The World and Everything in It — September 24, 2020

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!

Arizona could hold the key to controlling the Senate. We’ll check in on what could be the second most hotly contested race of 2020.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also this year’s surge in homeschooling is particularly big in Texas—like everything else in the state. We’ll tell you why.

Plus we’ll meet a Nashville couple who temporarily lost their jobs, but decided to bring sweetness to their neighbors. 

And Cal Thomas on the cure for misplaced anger.

BASHAM: It’s Thursday, September 24th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!

BASHAM: Up next, news with Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Supreme Court justices honor Ginsburg in private ceremony » The body of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg now lies in repose atop the Supreme Court steps. 

On Wednesday, members of the court’s police force walked her flag-draped casket into the Great Hall. 

The other eight justices met the casket for a private ceremony inside the closed building…

As Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt read from the book of Psalms.

AUDIO: [Holtzblatt reading]

Ginsburg’s high court colleagues then paid tribute. Chief Justice John Roberts …

ROBERTS: Among the words that best describe Ruth: Tough, brave, a fighter, a winner, but also thoughtful, careful, compassionate, honest. 

Ginsberg died of pancreatic cancer on Friday at age 87.

Tomorrow, her casket will arrive at the U.S. Capitol, where she’ll become the first woman and second Supreme Court justice to lie in state. Her body will be buried next to her husband, Martin, next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

Kentucky jury finds shooting of Breonna Taylor justified » Demonstrators took to the streets in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday for protests that turned violent last night. 

Louisville Metro Police Interim Chief Robert Schroeder … 

SCHROEDER: Shots rang out and two of our officers were shot. Both officers are currently undergoing treatment at university hospital. One is alert and stable. 

He said doctors expect both officers to recover and a suspect is in custody. 

Protests erupted after a grand jury found the actions of the police officer that shot and killed Breonna Taylor to be justified. 

Taylor was a black woman who died in March as police served a warrant at her apartment. 

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is African American, said the case was emotional for him … but he had to put emotion aside in reviewing the facts.

CAMERON: When my team set out to investigate the circumstance surrounding Ms. Taylor’s death, we did it with a singular goal in mind, pursuing the truth. 

He said a critical factor in the case has been misreported—the belief that police did not announce themselves as they burst through the door. 

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire at police as they entered the apartment, wounding one officer. That led police to open fire, killing Taylor. 

Walker said he didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self defense. And her death inspired a city ordinance and statewide legislation called “Breonna’s Law,” which would ban so-called “no knock” warrants.

But Cameron told reporters Wednesday…

CAMERON: The officers’ statements about their announcement were corroborated by an independent witness who was near in a proximity to apartment four. In other words, the warrant was not served as a no-knock warrant. 

Cameron defended the actions of Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the March 13th incident.

But the grand jury did indict a third officer, Detective Brett Hankinson, on three counts of wanton endangerment. He reportedly fired 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment. Some of those bullets passed through a wall into the next apartment endangering three other people. 

Drug maker to begin biggest coronavirus vaccine trial yet » Johnson & Johnson plans to enroll 60,000 volunteers in the biggest COVID-19 vaccine test so far. The company on Wednesday announced its international Stage 3 trial for a single-dose vaccine. The company said the study could yield answers by early next year.

Meantime, top U.S. health officials testified before a Senate panel. FDA Administrator Dr. Stephen Hahn again assured lawmakers that his agency will approve a vaccine based solely on science, not politics. 

HAHN: FDA will not authorize or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families. 

Even if a vaccine is ready by the end of the year, as President Trump hopes, rolling it out will take time. Most Americans likely wouldn’t have access to a shot until sometime next year.

Nearly 500 whales stranded in Australia » Wildlife officials in Australia are trying to determine what caused the largest mass stranding of whales ever recorded in the country. 

After finding hundreds of whales this week trapped in shallow water, Nic Deka with Tasmania Parks and Wildlife said an aerial survey detected hundreds more. 

DEKA: We sent them further into the harbor and they have detected around about another 200 in a couple of bays. 

That raised the estimated total to almost 500 pilot whales. Nearly 400 of them have died.

Wildlife officials have launched a rescue operation to return surviving whales to open waters.

Gale Sayers dies at 77 » Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers has died. He was 77.

Sayers was widely considered one of the best open-field runners the game has ever seen. 

Relatives had said he was diagnosed with dementia. In March 2017, his wife, Ardythe, said she partly blamed his football career. In 2007, Gale Sayers told a Senate committee that the NFL needed to take better care of its former athletes. 

SAYERS: Today, the NFL is a $7-plus billion industry, yet it still struggles to do right by the retired players whose sacrifices built this game. 

Sayers suffered serious knee injuries that cut short his NFL career. He later became a businessman and philanthropist for several inner-city Chicago youth initiatives.

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Sayers “one of the finest men in NFL history and one of the game’s most exciting players.”

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Arizona’s heated Senate race.

