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    News Round-Up: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

    UConn wins a victory in the NCAA Tourney; Russia threatens civil war; and a recent study revealed a gender gap in wages at the White House. Meanwhile, Simon Cowell is not proud of his extramarital affair; Blake Shelton dissed Brittany Spears; and Erin Andrews responds to rumors of “diva” behavior.

    -Gianna & Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Shabazz Napier, UConn too much for Kentucky, seize national title: http://rtvote.com/1ipKJOX
    Last night, UConn took home an NCAA win. Senior guard Shabazz Napier’s performance of 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists, ultimately led the UConn Huskies to a 60-54 victory over the University of Kentucky. One key aspect of the 6 point victory was Kentucky’s 11 missed free throws. When UConn’s coach, Kevin Ollie, was asked about his team’s victory he said: “Somebody told me we were Cinderellas, and I was like, no, we’re UConn, This is what we do.”

    As Obama Spotlights Gender Gap in Wages, His Own Payroll Draws Scrutiny: http://rtvote.com/PMe1Rd
    Today, President Obama will call attention to the fact that women make on average only 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns. However, a recent January study has shown that women in the White House only fare slightly better, making 88 cents for every dollar that a man earns. As midterm elections are swiftly approaching, this study reveals yet another political sensitivity to a complicated set of gender related issues and gender related policy.

    Russia warns of civil war if Ukraine uses force to quell eastern revolts: http://rtvote.com/1g2x5Ew
    On Tuesday, as Kiev seeks to regain control after pro-Moscow uprisings in three cities, Russia warned that any use of force in Ukraine’s eastern region could lead to civil war.The Russian government released a statement on their website saying: “We are calling for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which could lead to civil war.”As this situation progresses, US Navy warship, USS Donald Cook, is due to enter the Black Sea no later than Thursday to demonstrate support for Eastern European allies.

    Katie Couric: LBJ’s Daughters On Civil Rights Act At 50: http://rtvote.com/1eoFcan
    In a recent interview with Katie Couric, former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, discussed the Civil Rights Act in light of the Civil Rights summit to be held at their father’s library this week, which will include civil rights leaders and four living U.S. Presidents. The duo also discussed gay rights and marriage equality as being the civil rights issue of today.

    CULTURAL

    “Simon Cowell “Not Proud” of Lauren Silverman Extramarital Affair”: http://rtvote.com/1lNXERw

    “Blake Shelton Disses Britney Spears at the ACM Awards”: http://rtvote.com/1mZr38L

    “Erin Andrews Responds to Rumors of “Diva” Behavior on Dancing With the Stars”: http://rtvote.com/1kH3JLC

    “16 Things Drake Looked Like When Kentucky Lost The National Championship”: http://rtvote.com/PMBamm

    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: Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    Protests in Ukraine reach a new peak; Confederate flag-bearing license plates cause controversy; bald Barbie dolls cheer cancer patients; soldiers posing around an empty casket spark outrage; and an Arkansas teen is dead after a simple prank goes wrong. Meanwhile, a Gossip Girl star has a secret wedding; a pop music diva might be engaged; one of the hosts of The Voice calls it quits; and Harry Styles makes a “guest appearance” on The Tonight Show. 

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    After 25 die, Ukrainian protesters dig in: http://rtvote.com/1fgElvD
    25 people died Tuesday after political protests turned violent in Kiev, Ukraine. Today, the protesters are willing to continue to fight against their government. Protests began in November 2013 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych declined to trade with the European Union and chose Russia instead. The situation became more grave when the Ukrainian government passed a law prohibiting protesting, driving more people to protest violently. Western leaders are prepared to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian government until the violence ceases.

    Confederate flag to appear on new Ga. car plates: http://rtvote.com/1fyTPrt
    Officials in Georgia have allowed a specialty license plate that includes the Confederate flag, causing conflict between those who view the flag as a symbol of racial oppression and by those who view the flag as a symbol of their Southern heritage. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said he was surprised by the new plates and said, “I had no information in advance about it.” North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi are the only three states that joined the Confederacy that have specialty plates containing the Confederate flag.

    Bald Barbie cheers up cancer patients, families: http://rtvote.com/1fdAOzI
    Valerie Paul’s best friend’s cancer inspired her to make bald Barbie dolls for girls and women fighting cancer. She gained national attention when 13 year-old Talia Joy Castellano, a young girl with terminal cancer who became a viral sensation, received one of the bald Barbie dolls and was on Ellen. So far, she and her business partner Wanda Shultz have handed out over 300 Barbie’s and 75 baby dolls and send them to whoever requests one.

