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    News Round-Up: October 29, 2013

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Hawaii is up next to legalize gay marriage; an official review on NSA programs is underway; and social media sites criticize tasteless blackface and Trayvon Martin costumes. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers break up, and Julianne Hough receives some intense criticism for her offensive Halloween costume.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Hawaii governor expects gay marriage bill to pass ‘within week’,http://rtvote.com/1f1FWUw
    Hawaii’s legislature is expected to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage “within a week or so.” The state’s House of Representatives will pass the bill on Thursday if it passes Senate; both chambers have Democratic majorities. Governor Neil Abercrombie stated that he hopes the bill will pass before January, at the very latest.

    White House: Review will address global NSA concernshttp://rtvote.com/1gXYp8Q
    As more nations become enraged by NSA’s spying programs, the White House has assured the public that the collection of data on allies will not continue. A review of these programs is currently in the works, and a report on the review will be due by the end of the year. Spain is the latest country that has joined in on protests against the U.S.’s surveillance tactics; others include Germany, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Trick-or-treating takes a tasteless turnhttp://rtvote.com/1g9uU2E
    Halloween is right around the corner, and so are some of the most offensive costumes in Halloween history. Some of the more tasteless trick-or-treaters are donning Ariel Castro costumes, blackface costumes, and even Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman costumes. There has been a backlash on social media sites (rightfully so) against such getups, and the Utah Jazz and Julianne Hough have received such criticism.

    5 killed in Dallas-area shootings; suspect arrestedhttp://rtvote.com/1f1LVZx
    Police have arrested Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, for killing five people in a shooting spree in the small town of Terrell, Texas. The murders started at 5 PM Monday, and Brownlow was captured and arrested early Tuesday. The victims have not been officially identified.

    Report: White House knew plans would be canceled under ACA,http://rtvote.com/1gY57eY
    About 50%-75% of 14 million consumers who buy health insurance individually will have their plans cancelled in the next year because their current policies fail to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Initially, the White House said that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010, could be kept even if they did not meet the requirements of the new healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services later narrowed that provision. NBC News reports that the Obama administration has known for three years that people’s insurance would be canceled. The White House has responded that those whose policies are voided will be automatically shifted to plans with better protections. Additionally, they claim that nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their plans, but the failure of some plans to meet the new minimum standards should be expected.


    George Clooney and John Prendergast discuss what should be done to stop the chaos in Sudan in “Sudan could become a second Syria,” http://rtvote.com/1f1Puij

    Errol Louis talks about Banksy’s insensitive slam against New Yorkers and Americans in “Banksy’s insult shows he’s clueless about New York,” http://rtvote.com/19PKcV9


    Julianne Hough Goes Blackface as Orange is the New Black Character for Halloween Costume, http://rtvote.com/1gY8ouS

    Jonas Brothers Break Up: “It was a Unanimous Decision,” http://rtvote.com/1gY8H8U

    Dax Shepard Doesn’t Have a Wedding Ring, Says It Cost Him $142 to Marry Kristen Bell,http://rtvote.com/1gY9t63

    Adam Levine Says Fiancée Behati Prinsloo Made Him Believe in Marriage,http://rtvote.com/1gY9R4i


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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

    Syria receives arms from Sudan; jurors discuss disagreements in Boston mobster case; and near-death experience may be categorized by heightened electrical surge in the brain. Meanwhile, the best-dressed stars from 2013 Teen Choice Awards are announced; Justin Bieber breaks a charity record; and Bethenny Frankel talks about her divorce.

    - Maura + Ally


    Army Shipments Seen From Sudan to Syrian Rebels, http://rtvote.com/16IAyAX
    In Syria, rebels have not received support from the West and thus have struggled to arm themselves. Now, they have found Sudan as a supplier. This was surprising because of  Sudan’s international arms embargo, and the country’s close ties with Iran (a supporter of the Syrian government).

    Bulger juror describes “stressful” deliberationshttp://rtvote.com/16IAIIu
    On Monday, Boston mobster James Bulger was convicted of a series of gang crimes. A juror on the trial discusses the case as unbelievable yet compelling, but says that there was disagreement among the jurors. 

    Hannah Anderson didn’t know kidnapper killed family, http://rtvote.com/13VZPc8
    After 6 days at the mercy of her kidnapper James DiMaggio, Hannah Anderson returned home without any prior knowledge of the brutal fate of her mother and brother.

    Near-death experiences are ‘electrical surge in dying brain,’ http://rtvote.com/13W04nI
    A new study finds that the brain is more active during a dying state than while the body and mind are awake. This may explain the heightened consciousness people experience in near-death situations.

    N.C. sued soon after voter ID bill signed into law, http://rtvote.com/16IApgR
    North Carolina’s Governor, Patrick McCrory, has signed the state’s new voting bill into law, preventing or impeding many of the state’s citizens from voting. On Monday, several civil rights groups filed lawsuits in federal court challenging the law.


