The World and Everything in It — August 12, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

Joe Biden picked his running mate yesterday afternoon. Will that have any effect on his White House bid?

NICK EICHER, HOST: We’ll talk about it on Washington Wednesday.

Also, World Tour.

Plus we’ll meet some urban farmers in Chicago preparing for possible food shortages.

And Janie B. Cheaney on our part in God’s kingdom-building plans.

BASHAM: It’s Wednesday, August 12th. 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, Kent Covington has the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden picks Sen. Harris as running mate » Joe Biden has picked his running mate—California Senator Kamala Harris. 

The 55-year-old lawmaker served six years as California’s attorney general before joining the U.S. Senate in 2017. 

During presidential primary debates, Harris, who is Black, attacked Biden for working with segregationist senators while in Congress, and for opposing busing as a way to integrate schools. But after her own presidential bid faltered, she endorsed Biden in March.

HARRIS: One of the things that we need right now is—we need a leader who really does care about the people and who can therefore unify the people. And I believe Joe can do that. 

Harris supports pro-abortion measures such as repealing the Hyde Amendment. In May, pro-life activist David Daleiden sued Harris and Planned Parenthood. The suit alleged that she as California’s attorney general conspired with the abortion giant to prosecute him after he released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives negotiating prices for the body parts of aborted babies. 

Harris has said she supports the “freedom to worship” but not the free exercise of religion that would allow Christian principles to inform hiring and firing decisions in the workplace.

Russia declares coronavirus vaccine safe and effective » Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine. 

PUTIN: [Speaking in Russian]

President Vladimir Putin announced the Health Ministry’s approval, adding that one of his adult daughters received the vaccine with only minor side effects. He also said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity.

But so far, Russian authorities have offered no proof to back up those claims. And experts around the world are skeptical.  

Dr. Amesh Adaljia is an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University. He warned that if something goes wrong with this vaccine—quote—“It’s going to set us all back.”

ADALJA: If something happens in this Russian experience in terms of a new safety signal or maybe it doesn’t show to be as effective as possible, that’s going to color all of the other vaccines and make public health messaging much harder. 

Michael Head is a senior research fellow at the University of Southampton in England. He noted that it appears the vaccine was only tested on a few dozen people. 

HEAD: That is way too early in the process to actually approve a vaccine. It may look promising, but we may be taking that step too far in terms of any regulatory approvals at this stage. 

By comparison, vaccines entering final-stage testing in the United States require studies of 30,000 people each. Two vaccine candidates already have begun those Phase 3 trials, with three more set to get underway by fall.

New Zealand reports first new COVID-19 cases in 102 days » Meantime, at a press conference Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country’s first new cases of COVID-19 in more than a hundred days. 

She said authorities found four cases in one Auckland household. And she announced new restrictions to halt the spread. 

ARDERN: As of 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12th, we will be moving Auckland to level three restrictions for a period of three days. 

That means residents are asked to stay at home, while bars and many other businesses will be closed.

She said that will give officials time to perform contact tracing and make further “decisions about how to respond.” 

The rest of the country will be raised to Level 2 through Friday. Gatherings will be limited to 100 attendees and people will need to practice social distancing.

Global coronavirus cases surpass 20 million » Globally, the pandemic is still on the rise. It took six months for the world to reach 10 million confirmed cases. It took just over six weeks for that number to double.

The worldwide count of known COVID-19 infections climbed past 20 million this week according to Johns Hopkins University.

The average number of new cases per day in the United States has declined in recent weeks. But it’s still running high at over 54,000, versus almost 59,000 in India and nearly 44,000 in Brazil.

Georgia school district quarantines more than 900 students and staff » A Georgia school district has quarantined more than 900 students and staff  members because of possible exposure to the coronavirus. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Cherokee County School District is located about 30 miles north of Atlanta. It started the school year on August 3rd, but it’s already temporarily closing one of its hardest-hit high schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower announced Etowah High School would close until August 31st.

As of Tuesday, Cherokee has confirmed 59 positive tests within the district. A total of 925 students and staff are now under a two-week quarantine as officials perform contact tracing. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Big Ten and Pac-12 cancel fall football schedule » The Big Ten and Pac-12 will not play football this fall. That takes two of college football’s five power conferences out of a crumbling season amid the pandemic.

