KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Mary Louise Kelly

"The South."

It's not a neutral term for most Americans. But love it or hate it, a new book says you must appreciate its good, bad and ugly sides to understand the country.

The book is South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation.

Its author, Imani Perry, says, "We can't deny parts of who we are, particularly when those parts are the ones that set the stage for what the nation would become."

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It began with a knock on the door.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker let the man who had knocked into his synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, in the suburbs of Forth Worth, Texas.

The man was cold so Rabbi Charlie, as he's known, made him a cup of hot tea.

The Saturday morning Shabbat service started.

Rabbi Charlie stood on the bimah, the raised platform at the front of a synagogue. He began a prayer.

"I was facing away from the congregation. When Jews pray, we pray towards Jerusalem," he said.

Then, he heard a click.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is planning "things that we have not done in the past" if Russia invades Ukraine.

His comments follow days of diplomatic talks and a deadlock on resolving the crisis brewing along the Ukraine-Russia border.

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January 6, 2021, was a Wednesday. A joint session of Congress was set to convene in the U.S. Capitol to certify Joe Biden's electoral vote win. Meanwhile, thousands of Donald Trump supporters gathered near the White House to hear him speak at noon ET.

Tensions were high on Capitol Hill. Protesters swarmed lawmakers outside.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., was exasperated as protesters surrounded him on the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building at around 11:30 a.m.

Things might seem pretty grim on the pandemic front right now. The U.S. is only a few days into the third calendar year of the pandemic and nearly 500,000 new COVID-19 cases are being counted daily.

The country hit another record high on Monday with 1,082,549 infections. So if it's hard to find a glimmer of hope, you're not alone. But Dr. Bob Wachter has a bit of hope to share.

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