We track down disabilities champion, Ralf Hotchkiss, who is in Nicaragua helping poor communities design and build more durable, low cost wheelchairs. Then filmmaker Helen Young promotes her gripping documentary about the elderly activists who snuck onto two of the most fortified military installations in the country to peacefully protest the nuclear weapons industry. Plus, David, Steve and Ralph talk more about Al Franken and sexual harassment as well as the GOP tax bill.
Ralf Hotchkiss is the co-founder of the non-profit social enterprise, Whirlwind Wheelchair). Since 1979 Whirlwind has worked with wheelchair riders around the world to design durable and highly functional wheelchairs that perform well on rough terrain and are built in factories that contribute to local economic development. Mr. Hotchkiss designed the Roughrider wheelchair, which minimizes forward tipping, squeezes into small spaces, and generally helps riders navigate in inaccessible environments. He is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and recipient of countless other honors and awards and has worked in over forty countries teaching people who need wheelchairs how to build and maintain them for themselves.
“Chairs made in large factories far from the country have not historically worked nearly as well as chairs locally made out of local materials… because when they break down they can get a part.”
Ralf Hotchkiss, co-founder of Whirlwind Wheelchair
Helen Young, is an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist, who over the course of a thirty-year career has directed and produced documentary films on subjects ranging from the childhood obesity crisis in America to illegal gun trafficking to the U.S. Space program. She was a staff writer and producer for CBS News and NBC News for twenty years. Her latest film is entitled “The Nuns, The Priests, and the Bombs.”
“Somebody asked what would happen in a small nuclear war, a limited nuclear war… They looked at what would happen if India and Pakistan went to war with each other… So looking at the use of just a hundred nuclear weapons, which would be a tiny fraction of what we have in the world… They estimated that the use of a hundred nuclear weapons would create so much smoke and soot… lofted into the atmosphere… by the fires that would be generated by these weapons that… would travel to our hemisphere, essentially blocking portions of the sun and lowering the temperature. And that in turn would create a problem with growing crops.”
Helen Young, director of the film “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs”