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    News Round-Up: October 30, 2013

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologizes at a hearing; retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiates a gay marriage ceremony; and a wine shortage hits the world (oh, say it ain’t so). Meanwhile, Chris Brown returns to rehab, and Ashton Kutcher expands his ever-growing resumé with Lenovo.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Health chief Sebelius apologizes for botched websitehttp://rtvote.com/1gciabr
    At today’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, formally apologized for the technical problems Healthcare.gov has been experiencing. More Republicans are calling for her resignation, and the panel intensely scrutinized Sebelius and the sub par performance of the healthcare website. The Obama administration has vowed to fix these issues by the end of November.

    After Retired Justice O’Connor Performs Their Wedding, Gay Couple Celebrates “Wonderful Day”,http://rtvote.com/1gcl146
    Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated the wedding of Jeff Trammell and Stuart Serkin. She is the second official of the High Court to have officiated a gay marriage ceremony; the first was current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Once considered a conservative justice, O’Connor was nominated to the bench by President Reagan and retired in 2006.

    Thirsty? There’s a global wine shortagehttp://rtvote.com/1h0vXmS
    Brace yourselves. There’s a wine shortage in the world. Global production fell by more than 5% last year, the lowest it’s been since the 1960s, while demand continues to increase. The main cause for the decrease in production was bad weather in France and Argentina. The French consume the most wine, followed by Americans and then the Chinese. Although the U.S. wine making industry is growing, don’t expect global wine production to improve anytime soon.

    Brazilian Footballer’s Decapitated Head Reportedly Sent to Wife by Drug Lordshttp://rtvote.com/1gcpnZ6
    Former pro Brazilian soccer player Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was kidnapped and decapitated by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro. His head was sent to his wife’s residence on the morning of October 29. Police are unsure why Santos was targeted. Brazilian soccer is often linked to gang activity.

    Baylor students seek to remove gay ban from student codehttp://rtvote.com/1h0AMfN
    The student senate of Baylor University, a private Baptist school, voted to propose that university officials remove “homosexual acts” from the school’s sexual misconduct code. The proposal will go on to the Baylor University Board of Regents for review. Seems like a win for progress and equality? Not quite. One Baylor student says this rewording does not mean they are advocating homosexuality; they are simply not pinpointing homosexuals anymore: “It is saying homosexual acts are wrong but heterosexual acts committed outside of marriage are also wrong.”
     

    PUNDITS

    Joanne Bamberger discusses how certain voting models are compromising the rights of married or divorced women in “Voter ID laws threaten women’s rights,” http://rtvote.com/1gcv2hO

    Sally Kohn explains why losing your current healthcare plan under Obamacare is not something to cry over in “A canceled health plan is a good thing,” http://rtvote.com/1f482P4

     
    CULTURAL

    Chris Brown Kisses Karrueche Tran Before Heading to Rehab, http://rtvote.com/1f48cWG

    Kristin Cavallari Pregnant with Baby No. 2, http://rtvote.com/1h0PUtI

    Former Full House Child Star Blake McIver Now a Sexy Go-Go Dancer, http://rtvote.com/1h0Qec0

    Ashton Kutcher Hired as a Product Engineer to Help Design Tablets for Lenovo, http://rtvote.com/1f48Lj7

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

    President Obama will have VP Biden lead the charge on gun control; an independent panel finds security flaws during the Benghazi attack; eight vaccination workers have been killed in Pakistan; Judge Robert Bork dies at 84; and Instagram tries to clarify its new policy. Meanwhile, TIME’s person of the year is President Obama, and Buzzfeed nostalgically lists 50 things you will never get for Christmas again.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Biden to head gun policy push after Newtown shootings, http://reut.rs/U88OBf
    President Obama will have Vice President Biden lead the push for stricter gun control. The White House has decided to take action on the issue after the mass shooting in Newtown, CT, which left twenty children, seven adults, and the shooter, Adam Lanza, dead. At a vigil for the massacre, President Obama spoke to the people of Newtown saying he would “use whatever power this office” has to end gun-related tragedies. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president supports a ban on assault weapons and closing the “gun show” loophole.

