Posts tagged with "America"

Rob Kenner book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Rob Kenner × Nipsey Hussle

Rob Kenner is one of the most prolific and influential voices in hip hop publishing and a founding editor of Vibe magazine. 

After meeting Nipsey Hussle in the offices of Vibe, Kenner spent the next ten years tracking the life and career of the hip hop mogul, artist, and activist. THE MARATHON DON’T STOP: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle by Rob Kenner (Atria Books; Hardcover; March 23, 2021; $27.00; ISBN: 9781982140298) ​is the first in-depth biography of Nipsey Hussle, whose transformative legacy inspired a generation with his motivational lyrics and visionary business savvy—before he was tragically shot down two years ago, on March 31, 2019 in the very neighborhood he was dedicated to building up.

Combining on-the-ground reporting and candid interviews with Hussle’s friends, family, and peers, THE MARATHON DON’T STOP traces the life and work of an extraordinary artist, placing him in historical context and unpacking his complex legacy.

Some details of Hussle’s life that Kenner can discuss in an interview include:

  • Ermias Asghedom, before he was Nipsey Hussle, was a brilliant, soft-spoken, and underestimated young man who loved hip hop with a passion and was determined to build his own successful music label and clothing business—as well as other businesses that would employ many members of his community.
  • His life in the Crenshaw District starting in 1985, placing Hussle in historical context within the evolution of Hip Hop, Los Angeles, and America.
  • Hussle’s genius as a teenager who built his own computers and went on to push the envelope of technology in growing his businesses as well as innovating new revenue models for independent musicians that have since been adopted by the mainstream music industry
  • Hussle’s life-changing trip to Africa to visit his father’s family in Eritrea, as well as his little-known first meeting with Afeni Shakur, long before he called himself the ‘Tupac of My Generation’ or even took the rap name Nipsey Hussle.
  • Hussle’s impact as an activist, and his efforts to re-align L.A. gang culture with the mission of organizations like the Black Panthers…AND MORE.

Rob Kenner is one of the most prolific and influential voices in hip-hop publishing. A founding editor of Vibe, Kenner joined the start-up team of Quincy Jones’ groundbreaking hip hop monthly in 1992. During a nineteen-year run at Vibe he edited and wrote cover and feature stories on iconic cultural figures ranging from Tupac Shakur to Barack Obama as well as writing the acclaimed column Boomshots. Kenner’s writing has appeared in ComplexGeniusMass AppealPigeons & PlanesEgo TripPoetry magazine, The New York Times, and Billboard. He’s also produced and directed documentary shorts on the likes of De La Soul, Nas, and Post Malone. As an editor at Vibe Books, Kenner worked on the New York Times bestseller Tupac Shakur and contributed to The Vibe History of Hip Hop. He went on to co-author VX: 10 Years of Vibe Photography and produced the book Unbelievable, a biography of The Notorious B.I.G. by Cheo Hodari Coker Jr., which was optioned for the motion picture Notorious.

VIDAS book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain

ADVENTURE AWAITS IN THIS NEW COMING-OF-AGE TRAVEL MEMOIR 

“VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain”

A Tribute to The Glorious Diversity of Our Worlds

Shortly after the American ministers of hate started demonizing the people of Mexico, New York Times Best-Selling Author Edward Stanton began writing about his own wide experience living in that country, confounding the bigots and their bogeys, showing the real women, men, and children he knew there. When the coronavirus struck Spain last year, he decided to include that country as a homage to it and its people, whom he also knew and loved. 

This is how VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain was born.

A wayward descendant of Mexico’s national hero, a femme fatale who recites poems in cantinas, a Tunisian prostitute in Barcelona, a Spanish psychiatrist who fights brave bulls, the wise owner of the world’s oldest restaurant. They are just a handful of the characters portrayed in VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain, the first memoir to capture Mexico and Spain from the perspective of an American and the knowledge of an insider.

VIDAS explores subjects as diverse as the art of blasphemy, the cult of the Virgin Mary, superstition and witchcraft, the bordellos of Mexico, Spain’s paradise of drink and food, the bullfight, and the running of bulls in Pamplona, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Every chapter of this vibrant travel memoir depicts a different person or place, which combined create a cross-section of the most populous Spanish-speaking countries in the New and Old World. VIDAS is a passage from childhood to adolescence and maturity, a tribute to nature and the open road, an exaltation of love, food, and wine, a journey from the tender, mortal flesh to the luminous world of the spirit.

