Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | Categories: Episodes |
Blair with me. In a feature interview with the former British Prime Minister, we'll find out why he supported -- and continues to support -- the war in Iraq.
The best is jets to come. At least, that's the contention of a parade of Tories, defending the purchase of dozens of fancy fighter planes today.
You wouldn't think a Tea Party would give you a hangover. But after two more primary victories for fringe candidates, the Republican Party is developing a splitting headache.
Determining the soundness of a sour note. A Quebec inquiry into government influence-peddling focuses on a former cabinet minister's chickenscratch.
Trying to put the "dupe" in "duplicate". A football scam is exposed, after a fake Togolese national soccer team takes the field while the real one is playing thousands of kilometres away.
And...there are no fishes -- but it's a miracle of loaves. Or maybe it's just blasphemous. Whichever the case, a Vermont man's "Jesus toaster" allows you to have your eggs sunny-side-up -- and your toast Son-side-up.
As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that says, "Let he who is without cinnamon cast the first stone."
FOR THE RECORD: AMBROSE COMMITTEE (0:34)
The federal government brought out its big guns at today's session of the House of Commons Defence committee. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Industry Minister Tony Clement, and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose all gave testimony about the government's plan to spend sixteen billion dollars on sixty-five F-35 fighter jets. The opposition called for the hearings out of concern over the need and cost of what would be the largest military procurement in Canadian history. The opposition is also upset that a sole-source contract was given to Lockheed-Martin, and not opened up to competition.
In her testimony earlier today, Minister Ambrose warned that withdrawing the commitment to buy the aircraft would have a profound impact on Canada's defence industry. Here is part of what she had to say, for the record.
FIGHTER JET PURCHASE (6:04)
Alan Williams spent thirty-three years working in the federal public service. The last ten years of that career were spent in the business of defence procurement. We reached him in Ottawa.
DELAWARE PRIMARY WIN (5:42)
You know those animals that eat their offspring? Well, the more moderate members of the American Republican party are probably wishing they were one of those animals today. Because at the moment, their offspring is eating them.
The Tea Party movement was born out of the more radical right-wing Republican membership. Its members have vowed to take back America. And in order to do that, they are slowly taking over the Republican Party. Last night, two more Tea Party candidates won victories in Republican primaries. And one of those victories -- that of Christine O'Donnell in Delaware -- could have a big impact on the G-O-P's bid to reclaim the Senate.
Charles Mahtesian is the National Political Editor for Politico. He is in Washington, D.C.
BASTARACHE HEARINGS (5:34)
It's come down to this: a hockey game, some scribbles and a piece of cardboard.
That's what lawyers and experts spent their morning thinking about at today's Bastarache Commission. The inquiry is looking into claims made by former Quebec Justice Minister Marc Bellemare. Mr. Bellemare says that while he was in office, he appointed three judges due to pressure from Liberal party fundraisers. And he also says that Premier Jean Charest knew about the rigging.
Since his claims were made, a commission has been set up to investigate what actually happened.
Part of Mr. Bellemare's evidence is his own note-taking. So today, a handwriting analyst testified about the authenticity of a piece of cardboard belonging to the former minister.
Michel C. Auger is a senior political analyst with CBC Radio Canada. He's been following the day's events and he's on the line from Montreal.
SCRIPT: TOASTER INVENTOR (2:42)
This morning, I saw a face in my toast.
As soon as I saw it, time seemed to stop. I lost my balance and plunged my fingers into half a pink grapefruit -- at which point the shock of the grapefruit juice seeping into a papercut brought me back to reality. I looked again, and it was true: staring back at me from that slice of multi-grain were the soulful eyes of...Justin Bieber.
I've since sold that toast to a fourteen-year-old girl for seven thousand dollars. Now that I think about it, I probably shouldn't have taken a cheque. But I still feel I've experienced something remarkable. Because Bieber-toast is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The fact is, all toast miracles are exceedingly rare. A few times over the last five years, a face -- usually the face of a religious figure, like Jesus or the Virgin Mary -- has shown up on someone's toast.
There's been a big hullaballoo -- mostly among people who believe that, in the middle of an unprecedented information age, Jesus would choose to spread His Gospel by materializing on something people spread Nutella on. And the toast has sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, because it's so rare, and because people don't understand how to spend money right.
Well, there's good news for people who like their deities with melted butter, and bad news for collectors of religious toast. The source of both newses is an inventor named Galen Dively the Third, from Vermont. He's the founder of a company called "Burnt Impressions", which one hopes is more successful at toaster-making than at puns.
And his company's latest offering is a toaster that bakes the face of the Son of God onto every slice of bread you ever toast, guaranteed. It's available at Mr. Dively the Third's website: JesusToasters-dot-com.