    BENGHAZI REVIEW FINDS SYSTEMATIC SECURITY FAULTS, http://bit.ly/VOB20Y
    An independent panel has found that security was “grossly inadequate” during the September 11th attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi. “Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affair caused security officials to not be equipped for the type of attack that took place. The report also showed that no employee violated their responsibilities and no one should receive disciplinary action.

    Three more polio workers shot in Pakistan; eight dead in 48 hours, http://reut.rs/U7Ndsz
    The United Nations has pulled its vaccination workers from Pakistan’s streets after three more people administering polio vaccines were shot, two of them fatally. In total, eight vaccination workers have been killed in Pakistan in the past 48 hours. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the Taliban has issued threats against vaccination drives before. In this case, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban says they did not carry out these particular attacks. Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio is rampant.

    Judge Bork Has Died, http://bit.ly/T7xDgU
    Robert Bork, the conservative judge whose Supreme Court nomination was rejected during Reagan’s presidency, died Wednesday of heart complications. He was 84. Bork was a law professor at Yale who taught Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Robert Reich, and John Bolton. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was famously shot down by Senate Democrats who went to great lengths to stop it, even leaking his video rental records. After the failed nomination, Bork went on to work at conservative think tanks and write books.

    Astronomers find possibly livable planet, http://bit.ly/T6OAYK
    Astronomers said on Tuesday that they have found a potentially livable planet twelve light-years from Earth. The star, Tau Ceti, has five planets orbiting it. One of the planets is located in the “habitable zone” where water could live on its surface. “This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many potentially habitable planets,” said Steven Vogt, the U.C. Santa Cruz astronomer on the international team.

    Instagram co-founder: “It is not our intention to sell your photos”, http://tnw.co/ZL5JLm
    Earlier this week, Instagram announced a new terms of services that implied the photo-sharing service could sell users’ photos to advertisers. The new policy created an uproar amongst users, causing Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom to issue a statement saying it is not the company’s “intention” to sell photos for a profit, and that it was Instagram’s fault for making the terms of service language “confusing.” Systrom added that the purpose of the new policy is to “create meaningful ways to help [users] discover new and interesting accounts, while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.”

    CULTURAL:

    TIME Person of the Year is President Obama, http://on.today.com/T7hkze

    50 Things You Will Never Get For Christmas Again, http://bit.ly/YgQ8mC

    Eagle on video snatches kid in park — or does it?, http://usat.ly/UDw73T

    African-American Cowboys In Film: The Groundbreaking History Of Black Westerns, http://huff.to/TyVHry

    WATCH: Anne Hathaway & Samuel L. Jackson Have a ‘Funny or Die’ “Sad Off,” http://bit.ly/12phYNs

    Caitlin Maguire
    Bio: Caitlin is the Marketing & Operations Manager for Rock the Vote
    @caitlinmagu
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    NEWS ROUND-UP: MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012

    Monday, April 23rd, 2012

    John Edwards is indicted in court; George Zimmerman makes bail; a storm uncommon for April hits the Northeast; the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has received information on a potential terror attack in Kenya; and Jon Huntsman criticizes the GOP. Meanwhile, Giuliana Rancic will have a child through a surrogate; Neil Diamond is married; and Justin Bieber responds to his paternity accuser via Twitter.

    Kelly H. + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Jury Selection in Edwards Trial Set to Begin, http://nyti.ms/I9OJ4Z
    Former presidential candidate John Edwards begins his defense today in a trial that claims nearly one million dollars of his campaign contributions were illegal. If convicted, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. The federal government plans to argue that Edwards knowingly accepted money from two donors in order to keep information on his extramarital affair from derailing his campaign, therein using the campaign money for conspiracy. Legal experts are interested to see how the case will affect future use of campaign contributions from political action committees and high-level donors.

    George Zimmerman Released From Fla. Jail, http://nyti.ms/JrjHKz
    In the early hours of Monday morning, George Zimmerman was released from a Florida jail on $150,000 bail. Giving no statement, Zimmerman left for an undisclosed location where he will wait to begin his second-degree murder trial in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s father said that his son will have to take out a second mortgage to cover the $15,000 minimum bail payment. Prosecutors originally asked for a $1 million bail to be set. Zimmerman has been criticized after his apology to the Martin family was ill-received, with Martin’s parents saying that the apology came at an inconvenient and insincere time.

