MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
This year’s graduates won’t get the traditional pomp and circumstance they’ve been looking forward to. But schools are doing what they can.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also some college students forced to take classes online are suing. We’ll tell you why.
Plus WORLD editor in Chief Marvin Olasky talks to political journalist and commentator Mollie Hemingway.
And Cal Thomas on choosing freedom over fear.
BASHAM: It’s Thursday, May 14th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BASHAM: The news is next. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Fed chair urges action to stave off prolonged recession » Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is warning that without further action, America could be facing a prolonged recession.
POWELL: The record shows that deeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy. Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come.
Powell said the Fed will continue to use its tools “to their fullest,” but it’s largely up to Congress and the White House to do more. He added that—quoting here—“additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it, if it helps avoid long-term damage.”
POWELL: This trade off is one for our elected representatives, who wield powers of taxation and spending.
Powell’s urging comes on the heels of a warning from the United Nations that the global economic fallout from COVID-19 could wind up killing more people than the illness itself.
According to an L.A. Times report this week, the UN predicts a “global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty.” It warned that hunger is already rising in the poorest parts of the world.
Republicans call $3 trillion House relief bill a non-starter » Meantime, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have very different views of what the next step should be.
Republican leaders say a massive relief bill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled this week is a non-starter. The $3 trillion package would include $1 trillion for states and cities, $200 billion in “hazard pay” for essential workers, and a new round of cash payments to individuals.
PELOSI: The HEROES Act focuses on three key pillars: opening our economy safely and soon, honoring our heroes, and then putting much needed money into the pockets of the American people.
It would extend a federal boost of unemployment benefits through January and add a 15 percent increase for food stamps, among other measures.
But Republicans say it’s also stuffed with extraneous measures like funding for government arts and humanities programs and the expansion of mail-in voting.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposal a grab bag of “pet priorities.”
MCCONNELL: We are going to insist on doing narrowly targeted legislation—if and when we do legislate again, and we may well—that addresses the problems, the needs and not the aspirations of the Democratic majority in the House.
Democrats wrote the enormous bill with no real input from Republicans. Most GOP lawmakers say Congress should assess the impact of earlier relief bills before spending trillions more.
That national debt now stands at more than $25 trillion.
Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down stay-at-home order » The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ coronavirus stay-at-home order Wednesday. In its 4-to-3 ruling, the court ruled that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended the order for another month without consulting legislators.
The decision essentially reopens the state, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants.
However, the decision let stand language that had closed schools and local governments can still impose their own health restrictions.
In Dane County, home to the capital of Madison, officials quickly imposed a mandate incorporating most of the statewide order. And officials in Milwaukee said a stay-at-home order enacted in March remains in effect.
Sec. Pompeo meets with Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem Wednesday—his first overseas trip in almost two months.
They talked over a range of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Pompeo thanked Israel for its openness and took another jab at China’s handling of the pandemic.
POMPEO: You’re a great partner. You share information, unlike some other countries that try to obfuscate and hide that information, and we’ll talk about that country too.
They also talked about ongoing counterterrorism efforts and resumed talks over the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.
Pompeo’s visit came at a tense time, as Israeli troops searched for those behind the killing of an Israeli soldier a day earlier during an army raid of a West Bank village.
One of the key items on the agenda was Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank. Pompeo said he was coming to hear Netanyahu and Benny Gantz’s views on the matter.
Netanyahu and Gantz, the Blue and White party leader, struck a power-sharing deal last month to form a government. Under the deal, Netanyahu would remain prime minister for the next year and a half before handing the post to his rival.
U.S. officials: Chinese hackers might be targeting virus researchers » U.S. officials are warning that organizations conducting research into COVID-19 could be targeted by computer hackers linked to the Chinese government. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned organizations involved in work on COVID-19 vaccines to step up their security measures.
And the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued this warning: “China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nation’s response to COVID-19. ”
The Department of Justice said institutions that have received media attention for their efforts related to COVID-19 should assume that they would be targeted.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Republican Mike Garcia wins U.S. House special election in CA » Republican Mike Garcia has successfully flipped a U.S. House seat in California. That makes him the first Republican to do so in 22 years.
While election officials were still counting votes on Wednesday, Democrat Christy Smith conceded the special election in the 25th District.
Garcia will fill the vacant seat of former Congresswoman Katie Hill who resigned in October, and he’ll serve out the remaining 8 months of her term.
But Garcia and Smith will both be back on the ballot in November.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: students suing universities over online classes.
