MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
It’s 12 weeks until Election Day but the presidential campaign has been pretty low-key so far. That’s about to change.
NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk about the latest ad buys and polling numbers on Washington Wednesday.
Also World Tour.
Plus the story of a multi-generational legacy.
And WORLD founder Joel Belz on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of religious schools.
BASHAM: It’s Wednesday, July 15th. 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: Up next, news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Pence visits La. in White House push to reopen schools » Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Louisiana’s capital of Baton Rouge on Tuesday, continuing a White House push to reopen schools in the fall.
Pence acknowledged the alarming surge of new coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt. Still, he said, officials have the needed tools to safely reopen classrooms.
PENCE: The people of Louisiana and this team have what you need when you need it, and we’re going to stay with you every step of the way.
The vice president heard there at Louisiana State University … where he met with lawmakers, college officials, and Governor John Bel Edwards.
Edwards, a Democrat, praised Pence’s response to the pandemic in his state.
EDWARDS: He has been paying attention, close attention, to the state of Louisiana from the very beginning of this emergency. He has communicated with me frequently and his team—he runs the White House Coronavirus Task Force—has been extremely responsive to the state of Louisiana.
But Louisiana is not throwing open classroom doors this fall. Instead, the state is taking a measured approach to restarting schools. Local school systems are determining whether to resume classes on site. Some are planning in-person instruction, others preferring online distance learning and some districts announcing a hybrid approach.
At LSU, some students will be able to attend classes on campus, though many other courses will be held online.
Also on Tuesday, the Trump administration walked back a rule that would have stripped visas from foreign college students if their schools shifted entirely to online classes.
Facing eight federal lawsuits, the Trump administration backed down.
The decision was announced at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and “return to the status quo.”
Federal deficit shatters records » The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June. WORLD’s Anna Johansen reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The record shortfall comes amid big spending on programs to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus, along with lower tax revenue after shutdowns.
The government last month spent $864 billion more than it took in. The mountain of red ink for June surpassed most annual deficits in the nation’s history.
The previous monthly record was $738 billion this past April.
For the first nine months of this budget year, which began October 1st, the deficit totals more than $2.7 trillion. That puts the country well on the way to hitting a $3.7 trillion deficit for the whole year as forecast by the Congressional Budget Office.
That would shatter the previous annual record of $1.4 trillion set in 2009.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.
Federal inmate executed after Supreme Court ruling » For the first time in nearly two decades, the government executed a federal inmate on Tuesday.
Daniel Lewis Lee died of lethal injection. The 47-year-old was found guilty of murdering three people, including a child. He maintained that he was falsely convicted, and his final words were: “You’re killing an innocent man.”
Lee died just after 8 a.m. after a series of legal volleys that ended at the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision earlier Tuesday morning, the justices tossed out a lower court’s ruling clearing the way for the execution to proceed.
Amazon introduces smart shopping cart » Amazon has a new cure for long supermarket lines: a smart shopping cart. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The cart, unveiled Tuesday, uses cameras, sensors and a scale to automatically detect what shoppers drop in. It keeps a tally and then charges their Amazon account when they leave the store. No cashier is needed.
The cart, called the Dash Cart, will first show up at a new Los Angeles supermarket Amazon’s opening later this year. The store will have cashiers, but the company said it wanted to give shoppers a way to bypass any lines.
In the future, it could be used at Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery chain or other stores, if it sells the technology. But there are no plans for either right now.
Amazon has already opened a cashier-less supermarket and about two-dozen convenience stores that use cameras and sensors in the ceiling to track what shoppers grab and charge them as they leave.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Tuberville defeats Sessions in Ala. GOP Senate primary » Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday lost his bid to reclaim his old U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. Tommy Tuberville soundly defeated Sessions in last night’s GOP primary runoff election.
President Trump helped Tuberville’s campaign, heaping criticism on Sessions. The president soured on Sessions after the then-attorney general recused himself from the Russia probe, paving the way for the special counsel’s investigation.
The 65-year-old Tuberville is a familiar name to many in Alabama. He spent a decade as Auburn University’s head football coach. Tuberville will face incumbent Senator Doug Jones in November, who’s widely seen as the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: catching up with the presidential campaigns.