-RELEASE DATE: March 1st, 2021
-PUBLISHING COMPANY: Waterside Publications
-ISBN-13: 978-1-949003-47-5 (print)
-ISBN-13: 978-1-949003-48-2 (eBook)
-GENRE: Nonfiction, travel, memoir, culture, diversity
-PRICE: $17.95 (print) $9.95 (eBook)
-PURCHASING INFO: VIDAS is available for purchase on Amazon here.

Why You Need This Book

Filled with photographs, this engaging and unique memoir provides a sensory travel experience many of us are craving today. VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain offers the opportunity to learn about faraway lands and striking events while never leaving home. This timely “armchair travel” memoir is for anyone searching for an escape during our troubled time.

“Lyrical…Iconic…Elegant…” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A love letter to the Mexican and Spanish peoples, a pure affirmation of life in countries with radical cultures of death.” –ANA MERINO, WINNER 2020 PREMIO NADAL

About the Author, Edward Stanton:

Born in Colorado and raised in California, Edward Stanton has lived in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain. He’s the author of twelve books, some of them translated and published in Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. Road of Stars to Santiago, the story of his 500-mile walk on the ancient pilgrimage route to Compostela, was called one of the best books on the subject by the New York Times; Stanton’s environmental novel Wide as the Wind, the first to treat the tragic history of Easter Island, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Young Adult Fiction and three other international prizes. 

DeMarcus Walker illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Justice for DeMarcus Walker

DeMarcus Walker. Say his name. Say his name along with the other victims of the hate crimes that fill our society. Just over a year ago, Demarcus was going about his Saturday morning shopping just like many others. On March 7, 2020, at approximately 10:25 in the morning, Walker was run down with a Chevy Impala and then brutally beaten with a baseball bat.

DeMarcus Walker suffered life-threatening injuries and, unfortunately, was not able to pull through. He passed away April 11, 2020, from tracheal narrowing and cerebral edema and hemorrhage due to complications from blunt injuries of the head, which was noted in his autopsy. His death was ruled a homicide.

Zai’quaria Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s daughter, stated to NBC News Anchor Tom Powell “When it’s your family it’s a different kind of pain.” She desperately asked “Why that day? What was going through your head to do that then and there?”

Houston Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s father, commented during a news conference “I feel like it was a hate crime. It had to be. The way I understand in the paper, he was walking around Walmart with a ski mask on looking for people to beat up. That’s how I feel about it.”

Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, states “Senseless violence has afflicted America throughout the weeks, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As a nation, we must unite and abandon this malevolent behavior. Once we recognize why the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities are under constant attack because they are intrinsically different, then we will begin to heal. At the end of the day, our legal system is not designed to protect them. In the case of DeMarcus Walker, justice must be served and the person who attempted to kill him must be held accountable according to the highest standards of the law. We can no longer allow malicious intent to pass unnoticed in our judicial system.”.

Police arrested 21-year-old Levi Arnold, who has recently pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of murder and resisting law enforcement for the cold-blooded crime he committed last year outside of the Apple Glen Walmart in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arnold will be sentenced on April 16, 2021, and is facing 51 years in prison.

Agriculture illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

USDA Announces Investment

USDA Announces $218 Million Investment in Land and Water Conservation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.

Leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions. Funds will also support work with state agencies to encourage private forest landowners to protect their land through conservation easements or land purchases.

“These investments reflect President Biden’s commitment to supporting locally-led conservation efforts from coast to coast and to honoring and building on the proud private land stewardship traditions of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments will not only protect our natural heritage, but they will also create jobs, expand access to the outdoors, and help tackle climate change.”

The Forest Service administers two LWCF programs: The Forest Legacy Program and the Land Acquisition program. Together, these programs conserve critical and strategic lands across the nation’s forests on both private and public lands. The Forest Service will invest more than $94 million to fund 28 projects under the Forest Legacy Program and $123 million to fund Land Acquisition Program projects, including projects for recreation access and other needs.

