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Fox News drops Stacey Dash, critics rejoice

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Fox News contributor Stacey Dash hasn't been seen on the network since September, and she might not be returning any time soon.

>> Read more trending stories  

Best known for her role in the 1995 movie "Clueless," the 50-year-old actress-turned-political-pundit supported Mitt Romney's presidential run in 2012 and from there, she became known as a champion of conservative values.

She earned a role at Fox News in 2014, authored "There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative" in 2016 and was an early vocal supporter of Donald Trump during his run for president.

Even though Dash's Twitter profile still reads "@Foxnews Contributor," and she's still tweeting charged political commentary, a network representative told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that the decision to cut Dash loose and not extend her contract was made in September.

In 2015, she was temporarily suspended from Fox News for swearing during an on-air rant about President Barack Obama. She said Obama could "give a (expletive)" about terrorism.

Dash's views on transgender issues, as well as Middle Eastern immigration into the U.S. following the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting caused more of a stir. 

"It's tyranny by the minority," Dash said while discussing trans rights during a 2016 interview with Entertainment Tonight. "Why do I have to suffer because you can't decide what you want to be that day? It's your body. So, it's your decision, right? We all make choices."

Dash went on to say that transgender people should go to the bathroom "in the bushes."

"I don't know what to tell you, but I'm not going to put my child's life at risk because you want to change a law. So that you can be comfortable with your beliefs -- which means I have to change my beliefs and my rights? No."

Dash also said that there should be no Black History Month because there isn't a white history month.

Many social media users were outspoken Sunday about their support of the network's decision to let Dash go. 

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/stacey-dash/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/stacey-dash.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Fox News lets go of Stacey Dash" on Storify]

Alec Baldwin to host 'Saturday Night Live'

Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host to "Saturday Night Live" on Feb. 11 amid his ongoing battle with President Donald Trump.

>> Read more trending stories

Ed Sheeran will appear as the night's musical guest.

Baldwin, who has played the president multiple times in the run-up to and since the election, will host the show for the 17th time. He holds the record for the most times hosting the sketch comedy hour, trailed by comedian Steve Martin, who has hosted 15 shows, and actor John Goodman, who has hosted 13 episodes.

>> Related: Trump blasts 'Saturday Night Live,' Alec Baldwin on Twitter – again

Baldwin has frequently been the target of attacks by Trump, who has criticized the actor for his portrayal of the business mogul-turned-politician.

President-elect Donald Trump only wants to talk about what is really important in this country. #SNL pic.twitter.com/1rSIJydIIJ— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 15, 2017

In an early morning tweet on Dec. 3, Trump called "Saturday Night Live," "totally biased" and "unwatchable" after Baldwin portrayed him as too preoccupied with Twitter to pay attention to a security briefing.

*retweets* #SNL pic.twitter.com/SmNcJ09mWa— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) December 4, 2016

"The Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse," Trump wrote. "Sad."

Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016

Baldwin responded on an account dedicated to his Alec Baldwin Foundation.

"Release your tax returns and I'll stop," he wrote.

...@realDonaldTrump Release your tax returns and I'll stop.Ha— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 4, 2016

So long, nerdy sidekick: Female animators aim to nix clichés

The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney's desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men.

Now, nearly three-quarters of CalArts' more than 250 animation students are women, and there's a new goal: ensure that when they land jobs, they get to draw female characters reflective of the real world and not just the nerds, sex bombs, tomboys or ugly villains who proliferate now.

"Male villains, for example, can be any shape or size. But female villains are usually in their menopausal or postmenopausal phases. They're older, they're single, they're angry," said Erica Larsen-Dockray, who teaches a class on "The Animated Woman" for CalArts' experimental animation program.

"Then you have the innocent princess," she added with a chuckle, "whose waist is so small that if she was actually alive, she wouldn't be able to walk."

To call attention to that cartoonish reality, CalArts has played host the past two years to "The Animated Woman Symposium on Gender Bias." This year it focused on the roles of "Sidekicks, Nerd Girls, Tomboys and More."

