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    News Round-Up: Thursday, March 13, 2014

    Thursday, March 13th, 2014

    More people are pronounced dead after East Harlem building explosion; G.M. reveals new information about a safety defect linked to 12 deaths; and a hit and run driver kills 2 people at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, Shailene Woodley makes Jimmy Fallon blush; Emma Watson graces the cover of Elle magazine; and Harry Styles gets rescued by AAA.

    - Maura


    Malaysia Disputes report that missing plane flew on for hours,http://rtvote.com/1ihA8sK
    Sadly, little progress has been made in the search for the missing Malaysian passenger jet that went off the grid nearly a week ago over the Gulf of Thailand. In response to speculation about the fate the of the plane carrying 239 passengers and crew, Malaysia’s defense minister held a press conference dismissing a series of leads. Officials are describing this incidence as an unprecedented aviation mystery, and it is still unknown whether the plane is on land or in water, east or west of the country, or far beyond.

    Building collapse kills at least 7 in Manhattan,http://rtvote.com/1nn7mvN
    Updates are emerging after a massive explosion yesterday in East Harlem, that leveled two five-story apartment buildings. At least 7 people were killed and firefighters are still searching through the rubble for survivors. More than 40 people were reported with injuries. Authorities believe a gas leak caused the explosion but are still waiting to announce the official cause. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the site, commenting that this was a “tragedy of the worst kind.”

    Hit and run driver kills 2, injures 23 at SXSW,http://rtvote.com/1m0m222
    Tragedy struck last night at one of the most anticipated festivals of the year: South by Southwest. A drunk driver, said to be fleeing from police who tried pulling him over, went the wrong way down a one-way street and drove into a crowd of people waiting outside of a popular bar and music venue. Two people were killed in the accident and 23 others are injured.

    G.M reveals that it was told of ignition defect in 01’,http://rtvote.com/1i89q5d
    In an expanded chronology of events filed with federal safety regulators about the recall of 1.6 million cars, General Motors reveals it had reports of a safety defect in its cars as early as 2001. This particular safety defect has been linked to 12 deaths and at least 31 accidents over the past decade. According to GM, in 2001 a study found that the ignition switch in the Saturn Ion could turn off easily, but the company said a design change “had resolved the problem.”


    28 Modern Proverbs for 20 Somethings, http://rtvote.com/1ftr0MB  

    Harry Styles Rescued by AAA Tow Truck After Motorcycle Breaks Down,http://rtvote.com/1m0gmoP

    Emma Watson Covers Elle Magazine, Explains Why She’s “So Jealous” of Certain Actresses, http://rtvote.com/1cV2Ikg

    Shailene Woodley Gives Jimmy Fallon a Phallic Herb—And it Makes The Tonight Show Host Blush, http://rtvote.com/1nn5GlY 

    Pharell Williams Up With Comme Des Garcons to Release New Fragrance,http://rtvote.com/1nn5WRU

    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: Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

    Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

    Another day of voting continues for the papal conclave; Venezuelan officials claim Hugo Chavez was poisoned; the Steubenville High School students stand trial; and Google admits that its Street View data violates user’s privacy. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth split; Anna Wintour adds Artistic Director to her resume; and tons of Taylor Swift’s fan mail is found in a Nashville dumpster.



    Black Smoke Emerges From Sistine Chapel as Cardinals Fail to Elect New Pope,http://rtvote.com/16rUF7W
    Wednesday marked day two of the conclave voting on a new pope; however, many were disappointed to see black smoke emitted from the chapel’s smoke shaft. The smoke indicated that the 115 voting cardinals did not come to the 77 votes needed to elect a new pope. Earlier on Wednesday, feminists from the Ukraine took over St. Peter’s Square protesting the election by writing “Pope no more” on their bare chests. Many cardinals, including New York’s Cardinal Dolan, have said a new pope will most likely be elected on Thursday.

