DAVE SEGLINS: Hello, I'm Dave Seglins, sitting in for Carol Off.
MICHAEL SERAPIO: Good evening, I'm Michael Serapio, sitting in for Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
DS: Comedy and tragedy. Amid the relentless attacks, Anas al-Basha put on face paint and a costume to entertain kids as "the clown of Aleppo," before he was killed by an airstrike this week.
MS: Gone but not forgiven. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were famously executed for spying in the 'fifties, and tonight, their son explains why he's calling on President Obama to exonerate one of them: his mother.
DS: Cheap thrill. For less than two bucks a dose, Australian high-school students replicate Daraprim – which happens to be the drug whose price was outrageously jacked up last year by supervillain Martin Shkreli.
MS: Separating the fit from the counterfeit. After Facebook's CEO said he couldn't do anything about fake news, a tech designer proves him wrong – by whipping up a plug-in called BS Detector.
DS: Manuel transmission. For the classic comedy "Fawlty Towers", the late Andrew Sachs played a Spanish waiter who burned brightly while being dim – and tonight, we'll hear Mr. Sachs in and out of that character.
MS: And what not to not wear. A Canadian performer was supposed to go to Singapore to knock people's socks off with her one-woman show – but the fact that her socks are off, along with everything else, is a problem. [lb] As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that believes it's important not to be clothed-minded.Back To Top »
Part 1: Clown of Aleppo, synthetic drugs, naked ladies show
Clown of Aleppo
Guest: Mahmoud al-Basha
MS: He was known as the "clown of Aleppo." In the besieged Syrian city, a twenty-four-year-old named Anas al-Basha put on make-up and a clown costume, to entertain and comfort children in the rebel-held area of the city. On Tuesday, Mr. al-Basha was killed in an airstrike.
Mahmoud al-Basha is Anas's brother. We reached him in Gaziantep, Turkey
DS: Mahmoud, my condolences on the loss of your brother.
MAHMOUD AL-BASHA: Thank you.
DS: You made a recording of the last phone call you had with him. Could you play that for us?
MA: Yes sure. It was like around one minute and he spent like 30 seconds explaining me how it is crazy now the situation in Aleppo, and suddenly the jet came. I will play it just now.
[Anas al-Basha speaking in Arabic]
[Sound: a jet]
DS: You can hear the sound. You say that's a jet?
MA: Yeah it's a jet. And you can go you can hear the voice of the jet and the explosion of the rocket.
DS: And what is he telling you about what's happening during that recording?
MA: He said like every day there is tens of airstrikes and there is a lot of people getting killed. And he was telling me like what's their plan with his friends. They were planning to go to bring bread from another area to his neighborhood to give the bread for the civilians.
DS: And how long before your brother was killed was that recording made?
MA: It was 24 hours before.
DS: Your brother was well-known in Aleppo for dressing up as a clown. Why did he want to start acting as a clown?
MA: Actually, Anas loved the children and the kids so much especially the orphans. So he decide to do something special and different than the others doing actually all the NGOs. They are focusing on the food baskets, medical stuff, but Anas wants always to do something special for the children. And especially in this war, since five years, nobody caring about these children, about how, if they are happy or not or if they have hope or not. So Anas decide to be a clown and join a team. They called themselves Space for Hope and they start to organize parties and trips for these children.
DS: Can you tell us a story that you remember about how he interacted with children and how they reacted?
MA: Well I still remember like during Eid in Aleppo, and it's like you have in Europe the Christmas, we have the same thing in Aleppo. So like normally these children in Syria they they must go to having new clothes and buy sweets. So Anas decide to do that in Aleppo many times actually to try to bring happiness for these children and giving them toys and sweets in the streets. And there is a photo of Anas, I can send it to you if you want, while he's doing, and giving like gifts for the children in the street.
DS: But he's in costume. That must have been a strange thing for them to see. How did they react?
MA: Exactly like when they will see him they will just smile and laugh and you know like they will feel happy and they really get hopeful for what they are seeing in front of their eyes. It is something completely special and different and nobody did that before in all over Syria since the war started in 2012.
DS: Now you fled Syria a year ago. Why did the Anas choose to stay?
MA: Well I had a discussion with him about that, about this decision. Actually Anas refused to leave Aleppo because he wants to always to help these children because they don't have anybody who's caring about them and especially he used also to focus on orphans who lost their parents during this war. So he refused to leave the city and continued his work. And also he didn't expect that the international community will allow to the Russians and the Assad regime to bombing the city and surrounding him for a long time and there is no aid and that is nothing to do with the situation. They are just watching.
DS: What can you tell us about how he died?
MA: He died because of an air strike in the Mashhad neighborhood. He got injured badly in his head. They took him to the hospital but after three hours he died.
DS: I'm so sorry. On Facebook, you wrote in remembrance of him. You said you said, “All that Anas wanted is to bring happiness to the children of Aleppo. Anas is not a terrorist.”
MA: That’s true.
DS: What did you mean by that? Was anyone accusing him of being a terrorist?
MA: I said that because the Russians and the Assad regime saying that they are targeting and they are killing terrorists and Al-Quaeda and that's not… completely not true. Anas was one of many, and many people is getting killed everyday in Aleppo and all over Syria. And they are completely innocent people and completely gentle souls.
DS: How will you remember your brother?
MA: Well I'm always, like I remember everything about his activities and how, actually the most memory I’m still remembering is this voice message. It was like very strong voice message for me. I'm still remembering it until this moment and I will save this message forever. I will keep listening to it and like it was the last message between me and my brother.
DS: This is the recording we've just heard.
MA: Yeah exactly. Mahmoud, I'm sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing some memories of your brother with us.
DS: Thank you so much for you too.
MA: Thank you.
MS: Mahmoud al-Basha is the brother of Anas al-Basha, who died in an airstrike in Syria on Tuesday. We reached him in Gaziantep, Turkey. You can find more on this story on the As It Happens website, cbc.ca/aih.
Guest: Alice Williamson
MS: Martin Shkreli earned a flurry of nasty nicknames last year, when he hiked the price of Daraprim. The former pharmaceutical CEO jacked the price of the life-saving drug from thirteen dollars and fifty cents U.S. to seven-hundred-and-fifty U.S. dollars overnight. And while people were calling him "Pharma-Bro" and "The Most Hated Man in the World," a group of high school students at the all-boys Sydney Grammar School in Australia got to work in their lab. Now, the Grade 11 students have managed to synthesize the same drug – for about two Australian dollars a dose, which is also about two bucks Canadian, and a buck-fifty U.S.
