KRISTIN HANNAH’S HOME FRONT

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Tomorrow at 3 pm ET and Thursday at 9 pm ET I will be talking with New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah. To prepare for my interview I just finished reading her newest book Home Front. I’m not going to review the book now but I am going to tell you that this was one moving, riveting story. This book explores the ravages of war on our soldiers and their families. Hannah, after extensive research, spares us not at all. She annihilates the VA for its lack of support for our returning vets. She explores Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and white washes nothing in her portrayal of its affects on those who served.

There’s a sad reality, as I will discuss on tomorrow’s show and that is that few of us ever encounter our defenders in our daily lives. This book gets in your face as to what our fellow Americans risk for our country. I will be honest. It left me ashamed that I call myself an American. They sacrifice so much; what do we give back to our warriors?

I encourage you all to read Home Front. I’m not going to tell you that it’s an easy read. But I am going to say that it is one helluva book that you won’t be able to put down. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be frightened, you’ll be shaken. And when you are, just remember, what you’ll feel reading this brilliantly carved story ain’t nothing compared to our fellow Americans who risk life and limb for the rest of us.

OK, maybe this is a review. We will discuss Home Front further with Kristin Hannah, tomorrow on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. You can listen in right here on Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

THE WORLD IS OUR VILLAGE

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

JoyOn yesterday’s The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, I talked with my guest Allison Samuels about many things including her wonderful book What Would Michelle Do? A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style, the untimely death of Whitney Houston, the Trayvon Martin story and oh, so much more. You must listen. Allison is the real deal, genuine to her core, and her truth sizzles when she speaks.

What I learned during the interview is that Allison and I share something in common, and that is our love for Africa. Allison first traveled to Africa with her friend Oprah Winfrey. We talked about Oprah and her all-girls school and about the fact that even though Allison and Oprah are friends, in a piece that Allison wrote about her trip to South Africa with Winfrey, Allison questioned the massive amount of money Oprah had spent on her project. Subsequently, Allison herself spent several months in West Africa teaching math and English. 

I got my “calling” to travel to Uganda as both Oprah and Allison were called to Africa. Never one to pass up on opportunity, off I went. It was a vital trip, infusing, regenerating, heartwarming, difficult, fascinating, fabulous, heartening. There in that virtually untouched world where poverty and its ravages reign, you will never meet a more dynamic people. Untouched by the callousness and cynicism of Western life, the people are warm and sharing, even when there is so little to divide. It is cleansing to spend even a day in Uganda, fortifying, enriching, a natural multivitamin.

There in the land of Eden, much of my heart remains today. They call me Abwooli, my Empaco (nickname) that means little cat. The name was given to me by my very good friend, Amooti, Herbert Asiimwe, and his late mother who died of hypertension at 40 years of age — a death that would hardly occur in the Western world thanks to the availability of modern medicines, while, if available, unaffordable in rural Uganda.

It was with Amooti that I first traveled to the village of Nyamarwa to visit The Kibbuse Foundation, founded by a favorite person of mine, Rev. James Joloba Adyeri. Rev. James has more energy than the busy weaver birds who build thousands of nests in the upright trees of the gorgeous equatorial country.

I love a man of ideas and action; Rev. James is such a man. Out of the lessons of his own childhood, he conceived the notion and founded The Kibbuse Foundation based on the idea that if poverty is to be erased in Uganda, it will be because the nation has created industries that can make it an exporting rather than an importing nation. His goal was to build a school that educates students to become job creators rather than job seekers. In action, The Kibbuse Foundation offers unique opportunities for rural youth to join the 21st Century. He has achieved his goal.

At the St. James Kibbuse Foundation, young people are trained in the kind of skills that Uganda desperately needs. Carpentry, bricklaying, metalwork, auto mechanics, sewing and tailoring, catering, management skills, English are what are taught in the cool, dark, concrete-laden walls of the school.

There in a little oasis carved out of the African bush, children get a second chance at life. They are orphans, many of the AIDS epidemic, school drop outs, single mothers, or children whose parents simply could not afford to educate them beyond primary school. At Rev. James’ school, fees are set low so that even the poorest of the poor in Uganda have an opportunity to be trained to live a life of self sufficiency. Students grow their own food, and tend their own livestock. If necessary and it often is, school fees are paid in beans, or chickens.

So there in Nyamarwa I’ve given my time and money to what I consider a deeply, worthy cause. Many ask: Why Africa? Why give your time and money to a country so far away when poverty is a problem right here in America?