Plus, Cal Thomas on America’s misdirected rage.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN: It’s Thursday the 24th of September, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: the battle for the U.S. Senate.

Right now, Republicans enjoy a narrow four-seat majority in the Senate. With that upper hand, they’ve confirmed judges, passed tax reforms, and increased military spending. But in November, 35 senate seats are up for grabs. And Republicans are defending most of them: 23 to the Democrats’ 12.

BROWN: A year ago, polls showed it would be an uphill battle for Democrats to win the minimum three seats needed to retake Senate control. But with just weeks until Election Day, those same polls now give them a fighting chance. WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on where the contest is most fierce.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Senate Democrats set their sights on flipping Arizona’s Republican held Senate seat after the 2018 midterms. 

That year, Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat out Republican candidate Martha McSally for the U.S. Senate. That even though President Trump carried the state in 2016.

But Air Force veteran Martha McSally still ended up going to Washington, D.C, a month later. Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Doucey appointed her to temporarily fill the seat of former Republican Senator John McCain, who died in August.

DOUCEY: Colonel McSally’s service to this country is one for the history books. She was the first woman to fly in combat and the first woman to command a fighter squadron in combat. And she has represented Southern Arizona in Congress since 2015. 

Now, McSally is running in a special election to serve out the rest of McCain’s term that ends in 2022. 

MCSALLY: We will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. I’m Martha McSally and I approve this message because together we will win this battle.

Her Democratic challenger is Mark Kelly. 

AUDIO: Breaking campaign news: retired astronaut Mark Kelly just announced that he is running for John McCain’s senate seat in Arizona. 

Kelly is also the husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords grabbed national headlines eight years ago when a gunman shot her at a constituent meeting. Together, the couple started a gun-violence prevention foundation. 

Throughout the race, McSally has consistently trailed Kelly in the polls. 

Stan Barnes heads Copper State Consulting Group, a firm that works with Republican candidates in Arizona. He says the state’s political landscape has changed as more and more voters turn independent.

BARNES: Republicans have just over a million registered voters. Democrats have just over a million registered voters and the independent voter electorate has also jumped up to over a million voters. So in other words, all the growth in the last 30 years really has been independent voters. 

Karlyn Bowman is a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. She says changing demographics in the state also play a role. 

BOWMAN: You can tell the state is changing so dramatically. A large Hispanic population, and also a larger white college educated population.

Democratic donors have poured money into the race, giving Mark Kelly $45 million dollars … to Martha McSally’s $30 million. Only one Senate candidate has raised more than Kelly. 

Copper State’s Stan Barnes says the former astronaut and Navy captain is attracting big dollars because Democrats see him as the first step toward taking back the Senate. 

BARNES: Many national Democratic consultants, they think Martha McSally is vulnerable because she was not elected. She was appointed. And they think Mark Kelly is a fantastic candidate. So their calculus is we need so many seats and Arizona is first tier for one of those seats.

And the stakes for this race just got higher with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the political battle over who will fill her seat.

If Mark Kelly wins the race he could be sworn in as early as November 30th—six weeks earlier than other winners. That’s because this is a special election, so different rules apply. 

Political analysts speculate that if Senate Republicans hold a confirmation vote after the November elections and three Republicans defect, Mark Kelly could hold the deciding vote over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. But he has to win the election first.

Whit Ayres is a political consultant at North Star Opinion Research. He says that’s a lot of ifs.

AYRES: It’s really too early to tell, and you’re really not going to be able to tell until there’s a nominee.

But Republicans could be rallying in the state. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows President Trump taking a 1 point lead in Arizona over Democrat Joe Biden. Other polls show Biden leading by 2 points. 

And while some polls still have Martha McSally down by as much as 8 points, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that deficit has narrowed considerably—to just 1 point.

North Star Opinion’s Whit Ayres says at this point, the race could go either way. 

AYRES: Many of these Senate races look like they could go down to the wire. So I think it will be a long time before we will know who’s going to control the Senate next year.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: record rates of homeschooling.

Schools across the country are juggling all sorts of pandemic problems: state mask orders, mandatory COVID-19 testing protocols, and social distancing requirements, to name a few. Many parents are frustrated with all the new rules.

MYRNA BROWN: That has led to a surge in families choosing to educate their children at home. WORLD correspondent Laura Edghill has our story.

LAURA EDGHILL, REPORTER: Claire Taylor happily sent her two sons to their local public school in Midlothian, Texas, last year. But that all changed this summer when state officials unveiled pandemic protocols for the fall.

Eight-year-old Rhett and 6-year-old Reed would have to keep a safe social distance from their classmates and avoid many activities that make education engaging but also require close contact. They also faced the threat of sudden school closures if community virus cases spiked.

Taylor turned to a friend and veteran home educator for advice.

TAYLOR: She has homeschooled for years and when this all kind of happened, I called her all like “Oh, what do I do?” And because she’s been homeschooling I think for eight years and she said “You’re already a homeschool mom!” She’s like “You read with the kids, all the stuff you do, you already are! So don’t worry about it.” And I was like, OK, that’s kind of what got me started actually, like “Hey, I think I kind of am, yeah!”