University of Sydney research chemist Alice Williamson came up with the idea for the collaboration, and helped coach the students through it. We reached her in Sydney, Australia.
DS: Ms. Williamson, what gave you the idea to ask a group of high school students to try to synthesize this drug?
ALICE WILLIAMSON: Well we've been working with Sydney Grammar School for a couple of years now and, and by ‘we,’ I mean the Open Source Malaria Consortium. And the Open Source Malaria Consortium, a drug discovery program with a bit of a difference. We're trying to find a new medicine for malaria, but we publish all of our data and our ideas online. And because we don't work with any secrecy, we're able to have some rather unusual collaborations. So originally Sydney Grammar students were working on malaria compound. This year we were looking for a new project to start with the boys. And like many, the story of Daraprim was fresh in our minds. And I just wondered whether we could see if the boys would be interested in making this molecule and seeing if they could achieve their goal and maybe highlight some of the inequity involved with this particular medicine.
DS: Do you remember your own reaction last September when Martin Shkreli made headlines around the world after he dramatically raised the price of Daraprim?
AW: Yeah. I think I think like many I was pretty shocked that this could happen. I mean, I was aware of these price hikes before. This isn't, you know, the only one by any stretch, but it was just such a huge increase of a medicine that literally happened overnight, and it started to make us think, why can this happen and what can we what should we be doing to change the policy in the States to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
DS: It's already well known that this drug can be cheaply and easily made. What were you trying to achieve by asking high school students to make it?
AW: Yes that is very well known by some people, so I think it costs less than a dollar to make a pill but it cost $750 in America. In Australia, for example, you can buy 50 of these tablets for about $12.99. And lots of the associated cost of medicine is not the chemistry, it's not the synthesis of the active ingredient. It's because of all of the research costs. You know, pharmaceutical companies invest huge amounts of money, and with a lot of risk, when they're developing drugs, because they're trying to find new medicines and they can they can get extremely far in the process and then at the very last minute a drug can fail. But in this case it's somebody who's bought up the rights to a drug that has no real risk attached to it. You know, this medicine is over 60 years old. It's known to be used against toxoplasmosis. So in this case, you've got to ask yourself why and how can they charge this much money? So I think by getting some students to synthesize this molecule in the lab, hopefully it stimulates some discussion around this area.
DS: Just how did the high school students go about synthesizing it?
AW: Back in February, there was actually a root to this molecule that was posted on Wikipedia which had come from patents and papers that are now available. And it's a three step synthesis from pretty cheap starting material. And so that the boys and their teachers started to think about how they could synthesize this in the lab. And they started trying to follow some of these procedures and some of them didn't work out the way that they might've suggested. And so they had to you know you know really think about the way that they could do some of these steps in a high school laboratory. And the great thing about the way that they've been sharing their data using the open source malaria platform, means that because they've been blogging about what they've been doing, other than just the Open Source Malaria Consortium, in the States and in the UK, have been able to offer suggestions. And yeah they finally managed to get there and achieve their goal and produce just under four grams of the active ingredient.
DS: And is this is this safe to do, to be cocking up in a high school lab as it were?
AW: You know, chemistry can be pretty dangerous, but it's not when you when you reduce the risk by working with people who are really experienced. The teachers at Sydney Grammar School are trained organic chemists, and if there was anything that the teachers weren't happy with the boys handling then they was weigh out of substance for them. But it really… chemistry is something you have to do experimentally and there is some risk involved but it's all about, you know, doing the research carefully before to ensure that everything is done really safely.
DS: So what lessons did you hope this project would teach these students?
AW: Well I think, ultimately this project is an educational project. And what we really wanted to the students is for them to be able to be involved in a real research project. That's something that we're quite passionate about at Open Source Malaria. We think that one of the best ways to engage young people in science is to make them realize that the work they're doing is actually contributing to something that could have real applications. And I think it’s also been good to see how the boys have considered some of the ethics involved in drug discovery and drug pricing and have really started to think that some of those really quite complicated questions.
DS: Now Martin Shkreli tweeted a video congratulating the students yesterday as well. I want to play you a clip here. Just listen.
MARTIN SHKRELI: These Australian students are proof that the 21st century economy will solve problems of human suffering through science and technology. Not long ago I was an enterprising young scientist student. Just recently, I was so proud to hear that the clinical trial I started at NYU when I was 28 years old hit its primary end point for the first ever registration trial for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a rare kidney disease. We should congratulate the students for their interest in chemistry and all be excited about what is to come in this STEM-focused 21st century.
DS: So he says congratulations, but he also referred to the project as “this Australian B.S.” What do you make of his response?
AW: Well you know, let's hope that he means something else by B.S. I think really that's what… we should be congratulating the students. They've achieved something special here and I think if they can hopefully motivate other young people around the world it wants to be involved in science then that would be a great thing. But you know I think the project speaks for itself and then we're not too worried about getting involved in any discussion with Martin's Shkreli.
DS: Now the whole idea of a high school lab being used to, you know, cook up drug concoctions, conjures the plotlines of the TV show Breaking Bad. Did that comparison ever came up during your project?
AW: Yeah I mean, we called the project Breaking Good. It's an idea that we definitely thought about before. And I think when people think about the idea of students making jokes with the high school teacher then there can sometimes be a few raised eyebrows, but you can really show that if you pick an appropriate target then you can teach the students skills to make the molecules that really can improve all of our lives.
DS: Well Ms. Williamson, congratulations on this project. Thank you very much.
MS: Alice Williamson is a research chemist at the University of Sydney. She coordinated a team of high school students to create a cheap version of the drug Daraprim. We reached her in Sydney, Australia.
Naked ladies show
Guest: Thea Fitz-James
MS: Thea Fitz-James's one-woman show has been a hit since she brought it to the Edmonton Fringe Festival in the summer of 2015. Naked Ladies was very well received there, and Ms. Fitz-James went on to tour it internationally.
The show presents a history of the way the female body has been celebrated and shamed in art and performance. Thea Fitz-James shows images of nude women during the performance, and gets naked herself.
And it turns out that was too much for the Fringe Festival in Singapore, where Ms. Fitz-James was supposed to take the show in January.
She learned this week that her performance would be cancelled, over a dispute with the government's censorship agency.
We reached Thea Fitz-James in Toronto.
DS: Ms. Fitz-James, first of all what exactly is your one woman show about, Naked Ladies?
TFJ: It's a sort of personal historical exploration of nudity and performance. So it's trying to de-stigmatize the naked female body as it is right now by looking at history and by looking at my own experiences of being naked as a kid and as a young adult.
DS: De-stigmatize. How so?
