Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Categories: Episodes
Locked and loaded. The NDP secures enough votes to save the long-gun registry -- and one rural MP explains why she decided to join the club.
Front page challenge. When some readers of a Maine newspaper saw the above-the-fold photo on 9/11, they thought it was below-the-belt.
Not reunited, and it feels so bad. After the earthquake, Quebec promised to help Haitians in the province bring their families close -- but that's proven far from true.
They can't go home again. Some are calling Tamils who've fled their homeland "economic migrants" -- but that ignores conditions in their native land.
Flashin'-conscious. With the firefly becoming an increasingly "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" proposition, American scientists ask for your help shedding light on the subject.
And...secrets and Liz. London's National Portrait Gallery displays two portraits of Queen Elizabeth the First -- and frames the argument of who exactly painted them.
As It Happens, the Thursday edition. Radio that's sure that pair of queens will draw a full house.
NDP GUN REGISTRY
If Jack Layton is to be believed, a Conservative private-member's bill to scrap the long-gun registry will be shot down when it comes to a vote next week.
The NDP leader now says that enough of his caucus members have changed their minds about abolishing the controversial registry that, when next Wednesday's vote is held, the bill will be defeated. And although the Conservatives are defining the issue as a shootout between Main Street and Bay Street, the most recent NDP MP to change her mind represents an entirely rural riding.
Carol Hughes is the MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, in northern Ontario. We reached her in Elliot Lake.
FOR THE RECORD: BAIRD TORONTO GUN
Carol Hughes is the NDP MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing. She was in Elliott Lake, Ontario.
As you heard in the interview, some Conservatives have defined the debate over the gun registry as an example of the divide between rural and urban Canada. And for one cabinet minister, this battle between cities and country seems to boil down to one city in particular.
For the record, here is Government House Leader John Baird, speaking to reporters earlier today in Ottawa.
FOR THE RECORD; SASKATCHEWAN 911 CALL
It was a deadly dropped call.
This afternoon in Regina, the RCMP offered their explanation of what went wrong in the events leading up to the death of Kerri Canepotatoe. This spring, Ms. Canepotate was stranded in a car with her cousin Melissa Rabbitskin and two children, on an isolated logging road in northern Saskatchewan. They phoned 9-1-1 for help, but the police were never dispatched.
Ms. Canepotatoe courageously voluteered to seek help on her own -- and died of exposure after walking for days. Melissa Rabbitskin and the two children were eventually rescued.
Now, police says things went wrong when a dispatcher talking to Ms. Rabbitskin on her dying cellphone got distracted by a robbery call. He subsequently forgot to send a tow truck to help the stranded family.
As part of their explanation, the police released the 911 calls of the incident. Here's Melissa Rabbitskin's first call for help.
HAITI REUNIFICATION UPDATE
The Quebec government said it would do its best for victims of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti, by allowing those Haitians with family in Montreal to join them as soon as possible. And the government claimed it would streamline the family reunification process. But nearly eight months later, that promise has not been kept -- and many have been left in limbo.
Marjorie Villefranche is the program director at Maison D'Haiti, an organization that helps Haitian immigrants integrate into Canadian society. She's in Montreal.
TALKBACK: TONY BLAIR
After a final march through the corridors of power, what matters to most politicians is their legacy -- their places in history. Which is why so many write their own versions of the truth after leaving office.
Last night on As It Happens, Carol spoke with Tony Blair about his recently-published memoir, A Journey: My Life in Politics. And if Talkback is any indication, the former British Prime Minister wasn't been terribly convincing in his own assessment of his legacy.
DATELINE: FACEBOOK PLANT DIES
If you're familiar with John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, you'll no doubt remember the character of Lennie Small. Despite his name and his childlike mind, Lennie was a big, strong man -- with an equally big love for small furry creatures, like mice, and especially rabbits. The trouble was he was so strong, and he loved them so much, that every time he got his hands on one he wound up squeezing it to death.
I bring that up because of a recent story about mice and men. Or rather, mouses and men, and women, and a plant, and Facebook.
In the Facebook version of this story, there's an unending virtual army of Lennie Smalls, bursting with love, and eager to shower it on something. And the unfortunate something they shower it on is a little plant, housed at the Queensland state library, in Brisbane, Australia.
