The World and Everything in It — July 14, 2020


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

Some cities are turning to social workers and mental health professionals to answer non-criminal 911 calls. That allows police to focus on crime, but police experts say any changes need to be made with caution.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also we’ll talk to WORLD’s medical correspondent, Dr. Charles Horton, about the rise in COVID-19 cases and we’ll seek some context.

Plus a visit to an Illinois farmers market to see how vendors are faring after the government mandated shut-downs.

BROWN: It’s Tuesday, July 14th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington has the news.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Calif. implements new shutdowns amid virus surge » California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said he is shutting down many more businesses and churches as coronavirus cases continue to surge. 

Earlier this month, Newsom ordered new shutdowns in 19 counties with rising infections, but those orders are now statewide.   

NEWSOM: Restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, card rooms and the shuttering of all bars. This is in every county in the state of California.

The Democratic governor also imposed additional restrictions on the 30 counties now with rising numbers, including L.A. and San Diego. He’s ordered worship services to stop and gyms, hair salons, indoor malls and offices for noncritical industries to shut down.

Judge strikes down Georgia Fetal Heartbeat law » A U.S. District judge tossed out Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion law on Monday.  

Judge Steve Jones permanently ruled the state’s 2019 law unconstitutional after the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of pro-abortion groups.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr, both Republicans, said the state would appeal. But of the eight states that passed laws last year protecting unborn babies with a detectable heartbeat all are facing at least temporary blocks from the courts. 

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge William Campbell on Monday issued a temporary restraining order on a similar law in Tennessee, just hours after Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law. 

China imposes sanctions on U.S. ambassador, lawmakers » China says it will impose sanctions against three U.S. lawmakers and one ambassador. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: China’s Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Congressman Chris Smith, and Ambassador Sam Brownback. 

That in response to similar actions the U.S. government took last week against Chinese officials over human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Brownback is the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. And the three sanctioned lawmakers are vocal critics of the Chinese government’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the sanctions correspond to U.S. penalties but gave no further details.

Senator Rubio tweeted “The Communist Party of China has banned me from entering the country.”

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on three senior Chinese officials, banning them from entering the United States or doing business with Americans. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

U.S. rejects nearly all Chinese claims in South China Sea » Also on Monday, the U.S. government escalated its actions against China, rejecting nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea.

The administration said the move is aimed at curbing China’s increasing aggression in the region. 

Previously, U.S. policy had been to insist that maritime disputes between China and its smaller neighbors be resolved through U.N.-backed arbitration. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Monday. He said “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies” and “the world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.” 

He added that the United States now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognized waters to be illegitimate. 

Judge halts federal executions » A federal judge on Monday stepped in at the last minute and blocked the first planned execution carried out by the federal government in 17 years. 

Authorities planned to execute convicted murderer Daniel Lewis Lee by lethal injection in Indiana. 

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said a new lethal injection protocol, which uses only pentobarbital, “is very likely to cause Plaintiffs extreme pain and needless suffering during their executions.”

The Justice Department immediately appealed to overturn Monday’s ruling. 

NFL’s Washington Redskins changing team name » The NFL’s Washington Redskins will soon be known by a different name. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The franchise announced Monday that it is dropping the Redskins name and Indian head logo. The move comes after recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that the name and logo were offensive to Native Americans. 

FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all lined up against the name, which the team adopted in 1933 when the team was still based in Boston.

The team said franchise owner Dan Snyder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design. 

The fan favorite among the names rumored to be under consideration seems to be the Washington RedWolves

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Kelly Preston dies » Actress Kelly Preston has died at the age of 57. Her husband John Travolta announced Monday that his wife of 28 years had lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. 

The couple last starred together in the 2018 film “Gotti,” with Travolta playing John Gotti and Preston playing the crime boss’s wife, Victoria. In a 2018 interview, Preston told Good Morning America

PRESTON: We’re comfortable with each other so you feel the history. And we both had great characters to play so this was an amazing film to work on together. 

Preston was best known for playing dramatic and comic foil to actors ranging from Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire” to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins.” She also starred opposite Kevin Costner in the 1999 film “For the Love of the Game.”

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: social workers partnering with police.

Plus, Les Sillars on the failure of journalistic conviction.

This is The World and Everything in It.