Six days before pulling the plug, the Big Ten released a revised conference-only football schedule that it hoped would enable teams to play in the fall. Instead, all fall sports in the Big Ten have been called off. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 will explore a spring season.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: what Democrats hope Kamala Harris will bring to the presidential campaign.

Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on building God’s kingdom, one brick at a time.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 12th of August, 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, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: we have a winner in the veepstakes.

EICHER:After weeks of deliberating, the Biden campaign revealed that it had whittled the choices to one. 

And Kamala Harris is officially joining the ticket.

BASHAM: Well, it’s Washington Wednesday and joining us now to talk about Tuesday’s announcement and what it might tell us about Biden’s strategy is Kyle Kondik. He’s with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Good morning!

KYLE KONDIK, GUEST: Good morning.

BASHAM: We know Harris’s basic resume: former prosecutor, California attorney general, and now U.S. senator for the last three-and-a-half years. Did her resume make the difference?

KONDIK: Look, I think she has an adequate level of federal experience. Typically running mates do have elected experience, but also have maybe a longer resume of kind of higher-level elected experience, so either a governor or a serving member of the Senate or the U.S. House. So, Harris—at only three and a half years in the Senate—she’s a little light in that regard. Although, she was elected to two terms as California’s state attorney general and that’s an important job in the nation’s largest state. So that does give her a mix of what is sort of executive experience as an attorney general and also as a prominent member of the Senate. And part of her resume, too, is that she did run for president and, now, I don’t think her presidential campaign went particularly well. But she is vetted to a greater degree, I think, than many of the other people who were mentioned as Democratic vice presidential contenders. And, to me, that makes her a little bit more of a safe choice in that sometimes there are unflattering things that come out about a running mate after that person is chosen. The likelihood of something coming out that we don’t know about Harris already is probably slimmer than with some of these other contenders who had not been in the public eye as much.

BASHAM: There’s been a lot of talk about police reform and even defunding the police among the Democratic base. Now Biden has chosen someone with a law enforcement background. Could that be a liability for him when it comes to energizing his base? 

KONDIK: I do think that in some ways you’ll see the Trump campaign attack Harris in similar ways to how they’ve been attacking Biden in that they’ll find things from Harris’s record in which maybe she sided with law enforcement over reformers in certain ways and they’ll use it as a way to communicate with typical Democratic constituencies that maybe to argue that the Biden-Harris ticket is not right for them. They did sort of a similar thing against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and maybe had a little bit of success in maybe depressing Democratic turnout a little bit. Experts might be a little divided as to how prevalent that was. But that is some messaging I think you’ll see from the Trump campaign.

Now, on the other hand, I think that Biden wants to try to position himself and his ticket in a way in which they can credibly say they’re on the side of law enforcement reformers, but also not be so in favor to changes to law enforcement that their seen as being allied with the far left and so in some ways Harris’s law enforcement background or background as a district attorney and an attorney general might actually help Biden occupy maybe more of the middle on the kind of reform versus law enforcement debate that really has been so prevalent and so noteworthy in the last several months as there’ve been so many protests about inequities, racial inequities in policing. And, actually, a lot of changes in public opinion that I think the general public is maybe more open to law enforcement reform than it has been in the past.

BASHAM: Let’s talk about the Republican side of this selection. It’s still early, but yesterday House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy put out a statement drawing attention to the fact that last year Biden called Harris unfit to serve as president. He also said Harris wants to—quote—“turn America into San Francisco.” Is that a preview of how Republicans will cast Harris? 

KONDIK: Yeah, look, Republicans love to paint the Democratic party as being San Francisco liberals and, hey, we’ve got a Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who is in fact a San Francisco liberal and Kamala Harris, the running mate, is also from San Francisco and also is liberal. So again, that’s a familiar line of attack that you’re going to hear from Republicans. As for bad blood from the primary, there’s a long history of former rivals coming together in a general election. And there have been some successful presidential tickets in the past that featured rivals from a presidential nominating contest. Obama-Biden was actually one of those in 2008 and also the Ronald Reagan-George H.W. Bush ticket in 1980, 1984 which is one of the most successful tickets of all time. Reagan and Bush were sort of at each other’s throat in that 1980 primary. So I think it’s certainly fair for the other side to point out ways in which these candidates have argued in the past, but I’m sure they know those attacks are coming and they’ll have ways to respond to them. 