Plus, Cal Thomas on living responsibly in our new reality.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Thursday the 14th of May, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. First up, a big case of buyer’s remorse.
EICHER: Colleges across the country had to close suddenly in the middle of March because of coronavirus concerns. That caused some pretty big disruptions in learning. The transition to online classes was smoother for some than for others.
BASHAM: Some students are now filing lawsuits against their schools over the unexpected change.
Joining us to explain why is Laura Edghill. She writes the weekly education roundup called Schooled for WORLD Digital. Good morning!
LAURA EDGHILL, GUEST: Good morning, Megan!
BASHAM: Start by telling us about the claims these students are making.
EDGHILL: So, many of these students are just simply not happy with the shift to virtual classes. And, more importantly, they’re dissatisfied with the quality of the product they’re receiving. They claim that online learning is a poor substitute for the real thing—that on-campus experience that they signed up for. And many are claiming that they really see a loss of rigor in particular in their courses. For instance, at the University of California, some of the students in that complaint say that they have professors that have not even uploaded videos for their online classes. And one student on the Purdue University complaint described how he was completely unable to do his final project, which was building an airplane. And, as you can imagine, that’s the kind of thing that just doesn’t translate well to online school. So, the students are claiming their schools are in breach of contract and they cite big differences between tuition for online programs versus in-person programs. For instance, in Philadelphia’s Drexel University case, they cite an online rate that’s 40 percent cheaper than the in-person tuition. So, they’re suing for fees like dorm fees, cafeteria fees, the campus gym, health service, things like that. But in some of the cases, they’re also suing for tuition refunds. They claim they’re simply not getting what they paid for.
BASHAM: How many schools are we talking about here?
EDGHILL: Well, nearly 30 at this point and the list continues to grow. Late last week an Indiana University student filed the latest. And it’s a variety of schools, too. You have elites like Brown, Columbia, Cornell, but you also have big public schools like Michigan State and the entire University of California system. And, unfortunately, Christian colleges have not been spared. Liberty University is on the receiving end of one of the lawsuits as well.
BASHAM: I understand these are mostly class-action lawsuits. Can you talk a little about that?
EDGHILL: That’s right. There are a number of law firms involved. One in particular, South Carolina’s Anastopoulo Law Firm, they currently are involved with several of these lawsuits and they actually have a dedicated page on their website actively seeking college students who were forced off campus due to COVID-19 closures. And the universities are expressing frustration. They see these lawsuits as opportunistic and they claim they’re doing the best they can. And, to be fair, flipping the switch to online programs is a really heavy lift in the best of circumstances.
BASHAM: Yeah, we’ve been experiencing that with our school and I can’t imagine this is anything more than an even bigger mess for colleges and universities.
EDGHILL: Yes, it is a real mess for the schools. They’re in a tight spot. They’re wary of financial concessions like refunds now due to massive uncertainty about what fall will bring. And, as we all know, Dr. Fauci is not promising a vaccine any time soon, which means that fall classes could very well still be online. They’ll have to think about their tuition rates for sure, if that’s the case. And, meanwhile, the colleges are trying to retain quality faculty by continuing to pay salary and benefits, not to mention upkeep on campuses that are currently ghost towns. Now, I will say that many colleges that you’re not hearing about in the news have already offered fee refunds and even tuition reductions. That’s painful now, but probably less painful than enduring a lawsuit or losing students from their future enrollment due to dissatisfaction. And it looks like that uncertainty’s going to continue well into the fall. I know just earlier this week California’s public universities announced that they will definitely not hold in-person classes next semester and I expect a wave of similar announcements.
BASHAM: Laura Edghill covers education for WORLD Digital. Look for her weekly reports in the Schooled roundup on wng.org. Thanks for joining us today!
EDGHILL: You’re welcome, Megan!
NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: graduation.
The traditional ceremony celebrates students’ academic achievements, from high school to grad school. It’s become an important marker for communities and families to recognize the transition into adulthood.
MEGAN BASHAM: This spring, with schools closed and large gatherings largely prohibited, many students faced the prospect of graduating without a graduation. But as WORLD reporter Sarah Schweinsberg tells us, school leaders aren’t letting the coronavirus keep them from celebrating their students.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: For seniors like Aspen Criddle, graduation is more than a ceremony. It’s a bookend to a life chapter. So when Criddle’s high school canceled graduation, she was devastated.
CRIDDLE: This whole year has been like oh my gosh this is my last this and this is my last dance and like kind of having that taken away from me so quick, I was excited to like graduate with all my friends and yeah, (cries) It’s OK.
