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    News Round-Up: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

    The SCOTUS comes to a decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case; a powerful earthquake strikes off the coast of Chile; Muriel Bowser defeats incumbent in DC mayoral primary; and bombings hit Cairo University in Egypt. Meanwhile, the Broadway cast of The Lion King does an epic rendition of the “Circle of Life” in an unexpected place; Michael Strahan shares some big news with the TV world; and Anna Kendrick preps for her SNL appearance.

    -Veronica + Maura


    DEVELOPING STORY: Justices strike down political donor limits: http://rtvote.com/1dN6htc
    The Supreme Court of the United States has determined the outcome of the McCutcheon v. FEC case.  With a vote of 5-4, individuals are no longer faced with a limit on how much they can donate to political campaigns. The winning argument determined that individual donor limits and regulations violated the First Amendment rights of the donor.

    Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile, triggers tsunami: http://rtvote.com/1pL0c20
    A massive, 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck directly off the coast of Chile on Tuesday. Fortunately, damage was minimal; landslides wiped out roads in some places and phone and power lines were also knocked out. Tsunami warnings were also in effect as tsunamis hit at various beaches, generating 6 to 7 foot waves. Five people died: two had heart attacks while the others were crushed by debris. People fled to higher ground as soon as the quake was felt, creating some traffic jams. Some are still without any source of power or phones, not knowing if they are able to return to their homes. There is no danger for the United States coastline.

    Muriel Bowser defeats Gray in DC mayoral primary: http://rtvote.com/1hhuFO7
    DC Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray in yesterday’s mayoral primary. Gray had been hit with scandals and a federal investigation relating to potential monetary felonies that helped him get elected in 2010. The Democratic primary winner has won every official election in Washington because 75% of registered voters in the district are Democrats; however, the Republican challenger, David Catania, is a definite contender. Despite Bowser’s win, many voters were discouraged with the candidates running and the election experienced a low voter turnout.

    Regulators did not properly track complaints on GM switches, inspector general says: http://rtvote.com/1oqcDTM
    According to the Department of Transportation’s inspector general Calvin L. Scovel III, “federal auto safety regulators lacked effective procedures for tracking consumer complaints” about the flaw in the ignition: the issue that has spurred the recall and resulted in thirteen deaths. General Motors’ Chief Executive, Mary T. Barra, says she was unaware of the issue until this year and did not answer questions relating to GM’s failure to fix the flaw. GM has recalled 2.6 million Chevy Cobalts deemed at risk for the ignition switch flaw. According to lawmakers, the ignition switch problem could have been solved by GM for a cost of .57 cents per vehicle.

    Bombings rock area near Cairo University: http://rtvote.com/1mKyRhw
    Two bombs planted outside of Cairo University in Egypt exploded, killing an Egyptian police officer and wounding five other security officers. Violence like this has been prevalent since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi last year, and is expected to escalate as Election Day grows closer. The current Egyptian leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to win with almost no contest, as the Muslim Brotherhood, the political party behind Morsi, and Egypt’s most organized party, have been banned. No one has claimed responsibility for this attack, although people speculate that Islamic militants are responsible. 


    The Lion King Broadway cast gives an impromptu performance: watch the awesome video! http://rtvote.com/1ft6eRL

    Anna Kendrick’s SNL promos are a thing of beauty & hilarity: http://rtvote.com/1mKFekZ  

    Michael Strahan has some big news: http://rtvote.com/1pQYSc5

    Miley Cyrus grieving over dog’s death: http://rtvote.com/1go46Xp

    Two people debate the How I Met Your Mother finale: http://rtvote.com/1oqkwbV

    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: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Uganda’s Anti-Gay christian mafia has American ties; a Virginia Senator called pregnant women “hosts” to unborn children; and Governor Bobby Jindal was rather rude at a recent White House Press Conference. Meanwhile, Paula Patton and Robin Thicke are separating; Lena Dunham will host SNL for the first time; and Ellen Pompeo killed her Charlie Sheen impression.

