Tag Archives: New York Times

‘Roots’ returns

Ship 1By Lynn R. Mitchell

In 1977 I tuned into the mini-series “Roots” with millions of other Americans. The story of Kunta Kinte unfolded before us and brought history and the quest for family into our living rooms … and became a blockbuster event. The remake of “Roots” began this week, as noted by The New York Times. A new generation will now get to know Kunta Kinte:

Kunta Kinte, a teenager from Africa, arrived in chains in 1767 in Annapolis, Md., where he was sold at auction to a Virginia plantation owner.

He inspired Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Roots,” which topped our best-seller list for nearly six months in 1976 and led to a mini-series a year later that was the most-watched program in history at the time.

Now “Roots” has returned to TV in a remake. It began on Monday and continues for three more nights on History, A&E, Lifetime and LMN (9 p.m. Eastern).

Mr. Haley’s book, billed as nonfiction, traces the author’s family history, beginning with Kunta Kinte’s grandparents and down to Mr. Haley. (Historians found that much of it was fiction.)

ABC worried that the TV version would not have broad appeal, and opted to broadcast it over eight consecutive nights, rather than once a week so it would be over before sweeps week. Instead, it simply built momentum, and 100 million viewers — nearly half the country — tuned in for the finale.

It earned nine Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award.

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Jeb Bush clear, concise, forceful in 4th presidential debate – Updated

Jeb Bush

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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As seen in the tweets above, Jeb Bush brought it to the debate stage Tuesday night with his sizable arsenal of knowledge and experience on issues concerning the economy, energy, the Veterans Administration, and other concerns of Americans. From his very first response, it was obvious he was on, and ready to face not only his opponents but to hit the trail for the weeks that lay ahead leading to the 2016 presidential primaries.

The New York Times was very impressed with his performance, noting (see A nimbler Jeb Bush turns feisty. But is it enough?):

This was a hungrier Jeb Bush.

Donald J. Trump had just finished a breezy, boastful and hard-to-follow explanation of how he would take on the Islamic State, tossing in a curiously admiring aside about Vladimir V. Putin’s performance on television.

Suddenly a voice rose from his right.

“Donald is wrong,” said Mr. Bush, uncharacteristically interjecting before the debate moderators could move on.

Mr. Bush said it again, more emphatically. “He is absolutely wrong on this.”

Mr. Trump had blithely suggested that he would happily stand aside and let others, such as Mr. Putin, Russia’s president, sort out the messy Middle East.

Mr. Bush looked into the camera and did what he has long resisted: He ridiculed Mr. Trump as naïve and unsophisticated.

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Flashback: 2016 presidential candidates Rubio, Paul, Cruz were behind 2013 government shutdown

GOP elephants fightingBy Lynn R. Mitchell

[Editor’s note: A look back at a post I wrote in 2013….]

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins does not mince words:

Right now, the show horses of the United States Senate are Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. All preparing for a 2016 presidential bid. All making visits to Iowa. They’re the new faces of the Republican Party. Really, really new. The three of them have an average age of 45 and an average tenure in Washington of 1.9 years.

Whatever happened to learning one job before moving to the next step?

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Eric Cantor NYT op-ed: ‘The GOP, after John Boehner’

Eric Cantor 6By Lynn R. Mitchell

Former Virginia Congressman and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times (see Eric Cantor: The GOP, After John Boehner) about U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s decision Friday to step down at the end of October, giving up not only the speaker role but also his congressional seat:

Richmond, Va. — LIKE so many others, I was stunned by Speaker John A. Boehner’s announcement on Friday that he would step down at the end of October. For nearly six years — first as Republican whip and then as majority leader — I met with John on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis as we worked to lead the House Republican Conference. It is no secret that we had different styles and personalities, but he was always selfless, a man who put the nation, his constituents, the House of Representatives and the party before himself.

Friday was another selfless act. By stepping down amid the tumult in the House conference, he has given my former colleagues in the House, fellow members of the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement a chance to demonstrate to the American people that we are prepared to govern and worthy of their trust.

But the next part of his op-ed speaks volumes, even above the clamor of those celebrating Boehner’s decision to leave:

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A millennial Bush named Barbara

Barbara Bush daughter

Barbara Bush with her father, President George W. Bush

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura’s daughters are now 33 years old. Many know Jenna who is a correspondent on NBC’s “Today” show and married to Virginia’s former Lieutenant Governor John Hager’s son Henry, but most don’t know as much about Barbara, the dark-haired twin who keeps a lower profile.

New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof takes a look at Barbara, named after her grandmother and former First Lady Barbara Bush, and the humanitarian work she has undertaken, following in the path of her parents who have worked extensively in Africa (see A Millennial Named Bush):

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How will you be remembered at your funeral?

Smiley noteBy Lynn R. Mitchell

David Brooks poses an interesting thought in today’s New York Times (see The Moral Bucket List):

 It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

Brooks’ thoughts began after realizing some people he encountered along the way were different in the way they interacted with others:

About once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

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Peter Wehner: ‘Conservatives in name only’

Commonsense Conservative GOP elephantBy Lynn R. Mitchell

An op-ed in the New York Times scratches its head at the battle within the Republican Party. Peter Wehner,  a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the last three Republican administrations, questions in his piece those Republican representatives who turned on House Speaker John Boehner after his clear-cut leadership led the party to a victory unseen since the 1920s (see Conservatives In Name Only):

Last week the Republican Party’s divisions were on display, when Speaker of the House John A. Boehner — who helped his party gain its largest majority since the Truman administration — faced an uprising. The revolt was led by conservatives against a man whose voting record is unquestionably conservative. It was another indication that the tension on the right these days is not about policy or ideology but tone and temperament.

Think about that. The largest Republican majority in the House of Representatives since the Great Depression. He continues:

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George W and Clinton joke with each other at Monday announcement

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

There’s insight with this video snippet that suggests why the Clintons and Bush family have become closer over the years. Watching Bill and W yuck it up is not only entertaining but also shows that former adversaries can move beyond their differences. Bill reveals that W called him on a regular basis during his second term to talk, something that was unknown to the public before now.

The friendly banter between the two in the video also shows how to work together for a good cause. In this case it’s the Presidential Leadership Scholars program that is a joining-together of the presidential libraries of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon Johnson (see Laughs and Accolades as Clinton and Bush Introduce a Leadership Program by Amy Chozick at The New York Times).

Cross-posted at SWAC Girl

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Operation Enduring Freedom: American POW freed

By Lynn R. Mitchell

He is reportedly the only American prison of war from Operation Enduring Freedom, and after five years of imprisonment in Afghanistan, he was released Saturday to American forces. The New York Times reported:

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