Insead of a physical ceremony, her Ogden, Utah, high school is trying to create a virtual one. Administrators asked seniors to make personalized videos that they compile into one big presentation honoring the graduates.
For her video, Criddle dressed in her blue cap and gown and drove to her favorite ski resort. She smiles for her mom, who’s holding the camera.
CRIDDLE: They said come out here to a place that represents you and stuff and like just kind of shows your personality so I came to my favorite place to mountain bike.
Across the country, thousands of high schools and colleges are shifting graduation traditions. Many are taking their ceremonies online.
Pensacola Christian College in Florida always planned on having its graduation on May 8th. The coronavirus didn’t change that. The school mailed caps and gowns to graduates and asked them to tune in to a virtual ceremony.
AUDIO: So here we go. Grads this is your big moment. Pensacola Christian College is proud to present the virtual graduation event for the Class of 2020.
The online ceremony included pre-recorded faculty addresses, a guest commencement speaker, and the previous year’s musical performance.
The school also posted individual announcements of each student’s degree.
AUDIO: AJ Woodson. Bachelor of Science in Business. Accounting concentration.
School spokeswoman Amy Glenn says people showed up for the online ceremony like they would have in real life.
GLENN: It was viewed from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries with over 21,000 views. So we had a great response.
Chyelle Dvorak is a senior at Crown College in Minnesota. Dvorak says she’s grieving her lost graduation ceremony because it was the last opportunity to say goodbye to friends and professors.
DVORAK: Because I don’t know when I would see those people, again, ’cause they are all across the country. So it was something you just look forward to so much and you never really think, that that’s just never gonna happen.
Instead of a virtual ceremony, Crown is holding on an online chapel service honoring graduates.
DVORAK: They ask for a picture and what we’re planning to do after graduation.
Other schools are finding ways to gather in-person while following social distancing and crowd-size rules.
In Roseville, North Carolina, teachers from Thales Academy visited the home of each high school senior. They celebrated their graduation and college decision day.
TEACHER: What’s your decision?
STUDENT: I’ll be attending the Honors College at East Carolina.
Courtney Van Kleek is the school’s college counselor. She organized the event.
VANKLEEK: We created a route to go celebrate them. We got presents and treats for them, and teachers wrote cards for them. Just to say, “Hey, we appreciate you and we’re so thankful for you since we don’t get to see them every day.
The LaMoille School District in Illinois put on a school-wide parade with buses, convertibles, and fire trucks.
AUDIO: [Sound of school parade]
Jay McCracken is the superintendent.
MCCRACKEN: One of the things that made it special is that there were signs specifically made for the class of 2020. And it said “our support for you is contagious.”
Besides parades, some schools are holding drive-in-theater style graduations at outdoor venues. Parents and friends stay in their cars while graduates walk across an open-air stage.
Jay McCracken says LaMoille High School will eventually do that at the school’s football stadium.
MCCRACKEN: We have special masks that are being made by one of the teachers with the school colors and everything so it will be very safe. Mr. Ziggler, the principal and I will also be there also in mask and gloves to hand the diplomas to them….
The high school in Hill City, South Dakota, held a more intimate graduation ceremony last month.
Students and their parents walked into the school theater one family at a time, 5 minutes apart. Staff announced each student’s name and handed out a diploma without handshakes. A photographer and videographer captured the moment.
Senior Sidney Schroeder says the ceremony didn’t feel like a real graduation, but she appreciated the effort.
SCHROEDER: It felt kind of like playing dress up. It was kind of silly to me, feeling-wise. But I really respected that they were thinking of us and they wanted something to feel special.
Schroeder really loved the show of support from the community. The school booster club raised money to hang banners downtown. The banners featured a picture of each senior.
SCHROEDER: When they did it was just this really sweet like, “Oh they’re thinking about us. That’s adorable.
In addition to the special events they are doing now, some high schools and colleges are hoping to hold a traditional graduation ceremony later this summer or fall.
Even if those in-person ceremonies can’t happen, schools hope giving students just a taste of graduation will help them move on to the next chapter.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Huntsville, Utah.
NICK EICHER: In one neighborhood in the Detroit suburbs, things got so strange…
BASHAM: How strange?
Imagine this: It’s Day 50 of the coronavirus lockdown and maybe your eyes are playing tricks on you. You glance out of the front window and you see a zebra, a bear, and a giraffe—all on hind legs strolling down the sidewalk, single file. Then a dinosaur, a pink unicorn, a Mr. Potato Head.
It’s a conga line of hilarious costumes parading down the street for no obvious reason.