The answer: To those of us who have much, the world is our village. 

* Photos from the upcoming book OKUSOBOKA – POSSIBILITY  by Halli Casser-Jayne with a forward by His Royal Highness King Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I.

 

 

MIKE WALLACE

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I’ve been meaning to write about this and haven’t gotten around to it; I think I’ve been in mourning for one of  the great interviewers of our time, Mike Wallace. My goodness what an interviewer. Interviewing is what I do, and therefore I understand the complexities of cajoling a guest into aggreeing to sit down and share sometimes the intimate details of their lives. Recently, a listener asked me why I do what I do. I wanted to say, I just do it and that I fell into interviewing years ago, and that may be true. But it is only a part of the story. For me, in the beginning there was Mike Wallace.

Believe me when I say, I was a young kid the first time that I saw Mike Wallace on my TV set with the tiny screen. But I remember it like it was yesterday. It was on a New York channel and it was before we had a color TV. What I recall is a stark black and white  image: Wallace on a dark set, his coal-black hair shiny, his voice deep, deliberative, delectable, daunting. He held a cigarette in his working-class root hands.  When he spoke, I remember becoming mesmerized by the grey smoke that snaked around Mr. Wallace’s handsome head. There is no mystery that I can’t tell you who it was Wallace was interviewing that night. The oddest thing about Mike Wallace was that no matter who he interviewed, and he interviewed some of the greats, Wallace somehow managed, at least in my eyes, to be as much if not more a part of the interview, as the person he interviewed.

Now some might call that ego and assume that Wallace had a need to make his presence known. Maybe so, but I also think it was part of  the Mike Wallace magic. He mesmerized, captivated and  disarmed the people whose lives he  sometimes so willingly, like a surgeon, dissected. Wallace was your friend, sometimes your enemy, but with that resonant voice of  his, he could charm the pants off  of even an andric woman like Barbra Streisand.  He was fearless, he was frank, he was feisty, and, when he wanted to be, oh so fun… as  it is to remember the late, great Mike Wallace on the Kleig-light lit set of  The Mike Wallace Show. The time, the Fifties, when life wasn’t so confusing, when voices were clear, when broadcasters such as Mike Wallace mirrored the black and white of  those simpler times.

FOR THE HOUR: NEWSWEEK/DAILY BEAST JOURNALIST ALLISON SAMUELS

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On The Halli Casser-Jayne Show this Wednesday, April 18 from 3:00-4:00pm EST, we’re talking with Newsweek/Daily Beast writer Allison Samuels about her new book What Would Michelle DO?: A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style.

Ms. Samuels has interviewed such notable names as President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, The Dali Lama, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey and Denzel Washington. Her first cover for Newsweek was an interview with the iconic NBA legend Magic Johnson. Recently she’s written extensively on Whitney Houston and traveled to Sanford, FL to cover the Trayvon Martin story.

What Would Michelle Do? combines inspiring insights and solid advice in a fun package that will appeal to style mavens, soccer moms, and career women alike.

If you are interested in submitting questions for Allison Samuels, send them via Twitter @HalliCJ or to HalliCasserJayne’s  Facebook page.  Listen live online or by phone at (714) 202-9929.

WHY DEMOCRATS FAIL…

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I will never understand why Democrats are so quick to fold in their battle with their Republican foes. But they do. And what may appear to be a short-term gain, too often results in a long-term loss. While Hilary Rosen might have chosen the wrong words to make her point that Ann Romney is not and can never be the poster woman for all working woman, her point is correct. But under the gunfire, Hilary folded, just as President Obama folds under the Republican gun. It’s shameful. I begged Hilary to stick to her eggs, but she didn’t. And once again the Republicans gain the upper-hand in this smarmy battle for the women’s vote. Democrats…you’re embarrassing.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/04/hilary-rosen-apologizes-to-ann-romney-120353.html

UPDATE: I think that this defense of  Hilary Rosen by Greta Van Susteren is a rubber stamp to my point.

http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/2012/04/12/my-friend-hilary-rosen/

ELECTION 2012 and WOMEN

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Here we go…Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen posted a great piece on HuffPost today, after taking a lot of heat for daring to say on CNN’s Anderson Coopers AC360 last night that she thought it was wrong for Mitt Romney to be using his wife as his guide to women’s economic struggles when she “had never worked a day in her life.” I hope that Ms. Rosen will stick to her eggs and not retreat in the wake of the Republican’s gamesmanship.  Yesterday on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show I talked with Congresswoman Betty Sutton about this very issue. It was a riveting conversation in which Congresswoman Sutton revealed some of her own personal struggle to get where she is today, how she turned adversity into power. I hope you all will listen to the show. As to Governor Romney, for politicians to be using women as a pawn in their political game, as Governor Romney and the Republicans have been doing this political season is simply unacceptable. It seems to me that women on both sides of the aisle ought to be incensed by these political shenanigans and raising their voices in protest. I also discussed the concept of sisterhood with Congresswoman Sutton, and she had much to say on this issue as well. I hope you’ll listen in. I know that you’ll enjoy my interview with journalist Matthew Cooper as well. He is smart and was a delight to talk with.

UP NEXT: Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Journalist Matthew Cooper

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On The Halli Casser-Jayne Show this Wednesday, April 11 from 3:00-4:00pm EST, we’re talking politics—from the 2012 presidential election to job creation and the continued economic recovery with Northeast Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D, OH-13) and Matthew Cooper, editor of National Journal Daily.

Congresswoman Sutton, authored the “Cash for Clunkers” Program in 2009, which resulted in an estimated $3.8 billion to $6.8 billion increase in GDP and more than 60,000 jobs created or saved. Sutton will speak about: her work on behalf of public sector employees, introduction of several animal welfare protection bills, and her own struggle as a woman in politics leading to legislation that helps empower women and protects them from violence. Congresswoman Sutton is a strong proponent for the reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act.

Cooper has held editorial positions at several of Washington’s most respected news organizations, includingU.S. News & World Report,TimeWashington Monthly,The New RepublicThe Atlantic.com, and TalkingPointsMemo.com. Cooper along with The New York Times reporter Judith Miller was held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to testify before the Grand Jury regarding the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. 

UP NEXT: Congresswoman Betty Sutton and Journalist Matthew Cooper

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

On The Halli Casser-Jayne Show this Wednesday, April 11 from 3:00-4:00pm EST, we’re talking politics—from the 2012 presidential election to job creation and the continued economic recovery with Northeast Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D, OH-13) and Matthew Cooper, editor of National Journal Daily.

Congresswoman Sutton, authored the “Cash for Clunkers” Program in 2009, which resulted in an estimated $3.8 billion to $6.8 billion increase in GDP and more than 60,000 jobs created or saved. Sutton will speak about: her work on behalf of public sector employees, introduction of several animal welfare protection bills, and her own struggle as a woman in politics leading to legislation that helps empower women and protects them from violence. Congresswoman Sutton is a strong proponent for the reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act.

Cooper has held editorial positions at several of Washington’s most respected news organizations, includingU.S. News & World Report,TimeWashington Monthly,The New RepublicThe Atlantic.com, and TalkingPointsMemo.com. Cooper along with The New York Times reporter Judith Miller was held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to testify before the Grand Jury regarding the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. 

UP NEXT: Election 2012 with Matthew Cooper and Congresswoman Betty Sutton

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

On The Halli Casser-Jayne Show this Wednesday, April 11 from 3:00-4:00pm EST, we’re talking politics—from the 2012 presidential election to job creation and the continued economic recovery with Northeast Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton (D, OH-13) and Matthew Cooper, editor of National Journal Daily.

Congresswoman Sutton, authored the “Cash for Clunkers” Program in 2009, which resulted in an estimated $3.8 billion to $6.8 billion increase in GDP and more than 60,000 jobs created or saved. Sutton will speak about: her work on behalf of public sector employees, introduction of several animal welfare protection bills, and her own struggle as a woman in politics leading to legislation that helps empower women and protects them from violence. Congresswoman Sutton is a strong proponent for the reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act.

Cooper has held editorial positions at several of Washington’s most respected news organizations, includingU.S. News & World Report,TimeWashington Monthly,The New RepublicThe Atlantic.com, and TalkingPointsMemo.com. Cooper along with The New York Times reporter Judith Miller was held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to testify before the Grand Jury regarding the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation.

For All You Chocolate Lovers

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Yesterday’s show, Chocolate…Chocolate…Chocolate...was in every way delicious. Each and every one of my guests had something unique to contribute to our conversation on Chocolate. I really hope that you’ll listen to the chocolate show. We explored the history of chocolate, romance and chocolate, sex and chocolate, books and chocolate, artisan chocolate, and health and well-being and chocolate and oh, so much more. Author Laura Florand whose first book of her Chocolate trilogy, KISS THE BRIDE debuts April 24, which takes us into the sensual, passionate world of top Parisian chocolatiers,  was kind enough to leave us with a list of her favorite chocolate-makers, both in Paris and in the U.S. Enjoy!