Land Acquisition Program highlights include:

  • $6.4 million in FY 2021 to acquire 8,590 acres for the Lolo Trails Project in Montana. This project aims to mitigate the effects of climate change by providing the cold water that federally listed bull trout and other species need to sustain healthy populations in a warming climate.
  • $3.7 million to acquire 1,550 acres in the Yakima River Basin for the Washington Cascades Project. Supported by a wide coalition of public, private and non-profit partners, this project seeks to ensure a long-term water supply in the face of climate change.

Forest Legacy Program highlights include:

  • Protecting 12,500 acres of habitat, water and timber on the Ceylon Forest in Georgia. 2.5 million people depend on the Ceylon for drinking water that flows from and through the forest. As a working forest, the Ceylon supports a local wood-based economy that includes 121 mills, with a $1.69 million payroll impact. Once completed, the area will also become part of a much larger Wildlife Management Area and serve as an ideal hunting and fishing destination for sportsmen across the Southeast.
  • The East Grand-Weston in Maine builds on a century-old tradition of sustainable forestry and expands recreation opportunities over more than 4,300 acres. The property supports a thriving local recreation industry by protecting lands, waters and trails while also providing sustainable wood products to up to 15 mills. The property will remain in private hands while continuing to be managed for public benefits.
  • The second phase of the Kootenai Forestlands Conservation Project will permanently protect nearly 28,000 acres of land in northwest Montana. The project area belongs to the Stimson Lumber Company and contributes to the local economy while allowing free public access as a recreation destination for hunting, fishing, skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and more. The project will also protect the area from further residential development, reducing future firefighting costs by more than half.

Background

The Forest Service has been administering LWCF projects since 1964 along with the Department of the Interior. The fund supports Forest Service-led conservation projects including acquisition of critical non-federal lands within the boundaries of national forests and grasslands. Now, with full and permanent funding through the Dingell Act and the Great American Outdoors Act, the Forest Service is poised to strengthen its conservation program and provide greater recreation access to national forests and grasslands.

The agency worked with partners, considered multiple criteria and used established competitive processes to select projects for fiscal year 2021. During the review, the agency evaluated the environmental, social, and economic benefits of proposed projects and whether they contributed to other conservation initiatives. The Forest Service also considered local recreation access needs, the level of local support for strategic land acquisitions and how likely it would be for project areas to be converted to non-forest uses.

For more information on the Great American Outdoors Act and related projects, visit the website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration under Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit USDA.

Pandemic Real Estate Trends

5 Massive Real Estate Trends Created by the Pandemic

By: Polina Ryshakov, Director of Valuation at Sundae

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on a number of demographic and home buying and selling trends. Here are 5 of the most noteworthy shifts. The coronavirus pandemic upended daily American life in countless unpredictable ways. Real estate was no exception. Some of the ways in which the pandemic affected housing reshape how we think about homeownership and hint at larger economic shifts down the line.

First-time buyer demographics prior to 2020

The median age of first-time homebuyers was around 33 before the pandemic started. This is the oldest age recorded since 1981 when the median age of first-time homebuyers was 29.  As homeownership is commonly considered a gateway to wealth creation and a key piece of the American dream, an older average first-time buyer age could reflect a lack of economic opportunity for young people. Over the past few decades, there were several factors behind the extra four years it takes on average to buy a first home.

Contributing factors include:

  • A skyrocketing increase in college tuition
  • Delay in household formations (i.e., having children later)
  • Rapid home appreciation causing a lack of affordability
  • Other key demographic trends predating the pandemic

The median age of repeat buyers increased even more rapidly between 1981 and 2020, going from 36 to 55. As with first-time home buyers, multiple interesting factors drove this trend. For example, some studies claim that baby boomers prefer to age in place, identifying 3.6 million unoccupied rooms owned by baby boomers, thus contributing to the housing shortage.

But it’s not that simple.

