MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
A professor asserts his conscience against mandated diversity training at a college campus in South Carolina.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today the Monday Moneybeat: We’ll run the numbers on jobs and consumer prices, discuss the politics of government COVID relief, and what’s happening to some big technology companies.
Plus the WORLD History Book. Today, the 100th anniversary of a bombing in New York City.
And WORLD commentator Kim Henderson on the medicinal qualities of a game of bingo.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, September 14th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: LA County deputies critically wounded in ambush attack » Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were fighting for their lives on Sunday as police conducted a manhunt for the gunman who shot the deputies in their squad car.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters that both officers were new on the job.
VILLANUEVA: One is the 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy. Her husband is here with them. The other is a 24-year-old. The parents are here, girlfriend is here. They’re both out of class 437 and so they just graduated. And in fact I swore them into office 14 months ago.
Both underwent surgery on Saturday night, shortly after the attacker ambushed their patrol car at a Metro rail station. The deputies were able to radio for help.
The department tweeted video of the shooting that shows a person firing through the passenger-side window.
According to the sheriff’s department, protesters then blocked the entrance & exit of the hospital emergency room yelling ‘We hope they die.’
President Trump reacted Sunday saying the shooter should receive the death penalty if either of the officers die. Joe Biden called the attack “cold-blooded” and “unconscionable” and said the “perpetrator must be brought to justice.”
Missing residents found as wildfires rage along West Coast » Some good news in Oregon on Sunday, as officials said nearly all of the dozens of people reported missing have been located after a blaze in the southern part of the state.
But firefighters continue to battle devastating wildfires up and down the West Coast. So far 33 people have died.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Sunday that more than 40,000 Oregonians have had to flee their homes.
BROWN: This week alone, we’ve burned more than a million acres of beautiful Oregon. We’ve got fires on the coast. We’ve got fires in communities butting our metropolitan areas, and southern Oregon has been devastated.
Warnings of low moisture and strong winds that could fan the flames have added urgency to the battle. The so-called red flag warnings stretched from hard-hit southern Oregon to Northern California and have been extended through this evening.
Human rights groups ask Olympics to reconsider holding Winter Games in Beijing » More than 150 human rights groups are urging the International Olympic Committee to rethink holding the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
In a letter, the coalition said that since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China has built—quote, “an Orwellian surveillance network” in Tibet and incarcerated more than a million Uighurs.” It listed a litany of other abuses from Hong Kong to the Inner Mongolia region, as well as the intimidation of Taiwan.
China brushed off the letter as an attempt to politicize sports.
GOP lawmakers call on Justice Dept. to investigate Netflix » At least two GOP lawmakers are calling on the Justice Department to investigate to see if Netflix and the makers of a controversial French film violated child pornography laws. Texas Senator Ted Cruz said Sunday…
CRUZ: This movie “Cuties,” it sexualizes 11-year-old girls, has them dancing like strippers, has them in very suggestive sexual roles, and it’s frankly disgusting.
And Indiana Congressman Jim Banks told Fox News…
BANKS: It’s trafficking child pornography on Netflix, and Netflix should be penalized. They should be gone after by the DOJ with charges brought against them for distributing child pornography.
The Justice Department has not made a public statement about a potential investigation.
Calif. church defies court order, holds indoor service » Grace Community Church in suburban Los Angeles defied a court order and held its normal Sunday service indoors yesterday.
On Thursday the Los Angeles Superior Court temporarily banned the church from having any indoor worship services. Judge Mitchell Beckloff also said the church could only hold outdoor services under certain conditions.
The church’s pastor, John MacAurthur, called the ruling unconstitutional. On Sunday morning, he read from a list of requirements the church would have to meet to comply with the order including restroom protocols and rules about parking. He said the rules would effectively “shut the church down.”
An attorney for the county argued earlier this month—his words—“religion doesn’t trump health and safety.” But a lawyer for the church said the county is guilty of a double-standard. He said officials are targeting the church but seem to have no problem with large protest gatherings.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: a dispute over college sensitivity training.
Plus, Kim Henderson on missing bingo.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: It’s Monday morning and the start of a new work week for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 14th of September, 2020.
Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. The academic publication Inside Higher Ed reports the story of a professor of politics at a South Carolina school who had been facing termination for refusing mandatory diversity training.