The plant was put there by a Queensland university student named Bashkim Isai. He wanted to conduct an experiment to see if people would care enough about a plant seen on Facebook to help keep it alive. He called the plant "Meet Eater" -- that's 'Meet" spelled M-E-E-T. And he posted live footage of it on the site. He then invited users to help "feed" the plant, by signing on as a fan. Each time someone joins, they trigger a watering for Meet Eater. And fans can offer additional squirts of water to Meet Eater by writing on the site's wall.
Well, since the site went live, the response has been a virtual deluge, and poor Meet Eater has died -- drowned by love. More than once.
As Isai explains, "It's actually died two times from having too much stimulation. Which is an interesting outcome for us."
And a sad one for Meet Eater, although Isai assures that the plant's third incarnation is much more water-tolerant. And he has decreased the amount of water issued by the automatic watering system.
But if you ask me, the plan is doomed to eternal failure. Because the best-loved plants of men with mouses are apt to die.
PORTLAND NEWSPAPER 9/11
Being a newspaper editor is hard. Every day, you have to make decisions about publishing stories and photographs on the front page that you know will offend some readers, and provoke others.
Richard Connor, the editor of the Portland Press Herald, has learned just how offended and provoked readers can get -- following the publication of his newpaper last Saturday.
We reached Mr. Connor in Portland, Maine.
TAMIL CAMP CONDITIONS
One thing is certain: Canada hasn't seen the end of boatloads of Tamils seeking refuge.
Canadian immigration officials have to determine whether these are people fleeing persecution, or simply hoping for a better life. Our guest says, they are most likely both.
Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu is the executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo. We reached him in Delhi on his way to Sri Lanka.
ELIZABETH 1 PORTRAITS
One queen. Two portraits. How many artists?
That sounds like one of those "If Train A leaves the station travelling sixty kilometres per hour..." kind of questions. But it's much more complicated than that. More than four hundred years ago, the two portraits in question -- one entitled "The Pelican", and one entitled "The Phoenix" were painted, depicting Queen Elizabeth I. Now, those paintings are about to be displayed side-by-side at London's National Portrait Gallery. It's the first time art lovers and royal watchers will be able to compare the works since art sleuths confirmed they both emerged from the same studio -- solving a longstanding mystery about their provenance.
Dr. Tarnya Cooper is the curator of the display in the National Portrait Gallery
JOHN RALSTON SAUL
One side wants a law against defamation of religions. The other warns that any such legislation would do far more harm than good. And both sides are clearly ignoring that old adage: Never discuss religion or politics. In fact, both sides are discussing both.
Today in Geneva, freedom-of-expression advocates from around the world warned against imposing legal restrictions on offenses against religions. And that warning is a response to an ongoing campaign at the United Nations, aimed at convincing the international body to make religious defamation illegal. The U.N. resolution was introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic States.
John Ralston Saul is the president of Pen Canada International. He was at the meeting in Geneva -- and that's where we reached him.
BRAIN SURGERY SIMULATOR
So the bad news is, there's something wrong with your brain. The good news is, surgery can fix it. The bad news is your surgeon's never tried this exact surgery on a real human being before. The good news is, he's had training with a virtual reality brain at McGill University's Neurological Institute and Hospital -- which has one of the first seven new virtual-reality neurosurgery training centres.
To actually explain how this virtually works, we reached Dr. Rolando Del Maestro at McGill's University Neurological Institute and Hospital.
There aren't many insects that don't send humans running for the swatter, or the insecticide. But the firefly is a singular case.
No stigma associated with stinging or scratching or superstition...just pure romance. Flickering, fleeting streaks of light -- in meadows, along rural roads...and occasionally in Mason jars. They're night magic -- summer visitors that can't possibly overstay their welcome.
But in recent years, more and more people seem to think they're spotting fewer and fewer fireflies. And Increasing concern about decreasing numbers led scientists to organize a network of volunteers to track those blinking beetles.
The Museum of Science in Boston is working with Tufts University and Fitchburg State College on "Firefly Watch". Paul Fontaine is the Museum's Vice President of Education.
Liberace once famously said: "I don't give concerts. I put on a show."
And what a show it was -- all ostrich feathers...hot-pants...capes...rhinestones and diamonds. And then -- there was the music. Cut through all the bling and glitz and there was a superb pianist.
And although the man born Wladziu Valentino Liberace died in 1987, his spectacle lives on Las Vegas.
Or it least it has....until now.
The time has come to blow out the candelabra. Next month, the Liberace Museum will close.
Jeffrey Koep is Chair of The Liberace Foundation's Board of Directors. We reached him in Las Vegas.