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This NFL team is joining forces with police unions to support controversial legislation

Oct. 27, 2017

The San Francisco 49ers and law enforcement have been linked in controversy for well over a year — a result of ex-Niner Colin Kaepernick’s high profile protest regarding civil rights.

The two camps joined together to announce a move supporting gun control legislation. The main goal of the legislation is to ban armor-piercing bullets, silencers and “bump stocks,” which made headlines for changing the Las Vegas shooters weaponry from semi-automatic to automatic.

The Niners have plans to donate $500,000 towards the initiative and part of the donation would go specifically towards nationally publicized PSA’s meant to ease tension between law enforcement and the public.

As gun control legislation is already a highly contentious topic, Robert Harris, secretary of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, underscored the fact that the movement was not aimed at obstructing Second Amendment rights.

“We are unwavering in our support of the Second Amendment. We also believe that common-sense laws should be put into place to protect law-enforcement officers and the citizens they serve,” Harris said. “If as a country we hope to make any progress, it will take all of us to leave our comfort zones.”

In a statement released by the police union and the NFL team, they explain their position:

The duty of law enforcement must also include actively participating in bringing our nation together and working to foster a more understanding and compassionate national dialogue around community and police officer relations. We believe that professional sports teams should utilize their capacity to reach millions of Americans to promote initiatives that help law enforcement professionals and the citizens they serve understand their respective experiences and to listen to one another with an open mind and heart.

The 49ers and police unions intend to reach out to other NFL teams and police unions to garner support for the initiatives.

Team CEO Jed York acknowledges criticism for the stance, but he feels the purpose is what matters.

“If we’re going to move forward, we can’t worry about hurt feelings,” he said. “If we take criticism along the way, we are all willing to take criticism if we can make people safer.”

Reposted with permission.

A former “Price is Right” model is opening up about what she really thinks of Drew Carey

Jan. 11, 2018

Since stepping into Bob Barker’s role as host of “The Price is Right,” Drew Carey has become a staple in households everywhere. According to one former model on the show, the 59-year-old TV personality had big shoes to fill — but he didn’t disappoint.

British model Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith hung up her game show heels in October 2017 after a dozen years as a model on the program. The 39-year-old joined the game show in 2005 — two years before Carey’s arrival — after being spotted during a guest appearance on “The Bold and The Beautiful.”  According to her, Carey helped usher the show into a different era for the models. In his decade as host, the show has seen its first male model and given mics to the models to show off their personalities in addition to their physical features, reported Fox News.

“When Drew Carey stepped in, he was so very happy to make changes and bring ‘Price is Right’ into a new era,” she told Fox News. “We were all ready to become personalities rather than just look like models.”

The actress was one of the first to appear on the series sporting her baby bump, but the show’s host was “supportive” and didn’t force her to “pick between [her] personal life and [her] career.”

“[Carey] was over the moon. And I was, of course, so relieved and elated,” she recalled about telling the host the news of her pregnancy. “He was very happy to have the opportunity, through me, to prove the type of man he was and how different he was than Bob Barker’s era.”

“He celebrates women and uplifts them.”

“I will always be grateful to Drew,” the mother of five gushed. “Before I was married, I was a single mother with a daughter, and he held a high respect for me because of that. I was working with such a respectable man. I’ve never had any concerns of sexual harassment with him. It was actually the opposite. I was embraced and empowered by working with him.”

A fan favorite, Osborne-Smith left the show to take on the mantle of COO of Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), a production company she heads with her husband, former basketball player and sports analyst Kenny Smith.

Ending her time on the show was “bittersweet” for her and Carey both.

“He was very teary-eyed. But he was happy for me,” she revealed. “He and I are good friends, and he knows the journey I’ve been on behind the scenes in terms of production and creating. He’s always been very supportive. It was bittersweet.”

Reposted with permission.

China has banned Katy Perry from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and the reason is surprising

Nov. 17, 2017

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is crumbling faster than the Great Wall of China.

The Shanghai-based show is set to air on CBS on Nov. 28, but a slew of high profile faces — including pop singer Katy Perry — won’t be present.

According to Page Six, an insider disclosed that Perry — who was slated to perform and booked well in advance — had attempted to apply for a Chinese visa but was denied.

The “Chained to the Rhythm” songstress was originally approved to enter the Communist nation, but the decision was reversed after officials rediscovered a controversial incident from a few years back. In 2015, Perry had performed in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei wearing a glittery, sunflower patterned dress. Sunflowers were apparently the adopted symbol for Taiwanese anti-China protesters, and at the time, caused international outrage in the communist nation. (China and Taiwan have been embattled in a longstanding conflict.)

The fact that she also waved a Taiwanese flag during her performance to show support for the country apparently didn’t help matters.

According to a Page Six source, Chinese officials are known to comb the internet for controversial news, which is how the issue resurfaced.

