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    ‘State of the Union’



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

    The State of the Union Address was delivered last night; southern states are caught completely unprepared for snowfall; Congressman threatens reporter; and reading gap due to wealth increases. Meanwhile, Bieber returns to the States; Miley and Madonna sing a duet on MTV; a possible real-life love triangle surfaces in Hollywood; and a famous rock and roll band calls it quits.

    - Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    State of the Union: Obama calls for action, with or without Congress: http://rtvote.com/1fwyC2L
    Last night marked the delivery of President Obama’s fifth State of the Union Address. The address called for changes to the tax code, investment in alternative energy, and equal pay for women. President Obama received a standing ovation when he encouraged Congress to work alongside him instead of against him, and brought tears to the eyes of many Americans when telling the story of Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, an injured war veteran. Overall, a majority of viewers believed that the policies listed in the address will help the economy, and the address was generally well-received.

    Stranded, cold motorists spend nights on freeways after rare snow in South: http://rtvote.com/1k7ijfI
    Travelers in Alabama and Georgia were left in traffic, stranded on the roads- sometimes 16 hours after leaving work or school. Light snow, sleet, and freezing rain are wreaking havoc on Southern states unaccustomed to dealing with this type of weather. At the first sign of snow, people left their jobs, thinking they could deal with the weather. They couldn’t, resulting in spin-outs, accidents, and traffic jams miles long. Currently, people are trying to help stranded travelers while the government is telling its citizens to stay home.

    Rep. Grimm on why he threatened reporter: http://rtvote.com/1jJcxTW
    Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY), threatened a NY1 reporter, Michael Scotto, after last night’s State of the Union Address. Scotto tried to ask Grimm about a federal investigation pertaining to his campaign finances. This question sparked the threat. Grimm said in an email to NY1 and other news stations that Scotto took a “disrespectful and cheap shot” at the interview’s end, discussing a topic that was unrelated to the State of the Union Address, which was what Grimm was being interviewed about. Bob Hardt, NY1’s political director, was appalled by Grimm’s actions and wants a full apology.

    Reading gap between wealthy, poor students widens: http://rtvote.com/1jJfEv1
    A new report shows that 80% of fourth graders from low-income families do not read at their grade level, compared to 49% of their wealthier counterparts. Overall, 66% of all fourth graders do not read at their grade level, a figure regarded as shocking. Researchers believe that 8-year-olds, especially those living in low-income families, are not developed enough to be successful. To keep kids from falling behind, fewer children have to start kindergarten with undetected and untreated learning disabilities.

    CULTURAL

    Famous rock band Mӧtley Crüe to dissolve: http://rtvote.com/1aHIjOC

    Justin Bieber leaves Panama for LA: http://rtvote.com/1mXGEnZ

    Miley and Madonna finally duet! http://rtvote.com/1cuEE5p

    A real-life love triangle? http://rtvote.com/1fn3AMC

     

     

    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, January 28th, 2014

    Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

    President Obama intends to discuss raising the minimum wage for some Federal workers in his State of the Union Address tonight; John W. Warner surprises many by endorsing his Democratic successor Mark Warner; and peace talks in the Middle East have led to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreeing to a three year transition period. Meanwhile, legendary folk singer Pete Seeger passed away today and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ will premiere its 200th episode tonight!

    -Gianna & Maura

    CRUCIAL
    Obama to raise minimum wage for some Federal Workers, http://rtvote.com/MpuoSk
    In tonight’s State of the Union Address, President Obama plans to announce his intention of using an executive order to raise the minimum wage for some federal contractors to $10.10 an hour. The White House released a statement saying,“The President is using his executive authority to lead by example, and will continue to work with Congress to finish the job for all Americans by passing the (congressional) bill.” The State of the Union Address will air tonight at 9PM EST.

     Ex-GOP Sen. John Warner Endorses Dem, http://rtvote.com/M9K5MN
    Former Republican Senator John Warner has earned a reputation as a party maverick for bucking conservatives who won control of the GOP during his 30 year tenure in the US Senate. The former senator praised Democrat Mark Warner in his interview with the Associated Press as being a politician who understands the importance of bipartisan solutions. Mark Warner is grateful for his former opponent’s support and lauded John Warner as “The Gold Standard of Virginia”.

