Tag Archives: CNN

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy/Lincoln: Divided We Stand Review

We can learn a lot about a specific group of people and their culture by their food. Without stepping into a lecture hall, we receive a history lesson, learn about their traditions, and hopefully begin to see them beyond the stereotypes.

Last night, CNN continued to air first of two series. Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy follows the Italian-American actor and cookbook author as he travels around Italy and samples the food that is specific to each region.

The second series, Lincoln: Divided We Stand, is narrated by Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us). This program tells the story of the 16th President in a manner that humanizes him and his story. Instead of just relying on the facts found in a history book, the audience takes a deep dive into the world from his perspective.

So far, I enjoyed both programs. Tucci approach to his family’s native land is that of love, respect, and curiosity. Like many Americans whose family came from elsewhere, he uses food to introduce viewers to an Italy that only the locals know. Instead of lionizing Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln: Divided We Stand introduces the viewer to the man behind the myths.

Do I recommend both? Yes.

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Filed under Books, History, Politics, Television, TV Review

Throwback Thursday: The Eighties (2016)

There comes a time when we can look back on the past with a clarity that does not appear until after the fact.

The CNN miniseries, The Eighties, premiered in 2016. Breaking down the political, cultural, and technological changes of the era, interviews and media clips illustrate how transformational the decade was.

I loved this series. It was illuminating, educational, and entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Throwback Thursday: United Shades of America (2016-Present)

It is easy to make assumptions about a person or a community based on a brief glance or what one sees in the media. It is harder to keep that assumption once you have had the opportunity to get to know that person or community.

United Shades of America has aired on CNN since 2016. Hosted by stand up comic W. Kamau Bell, the series delves into serious issues via the lens of different cultures and people within America.

What I love about the series is that Bell uses humor to diffuse what could be some very dangerous situations. In introducing the viewers to the various sub-groups that exist within the country, he is opening the door to communication, understanding, and perhaps the diverse nation that our founders envisioned more than 200 years ago

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Did the White House Just Hand Joe Biden the Election?

When facing a challenge, knowing when to push forward and knowing when you cannot go any further is a decision that sometimes has to be made.

With Covid-19 ravaging the nation, it has become the most important issue within this Presidential election cycle. The assumption would be that both candidates and parties would take the virus and the damages it has caused seriously.

The Democrats and Joe Biden have taken it seriously. The Republicans and you know who seem to think that it is a mere cold. We all remember earlier this year he stepped back from taking responsibility.

When the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared on CNN, he told Jake Tapper the following:

“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas,”

Since March, 225,000 Americans have succumbed to the disease. As of late, Vice President Pence, his wife, and several aids have been exposed to Covid-19. Anyone with a mere shred of intelligence would be listening to the doctors and quarantine themselves. But instead, he goes out on the campaign trail, potentially spreading the virus further.

The question is, has the White House handed Joe Biden the election? Only time will tell, but it is clear to me that this may be the tipping point that brings us back to a state of semi-normalcy.

#BidenHarris2020

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Filed under National News, Politics, Television

Throwback Thursday- The Seventies (2015)

Sometimes, we can only see what has happened when we are fully able to look back at the past.

The Seventies was a documentary miniseries that aired on CNN in 2015. Throughout the eight episodes of the series, viewers were taken back in time and were able to explore how politics, pop culture and history combined into a decade that helped to shape the decades to come.

I enjoyed this series. It was entertaining, informative and provided a window into a time that some of us only know of via those who lived during the period.

I recommend it.

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Robin Williams: Five Years Later and it Still Hurts

Mental health, like any disease does not discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, celebrity and non-celebrity.

Five years ago today, mental health took the life of one of our most beloved performers: Robin Williams.

He was more than a comic who could do impressions. He could play drama, he could play comedy and everything in between. Underneath all of his performances was a huge heart that was evident to anyone in the audience.

This past week, his eldest son, Zak, spoke to CNN about his father.

When it comes to those who are no longer with us because of suicide, there are always questions that start with what if. While the question is certainly valid, at a certain point, we need to ask other questions. I firmly believe that we need to not only accept mental health issues as a valid disease, but treat it as a valid disease.

