Read more here
Pt 2: Water Babies Documentary - There is a certain kind of person who is a little different from the rest of us. They exist on land, like the rest of us but they live ... thrive in the water. On land, you might pass them by. in water their movements are strong, graceful and intuitive. They can take our breathe away.
Read more here
Pt 3: Letters - Today is Thursday, time for our weekly look at the mail. And our Friday Host, Nancy Wilson joined Anna Maria in studio.
Read more here
It's Thursday, April 30th.
American Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says there is no factual basis for closing the U.S.-Mexican border because of the swine flu.
Currently, Which is why she's closing the Canadian border instead.
This is The Current.
Swine Flu Narrative
The World Health Organization has now raised its pandemic alert level for the so-called swine flu to five. That's the second highest threat level the W.H.O. has. It means the W.H.O. believes the world is at imminent risk of a pandemic because there has been sustained, human-to-human transmission in two countries. The W.H.O. has recommended that all countries immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans.
There are now 19 confirmed cases of swine flu in Canada. Confirmed cases have also been reported in Mexico, the United States, Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Deaths from the virus have been reported in Mexico and the United States.
As it has progressed, there have been times when the story of this swine flu outbreak has seemed like something torn from the pages of a thriller novel or a blockbuster Hollywood movie. We aired a potential movie trailer.
That was a fictionalized account of a very real problem. But according to Priscilla Wald, the fact that most of us pretty much instinctively recognize the narrative arc presented there tells us something about how we use stories to understand the world including health crises.
Priscilla Wald is a Professor of English at Duke University. She's also the author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers and the Outbreak Narrative and she was in Durham, North Carolina. Vincent Lam is a physician and a writer. He is the author of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, and the co-author of The Flu Pandemic and You. He was in Toronto.
Water Babies Documentary
There is a certain kind of person who is a little different from the rest of us. They exist on land, like the rest of us but they live ... thrive in the water. On land, you might pass them by. in water their movements are strong, graceful and intuitive. They can take our breathe away.
The Current's Chris Wodskou is not one of those people. But he wanted to find out what makes them tick especially elite athletes in aquatic sports such as swimming, diving and synchronized swimming ... people whose success depends on how well their minds and bodies can mesh with water. And so this morning our Watershed series submerges itself in their world. Chris Wodskou's documentary is called Water Babies.
Today is Thursday, time for our weekly look at the mail. And our Friday Host, Nancy Wilson joined Anna Maria in studio.
Swine Flu: Yesterday the first death from swine flu was reported in the United States. And the number of cases being reported outside Mexico is rising steadily.
Monday on The Current, we spoke to David Waltner-Toews who is the President of Veterinarians without Borders Canada. He has written about pandemics and diseases that migrate from animals to people. After this segment we heard from our listeners.
Also, yesterday we spoke with Philip Alcabes. He is an associate professor of Urban Public Health at Hunter College at the City University of New York. His new book is called Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from The Black Death to Avian Flu. He mentioned the much anticipated 1976 Great Swine Flu epidemic that never actually materialized.
In January, 1976, a 19-year-old U.S. Army Private died unexpectedly of pneumonia caused by swine flu. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. secretary of health, education, and welfare predicted that the virus would spread and kill a million Americans. By August of that year, facing political pressure in an election campaign and pressure from the pharmaceutical companies, President Gerald Ford signed the National Influenza Immunization Program.
It was a plan to immunize 80 percent of the American population. And the immunization campaign kicked into gear. We aired a 1976 public service announcement. The campaign ground to a halt by the end of the year. About a third of the population took the vaccine. Some of them developed a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder. And in the end, the only death attributed to the swine flu was that one American Army Private.
For more on what we might learn from that experience, we were joined by Arthur Silverstein. He is a professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University medical school. In 1976 he was working as a Congressional science fellow and advising the U.S. Senate. He's also the author of a book called Pure Politics and Impure Science: The Swine Flu Affair. He was in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Ezra Levant: Ezra Levant describes human rights commissions as "a beautiful idea that failed." He's the author of Shakedown: How our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights. He's also the former publisher of the magazine "The Western Standard." Tuesday on The Current, he argued that human rights commissions are now irrelevant. His views prompted a lot of mail.
To defend the role of Human Rights Commissions, we reached Barbara Hall. She is the Chief Commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission and she joined us from her office in Toronto.
Tax Mistake: Last Thursday, we brought you a story about one man's battle against the Canada Revenue Agency. For thirteen years, Irvin Leroux fought a tax battle with the CRA. The agency has since admitted that it made a mistake. But Irvin Leroux has received no financial restitution. He and his wife have lost their business, their home and their savings. And as he says, he is not alone in this kind of battle. We shared a few personal stories and thoughts on this tax battle.