TFJ: Well, I mean, the naked body has, you know, there's an idea of a female being kind of mysterious and you know that old trope. Or this idea that the female naked body is something to be protected and that of course it is. But also I think in that we have a lot of shame around the female body, around how the female body is kind of stigmatized and shrouded in this kind of shame that I think is definitely societal. And then plays into a kind of you know anti-women kind of movement that you could maybe call the patriarchy.
DS: So help me understand the theater piece of all of this how how naked is this show.
TFJ: Yeah. So I kind of come out naked right away. I'm sort of unapologetic about the nudity in the show, I'm naked in the show. And then, throughout the show I kind of wear different kinds of nudity. So for instance, in one scene I'm in a bed sheet, and that kind of feeling of like oh the naked female body in a bed sheet, and in another scene I am, you know, naked but with high heels and a thong on. So I explored kind of thematically different types of nudity in different scenes. But then I also analyze art historical pieces around nudity. I talk about being naked as a kid and those sort of moments where we meet shame at young ages. And yeah it's very unapologetic in its nudity. It is 100 percent full frontal in every possible way.
DS: So what kind of reception are you getting from audiences to your show?
TFJ: Yeah, it's a very gentle show. I've performed it now in Canada and in Australia and it is an incredibly gentle, warm, loving show. I come out naked, and I look at every single person in the audience in the eye. The whole thing takes maybe sort of 10 to 15 to 20 minutes sometimes, and then I talk for an hour about history and about my life. So it's very very gentle , it’s very inviting. It is not meant to scare anyone or to further traumatize people.
DS: So you were planning to take it to the Fringe Festival in Singapore. When did you learn that there was a censorship issu?
TFJ: Right away. I mean they were, the Singapore Fringe, as far as I can tell, are incredibly innovative and are really pushing the mandate there. So right away they told me, I mean I already kind of had heard from other performers that Singapore has huge censorship laws and the festival themselves were like “Hey we love your show. We’re doing it. It's happening. But you know, there's going to be probably some interest some issues with the censorship board and we're going to apply to the censorship board on your behalf.” So they actually did a lot of work to get the show through. Yeah.
DS: Did they ask you to make any changes?
TFJ: They did. So they asked me… so I guess I applied in the summer. And then about a week ago they came back to me with a whole other laundry list of stuff that I had to change. So…
DS: And you said?
TFJ: I said yes to most of them. You know… there's I said. Yes. Yes but. I was like, yes I will do all these things. But these things sort of should stay the same. For instance I re-enact Yoko Ono's Cut Piece and they wanted me to not have the audience cut my clothes off. So in Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece copies, she invites the audience to cut her clothes off and it's kind of really beautiful method, like kind of slow reveal of the naked female body. And in re-performing it, it's really important that the audience cut the clothes off. So they were like ooh that doesn't really pass the censorship, like we can't have people actually revealing, actually choosing to reveal your body with scissors and cutting your clothes off. So that one, I was like, well guys, I mean there's a reason. I’m paying homage to out to another artist. So I need to do that.
DS: So when did you learn that the performance would be canceled?
TFJ: About a day and a half ago. Yeah, they sent me an e-mail and their stance on it was even though I was willing to sort of adhere to all their concerns, or really the government's concerns, not the festival’s concerns, but the festival stance was that in kowtowing to the censorship boards, they were actually compromising me as an artist even though I was game to sort of go with it. So… so they said that actually they were making a statement by saying no to the censorship board, and depriving, you know, Singapore of this amazing performance.
DS: How do you feel about that position on the part of the festival?
TFJ: Yeah, I mean, I understand it. I totally… and they've been nothing but respectful and careful and loving. I wish I'd been part of the conversation a little bit more, if I'm if I'm honest. And it's weird to be silenced. I mean there was protests in Singapore that were saying oh your show isn’t an art, it's pornography. And I see that they're saying no to the censorship board it to be on the right side of history sort of, to make change in the long run, you know to not say no we're not going to compromise these artists. But at the same time the people who've been protesting my show get what they want. So I'm disappointed. I'm still going to the festival, I’m still going to see some shows. I'm really excited by the programming they have there. But yeah overall I'm definitely sad I can't do the show there.
DS: Do you plan to continue performing elsewhere around the world?
TFJ: Yes well I do have… this show… It's so funny because I had planned to… this to be my last show ever, of Naked Ladies. I was sort of… I've been doing it for a year… it's an emotionally taxing show. It's a physically taxing show. And you become stigmatized very quickly and pigeonholed as a naked artist when you do a naked show. So I have had people could be like come to my burlesque show, and I'll be like no, that’s not really what I do. Nothing wrong with burlesque but it's not the kind of art that I'm interested in. And so I had decided this was going to be my last show. And now that it's cancelled I'm kind of sad. You know I didn't get that kind of goodbye to the show that I had wanted. And so I do think I'm done the show for now. But I think maybe if I get pregnant one day or as I get as I get older and have a different kind of body, it would be interesting to rewrite the show to a new body than the body I have now.
DS: Well you're certainly challenging a few assumptions over the radio. Nice to meet you.
TFJ: Nice to meet you too.
DS: Thanks for joining us.
TFJ: Thanks so much. Bye.
MS: Thea Fitz-James is the writer and performer of the one-woman show Naked Ladies. She was in Toronto.Back To Top »
Part 2: Ethel Rosenberg exoneration? Fake news plug-in
Ethel Rosenberg exoneration?
Guest: Robert Meeropol
MICHAEL SERAPIO: In the early 1950s, two brothers – one ten years old, one six – went to the White House and gave a letter to a security guard. They were hoping to stop their parents' execution. It didn't work: a few days later, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death for spying.
Yesterday, those same brothers returned to the White House, with the hope of delivering another letter. This time, they're calling on President Obama to exonerate their mother.
Robert Meeropol is one of Ethel Rosenberg's sons. We reached him in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
DAVE SEGLINS: Mr. Meeropol, what would your mother's exoneration mean to you and your family?
ROBERT MEEROPOL: Well, on a personal level, our mother was taken from me when I was three, my brother when he was seven, and then killed when we were six and ten. I can think of few things that would make me feel better and make our family feel better than to have President Obama take this action, removing the stain from her name.
DS: You were only six and ten. What do you remember about that time and the day that your parents were executed?
RM: I remember that whole period was a roller coaster ride of emotions. I didn't really understand what was going on. But there were reports on television and radio when everybody was talking about it. Even as a 6-year-old can say I got the gist of it even if I didn't get it right in details.
DS: Ultimately now as an adult, how do you understand how the courts justified your parents executions?