When confronting a problem, the first and hardest step is to ask for help. The issue with mental health is that many are afraid to ask for help because of the backlash they may receive.

Mental health and the diseases that fall under the categories of mental illness are real. The sooner we accept that, stop stigmatizing mental illness and open the doors to treatment, the better our country and our world will be.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America Book Review

When a President or any political leader refers to someone or something as “enemy of the people”, one probably thinks that this person is not democratically elected. They probably think that this person is a dictator or autocrat, ruling a country in which human rights and the rights of the average citizen barely exist or don’t exist at all.

This phrase was uttered by you know who, who somehow was elected as President of the United States in 2016.

Journalist Jim Acosta‘s new memoir, The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, is his memoir of his years as a White House correspondent. In the book, he details how you know who is a threat to our democracy and our First Amendment rights due to his lies, half truths and not so secret war on the press.

The thing that struck about Mr. Acosta’s story is that it is eerily reminiscent of the early years of a dictatorship. My hope is that this book inspires the reader to think for themselves and make a decision about their political future. Do they want to live in a thriving and growing democracy? Or do they want to continue to let you know who take us to h*ll in a handbasket?

I absolutely recommend it.

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Thoughts On The Redemption Project with Van Jones

We all make mistakes, that is part and parcel of being human. But what happens when that mistake leads us to jail and years later, we have to look at the people who were affected by that mistake?

That is the concept of the CNN program, The Redemption Project with Van Jones. The premise of the program is as follows: host Van Jones tells the story of a victim (and/or their family), the perpetrator who was jailed for their crime and their face to face meeting years after the crime was committed.

I have watched the first two episodes and I have found the program to be compelling and worthy of an hour of watching television. When we make a mistake, the first step is to admit that we made it. First steps are often the hardest to make, especially when that mistake leads one person jailed and another person (or their family) forever affected by that mistake.

The theme of the show is restorative justice, leading to a conversation with the person convicted of the crime and the person and/or their loved ones who were affected by the crime In the two episodes that I have watched, I have seen a spark of hope. While there is no way to go back in time and undo what has been done, both parties walk away with a sense of peace, perhaps a little understanding and a human connection that goes beyond the general idea of a victim and a perpetrator.

I recommend it.

The Redemption Project with Van Jones airs on Sunday night at 9pm.

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Filed under Life, Television, Thoughts On...., TV Review

Throwback Thursday-This is Life with Lisa Ling (2014-Present)

There is an old saying: we can never understand another person until we walk a mile in their shoes:

Lisa Ling‘s CNN documentary program, This is Life with Lisa Ling (2014-Present) is the next best thing to walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every episode tells the story of Americans who see the world from a similar perspective. No issue is off limits. This past season, Ling took the viewers on a journey to meet the children of killers, visited a town full of psychics and explored how the damaging the legal system can be toward fathers in the process of divorce.

I find this program to be fascinating. It is fascinating because we are all human beings, but we frequently don’t see that common humanity. This is Life with Lisa Ling allows the viewers to see the subjects of each episode as fellow human beings, opening the door to conversation, common ground and mutual respect, in spite of our differences.

I recommend it.

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A Judge Has Ordered The White House To Reinstate Jim Acosta’s Press Pass. How Long Before The Twitter Temper Tantrum Starts?

The cornerstone of any thriving democracy is freedom of the press. When this freedom is severely curtailed or taken away, that is a sure of sign of a dictatorship.

Last week, The White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass. Today a judge reinstated it on the basis that revoking the press pass infringed on Mr. Acosta’s First Amendment rights. Standing behind Mr. Acosta was not just CNN, but other media outlets, including Fox News.

How long before the man-child who unfortunately bears the title of President Of The United States take a tantrum on Twitter?

Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows that I completely disagree with anything and everything that comes from Fox News. However in this case, I have to applaud whomever made the decision to stand up for freedom of the press. When this essential freedom is denied to one, it is denied to all. We can disagree from here to eternity about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to politics. I have no issue with that, the ability to disagree but still live with one another is what makes America a great country. But when it comes to our basic freedoms, if we don’t stand up for them, they could disappear and we would never know it.

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