    Soldiers posing around empty casket spark rage: http://rtvote.com/1cZUYrf
    A group photo showing around twelve soldiers making non-serious faces and motions around an empty, flag-draped casket has sparked outrage amongst the public. The Wisconsin National Guard has suspended the woman responsible for posting the photo on Instagram and captioning it with this: “We put the FUN in funeral—your fearless honor guard from various states.” People across the country have found the photo incredibly disrespectful, especially those who lost loved ones in war.

    Prank turns deadly for Arkansas teen: http://rtvote.com/1blH1J0
    15-year-old Adrian Broadway from Little Rock, Arkansas, was shot in the head and killed on Saturday after a prank went horribly wrong. Broadway and a few friends went to a house to pull a “retaliation prank” on another teen who had pulled a prank on them previously. After peppering a vehicle parked at the house with toilet paper, eggs, and mayonnaise, a man came out of the house and opened fire, killing Broadway and injuring another. The shooter, 48-year-old Willie Noble, has been charged with first-degree murder, committing a terroristic act, and aggravated assault. 

    CULTURAL

    Secret wedding bells for this Gossip Girl star: http://rtvote.com/1ghC8y4

    See Simon Cowell’s newborn: http://rtvote.com/1gFZwH

    Harry Styles on The Tonight Show… kind of: http://rtvote.com/Oa45QP

    CeeLo Green quits The Voice: http://rtvote.com/1c2P2h4

    Is Katy Perry engaged? http://rtvote.com/1gVDmRB

     

    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: Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Thursday, August 1st, 2013

    US set to resume negotiations with Pakistan; Snowden finds a new home; fast-food workers demand higher pay; and Uruguay in line to becoming first country to regulate the Marijuana market. Meanwhile, is Michelle Obama is no longer best dressed?; Simon Cowell to become a dad; and Jimmy McMillan endorses Weiner for NYC mayor.

    - Ally + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    Ariel Castro apologizes to victims at sentencing hearing, http://rtvote.com/19zGukq
    Castro entered the courtroom Thursday morning, beginning with an apology to his victims. Until today, Castro had justified his actions, recalling mental illness, and personal history as a sexual assault victim, but had never expressed feelings of remorse.

    US, Pakistan To Resume High-Level Negotiations, http://rtvote.com/19zwacq
    US and Pakistani Secretaries of State will resume negotiations over security issues, including border control and counterterrorism. Negotiations between the two countries were hindered by the U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden, and by the accidental shooting of two Pakistanis by a CIA worker. The resumption indicates that the relationship between the countries is improving.

    Uruguay MPs back marijuana legalization, http://rtvote.com/13pBZW4
    Uruguay’s House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize marijuana, backed by the country’s President. If the Senate also passes the bill, marijuana sales would be conducted solely by the government, making it the first country to regulate sales of the substance.  Supporters are hopeful that the measure will reduce the tens of thousands of deaths caused by drug trafficking in the country.

    Edward Snowden receives temporary asylum in Russia, leaves Moscow airport, http://rtvote.com/19zxxaQ
    After over a month in the airport’s transit zone, and nearly a week after false reports of asylum in the country, Edward Snowden has been granted a 1 year asylum in Russia. His destination and plans in the country are unknown.

    A Day’s Strike Seeks to Raise Fast-Food Pay, http://rtvote.com/13pBo6G
    Fast–food employees nationwide are conducting one-day strikes to demand higher pay. The strikers are demanding a $15 hourly wage. Meanwhile, restaurant officials say this demand is unreasonable, and would drive restaurant owners to higher fewer workers or turn to automation. The events are part of a larger movement to increase the federal minimum wage.

    House passes student loan rate fix, http://rtvote.com/19zyPTi
    Since loan rates were doubled on July 1, the Senate, and now the House have passed a new bill to tie interest rates on federal student loans to the 10-year Treasury note.  Once President Obama signs the bill, which is expected, rates will be set at 3.86 percent for undergraduates. The rates, however, can fluctuate with the market, but are capped at 8.25 percent.

     

    CULTURAL

    MLB prepared to ban A-Rod for life, suspend eight others, http://rtvote.com/13pClMq

    Michelle Obama Snubbed From Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List, http://rtvote.com/16aCGBd

    Simon Cowell Expecting a Baby With Friend’s Wife Lauren Silverman, http://rtvote.com/16aGPFl

    Jimmy McMillan: Anthony Weiner for mayor, http://rtvote.com/16aGfar

    Try Out Facebook’s Fun ‘On This Day’ Feature—But You May Not Like What You See, http://rtvote.com/16aI4UW

    Ally.f@rockthevote.com
    Bio: My name is Ally Filler and I am a Field Intern at RTV this summer! I recently graduated from McGill University where I studied Linguistics. In addition to marveling at the linguistic hotspot that is Montreal and eating many croissants, I assisted hundreds of American students in their quest to vote from abroad. I'm excited to be a part of such an amazing team here at Rock the Vote!