MYRNA BROWN: It’s Tuesday the 14th of July, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up today:

AUDIO: When I say defund, you say police. Defund! Police! Defund! Police!

This is one of the more extreme demands. But more than a dozen cities around the country have announced large cuts to their police budgets.

BROWN: But where will this funding go instead? WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Last month, city councils in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York made significant cuts to their police budgets.

In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced yesterday the city will cut $76 million or a fifth of the police department’s budget for next year. That’s significantly less than the 50 percent budget slash the city council is calling for. 

DURKAN: Over the last decade we’ve asked police to respond to so many of society and government’s failures, including substance abuse, behavioral health crisis and homelessness. But it’s clear that law enforcement is not always the appropriate avenue to deal with these issues.

Funds diverted away from police budgets will pay for a wide-range of causes and organizations. Baltimore wants to offer black-owned businesses forgivable loans. Philadelphia says it will spend more on affordable housing. 

But many cities have a common plan: former police funds will now pay for unarmed social workers and mental health providers who respond to non-criminal 911 calls. 

Last month, San Francisco mayor London Breed announced police officers will no longer respond to calls regarding mental health, homeless people, or school and neighbor disputes. 

BREED: We’ve seen a lot of real change in San Francisco but also knowing that we have a lot more to do, including ending the use of police in response to non-criminal activity. 

Before summer protests erupted, several cities had already been working on this strategy. 

Vinnie Cervantes is the organizing director of DASHR. That stands for Denver Alliance of Street Health Response. Last year, DASHR and other community organizations began partnering with the city to divert people away from the criminal justice system.

CERVANTES: We’ve used law enforcement to navigate a lot of what could be considered public health issues. And so mental health crisis, homelessness, substance use, and by virtue of doing it that way, we’ve criminalized a lot of people that would otherwise be approached with treatment and a different type of system. 

So on June 1st, Denver launched the Support Team Assisted Response program, better known as STAR. 

When 911 dispatchers receive a call about a mental health issue, trespassing, or a neighbor dispute, they don’t call the police. Instead, they send a van staffed with a mental health professional and a paramedic. 

Cervantes says the van has already responded to more than 100 calls. 

CERVANTES: So these are things that otherwise police would show up to. 

Austin, Texas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Eugene, Oregon, and Seattle have created similar programs. 

One study estimates that 10 percent of police calls have to do with mental illness. Vinnie Cervantes says he hopes a growing portion of Denver’s $400 million police budget will go toward programs like STAR. 

But some criminologists caution that decisions to cut police budgets and responsibilities need to be made carefully. 

Thaddeus Johnson worked as a police officer in Memphis, Tennessee for more than a decade. He’s now a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice. He supports bolstering mental health and social worker services and says the odds of a call going wrong are low. 

Eugene, Oregon’s independent mental health response team answered one-fifth of all dispatch calls last year. Less than 1 percent required police backup. 

Still, Johnson says it’s safest for these professionals to partner with police.

JOHNSON: The potential is there. You imagine 1000 different incidents go great. A million go great. You have that one social worker who went in the scene didn’t have the protection and something happened. Right. So it’s a way that we can do it safely. 

Police in the small town of Price, Utah, use the partnership method. Four years ago, Price had one of the highest opioid overdose rates in the state. 

Price Sargeant Kelly Maynes says in response officers took Crisis Intervention Training and began partnering with a local mental health clinic. When possible, a police officer and a mental health professional respond to calls together. 

MAYNES: Our first goal is to make sure that the area is safe for them to do so. And once they’re there and can address some of the issues we take a backseat. 

Wesley Skogan is a political scientist at Northwestern University. He points out that cities asked police to respond to mental health crises or domestic disturbance calls because they are available around the clock. Skogan says if cities choose to reassign those jobs, there needs to be robust plans in place.

SKOGAN: They have to think about safety, they have to think about the 24 by 7 problem. A lot of mental health episodes are going to happen at four o’clock in the morning. 

John Hollywood is a policing researcher at the RAND Corporation. He says when cities cut police budgets, it’s important that money still goes toward programs and organizations that improve public safety. Or else there could be an increase in actual, criminal calls.

HOLLYWOOD: I think just sort of generally just putting it somewhere in Community Investment… without kind of thought toward where the money is going. It would not surprise me if you didn’t sort of see negative consequences from doing that.

John Hollywood and the other criminologists I talked to admit the debate over police budgets, roles, and responsibilities is messy. But it’s also an opportunity to clarify what communities want and need from the men and women tasked with protecting them.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


MYRNA BROWN: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: coronavirus.

NICK EICHER: Many Americans hoped the worst of the pandemic was over when states began lifting restrictions in May. But as stores, restaurants, parks, and beaches opened for Memorial Day weekend, cases of COVID-19 rose along with it. Public health officials are now issuing dire warnings about what to expect in the coming months.

BROWN: Joining us now to talk about the latest developments is WORLD’s medical correspondent, Dr. Charles Horton. Good morning to you!

CHARLES HORTON, GUEST: Good morning to you!

BROWN: I’d like to start with a question we get fairly often from listeners. It has to do with reports on the number of COVID-19 cases. And they’re wondering whether that’s the metric we should focus on. Doesn’t the death rate or at the very least the hospitalization rate give us a better idea of how things stand in our fight with this pandemic?

HORTON: Yes and no, for a few reasons. How’s that for a straight answer?

Certainly in the long term, the death rate helps us to understand how we’re doing. In the shorter term, the hospitalization rate can help us to understand if we’re close to running out of resources. But patients who die from coronavirus usually don’t die right away. Often they are often critically ill for a period of weeks first. Moreover, if the virus spreads among the young, unfortunately that means it will soon spread among older people, too. That’s when the hospitalization and death rates probably go up, too.

BROWN: That is sad. For months, public health officials pointed to herd immunity as our way out of this. But recent studies have shown antibodies in people who have recovered from COVID-19 don’t last very long. That means they’re vulnerable to reinfection. What does that mean for our response to the disease and to the hope we’re placing in a vaccine?

HORTON: I’m actually not as discouraged by this as you might think, because I don’t think it’s likely that the immune system forgets completely. There’s a complicated answer behind that that’s a little much to get into here, but the bottom line is that if people do get reinfected, I suspect that it’s likely that they will have a less severe disease than if they’d never had COVID-19 in the first place. Or if they never had a vaccine in the first place.

BROWN: The disappointment over antibodies highlights something that seems to be key when talking about COVID-19: It’s a new virus, and there’s still a lot of things we don’t know about it. Now, Dr. Horton, you recently wrote a column for WORLD Magazine that focused on 10 reasons why people should take this pandemic seriously. We’ll link to that in the transcript so listeners can find it. But one of the reasons you listed was that we still don’t know what recovery looks like. What did you mean by that?

HORTON: We usually think of recovering from a disease as going back to how life was before it. We get a cold or flu, we cough and sneeze and feel miserable for awhile, we drink a lot of OJ and eat chicken soup, we rest, and then eventually it’s back to normal. Here, for a pretty substantial number of people, they survive, but they have long-term damage. And only time will tell if that’s a permanent thing. But we’re hearing from several sources that young patients are getting over coronavirus, in the sense that they’re no longer acutely ill with it anymore, but for example they may have no exercise tolerance. People who’d been athletes now lose their breath going up the steps. That kind of thing. It’s very much a different virus than things like colds and flu.

BROWN: Yeah, that’s disappointing. I’d like to end on a hopeful note, if we can. And we should remind everyone that while there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this disease, none of this is a surprise to God. He is still sovereign no matter how many difficulties we face here on earth. Doctors learn more every day about the best way to treat this disease. What are some of the latest developments, and is it possible to say whether those new treatment plans are making a difference?

HORTON: First off, that is an excellent reminder of God’s sovereignty! I take a lot of comfort in Romans 8:28, how all things work to the good of those who love the Lord.

Three COVID-19 vaccines are in large-scale Phase 3 trials, which are the final phase before the FDA can approve them. One more vaccine is also in Phase 3 trials, but I mention it separately because it’s not a coronavirus specific vaccine. That’s the BCG vaccine. If you’ve been to developing countries or, for listeners who are from a developing country, you might have seen it as the TB prevention there. It does help prevent TB, and it also seems to boost immunity more broadly. Could it help against coronavirus? An Australian team thinks it might, and I’m very curious what they’re going to find. 

On the drug front, we’ve learned that dexamethasone, which is a cheap, widely available steroid, does help severe cases, although it doesn’t help in minor ones. This is not the same as the inhaled steroid some of you have written to ask about, but fear not: there’s a study going on for that one too, with an Oxford team.

