Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.
"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.
Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.
William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous in the 1960s for their groundbreaking and controversial research into the physiology of human sexuality. Instead of just asking people about their sex lives, Masters and Johnson actually observed volunteers engaging in self-stimulation and sexual intercourse. Changes throughout their bodies during arousal were measured with medical equipment.
First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.
(POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The obituary of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap was prepared three years ago and includes observations by Giap biographer Cecil Currey, who died in March.)
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Let's remember, now, a legendary Vietnamese general. Vo Nguyen Giap has died at 102. It was Giap who defeated the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, which effectively ended a hundred years of French colonial rule in Southeast Asia.