Thursday January 11, 2018

January 10, 2018 episode transcript

Note: Transcripts may contain errors. If you wish to re-use all, or part of, a transcript, please contact CBC for permission. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print. Copyright © CBC 2018

The AIH Transcript for January 10, 2018

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas



CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening. I'm Jeff Douglass. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

Guest: Ellen Wiebe

CO: Trading insults. In a new complaint with the World Trade Organization, Canada says U.S. trade duties are bad for Canada. Whereas, the U.S. says that for Canada to complain about those duties is bad for Canada.

JD: The soundness barrier. Now he's not saying he doesn't agree with Donald Trump's self-assessment as a “very stable genius”. But Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin would like a commission to officially assess a president's stability.

CO: Un-solid ground. A Canadian living in California tells us about the torrential rains that turned the earth to mud this week, and the moment that that mud began rushing toward his Montecito home.

JD: In broad daylight, a narrow escape. On a busy street this morning, armed men attacked Pakistani journalist Taha Siddiqui and stuffed him in the back of a car. And tonight, Mr. Siddiqui himself tells us how he managed to get away.

CO: Comedy equals fictional near tragedy, plus time. When he read about a stand-up comic saving a fan from choking, a blogger who thought something funny was going on. And Peter Heimlich — yes, Peter Heimlich — explains how he maneuvered his way to the truth.

JD: And watching the sparks be flown. Australia's Indigenous people have known about the serial arsonist setting fire to the bush for millennia. And now, scientists have shared that knowledge with the rest of us: the arsonists are tricky predatory birds.

JD: As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that knows if there’s a ploy with fire, you're going to get bird.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

Part one: World Trade Organization complaint, California mudslides, fire birds

World Trade Organization complaint

Guest: Mark Warner

JD: Canada says the U.S. isn't playing by the rules. In a bombshell complaint to the World Trade Organization, the Canadian government argues the U.S. slaps unfair import duties on countries, repeatedly violating international trade law. The complaint looks at the U.S. trade decisions over 20 years, citing more than 200 cases — many of which don't even involve Canada, but countries like China and Brazil. For such a massive complaint, the timing is interesting: because later this month, Canada and the U.S. are set to meet in Montreal for crucial NAFTA negotiations. Mark Warner is a Canada-U.S. trade lawyer. We reached him in Toronto.

CO: Mr. Warner, Canada is accusing Washington of brazenly breaking international trade law. What's the strategy here?

MARK WARNER: Well, I'm not sure I really understand the strategy. I guess the strategy is to show that Canada can make life difficult for the United States if they continue to bring trade actions against us.

CO: And it’s just very broad, isn't it? 32 Pages of complaints, dozens of the examples are unrelated to Canada. Have you seen that before? Have you seen Canada or any country make a case where there’s 122 examples of the United States violating its own policies?

MW: I really haven't seen that. So it's really kind of an eight page complaint with a 20 page annex onto it, which lists examples where the U.S. has taken action. 80 Of them have to do with China, so I guess that perhaps is a message that will play well with another trading partner we haven't had great relations with recently. I think what the strategy here is Canada is trying to say look the United States we’re a small country that believes in a rules-based trading system. We've got other countries in the world that agree with us. They don't like what you're doing. They don’t think that trade law is consistent with the WTO agreements you've entered into. And we will make your life miserable. I think that's the intended effect. Judging by the response from the United States Trade Representative Robert Leithauser today, I think the more likely response the Americans will be is what on earth are you doing? This is incendiary. Because the way the WTO and the system have worked before it is that there's a lot of mutually assured destruction built into the system. You know people don't bring cases on national security or on all the export cartels — think OPEC or whatever — because we know that yeah they violate the WTO rules most likely. But if you play that card it will bring the whole system down. And so what Canada has done here by sort of going right to the edge of it and saying look you do a lot of things in the design of your trade revenue system that aren’t consistent with the international agreements, it's kind of crossing that line. It's kind of, to me, a red flag to a bull. I don't think that was their intent. But I think judging from the response from Leithauser, that’s certainly how it will be read in Washington.

CO: And on to Robert Leithauser, the U.S. trade negotiator, he said that it was an ill-advised attack. And he says Canada's claims are unfounded, and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually-beneficial trade. Is that a threat?

MW: I think it’s very strong language. I think it's an indication that they are already frustrated you know from the American point of view. They're frustrated that Canada hasn't come to the negotiating table on NAFTA. Negotiating in the sense of bringing counterproposals on specific items; we’re not really engaging with what the Americans have put on the table. There's a certain theatrical element to trade negotiations. I just I feel like we may be crossing beyond that to a point where you know we're a smaller player; we're 10 per cent the size of the United States. We’re much more dependent on trade with them. And so when you get into this kind of tit for tat world in the trading world it's really hard for smaller countries to prevail with a high wire act that we're playing I think here. And we need to be very careful with it.

CO: Doesn't the situation and the time called for that? I mean we're dealing with a very different U.S. government. Very different trade policies, unpredictable politics, we saw new duties on ground wood paper — uncoated paper newsprint from Canada — bragging from the Commerce Department that they've been increasing this that they've got 82 antidumping encountered veiling duty investigations. I mean it's kind of scorched earth on that side. I mean can we really just play tit for tat with that?

MW: Yeah, I mean we’ve got to do something to respond. like You know we have two cases we filed on softwood lumber within the last 60 days that are pending in the WTO. So it's not as if this government has been sitting on their hands. I mean we wanted to make a point about some of the items that were in this complaint today. If the government is correct that what they're really getting at is softwood lumber, my argument would be why didn’t you put it the two complaints that are already there? This just seems calculated to sort of just really annoy them. The other piece to it is I can't imagine that very many people in Congress would agree with the nature of what Canada did today. And we're sending lots of challenge or objects, whatever it is, down to the United States to hug Senators and Congresspeople and governors. And then by this action today, we probably make them line up behind their administration because this is more of a frontal attack than sort of a NAFTA-in-NAFTA-out question. I hope people in Ottawa and the government are actually thinking through the second and third order effects in all of this. I'm a bit nervous about it, to be honest.

CO: Is it possible though that Canada is attempting to make friends in other places? Because many countries feel that the United States is a bully when it comes to putting tariffs and countervailing duties. So perhaps by virtue of defending all the other little guys that that Canada sticks out it’s chin and says yeah, we're going to take you on, bully. Does that help us elsewhere?