BASHAM: There’s been a lot of talk about Biden’s age. He’ll be 78 this November, and he’s referred to himself as a “transitional” candidate. To what extent will Harris be something closer to a candidate than a running mate? 

KONDIK: Well, look, I think people are aware of Biden’s advanced age. I think they’re aware of what Biden himself has said about him acting as a bridge to the next generation of Democratic leaders and I think this running mate slot was very attractive to many of these contenders because running mates often do end up becoming presidential candidates and presidential nominees and even presidents in the future and, look, it’s possible that if Biden were to get elected he hypothetically might not run again in 2024 and Harris would probably be the leading candidate then or she might be a leading candidate if Biden loses and there’s an open Democratic primary in 2024 or an open Democratic primary in 2028. So, this slot—so long as Harris does a credible job as the VP and doesn’t hurt herself—this is something that she can maybe parlay into a presidential nomination in the future. 

BASHAM: Assuming the debates go ahead as planned, Harris will face off with Vice President Mike Pence in early October. Pence tends to have a more measured communication style. Harris, as a former prosecutor, is much more fiery. How do you think that matchup will play out? And what effect, if any, might that have on the race?

KONDIK: There’ve been some famous moments from vice presidential debates in the past. I think the one that a lot of people might remember—particularly older folks—was in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Democrat Lloyd Benson told Republican Dan Quayle, “You’re no Jack Kennedy,” after Dan Quayle had sort of compared his own level of experience to Kennedy. That’s the one that’s kind of funny. But, of course, Quayle had some problems as the running mate. But Bush-Quayle pretty easily won in 1988 ultimately. I think back to the Mike Pence-Tim Kaine debate from 2016 and, frankly, I don’t really remember anything particularly memorable about it. And I don’t know if you can say that VP debates have really mattered all that much in the past. Maybe this one would matter, but generally speaking it’s the presidential debates that really get more attention. It’s the one night in the spotlight for the VP candidates other than maybe their acceptance address at the conventions. A lot of people will watch, but then you’ll sort of move on to the rest of the campaign. 

BASHAM: Kyle Kondik is a political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Thanks for joining us today.

KONDIK: Thank you.

NICK EICHER: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour.

Both our international reporters are on assignment.

Former Nazi camp guard convicted—We start today in Europe. 


A German court has sentenced a former concentration camp guard to two years in prison. Bruno Dey was convicted of more than 5,000 counts of accessory to murder. That’s the number of people killed at the Nazi camp while Dey was a guard there in 1944. He was 17 at the time.

Dey claimed not to have known the extent of the suffering in the camp. But the judge ruled against him, saying the mass murder at the camp could not have happened without guards like him.

Even after 70 years, many former Nazis are still being prosecuted. The special office that investigates Nazi crimes has more than a dozen ongoing investigations.

Afghanistan frees 400 Taliban fighters—Next, to the Middle East.



Afghanistan has agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners in an effort to jumpstart peace talks with the militant group. The country’s assembly of elders made the decision Sunday.

The Taliban had demanded the release of 5,000 fighters before beginning peace talks. These 400 are the last of that group. Among them are Taliban members accused of major attacks against civilians, including a 2017 truck bombing in Kabul that killed more than 150 people.

The Afghan assembly said following the release of the prisoners, the Taliban should begin negotiations “immediately, without any excuse.”

Mauritian stranded oil tanker—Next, we go to Africa.


Crews are working to remove as much oil as possible from a stranded tanker off the coast of Mauritius. The ship ran aground two weeks ago and began leaking oil into the once-pristine ocean. High winds and waves are pounding the ship, slowly cracking it apart.

More than 1,000 tons of oil has already seeped out of the wreck, polluting the nearby reefs and lagoons. Thousands of volunteers have created improvised barriers out of fabric tubes stuffed with straw and leaves. The barriers are supposed to help keep the oil contained in a smaller area.

Mauritius is a small island country in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. It is home to world-renowned coral reefs, and tourism is a crucial part of its economy.