Plus, Joel Belz on last week’s Supreme Court victory for religious schools.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MEGAN BASHAM: It’s Wednesday the 15th of July, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up today: Washington Wednesday.
The 2020 election is turning out to be one of the quietest in recent memory. And it has just 12 weeks to go before we should know the winner.
Normally by now, political ads fill the airwaves, and campaign news dominates the headlines. But the coronavirus pandemic has done the seemingly impossible: move a hotly contested race for the White House to the back burner.
BASHAM: Still, things are starting to heat up, even if a bit slowly. Joe Biden released a new set of ads this week, targeting what was once the heart of Trump country.
BIDEN: I’m thinking of all of you today, across Texas. I know the rising case numbers are causing fear and apprehension. People are frightened. They’re most concerned about their parents and grandparents, loved ones who are most at risk. This virus is tough, but Texas is tougher. If you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day, I will not abandon you. We’re all in this together.
A Democrat ad in Texas. Recent polling indicates Texas is squarely in play, which has led both sides to pour ads and resources into the state.
President Trump had hoped to run on the country’s soaring economy. Instead, he’s emphasizing his ability to fix it.
TRUMP AD: President Trump gave us the strongest economy America has ever known. Millions of new jobs. Lowest unemployment rate for black and Hispanic Americans. And he will do it again.
EICHER: Well, it is Washington Wednesday. Joining us now to talk about the presidential campaign is Henry Olsen. He’s a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a columnist for the Washington Post.
Henry, how are you?
HENRY OLSEN, GUEST: I’m great. How about you?
EICHER: Good! Hey, I know you know these poll numbers really, really well. And you also know how wrong they were back in 20-16.
Nevertheless, it feels like we’re on the verge of a sweep by Joe Biden and the Democrats. I saw in your newspaper that Biden’s buying ads in Texas and he’s up by big margins in swing states, according to some recent polls.
What do you make of all this?
OLSEN: Well, if the election were held today, Biden would win by 9 to 11 points and Democrats would take control of the Senate with a very large majority. I think the president’s botched responses to the coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd and that cost him the momentum he had going into early March, and he’s now having to dig out of an historically deep poll for a president running for reelection.
EICHER: You know, I was going to ask you about the coronavirus effect. It does seem to have reset absolutely everything here. The president seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt on the economy. The polling continues to show voters trust President Trump most on that. But at this point they trust Biden on almost everything else, including the government response to the coronavirus. Do you see that as the deciding factor for enough people?
OLSEN: I don’t think it’ll necessarily be the deciding factor going forward, but I think that the coronavirus makes millions of people, tens of millions of people feel unsafe about the thing that is most basic, which is their life. And until the president can establish a bond with people that he values their lives first, then I think it’s going to be very difficult for him to switch the conversation to grounds that he is stronger for.
EICHER: If we go back just a few months, though, Henry, it was very different. Seems like the bottom has dropped out.
OLSEN: What’s happened since March is that he has lost grounds among the independents. In early March before coronavirus, he was leading among independents and that had him within striking distance. And the trends suggested that he would be a favorite if they continued up until this point. Since coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd, he is now losing among independents. And that is why he has gone from being 5 points down in early March with an upward trajectory to being 9 points down and a stable or downwards trajectory.
EICHER: Now, and you said it yourself, if the election were held today, Biden wins. But of course the election is not today and you know the iron rule of politics: all races tighten.
OLSEN: The question is whether the race will tighten to the point where we can expect Trump to win. I do think the race will tighten because there are people who are generally Republican who are right now uncertain and I think they will come back to being a reluctant Trump voters, but Trump has to get himself up to around 46-47 percent of the national popular vote, closer to 47, to have a shot at winning a narrow Electoral College victory. He has not been above 47 percent in the job approval rating at the Real Clear Politics average for more than a day since February of 2017. And presidents tend to get the share of the vote that they are polling on Election Day in their job approval. So, what Trump has to do is establish trust in him and then he can get people to focus on Joe Biden. But until he does that, it’s just a case of narrowing the margin of defeat.
EICHER: You mentioned focusing on Joe Biden, so let’s do that. Biden released his economic plan last week. I hardly blink anymore at spending plans after the spending on coronavirus economic relief. But Biden’s calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage. He says he can create 5 million new jobs with a $700 billion expenditure on U.S.-based goods and services and technology research and development.