During a recent raucous two-hour symposium, nearly a dozen student researchers who spent months watching cartoons and reading comic books questioned why almost all female sidekicks look like nerds. Also why female heroes like Kim Possible are over-the-top beautiful. And why there are so few gay, lesbian and transgender characters.

"What are nerd-girl stereotypes? They have glasses, they're shy, they're awkward, they have some freckles going on," said film-video student and artist Madison Stubbs as she flashed drawings of several, including two of the most popular: Velma from "Scooby-Doo" and Meg Griffin of "Family Guy."

"And we have Tootie from 'Fairly OddParents,'" Stubbs said of the long-running Nickelodeon cartoon show's pig-tailed, braces-wearing, bespectacled sidekick. "Basically, she's just in the show to go, 'Oh, Timmy. I want you. Why do you ignore me?'"

Not that all female cartoon sidekicks are unattractive.

Velma could be the "hot girl," Stubbs said, if only she would lose those nerdy glasses. But every time she does, she trips over stuff, walks into things and nearly upends another paranormal investigation by those meddling kids from Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated.

Kim Possible, who couples her intellect with martial-arts skills to scuttle nefarious Dr. Drakken's plans to take over the world, has her own problems. Unable to attract any handsome, smart guy, she ultimately settles for her nerdy male sidekick, Ron Stoppable.

There's a reason for such drawings and scenarios, said Marge Dean, president of the industry group Women in Animation: Men still fill animation's writing rooms and director's chairs.

"Many, many, many women are going to animation schools. At CalArts, it's over 70 percent. But yet if you start looking at women in creative roles, the last number we have is only 22 percent," said Dean, whose organization tracks figures through schools and industry groups.

In an effort to boost those numbers, CalArts faculty invites studio representatives to campus for events like portfolio days and maintains a close relationship with groups like Dean's, which is pushing the studios to have a creative workforce of half women and half men by 2025.

CalArts, with a student enrollment of nearly 1,500, offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in such fields as animation, art, music, film, acting, photography and others. The small school situated amid picturesque rolling hills some 30 miles north of Los Angeles has produced many of the entertainment industry's leading creative figures, including director Tim Burton and Oscar-winning animator and Disney-Pixar executive John Lasseter.

Other alumni, including Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter, have directed nine of the 15 Oscar-winning animated feature films since that category was created in 2002. Only two of those 15 films had female directors. Both of them, Brenda Chapman and Jennifer Lee, are CalArts graduates.

Dean believes the character landscape will change as the popularity of animation continues to grow. Three of last year's top 10 box office films were animated — "Finding Dory," ''Zootopia" and "The Secret Life of Pets."

None were directed by women, although Lee, who wrote and co-directed the 2013 Oscar-winning film "Frozen," had a writing credit on "Zootopia."

To make real change, students entering the animated world must demand it, said Stacey Simmons of the production company Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.

"The only way you're going to change it is to keep doing it," she said. "The industry itself has changed a lot, but it has not changed at the same rate the country has."

Alec Baldwin to host 'SNL' for record-setting 17th time

At the dawn of the Donald Trump administration, "Saturday Night Live's" own Trump — Alec Baldwin — will be back as the show's guest host for the 17th time.

The NBC show said Monday that Baldwin will host the Feb. 11 show. Baldwin, who has been portraying Trump on a semi-regular basis this season, has hosted the venerable comedy show more times than any other person.

SNL said that actress Kristen Stewart will debut as a host on the Feb. 4 show.

Alessia Cara will be the musical guest on Stewart's show, with Ed Sheeran performing on Baldwin's show.

Alec Baldwin to host 'SNL' for record-setting 17th time

At the dawn of the Donald Trump administration, "Saturday Night Live's" own Trump — Alec Baldwin — will be back as the show's guest host for the 17th time.

The NBC show said Monday that Baldwin will host the Feb. 11 show. Baldwin, who has been portraying Trump on a semi-regular basis this season, has hosted the venerable comedy show more times than any other person.

SNL said that actress Kristen Stewart will debut as a host on the Feb. 4 show.