It’s a really exciting time to be following medical technology, because it’s unfolding so quickly in front of us. Stay tuned!

BROWN: Yes, yes. We will, indeed. Dr. Charles Horton is a practicing physician in Pittsburgh and WORLD’s medical correspondent. Dr. Horton, thank you so much for joining us today!

HORTON: Thanks for having me here!


NICK EICHER: Librarians near Grand Rapids, Michigan, are trying to put a stop to a recent rash of book burnings.

The Kent District Library posted a Facebook message to help educate patrons, who are accidentally setting the books on fire!

What?

Yeah, here’s the message: 

Please, stop microwaving library books!

Seriously. Some readers thought that by microwaving, they could kill any coronavirus that might be lingering in the pages of community-used books. 

Librarians quarantine returned items for 72 hours—they’re perfectly safe.

Oh, one other thing:

The RF tags the library puts in everything it lends out, well, radio frequency tags have metal in them. You do know what happens when you put metal in the microwave.

Yes, starts fires.

It’s The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER: Today is Tuesday July 14th, 2020. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: farmers markets and COVID-19. 

In most states with early growing seasons, farmer’s markets remained open. They’ve enjoyed the designation “essential businesses.”

EICHER: But federal and state restrictions across the country grew in severity and duration in April and May. So many market farmers in the North and Midwest wondered if, and when, they’d be allowed to resume selling their produce. 

Illinois entered phase four of its reopening in late June and farmers there were allowed to set up their stalls just a few weeks later than usual. 

Paul Butler paid a visit to a local produce market in rural Illinois over the weekend to see how it’s going.

WALTERS: Ok, so the market’s been open for 34 minutes, we’ve got 41 visitors so far…

PAUL BUTLER, CORRESPONDENT: Bryon Walters sells honey every Saturday morning at the Mendota Illinois Farmers Market. He’s also the manager. This market was one of the first in the area to re-open. 

WALTERS: The very first week we hit 400 visitors, which was tremendous. I think it was a lot of pent up demand. People wanted to get out, we’re getting a lot of new customers, a lot of young folks. So we’ve been very pleasantly surprised [with] how well the turnout has been even in this hot weather.

Three weeks into the shortened season, there’s been a marked increase in foot traffic over last year. But it’s still too early to tell if it’s a trend—Walters thinks it is. He suggests it’s related to the pandemic, as people are concerned about how their fresh food is handled. 

WALTERS: I think they realized farmer’s markets are a friendly place. Most of these food products are only handled by the original producers. So it doesn’t go through a long chain of people where there could be more contagion added onto the products. 

After months of uncertainty Walters is glad to finally open, but it’s not business as usual. He introduced a plexiglass shield across the front of his table of honey jars. His airplane themed face mask fits loosely under his chin during the interview, but he raises it quickly to talk with customers. 

AUDIO: [SOUND OF WALTERS SPEAKING WITH CUSTOMER]

Every vendor prominently displays a large red and white warning sign. As Walters says: “It’s mandatory.” 

WALTERS: Please practice social distancing, maintain six foot spacing. Please wear a face mask for everyone’s protection and please do not touch the products unless the vendor allows. 

Personal protection and social distancing aside, there’s another significant departure from previous markets.

WALTERS: We don’t have arts and crafts or music. We’re what they call an “in and out market,” buy your products and head down the road, just like you would at a grocery store. 

According to Walters, that goes against the grain for most vendors and customers. The six sellers here this morning still talk with their customers, but the conversations are short, at a distance, and for most—through a mask. Still, everyone is trying to keep things as normal as possible. 

WALTERS: Restrictions are there and everyone knows that it’s a dark cloud over everyone. But I think everyone’s making the best of it. Customers have really showed up and supported us. 

Suzie Fritz sells hand-made, natural soaps. She’s seen an uptick in interest for her products.

SUZIE FRITZ: I’ve done better in sales this year than I have in the past years. Go figure…
PAUL BUTLER: Do you think it might be related to COVID-19?

SUZIE FRITZ: I think some of it is because that way they know that it’s all natural and they, you know, they know that it’s safe. Not knowing where some of the products come from overseas or whatever. I think people are just leery of buying stuff overseas right now. 