“She was initially granted a visa to perform at the VS show in Shanghai, then Chinese officials changed their minds and yanked her visa,” they explained. “For every artist who wants to perform in China, officials comb through their social-media and press reports to see if they have done anything deemed to be offensive to the country. Maroon 5 was banned a few years ago because one band member wished the Dalai Lama happy birthday on Twitter.”

Gigi Hadid also suddenly dropped out of walking in the show, after  confirming her booking in August. She tweeted, in part, “I’m so bummed I won’t be able to make it to China this year. Love my VS family, and will be with all my girls in spirit!” Her announcement came on the heels of the revelations that four models from Ukraine and Russia — Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva, Dasha Khlystun and Irina Sharipova — had also been denied visas. According to Page Six, supermodel Adriana Lima’s visa has also been held up due to a “diplomatic problem.”

If Katy Perry’s controversial dress is any indication, Hadid’s own past controversy came back to bite her. Earlier this year, she came under fire for “racism” after her fellow model and sister Bella, shared a since-deleted video of her laughing and squinting her eyes while holding a cookie featuring the face of a samurai.

Insiders with the show say the Chinese government is firmly to blame for turning the show into an international media disaster and coordinators are “on the verge of nervous breakdowns.” In addition to people not being allowed in the country, producers are being denied access to shoot anywhere outside of the Mercedes-Benz Studio, where the show is being filmed.

“If you’re going to China, you want to show that you are in China!” an insider griped to Page Six.

“It’s just a nightmare for all the media trying to cover [the show],” said another source. “These TV companies are spending a fortune on it, and they don’t even know what they can shoot when they get there.”

Unfortunately for all the “Katy Kats” out there, they’re going to have to find somewhere else to see their queen. Harry Styles is set to replace the singer along with a rumored performance from resident Victoria’s Secret pal, Taylor Swift.

Bob Foster: An End of An Era

Journalism Writing - MASC 203, Portfolio, Writing

With one semester left, Robert “Bob” Foster looks forward to his future.

“I gotta go; I’m tired now. I’ll come back and joke and jive, but academia has burned me out. The only job I’ll have is to walk to the mailbox and get my check,” he said with a laugh.

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Communication Arts professor is lively, gesturing wildly and adding sound effects when he shares his life’s stories. At 68, he has many.

Zannutul Ferdous, a junior in his non-major drawing class, appreciates his perspective.

“You can tell he really isn’t like any other professor to tell at VCU. It’s interesting that he’s been all over the world and seen so many things. It’s insightful,” Ferdous said.

Foster has been a member of the VCU Arts community for 37 years. He graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1977.

He always knew he could draw, but never expected to be here today.

“I went through high school, got out of there, took one art class and realized I wasn’t interested,” Foster said.

He was born on Nov. 13, 1946, in Swiftown, Mississippi. He was the fourth generation to live on a cotton plantation. An only child when farm families were large, his parents let him ride their cotton sacks to the fields when he was only four, an experience he remembers fondly.

Foster attended a segregated school until the fourth grade. The change in education after moving to an integrated school was drastically noticeable.

“When I think back on it, I was being programmed by the system with inadequate education. It was like going from the United States to Russia. I didn’t understand anything,” he said.

Science and math were never his strong suits, but Foster still wasn’t focused on art. He just hoped to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, which had killed three friends. He entered the Air Force and worked as a heating specialist and after being discharged, worked as a windshield inspector. This was a hard job he didn’t enjoy.

“I came home and I was hot. I was mad. I was angry. I said, God what am I gonna do? A commercial came on advertising an art school. I said that’s it,” he said.

A friend’s mother eventually pointed him to VCU — he would later earn a Masters of Fine Arts at Syracuse University — where he made many undergraduate connections that would lead to his current position.

For Foster, education is about instilling the basics. As a student, he felt he and others weren’t given an essential foundation and only a handful of his own professors provided the necessities.

“My photography teacher taught me how to see. I learned that form should be felt before you touch it. When the picture starts speaking to you, you don’t have to be there to explain it. That’s what I try to teach all of my students,” he said.

With his focus on the fundamentals, Foster considers himself to be boring. However, his list of endeavors and experiences are extensive. He once ran from a bodyguard named Igor while attending an international exhibition in Soviet Union Russia. He’s a brown belt in Shotokan karate. He developed the Scientific and Preparatory Medical Illustration track at VCU.

He jokes often about relaxing after accomplishing so much. Still, he won’t retire from art completely. He wants to turn his focus on history. Foster plans to paint the experiences of the colored troops who fought in the Siege of Vicksburg, beginning with his great grandfather and uncle.

According to Foster, more people should know about the local African Americans who contributed in the Civil War.

“I want to tell the story, our story…so that people can understand what we’ve been through and maybe they’ll evaluate themselves.”