    Venezuela to probe Chavez cancer poisoning accusation, http://rtvote.com/12Prug5
    On Tuesday night, it was revealed that many close to Hugo Chavez believed him to have been poisoned. The announcement has since launched an investigation into Chavez’s cause of death. Newly appointed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed that he also believed the conspiracy saying, “We have the intuition that our commander Chávez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way.”

    GOP sends mixed signals on Obama’s outreach effort, http://rtvote.com/12Ppqo5
    For the first time since 2011, President Obama will meet with the House Republican conference. The meeting is another example of the president’s efforts to create bipartisanship between parties and ultimately, work together for a deficit-reduction bargain by this summer. In today’s meeting, Obama will most likely reveal his complete second-term agenda, which includes stricter gun laws and immigration reform.

    Case Already Tried in Social Media Heads to Court, http://rtvote.com/16rWO3n
    Two former high school football players will stand trial today for raping a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio. The alleged crime gained national attention after the hacking group Anonymous, who believed the case was intentionally being covered up by Steubenville officials, brought the sexual assault to light and caused it to go viral on the Internet. As a result, defendants Trenton Mays and Ma’lik Richmond have already been condemned on social media.

    Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy, http://rtvote.com/16rTfu3
    On Wednesday, Google admitted that their methods of collecting data for Street View “violated people’s privacy.” Thirty-eight states had brought a court case against the search-engine claiming that its data collection was unethical. Google decided to settle the case today, agreeing to pay a $7 million fine and promise to “police its own employees on privacy issues” through a privacy program that must be created within six months. Richard Blumenthal, one of the attorneys on the case, said the most monumental part of the settlement is Google’s admission that they violated privacy rights.


    Condé Nast Adds to Job of Longtime Vogue Editor, http://rtvote.com/12Pssc9

    Mitch Seavey becomes oldest-ever winner of the Iditarod, http://rtvote.com/15MBwMD

    It’s over for Liam and Miley, http://rtvote.com/ZIiyTf

    SXSW 2013: ‘Short Term 12′ wins feature prize, http://rtvote.com/ZIiByy

    Taylor Swift’s Fan Mail Discovered In Dumpster, http://rtvote.com/15MDwo5

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

    Digital Media: Platform for Democracy

    Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

    Youth in America spend more time using social media sites than any other form of media. Whether through tablets, smartphones or computers, my generation is certainly wired and ready to engage. What else can we do as we wait for that lolcats page to load except “like,” share, and “reteweet”? Well to start, we can build the political power and strength of our generation, one network at a time.

    This was the discussion surrounding South by Southwest’s (SXSW) kickoff Interactive panel “Socializing the Presidency” last Sunday, March 11th. PBS brought together several leaders in the digital and youth spaces, including Rock the Vote’s President Heather Smith, PBS NewsHour moderator Christina Bellantoni, radio host and political commentator Mary Katharine Ham, Founding Executive Director of Voto Latino Maria Teresa Kumar, and Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. And despite the early morning start on a Sunday (not to mention the annoyance of Daylight Saving Time) and pouring rain, the panel’s room was packed. To Smith, the large audience and their thoughtful questions suggest that “there is a lot of great faith in social media innovators changing the presidential election.”

    Discussion on the panel ranged from candidates’ authentically interacting with others through social media, to “fact checking” the news through the digital gauntlet, to brand building, to how features on Facebook and Twitter can be used effectively to organize, and how grassroots initiatives may rely more on peer-to-peer networks in the future. Each panelist brought a dynamic perspective. Newmark noted, as a self-described nerd, less so political commentator, that he knows technological trends can accelerate and protect movements and that the concept of viral social media can only expand the effectiveness of grassroots activism. Ham said that, in her experience as a commentator, she has seen how authentic engagement and storytelling through social media has provided candidates a communications platform that significantly contributes to election wins.