    Colorado High School Student Sets Self on fire in Cafeteria, http://rtvote.com/M9OpeJ
    A student at a local Denver high school set himself on fire in the school cafeteria. The unnamed 16 year-old student remains in critical condition as family, friends, school faculty, and police attempt to figure out what led the student to set himself on fire. Yesterday was the latest incident to affect the Denver area school community in recent weeks.

    Bill to Offer an Option to Give Vouchers, http://rtvote.com/1mRTtzT
    Senator Lamar Alexander, who served as Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, is planning to introduce a bill sometime today that would give federal money to the parents of 11 million children from low income families to spend on any type of schooling, as long as it is an accredited institution. Under this legislation, states would be given the option to opt in to the voucher program. About a third of states have already taken steps to redefine public education with a network of vouchers and scholarships. The rollout of Senator Alexander’s bill is seen as being a rallying point for Republicans as they approach mid-term election season.

    Palestinian President Says He Can Accept a 3 year transition period, http://rtvote.com/1dL3U2Z
    President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said in an interview that he can accept an Israeli military presence in the West Bank for three years as part of a peace deal. Mr. Mahmoud said,“We are willing to allow a third party to take Israel’s place during and after a withdrawal in order to soothe our concerns and Israel’s.”

    CULTURAL
    Pete Seeger, American Folk singer and songwriter dies at 94- http://rtvote.com/1e4voqq
    Rosie O’Donnell returning to The View as a guest seven years after bitter exit- http://rtvote.com/1hITkOm
    Kate Middleton will be attending The National Portrait Gala- http://rtvote.com/1f7MhOY
    ‘How I Met Your Mother’ will air the 200th episode tonight- http://rtvote.com/1iGUj5j

    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



    Last Night’s State of the Union Address

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

    John Boehner’s attempts to look enthused, the many faces of Joe Biden, and a plethora of awkward bipartisan interactions were not the only highlights from last night’s State of the Union. President Obama took a more aggressive stance than usual in his annual address. He asserted that the public had voted in favor of his agenda and hinted that he would not be as willing to compromise in his second term.

    The president promised to wind down – by next year — a conflict that has defined my generation. He announced an end to the war in Afghanistan as his headline issue. This spring, he promised, American forces would draw back into a support role and allow Afghan security teams to take over the brunt of the effort. “Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change,” the president said. Beyond the war’s end, he claimed, the administration will work with the Afghan government to train its forces, as well as to allow Americans to proceed with counterterrorist efforts focused on al Qaeda.

    As was to be expected, the president allotted much of the hour to speaking about his economic agenda. Most notably, he addressed the subject of minimum wage, an issue frequently neglected over the past few years.  You may see a little extra cash in your pocket at your summer job, as the president plans to advocate for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour “so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on”.

    As a college sophomore, I am all too familiar with the seemingly unreasonable price tag stuck on a university education and was glad to hear the president address the importance of bringing down higher education costs. Obama highlighted how his administration had used tax credits, grants, and better loans to make college affordable, but noted that taxpayers could no longer bear the burden of “subsidizing higher and higher costs for higher education.” He called upon Congress to improve the Higher Education Act, altering it to account for college affordability and value. Universities would then receive federal aid based on their ratio of affordability to value.

    The president also found time to touch briefly upon reforms that could ease your voting experience come the next election. He announced the creation of a non-partisan presidential Voting Commission designated to improve the American voting process. The Commission would be chaired by top attorneys from both the Obama and Romney campaigns. “When any Americans–no matter where they live or what their party—are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying out ideals,” Obama said on the right to vote.