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



    News Round-Up: Thursday, January 10th, 2013

    Thursday, January 10th, 2013

    The NIH reveals Junior Seau suffered a brain disease; Jerry Sandusky appeals his sentence in court; 5 Kurdish activists are murdered in Paris; VA Gov. Bob McDonnell calls for the restoration of felons’ voting rights; 44 states report widespread flu outbreaks; and a new study shows that half of the world’s flue is ‘just thrown away.’ Meanwhile, this year’s Oscar nominations are announced; ‘The Hunger Games’ wins big at the People Choice Awards; and Britney Spears is leaving ‘The X-Factor.’

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    NFL PLAYER JUNIOR SEAU HAD BRAIN DISEASE CTE, http://bit.ly/ZvZTJvAccording to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, former NFL player Junior Seau had been suffering from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he committed suicide last May. NIH has found that Seau’s brain had damages similar to those found in autopsies of people “with repetitive head injuries.” Seau’s family had requested his brain be analyzed after his suicide, noting that he was exhibiting strange behavior before his death. “I don’t think any of us were aware of the side effects that could be going on with head trauma when he passed away,” said Seau’s son.

    Delhi gang rape suspects ‘tortured to force confession’, http://bbc.in/UXN5we
    Manohar Lal Sharma, a lawyer expected to represent three of the New Dehli gang-rape suspects, says the men confessed to the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman because they were “tortured.” The court ruled Thursday that the charges against the five suspects needed further investigation and that the case will not be fast-tracked to a trial. A sixth suspect in the case is a minor and will be tried separately.

    SANDUSKY ARRIVES FOR HEARING ON FAIRNESS OF TRIAL, http://bit.ly/13iO0v3
    Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will appear in court Thursday in order to appeal his conviction for 45 charges of sexual abuse of young boys. He has been sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky will allege that his lawyers were not given sufficient time to prepare for the trial. The prosecution has responded that Sandusky and his lawyers knew as early as 2008 that he had been accused of sexual abuse.

    5-Female Kurdish activists including former guerrilla shot in Paris, http://reut.rs/VjWaAy
    Five Kurdish women were found shot to death in Paris Thursday morning. The bodies were discovered at the Information Center of Kurdistan. Police are launching a murder investigation and say the crime were politically motivated. One of the victims was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while another was the Paris representative of the Kurdistan National Congress. The PKK has been recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., Turkey, and the European Union, and has been involved in a 28-year war for independence from Turkey.

    (via Daily Press) McDonnell calls for automatic restoration of voting rights for felons, http://bit.ly/10gIdHF
    Gov. Bob McDonnell used his annual State of the Commonwealth Wednesday to tout his transportation funding package, unveil additional education reform proposals, and call for the automatic restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons. McDonnell said he supports proposed legislation for a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore civil rights, such as voting rights, to felons convicted of nonviolent offenses who have served their time. Currently applications for rights restoration must be made directly to the governor who then decides whether to restore rights on an individual basis.

    Biden, NRA set to meet, http://cbsn.ws/WuUBf9
    Vice President Biden, as leader of the president’s gun task force, will meet with the NRA, Comcast, other broadcasters, and movie-theater owners Thursday. The meeting is meant to discuss the enforcement of stricter gun laws and the use of gun violence for entertainment value. On Wednesday, Biden said that “executive action” will most likely circumvent Congress in order to take action on guns. NRA president David Keene has called the White House’s task force “disingenuous,” adding that it’s “going after the Second Amendment.”

    National flu outbreak widens, http://cbsn.ws/WB7zI6
    A total of 44 states are reporting widespread flu outbreaks. On Wednesday, Boston issued a public health emergency after 18 people were killed and 700 more were affected by the virus. At this time last year, only 70 cases of the flu had been reported. According to the Center for Diseases Control, the number of people admitted to the hospital with the virus has doubled in the past month. Officials strongly recommend flu vaccinations for everyone 6-months or older.