    The panelists also talked about solutions for voter discouragement, namely in states that have recently adopted restrictive voter ID laws. Kumar is aware that Latino voters are especially at risk of disenfranchisement because of these laws. Smith points out that there are several barriers to voter participation that can be cured through social media. First, social media can help promote awareness about the voting process. “People don’t automatically know to fill out a form and send it in 28 days before an election,” Smith said, adding that educating and promoting through social media is a “huge service” for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.

    Obtaining the correct voter ID causes the inconvenience of extra steps in the voting process. However, digital tools can help combat this: “We have to use our power of communication and peer-to-peer networks to let people know about the barriers before they show up to the polls unprepared,” Smith said. Lastly, she believes that online conversations and demonstrations can remind voters that their voice has influence. Citing overwhelmingly effective reactions to the Stop Online Piracy Act and Komen’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, Smith sees the digital world as a platform for democracy and individual collection. “There is this one belief permeating youth culture that politics in D.C. is dysfunctional, that the influence of big money corrupts the political process and trumps the power of voters. But we know that the only way to fight against these things, which will only grow, is to increase participation. If we have fuller participation, we would outweigh the influence of power and money. Social media helps get that message out and demonstrates people getting together for collective action.”

    New technologies are providing exciting opportunities to communicate and act. For example, Smith sported Rock the Vote’s new “Scan to Vote” t-shirt at the panel. The tee allows a registrant to scan the shirt’s QR-code with his or her smartphone, bringing them to a mobile page with voter information videos, social media pages, and Rock the Vote’s online voter registration tool. Through scanning a code or simply “following” a Twitter handle, social media participation defines the youth movement. Smith says “this young generation is one out of four voters in the electorate and growing. Like it or not, they will define the culture in our country and with luck, they will shape the future of our democracy. Through social media we are encouraging them from simply being consumers of media, to being creators of our democracy.”

    Kelly Holleran

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

    News Round-Up: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

    The U.S. contemplates withdrawing from Afghanistan early; News of the World’s Rebekah Brooks has been arrested; the Syrian government has laid landmines along the country’s borders; Israel and Gaza reach a truce; voter ID laws have been blocked in Wisconsin and Texas; and a new study shows that one serving of red meat a day does not keep the doctor away. Meanwhile, Prince Harry has been told to buckle down on his Apache training; a lost Da Vinci masterpiece has been found; and a controversial new marketing ploy has homeless people as wireless hotspots at SXSW.



    U.S. Officials Debate Speeding Afghan Pullout, http://nyti.ms/zeP0qo
    The Obama administration is re-evaluating its exit strategy in Afghanistan after troops were caught accidentally burning Qu’rans, and an American solider killed 16 Afghan civilians this weekend. The plan was to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, but the administration is considering leaving the country earlier. Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans have been demonstrating since the murder of civilians this Sunday. Some protestors have even burned President Obama in effigy. More details have been released about the American soldier who went on a shooting rampage; he is believe to be a sergeant from the Lewis-McChord base near Seattle. The base has a high rate of suicide and assault, and the soldier suffered a traumatic brain injury during one of his three tours in Iraq.

    Police Arrest Murdoch Deputy Rebekah Brooks And Husband, http://bit.ly/z0wOMP
    Former News of the World Deputy Rebekah Brooks has been arrested along with her husband, horse-trainer Charlie Brooks. The Brooks’ arrests are the most major ones since the News of the World scandal broke. Brooks was Editor of News of the World and CEO of News International until resigning in July. She had been arrested once before last summer.

    Syria laying landmines along border: Human Rights Watch, http://bbc.in/xYd4e9
    According to a Human Rights Watch report, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces have been laying landmines along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Lebanon, routes that refugees have been using to escape the country. A former Syrian Army deminer says he has removed 300 mines along the Turkey border, and 15-year-old boy has lost his leg from one in Baba Amr. The United Nations will meet for a second day in Turkey to discuss the violence in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked the security council to denounce Syria’s “horrific campaign of violence.” However, Russia and China still oppose any condemnation of the Syrian government.