    Big snowstorm shakes up ‘crazy’ winter, http://bit.ly/HZBxiL
    The Northeast region is getting record snow in April following the warmest March in history, with Newfield, New York reporting 10 inches of snowfall and Ridgebury, Pennsylvania reporting 8 inches. More accumulation is expected in higher elevations. Snowfall rates in central Pennsylvania are expected to reach 1 inch per hour at times on Monday afternoon. Weather experts are worried that the weight of snow accumulation with continuing winds will result in widespread power outages. With temperatures lower, meteorologists are also warning that rainfall from the Washington area to Maine may cause flooding.

    US warns of terror attack targeting hotels in Kenya, http://fxn.ws/J4KIhj
    “Credible information” has been received by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi that alleges attacks on hotels and government buildings in the Kenyan capital. In a message on its website, the Embassy says, “Timing of the attack is not known, however, the Embassy has reason to believe that the potential attack is in the last stages of planning. The U.S. Embassy urges Americans to remain aware of their surroundings and vigilant of their personal security.” The State Department warned earlier this month of continued and heightening threats of terrorism in the region. Anticipated terrorist attacks may include suicide operations, bombings, kidnappings, and attacks on aviation or maritime vessels.

    Dutch Cabinet Resigns After Austerity Talks Fail, http://bit.ly/JrM62X
    The Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, met the Dutch queen today to give his resignation after talks on austerity measures fell through. The failure of the Dutch government to reach an agreement on tough spending cuts could lead to the country’s AAA-rating being cut by ratings agencies, as well as investors increasing the country’s borrowing costs. The Dutch multi-party coalition government and the right-wing “Freedom Party,” or PVV, have been in discussion for seven weeks.

    (via Philly.com) On eve of Pa. primary, voter-ID law still being tweaked: Tuesday’s primary will be a dry run for the debut of Pennsylvania’s voter-identification requirements, a chance for election officials throughout the state to gauge the law’s impact and make appropriate adjustments before the presidential contest in November. But the voter-ID legislation was passed so close to the primary – Gov. Corbett signed it into law on March 14, and state officials were still tinkering with ID possibilities last week. The Corbett administration describes the primary as a “soft rollout” for the requirement that every voter must present an approved form of photo ID. Those without acceptable documents will be given a handout describing identification that will be required to vote in November. But election authorities in Southeastern Pennsylvania are not geared up to take names and addresses of voters who may want help acquiring a photo ID. Before the voter-ID bill cleared the legislature, Philadelphia election officials had already completed training for more than half the 7,000 or so people who staff the city’s 1,687 polling places. There wasn’t time or money to change course. In the city and the suburbs, only two counties – Bucks and Montgomery – reported they would be asking election officials to count how many voters were unable to present acceptable ID on Tuesday, http://bit.ly/Jzs8lh

    New curbs on voter registration could hurt Obama, http://reut.rs/Jml2m4
    In an analytic report, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School finds that state laws which require voter ID and restrict voter-registration drives will significantly reduce the number of Americans signing up to vote this year by hundreds of thousands. Particularly targeting young, low-income, and minority voters, the voting legislation will especially hit hard in big states like Florida and Ohio. The analysts note that massive registration drives in 2008 helped put millions of people aged 18 to 29 on voting rolls, and that age group – which makes up roughly one-quarter of the U.S. electorate – helped propel Obama to victory, voting 2-to-1 for him.

    Jon Huntsman Trashes GOP, Expresses Campaign Regrets, http://bit.ly/I2VM55
    In an interview on Sunday night, former Republican candidate Jon Huntsman heavily criticized the GOP, making a comparison to China’s Communist Party in one answer. Citing his inability to veer from his beliefs on science and tax cuts, Huntsman believes he was punished for his views by not being invited to GOP fundraisers. Huntsman also invoked that Ronald Reagan would not be able to secure the Republican nomination today in the conservatives’ current political climate.

