Special Forces

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Actors Ellen Barkin and Joe Mantello discuss their roles in the Broadway production of Larry Kramer’s play “The Normal Heart.” Howard Wasdin takes us inside the world of Navy Seal Team Six and talks about this own experiences with the Special Forces. We’ll find out about Team Rubicon, a privately owned first response disaster relief organization. Plus, our latest Backstory segments look at the International Monetary Fund and the rising problem of prescription painkiller addiction and abuse.

The Normal Heart

Ellen Barkin and Joe Mantello talk about their roles in Larry Kramer’s play “The Normal Heart.” The play is about a city in denial, and it unfolds like a political thriller as a close group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians, and the media bury the truth about an unspoken epidemic. “The Normal Heart” is playing at the Golden Theater through July 10.

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Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

Howard Wasdin talks about the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers and describes his experience fighting in Mogadishu, Somalia. In SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper he chronicles his extensive training, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world, his combat experiences in Operation Desert Storm, and the Battle of Mogadishu, as it become known, which left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded, including Wasdin.

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Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon founders William McNulty and Jake Wood talk about the small, privately contracted first-response disaster relief team they’ve created. It’s made up mainly of veterans and seeks to bridge the gap left when larger relief organizations cannot reach a disaster area quick enough. Jake joins us from Joplin, Missouri, where he is currently providing relief for victims of the tornado disasters that occurred earlier this week.

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Backstory: The IMF

The hunt is on for a new head of the International Monetary Fund as the organization still tries to manage both global economic troubles and sovereign debt crises. On today’s first Backstory segment, we’ll take a look at the history of the IMF, criticisms of it, and its difficult tasks in today’s economic climate. We’ll be joined by Simon Johnson, Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT and former Chief Economist for the IMF.

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Backstory: Prescription Painkiller Addiction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a tenfold increase in prescriptions for opioids like OxyContin in the U.S. since 1990, and during that time the number of accidental deaths from drug overdose have nearly quintupled. In a growing number of states, unintentional overdoses replaced motor-vehicle incidents as the leading cause of accidental death. New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise discusses the factors behind prescription painkiller abuse, how these controlled substances are readily accessible to so many, new legislation aimed at curbing the problem, and why prescription pill abuse is so prevalent in Appalachia.

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