MW: Well, I suppose to the extent that the Prime Minister didn't have a very successful trip to Asia in terms of launching the trade agreement. Maybe by putting 80 examples of wrongful treatment of China in a complaint like this, it'll be viewed more positively in Beijing. But I guess the question is timing, you know? At some point we have to decide we're in this negotiation with our largest trading partner; a trading partner we're more dependent on than they are with us. And how many times can you keep putting that red flag in front of the bull before they respond? We might lose our relationship with the United States and NAFTA, but we'll gain celebrity status in Geneva. I don't know. And it is very frustrating for us and Canada because we kind of like to see ourselves as equal in the fight, but we're not.

CO: Just finally, we saw the Reuters news agency report that they had two Canadian government sources suggesting that President Trump was considering a pull out of NAFTA within days. Since then, we've had other journalist say that that's inaccurate — that there's nothing new in that regard. But still, a strong possibility that Mr. Trump could do this at any time. Is that not the case?

MW: I don't tend to think that Trump is actually going to trigger a withdrawal of NAFTA. I think what I see of all of his executive orders on trade since he came to power is that he talks much tougher than his actions. In fact, what's interesting today is also news that he might actually go back into the Paris Agreement. And, in fact, I laughed when I saw that because the truth of the matter is if you go back and look at his speech when he got out of the Paris Agreement, he didn't actually get out of the Paris Agreement, even though everyone thinks he did because what he said was much more strident at the time. So I personally expect that as part of the theatrics of the negotiation, we might at some point see a more hardened threat to withdraw from that. I just don't think that Trump in the middle of a congressional midterm election year is really going to want to have that fight with Congress. I could be wrong, but I just don't think he's going to do that. But I do think we'll hear more threats about it.

CO: We'll leave it there. Mr. Warner, thank you.

MW: Thanks for having me.

JD: Mark Warner is a Canada-U.S. trade lawyer. We reached him in Toronto. We did request an interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. We did not get a response before air time.

[Music: Rock]

California mudslides

Guest: Ben Hyatt

JD: The rain came and went. But there's no calm after the storm. As we told you on the program yesterday, that rain in southern California caused huge mudslides. At least fifteen people are dead; many more are missing. The storm destroyed homes and left a lot of people stranded. Search efforts are ongoing. Ben Hyatt is a Canadian living in California. He was at his home in Montecito, one of the hardest-hit areas, when the downpour started. He and his family are now safe in Pismo Beach, California. That's where we reached him.

CO: Ben, how are you? How's your family today?

BEN HYATT: Everybody's good. We're at a hotel about an hour-and-a-half up the coast, kind of relaxing on the beach, just trying to I guess be relaxed.

CO: And your kids: a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old; a son and a daughter, is that right?

BH: Yeah, eight-year-old son, and a seven-year-old daughter.

CO: And so they're not in school, but are they OK? I mean that was quite traumatic.

BH: Very traumatic. Less than a month ago, we were evacuated due to the fires. The schools were closed down ten days in Santa Monica because of that. And now, we're out of school again.

CO: Can you just take us back to the other night? How quickly did things get ugly when that rain started?

BH: It was so quick. The power went out. I had tried to stay up. I fell asleep on the couch because I thought maybe we were going to get some rain on our street, and maybe it would come up our yard a little. Anyways, but I fell asleep on the couch around 1:30 I think. And 2:30, I woke up because the power flickered and our fans started going. And I looked up to our skylights, and the sky lights were orange, so the sky was orange in the middle of the night. And I knew right away that there was fires. At that point, it had started raining, but it wasn't crazy rains.

CO: Before you get to the rain, the fires from what? What was the source of that?

BH: We didn't know right away, but what it was was natural gas explosions. So some houses blew up from what I understand.

CO: And you're no stranger to a fire at this point. So you're seeing fire, but you're hearing rain. And then what happened?

BH: I opened our front door just to kind of see what was happening. And you know there was definitely water coming down our street. And then it really, really started raining. Like just crazy, crazy rain. And you know it lasted all of five minutes. And then it went back to just a normal heavy downpour. But at that point, I kind of knew where the cell was headed. It was headed straight for the mountains, which had just burned, which is about three miles away. And so we thought that was plenty of space. And so I stayed up. I made myself a snack so I could stay awake just in case. And within three minutes of that, all of a sudden, I heard a whoosh, and the house started to shake. And instantly, there was three feet of mud all around our house.

CO: We should point out the fires you’re referring to that because there had been these devastating forest fires in the area, we've talked about this before, the vegetation it all burned down, and that's what allowed these mudslides to start.

BH: Yeah, and the mountains you know I went up there blackened mountains, and it was like a moonscape.

CO: Did you evacuate?

BH: I immediately ran and woke my son up. My daughter was actually at a sleepover on the other side of the 101 freeway. So I immediately went and woke my son up. It was black outside. All we saw was rising mud all around. We have all glass doors along the back of our house. And we just saw the mud rising and the doors buckling. So I threw him on the top bunk, and our house was surrounded by mud. And then my wife got up, and then we rushed and put a bunch of furniture against our glass doors. And then we didn't know what to do. So the fear was mud was going to just keep coming. That was my immediate fear, and I was thinking about how we get to the roof? And there was really no way. I mean if we opened the door, all that mud would come in. So at that point, we just didn't know what to do. But I will say is that things all of a sudden got really calm. It continued to rain, but it got calm, and the mud stopped rising very quickly. So we were lucky.

CO: Did the mud get into the house?

BH: It got a little in the house, again, we pushed furniture up against the door. So it had buckled the bottoms of the doors. And so you know just along the carpet, and maybe three or four feet into the house.

CO: When it finally got light out, what could you see around your house?

BH: The first thing that we noticed was a washer on our front lawn. We also noticed that our house is surrounded by big Hedges. The hedges were gone — all of them. The two cars that were parked in front of the hedges were gone. The street was full of mud. So we evacuated out, and it was waist-deep mud all on our streets, and our hose was going, and there was dressers on our front lawn, it was insane.

CO: And somebody’s washing machine.

BH: Somebody’s washing machine on our front lawn. Our backyard there was a huge tree, I don't even know where it came from, but it speared right through our hot tub. It missed our bedroom, where my wife was sleeping, by about 10 feet.

CO: And the streets filled with mud. How did you get out?

BH: The first thing we heard people screaming across the street, but I couldn't get over to her. But luckily, my neighbour on the other side street did get her. So her house had collapsed. The mud had come right through the wall, into the bedroom she was sleeping in. And so there was lots of panic in the neighborhood. But as a light kind of came up, the firemen came in and started going door to door, waist-deep mud, getting people out. So they did just an incredible job.

CO: Do you know if anyone was lost? Anyone killed?

BH: We know one person. I don't know that it's public knowledge yet, so I won't say her name. But my wife is in real estate, and she works in that industry. And I don't have full confirmation. We know a lot of people in this town, so I imagine we're going to know somebody. It’s very sad.

CO: I can't imagine what it's like to see your house completely covered in mud like that.

BH: Honestly, it's scary. It was scary in the moment. We learned from the fire's already you know the important things because the fires almost tore through the entire town. We talked to a firefighter that said if the winds had blown that Saturday morning for another 45 minutes the entire town would have been lost. So you know we know what's important, but what I really got out of this is just the neighbourhood. Every single person in our neighbourhood really came together, and you know everyone was carrying other people's pets. And the neighbours up the hill where we were evacuated to, these big, big houses, and invited all these people in their neighbourhood full of mud with their pets into these big mansions overlooking it all. No questions asked.

CO: Among the pictures you sent, there’s one of your son who is, of course, safe, but he has that look on his face that he's been through something. So is he OK?

BH: Yeah, he's OK. He's a trooper. My daughter, who’s literally three blocks away, just the other side of the 101, she's with me right now. But she has kind of no clue what even happened. She's happy-go-lucky. But yeah, my son is OK. He was very brave. The fireman carried him out on his back, which was awesome. And I carried our 80 pound lapdog out.

CO: Do you think you can get back into your house?

BH: I don't think so. They don't really want anyone in Montecito right now. They're still doing search and rescue. What I heard is that lower Montecito, where we are. It's going to be maybe weeks before regular services and gas and you know three feet of mud in our neighbourhood. The fences are all gone — all the boundaries to all the yards are gone. It's just one big mess.

CO: Well, Ben, I'm glad everyone's OK, and thanks for speaking with us.

BH: OK. Thank you for your time.

JD: Ben Hyatt is a Canadian living in California. He's been forced out of his home in Montecito because of the mudslides, as you heard. If you'd like to see some photographs from his house, visit our website:

[Music: Bluegrass]

Dateline: Astronaut mistake

JD: Dateline: space.

[Music: Dateline theme]

JD: We know the International Space Station is 408-point-77 kilometres above the Earth. But for the past couple of days, there's been a lot of confusion about measurements you'd think would be much easier to calculate: how far the top of one astronaut's head to the floor. Norishige Kanai is an astronaut currently aboard the ISS. He's 41-years-old, so one would assume he'd have stopped growing by now. But in the reduced gravity of space, people do frequently get a little taller. Yesterday, Mr. Kanai — who is a lieutenant in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, with a doctorate in medicine — tweeted, quote, "Good morning, everyone. Today I share some serious news. Since coming to space, I have grown 9 centimeters. This is the most I've grown in three weeks since junior high." Unquote. Now, usually astronauts don't gain more than an inch, which is about 2-and-a-half centimetres. 9 centimeters, or three-and-a-half inches, is unheard-of. And while Norishige Kanai was light-hearted about his surprise height gain, he may also have been a little light-headed. Because after that story became international news, a Russian colleague suggested perhaps he double-check his measurements. Whereupon he discovered he had, in fact, grown only two centimetres — less than an inch. He later tweeted an apology for his previous "fake news". That simple correction may prove the true measure of the man. And really — as yesterday's experience should have taught him — it's not as big a deal as he thinks it is.

[Music: Rock]

Fire birds

Guest: Mark Bonta

JD: One of Australia's many claims to fame is being home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world. Box jellyfish, toxic spiders, don't even get me started on kangaroos. But some Australian birds have one up on their fellow fauna: they know how to use fire. Mark Bonta is a geography professor at Pennsylvania State University, and the co-author of a study published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology. We reached him at a conference in Pretoria, South Africa.

CO: Professor Bonta, this all starts when one of these birds spots a fire. What happens then? What did the birds do?

MARK BONTA: Well, I mean most of the birds at these fires are basically they are opportunistically, you know intentionally looking for grasshoppers and lizards and so forth that are fleeing the smoke, and that's what happen you know anywhere in the world in tropical savannahs. And then in the case of Northern Australia, you have a few of these birds that have somehow learned — how they learn we don't know — but they’ve learned to spread the fires. So if it gets to a point that the fire is being put out by people or reaches a natural fire break like a river for example or a human firebreak, then they start picking up twigs and small branches and flying with them. Sometimes they drop them and sometimes they're able to fly up to a kilometer away, drop them in a new place, and then start new fires. And then you know the bigger set of birds eventually you know move to that location and continue to hunt for all of this prey that’s being flushed out.

CO: So this is this is taking the game to another level. It's not just waiting, spotting of fire, and knowing the potential for getting a meal or maybe some barbecue out of that. They're actually taking to the next place and creating the fires in order to be able to flesh out some prey.

MB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean they're not starting fires from scratch, of course. I guess only humans can do that, or lightning. But they are able to restart fires, move fires, and possibly some of the reports show that they were doing it in a co-operative fashion amongst several birds. So they’re not much a barbecue in the sense that they probably don't want their prey cooked in the first place. They will get them in most cases from the areas that are with the smoke coming out. And then you know the small prey are being flushed out of the smoke.

CO: Which are the bird species that people have observed doing this kind of thing?

MB: Well, they’re a lot of the raptor species, so hawks and falcons in the northern territory. And the species that have be most commonly observed are the black kite, that are worldwide or in the old world are incredibly abundant, whistling kite, and then brown falcons. Those principal ones, but there may be other species involved — only raptors, of course.

CO: How do you know this? Where did you get the evidence that supports the theory that these birds are starting or are spreading fires?

MB: Well, there’s two lines of evidence, one that’s basically long been known among Aboriginal people who live in this region for many thousands of years. Every Aboriginal group is in the area that we've been able to talk to is aware of the behaviour. People have seen the behaviour. The fire rangers have witnessed the behaviour. And that's been recorded in the literature sparsely, but it since the 1960s. It’s pretty much taken for granted. On the other hand, a lot of fire managers, a few academics we mentioned in the article, some anthropologists actually. But mostly you know firefighters, the only people that are sometimes very close to fires. They have to get up really close, so it's quite dangerous to do so.