Since 1980, wage growth hasn’t kept up with inflation for over 50% of American workers. Meanwhile, the dot.com bust and the Great Recession dropped S&P levels 43% and 48%, respectively, which also reduced home equity at a similar level. These essentially trapped boomers because they owed more on their homes than they could get for them, while at the same time suffering hits to their overall wealth. The Great Recession also created an opportunity for older Gen Xers and boomers with cash to purchase investment properties. As home prices dipped following the bubble bust, Americans seized their chance to buy properties for passive income, and with more distressed properties for fix and flip opportunities, real estate became a more popular way for people above-median home-buying age to create wealth, thus contributing to the increased repeat buyer age. The biggest jolt in demand is yet to come

The largest age bracket among millennials, which adds up to nearly 10 million people, has been turning 30 over the last two years. This is the milestone age of starting a family and buying a home; their home-buying appetites are already starting to show. According to the NAHB Trends Report, between the fourth quarter of 2019 and that of 2020, the number of millennials and Gen Xers actively searching for a home increased dramatically, from 46% to 65% and 43% to 57%, respectively.  The relative numbers of Gen Zers and boomers remained essentially flat, with 42% and 32% looking for a home, respectively. With this demographic backdrop, and the continuing economic and social fallout from the coronavirus, what are we likely to see over the remainder of 2021 and beyond?

Trend #1: Median age of first-time homebuyers will decline

Millennials’ desire to own a home has been long debated. A number of long-term trends put millennial homeownership on the backburner:

Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic created an attractive new opportunity for this demographic cohort. Several things came together: immediate demand for more space with the need to work from home, record low-interest rates that translate to lower monthly mortgage payments, and the last piece of the puzzle, increased savings. While staying home, there is no need to buy new clothes or daily Starbucks. There is no going out after work or on weekends, and a lot less travel, for work or pleasure. In fact, the virus even put a pause on paying off college debt, since it became a COVID-19 Relief option. The bottom line is that more people will have the ability and interest to buy a house, sooner than they were before.

Trend #2: Median age of repeat home buyers will decline

The median age of repeat home buyers is likely to decline immediately post-pandemic but will revert to the pre-pandemic increasing trend quickly.  The average tenure of homeownership continued to increase and was over 8 years at the end of 2020, up from 4 years in 2007, before the Great Recession. Assuming the median age of the typical “move up,” or second-time home buyer is roughly 40 years old (given the simple math of 33 + 8), a median repeat buyer age around 55 means that a lot more people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are acquiring third, fourth, or even fifth properties. One of the factors behind the dramatic age increase in repeat buyers since 1981 is the growing popularity of real estate as an investment. During the Great Recession, mom and pop investors who had cash and solid credit were able to build their rental income portfolios by capitalizing on depressed home prices and strong rental demand from distressed homeowners.

Another factor is the baby boomer generation born between 1940 and 1964 has been downsizing. According to the latest Census data, many baby boomers will be single in retirement. Almost a third of men and over half of women are unmarried at 65 or older. With the onset of the pandemic, city dwellers who could work remotely and whose kids started going to school virtually began looking for bigger houses and open spaces in rural areas. With interest rates at historic lows, amid the pandemic, it became a strangely perfect time to buy a dream vacation home away from major Metropolitan Areas.  The annual rise in second-home mortgage applications is more than double the increase in mortgage applications for primary homes, with demand-driven primarily by families with kids.  Aside from vacation homes, working, learning, dining, working out, and self-entertaining at home created the need for more space and put a larger value on the fourth bedroom or larger back yard.

Trend #3: Length of the home search process increased and will keep increasing

Lack of supply sets the trend for buyers to view fewer homes while the home purchase process itself is increasing. Tight inventory results in fewer homes on the market and buyers must search longer for the right home. With fewer homes available, there are fewer homes that fit the buyers’ requirements coming on the market. On top of that, in the Housing Trends Survey the number one reason 40% of home searchers cited, is being outbid by other offers as opposed to not being able to find an affordably priced home, which is a big difference from 19% of home searchers a year ago.

Trend #4: Fewer sacrifices will be made to purchase a home

Financial experts recommend having three to six months’ worth of expenses saved up in an emergency account. But at the end of 2019, according to GoBankingRates survey, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. The personal savings rate or amount people are saving as a percentage of their disposable income, soared to 33% in April of 2020. That was the highest savings rate recorded since BEA started tracking it in 1959. People realized the importance of having emergency funds and at the same time, stimulus payments and tax refunds have been distributed to help build up a reserve. Per Generational Trend Report from NAR, in order to save for a down payment, homebuyers had to cut spending on non-essential items, entertainment, clothes, vacations, get a second job or sell a car. But with severe limitations on how money can be spent, savings built up on their own.

