Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Tuesday, April 8th.
After widespread protests in London and Paris, San Francisco police will take extra precautions for tomorrow's arrival of the Olympic torch.
Currently, the public is still welcome to view the flame, but only from a safe and respectable distance ... on Alcatraz.
This is The Current.
Chaos accompanied the Olympic torch as it navigated the packed and angry streets of Paris. From the moment the torch was lit in Greece in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, it has been trailed by protesters concerned with China's human rights' record. The torch will be paraded along San Francisco's waterfront on its only North American stop, but demonstrators there were ahead of the game, some even scaling the cables of the city's iconic Golden Gate bridge to unfurl banners and fly Tibetan flags. Four people were arrested in that incident, including a Canadian woman from Vancouver.
Thus far, the protests have been very effective in getting people's attention. But not everyone thinks the Olympic Flame relay is an appropriate place for politics of any stripe. Betty Yuan is one of the organizers of San Francisco's Olympic torch relay and joined us from San Francisco.
Not everyone agrees that preserving the sanctity of the Olympic torch is so important. In fact some say it might be a good thing if it lost a bit of its shine.
Derick Hulme is an Olympic historian and the author of The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan and the 1980 Boycott. He spoke to us from Alma, Michigan.
Listen to Part One:
Tyranny of Tipping
We heard some thoughts on tipping from a coffee shop in Toronto's Kensington Market. If you're the one buying the coffee, a few extra dimes probably doesn't sound like much for a little more foam on your cappuccino. But for a group of Starbucks baristas in California, it means a whole "latte" more.
In March 2008, a judge ruled that Starbucks owes its employees there $100 million in lost tips because the company's policy of allowing shift supervisors a share of the tip jar contravened state law. Starbucks is expected to appeal the ruling. But in the meantime, similar lawsuits have been filed in Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York.
Steve Ibarra was part of the original class action lawsuit in California. He is now a lawyer with the lawfirm Wesierski and Zurek. We reached him by phone in Los Angeles.
Tyranny of Tipping - Panel
The practice of tipping began in the 17th century, partly as a way of keeping waiters from attacking their patrons. Historically, it's always been discretionary; a way of rewarding good service. But some people worry that's changing, that tips are now expected, no matter what. Of course the problem is there aren't actually any rules.
The Current hit the streets of Fredericton to gauge people's attitudes, but for their two cents on whether expectations about tipping are running rampant, we were joined by three people: from Sherman Oaks, California by Mark Brenner, a behaviourist and the author of seven books, including Tipping for Success: How to Get Celebrity Style Everywhere; from Winnipeg by Lew Bayer, a partner with The Civility Group, an etiquette and ethics at work company; and from Rome by Daniele Archibugi, an economics professor and research director at the Italian Research Council.
Listen to Part Two:
Stolen Child in Argentina - Documentary
Growing up in Argentina, María Eugenia Sampallo Barragán always had a tough -- if slightly confusing -- relationship with her mother. She frequently heard that "if it wasn't for me, you would have ended up in a ditch." It took her 23 years to figure out what that comment meant.
The truth came in 2001: She had been taken from her parents at birth, her birth certificate falsified and her true identity erased. Her birth parents, it turned out, were two of the 30,000 people marked as dissidents and "disappeared" by Argentina's military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.
And María Eugenia herself is just one of at least two hundred children of the disappeared who are finding out in their 20's and 30's that they were taken by the dictatorship that had killed their parents then given to families connected to the regime to raise as their own.
Since María Eugenia discovered her true identity, she's been seeking justice in Argentina's courts. On Friday, April 4, 2008, a court sentenced her two adoptive parents to 7 and 8 years in jail and gave the army captain who helped bury her true identity a 10-year sentence.
María Eugenia's case is viewed by many as a landmark for other children of the disappeared who are also looking for answers and justice.
To tell us more about that, we were joined from Buenos Aires by Dawn Makinson, a freelance journalist who's working on a documentary about the stolen children for CBC Television.
Legacy of Brutality in Latin America
The stories of stolen babies are especially horrifying, even in a region dotted with brutal pasts. But Argentina is hardly the only country in Latin America that has lived through military dictatorships and civil wars. And like Argentina, many of those countries are still struggling with issues of memory, reconciliation and justice.
For his thoughts on how that's unfolding, we were joined by Pablo Policzer, the Canada Research Chair in Latin American Politics at the University of Calgary.
Last Word - Tipping
In tribute to our discussion in this episode about the social standards that govern tipping, we closed with some final thoughts on the subject, courtesy of a front-line expert. Sarah McLean is a student in the journalism and communications program at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. After pulling the late shift at bars around the city for the last five years, she had some thoughts we thought worth sharing.
Listen to Part Three: