The World and Everything in It — January 21, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Today, red states and refugees.  

The Trump Administration tried to give them the chance to say no to refugees. But most of them didn’t.

AUDIO: We do have a Biblical mandate to provide refuge to the oppressed.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Plus, people used to seal their letters with hot wax. We’ll visit the only place in the country that still makes it by hand. 

Also schools are using facial recognition technology to try to stop attacks. But not everyone is on board with that.

And our editor in chief has some questions he’d like the presidential candidates to answer.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, January 21st. 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 the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Impeachment trial begins in the Senate » The Senate impeachment trial begins today—in a Senate chamber transformed to resemble a courtroom. 

Workers at the Capitol dusted off rounded tables custom-built for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. They hauled them back into the Senate chamber after two decades in storage. 

Ahead of the trial, House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team have been prepping their opening arguments. Trump attorney Robert Ray said the president’s principle defense “is very simple.”

RAY: This is an  entirely partisan, and therefore illegitimate, effort by House Democrats to remove a president from office. And the remedy for that is the United States Senate. 

As Senate Republicans prepare to set the ground rules for the trial, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that Democrats will make one last push to influence the process. 

SCHUMER: We will force votes on witnesses and documents, and it will be up to four Republicans to side with the Constitution, to side with the democracy, to side with rule of law. 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has the 51 votes needed to approve rules based on President Clinton’s trial. That would push back any votes on new witnesses until later in the process. 

And on Monday, he proposed rules that would do exactly that. In a four page resolution, he outlined a condensed, two-day calendar for each side to give opening statements. Senators will vote on the proposal as one as one of the first orders of business today.

Thousands gather for gun rights rally in Virginia » Thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond on Monday to protest proposed gun control legislation. 

Ahead of the rally, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and banned all weapons from the Capitol grounds—citing concerns about violence. But gun rights activist David Allen said those fears were unfounded. 

ALLEN: It’s perfectly peaceful. Everybody’s polite. I believe an armed society is a polite society. And today’s an example of that. Everybody’s real cordiale, peaceful, polite. 

Authorities feared fringe groups could spark a repeat of the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Last week, investigators arrested three men with suspected ties to a white supremacist group who were planning to attend the rally. 

The event was peaceful, but at times, spirited as demonstrators blasted gun control efforts in the legislature. The proposals include measures that would limit handgun purchases and implement universal background checks.

Pompeo meets Guaido in Bogota » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met face to face with Juan Guaido on Monday. The Venezuelan opposition leader joined Pompeo and other officials for a series of meetings in Bogota, Colombia. The leaders huddled for an annual summit on fighting terrorism. But Pompeo said they also talked strategy on restoring democracy to Venezuela. 

POMPEO: At the top of the agenda was the enormous humanitarian crisis in Venezuela caused by Nicolas Maduro and his regime. I saw firsthand the devastating consequences of what Maduro brought when I traveled to Cucata a few months back. 

Pompeo again called out the Cuban government for helping to prop up the Maduro regime. 

In traveling to Bogota, Guaido defied a travel ban from Venezuela’s pro-Maduro Supreme Court. This is only the second time he has defied that order.

Iran says dual citizens aboard doomed jet are Iranian citizens » Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it considers passengers with dual citizenship, who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner to be Iranian citizens.

The pronouncement came after the governments of five countries that lost citizens aboard the plane demanded that Iran pay compensation to victims’ families. Though the governments have little to offer besides moral pressure to get Iran to comply. 

The victims included 57 Canadian citizens as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans, and four British citizens.

Harry speaks out amid Royal Family split » Prince Harry spoke out on Monday about his split from the Royal Family.

In a very personal speech, he took aim at members of the media who have dissected his life since the day he was born. And he referenced his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.  

HARRY: The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one that I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. 

Harry said he had to step away so that he and his wife, Meghan, can try to live a more peaceful life.

The comments were Harry’s first public remarks since Saturday night, when his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, announced the terms of his departure from royal duties.

His wife Meghan has already returned to Canada, where the couple spent a Christmas break with their 8-month-old son, Archie.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a red state split over resettling refugees.

