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FRONTLINE Investigates Rise of ISIS

Courtesy of Frontline

A year ago few people in the U.S. year had heard of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Today the group has a presence from Syria’s Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad and controls some of Iraq’s biggest cities, including Mosul. The U.S. and coalition forces have conducted airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq while debates continue over whether American ground forces are needed to defeat ISIS. The Obama administration’s efforts in the fight against ISIS have become an issue in the mid-term elections.

The PBS series FRONTLINE explores how ISIS rose to power in the report, "The Rise of ISIS," airing October 28 at 9 pm, Central; 8 pm, Mountain on SDPB1 Television. Veteran reporter/producer Martin Smith has documented the conflict in four other films since 2003 and returned to Iraq this summer for his latest report. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed how ISIS became a major force so quickly.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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