CO: Now as you pointed out, the discovery of fire, fire is a tool and a weapon that humans have learned. And that's what we've always considered separates us — distinguishes us — from other animals. What does it say if birds know how to use fire as a tool?

MB: Well, I mean my short answer is that humans evolved along with and among other species in the African savannah over a period of hundreds of thousands of years, and learned all sorts of things from other animals. Australian Aboriginals still retain the idea that they are in communication with other fauna, and that they are not greater or different or better or inferior to them. And they claimed that very clearly to us on my first field visit. And so in a sense, you have the pension of a pre-agricultural relationship in nature. It’s not romanticizing it at all. It’s simply saying that this is just another tool that shows that you know in a sense we kind of deluded ourselves into thinking that the thing is that we — and only we — do. We now understand that birds are intelligent, that they communicate, you know in a lot of Aboriginal and other Indigenous stories, it’s often something that bird brings you know to people. My point being if it does say that you know we definitely co-evolved in a landscape with other species, and we learned about this as we learned probably many other hunting techniques, frankly. It was a shock for me. That's why I started this in the first place. I realized the potential to kind of revolutionize how people think of our relationships to fire and birds.

CO: What might this change? What should this change perhaps in the way that we fight fires?

MB: Well, it definitely should. It already does on the ground. You know fire management in northern Australia is incredibly important. And, at the same time, birds are unpredictable, and you know infrastructure has been burned down. People are shooting these birds just because they see them as arsonists. I mean that's not good. It’s science accepting you know what fire rangers and land managers all basically accept. Because Nathan Ferguson, one of the co-authors — He’s one of the major fire managers in the northern territory. He manages an area the size of Pennsylvania. You know he was skeptical at first. But now, they just know that a completely supressed fire can be restarted again. Taking birds into account, I don’t know. There are a lot of ramifications to the College of Conservationists and the fire managers to be able to think about a lot more.

CO: It's very interesting. Professor Bonta, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

MB: Yeah, you're welcome.

JD: Mark Bonta is a geography professor at Pennsylvania State University. We reached him in Pretoria.

Back To Top »

Part Capacity bill, Pakistani journalist

Capacity bill

Guest: Jamie Raskin

JD: Even since before he was elected, Donald Trump's capacity to actually do the job of the president of the United States was a concern. And in recent weeks, especially since last week's publication of "Fire and Fury", those questioning the president's ability to do his job have been getting louder. This morning on The Current, the author of “Fire and Fury”, Michael Wolff, said the U.S. President's advisors are in agreement that he has to be managed like a child. One Democratic congressman believes he may have a solution. Jamie Raskin is the author of the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act. We reached him in Washington.

CO: Congressman Raskin, do you think President Trump has the mental capacity to serve as president?

JAMIE RASKIN: It's not my decision to make. It's not my judgment call. And I'm not a mental health professional. And I've never met him, so I'm not in a great position to say. But what I do know is that we have a constitutional responsibility to set up a process by which we can make decisions about the capacity of the president.

CO: Do you question what he said about himself: that he's a “very stable genius”?

JR: Well, I’ve probably only met a few geniuses in my life, and they certainly never called themselves a genius. And so you know I don't want to get into the back and forth. I mean here's the problem that we're embroiled in this national debate about the neurological, psychological, and mental health of the president. And I don't know how productive that is for everybody just to be opining about what they think.

CO: But isn’t that exactly what you're doing with this? With an oversight commission on presidential capacity, aren't you exactly launching that debate now?

JR: No, this is something that I introduced seven or eight months ago to set up a body that's called for explicitly in the 25th Amendment in Section 4. And if you look at it, what you'll see is that it says that the vice president and the cabinet — a majority of the cabinet. Or the vice president and a majority of a body to be set up by Congress can make determinations about the capacity or incapacity of the president. And so we simply need to set a body up in the event of a crisis in the Trump presidency or any subsequent presidency.

CO: But you say that you launched this this bill months ago. But do you see people coming on to your side and increasing the urgency of it since the tweets by the president about North Korea that he has a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong un?

JR: Well, yes. One of the points that I've been making from the beginning is that the 25th Amendment was adopted in the nuclear age. And we have 535 members of Congress who are lawmakers, but we only have one president whose job is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, and whose job includes being commander in chief. And as President Trump has reminded us, has access to the nuclear button. So we want to make sure that person is acting with complete physical and mental capacity to be able to address the job.

CO: How much of what you're proposing is political? Are you not politically-motivated? You are a Democrat. You have in the past suggested you in favour of impeachment when the vote came to the Congress. Is this not politically motivated?

JR: Well, let's see. Obviously, everybody in Congress today is either Democrat or Republican. I guess Bernie Sanders is an independent. Though everybody, obviously, belongs to political parties, so the easiest thing in the world is to attribute political motives to any piece of legislation. I think that I have advanced very coherent and solid constitutional arguments, as well as policy arguments, for why we need to follow through on the 25th amendment’s promise. Impeachment and the 25th Amendment are two completely different things. Impeachment is based on high-crimes and misdemeanors. That's what the Republicans, for example, tried to impeach Bill Clinton for. But the 25th Amendment is about whether the president has the capacity to successfully discharge the powers and duties of office.

CO: This Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity that you propose in this legislation. What exactly would it do? How would you evaluate let’s say President Trumps capacity or any president’s capacity? What powers of investigation would it have? What would it be able to do?

JR: Well, it's a bipartisan, bicameral body set up by the appointment of both Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate. There would be a mixture of former statesmen and women, former presidents, vice presidents, as well as physicians and psychiatrists. It would have the power to actually observe and diagnose the president. If the president chose not to meet with them, he would not have to do so. But they could take that into account in making any judgment about capacity that they would develop with the vice president.

CO: And then remove or transfer powers to the vice president. Remove the president from power if this commission determined that the president was not capable?

JR: Exactly, according to the terms of the 25th Amendment. Now, the president could reject the recommendation of the cabinet and the vice president, or this commission and the vice president. In which case, the Congress has given a certain period of time within which to act. And it would take a two-thirds vote to side with the commission and the vice president against a provision by the president that he or she thinks that capacity is not wanting.