    -Gianna & Maura


    Hillary, ‘The Family,’ and Uganda’s Anti-Gay Christian Mafia: http://rtvote.com/1et5x5
    The President of Uganda recently signed into law anti-gay legislation that establishes a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which includes acts where one person is infected with HIV, “serial offenders,” and sex with minors. The maximum sentence for “Aggravated Homosexuality” is life in prison. The legislation was crafted by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and core member of the American Evangelical Christians called “The Family”. “The Family” proudly calls itself the “Christian Mafia” and for over 75 years “The Family”s main goal has been to consecrate America to God.

    Virginia senator under fire after calling pregnant women ‘hosts’ to unborn babies: http://rtvote.com/1mvWXty
    Virginia Senator Steve Martin is under fire after his Facebook response to a letter from a pro-choice coalition. The letter from the coalition reportedly stated, “All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options — including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.” Senator Martin responded to the letter by saying, “Once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.” Needless to say, Senator Martin received various hate mail, nasty grams, vile comments and death threats after his very controversial Facebook post.

    Bobby Jindal rips Obama at bipartisan White House event: http://rtvote.com/1cLJ8nU
    After the National Governors Association’s annual meeting, the governors held a press conference and many spoke on the need to emphasize areas of common agreement, the concern about the recent defense spending cuts, increasing transportation and their shared contempt of Washington. Governor Pete Shumlin of Vermont said it best, “We governors actually have to get things done. It’s not like Congress down here.” But, despite positive remarks, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana stirred controversy with comments about President Obama’s leadership in the White House. He remarked that “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy” and also accused President Obama of “ waving the white flag of surrender job growth.”

    Amid the coverage of Ukraine, is a crisis in Venezuela being ignored?: http://rtvote.com/1fQMwLJ
    Unless you’ve been completely absent from TV, Social Media or The Internet, then there’s a 99 percent chance that you’ve heard about the crisis in Ukraine. However, as the crisis in Venezuela continues to grow, many are wondering why it hasn’t received equal media attention in comparison to the extensive coverage on Ukraine. A Venezuelan-born journalist, Mariana Atencio, made a remark that shed light on the situation for the media: “The domestic media blackout imposed by President Nicolas Maduro makes coverage by international outlets all the more crucial.” We’ll have to keep an eye out as this story develops, but the Venezuelan crisis is crucial and definitely should be a big news story.


    Ellen Pompeo Does a Killer Charlie Sheen Impression: http://rtvote.com/OyP8YK

    Lena Dunham Set to Host Saturday Night Live For the First Time: http://rtvote.com/1fnifU0

    Reese Witherspon and Usher Play Catch Phrase on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon—Watch Now!: http://rtvote.com/1fnirm1

    Late Night With Seth Meyers Premiere: 10 Things to Know About Amy Poehler, Joe Biden and the Big Night: http://rtvote.com/1jxlGMZ

    Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Split: Inside Their Roller Coaster Past Year Together: http://rtvote.com/1etlvgv

    Gianna Judkins
    Bio: My name is Gianna Judkins& I'm a proud Angeleno. I'm also a Political Science Major at Howard University. I pride myself in being Michelle Obama's biggest fan and always being "FLOTUS Inspired”! As a Political Science major, my ultimate goal is to one day call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue my office. I'm a very determined young woman who understands the power of education and value of hard work while striving to achieve my goal of being one of the nation's next great leaders. I'm not that serious all the time though, for fun I enjoying singing in the choir and hanging out with friends.

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

    News Round-Up: Friday, January 17, 2014

    Friday, January 17th, 2014

    President Obama addresses the nation on NSA spying programs; the $1.1T spending bill will head to the White House; and a harsh Pennsylvania voter ID law is struck down by a state court judge. Meanwhile, FLOTUS turns 50 and fabulous!; Kim K flashes new photos of baby North; and the 2014 Sundance Film Festival commences.

    - Maura


    Obama calls for significant changes in collection of phone records of U.S. citizens, http://rtvote.com/1adj0Ug 
    Addressing the nation Friday morning from the Department of Justice, President Obama called for new reforms to NSA spying programs on U.S. citizens. After a six-month controversy, the president has ordered significant changes to the way the NSA collects & uses telephone records of U.S. citizens. He also advocated to end eavesdropping on many foreign leaders and allies of our country in order to rebuild their trust in the U.S. intelligence community.