Plus, the last U.S. factory hand-making a centuries-old sealant.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD: It’s Tuesday the 21st of January, 2020. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we are really glad you are! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: red states and refugees.

President Trump issued an executive order concerning refugees a few months ago. It allows states to decide whether to accept them. Prior to that order, these decisions belonged primarily to the federal government and refugee agencies. 

The Trump order gave more control to state and local governments.

REICHARD: The deadline for states to make a decision would have been today. But last week, a federal judge blocked the executive order. The judge said it’s unlawful to give state and local governments veto power over refugee resettlement.

But before that injunction, most governors had already made a decision about how they’d handle refugees. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: By the time a federal judge issued the  injunction last week, 42 state governors had already opted to accept refugees. 

Almost half of those governors are Republicans. Their reasoning for saying yes varied. Some said they would continue their programs because President Trump had already made drastic cuts to the number of refugees coming to the country.

Speaking to his state legislature, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said lower numbers, better vetting, and new resettlement priorities persuaded him to approve ongoing refugee resettlement. 

HUTCHINSON: The priorities for refugee resettlement have changed from focus on balancing geographic regions to placing a priority on those suffering religious persecution and those who have cooperated with the United States in the war against terrorism.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he approved refugee resettlement because of the changes President Trump has made to the program and because of his Christian faith. 

LEE: Certainly the fact that I have experience with oppressed folks in the Middle East, in Africa and other places around the world and right here in Nashville, frankly, that work and my belief that we do have a Biblical mandate to provide refuge to the oppressed, all of those things played into my decision.

Before the court blocked the president’s executive order, only one GOP governor said no to refugees: Texas Governor Greg Abbott. That’s significant because Texas is usually one of the top three places refugees go to start their new lives. 

In his letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Abbott wrote that Texas is dealing with an influx of immigrants at its border and that the federal government hasn’t done enough to resolve immigration issues.

Until it does, Abbott reasoned, his state’s government and nonprofit resources should be dedicated to the refugees and immigrants already living there. 

Josh Blank is a researcher at the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. He says Abbot saw the refugee decision as a rare opportunity to voice the state’s frustration with a broken immigration system. 

BLANK: Immigration is a federal issue. And so state legislators and statewide elected officials in Texas are usually at pains to find, uh, policy areas where they can make a statement if not actually an impact on the issue of immigration and border security.

And when it comes to refugee resettlement and immigration, Blank notes that Texas Republican voters tend to share the governor’s views. 

BLANK: For Greg Abbott, this is not really an issue where he’s going out on a limb amongst the Republican base in Texas.

But other GOP governors did choose to go against some base voters. A 2018 Pew Research poll found only a quarter of Republicans say the United States has a responsibility to accept refugees. 

Sean Evans is a political science professor at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He says while Republican voter support for refugees isn’t high, the issue of refugee resettlement also isn’t a high priority. 

EVANS: The big immigration issue is illegal immigration. They can make the point, hey, the Trump administration is vetting the refugees that come in. We’ve reduced it from 85,000 under Obama to 18,000 under Trump. I think that kind of takes away part of the political problems that it could potentially cause for Republican politicians.

Evans also points to the influence of evangelical leaders on GOP governors. 1,600 evangelical leaders lobbied state and local officials to keep taking refugees.

Anna Crosslin is president of the International Institute of St. Louis, a group that assists refugees settling in Missouri. 

Crosslin says even though the federal court injunction ended up blocking state choice on the refugee question, it was encouraging to know that Missouri’s Republican Governor Michael Parson supports refugee resettlement—even when he doesn’t have to. 

CROSSLIN: We’re not going to be able to help every refugee. But for those who are being designated to come to the United States, what our governor basically said is, okay, we’ll do our fair share in being able to help these individuals get a decent start over again in Missouri, which is a great state.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: facial recognition software and school security.

Students at an upstate New York school district returned from the recent holiday break to find out they were being watched. Not by school staff. By the district’s new biometric security system. 

Now, Lockport City School District bought the facial recognition software about two years ago. But administrators didn’t start using it until now.

