Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Paul Ryan










Here is a list of five lies that Paul Ryan told when he gave his speech at the Republican National Convention last night.  I am also posting sourcing for the repudiation of Ryan’s lies. Yes, I’m upset about Ryan’s lies. I would be equally upset if it was Barack Obama doing the lying. I’ve certainly called him out a time or two or a hundred, and particularly in my book A Year in My Pajamas with President Obama.  I am just sick to death of this country’s politicians playing us all for fools. Enough already.

1. Lie: President Obama is the “greatest threat” to Medicare.
Truth: Obama didn’t make any cuts to Medicare benefits; he made cuts to provider reimbursements, to improve cost efficiency and extend the fiscal security of Medicare by eight years. According to the Medicare actuary, “[Obama’s] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook.”1
But Ryan actually does want to cut benefits. He proposed dismantling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system, leaving millions of seniors to come up with more money to pay for care out of pocket.2,3
2. Lie: President Obama didn’t save a General Motors plant in Wisconsin.
Truth: First, Obama wasn’t even in office when the GM plant closed. Second, Obama never made a promise to save it.4
3. Lie: President Obama ignored recommendations of a bipartisan debt commission.
Truth: Paul Ryan actually sat on that commission. And he led Republicans in voting down the commission’s own recommendation. So the commission never gave a report to Obama, because Ryan himself voted to kill the report before it could.5
4. Lie: President Obama is responsible for the downgrading of the U.S. Credit Rating.
Truth: House Republicans, including Paul Ryan, held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage to try to ransom it for trillions of dollars in cuts to social programs without increasing taxes on the wealthy one dime. Standard & Poor’s said specifically, “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” That’s why our nation’s credit rating was downgraded.6,7
5. Lie: Ryan wants to protect the “weak.”
Truth: Ryan’s biggest feat in his political career was proposing a budget with dramatic cuts to programs benefiting the poor. He’d cut Medicaid by one third, take away health care insurance from 30 million Americans, and cut Pell Grants for 1 million students. All so that he could give more tax breaks to the rich.8

Here are the sources

1. “Fact check: Paul Ryan at the RNC,” USA Today, August 30, 2012
2. “Undoing Obama Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney,” The Boston Globe, August 18, 2012
3. “Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan Would Cost 29-Year-Olds $331,200: Report,” Huffington Post, August 27, 2012
4. “Paul Ryan Misleads With GM Plant Closure Tale,” Huffington Post, August 29, 2012
5. “Fact Check: Paul Ryan misleads on debt panel’s spending cut plan,” CNN, August 30, 2012
6. “Top 5 Fibs In Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech,” Talking Points Memo, August 30, 2012
7. “Paul Ryan Address: Convention Speech Built On Demonstrably Misleading Assertions,” Huffington Post, August 30, 2012
8. “4 Ways Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Devastate The Poor,” ThinkProgress, August 17, 2012


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

I’m particularly excited about tomorrow’s The Halli Casser-Jayne Show: LIBERTY!  My guests and I are going to have a  conversation on liberty and all that it means and the many ways that it’s represented in our culture, a conversation that I’m sure you will enjoy. I have four men of letters on the show, three who have written books on symbols of  liberty and freedom in America. My first guest is Professor Edward Berenson who wrote the delightful and insightful book The Statue of Liberty. Do any of us really know how Lady Liberty came to be? Discussing the story of  The Liberty Bell  will be my guest Professor Gary B. Nash. His book  brings The Liberty Bell back to life.  You’re going to enjoy Jonathan Zimmerman. He has written a long overdue book, Small Wonder, The Little Red School House. Now what, you might ask, does the little red schoolhouse have to do with liberty. Well, we are going to explore education as a key to liberty. My fourth guest is Raymond Smock who served as the first official historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and today is director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Ray is an old friend because we shared a friend in common, the late Senator Robert Byrd. Among the many books that Senator Byrd wrote is his book, Losing America. It’s a devastating read if you, as I do, believe in preserving our liberty at all costs. There was no one who defended the American Constitution as Senator Byrd did. And no one who viewed with more dismay what he considered the “slow unraveling of the people’s liberties”  in the aftermath of 9/11 Join me and my guests tomorrow at 3 pm ET for LIBERTY! on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds and Freedom Lovers. Here’s a picture I took of Senator Byrd in the Senate Appropriations Room. He was in a grand mood that day and the picture reflects his joie de vivre. You can listen to the show right here or on any page on the Halli Casser-Jayne website.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