    With Senate’s OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads to Obama,http://rtvote.com/1hywNEt
    The massive $1.1 trillion spending bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for a signature. The bill will prevent any gaps in government funding and provide a less harsh effect on automatic spending cuts. The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the spending legislation and reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown, at least for the upcoming election season.

    Putin: Gay people will be safe at Olympics if they ‘leave kids alone’http://rtvote.com/KnCoRK
    During a question and answer session Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, offered a statement that was apparently meant to be a reassuring answer for visitors to the Games. After being asked about Russia’s attitude toward gays, a controversial subject surround the upcoming events, Putin said that “one can feel calm and at ease. Just leave the kids alone.” Unfortunately Mr. Putin, I don’t think that’s the reassuring answer that most people were hoping for…

    Members of Congress Introduce New Fix For Voting Rights Act,http://rtvote.com/1m9ngUq
    Last summer the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when they released their ruling to the Shelby County v. Holder case. This ruling made it much easier for states with a history of discriminatory voting laws to enact new restrictive laws without federal supervision. Yesterday, the first bi-partisan solution was offered when legislation was introduced to help strengthen the Voting Rights Act.

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down, http://rtvote.com/19zLsPB
    Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a state court judge, struck down a controversial voter ID law in Pennsylvania Friday morning. After a twelve-day trial last summer debating the law, Judge McGinley ruled that the law placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote. 


    Kim Kardashian Shares New Pics of Baby North West, Talks Summer Wedding With Kanye West, http://rtvote.com/1avSIqX

    Michelle Obama Proudly Shows Off Her AARP Card on 50th Birthday,http://rtvote.com/1fFFqzJ

    Drake, Nina Dobrev, and More Degrassi Alums: Where are they now?,http://rtvote.com/1adbmcs

    Melissa McCarthy Returning to Host Saturday Night Live on February 1,http://rtvote.com/1jbj4GI

    Sundance 2014: Miles Teller Talks Divergent, Getting Naked in That Awkward Moment and His Rock Band Past, http://rtvote.com/KnzLzi

    Michelle Obama Turns 50! Let’s Look Back at FLOTUS’ Best Fashions So Far, http://rtvote.com/1jbjKvL

    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: Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Thursday, October 17th, 2013

    Cory Booker, wins NJ Senate seat; a 16-day government shutdown ends; and Facebook loosens privacy rules for young teenagers. Meanwhile, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are discussed, and Glee will be ending after season six.

    -Maura + Veronica


    Shutdown Over, Government Slowly Gets Back to Normal, http://rtvote.com/1fFojwF
    After a 16-day shutdown, the United States government is back to work as of Thursday morning.  The political standoff ended shortly before the midnight deadline that would have frozen the country’s ability to borrow money.  This agreement will fund the government until January 15, 2014 and opens the doors to further budget negotiations in the weeks ahead.

    How Members of Congress Voted to End the Shutdownhttp://rtvote.com/1etRL5C
    The House voted last night to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling in a final tally of 285-144. A webpage published by the Washington Post allows citizens to easily view the results of the vote. Which way did your representative vote? 

    Slavery Still Grips Tens of Millions Worldwide, Report Says, http://rtvote.com/1etOrYj
    Slavery still exists worldwide and new reports highlights just how severe and widespread it is. In total, it is estimated that 29.8 million people are enslaved around the world. A revolutionary report on this issue, called the Global Slavery Index 2013, was just released. The report found that there are 162 countries with slavery, including the United States, Canada, and Western European nations.

    Facebook Eases Privacy Rules for Teenagers, http://rtvote.com/1gn5yz7
    Amid high profile debates over child bullying and sexual predators, Facebook announced Wednesday that it is loosening its privacy rules for teenagers on its site. Facebook described these changes (which allow post statuses, videos, and images to be seen by anyone) as giving more choices to 13-17 year olds. Others argue that Facebook’s requirement for people to post under their true identity places larger scale risks for young people using the website.

    2013 ELECTIONS
    New Jersey

    Cory Booker Wins Special Senate Electionhttp://rtvote.com/1fFqoIL
    Two-term New Jersey mayor Cory Booker was announced as a winner in the NJ Special Senate election late Wednesday evening.  With a 55%-44% lead and 99% precincts reporting, Republican opponent Steve Lonegan conceded. With an endorsement from President Obama and 1.5 million Twitter followers, Mr. Booker was a projected winner early on in the race. In his victory speech he declared: “If you voted for me, I will make you proud. If you didn’t vote for me, I will work every single day to earn your trust.”


    Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, LL Cool J among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, http://rtvote.com/1etVccy

    Veteran character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74, http://rtvote.com/1etV3FZ

    Kerry Washington To Host ‘SNL’ For The First Time Nov. 2, http://rtvote.com/19aHQzP

    Ryan Murphy: Glee Ending After Next Season, Series Finale Will “Honor” Cory Monteith”,http://rtvote.com/1fFu9hu

    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: Monday, Apri 29, 2013

    Monday, April 29th, 2013
    Up to 55 people are injured after a gas explosion at a Prague school; a student shoots himself in an Ohio classroom; The New York Times reports that the C.I.A. has been delivering millions of dollars to Afghan President Hamid Karzai; Russian officials reveal Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother discussed jihad in 2011; and the Syrian Prime Minister escapes an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Jason Collins is the first professional athlete to come out as gay; the Jets release Tim Tebow; and Kristen Wiig will host SNL.
    Dozens hurt in Prague building blast, http://rtvote.com/187QNcR
    Close to 55 people were injured after a reported gas explosion at a film and TV school in Prague. Rescuers have started sifting through debris, looking for at least two people that are unaccounted for. The explosion caused the first floor of the school to collapse and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

    Student shoots self in classroom at La Salle, http://rtvote.com/11wPYoP
    A student at La Salle High School in Hamilton County, Ohio shot himself in a classroom Monday morning. The student has not been identified and is currently hospitalized.

    With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan, http://rtvote.com/ZZ29IV
    According to The New York Times, the C.I.A. has been secretly delivering large sums of cash to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for over ten years. The tens of millions of dollars has been delivered in suitcases, backpacks, and plastic bags. The C.I.A. has been using the money to pay off warlords and politicians, many of whom are connected to the drug trade. The pay offs have not exactly worked, however, as corruption is still rampant. “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” an American official told the Times, “was the United States.”

    Russians to US: Boston bombing suspect, mother discussed jihad in 2011, http://rtvote.com/187RFhJ
    Russian authorities have told U.S. officials that they suspected Tamerlan Tsarnaev was linked to radical Islam after they recorded a telephone conversation between him and his mother where they discussed jihad and a trip to Palestine. Counterterrorism experts say that the phone call is suspicious but does not provide enough indication that the suspected Boston bomber was plotting an attack. Authorities are more concerned about Tamerlan’s trip to Dagestan in 2012, and whether he and his brother had any help in planning the Boston marathon attacks.

    Syrian Prime Minister Escapes Assassination Bid, http://rtvote.com/187RXW1
    Syria’s Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi has evaded an assassination attempt that took place in a wealthy Damascus neighborhood.  The car bomb was detonated near the prime minister’s convoy, killing one of his bodyguards. As Syria’s civil war continues, there have been numerous assassination attempts on high-ranking officials. Last week, an official was killed with a silenced gun in a restaurant.

    Lawyers, public chant “hang him” as Bangladesh building owner led to court, http://rtvote.com/ZZ6iMS
    The death toll from the collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory has risen to 381. There is little chance of finding more survivors after a fire erupted Sunday night at the building site. 3,000, mostly female, workers were employed at the factory which made clothing for Western brands. The building’s owner was arrested Sunday as he was trying to flee the country. Officials say the factory was structurally unsafe and built in a swampy area without the right permits.
    In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites, http://rtvote.com/11wRx6l
    According to a new analysis from the Brookings Institution and the Associated Press, the rate of African-American voters surpassed that of whites for the first time ever in 2012. African-Americans also voted in larger margins than any other minority group.
    Jets waive Tim Tebow after one season, http://rtvote.com/11wSk7e

    Michael Jackson wrongful death trial to open, http://rtvote.com/187T8Vp

    Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now, http://rtvote.com/187WfwC

    Kristen Wiig coming back to host ‘SNL’: What we do and don’t want to see again!, http://rtvote.com/ZLrLP0

    ‘Jersey Shore’ star hospitalized in Florida, http://rtvote.com/ZLrVWr

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