    Selena Gomez, Nina Dobrev and More Best Dressed Stars at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, http://rtvote.com/1a29X6N

    Filmmaker George Lucas, wife welcome baby girl via surrogate, http://rtvote.com/13W0BWH

    Justin Bieber Breaks Charity Record After Granting 200th Wish, http://rtvote.com/16ID6io

    Bethenny Frankel Talks “Brutal” Divorce, http://rtvote.com/1a2amX4

    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


    Thursday, April 12th, 2012

    The United States has few options for responding to a North Korean Missile Launch; war seems inevitable between Sudan and South Sudan; George Zimmerman will be tried for the death of Trayvon Martin; Amazon is making moves in the e-book department; Obama has elected not to sign an anti-discrimination bill; and Congress is trying to take on “bath salts.” Additionally, JK Rowling is set to release a new book; a French presidential candidate uses a “Watch the Throne” song in a political ad; Axl Rose will not attend his hall of fame induction; and Serbian police have found a stolen piece of art.

    Aaron + Caitlin


    Few U.S. Options as North Korea Readies Missile Launching http://nyti.ms/HDhLLx
    There is little President Obama and the United States can do as North Korea
    prepares to test launch a missile. It seems that the best option is for the
    US to downplay the significance of the test, for it’s impractical to prevent
    it. The US will, however, revoke the recent food-aid it granted to the
    totalitarian state. The reason that the US will not request sanctions on
    North Korea is that the country is already a heavily sanctioned nation, and
    the US does not want to waste its international capital dealing with China
    and Russia on North Korea when it is also dealing with Syria and Iran.

    Sudan, South Sudan mobilise as border violence intensifies http://f24.my/HBYGcB
    After South Sudan captured an oil field from Sudan yesterday, the two
    nations have started to ready for war. As a result, the African Union led
    peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan have been put on hold. After
    leaders failed to sign a treaty in Ethiopia, both sides have ramped up their
    wartime rhetoric.

    Prosecutor Files Charge of 2nd-Degree Murder in Shooting of Martin http://nyti.ms/I6gLN6
    Trayvon Martin’s family is celebrating a special prosecutor’s decision to
    charge George Zimmerman in the February shooting of the 17-year-old. The
    decision to charge Zimmerman was made by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey,
    who has downplayed any racial issue in this case.

    Post-ABC News poll shows drop in Republican support for Afghan war http://wapo.st/HCa2BA
    For the first time ever, a majority of Republicans do not think that the war
    in Afghanistan is worth fighting. This is an interesting revelation,
    considering likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney has come out in favor of
    the war. Even though Obama supported increasing troop totals in the
    beginning of his term, he has started to draw back troops and plans to turn
    Afghanistan over to local control by 2014.

    For John Edwards, isolation is a symbol of his downfall http://wapo.st/I5UFxB
    As John Edwards prepares for trial, it seems that his life is a lonely one.
    Living in the same palatial Chapel Hill estate that he built with his late
    wife Elizabeth, Edwards is persona non grata in Chapel Hill. Many old
    friends are disgusted that he cheated on Elizabeth while she was sick and
    have abandoned the former presidential hopeful. Others feel spurned, saying
    Edwards was so power hungry after his 1998 senatorial elect that he forgot
    who helped him get there.

    Obama delays ban on discrimination by U.S. contractors, disappointing gay
    rights advocates http://wapo.st/HE35M8
    President Obama did not sign a ban that would prevent federal contractors
    from discriminating based on sexual orientation. White House aides said that
    the president has planned a multi-pronged effort to urge companies not to
    discriminate, but for many gay rights advocates, that is not enough. Groups
    have been working to present this ban as widely supported and popular, but
    Obama will still not budge. Many are still holding hope that the president
    will sign the bill if he wins reelection.

    ‘Bath salt’ poisonings rise as legislative ban tied up http://usat.ly/IHXl5v
    Legislators are working to ban legal drugs marketed as bath salts or
    synthetic marijuana strains. Senator Rand Paul is holding up the passing of
    these bills as his Libertarian views require that states, and not the
    federal government, make decisions about drug laws. Poisonings from bath
    salts jumped from just over 300 in 2010 to over 6,000 in 2011, creating a
    sense in Congress that something has to be done. These substances mimic
    illicit substances like ecstasy and cocaine and have proven dangerous.

    Better tests find record concussions among U.S. troops http://usat.ly/HyYCgC
    In recent years, medical technology has improved for troops, especially in
    concussion detection. New reports show that on any given day last spring, an
    average of 16 troops suffered brain injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq. While
    increases in terrorists’ use of improvised explosive devices contribute to
    this this rise in concussions, experts say that the real reason for the
    increase is better testing.