Sarah Ignash, the founder of the Ferndale T-Rex Walking Club says there’s a method to the madness.
IGNASH: It’s just something that’s very unexpected, and people need something a little bit different to break up the day, I think.
And it does cheer people up. People open their doors and shoot cell-phone videos as they pass.
And lest anyone call the cops, it’s perfectly legal.
IGNASH: A lot of us are very large, and we have very long tails. So maintaining social distancing is very easy in these.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, May 14th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next: The Olasky Interview.
The morning after the March for Life in Washington D.C. in January, WORLD’s editor in chief caught up with political analyst and author Mollie Hemingway.
She’s the senior editor of The Federalist, a well-read conservative online magazine.
EICHER: During Democrat-led impeachment efforts, Hemingway emerged as a leading defender of President Trump on Fox News. She understands the reservations many have about Trump, she has some too, but she maintains that there is more to the president than most give him credit for.
Here’s Marvin Olasky.
MARVIN OLASKY: So at WORLD back in 2016, we declared at a certain point that we thought both, both Trump and Hillary Clinton were unfit to be president. And at that point, I didn’t really expect Trump to be as pro-life as he is, as he’s become.
I tend to look at it now and you can tell me where this makes any sense at all. I tend to make the distinction that we make say in economics between micro and macro. I still think that Trump is micro unfit, just in terms of his demeanor, but he’s proven his macro fitness. We disagree with him on some things. So, does a distinction between the micro and macro, does that make any sense to you or is it just seems silly?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: It does. And I think one of the main problems that we’ve seen in people talking about, like whether you can in good conscience vote for Trump or for Hillary or for any, you know, political figure, is not that the guidance is unnecessary—it’s clearly necessary—but it is such a complex topic.
I mean there you look at someone like President Obama, who, by all accounts, is a wonderful father, a wonderful husband. I remember when I heard him at the prayer breakfast give his confession of faith. It was a beautiful confession of faith.
And he was, you know, suing nuns, because they weren’t providing abortifacients. And he was really bad on religious liberty. He was really bad on family formation issues and, you know, did a direct attack on the family. He was pro abortion. Like all these things. So, it’s confusing and it’s hard and I think that it’s important that people be able to, you know, be informed voters, be applying their Christian beliefs to how they vote, without binding the conscience so much. I do believe everyone who’s made their decision about who to vote for was doing their best.
Trump has so many vices on public display, it’s appalling. I mean, one of the things that was so hard for me in 2016 is I remember him openly bragging about, you know, sexual conquests throughout the 80’s, and I just was appalled. I couldn’t believe that this would even be happening.
He also has unbelievable virtues that we haven’t seen, and I, and I think people like laugh when you, when you say that, but it’s actually true. He has a courage that has been necessary. A willingness to fight for some proper things, and these are important traits in a leader as well.
I do think Christians, went into that voting booth with open eyes knowing that this was not a guy that they supported the way he’d chosen to live his life. But knowing also that they wanted to vote for someone who would help them as they try to help weak and vulnerable populations as well.
OLASKY: So would it be fair to characterize Obama as micro fit but macro unfit?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I’m enjoying this, like ruminating on this distinction you’re putting forth because it can kind of apply to a lot of tough situations that we’ve seen.
OLASKY: And then Trump, while acknowledging that he has, he has guts to go up against the against the swamp. Still, in a lot of other ways, micro unfit but showing himself, largely macro fit?
HEMINGWAY: I find it interesting and I have to think about it. I mean he’s, he’s such an interesting figure clearly, and it will take us a long time to explore. Even though he likes to share all of his interior thoughts on Twitter. He’s still kind of a puzzle to figure out. I remember being at the, you know, 2016 Republican Convention. And he seemed truly humbled, which he never does, that evangelicals were supporting him. Like he understood he had no right to get their support. It was this little glimmer of like, oh I guess he’s capable, however, briefly, of being humble.
OLASKY: So it’s all grace, and not merited favor.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, the other thing that I find interesting is that a lot of politicians present on a public stage as incredibly lovely people. And then you meet them in their private life and you realize like, oh, they’re much less that way. And Donald Trump in private, or in so far as a reporter can understand how he is in private, is very similar to how he is publicly, except deferential and gracious and very polite, and all these things that you don’t see on the public stage where he’s being like a stand up comic or whatnot.
And Fred Barnes had commented on that issue that he’s the first politician he’s ever met, who is like thoroughly decent in private in a way that you don’t, you know, like the opposite direction. And so, I don’t know, he’s just a complex figure and no matter what you think of his politics or anything obviously you need to pray for him.