MARY REICHARD: The state’s Department of Education delayed the rollout primarily due to privacy concerns. And those concerns remain. There’s also the question of cost: relative to the overall budget it’s just 1 percent, though it does come to $1.4 million.

But fears of school shootings mean high-tech security systems are likely to become a part of campus life across the country.

WORLD Radio correspondent Laura Edghill reports now on why some people think that’s a problem.

LAURA EDGHILL, REPORTER: Lockport Superintendent Michelle Bradley’s primary concern is student safety. She told Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW the cutting-edge technology can help prevent a tragedy.

BRADLEY: The whole idea for this project and this technology is to make our school safer. Unfortunately it’s a priority based on what’s happening across the nation with school shootings.

Lockport’s current database includes sex offenders, suspended staff members, and anyone barred from school property by a court order. When the system detects a flagged individual on campus, it alerts school officials. The software can also recognize 10 common types of guns and issue an alert if it spots one.

But Lockport has not included any student images in the database. Administrators originally planned to upload photos of certain suspended students, but that provision became a major point of contention for parents, privacy advocates, and civil rights activists.

The state’s Education Department ultimately barred the district from including the students.

BRADLEY: We believe in the initial policy that that category should have been included, but the state Education Department wasn’t comfortable with that and that’s why it’s been removed.

Jim Shultz is the parent of a Lockport High School junior. He says students are largely unaware of the swirling controversy.

SHULTZ: Well, so from the student perspective, the big news is they have been completely and totally left in the dark. They have no clue what’s been happening here.

Shultz is a vocal opponent of the district’s decision to purchase the system. For one, he says, the school board didn’t give parents enough opportunity to share their concerns. It only held one public comment session before voting … and that was on a weekday afternoon in the middle of summer.

Shultz also points out that the system has intrinsic flaws.

SHULTZ: The whole system is premised on that you will be able to predict in advance by name and face who a school shooter will be. That you will be able to put their picture in a database and that if they are physically present around the cameras that they, you will trigger some sort of alert that gives you enough extra response time to intervene and that they won’t spend $2.99 at the hardware store and put on a face mask.

But even more worrisome, Shultz says district leaders haven’t carefully considered the full implications of the software’s capabilities.

SHULTZ: Our kids, right now, every day are being scanned with this technology and recorded. If at any point, as long as those recordings exist, they wanted to put my daughter or anybody else’s face in the system, they can go back and retroactively map where they’ve been, who they’ve been with, and all the rest. 

Other parents and privacy advocates, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, have also pointed out a variety of potential abuses. For example, the system could be used to monitor the personal daily habits of both staff and students. What time they come and go, who they greet, even what they wear—all information that could be exploited in the wrong hands.

SHULTZ: How we deploy artificial intelligence in our schools is something that we need to do very carefully, very thoughtfully with transparency, and with a real understanding, you know, that once you open up that Pandora’s Box, you know, everything’s on the loose. You can’t put it back.

For now, the system remains online. But the state’s Senate Education Committee is considering a possible legislative fix. If passed, it would enact a moratorium on facial recognition technology in New York schools until July 2022 to allow policymakers more time to study the issue.

Meanwhile, a small but growing number of both private and public schools across the country continue to experiment with the technology.

One school in Texas reported its system successfully alerted administrators to the presence of an expelled student at a football game. In Oklahoma, biometric technology helped school staff verify the presence of a student whose family feared had run away.

But parents and privacy advocates remain wary of the benefits and the vendors lining up to sell the latest gadgets in the multi-billion-dollar school security industry.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Laura Edghill.

NICK EICHER: Let me tell you about a man named Howard Kirby who bought a unique footstool. He’d been shopping at a Habitat for Humanity resale shop in Michigan. When he brought it home, it didn’t feel quite right, seemed a bit too heavy. So Kirby’s daughter-in-law took a closer look.

KIRBY: She opens it up, and she says dad, money!

Yeah, lots of it, too!  $43,000 in cash. Stuffed inside the footstool! 

Kirby told TV station WZZM that the surprise soon gave way to excitement.