    Israel, Gaza militants agree to truce: Egypt official, http://reut.rs/yU0PYA
    (via Reuters) Israel and militant factions in the Gaza Strip have agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce to end four days of cross-border violence in which 25 Palestinians have been killed, a senior Egyptian security official told Reuters on Tuesday.The official said in a telephone call from Cairo that both sides had “agreed to end the current operations”, with Israel giving an unusual undertaking to “stop assassinations”, and an overall agreement “to begin a comprehensive and mutual calm.”

    All red meat is bad for you, new study says, http://lat.ms/wKCPXU
    A just released long-range study shows that eating any red meat is bad for your health. The study of 110,000 adults over 20 years of age finds that adding one three-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat to the participants’ daily diets increased their risk of death during the study by 13%. Adding a hot dog or two slices of bacon to the participants’ daily diets increased the risk by 20%. Replacing beef or pork with nuts in their daily diets decreased the chance of death by 19%, and replacing them with poultry or grains lowered the risk to 14%. “Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

    Second Judge Blocks Voter Photo ID, Saying It’s Unconstitutional: Updated, http://bit.ly/ye6XLJ
    (via WBAY) A second Dane County judge has granted an injunction blocking the photo ID requirement of the [Wisconsin's] Voter ID law — this one, a permanent injunction — and the state attorney general says he will appeal. Judge Richard Niess ruled the photo ID requirement is unconstitutional in a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

    Justice Department bars Texas voter ID law, http://wapo.st/yzfDPr
    (via The Washington Post) The Obama administration on Monday blocked a new law in Texas that requires voters to show a photo ID, drawing fierce criticism from Republicans who say the move was aimed at boosting President Obama’s reelection prospects.The Justice Department said that the law disproportionately harms Hispanic voters. “Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card,” Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, wrote in a letter to Keith Ingram, director of elections for the Texas secretary of state.


    Prince Harry banned from the pub and told to concentrate on Apache training, http://tgr.ph/wZ9Hsf

    Jon Hamm gets Twitter feedback from ‘idiot’ Kim Kardashian, http://lat.ms/x0WZZR

    Homeless hotspot: SXSW program stirs debate, http://lat.ms/ztXyyt

    Da Vinci’s lost masterpiece may be found, http://bit.ly/y1xVcs

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

    Rockin’ at SXSW 2012

    Friday, March 9th, 2012

    Hi Friends,

    I’m heading to Austin for SXSW and I could not be more excited; will you be there by any chance? Here’s a sneak peak at some of the cool things Rock the Vote will be doing on the ground…

    I’ll be kicking off the week at SXSW Interactive speaking on the panel — “Socializing the Presidency: Digital Politics 2012” — on Sunday at 9:30 am at the AT&T Center -Salon B. The other panelists and I promise a fun and interesting conversation about how social media can shape and transform the 2012 presidential election. Stop by if you can (badge required).

    The Warby Parker Citizens Circus at the French Legation MuseumRock the Vote volunteers will be registering voters and rocking out to good tunes at some of Austin’s hottest venues, Auditorium Shores (March 15-17) and Stubbs (March 13-17). We’ll be showcasing our new and interactive #ScanToVote apparel. The Politico has the exclusive here.

    Lastly, you won’t want to miss our yurt at The Warby Parker Citizen’s Circus at the French Legation Museum on March 12-14. You can register to vote as well as make your own campaign buttons, all while checking out fashionable eye glasses and the Citizen’s Band. Find out more here.

    This is going to be a great week! Make sure you check out our SXSW updates at @rockthevote or on Facebook.

    I’m wheels down on Sunday. Hope to see you around.


    P.S. Help us win! Social sharing platform Mulu will match our funds if we have the most picks and pages on system at SXSW. Get started by making a page at www.mulu.me.

    Heather Smith
    Bio: Heather is President of Rock the Vote.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com