BASHAM: That’s Mollie Hemingway speaking with WORLD’s Marvin Olasky. Excerpts of their conversation also appear in the May 9th issue of WORLD Magazine.
NICK EICHER: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s Listening In. This week, Warren Smith talks with Christian singer, songwriter, and Bible teacher: Michael Card. He released his first album nearly 40 years ago and has sold more than 4 million records. He’s a popular seminar speaker on theology and art, and counsels many young artists.
WARREN SMITH: Well you know, one of the things that feels to me that you’ve also started to become more and more of a mentor to younger folks. Andrew Peterson tells a story about you, where he wrote you a letter and said that he wanted you to be his mentor.
MICHAEL CARD: I don’t remember.
SMITH: And according to Andrew…
SMITH: You wrote back, or maybe you, I don’t know, sent him an email back or whatever, and said, “I’ve got no interest in being your mentor. I want to be your friend.”
CARD: Yeah. Yeah, well I learned that from Bill Lane. When Dr. Lane mentored me for 26 years, and we never used the word mentor. We just, we just walked together and, yeah, well that’s what people need.
By and large, what we need is to know that we’re not alone in the world. That’s what I needed when I was in college. And Bill really gave me that. He shared his strong side, but he also shared what he was struggling with. And that’s what made the difference.
SMITH: Well sort of in that spirit, um, I know Mike anybody listening to this—fans and friends of yours—would hope you have many, many, many years ahead.
CARD: Me too.
SMITH: But, you know…
CARD: Pain-free years. Many pain-free years.
SMITH: Yeah, well, we probably are closer to the end than the beginning. How do you want people to remember Mike Card?
CARD: I always wanted to be remembered by the work I did. I think early on, maybe I wanted to make a name for myself and that sort of thing. But one of the things I think that’s a little bit hard to deal with getting older is, I don’t think, I don’t think that’s how it works.
I think our culture works by making people famous, not their work, famous, and so from that point of view, it’s a little disappointing looking back, back on it, but I think there have been enough people that I think their feet have been washed by some of the things I’ve done that, I’m good. I’m good with that.
EICHER: Michael Card and Warren Smith. You can hear the complete conversation, Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, May 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Next, Cal Thomas with a call to reject fear.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: The choice before us seems to be no choice at all: stay inside and keep businesses closed, or step outside and risk death.
But I think fear has become a greater threat than COVID-19.
Some of a certain age may recall the fears promoted during the Cold War. There were newspaper stories and TV documentaries about how long survivors of a nuclear war would have to stay inside reinforced shelters until the fallout dissipated to a point it was safe to go out.
Then, it was Geiger counters that would determine the level of radioactivity. Today, Geiger counters are temperature gauges held to our foreheads.
We can recite the precautions from memory: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t shake hands, practice social distancing.
Grocery stores where I shop require masks when entering and one-way traffic aisles. A hard plastic “wall” separates me from the cashier, who is also wearing a mask. Hand sanitizers and wipes are available at the doors, where cart handles are wiped down after each use.
If these practices are almost as good as staying home, why can’t businesses employing these practices be opened so people can make a living and not rely on government? Restaurants can place tables 6 feet apart. Those operating in warmer climates could add outside tables, benches and chairs.
Last Sunday, my wife and I went to a local restaurant. Tables had been removed. We wore masks as did staff behind the counter. We purchased our food, left the place and ate outside without masks where tables and benches were available. There were others there, not all of whom were six feet apart. People engaged in social interaction, which is what humans do and need to do. No one seemed fearful.
As experts have noted, it could be months and possibly longer before a vaccine is ready. On Tuesday the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told a Senate committee there is no guarantee a vaccine will work. And there probably is more than one strain, so a single vaccine is unlikely to protect everyone from every strain.
Does that mean staying at home until perfect safety can be guaranteed? We know that’s not possible—and the public won’t stand for it. Demonstrators are already petitioning state governments to reopen. The pressure will only mount in the coming weeks and months.
Those who are at-risk should continue to stay home. But the rest of the world must learn to responsibly adapt to our new reality.
I’m Cal Thomas.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow on Culture Friday: Elon Musk and some other employers are engaging in civil disobedience to get their businesses opened.
Also, when does healthy skepticism of established narratives move into the realm of conspiracy theory? We’ll ask John Stonestreet about that.
And, we’ll review a new special from a comedic veteran the whole family can enjoy together.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Romans reminds us that the night is nearly over and the day is nearly here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!