    CULTURAL:

    Giuliana Rancic Is Expecting a Baby, http://bit.ly/I8Lu22

    Neil Diamond and Katie McNeil tie the knot, http://cbsn.ws/HVRKXp

    Justin Bieber Posts Message To His Paternity Accuser, http://on.mtv.com/JLd8OA

    Did Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Buy a Country Home Together? http://eonli.ne/Ikm3cK

    Kelly Holleran
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Tuesday, January 30, 2012

    Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

    Europe continues to try to reign in its debt; House GOP members propose a transportation bill; Obama has been introduced to Google+; and Joe Nocera has continued his pointed assault on the hypocrisy of the NCAA. Elsewhere, “Key and Peele” debut their much anticipated sketch comedy show, and Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger leave ‘The X-Factor.’

    Aaron + Caitlin

    CRUCIAL: 

    European leaders adopt treaty pledging debt reduction, http://wapo.st/zBExjM
    25 of 27 European Union governments have ratified a treaty intended to limit the growth of national debts. With the backdrop of Greece’s recent bankruptcy and the specter of other defaults, European leaders feel the need to increase confidence in their system. Critics, however, think that the bill is all talk since the EU already has un-enforced debt limits. Additionally, some feel the short term goals of the EU should be to stimulate growth and not work on austerity.

    House Republicans to unveil transportation bill, http://wapo.st/AvYvPK
    Republicans have proposed a transportation bill that would spend roughly $50 billion a year maintaining America’s roads, bridges and highways over the next five years. The plan would give states more jurisdiction on spending while still keeping an eye on states’ budgets. The House bill appropriates about $5 billion less a year than the similar bill bouncing around the Senate. Both bills, however, include no more than one fifth of the spending that transportation experts claim are needed to maintain much of the nation’s infrastructure. Included in this bill is a requirement that drunk drivers use ignition interlock devices for a year after their convictions.

    Federal Election Reform Commission Advocated Voter Photo ID, http://bit.ly/AdN6XT
    The Carolina Journal News is reporting that a bipartisan committee from 2005 both recommended and supported the new voter ID laws that have caused a recent uproar. The committee included Democratic Former President Jimmy Carter and Republican Former Secretary of State James Baker. Both argued that mandating photo IDs would enfranchise more than disenfranchise, but that belief is being questioned by minority rights groups.

    Eye of Newt: Songwriter sues Gingrich for using ‘Eye of the Tiger’ music, http://trib.in/ycHAK7
    Survivor lead guitarist Frankie Sullivan has filed an injunction to block Gingrich’s use of “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song from “Rocky III.” According to Sullivan’s lawyer, the issue is a copyright one and not a political one. Sullivan would have no problem with Gingrich using the song if he were to legally pay for its usage. Infamously, in 1984, New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen requested that Ronald Reagan not use his harsh critique of America’s treatment of veterans, “Born In The USA,” as a campaign song, and earlier this cycle Tom Petty requested that Michelle Bachmann stop using “American Girl” at campaign events.

    Obama Google+ chat gets personal, http://politi.co/wVWfua
    Obama used Google+, America’s newest social media network, on Monday to keep in touch with his constituents. The President has previously held chats on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and is continuing to stay up-to-date by using Google+. One awkward moment during the conversation came when Obama spoke with the wife of an unemployed man. Obama stated that maybe if he were in the engineering field he would have better job prospects, unbeknownst to the president, the woman’s husband was in fact an unemployed semiconductor engineer.

    Joe Nocera again sharply critiques the policies of the NCAA in “Saving Freshman Ryan,” http://nyti.ms/AoRzeW

    CULTURAL:

    Paula Abdul & Nicole Scherzinger Leave The X Factor, http://bit.ly/AkmCpe

    Rumer Willis Was Present During Demi Moore’s Emergency, http://eonli.ne/xa0Sf7

    Jack White announces solo debut album; M.I.A. confirms Super Bowl appearance, releases new single, http://wapo.st/ymofyg

    ‘Key & Peele’ stars talk racial sketch comedy in the Obama era, http://lat.ms/yozuxI

    Aaron Ghitelman
    Bio:

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