Trend #5: Fewer repeat buyers will compromise on the top four reasons 

With so few homes for sale, the additional risks of holding an open house to sell their own, and having crowds doing walkthroughs, move-up buyers are likely to stay put unless a property that meets most of their needs is identified and won in a bidding war. Not only have public health concerns necessitated virtual tours, but homebuyers are getting savvier with online tools. Even before the pandemic, 93% of homebuyers used the internet as a resource in their home search, according to the NAR. Sellers are having to keep up with the trends, too.

Further Reading: Real Estate Shifts to Accommodate Customers in a Virtual Age

What will be the big theme for 2021?

To start, a massive fear of missing out.

The headlines of every major media outlet are screaming about continuous home price appreciation. The thought of home prices reaching the point of being out of reach while interest rates have nowhere to go but up will be the end of the last opportunity to buy that first, or second, or even an investment property.

With a tight, low-inventory market dipping under 2 months of supply, the strongest contract activity in a decade, and historically low-interest rates, buyers’ fear is well-founded and likely to only get worse.

But don’t take our word for it.

E-Learning Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Creative Ways of Learning

How the Pandemic Opened Doors for Creative New Ways of Learning

When the pandemic shut down schools in 2020, parents were forced to pay closer attention to what their children were – or were not – learning, and to take a more active role in their students’ education. It made for an unwelcome disruption in everyone’s lives. But within this homelife upheaval, the disruption of school also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how learning takes place, and what families can do to make things better, says Emily Greene, the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World.

We’ve gained a new perspective, and this is our chance to update our outdated education system for something better, to shift our mindsets, and to rekindle our children’s joy in learning from the inside out,” says Greene, who herself is a working mother of three children. “I think many of us are beginning to recognize and appreciate new ways of learning that do not necessarily conform to the traditional format of school. Outside of the school building, we’re seeing learning happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone, in formal and informal ways.”

But a question arises: If it’s time to rethink education in America, what is the way forward? For Greene, part of the answer involves simply setting aside outdated ideas about learning and embracing a new way of thinking about what school should be.

Parents don’t need to wait for the school board, teachers, or others to act. She says some steps they can take themselves include:

  • Unlearn outdated beliefs about school. The traditional model of education is over 100 years old, which means people need to unlearn it, Greene says. Among other things, school is viewed as a daytime activity in a brick-and-mortar building where children the same age learn the same things, and tests measure how well they’re doing. “Maybe we flip that,” Greene says, “so that we view learning as an anytime activity where kids of all ages have learning options, creative thinking is expected, and success is measured by curiosity rather than test scores,” Greene says unlearning has three steps. “First, we let go of status-quo beliefs that are no longer valid,” she says. “Second, we replace outdated thinking with a new mindset that could work better. Finally, we rebuild day-to-day life around a new way of thinking about school.”
  • Nurture curiosity. Children are naturally curious, but structured education doesn’t always allow them to follow their innate desires to know or learn something, Greene says. Parents can help nurture curiosity by asking children questions about what interests them, she says. Parents should also be sure to listen to their children and elicit questions from them rather than jump in with advice, opinions, and answers. “I remind parents that curiosity is innate. All children are naturally drawn to things they find interesting,” Greene says. “With practice, kids can learn to activate their curiosity to transform everyday learning into a more joyful experience.”
  • Encourage creativity. Schools don’t kill creativity, but the conformity required at school does smother it, “leaving it gasping for air,” Greene says. “Creativity is stifled by standardization, evaluation, and pressure to conform to the structure of the school system,” she says. Interestingly enough, the pandemic helped show children the importance of creativity and innovation, she says. “They saw stores and restaurants adapt to changing conditions by offering curbside pickup and social distancing,” Greene says. “Many kids watched their parents adapt to a new way of remote working. These things make an impression, showing children that creativity enables us to adapt and solve real problems.”

Through this pandemic, we have all suffered, but we also have learned so much,” Greene says. “The disruption of school gives us the perspective needed to make a lasting difference in the way our children learn. What a waste it would be to just settle back into our old ways.”