RM: It was described as, the judge and those sentencing them to death said, their crime was worse than murder. They gave the Soviet Union the ability to destroy us with atomic bombs. Of course, none of that was true, and government knew it wasn't true. But that's what they did.
DS: So why do you think the President Obama should exonerate your mother now?
RM: Because the trial in which she was convicted was a perversion of justice. If you convict someone on the basis of perjured testimony at a trial in which the judge and the prosecutor are secretly plotting courtroom strategy, and in which the prosecutors, according to the FBI files, hadn't any evidence to arrest my mother but did it solely to coerce my father. That is a perversion, and such a trial should be nullified.
DS: But you're not asking for the same for your father. Why is that?
RM: Well part of the reason is that all of the things that we're claiming about my mother, it's almost wrong to say we're claiming that, because they're all based on the government's own information. We're using their own material to destroy their case. But that same material which demonstrates that my mother was never given a code name by the KGB, and therefore, since the KGB gave all its agents code names, she was not a spy. They did give a code name to my father and therefore he was a spy. It wasn't atomic espionage but it was still espionage. And that is a more subtle nuanced claim. So it is not as easy for us to make it. So we're going for the thing that is most clear.
DS: What is the new evidence that has come out in the past year and a half that supports the case for your mother, at least her conviction being reconsidered?
RM: That was when the chief prosecution witness David Greenglass, his testimony before the grand jury which is given under oath and is the basis upon which a charge is made against defendants, he testified under oath before the grand jury that my mother wasn't involved, that he never even talked to her about this. And this material was not released until the summer of 2015. And that's what began our campaign. That said, he also testified at trial under oath to the exact opposite. And so we know, and that by the way, he and his wife, their oral testimony is the only evidence presented at trial against my mother.
DS: And so this key prosecution witness, Greenglass. This was your uncle. This was your mother’s brother.
RM: That’s right, this was my mother's younger brother and his wife. And they were offered a deal. They were told that they testified this way, that David Greenglass would spend time in prison but wouldn't be executed, and his wife could be left free to take care of their children. And the person who offered that deal was assistant prosecutor Roy Cohn, who Donald Trump has said is one of his mentors. So all of a sudden we have a situation where the incoming president of the United States treats the person who is the architect of my mother's wrongful execution as a mentor. And that makes it even more important today for us to take this action, before Obama leaves office.
DS: You say your mother wasn't a spy, did not have a KGB code name, but historians have said your mother knew what your father was doing. So I put to you, what knowledge and culpability do you think your mother had?
RM: First of all, I think that to some degree whatever knowledge and culpability she had is irrelevant, because when you convict someone at a perverted trial, that conviction cannot stand.
DS: But let me put it this way. Beyond the legal case though, how do you as a son make sense of your mother's involvement?
RM: I think it's very unlikely that she didn't know, at least in general, what Julius was doing. And I think it's very unlikely that at least at the beginning, before my brother and I were born, that she was supportive, fully supportive of him. But we don't convict people based upon their thoughts and their… You know, we convict people based upon their actions. And if you look at what actions she took in support of my father, well there's no there's no proof of any, you know, that that can be verifiable that she did anything. How I feel about that? I can understand someone, during World War II, the world is divided up between you know the Nazis and the Communists and the people in the West, and everybody is allied against the Nazis, I can understand why someone might take action to support the Soviet Union deceiving the Nazis. And I can understand why my mother would think that's a good thing for my father to do, given that he had bad eyesight and couldn't join the army. The fact that I can understand given the context in which they acted doesn't mean that I would do the same thing. I grew up in the 1960s I grew up with having my parents been executed. I would be very very careful about getting involved in anything, particularly if I had small children that might orphan them, but I'm not going to judge them on the basis of my experience. I have to judge them on the basis of theirs. And I can understand what they did.
DS: Mr. Meeropol, we'll leave it there. Thank you for chatting with us today.
RM: Thank you for having me.
DS: Bye now.
RM: Bye bye.
MS: Robert Meeropol is Ethel Rosenberg's son. We reached him in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Mexican author apologizes
MS: Elena Garro was an intellectual, an activist, and an award-winning author, who was a pioneer of magic realism. In fact, she was one of the most controversial and admired Mexican writers of the 20th century, whose themes included memory, time, and the persecution, marginalization, and exploitation of women.
But enough about what she thought about. What did men think about her?
Obviously, that's a stupid, offensive question, with an obvious answer: "Who cares?" Unless you're the company that just re-published Ms. Garro's third novel. Then, apparently, you ask that question seriously. And the answer goes on the front of the book.
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of Elena Garro's birth. To mark the occasion, that publishing company, Drácena, based in Madrid, put out a new Spanish edition of her 1982 novel Personal Encounters.
That's admirable, of course. What's not admirable is the text on the paper band the company wrapped around the book, to put her work in context. That is, in the context of men.
"Wife of Octavio Paz," the band reads, "lover of [Adolfo] Bioy Casares, inspiration to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and admired by Jorge Luis Borges."
All four of those guys were great writers, of course. But they were also all men. And none of them wrote her book. Which is why fans of Ms. Garro, and anyone who's disgusted by sexism, are furious.
The company has apologized. A spokesman said they were just trying to promote a writer who wasn't well-known in Spain. "We wanted to put it in the context of the writers she knew, who were, like her, some of the greatest writers of the 20th century. But we're sorry about the huge clumsiness of putting it the way we did."
At least they apologized. Because they may have been trying to bring attention to a deserving writer – but they really blew her cover.
Fake news plug-in
Guest: Daniel Sieradski
MS: There's a lot of fake news out there. And it's a very real problem. As you've heard on this show and elsewhere, many people believe made-up stories masquerading as news influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. A lot of those made-up stories were disseminated through Facebook. But so far, Facebook has done almost nothing to stop such pages from appearing. So, one tech designer took things into his own hands.
Daniel Sieradski is the creator of a plug-in called BS Detector. We reached him in Syracuse, New York.
DS: Mr. Sieradski, what was your inspiration for creating this fake news detector?
DANIEL SIERADSKI: It was a response to Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook couldn't really handle the problem of fake news without a massive effort requiring the development of an algorithm and all these other things. I was able to work out a solution in just about an hour that showed that that was nonsense and that this issue could be easily addressed if they really wanted to invest their energy in it.
DS: Well how does this B.S. detector work?
SIERADSKI: Basically it scans a given web page for the presence of links and then checks the links against the database that has been compiled of fake news sites, satire sites, conspiracy theory sites and so on. And then inserts a warning label adjacent to the link, letting the user know that it's not exactly a reliable source of information.