His name is Jeffrey Poelvoorde. He’s a professor of politics at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He wrote a letter explaining why he objected, and then read it on a YouTube video:
POELVOORDE: I do not dispute that the leadership of Converse College is well-meaning in its attempts to extirpate bigotry. But those attempts must occur within the framework of a liberal education, guided by an essential respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual to think and learn on his or her own.
EICHER: Converse College mandated the training in March. According to published reports: It required faculty to undergo diversity and inclusion training, along with a course in recognizing something called unconscious bias.
College president Krista Newkirk wrote a memo to students in response to Poelvoorde. In it, she says the right to freedom of speech is “balanced by our policy on discrimination” and that “Converse does not tolerate discrimination” on … “any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.’”
Poelvoorde continues reading a portion of his letter.
POELVOORDE: Converse College, like the American nation around it, is an imperfect entity, as must any entity engendered by the broken and corrupt human heart be. Converse and America may contain dark and ugly elements that frustrate the attainment of our highest ideals, but in life? In life, we must never confront our lowest by abandoning our highest.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what the leadership of Converse college has done by imposing the coercive mandate and embracing an expedient to address the problem of racism that departs from the essential nature of a liberal arts education.
REICHARD: Poelvoorde refused to submit to what he sees as a condescending, ideologically-infused training. When he refused to bend to coercion, he thought his job was at risk.
So he hired a lawyer, Samantha Harris. She represents him throughout this process.
HARRIS: And Dr. Poelvoorde objected to this as a violation of his freedom of conscience, particularly because he learned from some faculty who did take the trainings that you actually had to on at least one of them, you had to select particular answers that you, that were, you know, the right answer before being able to move on, but that some of these answers were actually matters of opinion. So he believed that taking this training and the fact that the college was, you know, imposing this training on its faculty was a violation of his right to freedom of conscience.
Harris told me that this training often requires you to answer a yes or no question, but that actually has an ideological tilt to it. So, Poelvoorde felt the training was an ideological imposition.
HARRIS: He actually said that if the college would make it voluntary, that he would take it. But he felt that this wasn’t the college’s place to require faculty and staff to sort of share, you know, the college’s official view on racial dynamics in this country in order to be faculty in good standing.
According to Poelvoorde, Converse told him he could be terminated for insubordination if he refused the training.
HARRIS: It chose instead just to issue him a reprimand which really, I think is a result of the fact that he was willing to speak up about this. And when he spoke up about it, he received you know, support from around the country. I think, you know, universities often try to do things privately that they wouldn’t be able to defend publicly. And I think that firing a faculty member for not wanting to submit to essentially a program of thought reform is something that was not going to play well with the public. And once Converse realized that this was not something that was just going to be a private matter. It chose just to issue this reprimand which, you know, has little practical effect, and Dr. Poevoorde remains a faculty member at the college.
The pressure to bend to ideology is strong everywhere, across industries.
I asked Harris to talk about what protections Americans have against this sort of thing.
HARRIS: Well, you know, we obviously have the, the First Amendment which prevents the government from taking any official action based on the content of people’s speech. You know, I think the real thing though, is that the legal protections don’t mean a lot if people are not willing to stand up for their rights. And that’s what’s happening right now is that there’s really a climate of fear that’s prevailing not only yeah, on campus, but also you know, in the media and in you know, in corporate, in the corporate world as well.
I mean, I had another there was another professor at Princeton who wrote a piece in Quillette in which he challenged or sort of pushed back against a petition by faculty at Princeton to take all of these new anti-racism initiatives. And you know, after he published that there was a lot of anger and people called for the university to investigate him. And he received, you know, just voluminous sort of hate online and everything. But the support that he got was all these sort of private messages saying, “Hey, listen, you know, I wish I could speak up in your defense, but I’m afraid of losing my job.” And some of these were from within academia, but some of these also were from people in corporate jobs.
Harris said the issue is more about whether individuals have the courage to stand up for their rights, no matter the personal or professional cost.
HARRIS: The reason this mob behavior is allowed to continue is that too many people are afraid. I think that if a critical mass of people push back and I think that’s evident in the case of Dr. Poelvoorde and in the case of Professor Katz, who is the case, I was just talking about at Princeton. These were cases where you know the faculty themselves and their supporters did publicly stand up.
Poelvoorde received a reprimand in his employment file. But Harris said that shows the college backed down from its original threat to fire him.
HARRIS: Well, it’s interesting because you know, all of the emphasis that’s being placed on diversity, there really is, you know, a problem with diversity of thought. And I think that’s because there’s, there’s really an arrogance among a lot of the people in positions of authority you know, at colleges and universities today that they sort of have a monopoly on the truth. And I think there’s a real lack of intellectual humility there. In that desire to suppress dissenting points of view.