I.  When in Paris…

Jacques Genin

133 Rue de Turenne  75003 Paris, France.  Tel:  01 45 77 29 01.

In Jacques Genin’s salon de chocolat, rough arches of exposed stone blend with red velvet curtains, white, rosebud-embossed walls, and a spiraling metal staircase to create a setting of exceptional beauty.  Considered by many to be among the best in the world, his chocolates are presented in flat metal boxes that frame the beautifully printed squares of luscious ganache infused with herbs and spices, ganaches that melt in your mouth in a sensuous ecstasy.  Worth a trip to Paris, all by himself…

 

Michel Chaudun

149 Rue de l’Universite , 75007 Paris, France.  Tel:  01.47.53.74.40.

Michel Chaudun’s tiny shop in the 7th arrondissement of Paris is crammed with so many sculptures and artifacts of chocolate, it’s like stepping into the storage rooms of an old museum.  And take one bite of his famous pavés—sensuous bites of ganache delicately dusted in cocoa—and you will melt right at the feet of the chocolate Mayan warrior standing guard over them.   Another of the world’s very best chocolatiers…

 

II.  For Armchair Chocolate-Lovers

Neither Jacques Genin nor Michel Chaudun bother with a website—chocolate worshipers must come to them.  But when Laura Florand can’t make it to Paris, she orders from one of these:

La Maison du Chocolat

www.lamaisonduchocolat.com

A legend.  Founded in 1977 by Robert Linxe,  these days, La Maison du Chocolat has boutiques all over the world.   Michel Chaudun was chef chocolatier here before he set off on his own over twenty years ago.  Jacques Genin was head pâtissier here when he was 33.  These days, the creative director is Gilles Marchal.  Try his tender, intense ganaches, and the way you think about chocolate will never be the same.  And if you’re in New York?  La Maison du Chocolat has not one but four beautiful chocolate shops there, into which you can step to experience your own magic moment in Paris.

 L.A. Burdick

www.burdickchocolate.com

Tiny bites of dark chocolate, laced delicately with fig and port wine; exquisitely delicate chocolate-enrobed salted caramels; truffles infused with lemon, pepper, and rum…and if that isn’t enough, each box comes with at least one of their impossibly cute, tiny chocolate mice.  (If you have a child in the house, go ahead and give up on tasting the mouse yourself right now.)   Their classic mice can be varied through the holiday seasons with the cutest chocolate ghosts known to the living, turkeys, snowmen, adorable tiny bunnies, or even honeybees.   All of which taste as delicious as they look adorable.

 Miel Bonbons

www.mielbonbons.com

200 N. Greensboro Rd. Suite A5 Carrboro, NC 27510.  Tel:  919.967.2313.

There is something delightfully charming and comforting about Miel Bonbons chef Bonnie Lau’s chocolates, for all their exotic flavors of mango mint and coconut curry, as if exoticism and quality have been synthesized in a chocolate you can cozy up at home with, large enough that it will last you two or three bites.  Rich, dark ganaches pair with whimsical and sophisticated flavors, and don’t miss Bonnie Lau’s dense, intense salted butter caramel chocolates.   Every chocolatier gives her chocolate the stamp of her personality, and Bonnie Lau’s are fanciful, warm, adventurous, and reassuring.

Miel Bonbons chocolates.  Photo courtesy of Miel Bonbons.

 

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

www.christophechocolatier.com

90 Society Street, Charleston, SC 29401.  Tel:  843.297.8674.

Third-generation French chocolatier-pâtissier Christophe Paume set up shop in Charleston in 2009, thanks to a beautiful love story and his American wife.  His hand-painted chocolates shimmer in the light, each box an emperor’s treasure of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz.   Start with a luscious and reassuring cinnamon-touched milk chocolate ganache, or a delicately infused mint dark chocolate, and then let him lead you well down the path not taken with such flavors as tomato-basil dark chocolate or even blue cheese.  And don’t miss his dark chocolate caramel sea salt bar, which is absolutely sublime.

Check out Laura Florand’s site, www.lauraflorand.com, for more tours of chocolate shops, behind-the-scenes looks at chocolate-making, or even occasional giveaways of the best chocolates out there.

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