About Emily Greene

Emily Greene is the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is co-founder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

NFL uniform rankings: which are the best and worst in the league?

It’s fair to say that the NFL is still one of the major sports in America, with millions of fans following the action each season. This saw $9.5 billion in revenue made by the NFL in 2020 and each team in the league getting a slice of this to build with. With the 2020 season delivering all the usual thrills and spills (with an exciting Super Bowl game to top it off), it is still a sport that offers so much to fans.

It is not just watching the drama unfold that brings so many people to the NFL, though. Betting on this sport also draws many fans in to keep up with the action. The AGA estimated that the 2018 Superbowl drew almost $5 billion in bets – much of it illicit. Thankfully, 2021 is a different time, and sports betting is making its way to gradual nation-wide legalization, with many states already fully allowing it.

In terms of actually making a profit from your wagers, for many, the key to success is finding the best NFL picks and predictions to use in their betting. If you can make the correct calls, it really helps you get the most from sports betting in the long term.

Of course, it is also the individual teams that make the NFL what it is. While the players that each team fields count for a lot, smaller things, such as the uniform each team wears, are very important. A snazzy uniform can help attract fans and make them feel good about their team – as well as leading to more shirt sales! A poorly executed uniform, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect.

With the NFL in off-season until September, now is the perfect time to look at which teams come out best and worst in terms of stylish uniforms.

Best 3 NFL team uniforms – Packers, Saints and Rams

As it is always nice to look on the bright side of life, let’s start with the most fashionable NFL uniforms around. While teams are always rebranding and updating each off-season, these are the current top three:

First up are the Green Bay Packers. The green and gold shirt design is pure class and instantly recognizable. It has remained pretty much unchanged for a long time and this gives it a really classic feel. The flash of yellow on the sleeve edging gives it extra zip, while the all-yellow pants complement the shirt perfectly.

Second best would probably be the LA Rams. This might be slightly controversial, as they had a kit rebrand recently, which was not to everyone’s taste. For a lot of fans, though, it looks awesome and is a definite update on their old uniform! The all-blue shirts and pants give an elite vibe, while the tight fit of both gives players an almost video game-style outline.

Third place must go to the New Orleans Saints. All you really need to know is that their uniform brings together black, gold and white to stunning effect. The players helmets, in particular, work very well, as the gold color and white stripe help offset the black uniform itself. For the same reason, the gold player numbering also stands out well on the black shirts.

Bottom 3 NFL uniforms – Jets, Bengals and Falcons

While the previous teams have got it spot-on in terms of cool uniforms, these three have not. First up are the recently rebranded New York Jets. There is just something about this uniform that does not work, and it looks ugly. This is mainly down to the outdated feel and how the white lettering sits awkwardly on the shade of green that is used.

If the Jets uniform is boring, then the Bengals have almost the opposite problem – there is just too much going on! The orange helmets with black stripes are like a migraine-inducing magic eye picture, while the stripe of orange on the black pants does not work, either. Throw in a shade of orange on the shirt, which anyone would find hard to pull on, and you have a real disaster.

Last up are the Atlanta Falcons. They (like the Jets) recently rebranded but somehow managed to go backwards in terms of cool-looking uniforms. Whoever thought all white is a good look for the football field needs a serious eye test! The lettering and numbering on the uniform also looks like it has come from a Sega Mega Drive. All in all, it is a real no-no.

NFL uniforms are key to the game’s appeal

Although football is a sport, what the teams in the NFL wear really does matter. Just as you would only add the most stylish Italian fashion brands to your wardrobe, teams can only expect their uniform to be a hit if it looks great. Getting this right not only affects how the players feel when they wear their uniforms but also how the fans feel when they see them.

Zoo illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine, toys for tots

TOYS FOR TOTS ANNOUNCES 2020 CAMPAIGN RESULTS 

Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps’ premiere community outreach program, delivered a record setting 20.2 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children in 2020.