What does Harris think the ultimate message of Professor Poelvoorde’s case is?
HARRIS: You know I think the real message here is that what should be conducted as good-faith debates are now conducted as these cancel campaigns, where if anybody expresses a view that’s out of step with the prevailing ideology on campus you know, people are sort of calling for their personal and professional destruction. I think that we need more people like Dr. Poelvoorde who are willing to stand up for their rights even you know, at, at cost to themselves, because that’s the only way we’re going to fight back against this cancel culture.
I’ll let Professor Poelvoorde have the final word. Note this is edited for flow.
POELVOORDE: As the political philosopher, Leo Strauss reminds us quote, “indignation is a bad counselor. Our indignation proves it best that we are well meaning. It does not prove that we are right.” Unquote. This is from his work, “Natural Rights in History,” on page six. I do not tell president Newkirk or Provost Barker, what to read or watch or think I demand the same respect from them. And God willing, let them see beyond ideology and embrace the complexity and diversity of opinions and interpretations that these events require. And finally let them check their coercive impulses at the front gate.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: Let’s welcome financial analyst and advisor David Bahnsen.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Morning, Nick. Good to be with you.
EICHER: So you were out at the coffee shop this morning. That’s different. Things are opening up in New York City.
BAHNSEN: Yes. They are. I reopened my office out here in New York after Fourth of July and it was a ghost town throughout most of Manhattan. Slowly but surely throughout the summer we saw things starting to pick back up and the now here after Labor Day with schools reopening and restaurants getting ready to reopen on the inside—they’ve been open on the outdoor patio for quite awhile now—you definitely feel some energy coming back into the city.
EICHER: Good to hear! Well, let’s talk about jobs right here at the top. Looks like initial jobless claims stayed at 884,000. Continuing claims, am I right, that it went up?
BAHNSEN: Continuing claims were up modestly and even the initial claims were up just a little bit. But, yeah, right there in between 850 and 900. And then the continuing claims were up on the margin. So not a big move up or down on the jobless front this week.
EICHER: Do you draw any conclusions from that? I mean, did you expect something different?
BAHNSEN: No, I don’t have any expectation week-by-week. We try to use trailing three week averages to take out noise from the numbers. And on a trailing three week period, everything is declining and we expect it to continue declining.
My frustration is I want it declining quicker and the only thing holding that back is the very sector we were talking about with Manhattan. It’s food and beverage. It’s hospitality, travel, leisure. These are not necessarily very high paying jobs, but they’re just so important to those people, to those sectors, it’s a lot of hourly wage employees. That, to me, is where you have the lowest hanging fruit.
But there’s just no reason for these places—I mean, here in New York, you understand the positivity rate has been less than 1 percent for months, OK? There’s just no reason to not have these restaurants open.
EICHER: So, a lot of people read these reports that the Labor Department puts out and the Commerce Department puts out, and so when a listener reads a story like “Consumer prices rebounded in August for the third straight month after a sharp decline following the COVID outbreak, so everyday items are becoming more expensive,” how do you interpret that, just as a reader of one of these stories? Is it just another one of these demand side figures that don’t mean much to you?
BAHNSEN: No, I mean, it means nothing at all. It’s not even really true because it’s just a fluctuation of the numbers that bounce a little bit.
So, on the margin, this whole issue of where consumer prices stand, there’s never been a need—ever—for economic data to tell us. You and I know what stuff costs when we’re paying the bill for dinner with our family. That’s where Americans feel consumer stuff and that’s where you can’t create a national index because people travel differently, people spend differently, there’s different habits, different preferences, the whole issue of inflation trying to become a monolithic tag is very difficult.
First of all, healthcare costs, housing costs, and higher education costs are where all the inflation is coming from. Well, indexes that look to oil prices, gas prices, see I don’t drive a car much. I walk around Manhattan and even Newport Beach, my house and my office are a mile apart from each other. So, the way that gas prices affect someone like me is somewhat irrelevant. But then there’s people that drive 40 miles to work every day, so the oil price inflation or deflation is going to have a huge impact on them.
Well, how do you capture all of that in a particular index? I just don’t think it can be done.
So, I understand there’s going to be all these data points that fluctuate, but here’s what we know to be the case: There is significant disinflation in prices overall as a result of technology. And, overall, I think people should consider that a good thing.