Alessia Cara will be the musical guest on Stewart's show, with Ed Sheeran performing on Baldwin's show.

A song goes viral after Women's March on Washington

MILCK , whose real name is Connie Lim, led some two dozen singers Saturday in her song "Quiet," which is about overcoming physical and sexual abuse. The lyrics include the lines, "A one-woman riot/Oh, I can't keep quiet."

Film director Alma Har'el wrote on Facebook that she chanced upon the singers and captured footage of them performing. As of Monday afternoon, her clip had been seen more than 9 million times.

The song is part of a social media campaign for #ICantKeepQuiet, which hopes to raise awareness against abuse of women and minorities.

A song goes viral after Women's March on Washington

MILCK , whose real name is Connie Lim, led some two dozen singers Saturday in her song "Quiet," which is about overcoming physical and sexual abuse. The lyrics include the lines, "A one-woman riot/Oh, I can't keep quiet."

Film director Alma Har'el wrote on Facebook that she chanced upon the singers and captured footage of them performing. As of Monday afternoon, her clip had been seen more than 9 million times.

The song is part of a social media campaign for #ICantKeepQuiet, which hopes to raise awareness against abuse of women and minorities.

Female animators break down cartoon-women stereotypes

For a long time, nearly all of the animation students at the California Institute of the Arts' were men.

Today, most of CalArts' more than 250 animation students are women, and one of their goals is to create more realistic female characters — not just the sex bombs, shy nerds and haggard villains that dominate now.

The reason such stereotypes persist, according to Marge Dean, president of the industry group Women in Animation: Men still fill animation's writing rooms and director's chairs.

"Many, many, many women are going to animation schools," said Dean, whose organization tracks figures through schools and industry groups. "Yet if you start looking at women in creative roles, the last number we have is only 22 percent."

In an effort to boost those numbers, CalArts faculty invites studio representatives to campus for events and maintains a close relationship with groups like Dean's, which is pushing the studios to have a creative workforce of half women and half men by 2025.

The school also has played host the past two years to a symposium on gender bias in animation. This year it focused on the roles of "Sidekicks, Nerd Girls, Tomboys and More."

Here, a female student renders some of those archetypal female cartoon roles, and Erica Larsen-Dockray, who teaches a class on "The Animated Woman," explains:

___

THE PRINCESS

She has an impossibly tiny waist and is gorgeous beyond belief. Big eyes, flowing locks, luscious lips and a heart-shaped face. She's historically usually white and depicted as innocent and virginal. About the typical princess' waistline, Larsen-Dockray says: "If they were life-size, they would not have space in their bodies for reproductive organs."

___

THE FAIRY GODMOTHER

She's always plump and rosy-cheeked, with particular emphasis on large breasts and buttocks. "I think a lot of animators at that time were thinking about their nannies," Larsen-Dockray says. "They're like the epitome of physical comfort, every man-child's dream."

___

THE VILLAIN

While male villains can be any shape or size, female villains almost always are old and unmarried. They have gray hair, wrinkles and harsh makeup. They're hardened and sour and always look stern and angry. Visually, they're typically depicted looking almost bony with sharp lines, including high cheekbones and pointy elbows.

___

THE NERD

Many female sidekicks are depicted as nerds. They have glasses, they're shy and awkward, and they often have freckles. They're also usually in a makeover episode at some point, Larsen-Dockray says, as if to remind viewers that they can be feminine. "It's really messed up," she says.

'Every Minute Counts' in drive to find Alzheimer's treatment

In 2004, PBS aired a film about Alzheimer's disease.

           The grim takeaway:

            — It's incurable and deadly.

— With the aging of the U.S. population (especially by the outsized baby-boom generation) the number of cases is skyrocketing accordingly.

           — The cost of this coming epidemic is destined to be financially ruinous, not only on an individual basis, but also as a public-health crisis nationwide.

           That was then, in 2004. But the situation has grown only more dire, says an important new documentary, "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts," which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST on PBS.