DS: But how do you decide which of these sites and links to flag is not reliable. I mean can you give us some examples?
SIERADSKI: Well it seems pretty clear that a site that claims for example that the Illuminati murdered Prince, as infowars.com claims, isn't a reliable news source. I don't think you need to think too hard about that. When it comes to other sources that may be more newsy, there are a few different criteria that we look at, such as whether the site engages in presenting information that is unsourced as though it is factual, whether they are completely distorting a story by leaving out appropriate context. These are all different criteria, but, to be honest obviously your system is imperfect. There can however be proper scientific methodology behind making these determinations and at this point, what I'm trying to do is reach out to media watchdog groups to form partnerships to get more research-based information to make these determinations, as opposed to the community of contributors to this open source project making those determinations ourselves.
DS: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that, look they don't want to be arbiters of the truth. Instead rely on our community and trusted third parties, is what he said. Do you feel any discomfort at all being what he calls the… you know, an arbiter of truth?
SIERADSKI: Well Zuckerberg is in a position where if he claims responsibility for the content on his website you can make himself open to some kinds of lawsuits that I'm not going to be subject to because I'm not the controller of Facebook and therefore I'm not making editorial decisions on Facebook's part. This plugin doesn't censor any content. It doesn't prevent you from viewing fake news, It doesn't stop you from visiting those websites. It just gives you information to warn you that you shouldn't take everything you read on the Internet seriously without checking first whether the sources you're reading are reliable.
DS: But ideally shouldn't people themselves be their own B.S. detectors?
SIERADSKI: Absolutely. But unfortunately, media literacy isn't something that's gotten a lot of support in the realm of education in the United States in the last 20 years as we can plainly see. There was a research study that just came out that showed that young people presented with fake news sites versus real news sites couldn't tell the difference between the two. So there has to be some kind of line drawn where we say listen, there is a way that we can approach this that is reasonable and not censorious and not authoritarian, while at the same time promoting media literacy and critical thinking.
DS: Have you had any complaints about sites that you have flagged as B.S.? I mean what do you do then?
SIERADSKI: Well you know, one person complained that we had Infowars listed, despite its ramblings about the Illuminati and the New World Order, and said we should list the New York Times instead because of Judith Miller's false reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I think these kinds of claims are ludicrous because even though the New York Times messed up in that instance, their goal isn't to willfully mislead the public and misinforming them.
DS: Can I ask how popular it's been? Do you have any measurements as of today?
SIERADSKI: Yeah, we have about twenty five thousand installs so far.
DS: No I understand that. Today Facebook moved to actually block this as a plug. What did you think when you saw that?
SIERADSKI: Well, to clarify they are blocking the links to the home page for the plugins. I don't think that they've yet taken any action to circumvent its ability to function on their site though that's certainly something they could do. However it does seem I have caused them a bit of embarrassment by making this plug in and calling them out on their statement and so I think maybe they're punishing me for it.
DS: Or in fact are you actually part of the solution that Zuckerberg is talking about? That you're part of the user community and you've come up with a solution.
SIERADSKI: Well so I think there was a story that came out yesterday in Forbes, I want to say, about how Facebook is now trying to develop an algorithm for detecting fake news. Maybe they see this as a competing business interest? And you know, for all of their talk about being [unintelligible] and open to their community, they are walled garden and they want to control things the way that they want them.
DS: Well what about you? What's your hope for B.S. Detector. Are you hoping to profit from this?
SIERADSKI: No. It's a free and open source project. I have a nine-to-five job. I'm not trying to get anything out of this other and to stop my parents from sending me nonsense articles claiming that they're true. You know? I think that that's the overall goal, is just to reduce the amount of misinformation that's out there.
DS: All right. Well Mr. Sieradski, thanks for chatting with us about it.
SIERADSKI: Thanks for having me.
DS: Bye now.
MS: Daniel Sieradski is the creator of a fake news spotter called the BS Detector. He was in Syracuse, New York. After we spoke with Mr. Sieradski, Facebook unblocked the link to his home page.
Andrew Sachs obit
MS: If you ever saw "Fawlty Towers," chances are you imitated Manuel – the hapless Spanish waiter and bellhop. Now, you may not have done it well. But you did it because Manuel was one of the great comic creations in sitcom history.
Andrew Sachs , the actor who played Manuel so indelibly, has died at the age of 86. Here's a little clip of what he sounded like in his most memorable role:
[Sound: Violin music playing in background]
YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE: Manuel? Could you lend Ms. Richards your assistance in connection with her reservation?
HOTEL GUEST: I’ve reserved a very quiet room with a bath and a sea view. I specifically asked for a sea view in my written confirmation. So please make sure I have it.
HOTEL GUEST: What?
HOTEL GUEST: K?
HOTEL GUEST: C? K C? K C? What are you trying to say?
MANUEL: No. No no no. Que… what.
HOTEL GUEST: K what?
MANUEL: Si. Que what.
HOTEL GUEST: C K what?
MS: Andrew Sachs, playing Manuel on Fawlty Towers. Mr. Sachs has died at the age of 86. Now back in 1982, he was in Toronto, in the touring company of a play called Not Now, Darling. Maggie O'Brien interviewed him for the CBC program, The Entertainers. Here's part of that interview with Andrew Sachs, from the archives:
ANDREW SACHS: Now, I did… when I was 17, I decided to go into the theatre. I wanted to be an actor. No I didn't want to be an actor, I wanted to be a star. You know I have a pink swimming pool and all that.
MAGGIE O’BRIEN: But let me ask you something.
MO: When people think of stars, they think of leading men types.
AS: Oh yeah that's me. Carey Grant. Oh Tarzan. I wanted to be Tarzan. That's what I really wanted to do.
MO: You’re a bit small.
AS: Well, yes. But you know, you don't know yourself very much at 17.It's taken me all this time to get to know myself a little bit. Anyway I went into the business for totally the wrong reasons, and fortunately got to working with good people who knocked most of the nonsense out and enabled me to love the business for healthier reasons and I just loved it for its own sake. And now, after 30 years of… over 30 years in the business, I can honestly say I'm as enthusiastic about it… more enthusiastic than I was when I was when I first went in. So I must have somehow, God has been kind and allowed me to choose the right profession.
I don't know what I do I just learn the lines and don't fall over the furniture as they say and don't get drunk.
MO: What happened to that rat?
AS: What do you mean rat? You mean hamster. [Speaking in the character of Manuel] Filigree Siberian hamsters, Senor. What do you mean rat? Please. It was… we had to get two real ones. One had creeping alopecia, it was a sad little thing.