Market farmer Michael Skowera and his wife are unloading cucumbers, kohlrabi, and a handful of specialty jams from a well-loved van. Large letters on the side spell out “Four Sisters”—named for their now grown daughters. Sales are up for them too at the Mendota Market, but that doesn’t make up for the produce they weren’t able to sell while they waited for the green-light from Illinois.

SKOWERA: We lost sales because the vegetables are planted before the lockdown came in. So you have stuff that’s wasted because it’s going to be ready to go, but there’s no market for it. 

Some of the regulars still aren’t coming out for the market, but many are finding ways to get a hold of fresh produce from the farm.   

AUDIO: [SOUND OF LISA AND MAX WITH CUSTOMERS]

Lisa Salandar and her son Max stand in front of a pickup truck under a blue canopy. Unpopped popcorn, new potatoes, bags of wheat berries, and a large container of beets spill out over their table. 

LISA SALANDER: I think we’ve had more interest. People, especially asking, like, would we be able to come out and buy directly from you, even if we needed it midweek? So I would say there’s more of an interest in, you know, the locally grown produce this year.

Vendors at the Mendota Farmers Market start breaking down and reloading their unsold produce into trucks and vans after four hours. Bryon Walters counted 246 visitors today—an average of one a minute. He’s happy with that…though he says he’s glad to be out here every week regardless of how many come. 

WALTERS: It promotes fresh most local products, farm to the table…I have a lot of honey products. Versus selling in a store, I do it at the farmer’s markets. It’s just fun thing to do on a Saturday morning in the summertime. Beats cutting the grass. [LAUGHTER]

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler in Mendota, Illinois.


MYRNA BROWN: Today is Tuesday, July 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Liberal journalist Matt Taibbi recently wrote an essay charging that mainstream newsrooms are sacrificing truth for ideology. 

Here he is talking to the newspaper The Hill.

TAIBBI: It’s when you disagree with certain theoretical ideas that colleagues get upset, and that’s what I worry about because it bleeds into the factual coverage, right…

BROWN: WORLD commentator Les Sillars says this is more than just a failure of journalistic principle. He teaches journalism and he ought to know.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: Like a lawyer who collects lawyer jokes, I enjoy snarky quotes about journalists. My favorite is from Mark Twain. He once said—quote—“That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.” 

Ouch. 

A recent line from Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi ranks right up there. His essay described how leftist journalists in eight mainstream newsrooms bullied liberal but insufficiently woke colleagues into submission or out of their jobs.

Quote: “It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.” End quote. 

And now, he continued, “this madness is coming for journalism.” Afraid of their colleagues and social media-enabled ideologues, he wrote, journalists are abandoning truth-telling in self-defense.

Taibbi sees this as a failure of journalistic conviction. Yes, but there’s something else.

The internet, especially social media, democratized the public sphere. That is, everybody with a computer now has a voice.

There are real benefits. We can now hear deserving but previously neglected voices. It’s also much harder for powerful institutions to police the bounds of public discussion. Then again, Twitter mobs would be impossible without smartphones and Twitter. 

This all reminds me of the Tower of Babel. When God came down to look at the tower, He said, basically, if they can do this as one people, they can do anything. Given the human heart, they weren’t likely to do much good. So He dispersed humanity and constrained communication, and so limited their ability to do evil. It was mercy, not punishment.

The internet, in a shallow, counterfeit way, reconnects our scattered human race. You can use those connections for good, and many do.

But reconnection also gives people more power to do the evil in their hearts. And social media rewards our most destructive impulses. Let people feed their own status by chomping off a little piece of someone else’s reputation, and you get digital hyenas. Soon nothing’s left of the prey but a couple of pictures and a Facebook data profile.

Matt Taibbi is right about the threat to truth-telling in journalism. Journalists have too often given in to the temptation to attack others publicly for personal gain. Now that power has been democratized and journalists themselves are feeling the bite. Cancel culture comes primarily from the left, but conservatives aren’t innocent in all this. It’s not pretty.

We can’t go back. But as Christians we can at least recognize what’s going on and refuse to be part of it.

I’m Les Sillars.


NICK EICHER: Tomorrow places us within 16 weeks of the 2020 election. We’ll talk with political analyst Henry Olsen about where the campaigns stand.

And, we’ll meet a pastor who left full-time ministry to take over his family’s business.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. 

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible encourages us: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!


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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