MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Second Amendment analysis takes a backseat at the Supreme Court, and lawyers duke it out over water pollution in Maui.
BREYER: Water does run downhill—(Laughter)—and that virtually every little drop of rain that falls finds its way to the sea.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also on the Monday Moneybeat—the strongest jobs report since January.
Plus, the WORLD Radio History Book. Today, a heart-warming story of Christmas generosity after World War II.
HALIFAX: I’m so happy to accept these gifts. They’re tokens of friendship. And they will endure when the toys are broken or outgrown.
And WORLD Radio’s Kim Henderson has the rest of the story of John Allen Price, killed at Pearl Harbor 78 years ago.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, December 9th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Investigators still working to determine motive for Naval Air Base shooting » Investigators are still working to determine what drove a Saudi student to fatally shoot three U.S. sailors at a Naval Air Base. But the FBI is treating it as an act of terrorism.
Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas told reporters Sunday…
ROJAS: Our main goal right now is to confirm whether he acted alone or was he a part of a larger network.
The suspect reportedly hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said authorities detained multiple people, who he described as friends of the shooter.
ESPER: And I was also was told that someone or two was filming it. What’s unclear is were they filming it before it began or is it something where they picked up their phones and filmed it once they saw it unfolding.
The suspect opened fire inside a classroom at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, killing three and wounding 10 others before a sheriff’s deputy killed him.
He was a 21-year-old Second Lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Pentagon has long had a military training program for Saudis and other allied nations. Currently, more than 850 Saudis are in the United States for training.
President Trump said his administration will review policies that govern foreign military training in the United States.
Chinese-American scholar freed in prisoner swap with Iran » A Princeton scholar imprisoned for three years in Iran is back home today after a prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran.
Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang walked to freedom across the tarmac of a Swiss airport on Saturday, boarding a U.S. State Department jet.
In exchange, U.S. officials freed scientist Massoud Soleimani. He was facing a federal trial in Georgia over charges he violated sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran.
Iranian officials had arrested Wang in 2016. Princton said he was conducting research for his doctorate studies. But Iran accused him of being a spy. The U.S. government said the charges were fabricated.
Democrats speeding toward impeachment with “sense of urgency” » Democrats are speeding toward impeachment with a “sense of urgency.” That’s the word from House Judiciary Chairman Jarold Nadler. He said they have to act fast to keep President Trump from trying to—quote—“rig the next election.”
He added that members of his committee will see articles of impeachment later this week. And the full House will vote shortly thereafter.
Nadler told CNN…
NADLER: We have a very rock solid case. I think the case we have, if presented to a jury, would be a guilty verdict in about 3 minutes flat.
But Republicans say that’s the furthest thing from the truth. And Texas Senator Ted Cruz said even if Democrats in the House hold the line and approve articles of impeachment, they’ll be dead on arrival in the Senate.
CRUZ: They’re going to impeach, not because they have the evidence, but because they hate the president, want to do the election. But it’s going to go to the Senate. It’s going to go nowhere. I think the American people know this is a waste of time.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold another impeachment hearing today. Members will hear presentations from counsels to the Judiciary and Intelligence panels.
DOJ internal watchdog to release report on FBI’s handling of Russia probe » Meantime, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog will release a highly anticipated report today about the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe.
The Associated Press, citing sources familiar with the inspector general’s findings says it’s expected to be critical of the FBI, but also conclude there was an adequate basis for launching the probe.
The bureau began the investigation in secret during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein eventually appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to finish it once Trump was in office.
Frozen II continues global box office dominance » At the weekend box office, Disney’s Frozen II continues to freeze out the competition.
TRAILER: Elsa get out of there! You can’t just follow me into fire. Then don’t run into fire!
The animated sequel took in another $35 million. Worldwide, it’s already approaching a billion dollars in ticket sales.
You can find WORLD’s review of Frozen II and other current films—along with ratings and content information—at WNG.org–slash–movies.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead on Legal Docket: The Supreme Court takes up a Second Amendment case. Plus, Kim Henderson tells the rest of a Pearl Harbor story. This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Monday morning and we’re back at it for another week for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 9th of December, 2019. Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Last week the Supreme Court heard the biggest Second Amendment case of the term.
The case is from New York, where firearm restrictions allow you to have a pistol or revolver in your home. But the license that allows you to have that pistol or revolver is tied to your address, not to you and wherever you may go, except in very limited situations.
For example, say you want to take your gun to the shooting range, as gun owners tend to do. You can do that, but under these conditions: you have to lock up the gun unloaded and in a container, and then carry the ammunition separately.