CO: Just finally, are people who suggest that maybe Mr. Trump might be crazy like a fox, that he might know exactly what he is doing, that his erratic and surprising behavior and remarks might be intended to keep people off balance. Is it possible what we’re seeing from Mr. Trump is simply strategy?

JR: Well, again, the question is not one of mental illness or craziness.

CO: No, I'm not saying that. Do you think that it's possible that what you're looking at, what you are concerned about, as we talked about being in this interview, might just be strategic?

JR: You mean on the part of the president?

CO: Yeah, that it’s his MO?

JR: Well you know, I suppose that’s something that you know the Commission on Presidential capacity in the cabinet and the vice president would have to take into account. Obviously, we're not there yet. A majority of congress doesn't think that we're there yet in terms of this presidency. My point is simply we don't have to wait for the actual crisis to do this. We can develop the body now, and it will be in place for this administration, and every future administration.

CO: Congressman Raskin, thanks for coming on the program.

JR: The pleasure's all mine.

JD: Jamie Raskin is a Democratic Congressman, and the author of the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act, which has not been scheduled for a vote. We reached him in Washington.

[Music: I like this song. It’s fun. Pop]

From Our Archives: Crane Girl

JD: For one day last April, she captured Toronto's imagination: "Crane Girl." In the dead of night, Marisa Lazo somehow managed to scale an approximately 25-storey construction crane downtown. And then for five hours, she sat on the crane's suspended pulley. Once safely on the ground, she was charged with mischief. And now, after pleading guilty, Ms. Lazo has received an absolute discharge. In an apology in court, she explained that she had been drinking heavily and struggling with mental health issues when she climbed the crane to, quote, "feel more alive." She thanked those who came to her rescue, even after she made what she called "reckless, selfish and costly decisions." Among those who came to her rescue was Rob Wanfor, the veteran firefighter who rappelled down with her in a harness. We spoke to him shortly after the rescue. Here's part of that interview, from our archives.


ROB WANFOR: It's pretty surreal. I mean it's funny because you're 150 feet in the air, and I said to her wow! We got a nice view here. She said yeah, it is nice. I said have you got your camera? We should take a picture. She said No, I don't. I said I didn't bring mine either.

CO: When you’re having that conversation with her. You have to kind of assess her state of mind I guess?

RW: Yeah, she was very helpful. She was just like a normal person that climbed up there with no issues, and just probably shouldn't have been there. She said I probably should've have done this. You know I didn't ask her why she was there, how she got there, we just hooked onto each other, tethered her off, told her what we were going to do, and she was very, very calm. She was actually a lot cooler than I was. She kept me calm.

CO: How cold was it up there?

RW: It was pretty cold, yeah. I was pretty hypothermic when I got down. I was pretty cold. She was colder than I was. But she was still a trooper. She was helping. She was shaken, but she knew we were trying to get a job done. The more she helped, the quicker we were going to get out of there. Yeah no, I’d work with her again for sure.

CO: How did you feel when you saw her being led away in handcuffs?

RW: I know, I wish they would have done that. I mean I really don't think she's a threat at that point. She was worried about getting in trouble. I said know what? We’ll make sure you’re not in big trouble, and not that I can guarantee it. She said I’m going to get a big fine. I said you know what? I'll pay the fine. I don't care. I mean I just want to get you down. If there’s a money fine, I'll pay it. Everybody just wants to help you, and we’re all worried about you, even though we don’t know you. It could be my daughter, it could be somebody’s friend, could be anybody, right? It’s just another human that needs help.

JD: From our archives, that was veteran firefighter Rob Wanfor. He helped rescue Marisa Lazo when she was stuck on a towering construction crane in Toronto. Ms. Lazo recently received an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to two counts of mischief.

[Music: Electronica]

Pakistani journalist

Guest: Taha Siddiqui

JD: It is a miracle that he escaped. Today, Taha Siddiqui, one of Pakistan's most outspoken journalists, was nearly kidnapped in broad daylight by armed men. Mr. Siddiqui, who is known for writing critical coverage of the country's powerful military, was able to get away — but not without a struggle. We reached Taha Siddiqui at his home in Islamabad.

CO: Mr. Siddiqui, I know this has been a terrifying day for you. How are you doing tonight?

TAHA SIDDIQUI: Well, firstly, if you asked me, one sort of scene keeps repeating in my mind of the first guy getting off the car with a pistol in his hand, and coming towards me. B1ecause I thought that he just going to shoot me right there. So I feel like I have been given a new life. And also, I feel very confused as to how this miracle happened that I escaped.

CO: I know you were on your way to the airport, and you were in Rawalpindi, a very busy highway — you were in a taxi. Tell us what happened?

TS: We were on the Islamabad highway towards the airport, and I had a flight to London. Cars came in front of me; I was on the fast track. The driver who was driving they came right in front of us, swerved from the right from the right side to my side, and basically stopped the car in the middle. And then I thought that perhaps the driver had a road rage incident. It happens in Pakistan. But when they came towards me with the gun, he said to me what do you think of yourself?

CO: Was your sense that they knew who you were?

TS: The way they talk to me definitely looks like they knew me, and they kept saying don't resist. And they took my passport away, so they knew that I was going to travel. I saw them taking my passport, so I tried to run away. They were trying to put me back into that car. They had taken the driver out. And one of the guys sat in front. One of the guys sat with me in the back. I realized this was my opportunity to maybe make a run for it. On the right side of my door, there was nobody there. I opened that, and miraculously it opened, and I ran for my life. I could have been hit by a car at that time, but I didn't really care at that time. I was like it's either my life right now I get killed or I escape. And I got a taxi, which I jumped into while it was moving. Then he stopped and he said I cannot take you any further. You're being followed by security forces I think. I don't want to get involved. I got off there, and then I went to another guy who I requested and pleaded to take me to Islamabad. By that time, I had taken his phone to call a friend of mine. I called him up for his advice. He said go to the nearest police station.

CO: Just to recap what you're describing. Were you being pursued? I mean this driver of this other cab you got into believed that you were being followed by security forces. What leads you to believe that they were security forces? What happened?