            According to this program, there are now more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease, with the number projected to soar by 55 percent by 2030, while future costs associated with it threaten to bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid and the life savings of millions of Americans.

            "Alzheimer's: Every Minute Counts" was produced and directed by Elizabeth Arledge, who a dozen years ago produced the Emmy-winning "The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's."

            That report mainly focused on the human tragedy of a degenerative brain disease that sentences each victim to a progressive loss of memory and sense of self and, over time, an inability even to swallow and breathe.

             For her new documentary, Arledge has taken a different tack.

             "This is not another examination of the heartache," she explained recently from her Cambridge, Massachusetts, base as an independent filmmaker specializing in medicine and public policy. "Instead, it's more about how this personal tragedy is now going to become a tragedy for the whole country if nothing changes in the trajectory of the disease. We look at the epidemic as a main character in the film."

             She recites a few of its harsh bullet points:

             — The sixth-largest cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top 10 with no prevention, no treatment and no cure.

             — Given the number of people it affects — victims and caregivers — as it drags on for years, "it's the most expensive disease in the country."

             — While research has uncovered what Arledge says are "so many promising leads, so many intriguing clues," funds allocated for research are at a level far below those for many other diseases.

            Battling Alzheimer's, she sums up, is "100 percent about money."

            That said, "Every Minute Counts" puts human faces on this dollar-and-cents dilemma — and not just faces of victims, but also those of researchers, health officials and loved ones of the afflicted.

            Perhaps most memorable is Daisy Duarte of Springfield, Missouri. Now 45, she used to own a sports bar, but for five years has served as a full-time live-in caretaker for her mother, who can no longer dress, bathe or feed herself — or recognize her daughter.

           "I lost my first mom five years ago," says Duarte. "Alzheimer's is my second mom."

           Then things get worse. Aware that an early-onset Alzheimer's gene runs through her family, giving Duarte 50-50 odds of having it, she decides to learn her fate. The results from the test aren't what she was praying for.

            Guaranteed to get Alzheimer's, she continues to look after her declining mother knowing this is where her own path will take her in as little as 15 years.

            The bad news galvanizes Duarte to become an advocate for Alzheimer's research. In the film, she is seen lobbying members of Congress for increased funding, where she gets a warm reception: Alzheimer's hasn't spared their families either.

            But Duarte's activism points up one of the hurdles for getting out the word about this scourge: Unlike victims of most other plagues, Alzheimer's patients can't lobby for themselves.

             All in all, "Every Minute Counts" is an alarming hour. But it isn't without hope.

            "There are a lot of promising things in development," says Arledge. "With enough support to bring them across the finish line, they could make a difference in the next five or 10 years.

            "It's just a matter of money and focus."

_____

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore

_____

Online:

http://www.pbs.org/tpt/alzheimers-every-minute-counts/home/

http://www.alz.org

Former Spice Girl Geri Horner welcomes second child

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Geri Halliwell, also known as "Ginger Spice," gave birth to her first son on Saturday.

>> Read more trending stories  

Halliwell, 44, announced the arrival of her first child with her husband on Twitter. 

Christian and I are delighted to announce our baby boy was born this morning weighing 7lbs 8oz— Geri Horner (@GeriHalliwell) January 21, 2017

"Christian and I are delighted to announce our baby boy was born this morning weight 7lbs 8oz," she wrote.

The boy was named Montague George Hector Horner. 

Montague George Hector Horner arrived this morning, a beautiful little brother for Bluebell and Olivia #amazing-day #grateful #monty A photo posted by Geri Horner (@therealgerihalliwell) on Jan 21, 2017 at 7:15am PST

This is Halliwell's second child. She also has a daughter, Bluebell Madonna, 10, with her ex-partner, screenwriter Sacha Gervasi. Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) and Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) are Bluebell's godmothers, according to the Los Angeles Times

Halliwell's husband, Christian Horner, also has a daughter from a previous relationship, Olivia.

Hello. A photo posted by Geri Horner (@therealgerihalliwell) on Jan 20, 2017 at 12:43pm PST

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