He’s making a bid here for working class voters, many of whom went for Trump in 2016. Is this the right strategy?
OLSEN: I don’t know it’s everything the right strategy, but Obama-Trump voters are the left of Republican voters on the economy. They want government to ensure jobs and they want to ensure those jobs at good wages. Biden is talking about that. He is making a play for those voters.
EICHER: Lost the end of that there. Heard you say Biden’s making a play for those voters. Let’s move to the Veepstakes. We could find out any day now who Joe Biden picks for his running mate. He has said he will choose a woman. But there’s still lots of room for speculation on who she might be and what the choice says about what a Biden presidency might look like.
OLSEN: I think it could. I think that Biden is already telling us how he’ll govern, which is he’ll go as far left as he needs to to keep the Democratic Party intact and that’s what he’s focusing on rather than keeping his broader general election coalition, which includes many centrist voters intact. I think if he picks a strong vice president like an Elizabeth Warren, it signals a strong desire—whether to Warren or someone else—to see the party move left after he’s gone. But one way or another, Biden’s first year in office will be further to the left of anything—
EICHER: Phone’s acting up on us here, sorry. Let me just ask one final question and it’s about President Trump’s biggest appeal to Christian conservative voters was constitutionalists on the courts, especially on the Supreme Court. Lots of disappointment at the Supreme Court this past term—a transgender case for which Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. A case on abortion that came as a surprise. Does that change anything this time around? Change the president’s pitch?
OLSEN: I don’t think it’ll change the pitch at all. I think the question is whether the marginal Christian conservative, who usually does not back Republicans but does back Trump or did back Trump, whether they’ll believe it this time. Trump got 81 percent of the evangelical Christian vote in a record high percentage in a contested, non-landslide race among white Catholics. Doesn’t take a whole lot of slippage in those percentages to really cause problems for Trump, but it’s that small but crucial segment of the electorate that they need to worry about.
EICHER: Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Thanks.
OLSEN: Thanks for having me on.
MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Russian space official arrested for treason—We start today in Russia.
AUDIO: [RUSSIAN POLICEMAN]
A top official in Russia’s space agency is facing accusations of treason. Ivan Safronov is a former journalist who covered the military and space industries. In May he became an adviser to the head of the space agency.
Authorities arrested Safronov last week. They claim he was collecting information about Russia’s military and passing it to NATO.
Safronov’s former colleagues denounced the charges and said the government arrested him because of his past work as a journalist. Safronov reported on several accidents during military exercises. Those incidents were embarrassing for the Kremlin.
If found guilty, Safronov faces up to 20 years in jail.
Serbian protests—Next we go to Serbia.
AUDIO: [SERBIAN PROTESTS]
The protests began Tuesday when the president announced a new round of coronavirus lockdowns. The government swung from ultra-tight lockdowns to a complete reopening, then back to a strict curfew. Some protesters called for the president’s resignation.
AUDIO: We are here to fight the oppression of the government and the tyrant president, and not to destroy things.
The government suspended plans to enforce the lockdown, but gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned.
Azerbaijan and Armenia border skirmish—Next we go to Armenia.
AUDIO: [ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER SPEAKING]
Four soldiers were killed over the weekend as troops from Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed on the border between the two countries. Each country blamed the other for starting the violence.
The two nations have been at odds for decades. The dispute is over a piece of territory that Armenian separatists seized from Azerbaijan in the 1990s.
The rival forces clash frequently. In 2016, dozens of troops died in four days of fighting.
Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty—Next to Australia.
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Today we have agreed…that that national security law constitutes a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our extradition agreement with Hong Kong.
Australia’s prime minister announced last week that the country is suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move comes in the wake of China’s new national security law that restricts Hong Kong’s independence. Australia’s prime minister also announced a pathway to permanent residency for any Hong Kong citizens looking to leave the city because of the new law.
China denounced the move, saying it reserves the right to take further action, and that Australia will bear all the consequences.
Kenyan balloon internet—Finally, we end today here in Africa.
A fleet of balloons has begun providing internet service to remote areas of Kenya.
AUDIO: Hello your excellency. Yes, I can see you very well sir.
Kenya’s president made a video call to a remote corner of the nation last week using the balloon internet service.
AUDIO: We are now on the 4G Loon signal in Raddat Buringo. This is purely all aerial balloons.