EICHER: Let’s talk a little bit of politics, congressional politics. What do you know about what’s going on with—I hesitate to call, everybody calls it a stimulus package, but it’s not really a stimulus package. It’s really more relief, I guess, than anything else. But what’s your sense of where those negotiations stand? Or is it just we’re done here and we’re going to have the election and then we’ll decide what’s next?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I have a couple sources that I am very hesitant to contradict because they’ve been very reliable and they’re very qualified in their assessment of things. They continue to tell me, they’re adamant a deal’s going to end up getting done. And yet I am really of the opinion that this thing is dead, that at this point both parties have determined that there’s no political damage being done to them to not do a deal.
And so the House Democrats can tell their base, “Sorry, we’re not getting anything for you but it’s because the White House is not playing ball.” And the White House and Senate Republicans can say, accurately, “We’ve offered smaller deals. We want to go get done what everyone agrees to. The House Democrats won’t even do the things that we agree to getting done.”
So, the bill this week that the Senate passed and then the Democrats blocked from going forward, that would have provided a few hundred billion more to PPP for small business relief, it would have provided $300/week in unemployment insurance supplement, it would have provided liability protection for reopening and it would have provided $105 billion to schools. It was not going to give the hundreds and hundred of billions to states.
And that’s supposedly what the issue is now.
My opinion, though, Nick—and I’m not being partisan here, I’m just reading the tea leaves—I just think they’ve decided they’re not going to do a deal before the election.
EICHER: OK. I’m leaving the big market story of the week for last. You and I talked a week ago about overpriced tech stocks—overvalued—and the air really started coming out of a lot of tech companies.
BAHNSEN: Yeah, that’s a big story. That’s the big story this week.
EICHER: Right, so before we go, talk about the reason for that.
BAHNSEN: Well, the technology sector is what created extra downside volatility in the stock market this week and the latter part of last week. Some of these stocks that were trading at 30x earnings are still trading at 70x. You look at some that are trading at 150x earnings. There’s still plenty of froth in the technology sector. But what you’re seeing, Nick, is that the overall market is not dropping that much, you’re just seeing a leadership change, people coming out of overpriced tech, into more better value type areas.
So I would not be surprised to see ongoing volatility in technology, but bond yields did not drop this week. If you were just having a full-on risk-off panic out of the market, you would see all stocks going down and bonds going up and bond yields dropping. We did not see that at all, and so I still just think this has to do with over valuation in technology more than anything else.
EICHER: Alright, great to talk with you. David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor, thanks so much.
BAHNSEN: Thanks for having me, Nick. Appreciate it.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, September 14th. You’re listening to WORLD Radio, and we are so glad you are. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The WORLD History Book. Today, the rise of a radical movement in the United States and one of its most daring attacks 100 years ago this week.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In the late 19th century, a radical movement was spreading around the world. It fed on the rising distrust of federal governments: it’s known as “Anarchism.”
KLEHR: Well, the anarchists argued that all government was illegitimate.
Harvey Klehr is emeritus professor of politics and history at Emory University. Another movement emerged around the same time—based on the writings of Karl Marx. The two movements were not strictly allies, more like co-belligerents.
KLEHR: Quite often the anarchists were in conflict with Marxists. The Marxists focused, for example, on building labor unions, political parties, they contested elections where they could. The anarchists were opposed to all that. They insisted that to participate in the political system was to concede to your enemies. The purpose was to destroy the political system. And one way to do that was violence.
Anarchists called it: “propaganda of the deed.”
KLEHR: You have these bombings which start in 1914 and really pick up in 1918, 1919. Most of them are, we now are pretty sure were carried out by a group of Italian immigrants called the Galleanistas.
With the Russian Revolution, and the rise of anarchist violence, the U.S. government strengthened the Espionage Act of 1917 and clamped down on many agitators. The anarchists responded with even more bombings.
In 1919, anarchists attempt to assassinate U.S. Attorney General Alexander Mitchell Palmer. The only casualty is the one planting the bomb.
KLEHR: So the government is increasingly frightened and concerned by this rise of radicalism.
Palmer launches a counter offensive by the U.S. government. The attorney general appoints a Justice Department lawyer to head up the operation: J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover coordinates intelligence from various government sources and quickly creates a large database of suspected anarchists and communists. Then, the government starts arresting large numbers of them.
KLEHR: The Palmer raids begin in 1919 and then carry over into 1920, and involve the arrest of anybody who was associated with several organizations…
The arrests were most often dragnet raids.