EICHER: It’s important to note those restrictions are not in place now.
Let’s listen to the lawyers on each side, speaking outside the courtroom.
First, Paul Clement, lawyer for the gun owners:
CLEMENT: My clients have been litigating this case for over five years. The reason they filed this lawsuit… was to vindicate their rights under the Second Amendment. Up until the point that the Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case, the city of New York had resisted their efforts to vindicate their rights at every turn.
Jim Johnson is a lawyer for the city of New York:
JOHNSON: New York City and New York State actually gave them everything that they had asked for before this argument. That was made very plain in this argument today. The case is moot.
If you smell a whiff of legal chicanery in the backstory, it’s because, well, there’s a bit of legal chicanery in the backstory.
In this case, three gun owners, as well as the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, sought to have the city’s gun restrictions declared unconstitutional. They made claims under the Second Amendment for gun rights, and claimed the rules restricted their rights of free association and of travel.
They lost in lower courts and so the city left the restrictions in place.
REICHARD: Left the restrictions in place until the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. Then New York scrambled to undo the restrictions, so it could argue the case is now moot.
Moot, meaning nothing left to decide. That would avoid risking victories upholding other gun restrictions won in the lower courts. And the liberal justices all seemed to think the case is moot.
But conservative Justice Samuel Alito did not.
Listen to this exchange with lawyer for the city, Richard Dearing. Suppose the gun owners had won a judgment below that the old law violated the Second Amendment?
ALITO: And suppose that after that one of the plaintiffs had made a trip to a firing range in let’s say New Jersey and while there decided to stop to visit his mother for a couple of hours to take care of a few things for her. Would there be any law that that would violate?
DEARING: I don’t think it’s—it’s at all clear because that question—those kind of questions were never put at issue or litigated in the case. And so—
ALITO: Well, what—you don’t know what—you don’t know whether there’s any city law that that would violate?
DEARING: I’m not aware of any city law that that—
ALITO: So then why is this case moot? Because they didn’t get all that they wanted. They wanted a declaration that the old law was unconstitutional, period.
REICHARD: Maybe they didn’t get that declaration, but they did get everything else they wanted, such as traveling outside city limits.
But pinning down exactly how direct and continuous that travel had to be was a sticking point. A coffee stop? That’s OK.
But Justice Alito’s visit to mother caused Dearing to stumble over how far to take that.
Here’s Justice Gorsuch taking it further:
GORSUCH: So we have no representations to us as to what is direct and continuous. Other than ‘coffee’s OK.’
DEARING: Coffee . . . what I can represent because it’s come up before, coffee, restrooms, food, gas, the kinds of things that you ordinarily would stop for in the course of travel, I hadn’t considered the mother or mother-in-law example before.
Dearing said those other situations are for another case.
Justice Gorsuch didn’t let go:
GORSUCH: But you’re asking us to say that there is no controversy now.
Chief Justice John Roberts is the likely deciding vote. He asked relatively few questions, but seemed to cast about for a way to call the case moot without limiting the gun owners in some other way.
I don’t think this is a case in which Second Amendment advocates are going to score a big win.
OK, number two case today (Ritzen Group Inc v Jackson Masonry, LLC). It’s a bankruptcy matter.
When you file for bankruptcy, creditors have to stop trying to collect the debt directly from you. They must follow a specific process to work out among many creditors who gets paid what. To get around that general rule, a creditor has to get a bankruptcy judge to allow it.
Those judges have to make tons of little decisions within the case before it’s all over.
The question is when can those little decisions be appealed? In legal parlance, when is a little decision “final” for purposes of appeal?
The justices were trying to get at the meaning of the word “final.” Listen to an incredulous Justice Samuel Alito:
ALITO: So what if the order … says, ‘And this is the final word on this subject. This is not going to be reexamined.’ It’s not final?
LAWYER: No … because …
There you have it. “Final” doesn’t always mean “final.”
The Supreme Court took the case because lower courts disagree about this. Clarity is needed. Finally!
This last case arises from the beautiful western shores of Maui. But even paradise has to deal with less pristine matters, such as sewage and pollution.
Environmental groups sued Maui County for polluting the ocean. They say the county’s big wastewater plant dumps millions of gallons of treated sewage into the Pacific. The county should get a permit to do this, per the Clean Water Act.
That forbids putting pollutants into the ocean from any point in the treatment process.
Here’s how lawyer for the environmental groups, David Henkin, put it:
HENKIN: This prohibition is not limited to pollutants that flow directly from a point source to navigable waters. The word ‘directly’ is nowhere in the text. …When you buy groceries, you say they came from the store, not from your car, even though that’s the last place they were before they entered your house.
