires voters to show the correct photo ID
    at the polls. The proponents of this bill claim they want to prevent fraud.
    Many others showed up to the DMV to protest the new bill. They equate this
    to a poll tax, for while the ID is free, it costs money to gain access to
    some of the documents one needs to get an ID.


    Rock the Vote’s “History of Voting” Video with Perez Hilton, Darren Criss,
    John Legend, & Bridget Kelly, http://bit.ly/GFrWQt

    Fox Tinkers With 24 Movie’s Budget And Pushes Back The Start Date
    Again, http://bit.ly/GQ5mnZ

    How groovy will ‘Mad Men’ get? ’60s experts make
    predictions, http://lat.ms/GN3HBw

    Kris Humphries doesn’t ‘do things just for money,’ http://usat.ly/GQnDjo

    Kiss and Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour, http://bit.ly/GM8Hak

    Tim Tebow traded to Jets, http://es.pn/GJB42F

    Aaron Ghitelman

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

    Nikki Jean Shows Democracy Some Brotherly Love

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

    Philadelphia: Home of cheesesteaks and brotherly love. More importantly, the birthplace of American democracy.

    Nikki Jean: Toured alongside Kanye West, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco, and NERD for the Glow in the Dark Tour. More importantly, now a Democracy Class teacher.

    Nikki Jean’s been making music for almost as long as Rock the Vote has been around. More precisely, according to her website, since she was this big:

    Fast forward to 2005 when she moved to Philadelphia to join its vibrant music scene, where she quickly became involved with the indie hip-hop band Nouveau Riche, skyrocketed to fame with her popular YouTube videos, and joined Lupe on his 2007 sophomore album ‘The Cool.” On top of all that, she’s currently working on rolling out her own solo album.

    Clearly, Nikki Jean’s a little busy, but when it comes to engaging young people in our democracy, Nikki’s committed to Rocking the Vote. She joined us at Philly’s Constitution High School last Thursday to host a Democracy Class and a lunch time voter registration rally. By the end of the day, students had registered to vote, signed up to volunteer, or be alerted with a text reminder to register on their eighteenth birthdays.

    And just for the record, that whole brotherly love thing? Totally not a rumor. Last fall, our Philly-based field team saw midterm turnout rates significantly higher than the national average. At U Penn alone, turnout went up by 46 percent, according to Rock the Vote’s Election Day tallies. Keep on rocking, Philadelphia. We love you too.

    Aubrey Vaughan
    Bio: Aubrey is a field intern at Rock the Vote.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com