The project uses a fleet of 35 balloons floating 12 miles above the ground. They provide 4G internet for vast swaths of central and western Kenya. The company operating the balloons launches them from locations in the United States, then navigates them to Kenya using wind currents.
That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER: In a presidential election year, there’s always a push to register people to vote—emphasis on people. Bear with me.
For a family in Atlanta, that registration push got a little interesting.
Ron and Carol Tims said they checked their mail recently and found a voter registration application addressed to Cody Tims.
Here’s the thing: Cody has been deceased for more than a decade.
Oh, and here’s the other thing: Cody… well, Cody, before his death, really wasn’t qualified to vote.
TIMS: What a great cat! Indoor, outdoor – loved his family, loved the neighborhood.
That’s right, Cody, the cat.
Carol Tims told WXIA…
TIMS: There’s a huge push, but if they’re trying to register cats, I’m not quite sure who else they’re trying to register. I don’t know if they’re registering dogs.
The Georgia secretary of state’s office said the mailing came from a third-party group.
Cody never had an official party affiliation, but Carol said Cody was a…
BASHAM: No, no, don’t say that…
EICHER:He was small of stature, so that would make him a Demi-cat.
BASHAM: Dad joke, ugh!
EICHER: It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, July 15th. 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 on The World and Everything in It: passing on a family business.
Some estimates say that by the year 2025, the United States will see up to $10 trillion of private business assets change hands.
As Baby Boomers retire, they are looking to pass their businesses on to their children.
EICHER: But sometimes it isn’t easy for those children to choose the family business. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg recently met up with one of those children to find out how he decided what to do.
ADAM: So my grandpa shot that rhino long before I was born. And that lion. Those are very old animals there.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Hunting is a way of life for the Weatherby family.
Adam Weatherby points to game on display in the lobby of Weatherby Incorporated headquarters.
ADAM: That’s an elk from last year. My wife shot that elk the year before. That’s a white tail I shot. My uncle shot that buffalo…
Roy Weatherby, Adam’s grandfather, founded hunting firearms company Weatherby Incorporated in 1945. He wanted to create a rifle that could take down big game quickly, and therefore, Adam says, more humanely.
ADAM: So he actually went on a hunt in the 40s, wounded an animal and couldn’t find it. And that’s when he wanted to, his whole deal with high velocity cartridges where you would have more powder pushing that bullet faster. That’s actually how the business started.
Today, Weatherby is one of the oldest, family-owned rifle companies in the United States.
Around the corner, hang racks of guns the company has made over the years.
ADAM: You can see the classic super shiny, high polish, high grade walnut and maple. We still sell a little bit of that but the majority of what we sell is a lot more you can see carbon fiber, titanium…
But firearms manufacturing is a family tradition Adam Weatherby thought he’d leave behind.
Growing up, Adam says his parents taught him to love God, the outdoors, and hunting. He especially loved hunting alongside his father and second-generation company president, Ed Weatherby.
ADAM: It was an avenue for us to spend time as father and son, you know, out in the field, chasing animals or birds.
After high school, Adam thought the family business might be his future. He married his high school sweetheart, Brenda, and began working in different departments to learn the trade.
ADAM: I was kind of learning, you know, both marketing and sales and service and, technical aspects of the business and manufacturing and different things.
At the same time, Adam was also very involved in his local church. After a couple of years working for Weatherby Incorporated, he felt God calling him away.
ADAM: It was really the eternal impact in just knowing life’s short and you get one, one stab at it. And at the end, you know, what really matters is people.
Adam says his father supported his decision either way: to leave or stay. So Adam chose full-time ministry. For the next decade and a half, he led mission trips, spoke at youth events, and served on his church’s teaching team.
While Adam’s family understood his decision, fans of the business did not.
ADAM: From folks in the outdoors and hunting in industry, there’s definitely like, Hey man, why’d that kid leave, like, I’d love to be in the Weatherby family…
Despite that outside lack of understanding, Adam didn’t see himself returning. Then, in 2013, his father, Ed, sat him down. Ed was getting older and needed to make a business transition plan. He told Adam if he wanted to come back, now was the time.
Adam says he loved ministry, but he also loved the family business and legacy.
ADAM: When you have a family business for generations, it’s it’s rare that it does make it to the third and beyond.