TS There were two things that made me believe that: one is that there was a military vehicle, which is a very common sight in Pakistan that was driving by while I was being beaten and kicked on the road while I was resisting. And I waved to him, and I screamed to him, and I said hey, help me. They’re kidnapping me, help me. At that time, I saw one of the guys who was standing behind me. He looked at them, and there was eye contact with him, and he gestured to them to move on. That's when I realized that they are in full authority here and nobody's going to intervene in this situation. The second thing was because the way they spoke to me in English. And the way they usually in Pakistan they usually come in these kind of cars that they came in to get me. So when I saw those cars, when I saw the way they had the weapons, and the way they were doing it in open broad daylight. Nobody in this country has that kind of freedom to do whatever they want.

CO: I mean your friend advised you to go to police. Did you have trepidation about that given that I mean you must at some point figured who can I turn to?

TS: When I reached the police station, I broke down completely. They made me sit down, they gave me a glass of water, made me have a cup of tea, and then they said you're in the police station. Nobody can touch you here. So I thought going public or to the police and talking to the press is my protection net right now. I have been since then deputed police guards at my house, providing me security. It gives me a little bit of peace of mind. But given how things are in this country, I'm not sure.

CO: You know that Pakistan is regarded as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. You are a reporter who has reported critically and skeptically of Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies. It appears from what you've said that they are the ones pursuing you. What can you possibly do to make yourself safe?

TS: For now, my options are limited because I have a wife and a child also — a five-year-old child. When I was leaving in the morning, I bib him farewell saying that I'm going to see you in five days when I come back. Now, he knows I'm back in the country, and I have no explanation for him. And I don’t know if I should tell him everything or not because he’s a five-year-old. I want to speak the truth, but I also want to live.

CO: What a choice to have to make: to report as you should or to be quiet and be safe. It's just not a choice you should have to make.

TS: I know, but in a country like Pakistan, I mean every senior journalist that has come up to me ever since this has happened they have come up to me and they said there is no use. Best is that you stay quiet if you want to survive that's the only way.

CO: What would have happened had you not escaped through that open door in the car?

TS: I think I would have been taken away. I would have been tortured like they have done with other people. Maybe I would have been killed in the torture because I could not have sustained it. Maybe they would have taken you know compromising pictures of me, they've done that, nude pictures of me. Or they’ve sodomized people and taking videos of that to sort of blackmail them that we’ll shame you in the public. But I think first, they wanted to play with the confusion of me traveling, and me not you know being anywhere, and not being in touch because I'm traveling. I don't want to think of the other options, but I think it ranges from being tortured to being killed.

CO: Taha, I'm happy that you are safe. And this is a horrible situation for you. We will keep in touch and follow what comes of your story.

TS: Thank you.

CO: Thank you so much for speaking with us tonight.

TS: Thank you.

CO: Take care.

TS: Cheers. Thank you.

CO: Goodnight.

TS: Goodnight

Taha Siddiqui is a journalist in Pakistan. He was held at gunpoint today by armed men on his way to the airport, nearly kidnapped. We reached Mr. Siddiqui in Islamabad.

Back To Top »

Part three: Not choking fan, Maura Jacobson obit

Not choking fan

Guest: Peter Heimlich

JD: Ed Byrne is a well-known Irish comedian. And He's pretty funny. In fact, he’s so funny you could die laughing, unless he saves you. And if you’re a reader of the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail, you could almost believe Mr. Byrne had done just that, by saving an audience member from choking at one of his shows. But when one investigative blogger heard the choking story, something about it stuck in his craw. So he decided to get to the bottom of it. Now, that blogger's name happens to be Peter Heimlich. Yes, and yes, he's the son of Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the maneuver. Now, that's not relevant, but it is kind of an odd detail, don’t you think? And here's Peter Heimlich with the rest of the odd details. We reached him in Atlanta.

CO: Mr. Heimlich, take us back to the original story. What did these two UK newspapers — the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail — what did they report?

PETER HEIMLICH: Sure, it’s two papers, which was the Daily Mail Online and the London Evening Standard, reported that I believe it was in early December, a comic named Ed Byrne, while in mid-performance at a theatre, witnessed a woman who claimed she was choking to death on an M&M. And according to the stories, Ed valiantly jumped off the stage or ran to her in some form or another, and performed the Heimlich maneuver — thereby, allegedly, saving her life.

CO: Now, and of course, part of this story is that these jokes were very funny. And that it's plausible that somebody who is eating something while listening to this performance could actually choke, right?

PH: Oh, that sounds like that sounds plausible, sure.

CO: What was it about the articles that rang alarm bells in your head?

PH: Well, I didn't initially have an alarm bell. What concerned me about the reporting, and I didn't know if the stories were bogus or whether it was just reported not at the highest level of journalism. The first story, which was published on January 2nd; that was a Tuesday, appears to have originated solely from one source. A woman who was identified as Morgan Wilson, and the photo identified her as Morgan Wilson. As I don't need to tell you, Carol, a basic rule of journalism is to confirm facts with two or more sources. But the Mail article didn't quote anyone else. Nothing from Ed Byrne, the comic and alleged rescuer, or from representatives of the theatre where the incident reportedly occurred, or from any medical personnel who were reportedly on the scene, and there were no eyewitnesses who were quoted in the story. So that night, I sent a tweet to Ed Byrne and to the reporter and to the Daily Mail and to the theatre. Oh, I forgot to say! The article didn't say what the date of the incident was. So I just tweeted to them what date did the choking rescue happen?

CO: And how did they respond?

PH: Well, they didn't respond. They didn't receive any answers anyway. But the next morning, I clicked the Mail Online article link and discovered the story had disappeared.

CO: Let’s just stop this for a second. I have to ask maybe you can explain why this is interesting to you? I mean is there a couple of very small, questionable stories without many sources in two UK newspapers. You're living in Atlanta. Was it the Heimlich maneuver aspect of this that drew you?

PH: Oh yeah, well, that's how I found out about it. The research by my wife and I into my father's unusual career sort of got me interested in becoming a blogger. I have a trusty Google News alert robot that sends me all things Heimlich. And it sent me the Daily Mail article. And one reason I got interested in it was it's a celebrity choking rescue. And I've blogged a number of stories about alleged celebrity choking rescues, which in my opinion, are not precisely accurate. I know this will shock you, Carol. But people have been known to make up stories to get them into the news.

CO: No! That’s crazy!

PH: Including Heimlich maneuver stories.

CO: But let's get back to the story of Morgan Wilson having her life saved by comedian Ed Byrne. How did it all end up?

PH: The morning that I found the missing link, so to speak. That is the missing Mail Online article, which had apparently been scrubbed or disappeared. I did a quick Google and found that that same day, that the London Evening Standard had reported a near identical article, except it had a lot more information and quotes in it courtesy of the mysterious alleged victim Morgan Wilson. So the Google News page showed the picture of Morgan, if that's her and her friend if that's her, and it had a link to the Evening Standard story. So I clicked on that. And, oh oh, that story was M.I.A. too.

CO: So what do you make of that? What's this Morgan Wilson, should she exist, what's she up to?

PH: I'm not sure. I've been corresponding with somebody who claims to be Morgan Wilson. And for all I know, it may be her. She had apparently reached out to a bunch of other reporters as well as the two who took the bait, and contacted another reporter who did not take the bait. And he sent me her email address — at least the email address from whoever it was that contact him. And I wrote to that person, and she and I, assuming it’s a she, have been corresponding. And I'm hoping to do a follow up Q and A interview with her.

CO: All right. If you ever do get to speak with whoever Morgan Wilson really is. But Ed Byrne, the comedian, has said, this is his tweet, “This is a great story only partially ruined by the fact that it's completely untrue.” So has he said anything more about it than that?

PH: He and I have exchanged a couple of tweets. Earlier today, I tweeted that I was confident that he should be able to get five minutes of stand-up out of this. And that would certainly be a good addition and a nice coda to the story. I don't know what he's feeling these days about having been basically used as the cat’s paw. But I hope to learn more from Ed if he wants to discuss it.

CO: OK. Just finally, what would your dad — what would Henry Heimlich — think of his maneuver being used in these kind of fake stories?

PH: Well, my dad actually, sorry to break the news to you — but he engaged in various case frauds over the years. So I think publicly, he would probably disapprove and cluck cluck at it. But privately, I think he probably be impressed.

CO: Would he find it amusing?

PH: Possibly. He was a strange guy. Trust me.

CO: All right. I will have to trust you on that one. Mr. Heimlich, it's good to talk to you. Thank you.

PH: Thank you, Carol. Pleasure.

CO: Bye bye.

JD: That was Peter Heimlich, an investigative blogger at The Sidebar, and the son of Henry Heimlich. We reached Mr. Heimlich in Atlanta. And now here is some of Ed Byrne’s stand-up comedy. A warning though before we play it: perhaps you shouldn't eat while you listen.


ED BYRNE: We have a great show fore you tonight. We have fantastic show. Very funny comedians. People always ask me who I think is funny? That's the number two question I get asked as a comedian. The number one question I get asked as a comedian is have you ever died? As soon as you tell someone you’re a comedian, first thing they want to know is have you ever died? Or what’s it like when no one laughs? Tell us about the worst gig you've ever had in your life? Please relive for me in minute detail the worst moment of your professional career? Have you ever really died? It's like saying to a doctor tell us about the last patient you lost. What happened? Were the family crying? I bet they were? Were they? Yeah, yeah. People are such ghouls. It's the number one question: have you ever died? Number two question though is what makes you laugh? People always want to know that from me. Who do you think is funny? And that's a nicer question. That's more understandable. You know I make people laugh. People want to know what makes me laugh. In the same ways you might say to your hairdresser who cuts your hair? Or you might take someone in an Audi who do you think drives like a [censored]? I like that joke. It's a short joke. It's a sharp joke. And also what that joke, I get to spot every Audi driver in the room. I can just see that pinched expression on your face there. No need to be like that about it. I’ve done well for myself; it's a very reliable machine. And the fact that I can tell you an Audi driver by the expression on your face means technically you've just given a form of indication. So well done. Good for you. I knew you could do it.

JD: A little bit of a comedian Ed Byrne.

[Music: Hip-hop]

Voyaging canoe

JD: Canadian Artist Brendan George Ko is using his camera to explore history. The photographer has a solo show at the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto. It features photos of the traditional Polynesian canoes that have had such a deep impact on the culture and community of Hawaii. Including the Hokule'a — a canoe that left in 2014 for a three-year trip around the world. The crew used the sun, the stars, and the waves to guide them. When that crew arrived at their home port in Hawaii last June, Carol spoke to one of the lead navigators on the journey. And she asked Ka'iulani Murphy why she'd wanted to take a journey around the world without modern navigation.


KA’IULANI MURPHY: Well, from the beginning of Hokule’a, she's always this spirit of exploration. So from the early days, we were trying to relearn the methods of non-instrument navigation — what we call way finding. That’s being able to sail you know between islands that you can see, but islands that you can't use without using any instruments and only using the natural around us. The most consistent and the easiest part of that kind of navigation is the stars — the celestial bodies — because they're predictable. But then you don't have them, which is a majority of the time, you don't have clear nights every night, or when the sun is high it's difficult to tell a direction, then we rely on ocean swells. It gives you a challenge.

CO: What was it like to be onboard?

KM: Oh, it's always amazing. Every single experience is different because you’re always with a different crew in different parts of the world or parts of the ocean. But it's really a special time that we all cherish, especially to be on Hokule’a, on the ocean, really developing this sense of family with our fellow crewmembers, and the love of the natural surroundings.

CO: And this Hokule’a — the boat, the canoe — what does it look like?

KM: Ah, she's beautiful. She's designed for our traditional voyaging canoes. So there's two holes connected by cross beams or we call Yaco. And there's the deck platform on top of it. She has two masts. She's basically that the modern catamaran is designed from our traditional voyaging canoes. But the end pieces of the canoe have a design that kind of unique to Hawaii where the end pieces kind of come up to a point. It’s very ancient-looking I guess.

CO: Very few people get to be in a situation where you can't see land in any direction. Where you have no reference point at all on the water, you’re just entirely out there, and so what's that like?

KM: It's something, for me, it’s a special time. It feels like you know we’re almost kind of going back in time and sailing in the wake of our ancestors. You feel like you're practicing the same art skill that our ancestors did. So there's something really special about that.

JD: From last June, that was Carol's conversation with Ka'iulani Murphy — one of the navigators on a canoe trip around the world. You can see photos of the canoe that made that journey you can see them in Toronto this week, if you’re here. That’s part of the Contact Photography Festival.

