Kristen Meinzer

Kristen Meinzer appears in the following:

Public Pensions: What Are a State's Responsibilities?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Earlier this year, the Pew Center released a study estimating that there is a one trillion dollar gap between what states had promised workers in retiree pensions and benefits, and the money they currently had to pay for it all.

In an attempt to remedy the gap, lawmakers in Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota have voted to reduce annual cost-of-living increases on pensions. Not surprisingly, retirees in each state have filed lawsuits.

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Movie Date: Eat Pray Love

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rafer and Kristen discuss "Eat Pray Love" and the surprising gender-based role reversals it contains.

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Does 'The Expendables' Mean the End of the Macho Man?

Friday, August 13, 2010

This weekend’s big movie releases include a highly anticipated adaptation of woman's mid-life memoir, and a highly anticipated adaptation of a comic-book about an angsty musician in love. 

But alongside the self-discovery depicted in “Eat, Pray, Love” and the sensitivity of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” theater-goers have one other big option to choose from: "The Expendables," a violent, punching, shooting, yelling testosterone-fest.

But there’s something funny about "The Expendables." Specifically, all the stars are washed-up geriatric '80s action heroes, including Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and a short cameo by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Why Young Adult Books Matter

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The books we read as adolescents can have a huge influence on our lives. We talk about the ones that matter to us and the evolution of the young adult novel over the years with Essence senior editor Patrik Henry Bass and S.E. Hinton, legendary author of such young adult classics as "The Outsiders," "Tex," and "Rumble Fish."

And we're asking you, What was the first book that changed your life? What book do you remember most from your youth? Let us know.

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Looking for the Real Tillman Story

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In April of 2004, a tragic but inspiring story came back from the battlefields of Afghanistan. Pat Tillman, the professional football player who’d given up his career to join the Army Rangers, had been killed.

The official account of Tillman's death described him as single-handedly saving the lives of dozens of men during an ambush. His friends, family and nation grieved. The media and government propped him up as a symbol of courage and national pride. He was awarded a posthumous Silver Star for his valor.

But five weeks later, the story about Tillman changed. The military announced in a press conference that he had actually died by friendly fire, but reiterated that he was a hero nonetheless, and continued to depict him as a symbol of the war.

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Movie Date: Dance Movies

Monday, August 09, 2010

Kristen and Rafer review this week's "Step Up 3D" and other dance movies, from "Footloose" to "Singin' in the Rain."

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America's First Test-Tube Baby, Now 29, Gives Birth

Monday, August 09, 2010

Thousands of babies are conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) each year, but 29 years ago, when Elizabeth Comeau was born, the in vitro method was considered strange and miraculous. Comeau was America's first "test-tube baby." Now, at 29 years old, she's just given birth to her own baby boy.

(Correction: an earlier version of this story referred to Comeau as the "world's first test-tube baby" - she was actually the first in the United States. Louise Brown, born in the UK in 1978, was the world's first baby conceived via IVF.)


Tough Questions, Hard Answers: When Babies Are Born Too Soon

Monday, August 09, 2010

One in eight babies in the U.S. is born prematurely. In the best case scenarios, these tiny infants grow up to live healthy lives, and maybe even become famous. Stevie Wonder, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were all born pre-term.

But in the worst case scenarios, their early days are defined less by potential future accomplishments than by the all-out struggle to hold onto life.

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Movies: 'The Other Guys,' 'Step Up 3D,' 'Twelve'

Friday, August 06, 2010

Several big movies open today, and Rafer Guzman, Takeaway contributor and Newsday film critic, gives us his take on what to catch in the theater and which ones to avoid.



Patricia Clarkson and Ruba Nadda on 'Cairo Time'

Friday, August 06, 2010

During the summer many people long for an old-school, old-fashioned romance. But for the most part, sweeping romances tend to feature people in their twenties or thirties, and those stories generally end with a white dress and walk down the aisle.

But in one movie this summer, the romance takes place between a man and a woman closer to fifty than twenty, and we know from the get-go that the likelihood of a marriage proposal at the end is highly unlikely - because the woman in the film is already married.


Caveman Love, Caveman Thought

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Most of us think of the word “neandertal” as an insult. We use it to describe someone who’s backward or not so smart. And why wouldn’t we? After all, our ancestral caveman cousins lacked intelligence and managed to go extinct while we, the modern humans, survived and thrived.

At least, that’s what we’ve always told ourselves. But maybe we’ve been wrong.

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Are You Sitting As You Read This? Maybe You Shouldn't Be

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

We all know we could stand to spend less time on our behinds, but did you know that too much sitting might actually kill you? In a new study published in the journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Tatiana Y. Warren, a PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, found that cardiovascular health deteriorates significantly with increased sitting hours.

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Movie Date: Teen Heartthrobs

Monday, August 02, 2010

Rafer and Kristen discuss "Charlie St. Cloud" and the history of teen heartthrobs in movies.

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Adoptees Fight for Access to Original Birth Certificates

Monday, August 02, 2010

There are between six and eight million adopted people in the United States and the vast majority of them will never have access to their original birth certificates. All information on their birth parents is sealed. For decades, several advocacy groups have been trying to change this, claiming that humans have a right to own their own histories.

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Movies: 'Dinner for Schmucks,' 'Charlie St. Cloud,' 'Cats and Dogs'

Friday, July 30, 2010

Several big movies for audiences of all ages open today, and Rafer Guzman, Takeaway contributor and Newsday film critic, gives us his take on three of them.


Sissy Spacek and Robert Duvall on 'Get Low'

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today, a new drama called "Get Low" hits theatres. It's about a rural southern man who’s chosen to live as a hermit for several decades, and then comes out of the woodwork to throw himself a funeral party while he's still alive. Robert Duvall plays the hermit; Sissy Spacek plays a woman from his past. Bill Murray plays the funeral director who makes it all possible.


The Best and Worst Film Adaptations of Books

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What makes a film adaptation of a book work, and what makes it fail? The Takeaway talks with Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor of Essence magazine about why he believes some adaptations work better than others. We also chat with Ben Sherwood, author of "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud," about watching his novel make the transition from page to screen.

What do you think? Which books made better movies?

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Happy 70th Birthday, Bugs Bunny

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seventy years ago today, a certain animated rabbit made his first real appearance in a cartoon short directed by Tex Avery. The short was called “A Wild Hare,” and we’re willing to bet you know which bunny it starred.

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Movie Date: Female Action Heroes

Monday, July 26, 2010

After this weekend's release of 'Salt,' Rafer and Kristen discuss female action heroes from Jane Fonda to Angelina Jolie.

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Todd Solondz on 'Life During Wartime'

Friday, July 23, 2010

Legendary indie director Todd Solondz talks with us about pushing the boundaries of storytelling, and the balance between discomfort and honesty in his films, which include "Welcome to the Dollhouse, "Happiness," and "Palindromes." He also shares insights on his new movie, "Life During Wartime." It's a sequel/retelling of "Happiness" that goes into limited release today.


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