But Maui County says that analogy doesn’t apply because the Clean Water Act doesn’t apply to what it does. That law is for treated water that goes directly into the ocean. Maui County’s treated water doesn’t do that.
The county injects the treated water into special underground wells. Then it mixes with groundwater, which then eventually makes its way to the ocean. But the groundwater carries it there. Ergo, the Clean Water Act doesn’t apply. No permit required.
County lawyer Elbert Lin warned against applying the Clean Water Act too broadly. It involves massive fines—$50,000 per day.
Justice Samuel Alito picked up on that on behalf of rural Americans in a challenge to Henkin, again lawyer for the environmental groups.
ALITO: Let’s take an example of the ordinary family out in the country that has a septic tank, and they buy it from somebody who installs them, and they get the building permit that’s required by that rural municipality. And then it turns out that some things are leaching out of the septic tank 10 years later and making its way into waters of the United States.
So those poor people would get socked with penalties for want of a permit? Not to worry, Henkin responded, because other regulations govern septic tanks.
But the justices pressed him for some limiting principle that wouldn’t ensnare the little guy.
Listen to Justice Stephen Breyer hearken to what he learned in junior high:
BREYER: I learned in the eighth grade, and it may be wrong, that water does run downhill—[Laughter]—and that virtually every little drop of rain that falls finds its way to the sea. And—and that’s an overstatement, but not too much. So it’s not just the septic tank; the miner gets up and every morning he throws his shaving water outside the house at Pikes Peak, OK? Now there’s a very good chance that that will end up in a river, and the brief on the—of the scientists, really convinced me they’re geniuses and they can trace all kinds of things.
The “traceability” of pollutants is one test put forth by the environmental groups as the link for liability for pollution. But the justices pressed for some test aside from that because everything can be traced.
Lots of competing interests for the justices to juggle here, with no obvious connection to the competing judicial philosophies represented by the justices on the bench. So, I’ve got no prediction on this one.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: The Federal Reserve meets this week to set interest rates, and you’ll do well to remember the words of the Fed chairman last month: that current rates are likely to stay right where they are—unless the positive economic news turns bad. That’s a paraphrase.
Generally speaking: Fed policy is to cut rates to stimulate the economy and raise them to try to keep the economy from overheating and sparking inflation.
So given what chairman Jay Powell told Congress in November, then, nothing short of economic catastrophe at this point is likely to push the Fed to cut rates a fourth time this year.
Bear in mind, the central bank raised rates eight straight times after the election of President Trump: all the increases coming 25 basis points at a time, adding up to two full percentage points. Then, the Fed backed off and this year made three cuts of 25 basis points each.
But two factors point to the Fed’s standing pat, that is, leaving interest rates alone: The central bank published the last of its eight economic reports this year, and its so-called “Beige Book” at the end of November was much more upbeat than the previous one. Then came the jobs report for November, and it beat expectations, and dropped the unemployment rate to 3.5 percent.
Meaning, the Fed’s likely to conclude that the economy is humming right along and needs no help.
REICHARD: More on the November jobs report in a moment, but release of that report turned the stock market on Friday—to propel the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index to a second-straight winning week.
The S&P 500’s Friday gains erased all the week’s losses to that point. The Dow Jones Industrials and the Nasdaq posted strong gains, too, but they weren’t enough and both ended the week down one-tenth.
Driving the markets down during the week were signs that trade negotiations between the United States and China remain at loggerheads.
EICHER: Now that jobs report: American employers added 266,000 new jobs in November. For context, that’s the best performance since January. The strong November report pushed up the 2019 average to 180,000 jobs per month, and that puts us firmly on pace for another year of 2-million-plus net new jobs. Average hourly pay is up, too. Worker paychecks, 3.7 percent bigger year on year.
Let’s dive deeper: The ranks of the marginally attached—that is, those able to work but not actively seeking work—has declined by more than a fourth, 27 percent down, year on year.
Among those classified as long-term unemployed, and we define that as out of work six months or longer, that number has plummeted to below 21 percent.
Again, some context: the number of long-term unemployed reached a high point of more than 45 percent back in September 2011.
After now 110 straight months of net job growth, the number of Americans in their prime working years, meaning between the ages of 25 and 54, is at its highest point since January 2007: 80.3 percent. That is, 8 in 10 of those Americans have jobs.
And that is today’s Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s latest creation just sold at an art gallery in Miami for a cool $120,000.