[Music: Ambient]

Maura Jacobson obit

Guest: Jerome Jacobson

JD: She loved to solve puzzles growing up. As an adult, she loved creating puzzles for others to solve — the trickier the better. Maura Jacobson, a former crossword puzzlemaker for New York Magazine, died on Christmas Day. She was 91 years old. During her 31-year career, Ms. Jacobson's work became famous for its thematic clues and witty puns. She also contributed many crosswords to the New York Times, and wrote more than two-dozen crossword books. And she was a superstar at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, where she provided many of her puzzles. When her name was announced, it was always greeted with cheers and with applause. Jerome Jacobson was Maura Jacobson's husband. We reached him in White Plains, New York.

CO: Dr. Jacobson, first of all, I'm sorry for your loss.

JEROME JACOBSON: Thank you very much. That's very kind of you.

CO: Your wife. Her Puzzles included so much of her own life in them, haven't they? I mean I know your name I think was one of them when the clues one time, wasn't it? Or one of the answers?

JJ: It was her first Puzzle. And I don't think she used it again after that. She never asked my permission at least.

CO: How did she get interested in crosswords?

JJ: Her father was a puzzle-solver. He would buy two newspapers every day — a morning and an afternoon. Each of which had a puzzle, and he would solve both puzzles. He loved crossword puzzles. And then at a certain point, Maura decided that she would try to solve a puzzle, which she did. And then decided she would make up her own puzzle using the graph of that day's paper. She completed the puzzle, but she had two locations where she was having difficulty finding a word for each, so she manufactured a word and sent it to the New York Times. And this was a 15-by-15, which is the size they used during the week.

CO: And now, for most of us, just trying to solve a crossword puzzle is challenging enough. But to actually then sit down and say oh, that was that was fun! And now I'm going to make my own, and then I’m going to send it to the New York Times editor for puzzles. It takes him thinks I'm courage, I think?

JJ: That's right. And she had it.

CO: What did the puzzle editor of the New York Times say about her first contribution?

JJ: The first puzzle editor to whom she sent the puzzle, she saw those to word. To which she wrote back to Maura that she looked everywhere, but she couldn't find those two words anywhere. And if Maura would make corrections, she would consider publishing the puzzle. And Maura re-did that particular words, sent it back, and then that was published.

CO: I understand she was in a quite terrible traffic accident.

JJ: Yeah, that happened in 71.

CO: And what role did that play in seeing her get involved even more seriously in making these puzzles?

JJ: After doing a daily puzzle for the New York Times, she said she was going to try and do a Sunday magazine puzzle for the New York Times. So she decided to try a Sunday, and it was printed. Then she said well, I'm going to do one more, and if I have a second one in then I'll stop constructing, so she sent the second one in, it was published, and then she stopped. And then after that is when she had her auto accident. The publisher was looking forward to it to submit some more puzzles. But she had stopped at that point. And then the publisher sent her an envelope filled with graph paper. And she said as long as you're lying in bed why don't you work on some puzzles? And she did.

CO: What was she like? When Maura was doing these puzzles — when she was trying to come up with the clues — and she's known for the puns she would put in them. Would she consult people? Would she just focus? Did she work alone?

JJ: Well, she would test me. She would make up her puns, and then she would come to me and say how do you like this one? And I helped her make a decision. If I thought they were funny, she used it. If I didn't think it was funny, she didn't.

CO: I mean there are puzzle makers who want you to be stumped — they don't want you to solve them. I understand that Maura wasn't like that. She wanted people to be able to solve the puzzle, right?

JJ: Exactly, exactly. She wanted to be entertaining. She didn't want people have to suffer while doing the puzzles. She wanted them to enjoy it. So she adjusted the clues to make it a little easier to solve. And, of course, she put in the puns to add a little comedy to it, if I can use that term, I think that was a major factor.

CO: I know that people knew about her puzzles because there was a certain style to it. There was quite the applause for her when she was at the annual American Crossword Tournament.

JJ: Yes, they loved they loved her puzzle because the other puzzles they had were very challenging. And they had to work very hard. And sometimes they couldn't even complete the other puzzles. And when they introduced Maura’s puzzle, they applauded because they knew they were not going to have to work so hard.

CO: Before your wife died, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work. What did that mean for her?

JJ: She was one of the top puzzle constructors in the country. She used to get fan mail. I think she very much, very much appreciated that award. And for her to get this first lifetime achievement award that has been given I think meant a lot to her. And there was no question in our mind that they enjoyed Maura’s puzzles more than anybody else's.

CO: It sounds like she was a lot of fun for the years that you had with her.

JJ: We had a wonderful 69 years together.

CO: And if you want to call the year according, we had 70 years together, and they are wonderful years.

CO: Dr. Jacobson, thank you for sharing your stories about your wife with us.

JJ: You're welcome. Thank you for the call.

CO: Bye.

JJ: Bye bye.

JD: That was Dr. Jerome Jacobson, husband of Maura Jacobson. We reached him in White Plains, New York. Maura Jacobson was a long-time crossword puzzle maker for New York Magazine. She died Christmas Day. She was 91-years-old.

[Music: Strings]

James Franco

JD: At the Golden Globes on Sunday, James Franco won "Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy". And while he — like every other man who won that night — failed to say anything about sexual harassment or inequality in Hollywood, he did take the stage wearing a "Time's Up" pin on his suit. To some people, that pin was a symbol of hypocrisy, particularly, the women who accused him of sexual misconduct after his victory. So, last night, "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert asked Mr. Franco to address their accusations. Here's part of that conversation.


JAMES FRANCO: In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I've done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that that there is something wrong or needs to be changed. I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long. So I don't want to shut them down in any way. It's I think a good thing and I support it.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Well, is there something else that you think… some way to have this discussion that isn't in social media? Is there some way to have this conversation that piggybacks on what's happening in social media? Because when accusations happen… because for so long accusations were not believed. When accusations happen, in your case, you say that this is not an accurate thing for me. Do you have any idea what the answer might be to come to some sense of what the truth is, so there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things? It's a big question, but I don't know how to leave or to further this discussion?

JF: I mean, like I said, the way I live my life, I can't live if there's restitution to be made. I will make it. So If I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I mean I think that's how that that works. I don't know what else to do? I mean as far as the bigger issues you know how we do it? Look, I really don't have the answers. And I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. There were you know incredible people talking that night. They had a lot to say. And I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off. And I'm completely willing and I want.


JD: That was actor James Franco speaking with Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show” on CBS.

Back To Top »

CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.