KLEHR: They would arrest anybody that was around them. So lots of people that had nothing to do, or very little to do, with these organizations were arrested. They were held incommunicado. They were denied bail. All these kinds of things which wound up discrediting the raids.
In the end, more than 3,000 people are arrested in 30 U.S. cities. Most are released, but Hoover deports more than 550.
KLEHR: A number of the actions were overly severe and unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny. The evidence was awfully thin against most of the people arrested. And of course the government eventually admitted that.
SOUND: [HORSE-DRAWN WAGON AND CITYSCAPE]
At noon on September 16th, 1920, a horse-drawn wagon weaves its way through lunchtime crowds on Wall Street in New York City. It stops across from the J.P. Morgan bank on one of the busiest corners in the financial district.
The crowds are unaware that inside the wagon is 100 pounds of dynamite, as well as 500 pounds of cast-iron window weights. The explosives are triggered by a timer.
The explosion wounds more than 400 bystanders. Thirty-eight people die. And after years of investigation, no one was ever convicted of the crime, but bombings continued to be a common tactic for anarchists until the early 1930’s.
According to history professor Harvey Klehr, the threat was real, but he maintains the Palmer Raids were the wrong way to go about dealing with it and in fact may have made matters worse.
KLEHR: First of all, it tends to discredit their larger aims. But when you go off on a wild goose chase, first of all, as you’re chasing those wild geese, you may miss some real dangers. And secondly, if you accuse innocent people or people that can prove their innocence pretty easily, you tend to make it less likely that people will believe you in the real cases.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book.
I’m Paul Butler.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, September 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD commentator Kim Henderson now on the human touch.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: Don’t be fooled by the bottle-top tokens. Over at Brook Manor they play bingo like they mean it.
Every week, a litany of calls roll over the PA system like a Saturday night auction. Back before COVID closed the door, I happened to possess one of those gamecards with the extra-large print. I sat beside 25 residents in the facility’s community room where women players, I noticed, outnumbered the men 7 to 1.
Popular Mr. Castilaw was one of the few and the proud making up the lesser part of that ratio. He told me bingo has astounding medicinal properties.
“They can be in their room, not stirring, and the word gets around that we’re about to play — ” he started out, then whispered, “Let’s just say I’ve seen it raise the dead.” We laughed.
(Hey, a little nursing home humor never hurt anybody.)
“I-29. G-27. N-45.”
Ah, N-45 did it. The first bingo of the day.
“Didn’t say it loud enough,” a player piped back, and it was true. The majority of their “bingos” were weak.
But these wizened ones begged for more even before the announcer could say “clear your cards.” I hardly had time to introduce myself to the competition, solemn Mary Louise. Mary Louise had anchored her free space with a piece of red plastic that once belonged to a gallon of milk, and her board was filling fast.
“O-61. N-40. B-25.”
A little round-faced lady at the center table shouted, “I bingo!” Her next-chair neighbor, wearing a necklace and Nikes, didn’t flinch. I wondered what she thought of her teen volunteer’s fingernails, the psychedelic ones helping her move tokens to the correct spaces.
About that time, a caregiver in navy scrubs wandered through. He worked the crowd like an incumbent at the county fair, patting and smiling all the while. “You’re out of your chair,” he admonished long-haired Barbara. Barbara sat down, then went on to bingo three times before the hour was up.
Someone asked, “‘G’ as in ‘girl’?”
The answer was yes, and with that the final round began. It was something called “blackout,” and the announcer warned she would say the letter/number combos once and only once.
“So listen up,” she directed from her spot by the piano. Things got quiet, even back in Mr. Castilaw’s corner.
Time passed, and suddenly, it wasn’t “bingo” we heard, but “blackout.” Ol’ Mary Louise took the prize.
Moments later wheelchairs jammed the hallway, but not everyone was quick to leave. Mr. Castilaw pulled me aside and recounted that last round like it was an NBA final.
These days nursing home volunteers like my daughter’s college group and hundreds of others are wondering if they’ll ever be allowed back in to play games, paint fingernails, and, most importantly, hold worship services. The local obituaries tell us one thing for sure. Mr. Castilaw and a host of other Bingo players sadly won’t be there when they do.
I’m Kim Henderson.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Real estate havoc. We’ll tell you how months of high unemployment are affecting renters and landlords.
And, we’ll find out why one of the nation’s most active Christian groups on college campuses is celebrating a new Trump administration order.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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