MO: You mean its hair was falling off?
AS: The other one is quite healthy. And then we had this mechanical one which gave us great amusement during rehearsals, yes. It’s all history you’re talking about. You know this was–
MO: I can’t help it!
AS: No it’s all right. We did 12 episodes, right? We did six in 1975 and another six in 1979. So three months out of my working life and it's sort of fading into the distance now.
MO: Can you make enough money and live in England?
AS: Oh yes. Yes I can make enough money.
MO: It’s just… things seems so expensive and when I talk to people like Michael Caine who has moved out.
AS: Well Michael Caine and all these people are in such a bracket that… I'm a working actor and I make a living. I can bring up kids and I mean, I shall never be rich, I should think. I'm not in the business to make money. If I were, I’d be a bookkeeper or a stockbroker, I don't know. But yes, there is this worry that that I may be ill. If I break a leg, I can't work and I won't earn any money. And I would be able to keep going for a few weeks, that’s all I should thing. So just buying another house that's involving me in such an enormous mortgage that I've just got to go on earning. But my whole attitude to money has changed. I used to be very frightened of income tax people. Oh money's really…
MO: Are you able to charge off your clothes?
AS: A certain amount yes, not what I'm wearing today.
MO: You realize you're going to have to keep your waiter's outfit.
AS: Yes I've got that at home as a little memento. I sometimes use it… I sometimes play Manuel for charity and things like that.
MO: With the rat.
AS: Well no, with the hamster even.
MS: That was Andrew Sachs on the CBC program "The Entertainers" in 1982. Mr. Sachs – who was most famous for playing Manuel on the classic comedy Fawlty Towers – died this week, at the age of 86.Back To Top »
Part 3: New judges, BC teen death, Carrier/Rexnord follow-up
Guest: Yasir Naqvi
MICHAEL SERAPIO: Thirteen more judges. Thirty-two more prosecutors. And dozens of new court workers.
That's the Ontario government's response to a Supreme Court decision that caused criminal cases across the country to be thrown out of court.
The ruling established strict new limits on the time the Crown has to bring in a case to trial. The court said it was needed to address unconstitutional delays produced by what it called it called a "culture of complacency" in Canada's criminal justice system.
Yasir Naqvi is Ontario's Attorney General. He announced the new measures yesterday. We reached Minister Naqvi in Ottawa.
DAVE SEGLINS: Mr. Naqvi last month we spoke to Nicole Nayel She's a mother from Ottawa who just watched a judge throw the case against the man who is accused of murdering her son all due to delay. She said that she's been betrayed by the justice system. What would you say to her today?
YASIR NAQVI: Well, of course the views of families are always very important to us, and that's why we've been working very hard in making sure that we make our criminal justice system faster and fair. Last July, the Supreme Court of Canada came up with a decision called the Jordan Decision that was really a game changer. They have given a call to action to all levels of government, federal and provincial and territorial governments, to say that we need to move forward in making our criminal justice system a faster one, and that's why we announced yesterday some very significant and targeted investments that will ensure that our system becomes faster and fairer, that will enhance public safety.
DS: A lot of what you're talking about is efficiency that will be met with new resources. But I want to read from the July decision from the Supreme Court. It says the problem's much bigger. “A culture of complacency towards delays has emerged in the criminal justice system unnecessary procedures and adjournments, inefficient practices, and inadequate institutional resources are accepted as the norm.” And then it goes on to say this culture of delay causes great harm to public confidence in the justice system. As attorney general, how do you plan to reverse this culture of complacency?
YN: Well the Supreme Court really has issued a call of action. And when you read the decision, they give that call of action to the judiciary, to lawyers involved in the system, and the government as well. In terms of provincial governments they talk about more resources in the system, and we are taking that call very seriously. We fully recognize that this is tough work, but is important work, and really as a province, I’m very much committed in ensuring that justice is not delayed and therefore is not denied.
DS: But the Supreme Court justices are also talking about an attitude of complacency. How do you change the attitude among your prosecutors?
YN: Well I think we all have to work together and I think I think in case of Ontario there with the announcement we made yesterday, we sent a very strong message, that all of us have to work on this together. Since the Jordan decision came out, I can say the judiciary, the crown prosecutors, defense counsel, the staff in the court system, we all have been working together to find better ways and the investments and the strategies that we announced yesterday will result in a system that will be fairer and faster, that will enhance public safety.
DS: Why has it come to this? This is not new. In 1990, the Supreme Court issued a ruling, the Askov decision, and said “these delays are unconstitutional. As a result thousands of cases were dropped them.” Here we are 26 years later, and again the Supreme Court is telling attorney generals across the country, these delays are unacceptable.
YN: Well a lot has happened in 20 years. Changes in the Criminal Court over the last 10 years in particular has a huge impact in our court system. We saw a tremendous amount of changes, from mandatory minimum sentences, to many more criminal court provisions. All that has a very significant impact that accumulates. That's not to absolve ourselves from our responsibility. That's why I stated that, you know, part of the solution is to work very closely with the federal government. I think it's time that we look at a more wholesome review of the Criminal Code and see how we can simplify the criminal procedure so that justice is being done in an expeditious way. But that would require resources and we are responding to that and investing in new resources.
DS: As a result of the decision in 1990, thousands of cases were thrown out. As a result of this most recent decision, how many cases do you estimate in Ontario will be thrown out?
YN: Well first of all, the new presumptive timelines that the Supreme Court has come up with does not mean that there's an automatic right to stay. An accused person will have to bring an application and there is a fair bit of analysis in order to determine the delay.
DS: Right but how many cases are in jeopardy because of delay?
YN: We estimate in our system it's roughly about 7 percent of the cases. But as I said, we've been very focused in prioritizing, in triaging cases properly.
DS: Seven percent of criminal cases before the Ontario Courts are in jeopardy?
YN: While we're talking about in Ontario Court of Justice, and again they may be at or near the presumptive ceiling. That does not mean that they're in jeopardy. That does not mean that they could be stayed. But what we do know that they could be close to the 18 month mark.
DS: So seven percent of cases. How many charges is that?
YN: I don't have the exact number on that–
DS: Roughly. Roughly–
YN: Because again those numbers those numbers vary.
DS: Is it thousands?
YN: You know, as I said, the numbers vary. It is a small number. And again, I want to really stress that there is no automatic right to stay. Again, we are making sure that we are able to better prioritize cases and working very closely with our judiciary and lawyers within the system to ensure that the timelines that are outlined in the judicial system are respected and are met.
DS: From what you're hearing from attorneys general across the country, what impact is this decision having on other provinces?