2020 was a year unlike any other, causing economic devastation for so many. COVID-19 took hold early in the year, leaving many millions of families in dire need. While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, we did not want to wait until the holiday season to provide support. Marines are known for being the first to fight and for running toward the sound of battle. During the spring and summer of the COVID-19 crisis, Toys for Tots partnered with Good360 to provide immediate relief and assistance by distributing 2 million toys, games, and books to COVID-impacted families. These gifts provided many benefits during this extraordinary time of need. They helped to fight boredom, relieved anxiety in children, and facilitated a return to normalcy. The gifts even contributed to the educational development of our Nation’s children, especially while they’ve been out of school.

As the pandemic continued to spread–causing states and municipalities to impose significant restrictions–the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in conjunction with Marine Forces Reserve, are looking ahead to the holiday season to making preparations for how best to collect and distribute toys to children in need.

COVID restrictions have greatly impacted our local campaign operations and significantly limited the number of volunteers permitted to help collect, sort, and distribute toys. In response, the Marines and local campaign coordinators of the Marine Toys for Tots Program rose to the occasion, and established over 800 local toy collection and distribution campaigns in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. As anticipated, the demand from families with children seeking support was much greater than the supply. But the Marines, in their typical fashion, found ways to improvise and adapt. They were very innovative about how they collected and distributed toys. They established curbside and drive-through collection and distribution methods, and enlisted support from other local social service agencies in order to accomplish the mission.

Seeing a deficit of over a million toys develop in November, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation sent out many communications soliciting for help. The American public heard our appeal and recognized the need for aid. Hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as a record number of organizations serving as National Corporate Sponsors, answered our call. Significant donations allowed for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to augment local toy drives with over 8 million toys, valued at over $77 million.

Toys for Tots does not set a goal of children supported in a given year–rather, our goal is to support every family with children seeking our assistance. The American public has never let Toys for Tots down. With the help from so many, Toys for Tots was able to accomplish our mission distributing a record number of over 20 million toys to 7.4 million children, who otherwise would have gone without. “Unprecedented” seems to be the buzz word for most 2020 events, and there’s no better way to describe the generosity of the American public and our Corporate Sponsors – it was truly unprecedented. 

2020 Accomplishments

  • Distributed 20 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children from 808 local campaigns in all 50 states
  • Distributed over 2 million toys, books, and games to COVID-impacted families outside of the holiday season
  • Distributed 1.8 million books to children through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program
  • Distributed toys to 180,000 children through the Toys for Tots Native American Program
  • With support from Toys for Tots Sponsors, augmented local toy drives with over 8 million toys valued at over $77 million
  • Met all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and maintained a 96:4 Program to Support Ratio

About Marine Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots, a 73-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to less fortunate children.  The toys, books, and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence, and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community. Last year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of over 7 million less fortunate children in over 800 communities nationwide.  Since 1947, over 272 million children have been assisted. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a non-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.  For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Illustration by Kaelen Felix

The Presidential Inauguration

Today, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States which commences his four-year presidency and Kamala Harris as Vice President. 

Earlier it was revealed that former president Donald Trump would not attend the ceremony. Trump announced this on his Twitter account before the account was suspended. On January 8 he tweeted, “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Trump is the sixth outgoing president that did not attend the presidential inauguration. The last time this occurred was in 1921 when Woodrow Wilson did not attend the inauguration of Warren G. Harding because of poor health. 

“It’s usually a sign that American society is in the midst of major political feud,” the presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said in the New York Times. “The fact that the incoming and outgoing presidents can’t shake hands and co-participate in an inauguration means that something’s off-kilter in the democracy.”

President Biden took an upbeat approach while speaking to the public in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the “Celebrating America” concert. After  addressing many difficulties the nation has encountered recently, he asked if American’s were up for a challenge. 

“Will we meet the moment like our forebearers have?” he asked. “I believe we must and I believe we will. You, the American people are the reason why I have never been more optimistic about America than I am this very day.”

“There isn’t anything we can’t do, if we do it together,” he added. 

“So thank you for this honor, I will give my all to you,” Biden concluded. 

The “Celebrating America” concert was star-packed and many celebrities came together to celebrate the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, John Legend and Katy Perry all had smashing performances. The celebration was hosted by Tom Hanks, who many sources noted as looking “freezing” because he didn’t have time to take a break in the heated trailers set up for performers. 

There was of course concerns because of the violence that recently occurred at the Capitol earlier in January, explained Adrienne Elrod, the director of talent for the Biden transition team. “What happened on January 6th I wouldn’t say derailed us, but it certainly caused us to take a step back,” she said.

