Saturday, July 30, 2011
Every week it seems there are reports about U.S. drones — unmanned, remote-controlled aerial vehicles — tracking down suspected terrorists in remote, unreachable areas of Yemen, Somalia, Libya or Pakistan. Drone technology is becoming increasingly affordable and accessible, with new potential for everyday use in the United States — and new worries for national security.
The recent Smurfs movie has the distinction of casting one of America's most admired of comedians. He's Jonathan Winters and he gives voice to Papa Smurf in the new film, but he also voiced Grandpa Smurf in the 1980s TV cartoon series.
Winters has practiced comedy for over 60 years in just about every medium you can make people laugh in — on the radio, on television, in nightclubs, on recordings, in movies and even on telephone answering machines (ask your parents).
His album Crank Calls won him a Grammyin 1995 and he's won two Emmys for his sitcom appearances. In fact, Jonathan Winters is a favorite among many comics — so much so that in 1999 the Kennedy Center awarded him its second Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
In 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac had run into hard times. A police officer in Lincoln, Neb., who had recently lost custody of her daughters in a divorce settlement, she was looking for a new job that would give her the means to live near them.
When Bolkovac heard she could earn good money in a short period of time by becoming part of the U.N. International Police Force in Bosnia — run by a private British agency called DynCorp — she decided to sign on.
She found herself in the middle of an alarming human trafficking web. Mobsters were transporting teenage girls to bars and brothels for sex, and beyond turning a blind eye, the security firm and U.N. personnel seemed to be caught up in the trafficking themselves. She tried to sound the alarm, and she was fired.
Bolkovac, whose story has been adapted into a new movie called The Whistleblower (opening in some theaters on Aug. 5) tells NPR's Scott Simon that her suspicion was first raised during a training session in Ft. Worth, Texas, before she ever left for Bosnia. "One of the men who had done previous missions in Bosnia came bounding into the pool with a beer stating where he could find really nice 12- to 15-year-olds once we got to Bosnia," Bolkovac says. Bolkovac says she and the other new officers tried to convince themselves they had misunderstood.
Debt Crisis Was Long In Coming, Ex-Reagan Aide Says
by NPR STAFF
What impact will the debt ceiling turmoil have on the financial markets? Host Scott Simon talks with former Reagan budget director David Stockman, who predicts some panic ahead.