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    News Round-Up: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Thursday, April 24th, 2014

    Almost 1,600 veterans are forced to wait for care from a doctor; a new Georgia law allows guns in school districts, bars; and lawmakers threaten to pull funding from public universities. Meanwhile, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome their new son; a teen with terminal cancer raises over $1,000,000 for charity; and a runway model criticizes thin-shaming.

    -Veronica + Maura

    CRUCIAL

    A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital’s secret list: http://rtvote.com/ROzEle
    Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix, Arizona created a scheme to hide the fact that between 1,400 and 1,600 sick veterans had no choice but to wait for months for doctoral care. At least 40 of those veterans suffered and died because they could not get care. What’s worse? The management at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix knew about and defended the waiting list. A former doctor at the hospital said there were two lists the hospital used: one that was shown to Washington that proves that people were getting care (the “sham” list) and the other that showed how veterans had to wait for up to a year: the “real” list. The hospital also did not preserve records and could make it seem as though a person never came in for an appointment. After the allegations came to a head, Congress has ordered all records to be preserved.

    Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches: http://rtvote.com/1k9l9lb
    Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill Wednesday that would allow guns to be carried into previously gun-free zones: like bars, churches, school zones, airports, and government buildings. The Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 (or the “guns everywhere bill” as dubbed by opponents) was lobbied for by GeorgiaCarry, a pro-gun rights organization and will go into effect on July 1st of this year. 5% of Georgia’s population has passed background checks necessary to own a gun, and Deal says that this legislation “gives added protection to those who have played by the rules.” Some people, like members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, refuse to allow guns in their sanctuary. Others regard the law as ridiculous because the state has refused to expand healthcare and accept Obamacare but allows its citizens to own guns. However, the Safe Carry Protection Act has garnered wide support from members of the NRA and other supporters of the right to carry.

    Lawmakers pressure universities with threat to pull funds: http://rtvote.com/1f7AGTC
    States are threatening to pull funding from universities based on the information they teach, the things professors say, and the organizations partnered with the schools. For example, in South Carolina, funding is threatened at two different universities because students were asked to read a book discussing homosexuality. In Kansas, lawmakers threatened to “withhold appropriations” after a professor tweeted anti-NRA rhetoric. Some states have also banned universities from sending money to organizations that support things like unionization and boycotts that the state did not support. Colleges and lawmakers are trying to work together to find common ground.

    Ukraine tense as Russia launches military drills, activists die in clashes: http://rtvote.com/ROW3yJ
    After Russian forces practiced military drills near the Russian-Ukraine border, Ukrainian officials claim that they killed five pro-Russian militant activists. The deaths occurred as the Ukrainian military attempted to remove barricades from around Slavyansk, a Ukrainian city occupied by pro-Russian activists. Russian Vladimir Putin was quick to respond, saying: “If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it, beyond any doubt, is a very serious crime.” He also threatened “consequences” to the Ukrainians. Foreign nations, like the United States and countries represented in NATO, have expressed worry at the 40,000 Russian troops that have gathered at the border and have asked Russian forces to back down.

    CULTURAL

    Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome baby Otis! http://rtvote.com/1k9D1MJ

    The Bachelorette contestant Eric Hill tragically dies in freak accident: http://rtvote.com/1gUsLnK

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, loses her brother in accident: http://rtvote.com/1hq099r

    Jodie Foster is married! Congrats! http://rtvote.com/1nscIF1

    Terminally ill teen raises over $1,000,000 for charity: http://rtvote.com/1ptSRXQ

    Runway model: “If you can feel beautiful for being big, I can feel beautiful about being small”: http://rtvote.com/1lJpkbh

    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: October 23, 2013

    Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was allegedly involved in a triple slaying in 2001; a 14-year-old boy is arrested for a teacher’s murder; and this year’s increases in public university tuitions are the lowest they’ve been in three decades. Meanwhile, a man spends major bucks to look like J-Biebs, and Katharine McPhee is caught kissing a married man (uh oh!).

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Dead Boston Marathon suspect tied to 2011 killingshttp://rtvote.com/19v0suo
    Federal prosecutors have filed a report against 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect shot and killed by police. Authorities allege that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was involved in a triple slaying on September 11, 2011. The filing is prosecutors’ attempt to block Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, from obtaining certain information from authorities, like investigative documents on the triple slaying, also known as the Waltham slayings.

    Obama appeals to backers on health care lawhttp://rtvote.com/1fVgPpj
    President Obama reminds American citizens that the new health care program is “much more than a website.” There are many benefits, including young people being able to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, the elimination of restrictions on coverage, and the provision of preventive care. The president admitted there are technical issues to overcome with healthcare.gov, but he assures the American people that these problems are being addressed as we speak.

    Colleges see a slowdown in tuition price increaseshttp://rtvote.com/19vd9Wg
    This year, four-year public universities in the U.S. have seen the smallest annual increase in three decades. Tuition and fees rose only 2.9%, but this was offset by recent declines in federal grant aid. Low tuition increases are a reason to rejoice, but don’t expect to see much of this from now on. Economist Sandy Baum says that these small increases serve as reminders of the cyclical nature of price increases.