    Death Penalty Repeal Goes to Connecticut Governor http://nyti.ms/HMFUwW
    The Connecticut House of Representatives has echoed the sentiments of the
    Connecticut State Senate, approving a bill that would end the death penalty
    in Connecticut. The Democratic governor has said she will sign the bill.
    Currently, there are 16 other states that do not have a death penalty, and 5
    different states have repealed the death penalty in the last 5 years.
    Connecticut’s bill has been in the works for over two decades. It was vetoed
    by a Republican governor in 2009; at the time a gruesome home invasion had
    just taken place and the only survivor of the incident was in favor of the
    death penalty.


    Axl Rose declines Rock Hall induction, http://usat.ly/HyiXTC

    Hollande: ‘Vote for me, N***** in Paris!,’ http://bit.ly/HJopkz

    Mel Gibson, Screenwriter Feud over Jewish Hero Movie, http://bit.ly/IYLOva

    Feud of the Day: Courtney Love vs. Dave Grohl, http://eonli.ne/HxFWt5

    Obama Says Kanye West is ‘Very Talented’ But Still a ‘Jackass,’

    Serb police find painting believed to be stolen
    Cezanne, http://fxn.ws/HCMtbO

    J.K. Rowling announces first novel for adults: ‘The Casual Vacancy,’

    Aaron Ghitelman

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

    News Round-Up: Friday, July 15, 2011

    Friday, July 15th, 2011

    Minnesota’s government has come to an agreement to end the state’s shut down, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are working on a back-up plan to prevent a default, Rebekah Brooks resigns from Murdoch’s British subsidiary, a woman dies after a volcano in Indonesia erupts, and the California governor signs a bill requiring schools to teach LGBT history. Also, Levi Aron is pleading not guilty to charges of kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, and Michele Bachmann raised $2 million in 3 weeks.

    Caitlin, Katie, + Perry


    (via POLITICO Breaking News)
    Following a three-hour meeting at the statehouse on Thursday, an agreement has been reached to end Minnesota’s government shutdown, now in its 14th day. The Republican leaders in the state legislature appeared at an evening press conference with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to announce they’ve reached a framework for a deal. Dayton said he will call a special session to pass a budget, which should allow the government to reopen in a “few days.”

    Plan B Emerges on Debt,
    Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have held quiet meetings on a plan to avoid a default. The backup plan would include spending cuts and McConnell’s idea to give the president power to raise the debt ceiling. The deal would also have a committee to scope out further cuts, and per Republican demands, would probably not include any tax increases.

    Rebekah Brooks Resigns From Murdoch’s British Subsidiary, http://nyti.ms/r6X8lv
    Rebekah Brooks, the Chief Executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British news operation, announced her resignation Friday. Reports came out that while Brooks was editor, News of the World ordered the cell-phone hacking of a 13-year-old murder victim and terrorism victims from 9/11.

    Woman dies as Indonesian volcano erupts again, http://on.msnbc.com/nxmxOv
    Rescuers, along with soldiers and police, evacuated Indonesian residents living near a 5,741-foot volcano called Mount Lokon. 6,000 were moved into shelters and 27,000 more will be displaced. One woman died of a heart attack while fleeing from the lava.

    California governor signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history,
    California students are used to learning about the historic contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans; now they’ll also learn the history of LGBT and disabled Americans. Gov. Jerry Brown justified the additions to the curriculum, noting that “history should be honest.”

    Sudan Strikes Could Be War Crimes, Report Says, http://nyti.ms/poRMJX
    South Sudan, which was recently admitted to the United Nations after seceding from the North, might be charged with possible war crimes. A report suggests that the northern government based in Khartoum has carried out human rights violations that could be considered war crimes in South Kordofan State.

    Obama Said Ready to Move on South Korea Trade Bill, http://nyti.ms/nL6VmI
    Business leaders and President Obama are eager to see a free trade pact approved with South Korea. Republicans are threatening to vote against the bill since it includes an extension to the 50-year-old TAA job training program.

    Michele Bachmann reportedly raised $2 million in 3 weeks,
    Since she announced her candidacy three weeks ago, the Minnesota Congresswoman has doubled her campaign’s budget. While this is an impressive amount in such a short period of time, rival Mitt Romney is still well ahead of her total.


    Harry Potter shatters sales records as millions say one final goodbye, http://bit.ly/qPAjv7

    Sarah Palin Movie Debuts to Empty Theater in Orange County, http://bit.ly/mZtoIj

    Chris Colfer learned he’s leaving ‘Glee’ from Twitter, http://bit.ly/nQT7Al

    Does Lindsay Lohan Really Think She Deserved Natalie Portman’s Oscar?! http://eonli.ne/oeRzbw

    Pharrell Williams Launches ‘Qream’, New Drink for Women, http://bit.ly/r9HIGm

    Katie Scholick
    Bio: Duke University, Class of 2013 Majoring in Psychology, Certificate in Markets and Management.

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