Muwado, 8-year-old comedienne—Finally, we end today in Somalia.


An 8-year-old comedian named Muwado Abshir has grabbed the country’s attention. She’s the star of short comedy videos on TikTok and YouTube.

Her teenage brother first posted a video of her in December 2019. Within days, it had more than a quarter of a million views. The account now has over 200,000 followers. Muwado’s brother writes the script and she delivers the punchlines.

Somalia is still recovering from a brutal civil war. Muwado says she likes to make people happy because they look better when they are laughing.

And that’s this week’s World Tour.

NICK EICHER: Well, here’s a nice pro-life sentiment: Maybe you know from watching baseball that fans aren’t allowed in the parks, but cardboard-cutouts are. 

So at the Cincinnati Reds ballpark, one fan paid to have a cardboard cutout in honor his unborn nephew or niece—we can’t tell the sex of the baby because it’s a pretty early sonogram—but that sonogram image is cleverly displayed on the cutout.

This is the work of a young man by the name of Aaron Nemo—that’d be Uncle Aaron. He did this for his brother and sister-in-law, Adam and Kayleigh Nemo, who are expecting a baby Nemo.

The way these cardboard cutouts work is you pay for one—the proceeds go to charity—and then team staff arranges them in the seats however they like. So you have no idea where to find them on TV.

But a local TV station did find out. This is FOX19 in Cincinnati.

AUDIO: Baby Nemo’s cutout is in the front row on the third-base line. So they should be able to find him or her whenever the camera takes that kind of shot.

So I’m thinking every left-handed batter who swings late on a fastball and fouls one up the third-base line is going to have the Nemos reaching for pause on the DVR for another round of “finding baby Nemo.”

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, August 12th. 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.

Early in the COVID-19 response, many grocery stores limited food selection and quantity. And that, of course, coincided with more people starting to cook at home as restaurants closed their doors.

EICHER: Five months later, many stores still have fewer options for their customers. In the event of possible disruptions in the food supply this winter, August gardens may be a logical answer for those willing to plan ahead. 

WORLD Radio’s Laura Finch talked to some midwestern growers to find out.


LAURA FINCH, REPORTER: In times of national crisis, Americans have always been pretty good at growing their own food. 

AUDIO: Victory Gardens! That’s the answer. WE can grow food for victory in our own backyards. 

Zachary Grant, an educator with the University of Illinois extension, has studied small scale food production and the history of food production during crises. 

GRANT: During from 1942-1943 the City of Chicago alone was growing, slightly less than 1,000 acres of food production space, So we’re talking mainly home food production, community gardens.

Grant says interest in growing local food often shoots up during uncertain times—like during a recession, or the Silver Panic of 1893, or a world war.

GRANT: 40 percent of the produce grown in the United States was actually grown in these Victory Gardens. 

This year, quarantine came at just the right time for starting a “pandemic garden.” Though it did catch seed companies by surprise.

GRANT: I believe from, sometime in late March through April, most seed companies actually had to close their online seed stores because there was such an interest, such a run on, such a high demand for seeds during that window. 

Grant advocates for growing your own food all the time, not just during a pandemic. 

Or, he says, look in ‘para-urban’ areas—neighborhoods rimming larger cities—for small farms. These are likely bursting with produce this month. Even in a factory laden-suburb west of Chicago, there’s one of these on a major truck thoroughfare. 

Josh Zyskowski and his wife are young, first-generation farmers. And their yellow brick ranch sits on a pretty major suburban artery—right next to a gas station.

But they’re growing vegetables of every kind, plus fruit trees.

ZYSKOWSKI: So all of this space was a nonproductive lawn. And it can produce, maybe about 100 pounds of food. These raspberries will grow for years and years, and just keep feeding my family. It’s priceless. 

Josh does plan to offer CSA shares next year. But for now, like a good millennial, he just posts on his Facebook page when harvests are ripe, and people come to the house to buy it.

ZYSKOWSKI: I like to harvest as people order, but ideally that doesn’t always work, because you know, sometimes they’re just ripe and you just have to harvest them… 

Well, nearly anything ripe right now, whether found at a farmstand, on sale at your local grocer, or in your own backyard—can be preserved in one form or another.