    Boy held in teacher’s death that closed schools in Danvers, Massachusettshttp://rtvote.com/1eJm2gU
    The body of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old teacher, was found in the woods near Danvers High School in Massachussetts today. A 14-year-old boy was arrested and is being held for Ritzer’s murder. Authorities found the teacher’s body after she failed to return home yesterday; the boy was reported missing yesterday afternoon. Police cannot release the suspect’s name or his connection to Ritzer because of his juvenile status.

    Dolphins killed for shark bait in Peruhttp://rtvote.com/1fVmonK
    The cost of fish bait increases annually in Peru, so shark fishermen have resorted to using dolphins as shark bait. This practice is outlawed in Peru, but that isn’t stopping them. The Peruvian government has promised to investigate whether this is a widespread practice and will take measures if so. More than 10,000 dolphins are being slaughtered every year in Peruvian waters. Shark meat is predominantly consumed in Peru, but the fins are oftentimes shipped to the Far East as well.
     

    PUNDITS 

    James Alan Fox stresses the importance of safer gun policies and technologies in “Nevada school shooting shows limits of security,”http://rtvote.com/1gFegsQ

    Julian Zelizer applauds the gay rights movement for focusing on the marriage issue to garner political support in “Chris Christie ahead of the GOP curve on same-sex marriage,” http://rtvote.com/1eJsh4p

    CULTURAL

    Man Spends $100,000 to Look Like Justin Bieber, http://rtvote.com/1gFfTH1

    Katharine McPhee Caught Kissing Married Smash Director Michael Morris, http://rtvote.com/1eJsS5U

    Rider Strong Marries Alexandra Barreto, http://rtvote.com/1gFgAzX

    Danielle Fishel Slams Critics Calling Her Fat On Wedding Day, http://rtvote.com/1gFgFDU

    sandywu
    Bio:

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



    News Round-Up: October 18, 2013

    Friday, October 18th, 2013

    House Republicans criticize healthcare.gov and push for HSS Secretary’s resignation; Snowden says Russian and Chinese intelligence are not in possession of NSA docs; and two teenage girls carry human fetus remains in Victoria’s Secret bag. Meanwhile, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard (quietly) tie the knot, and Gordon Ramsay confesses to spying on his daughter with a hidden camera.

    -Sandy + Maura
     

    CRUCIAL

    Congressional fight over Obamacare turns to website woeshttp://rtvote.com/1ewvMLb
    Although the government shutdown ended with a deal that left Obamacare untouched, the bickering over the healthcare law is far from over. Republicans are pointing out all of the problems with healthcare.gov and are holding oversight hearings next week. Some are also pushing Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to resign after the rollout. The White House, on the other hand, fully supports her and claims that technical errors are being fixed. They are reminding people that the most important thing is not the website, but that all Americans can be insured.

    Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russiahttp://rtvote.com/19ehRaS
    Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed in an interview this month that he did not take any secret NSA documents to Russia when he fled there for asylum in June. He said he gave all classified documents to journalists in Hong Kong and that he made sure Chinese and Russian intelligence did not get hold of them. Snowden faces charges under the Espionage Act for leaking NSA documents to the media, but he stands by his conviction that the American people deserved to know how closely they were being watched.

    NY police: Shoppers held after possible human remains found in baghttp://rtvote.com/1fIrinU
    Two teenage girls were detained in a Manhattan Victoria’s Secret store after one of the store employees stopped them and found possible human remains in one of their bags. Initial reports indicate the remains are a fetus, but the medical examiner’s office is still investigating. Both teens are being charged as adults and face charges of petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

    Air marshal accused of taking upskirt pictures of passengershttp://rtvote.com/1ewFZY7
    A federal air marshal, Adam Bartsch, was on duty, aboard a Southwest Airlines flight when he was caught taking inappropriate pictures underneath women’s dresses. Bartsch, 28, was removed from the flight before take-off, charged with disorderly conduct, and held on $10,000 bail. He has confessed that this was not the first time he had done this. The TSA is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment.

    Recording of mother’s voice used in search for missing autistic New York teen,http://rtvote.com/1ewHDsO
    Divers, police, and rescue officers from several states have joined efforts to look for an autistic 14-year-old, Avonte Oquendo. The search has been going on for more than a week, and the NYPD has begun to play a recording of Avonte’s mother’s voice over loudspeakers. Avonte is unable to communicate verbally, and Avonte’s mother hopes he will hear her message, urging him to “walk toward the [emergency vehicles’] lights.” Avonte left his school on October 4, and the Oquendo family is in the process of filing a lawsuit against the city of New York due to the school’s failure to supervise the child.
     

    PUNDITS

    Hank Plante explains why members of Congress should not have to share the blame equally in “Tea Party holds most blame for shutdown,” http://rtvote.com/1fIwNTy

    The USA Today Editorial Board discusses the importance of affirmative action and racial diversity in colleges in “College diversity still necessary,” http://rtvote.com/1gqd2By

     

    CULTURAL

    Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Married? Couple Reportedly Tie the Knot in Spontaneous, Low-Key Ceremony,http://rtvote.com/1gqfk3F

    Alessandra Ambrosio Denies Split Rumors, http://rtvote.com/19ewpHl

    Find Out Why Seth Meyers’ Wife Was Advised (by Doctors!) Not to Marry the SNL Star,http://rtvote.com/1gqgzzN

    Gordon Ramsay Uses a Hidden Camera to Spy on Teenage Daughter Megan, http://rtvote.com/1fIBHQB

    sandywu
    Bio:

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