KIRBY: Everything ran through my mind. Now I can pay off the house. I can get a roof on my house, and I can retire real good and everything.

Yeah, not so fast. He searched his conscience and figured, you know, whoever donated the stool didn’t know the cash was inside. So he asked a simple question:

KIRBY: What would Jesus do, and Jesus would give it back to the rightful owner!

And that’s exactly what he did. 

It turned out the family donated the furniture when their grandfather passed away. They’d no idea he’d stashed cash inside. 

Kirby tracked them down and returned the money to the tearful family.

AUDIO: That goes to you. [SIC] Thank you sir. You’re welcome.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, January 21st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Sealing wax.

Not talking here about putting wax on the upper interior surface of a room. Different spelling, same pronunciation: S-E-A-L-I-N-G. 

I’m talking about sealing a document so that the envelope is closed and the contents are secure. 

You’ve probably seen sealing wax on old documents in family archives or in museums. 

You make these by melting a stick of wax and letting it drip onto the paper until it’s about the size of a nickel.  Then you press the stamp into the warm wax to leave an impression unique to the sender.

EICHER: …which authenticates the sender. 

Today, sealing wax is used mainly by jewelry makers, optical companies, and hobbyists. Now, there are many ways to make it, but just one company in the United States makes wax the old-fashioned way: by hand. WORLD Radio’s Michelle Schlavin visited their factory and brings us this story.

MICHELLE SCHLAVIN, REPORTER: When visiting a new town, sticking to the main street is the thing to do. Along Princeton, Illinois’s main street there are dozens of locally owned cafes, antique shops, and other businesses to enjoy. It’s a safe bet.

But a short walk away from main street is a business few people find, the Princeton Sealing Wax Company. Founded in 1907, it’s operated for well over 100 years. 

AUDIO: [Sound of train horn as it passes through town]

The building is a stone’s throw away from the Princeton Amtrak station. Several of the factory’s windows are boarded up and painted red to match the building’s worn red and brown brick. It almost looks abandoned. 

BOWERS: I tell people I work with…the sealing wax factory, and you’ll see people go like this, you know, don’t you wax your ceilings? They last longer.

Sue Bowers is the factory’s only full-time employee. It’s been 24 years since Bowers’s son saw an ad in the local paper and suggested she apply for the job. At 76, she’s the one who keeps the factory running.

BOWERS: Well I’m making more black this morning…

Like she’s cooking, Bowers follows a formula and combines several ingredients into one of the factory’s four large cauldrons. The process is a trade secret so she doesn’t share exact measurements. 

BOWERS: The rosin is first. That’s what we put in to get, get us started…

Rosin is a solidified pine resin. It’s shipped from Honduras in pillow-sized sacks weighing about 55 pounds. They come in huge chunks that need to be broken up. Bowers’s back can’t handle the task anymore.

BOWERS: My son opens them up for me, pick it up. He’ll hit that a couple of times with the back of the axe. 

AUDIO: [Son breaking up the rosin]

Bowers shovels the shattered lumps of honey-colored rosin into a pile. She fills one jumbo popcorn sized bucket to the top and pours it into one of the metal cooking drums.

AUDIO: [Sound of the shellac being poured into the bucket]

Thin amber colored flakes called shellac are next. Each piece is coin-sized or smaller. It’s the most expensive—and unusual—material in the recipe. 

BOWERS: Pretty colored. This is the gold of the mix. Now you do know that is bug poop… (laughs) Seriously…

Using a smaller bucket, Bowers adds two scoops of the treasure to the pot. Mixing the rosin and shellac, she stirs in two buckets of a powdered sugar like dust called whiting.

BOWERS: It’s just ground limestone. But it all melts down and everything and it sticks together. It makes it harder. 

The natural wax is buff colored—it looks like butterscotch. Bower removes the shellac from this batch and adds tar to make it black. Other days she might add dye to turn her usual formula red or green. 

AUDIO: [Stirring the boiling/simmering pot]

After simmering for about 20 minutes it’s ready for the molds. Bowers slides the two blocks of concrete together to create long rectangular tubes. Each block is 80 pounds. She has to line them up perfectly or else risk ruining the sticks. 