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

    President Obama advocates for bipartisanship and economic reforms in his State of the Union speech; Marco Rubio responds with a now infamous swig of water; Christopher Dorner is presumed dead from a fire; the pope gives his last public mass before his retirement; the Senate Armed Services Committee approves Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense; and a New York Times reporter finds that calorie listings on foods can be highly inaccurate. Meanwhile, a rare Affenpinscher named Banana Joe wins the Westminster Dog Show; Justin Bieber says The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney should be ‘slapped around;’ and more revealing pictures of Kate Middleton are set to be released.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    Obama Pivots Left on Economy in State of the Union Speech, http://rtvote.com/11GAtzA
    In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama advocated for bipartisanship within the government and economic reforms. “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth,” he said. Obama went on to call for an increased minimum wage, a reformed pre-school education system, carbon regulation, immigration reform, and stricter gun laws.

    Did the police start fire that killed Christopher Dorner?, http://rtvote.com/15cBX3i
    The search for Christopher Dorner is over as a cabin he barricaded himself in was burned to the ground last night. Unconfirmed audio for a police scanner points to police starting the fire, which most likely killed Dorner. The ex-LAPD officer stole a car and shot two officers, killing one, during a shootout where he escaped into the cabin.

    Marco Rubio Winsome in Response to Obama, Rand Paul Mostly Feisty, http://rtvote.com/YdwJz2
    On Tuesday night, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio responded to President Obama’s State of the Union speech on behalf of the Republican party. Rubio attacked the president for his stance on taxes and government spending. A particularly memorable moment was when Rubio paused to drink from a water bottle in the middle of speaking. The moment immediately went viral on the Internet. On Good Morning America, Rubio said in regard to the sip, “God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human.”

    Pope Says Exit Is for ‘Good of the Church’, http://rtvote.com/11GF7O3
    In what is most likely his last public Mass as pope, Benedict XVI said that he is resigning for the “good of the church.” He also went on to thank his followers for their “love and support.” He cited his health as the reason for his retirement, explaining that he could no longer carry out his responsibilities effectively. The pope’s resignation will take effect February 28.

    Senate Armed Services Committee approves Hagel 14 to 11, http://rtvote.com/YdxW9u
    The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Chuck Hagel as the president’s Secretary of Defense. Hagel was barely approved with the committee voting 14 to 11 to have his nomination go to a vote in the Senate.

    Thai insurgents attack army base, troops kill 16, http://rtvote.com/11GE0Ol
    Sixteen Muslim insurgents were killed by Thai troops in a raid on Wednesday morning. The insurgents were trying to invade a military base in northern Thailand when Thai marines opened fire. The attack indicates the increased number of Muslim insurgents entering Thailand, which is a Buddhist-controlled country.

    Casey Neistat finds that calorie listings on foods can be highly inaccurate in “Calorie Detective,” http://rtvote.com/15cHxTz

    CULTURAL:

    “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin expecting child with new wife, http://rtvote.com/11GDMa3

    Lady Gaga suffers ‘show injury,’ postpones tour for a week, http://rtvote.com/XLmUZl

    Want a Dog Like Banana Joe? There Are 7 For Sale in America, http://rtvote.com/11GG1tU

    Chi Magazine Defends Kate Middleton Baby Pics: U.K. Channel ITV Apologizes for Showing Unblurred Cover,http://rtvote.com/11GG6he

    Justin Bieber Responds to Black Keys’ Drummer Grammy Diss, http://rtvote.com/11GG8Wg

    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: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

    Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

    Obama will announce the withdrawal of 34K troops from Afghanistan in his State of the Union address; North Korea conducts its most powerful nuclear test yet; a new report reveals that Pope Benedict XVI had secret heart surgery; a blast on Turkey and Syria’s border kills 14; ex-LAPD cop Steve Dorner may have had an accomplice; the Philippines hope for Asia’s first pope; and Twitter and Amex allow customers to buy items via hashtags. Meanwhile, wrestling will no longer be an Olympic sport; Adele’s Grammy crasher is arrested; and Rihanna takes a sad bath in her new music video.

    Caitlin

    CRUCIAL:

    AP SOURCE: OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE THAT 34K US TROOPS TO BE HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN A YEAR FROM TODAY,http://rtvote.com/Y9S0cV
    According to the Associated Press, President Obama will announce the withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan one year from today. He is set to reveal these plans during tonight’s State of the Union address. Yesterday, Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha, who fought to save his fellow soliders during an insurgent attack orchestrated by al Qaeda. During the State of the Union, President Obama will most likely address the economy, the middle class, and his presidency. The address begins at 9:00 PM E.T.