YN: Very similar as Ontario. They are all concerned. They are seeing cases being stayed in very serious cases. And as far as I know everybody is doing the same kind of deep dive to see where the clogs are in the system, how those clogs can be removed from the system, so that you can see more expeditious hearing of matters and decisions being rendered.
DS: Mr. Naqvi, thank you for joining us.
YN: Thank you, Dave.
DS: Bye now.
YN: Bye bye.
MS: Yasir Naqvi is the Attorney General of Ontario. He was in Ottawa.
Harvard: campaign operatives
MS: It's a post-U.S.-election tradition: every four years, the top operatives from each campaign gather at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government for the Campaign Managers Conference. There, they discuss each candidate's campaign with professional respect and civility. Well, usually. This year was a little different.
Last night, when Hillary Clinton's communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, sat on stage with Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kelly-Anne Conway, things got heated. The first voice you'll hear is Ms. Palmieri's.
JENNIFER PALMIERI: If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have laws– Give me a minute, David. When I am more proud of Hillary Clinton's Alt-Right Speech than any other moment on the campaign –
KELLY-ANNE CONWAY: Wow.
JP: –because she had the courage to stand up. I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.
KC: No you wouldn’t
JP: Yes. Yes.
KC: That's very clear today. No you wouldn't, respectfully rather. Exactly how did we win? Now go for it, Jen. How exactly do we win? I'd like to know, because I’ve sacrificed the last four months in my life–
JP: [Crosstalk (Jennifer Palmieri)] I said– I–
KC: …to do it. Excuse me. And we did it, and we did it by looking at the schedule and looking at, yes the electoral map of 270, because that's how you win the presidency. And we went places and we were either ignored or mocked, roundly, by most of the people in this room. But I had a smile on my face at all times, and [Crosstalk (Jennifer Palmieri)] we focus on… we connected with voters–
JP: His schedule didn’t concern me. What concerns me is hiring, you know, we've already gone through some of the examples, of his own language, his own positions, that I believe are at odds with my value as an American of embracing diversity, inclusivity, equality, and hiring someone like Steve Bannon [Crosstalk (Kelly-Anne Conway, David Bossie)] One of my proudest moments of her is her standing up and saying with courage and clarity in Steve Bannon’s own words and Donald Trump's own words, the platform that they gave to white supremacists, white nationalists, and it is a very very important moment in our history as our country. And I think as you know, as his presidency goes forward, I'm going to be very glad to have been part of the campaign that tried to–
KC: Hey Jen, do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? Are you going to look me in the face and tell me that.
JP: It did. Kelly-Anne, it did.
KC: Really? And that’s how you lost? Do you think it could have just had a decent message…
JD: That was Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kelly-Anne Conway, speaking with Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for Hillary Clinton, yesterday. They were at a post-election forum sponsored by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
BC teen death
Guest: Bernard Richard
MS: This week, a 19-year-old girl died in Surrey, British Columbia. She had been in the province's child services system. But like other young people in B.C. in recent years, she died after growing too old to be eligible for government welfare.
It's a problem B.C.'s new acting representative for children and youth will have to confront. This is Bernard Richard's first week on the job. He's replacing Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who was in that role for a decade. We reached Mr. Richard in Victoria.
DS: Mr. Richard, I understand this girl's identity has not been revealed. But what can you tell us about who she was and how she died?
BERNARD RICHARD: This was a 19-year-old Aboriginal girl who was formerly in care. And she's one of a cohort of young people who age out of care and she was in care until she was 19, so she would have stopped receiving care benefits and services seven months ago.
DS: I want to… I want to ask you about that specifically in a moment, but do you know the specific cause of death?
BR: No one knows yet. The coroner has speculated that it could be drug related, but toxicology tests are being are being performed urgently to find out. But there's been no confirmation of the cause of death. But the coroner has indicated that that's a possibility.
DS: And where did it happen? What do we know about the circumstances?
BR: It happened in Surrey in a heavily wooded bush area. And it was in a tent. But I… you know the expression ‘tent city’ is used often… this wasn't the case. I think it was a fairly… although it was kind of in a park. But the tent would have been up in a fairly isolated part of the park and she was on her own.
DS: Help us understand exactly what aging out is for a young person who is in the system and is being cared for through government support.
BR: These are kids and young adults that have lived extremely difficult youths. And when they reached the age of 19, for most of them, supports just end. They may be supported if they're going through a post education, a post-secondary education program. But that's not the case for these for these kids, and this young woman we're talking about. They're actually the most vulnerable of them all. And their support ends at age 19. That's not acceptable in a province like British Columbia and in a country like Canada.
DS: On this program we've also talked about another case of Paige Gauthier. She was 19 years old, also an Indigenous girl who died of a drug overdose. She was just aged out of care having turned 19. Why does this keep happening?
BR: There are many reasons and I don't want to oversimplify. These are complex stories and we can talk… you know, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission talked about the historical and intergenerational trauma, and that's obviously that's a part of it. But it's also happening because we're not supporting these kids as we should. And the system is failing them. And there's no reason why it should. I think there's an opportunity here. This is a government that's doing quite well. It just indicated that they're heading for a $2.2 billion surplus. So there are resources, and we're talking about roughly 200 young adults out there who age out of care, and who need support, and they need immediate support. We need to identify them. Reach out to them, and provide the support that they need.
DS: So you talk of possibilities and support. What specific services would you like to see. And to what age?
BR: Letting them go at 19 is just not acceptable. So they need counseling services, they need housing, they need they need supports in transitioning to adulthood. That's true for virtually every teenager, but these young folks are very vulnerable, and they require additional support.
DS: Until they're 25? What are you thinking?
BR: Yes that's what we're thinking. Until they're 25. This is this is doable in British Columbia and we're calling on the government to respond.
DS: This is your first week as B.C.’s acting Representative for Children and Youth. Generally speaking, what would you like to accomplish in your time in this position?
BR: Listen… there’s lots of work to do. I'm fortunate to follow in the footsteps of a wonderful advocate, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and I hope to… while I can't match her style, she she certainly has her own personality and character, I hope to match her passion. There are many priorities but certainly the one that screams out at me is the huge overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care. It's ten percent roughly a little less than ten percent of children zero to 18 in British Columbia are Aboriginal. 61 percent of children in care are Aboriginal. That's crazy. I mean that's just not acceptable, and there are complex reasons for that, huge issues that TRC has talked about. But there are solutions, but we need to be determined, and we need to address these issues.
DS: Mr. Richard, thank you for joining us.
BR: For sure. Thanks for your interest. It's important to keep talking about these issues.
DS: Bye now.