    Half of the world’s food ‘is just thrown away’, http://ind.pn/VR015h
    According to a new study, half of the world’s food, up to 2 billion tons, is “just thrown away.” Between 30 and 50 percent of food is not eaten due to poor infrastructure and storage facilities, expiration dates, “buy one get one free” offers, and pickiness from consumers. The study also states that the demand for water for food production could reach 10 to 13 million cubic meters a year by 2050 – more than triple the amount of fresh water humans use today.

    CULTURAL:

    OSCAR NOMINATIONS 2013: ‘ARGO,’ ‘LINCOLN’ & MORE (PHOTOS), http://thebea.st/RI1T2k

    Rapper Freddy E tweets final moments before shooting himself, http://on.today.com/10g3u4j

    People’s Choice Awards 2013: ‘The Hunger Games’ Takes Home 5 Awards, http://abcn.ws/VMaNwf

    Queen Elizabeth: William & Kate’s Daughter Will Be Called ‘Princess’, http://bit.ly/13kUJnl

    Britney Spears Leaving Simon Cowell’s The X Factor, http://eonli.ne/UNzs1y

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



    Suzy’s Take: FOX and Google’s GOP Debate

    Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

    What were you doing last night? Watching Simon Cowell glisten in one of his umpteenth v-neck sweaters with his new American pet project, X-Factor OR did you tune in to the MOST interactive American Republican Presidential debate ever?!?  Sponsored by Fox and Google, this unique forum included every day citizens beamed in via YouTube and text messaging (19,000 questions submitted from the US and internationally) asking candidates questions about issues that mean something unique and that affect them.

    Nine Grand-Old Party candidates: Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Ron Paul, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Georgia businessman Herman Cain and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman took turns in this two hour info session.

    There was flip-flopping, fireworks, patriotism, and at times straight talking the issues:  Social security, heath care, JOBS, and immigration.
    A personal favorite, a middle-aged American man begging when IS the U.S. going to stop handing out money to countries that “hate us?”
    Newt Gingrich stated, “… if a particular country votes against us consistently in the U.N., why would we give them aid to begin with? The postwar world, when we had 50 percent of the world economy, is gone. We can’t afford that much international aid anymore.”

    One of the most poignant moments during the debate was during the topic of health care. Presidential hopeful Cain talked about his hard fought (and won) battle with stage IV colon and liver cancer. (For those unaware- stage IV means the cancer is spread and there is generally no hope). After a standing ovation, Cain spoke of his victorious strategy with his doctors and describes what he believes COULD have happened if his illness occurred in this administration, “My cancer was detected in March of 2006. From March 2006 all the way to the end of 2006, for that number of months, I was able to get the necessary CAT scan tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy, go — get surgery, recuperate from surgery, get more chemotherapy in a span of nine months. If we had been under Obamacare and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan that would have delayed by treatment. My surgeons and doctors have told me that because I was able get the treatment as fast as I could, based upon my timetable and not the government’s timetable that’s what saved my life, because I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. And now I’m here five years cancer free, because I could do it on my timetable and not a bureaucrat’s timetable. This is one of the reasons I believe a lot of people are objecting to Obamacare, because we need get bureaucrats out of the business of trying to micromanage health care in this nation.”

    Another extremely pertinent question was from a college student suffering from chronic illness: “I have a chronic heart condition. So for me, and those like me, the Democrats’ health care reform, allowing us to stay on our parents’ insurance longer was a godsend. If were you elected, would you work as is the stated position of your party to repeal this reform? And if so, are we supposed to pray really hard that our ailments don’t prevent us from going to class?” The “answer” was a mish mash, side-stepping of everything wrong with Obama’s health care, to the HPV vaccine, and a statement that health care should be a state by state issue and solution- not federal.
    So, unfortunately, the answer is still out there OR hopefully, it will not change!

    Most gut wrenchingly, an American soldier serving in Iraq who has never been outed in the military (well, he is now) bravely questioned  “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He asked, “ In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was, because I’m a gay soldier, and I didn’t want to lose my job. My question is, under one of your Presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?” After the boos in the Orlando crowd subsided candidates didn’t really applaud, stand up for this man (who is fighting for all of them to have the right to govern and be governed)  or give him a straight answer; which was the case in many questions but, hey that’s politics, right? Although, most candidates did agree sex shouldn’t play a roll in government. Now, that’s grand old irony!

    Suzy Geers
    Bio: Born in New Hampshire, raised in Massachusetts and early "twentied" it in Los Angeles; Suzy Geers is a music journalist and currently marketing coordinator for Plaidswede Publishing in Concord, NH. Back to New England, living in MA (full circle?!) she is an unwavering metal, Drew Bledsoe and New England Patriots fan!

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