Some will argue that this business venture is in poor taste. Others will argue that these toasters devalue actual, miraculous occurrences of holy portraits on food -- both spiritually and religiously speaking. Still others, apropos of nothing, will make dumb jokes about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Toast.
That's beneath us, of course. Instead, we'll toast one pioneering toaster-maker with the music of a pioneering toaster. The artist "U-Roy" is nicknamed "The Originator" for his role in popularizing "toasting" -- essentially, talking over records. And here's U-Roy now, with "Wake The Town" -- a Number One Jamaican hit in 1970.
TONY BLAIR (21:20)
It's one of the most hotly anticipated political memoirs of our times -- by a politician who'll forever be emblematic of our times.
Swept to power in a landslide election victory in 1997, the choices former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made helped shape much of the world's recent history -- none more so than his decision to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. President Geroge Bush on the decision to go war in Iraq. And he has left a legacy that will no doubt will be debated for years to come.
In his new memoir "A Journey: My Life in Politics", Tony Blair talks about the challenges he faced as a leader, and presents his arguments for his controversial decisions.
We reached the former Prime Minister -- now a diplomat and business consultant -- at the Carlyle Hotel in New York.
SWAZILAND PROTEST (6:22)
Tensions are rising in Sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarchy.
Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Dlamini, has threatened to torture pro-democracy activists in the country -- and he says that would include foreigners who "meddled" in affairs that were not of their concern. Last week, the landlocked Southern African kingdom arbitrarily arrested fifty pro-democracy demonstrators, including lawyers, journalists and trade union members. And representatives of the Congress of South African Trade Unions who supported the demonstrators were forcibly ejected from the country. They've since claimed they were the victims of police harassment and intimidation.
Zanele Matebula was one of those deported. We reached her at her home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
FOR THE RECORD: ENBRIDGE PRESIDENT (2:29)
Going with the flow.
This afternoon, Enbridge's CEO faced a congressional committee on Washington's Capitol Hill. Members of Congress were attempting to learn more about two spills that have occurred this summer along the company's American pipeline system. But they didn't learn much.
The first spill was in July in Michigan, where almost a million gallons of oil spewed into the Kalamazoo River. The second occurred just last week -- this time, in Illinois. There, six thousand barrels of oil gushed from another one of Enbridge's pipes.
For the record, here is Representative Mark Schauer asking Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel about the cause of the Michigan spill -- and about the company's response time.
FOR THE RECORD: ENBRIDGE VICTIM (2:14)
Local residents who were affected by the spill were also given an opportunity to speak today. And one of them provided more details about a story you might have heard before on As It Happens. It's about a controversial form that Enbridge had people sign in the wake of the spill, if they got sick. The form gives Enbridge access to all of someone's past medical records.
TOGO FAKE SOCCER TEAM (5:12)
Last week, Bahrain's national soccer team played Togo's national soccer team. It was, by all accounts, boring. And Bahrain beat Togo in a cakewalk -- by a score of three-nil.
Or did they?
That's not a rhetorical question. We actually don't know for sure. Because since that game pitting Bahrain against Togo, Togolese officials have been insisting that Bahrain was actually not pitted against Togo; that on the date in question, Togo's national soccer team was actually nowhere near Bahrain.
Or was it?
Seriously, we don't know. So we contacted freelance reporter Ebow Godwin in Lomé, Togo.
FOR THE RECORD: MISSING DIGBY FISHERMEN (3:14)
It's cold comfort for a mother to hear the words, "He's gone, but he was doing what he loved." But that's all Catherine Fenton has as consolation.
She's mourning the disappearance of her son, Lee White, who was the skipper of the RLJ, a scallop-fishing boat that disappeared off the coast of Digby, Nova Scotia. Ships and aircraft began to scour the Bay of Fundy on Monday and found no sign of the boat or the three men who were on board. Today, they officially called off the search.
Phonse Jessome of CBC Radio in Halifax visited Catherine Fenton yesterday. Here's part of their conversation, for the record.
OBIT: EILEEN NEARN (6:29)
When some residents of Torquay, England realised they hadn't seen their elderly neighbour for a few days, they decided to investigate. They broke into her home -- and found eighty-nine-year-old Eileen Nearne dead from a heart attack.
But as well as discovering Ms. Nearne, they also discovered her secret. A secret she had kept from them for decades. She was a World War Two heroine.
We reached British historian Michael Foot in Royston, England, to find out more about this incredible, reclusive woman.
FOR THE RECORD: BRITISH LEGION (2:04)
As Professor Foot mentioned, with no direct survivng family Eileen Nearne was destined for a pauper's grave. But after the discovery of her secret past, the local council has announced that she will now receive a proper funeral -- and will be honoured by the British Royal Legion.
John Pentreath, the Legion's manager for the region, spoke to one of our producers earlier today about the plans for her funeral. Here is an excerpt from that conversation, for the record.