Bowers takes her time pouring the molds and letting them cool.

AUDIO: [Sound of pouring the mixture]

Nothing good comes from rushing the process.

BOWERS: I’ve been burned quite a few times. See that white spot care I had, I’ve had wax all over it and pulled skin all off when I pulled it off. See that little Brown spot? That’s my birthmark. That part didn’t get burned off, but this part here did.

AUDIO: [Tapping to loosen molds]

Once the wax cools, Bowers takes a small hammer and lightly taps the top of the molds. This loosens the wax sticks inside. After packing the boxes by weight, Bowers ships the product all over the world to places like Japan and Australia.

AUDIO: [Sound of Bowers and son talking while packing/moving boxes]

In 2008, Bowers had a stroke. Her arm was left weak and her hand twisted into a fist which she had no control to open. Over time she recovered the use of both her hand and arm, but her strength never fully returned. 

BOWERS: At the time it was the only job I had and I wasn’t on social security or anything like that, you know.

She couldn’t afford to stop working back then and now, she doesn’t want to! Her son comes in most mornings to help with the more physical tasks. Bowers also has picked up some helpful tools like a cart for moving boxes. She says when she goes, so does the cart.

BOWERS: I’m gonna stay as long as my back will let me. But when my back gets bad enough that I can’t work in here and then I’m just going to have to chuck it up and I’m the only one that knows formula. So I guess it’s left up to me because I know once I have to quit who’s gonna do it? 

For WORLD Radio, I’m Michelle Schlavin reporting from Princeton, Illinois.

NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday, January 21st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. The Iowa caucuses are less than two weeks away, beginning in earnest the presidential nominating process. 

Now, up to this point the candidates have answered a whole range of questions on the campaign trail, in media interviews, and during debates. But WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky has a few questions he would like to ask.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: During the 2012 presidential campaign Bill Keller, a former New York Times editor, posed questions about religion he wanted Republican candidates to answer. Among them: If you encountered a conflict between your faith and the Constitution, how would you resolve it? Would you hesitate before nominating Muslim judges? What do you think about the theory of evolution?  

In that spirit, with the goal of understanding how candidates think, I’d like this year’s Democratic crop to respond to some of the following questions:

Would you hesitate before nominating evangelical judges?

If a teacher has a small bookcase by her desk, is it proper for a Bible to be there? 

Should an atheistic baker be required to produce a cake saying, “Jesus is the way”?

Also, going a little farther afield: 

What do you believe about the relationship between humans and other species? What special role, if any, do people have? 

If you had to choose between saving a baby chimp and a baby human, which would you choose, and why?

Do you agree with Charles Darwin that “higher races” should and will become dominant over “lower ones?” How would you define a higher race?  

In what ways is abortion, which kills millions who might have below-average lives, a good Darwinian way to improve humanity?

What future developments do you hope for in human evolution. How do you think genetic engineering could speed up the process? 

Do you agree with Napoleon’s statement about Christianity: “It’s what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

Do you agree with this statement: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’” 

Who is your favorite philosopher? 

On those last two questions, I should mention that the “no religious test” statement is in the U.S. Constitution. Also, when a reporter in 2000 asked GOP candidates to name their favorite philosopher, George W. Bush said “Jesus, because He changed my heart.” That prompted sarcasm among some intellectuals but may have won Bush the Republican nomination. 

Finally, I’d like both Democrats and Republicans to answer versions of some of the questions my church’s pastor search committee asked candidates: 

To whom do you go for accountability and frank feedback? 

Of all your current responsibilities, which are most life-giving for you? Which are most draining? 

Explain how you address and resolve conflict in your organization? Give examples.

Tell us about a time of significant fruitfulness in your political career. Tell us about a significant low point in your career.

Last and maybe most important, who has most influenced or shaped you? 

For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow, the impeachment trial gets underway in the U.S. Senate and we’ll talk with a veteran observer. Henry Olsen, on Washington Wednesday.

And, we’ll meet a hospital chaplain with the story of a baby who survived an attempted abortion.

That 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.

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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