You need to know that high-end art is a market all its own. 120K isn’t all that much.
But this piece? It’s bananas. Well, banana.
Titled “The Comedian,” the piece, if you can call it that, consists of two things: one 15-cent banana and less than a dime’s worth of duct tape.
And a third thing, I suppose: A wall. It’s a banana, literally duct-taped to a wall.
One art lover told WFOR tv…
AUDIO: You can do anything, and once you’re established, you can get away with it.
Some have guessed the piece to be a statement about wealth inequalities within the art industry. But others say the joke’s on us.
AUDIO: It’s mocking the art world. That’s what Maurizio Cattelan does.
Here’s the kicker: A performance artist untaped the banana, peeled it, and ate it.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, December 9th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we are glad you are! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.
Today, a story of Christmas generosity after World War II. Plus, the very practical beginnings of a 176-year-old holiday tradition.
EICHER: But first, a storyteller is born who grows up to inspire fantasy writers of the 20th century. Here’s Paul Butler.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today on December 10th, 1824, the birthday of Scottish writer and poet George MacDonald. Born in Northern Scotland, he spent his boyhood roaming the moors and wilds.
He attended Kings College in Aberdeen, graduating with a master’s degree in chemistry and physics. He later attended Highbury Theological College and spent a few years as a Congregational minister.
But MacDonald did not stay a pastor for long. He soon turned to writing. His first novel was published in 1863. Over the next 42 years, he wrote more than 50 other books, including The Princess and Curdie—read here by Edith Newcomb in 1970:
NEWCOMB: Curdie had made himself a bow and some arrows…he looked and there was a snow-white pigeon in the summer sun…another moment, and it would have been aloft in the rays of rosy light. That moment it fell on the broken path from Curdie’s cruel arrow…
MacDonald’s theology was influenced by his Calvinist upbringing, but he rejected many of its doctrines as an adult. Some of his later beliefs were on the fringes of Christian orthodoxy, but his works are saturated with biblical imagery and a strong Christian worldview.
NEWCOMB: I am so glad that you shot my bird. M’am, how can you be? Because it has brought you to see what sort you were when you did…
MacDonald is considered the father of modern fantasy writing. In his essay: The Fantastic Imagination, he writes: “for my part, I do not write for children, but for the childlike…” His fairy tales and stories inspired authors like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien to do the same.
MacDonald and his wife Louisa Powell raised a family of eleven children. He died in 1905 at 80 years old.
Next, the beginning of a Christmas tradition.
MUSIC: PETULA CLARK – CHRISTMAS CARDS
In the 1840s, Henry Cole was a prominent educator and patron of the arts. He was also a well known promoter of the “Uniform Penny Post.” As a result, Cole had many friends. You might argue too many friends.
With inexpensive postage, Victorians began sending Christmas and New Years letters by the bag full. As it was considered rude not to respond, Henry Cole had a problem. Each day the pile of letters grew on his desk, but he didn’t have the time to answer each one.
He stumbled upon the idea of a holiday themed postcard. He commissioned a design that featured a family enjoying a Christmas feast. On either side, illustrations of holiday charity. He printed a thousand of them, and could now quickly reply to all his friends. He soon began selling them as well. The Christmas card was born. Audio here from a BBC Channel 4 documentary.
CLIP: This card was extremely popular. It caught on so fast, people immediately began buying and sending them. And they began bankrupting themselves on Christmas cards.
Today, Christmas cards are big business. The Greeting Card Association reports that more than 1.6 billion printed Christmas cards are purchased each year…
Henry Cole probably wouldn’t like what his creation has become. After all, many people now insert their Christmas letters inside the cards, putting us right back where it all started more than 170 years ago…
MUSIC: PETULA CLARK – CHRISTMAS CARDS
And finally, a story of Christmas generosity on the heels of World War II. More than 380,000 British soldiers died in the conflict, leaving many widows and orphans behind.
While the United Kingdom was at peace for Christmas in 1945, personal loss and years of rationing meant it would be lean for most. So the junior division of the American Women Voluntary Services jumped into action.
Here’s the story as told in the 1945 Pathe Gazette Holiday Newsreel:
NEWSREEL: And now, a last minute exclusive report from New York on the flow of presents to Britain’s toy starved children. Saying “thank you” for American gifts is Lady Halifax. “I’m so happy to accept these gifts…They’re much more than acts of generosity, they’re tokens of friendship. And they will endure when the toys are broken or outgrown. It’s acts like these which may seem so little but are really so great that will count in the coming years when the friendship and understanding of the American and British peoples will mean so much to the peace and happiness of the world.
That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, December 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Last week Susan Olasky and Kim Henderson brought you the story of John Allen Price. He was a young Army soldier killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Saturday marked 78 years since what FDR called the “date which will live in infamy.”
REICHARD: Kim Henderson originally wrote about the John Price story for WORLD and her local newspaper in 2017. But the story didn’t end there. Here’s the rest of it.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: Writers get ideas for stories in a variety of ways. A few years ago a source contacted me about a stack of soldier’s letters her family had uncovered. I thought, “eh, maybe” and filed it away.
Little did I know what a story it was.
The stack of yellowed, brittle correspondence held unique resurrection power, the kind that could bring to life one of those we memorialize on patriotic holidays. A sort of accidental autobiography.
And while the letters taught important history lessons, they were a hard read, especially those that referenced the future. In one, John Allen Price told his brother that when he got out of the army, they could move to Kansas City and seek work.
He was making plans, but I had seen another stack in the trunk. Condolence telegrams. I knew the end of the story.
Or maybe I didn’t.
That’s because Price’s influence didn’t end when he became one of the first casualties of World War II. Neither did the interesting letters. I got this one not long after a local paper published my piece online.
“Dear Kim, my sister read your story with emotional interest. She and I are nieces of John Allen Price. We have always wondered what happened to Uncle John Allen’s letters… ”
It seems a relative in California had spotted the headline. So I made a call to the “Little Leonora” in Price’s letters, who was now 84 and eager to share what she remembered.
Throughout our conversation she spoke fondly of her “6-2, black-eyed, black-haired, very handsome” uncle, occasionally pausing to cry, or to laugh. “Little Leonora” described a man who made time to take her to the zoo the week before he left for boot camp. One whose absence was the forever-felt kind in the home where Price’s mother raised her.
The idea of touching those hand-written letters compelled “Little Leonora” to board a plane and fly 1,600 miles. She eventually landed at my dining room table. Over strawberry cake and coffee, she brought Price into the present.
“I remember the morning he left,” she said. “I was 5. We were all living downtown where my grandmother ran a boarding house. I crawled out of her bed and we hugged him there in the doorway.”
She also remembered the December day in 1941 when the Red Cross called.
She said: “Pop went and got the telegram. They tried to shield me from what was going on, but I remember my grandmother went to bed. She was devastated.”
Another relative told me of a John Allen memorial table in the family home. She said, “We children were only allowed to look at the items. It was a sacred spot.”
So how did a trunk of equally treasured letters wind up forgotten in a smokehouse for 50 years? That remains a mystery, but the family’s desire to honor Price’s memory never waned. A great-great nephew born in 1984 —John Allen Pannel—provides living proof.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Kim Henderson.
KIM HENDERSON: Hey, before we leave this subject altogether, I just want to tell you how blown away I am that I get to say “For WORLD Radio, I’m Kim Henderson.”
You have to know that’s pretty surreal. My very first story for WORLD was this one, about the Pearl Harbor letters.
Prior to it, WORLD simply counted me a long-time reader and listener. You see, WORLD has been shaping my thinking and informing my prayers for about 20 years. I never thought I’d be joining this team.
And what a team it is! It was a WORLD team that instructed me at World Journalism Institute. It was a husband-and-wife team, Marvin and Susan Olasky, who personally walked me through story drafts. This team trained me, taught me how to use a digital recorder and write for broadcast, helped me find my voice.
And behind me right now is a team that continues to help sharpen my writing, coaches me on radio delivery, edits my mistakes, cleans up the audio I bring back, selects just the right music. Then they mix it all together, and together we bring you stories that shape your thinking and inform your prayers.
I’m grateful for the support of my WORLD team. I hope you’ll understand this is your team, too, and it needs your support.
This is WORLD’s December Giving Drive. This work is so needed today. Would you take a moment and visit wng.org/donate and make a gift to help us keep the work going strong?
I’m Kim Henderson and I’m grateful for anything you can do to support sound journalism, grounded in God’s Word. wng.org/donate.
Thanks so much.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow, a new bill in Congress tries to strike a legal balance between LGBT rights and religious liberty. Is that even possible? We will have a report.
And, a decades-old friendship that united two very different families. We’ll hear that story, and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
We’d love for you to record your Christmas memories and send them to us. We might just use it Christmas week here on the program! Keep them to less than a minute, record using the voice memo feature on your iPhone, then send the audio to us. Can’t wait to hear your tender, or funny, or meaningful Christmas memories.
Ephesians says take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Go now in grace and peace.