OK. When a seemingly legitimate candidate for the presidency of the United States of America stoops to the low that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney did today in invoking the “birther” controversy into his campaign, I cannot let it roll by. Yes, of course, there’s the proverbial question as to how low will a pol go to win a campaign, a question we sadly  know the answer to: lower than low. But there’s something even more unseemly here that needs to be addressed.

The question of President Obama’s birth  by the lunatic fringe is fraught with layers. These are not frivolous attacks on the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. They are, in fact, deliberate, focused attacks on the black president fueled by racism by a predominately white Southern constituency.

Of course, Mitt Romney knows this, which is what makes his invocation of the absurd claims by the absurd fringe of his absurd party that much more heinous. And, one might even go so far as to say desperate.

But mostly it is despicable, and in my mind, should disqualify Governor Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate. When a presidential candidate plays the race card, however cleverly, he should not qualify for a chance to win the highest office in the land that  is the American presidency.

In response to the horror over his remarks by his detractors, the Romney campaign replied with this: “Governor Romney was just illustrating that he was born and raised here in Michigan.”

An absurd excuse.



Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

The artist in me plays varying roles. Sometimes the muse insists that I write. Sometimes she expresses herself in the way I dress…or design a space…or plan a garden…or create a meal. Most definitely, putting a radio show together for you is like creating a film or TV show – it’s art, it’s theater, it’s magic. Whichever muscle is at work, for me it’s the art of the endeavor that consumes. For the last couple of weeks, it has been my creative eye that has been at work, my vision dominating my senses. I live on the water, on a peninsula, where from whichever window I gaze there is an ever-changing landscape. From moment to moment the scenery alters, becoming a feast upon the eye. Light and shadow play havoc with my senses, sometimes sending me into spasms. And then the muse takes over and my camera becomes an appendage, the click of my finger my release.

From last evening: The View from My Window: “In the Half-light, with Apologies to Sting”

"In the half-light can we trust the way we feel? Can we be sure that anything is real?" ~ Sting


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

When I’m not in my role as a talk radio host, or writing, or kayaking, or running on the beach, or gardening, or whatever (there’s a lot I love to do), I am a photographer. My book, Still Life, images of Antietam is my photographic essay on the Battle of Antietam, and the first serious book of photographs taken of the Antietam Battlefield since Alexander Gardner’s 1866 book Sketchbook of the Civil War. It’s available on for those of you who might be interested in obtaining a copy. As my Facebook friends know, from time to time I  include a photograph in my daily posts. “Like” my page, and see what I see in the View from My Window. I’m lucky to live on the Indian River lagoon in central Florida where the landscape is ever-changing, moment to moment. Here’s an image photographed today. I hope you like it.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Helen Gurley Brown RIP

Cosmopolitan magazine, the Bible to women of a certain generation…She changed everything!…She said:  “Good girls go to Heaven, bad girls go everywhere…” and we believed her. She said women could be anything that they wanted to be, and she is proof of what she said: She transformed Cosmopolitan magazine and women’s magazines and women’s lives and herself…She showed us all that we could be smart, accomplished, sexy and could live with or without a man… Sex and the Single Girl or was that Sex and the NEW single girl?…Didn’t you just love the monthly horoscope and the yearly horoscope insert?…Oh that word ORGASM!…”Nice girls do have affairs, and they do not necessarily die of them!”…Single is glamorous and not a medical condition…Birth control, yeah!…That Cosmo Girl was always a woman…The Feminization of  The Feminist Movement…RIP Helen Gurley Brown!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Paul Ryan










This morning Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will announce Paul Ryan as his running mate and in doing so appears to be declaring war against everything that the Democratic Party stands for. With the choice of Paul Ryan, Romney will not only be exacerbating the culture wars, but he appears to have set his sights on two of the great presidents of the Twentieth Century: FDR (The New Deal) and LBJ (The Great Society), indeed, the great shift of the Twentieth Century back to the people. This will be a battle — and perhaps a dangerous one — pitting Conservatives against Liberals, rich against poor, the religious Right against the rest, corporate culture against the unions, The Great Society against the elite. This battle has been a longtime coming, and maybe it is past time to engage. Maybe it will propel this nation forward, when it has been mired in inanity. Maybe it will further divide an already divided nation. Perhaps it will purge us of our differences — what wars often do — that have led to the inability of our leaders to move our country forward in a most necessary way. What Romney’s choice has done, no question, is to take the tired old description of our presidential races that this is the most important election of our lifetime, and make it true.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

I promised you Chef Chitra’s chutney and here is a recipe she was kind enough to give me to post on the website. You get a two for one deal on this one because she also forwarded her recipe for Naan. Enjoy. And be sure to visit Chitra Agrawal at her website The ABCD’s of Cooking.

yield: 8 naan

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4-5 cups unbleached all purpoase flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon nigella (black onion) seeds

Place the water in a large bowl and add yeast, stirring to dissolve. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour and stir well. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes, covered, until it starts to bubble.

Add the salt, then another cup of all purpose flour. Continue to add flour until a dough forms. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let it rest, covered, in a warm place until it doubles in size.

Punch the dough down and place it on a lightly floured surface. Let it rest a few minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a baking stone (I used the back of a cookie sheet) in the middle rack of the oven heated to 500 degrees.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a flat oval (or baguette shape as I did). Let each oval rest for 15-20 minutes. Dimple the surface with wet fingers and sprinkle with nigella seeds.

Sprinkle some flour on the baking stone and place the naan on it. Bake for about 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve immediately or keep warm by placing them wrapped in a towel.

yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (or 1 small green Indian chili)
1 teaspoon ginger juice (or 1 teaspoon of shredded ginger with some water)
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave (or honey)
1 tablespoon lime juice
chaat masala, to taste (optional)

Place mint, cilantro, jalapeno and ginger juice in a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down as necessary (add a few drops of water to help blend). This should be liquid, not too thick. Place contents in a bowl.

Fold in yogurt. Add salt, agave, lime juice and chaat masala, to taste.


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Pizza and party, two words that go together, and here are some suggestions from our good friend, Chef Chitra Agrawal to make your party a success. Yesterday, Chitra shared her pizza dough recipe.

Here’s a list of some toppings to go along with her Indian Pizza pie:

goat cheese
tandoori paneer
zucchini /summer squash
fingerling potatoes
chorizo (free range)
lettuce frisee and boston
heirloom tomatoes
one bell pepper
sauteed peppers and onions
mint chutney
And to go along with your pizza, here’s Chitra’s recipe for
Kadai Paneer
FYI:  Kadai means wok in Hindi and this dish is essentially a paneer dry stir fry, curried with tomato paste, onion, ginger and garlic.  You can either buy paneer at the Indian store (Chitra buys it unfried and in blocks) or makes it homemade like this.  She recommends San Marzano tomato paste a lot in cooking because it’s delicious and great in a pinch, but it also provides the perfect consistency for this dish.
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
14 oz cubed paneer, lightly fried
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch ginger piece, shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste
fresh cilantro
Heat ghee or vegetable oil under medium heat in a wok.  Add in cumin seed and asafetida and shake up in the pan.  When the cumin seed starts to brown, add in the onions.  When they are starting to get translucent, mix in the garlic and ginger and fry for 30 seconds.Add in the tomato paste and stir well.  Mix in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and salt.  If the pan is starting to get dry, add a touch of water to loosen it up.  You don’t want this to get saucy, more of a coating for the paneer so keep that in mind.  Fry this all up until the spices get fragrant.Mix in the paneer gently, until it is coated with the tomato mixture.   Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice, roti or as an appetizer with chutney.