ZYSKOWSKI: Planning for long term storage. Fermenting is a big one. Finding local farms like this that can grow, possibly year round, that’s a sustainable food source. Cause I don’t see industrial agriculture as a sustainable system in the long term.

Even if you don’t have Josh’s culinary and agricultural ambition, there’s still time in this season to plant a little fall garden: broccoli, carrots, onions and salad greens can all go into the ground now, and the fall weather will act as a natural refrigerator for them. 

In the absence of that, there’s still a way to support local farmers and fill your own freezer in case of another quarantine: pull over for tomatoes.


August in Illinois means farmstands everywhere. 

HALM: Nothing like a fresh tomato. I love the summer…

Jason Halm, the manager of this farm, stands in a preserve-turned-growing-field with his pop-up farmstand. If you didn’t plant a garden this year, he’s got you covered.

HALM: 1500 to 2,000 pounds, roughly, in a couple of days.

Halm says even though tomatoes are available year round in most grocery stores, they’re never as good as the fresh ones.

HALM: …they’re all gassed with ethylene. Yeah, they pick them very very green, or very unripe… 

So get them now. Grow them, buy them, chop them, puree them, sauce them, can them, freeze them, or do whatever you want to do with them, but grab the fresh tomatoes now. Because this is Chicagoland, and the sunshine won’t last forever. 

And wouldn’t it be nice this winter to have a few weeks’ worth of delicious, healthy groceries already tucked away? No more panic shopping.

AUDIO: Yes, for the duration at least, it’s our job to grow food for our own tables, and there’s no need to strain transportation resources to bring food from a Victory Garden to the table. And year in, and year out, if need be, with our own hands, we can grow the Gardens of Victory.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Laura Finch in West Chicago, Illinois.

MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Wednesday, August 12th. 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. Janie B. Cheaney now on God’s kingdom construction plans.

JANIE B.CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR—The Parable of the Talents in Matthew is the Parable of the Minas in Luke, and the differences are not minor. A talent was worth more than $1,000; a mina amounted to three month’s wages—a goodly sum, but not extravagant.

Luke also adds this context: The master in the story was going away to receive a crown. And his would-be subjects had already rejected him, by sending a delegation ahead to complain, “We do not want this man to be our king.” So the servants are entrusted with a considerable sum of money to invest in a hostile society.

Matthew’s use of talents may signify the immense value of what we’re given to invest; Luke’s mention of minas could suggest the limits of human time and resources. Both apply, but we should also consider the audience listening to this now-familiar story for the first time. Luke explains: They expected the kingdom of God to appear at once, now that Jesus was there to claim it.

No, he’s telling them; the kingdom must be built.

I will build my church. And my church will build the kingdom. Not on her own, not without the Son’s name or the Holy Spirit’s power or the Father’s providence.

But the kingdom is ours to build.

I forget that. I think of Jesus coming with his angels to judge the living and the dead, and that’s the kingdom, right? It will APPEAR at the sound of a trumpet. With the world in such disarray, now would be a great time!

But Christ’s coming is when the kingdom will be made visible and apparent. It’s appearing right now. My business, every day, is kingdom business.

That business has many facets: making a living, raising a family, performing acts of charity, serving a local church—all in a culture that keeps insisting, “We do not want this man to be our king.” That’s always been the case, in churchy, straight-laced times as well as in degenerate times. The world does not want Christ as king, and never has.

So we build His kingdom in a hostile culture, brick by brick. I don’t know why he does it this way. We say, “Come, Lord Jesus,” meaning, Bring it! But he’s not going to bring it, he’s going to wrap it up as a gift to present to his Father. He’s coming to place a bridal crown on our head and take our hand to lead us to the wedding feast, with the rightful king restored and the rebellious subjects subjugated. (Don’t forget that part of the story.)

What’s my part? Where do I build? My little section of this magnificent project seems small and insignificant, but his eyes are on it, and a cloud of witnesses are cheering me on.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: We’ll hear from parents struggling to adjust to the new school reality.

And, we’ll talk to pastor John MacArthur about California’s effort to keep his church from meeting for in-person worship.

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.

Let’s close with the prayer of the Apostle Paul: that God might make us worthy of His calling and fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power.

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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