MS: Bernard Richard is B.C.'s new acting representative for children and youth. He was in Victoria.
Guest: Kyle Beaman
MS: The mood inside the Carrier plant in Indiana yesterday was exuberant. And when President-elect Donald Trump took the stage, the applause was fierce. Some audience members yelled out "Thank you!"
Mr. Trump was there to officially announce news the workers already knew: that more than 1,000 of their jobs at the furnace maker would not be going to Mexico after all. They would be staying put, in Indianapolis.
Now, just down the road from Carrier, at the Rexnord ball-bearing factory, workers are wondering if Mr. Trump can help them, too. That company is also planning to move its operations to Mexico, affecting more than 350 jobs.
Kyle Beaman is one of those workers. We reached him in Indianapolis.
DS: Mr. Beaman, what was it like for you to learn the news that many workers at the Carrier plant won't be losing their jobs after all?
KYLE BEAMAN: Initially, I’m ecstatically happy for them. They have been in a stress mode for almost 10 months now.
DS: It must have been hard for you and your colleagues at Rexnord not to think, you know, what about us?
KB: Very true. Like you know, where's my slice of the pie? Is Mr. Trump going to help us? And you know, we belong to the same union as Carrier, and it mirrors a lot what happened at Carrier. I mean, the way they got told is called into a meeting and boom. Without any really, you know, head start of knowing anything and that's what kind of happened to us. We were not naive had the possibility of a move but we were not expecting it to happen in the timeframe that it did.
DS: And I understand it was earlier this year that Rexnord, your employer, announced they're going to move operations to Mexico. What reasons do the company give for the move?
KB: Mostly financial and production costs. They can get workers and Monterrey Mexico to work for $3 an hour versus the average at our place of about $24 an hour. Quite honestly it's nothing more than a money grab, a profit greed, however you want to, you know, look at it. That seems to be the tone here in America, of it's all about the dollar, and it's no longer about loyalty to your employees. There's companies that’s much smaller than us with employees, that's happening to them also, that their jobs are being shipped to either Mexico or across into Europe and into China.
DS: So this is happening elsewhere in Indiana?
KB: Oh yes. One facility that's a sister company to Carrier, up in Huntington, Indiana. They were part of that package deal of being moved to Monterrey. Unfortunately, they didn't get the help the Carrier did. I believe it's 160 employees there will lose their job.
DS: Many of your co-workers were outside the Carrier plant yesterday carrying signs, “Hey Rexnord, make it here in America,” and they were trying to send a message to Mr. Trump. If you were able to speak to him directly, what would you say to him?
KB: I would say I've been a backer of yours since the get go. I believe in what you said. I believe that he can do a lot of things that he said. We put a lot of trust into this man because he says he's going to make America great again. He can't wave a magic wand and make it all… everybody happy again. I'd like to use the terminology, it’s like eating an elephant. You have to eat it one bite at a time. So this is a stepping stone with Carrier. He followed up on a campaign slogan that he was not going to let it happen, and he did not let it happen.
DS: Well if the campaign promise is to bring jobs back to America from places like China and Mexico, and Carrier is an example, a success example, what do you think President-elect Trump can do to save your job?
KB: He would have to go directly to the top of my corporation, Rexnord. He would have to talk to the CEO Todd Adams and the mayor here in Indianapolis when this first happened, put a call out wanting to come up there and sit down and talk about it. And he was told by the executives in Milwaukee, don't book a flight. I'm hoping that he can save my company. I hope that he can save a lot of companies. It's a tall task. But I've only I've only got four months left. And so the sand in the hourglass is running out fast for us.
DS: It doesn't sound like a very easy situation for any of you. Mr. Trump is a businessman. Are you convinced he has your interests in mind? Or the CEOs?
KB: I want to believe that he has my interest. I truly do. But he's a business man and business people think in a different kind of mindset I think. So you know, I guess as we like being a car salesman. You know, you're going to have to get in there and sell your goods. You know, it's like Carrier, they got tax abatements they got this and they got that. You know, they sweeten the deal. So maybe that's why it's got to take. Or, you know, the threat of… you can move down there but it's going to cost you a lot of money to get your product back across. I kind of look at it as a big game of poker.
DS: And are you're winning?
KB: Right now, I don't think we've got a good hand of cards. And again I say that because he's got a lot of things on his plate to do between now and January 20th, and you know he's getting his accolades and applause for pulling this off up here at Carrier. So we're probably not a big spot on the screen right now along with a lot of other companies. And you know, I know the figures. Hundreds of companies like us across America that this is happening to. In his position, I'd have to say, you know, I can't help all of you. I'm going to help as many as I can when I can. But in the time frame, time is against us at Rexnord, period.
DS: Mr. Beaman, we'll leave it there. But good luck.
KB: Thank you sir. Appreciate talking to you and keep in touch and I can try to keep up to date with you.
DS: Will do. Thank you.
KB: Thank you. Have a good day.
MS: Kyle Beaman works at Rexnord, a ball-bearing factory in Indianapolis. Earlier this fall, the factory announced it would be moving its operations to Mexico. We reached Mr. Beaman in Indianapolis.
MS: There's one in every group. And then, suddenly… there isn't.
You're at a party, hanging with friends, having a good time, when it hits you: where did Bob go? You were laughing together by the Cheetos, and then you went back to get a drink, and when you came back, Bob had vanished, without a word.
Nowadays, the cool kids would call Bob's abrupt departure "ghosting." And the culturally insensitive kids might call it an "Irish Exit" or "The French Leave." But since everyone knows a "Bob," the sneaky exit strategy goes by many names. And frankly, with the holiday party schedule in full swing, the maneuver could be useful, under any title.
Say the in-laws are about to break out the Christmas cake. As It Happens producer John McGill suggests the "Hammerstein Glide" – which is named after the famous lyricist Oscar Hammerstein. You didn't know how much rum was in the eggnog, and you're afraid of what you'll say to the boss? Show director Kevin Ball recommends the "Phantom Ollie," a nod to a high school buddy. Kenny G's "Holiday Classics" on repeat at the Rotary Club? Producer Kevin Robertson calls your invisible escape "Pulling a Dan."
When we threw the subject to Twitter, we found Dan wasn't the only one who pulls a Dan. Cheryl Brown told us, "I call it 'pulling a Wally', after my uncle Walter who is famous for his smooth exits immediately after dinner." And Eric Morse suggests "Doing A Baggins."
Now we're wondering if you have a name for someone who leaves the party early? Let us know. You can find us on Twitter and Facebook, both @cbcasithappens, all one word. Give us a call at 416-205-5687. And our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.