Be sure to visit Chitra on her website where you will find more of her delicious recipes!


Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Chitra Agrawal, The ABCD's of Cooking

This week’s show: Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! Trust me, this is going to be one delicious conversation on  Wednesday’s, August 8, 3 pm ET The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. To get you in the mood, all week I’ll be posting my dear friend and fabulous cook, Chitra Agrawal’s recipes for pizza. This morning we start with her pizza dough. But first a little bit about Chitra:

Chitra writes the food blog, The ABCD’s of Cooking (ABCD = “American Born Confused Desi”), where she shares traditional Indian home cooking recipes using local ingredients. She was taught most everything she knows in the kitchen from her South Indian mother and North Indian father. When she’s not teaching cooking classes or recipe blogging, Chitra can be found making cooking videos and serving Indian street foods (sometimes yummy Indian tacos!) at events and artisanal markets in Brooklyn.

Her cooking has appeared in the New York Times Dining Journal and she is a contributor to Gojee, Honest Cooking, The Daily Meal and Brooklyn Based. Chitra has studied nutrition and cooking techniques at the Natural Gourmet Institute.


1 tablespoon active dry yeast
drizzle of honey
1 1/2 cups warm water, warm to your finger not hot
3 1/2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add yeast and honey to water. Let it sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until it starts to froth a bit.

If using a mixer, put in the flour and salt and add in the yeast/honey/water mixture and “knead” on low speed with the hook attachment for 5-7 minutes, adding oil as it mixes. When its done, the dough will have mostly twisted onto the hook and be a bit sticky. (Kneading by hand is good too if you don’t have a mixer strong enough for breads.) All ingredients should be evenly distributed and dough should be sticky and smooth.

Oil a bowl, transfer dough to bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Dough will have risen/doubled. Punch down to release air and transfer to a floured surface.
Knead and divide. Depending on how thick you want your pizza, you can divide into 2, 3 or 4 parts.

Knead your divided pieces so that they are circular, and leave in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Leave space between your divided dough pieces. They will continue to expand. (Pizza doughs can be frozen too for later use)

If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven and preheat oven about 45 minutes before use to 515-550 degrees F. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use the back of a cookie sheet pan (don’t need to put the pan in the oven like the baking stone though).

Sprinkle your peel or the back of the cookie sheet pan generously with cornmeal. (If using a peel make sure you put enough on there so that the dough slides off easily onto the baking stone.)

Take one section of dough and roll it out so it is just flat and round enough to work with your hands. Flour your hands a little and place the dough across your two fists and stretch it out by moving it around in a circular motion until you get to a diameter of about 10 inches. (Note from me: Another trick is to hold the dough from the top and just hang it and move your hand along the circumference as you continue to hang. This works fast, but there is chance of breakage and not a perfect circle shape.)

Place the stretched out dough on the cornmeal dusted peel or pan. Brush a bit of olive oil on crusts to help brown well and then decorate the pizza (Note from me: good to go easy on the toppings so that the dough cooks through and you don’t have soggy pizza).

Slide the pizza onto the stone (or just leave on the back of the cookie sheet pan) and put in the oven.

Cook pizza for 6 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of crust.

Cool for a few minutes and cut.

Good Tools:
-A bench cutter is handy for cutting the bread dough and cleaning the floured surface later.
-A peel is useful for making multiple pizzas, so you can build the pizza on a peel and then transfer it to the oven/your bread stone.
-A bread stone is good for getting a nice uniformly cooked crust.
-A rolling pin is nice to have while making your pizzas. Dough is pretty elastic and a rolling pin is nice to get the dough flat and round enough to work with your hands.


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