This inauguration is monumental as the first female Vice President is sworn in inspiring girls throughout America. Many people showed heartwarming tweets of their daughters watching Harris as she was sworn in as president. It was also reported that Harris will not immediately be moving in to the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory. 

In Harris’s first statement to the public in her role as Vice President, she encouraged the people of the United States to unite in this time of crisis. 

“In many ways this moment embodies our character as a nation. It demonstrates who we are, even in dark times. We, not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon, and then we plant our flag on it. We are bold, fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted, in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up. This is American aspiration,” Harris said.

Dr. Jill Biden tweeted a video of her and President Biden arriving at the North Portico of the White House as her first official tweet as First Lady. “Thank you for your faith in something that is bigger than all of us: that we will build a better world because we’re going to do it together,” the tweet read.

One unexpected part of the inauguration that has taken social media by storm is an image of Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with mittens on. A huge number of memes have been created of Sanders in various locations and according to the Los Angles Times Sanders has also been laughing at the memes. 

A school teacher from Vermont was responsible for crafting the famous mittens and has since been flooded with requests from people that want to buy them. However, she has announced she is no longer selling them.

“Thanks for all the interest in Bernie’s mittens!” Jen Ellis wrote on Twitter. “I’m so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration. Sadly, I have no more mittens for sale. There are a lot of great crafters on ETSY who make them.”

Sanders said he had no idea that the image of him would cause such an uproar on social media. “I was just sitting there trying to keep warm, trying to pay attention to what was going on,” he said during an interview on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday. Even celebrities like Reba and Sarah Jessica Parker joined in on the fun making memes of the image. 

Biden began his duties as early as Wednesday when he finalized over a dozen executive moves in the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.”

Biden also made it clear during a swearing-in ceremony that his employees are expected to respect each other.”If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” said Biden. 

The Biden administration has also put a plan in place to focus on specific issues that need attention. Starting on January 20, the Biden Administration began with Inauguration and four Crises to focus on.

They decided to pick a theme for the following ten days so they would be able to focus on specific issues each day. Some of these themes include Covid, Economic Relief, Climate, Health Care and Immigration. In February there is a plan to focus on restoring America’s place in the world. Throughout these days there will be a variety of executive orders depending on the theme.

All Good Just A Week Ago

If you’re feeling a little bit lonely as a single person during quarantine, there might be a perfect book for you.

For both men and women, “All Good Just A Week Ago: Funny Dating Stories to Help You Keep Your Head in the Game” is chock-full of funny, relatable dating stories put together from interviews.

With teachable moments and unimaginable scenarios, “All Good Just A Week Ago” helps single people keep their heads in the game.

Erika McCall and Niesha Forbes, two best friends, wanted to put their quarantine time to good use, so they set up 50 interviews to gather data and stories for the book.

These stories prove that relationships can make you laugh and roll your eyes instead of cry, all while showing us that we’re not alone.

In 1950, only 22% of Americans were without a romantic partner. In 2019, 124 million Americans were without a partner.

Though the percentage of people in relationships has gone down, the desire to find love and companionship has not.

McCall said, “It’s the year of 20/20 vision, and it’s time for a dating and love revolution.”

Both authors agreed that the revolution begins with this book. With a goal to understand romantic communication and expectations, “All Good Just A Week Ago” uses stories to heal relationships and foster close, loving, committed relationships in a generation obsesses with “hook up culture.”

McCall and Forbes even get into a few of their own stories. McCall herself is single and wants to clear the way for her future husband to enter her life while Forbes is on her way to her third wedding anniversary and hopes that sharing her experience can help bring about mutual respect, kindness and traditional courtship in relationships.

McCall said her story is every woman’s story while Forbes said, “It is critical to know that once you get to a certain age, things you did in your early twenties, all those toxic behavior patterns where you’re not putting your worth above your desire to be with someone, if you don’t do the work on yourself, you will find yourself in your thirties, forties and even fifties, having not learned the important lessons or found true love.”

Following the laughs in the beginning of the book, readers will reach a call to action that encourages men and women to think critically about how to move forward with healthier relationship dynamics.

For more information about the book or to order it, you can click right here.