    North Korea Confirms It Conducted 3rd Nuclear Test, http://rtvote.com/XGxbGa
    North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test yet last night, defying U.N resolutions. The test has caused strong condemnation from other countries, including China which is the country’s only major ally. President Obama called the detonation “highly provocative” and said that it “undermines regional stability.”  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the test as a “clear and grave violation” of the U.N.’s resolutions. North Korea is working to enhance its nuclear systems, yet it is a long time away from miniaturizing devices for missiles.

    Pope Benedict Had Heart Surgery Three Months Ago, Il Sole Says, http://rtvote.com/XGE6Pw
    The newspaper Il Sole is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his retirement yesterday, had heart surgery and a new pacemaker put in three months ago. The Vatican confirmed that the pope has been using a pacemaker for a long time, but that he is in good health. The surgery, which was kept secret, had no complications but made the pope reconsider whether he is well enough for the post.

    Deadly bus blast hits Turkey’s Syria border, http://rtvote.com/159elNc
    At least 14 were killed and 26 wounded after a minibus exploded near Turkey and Syria’s border Tuesday. The explosion took place at a popular crossing for Syrian refugees. A spokesman for the Turkish government said that Syrian forces were behind the “powerful explosion.”  He went on to add that, “The information that we have for now is that a minibus with Syrian number plates coming from the other side exploded.”

    Dorner may have had help in trying to flee to Mexico, http://rtvote.com/XGySn2
    Authorities are considering the possibility that Steve Dorner, the ex-LAPD cop who is wanted for the murder of three, may have had an accomplice that helped him escape to Mexico. A report detailing Dorner’s path after the murders was released in court records Monday. It highlights Dorner’s efforts to steal a boat and subdue its captain in San Diego. There is a $1 million reward for Dorner’s capture. Murder and attempted-murder charges have already been filed against him.

    Busted toilets, hot rooms, headaches after fire strands cruise ship in Gulf, http://rtvote.com/159az6t
    A Carnival cruise ship is currently stranded off of the Gulf of Mexico with 3,143 passengers on board. An engine fire caused the ship to become immobile on Sunday. Passengers are facing a shortage of running water, electricity, and food. One passenger reported “sewage running down the walls and floors” and that those on board were being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers. Lines for food surpass 3.5 hours, and many passengers are sleeping outside due to the lack of air conditioning.

    Philippines Catholics hope, pray for Asia’s first pope, http://rtvote.com/11E1eog
    The Philippines’ Catholics, the largest Christian community in Asia, are hoping that their own Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle will replace Pope Benedict XVI when he resigns on February 28th. “The announcement also brought sadness to us. We felt like children clinging to a father who bids them farewell,” said Tagle regarding the pope’s retirement. While his election is far from certain, Tagle has a reputation as a lively Vatican insider and former adviser to the pope.

    Twitter and Amex to let you pay with a hashtag, http://rtvote.com/11DYuY5
    Twitter and American Express have teamed up to allow customers to purchase items via a hashtag. Users who sign up to buy items will be able to tweet an Amex related hashtag when ready to purchase. The customers will know their purchase has gone through once they’ve received a confirmation hashtag from Amex. The new initiative will begin Wednesday morning.

    CULTURAL:

    IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics, http://rtvote.com/11DYpne

    Adele’s Grammy Speech Crasher Arrested After Getting Stink-Eye From Jennifer Lopez, http://rtvote.com/Ya2MQh

    Rihanna’s ‘Stay’ Video, Featuring Mikky Echo: The Saddest Bath In The World, http://rtvote.com/11E3Ja7

    ABC, Univision unveil joint venture’s name: Fusion, http://rtvote.com/XGJdiN

    Justin Timberlake Calls New Album ‘The Best Stuff I’ve Ever Done’, http://rtvote.com/XGJhiy

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