The more Adam prayed about the decision, he began to see how leading the company could also be a ministry platform. So, in 2014, he came back to the family business. It was a jarring change.
ADAM: Just seeing fruit in ministry and people’s lives changed and being a part of that and to go from that to, you know, building, selling marketing firearms. So giant transition.
But Adam Weatherby says he quickly saw how the role combined his passions for people and hunting and how ministry had prepared him for the job.
ADAM: What I did have was, the ability to, communicate vision or direction, assemble a good team. And in just general leadership that you would learn, say in a ministry role, I think is really working with people…
Three years ago, Adam became the president of the company.
AUDIO: Weatherby Commercial: I think each generation leaves its mark in a family business. It’s an honor to be another chapter in the Weatherby Book.
To cut tax and regulation costs, Adam made big changes. He decided to relocate the company from California to Second Amendment-friendly Wyoming where he built a new manufacturing facility and offices.
ADAM: So this is our shop and like I said, we got about a 75,000 square foot facility.
Across the shop, workers weld, cut and measure at different stations.
ADAM: We’ve got about 88 employees that show up to work here every day…
On the weekends, when Adam isn’t working or hunting, he still gets to travel to churches and preach.
ADAM PREACHING: In John chapter 4 there’s a story about a well. And it’s about Jesus who goes to a woman who’d been trying, thing after thing, after thing.
Even so, Adam Weatherby says he sometimes misses full-time ministry. But he’s learned that where he gets his paycheck doesn’t define him. It’s who he is while he gets it.
ADAM: So hopefully, whatever we do, we do it all, both with excellence, and hopefully, we’re shining that light that we’re called to do no matter where we’re at.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg in Sheridan, Wyoming.
MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, July 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD founder Joel Belz has some thoughts on one of the recent Supreme Court decisions—and a hat-tip for Justice Samuel Alito.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: Every now and then, just when the swamps of Washington seem most impenetrable, a bright light dawns. That happened this month when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled convincingly in favor of religious liberty for the nation’s schools.
First, a brief summary of the case. Two elementary Catholic schools in California had chosen not to renew the contracts of two fifth grade teachers. Their administrators had judged them less than effective in carrying out the schools’ religious goals.
The teachers sued, and ultimately the state of California joined in their complaint, charging that the teachers’ civil rights had been abridged. Several lower courts agreed with the teachers, and the case ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Over the last couple of years, the case has attracted growing attention because of its implications for all kinds of nonpublic religious schools. That includes colleges and even theological seminaries. What might happen if the government took an increasingly intrusive role in hiring and firing faculty?
Waiting for an answer in recent months, schools with religious affiliations displayed guarded optimism that such a relationship might protect their independence from government intrusion. A bit more iffy had been the place of independent schools with strong religious identities. Lawyers for both types of schools argued—quote—“that both the church and state are better off when the government doesn’t entangle itself in the internal religious decisions of religious groups about who best teaches the faith to the next generation.” End quote.
The Supreme Court was neither ambiguous nor guarded in its answer. Here’s my loose translation: Government bureaucrats have no business telling schools who is qualified, and who isn’t, to teach their religion classes. Nor should the government decide which schools are religious and which aren’t. Or which subjects in the curriculum are religious and which aren’t.
I had become pessimistic as I tracked this case in recent months. But Justice Samuel Alito displayed his wonderfully clear mind in the majority opinion. He stressed that—quote—“[for] religious schools, educating young people in their faith, inculcating its teachings, and training them to live their faith are responsibilities that lie at the very core of the mission.” End quote.
In other words, it wasn’t just organizational relationships that earned “religious liberty” for these schools. It was much more than that. It’s the deeply held worldview convictions of their hearts. Such convictions should be honored regardless of the affiliation of the school.
Such clarity made an optimist of me. And it must have been part of what attracted two traditionally liberal justices to Alito’s position—providing the 7-2 win. That is likely to produce a much more durable precedent for Alito’s successors in years to come.
I’m Joel Belz.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: medical workers across the Sun Belt are feeling the strain of the rise in COVID-19. We’ll talk to doctors and nurses about how they’re handling the pressure.
And, we’ll tell you about Turkey’s plan to convert a 1500-year-old cathedral into a mosque.
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.
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