Taylor and her husband ultimately decided if the boys could end up at home anyway, they might as well take the plunge completely.

TAYLOR: I like to kind of have my ducks in a row. And I just kind of felt like if I’m going to be doing this, then I want to control what my kids are learning and what curriculum they’re following.

The coronavirus outbreak—and the uncertainty it has caused in school districts across the nation—prompted thousands of families like the Taylors to homeschool their children for the first time this fall.

States use different methods to count homeschoolers, but experts generally estimate 2.5 million school-aged students learned at home before the pandemic. That’s a little more than 3 percent of all schoolchildren. 

It will take some time to calculate this year’s numbers. But most industry experts predict the population of homeschoolers will swell considerably, potentially as much as double the current level.

Jeremy Newman is director of public policy for the Texas Home School Coalition. It helps families like the Taylors make the switch to home education.

NEWMAN: The shift towards homeschooling is going to be somewhere between large and enormous. I don’t know exactly where, but it’s going to be big.

The Texas Education Association’s release of back-to-school guidelines in July proved the tipping point for many families in the Lone Star State. Schools had to provide daily, in-person instruction to any student who wanted it along with a host of now-familiar pandemic procedures like requiring students to mask up for class. Parents expressed concern about being left high and dry due to sudden closures, while others worried about exposing students to the virus and transmitting it to vulnerable family members.

NEWMAN: Parents were just having none of it. It was too onerous for a lot of parents is what it came down to. And so within 24 hours of when the TEA announced those guidelines, our call and email volume doubled. And it was parents, asking “How can I start homeschooling right now?”

Newman also said the number of downloads of public school withdrawal forms from the organization’s website skyrocketed by 1,500 percent in July and another 400 percent in August.

Other states also saw surges in homeschooling requests this summer. In North Carolina, the website that handles new homeschool paperwork crashed just days after opening for fall submissions due to unexpectedly high volume. And Vermont’s Agency of Education website currently warns of a five- to six-week processing time for new homeschooling applications. They were already up 75 percent from last year by mid-July.

Jeremy Newman says he’s not surprised by the surge in interest.

NEWMAN: I think that’s the reason that people are flocking towards it is because it offers stability and flexibility at the same time. And those are the two things that just totally went out the window in the traditional system.

Taylor says she’s enjoying the switch. She quickly connected with other “newbies,” and joined a homeschool co-op that meets one day a week in a local church. She appreciates both the stability and flexibility that Newman describes. 

TAYLOR: One of the things, we go every day right around 10:30, we have a snack and we go for a walk and the kids ride their bikes. And some days Daddy gets to go! And that was one of the things, when we asked them after the first couple weeks, “What’s your favorite thing?” and they were like “the walk, and Daddy gets to go.” And so then we were like “We’re doing that every day now.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Laura Edghill.

MYRNA BROWN: Fair warning, if you have ophidiophobia, otherwise known as a fear of snakes, this story might be hard to hear. 

A Mississippi woman recently got a slithering surprise when she got home from work. As she turned the key and opened her front door, a snake that had been lodged atop the door fell on her head!

Christina Mitchell said she felt a “thump” on her head and the snake had landed at her feet. 

It fell out of a potted plant above the door and darted into her kitchen. Mitchell then calmly grabbed a broom and shooed the snake out of her house. 

She told the Enterprise-Journal it was just a “scared little rat snake,” a largely non-venomous reptile.

Mitchell said, “He tried to bite at my broom whenever I put him outside. He probably thought that was really rude.”

She said she actually finds snakes “fascinating” and does not plan to relocate the plant from the doorway. She added, “I feel like I’ll just take my chances and open my door really slow from now on.”

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MEGAN BASHAM: Today is Thursday, September 24th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Megan Basham.

MYRNA BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: silver linings.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought industries, like conventions and live performances, to a standstill. One couple in Nashville has taken a nasty situation and made it into something sweet. WORLD correspondent Vivian Jones brings us that story.

CHRISTIN: They are worth it. Yeah. Thank you so much. 

CORRESPONDENT, VIVIAN JONES: It’s pouring rain this morning in Mount Juliet—a suburb of Nashville. Even with the gully-washer, car after car pulls up to the Zito family driveway. 


They’re all here for the same thing: cinnamon rolls.


If you’ve ever tasted fresh sourdough cinnamon rolls from Rock-N-Rollz Nashville, you’d brave the rain, too. 


The pop-up bakery is a husband and wife team that crafts made-to-order cinnamon rolls every weekend. 

ZITO: I would never have thought in a million years we would be paying our bills and supporting other people from cinnamon rolls.

Zito—the man with only one name—is a career music production manager who’s worked around the world for musicians like OneRepublic and Ariana Grande. His wife, Christin, is a red carpet makeup and hair artist, and also runs a social media marketing business. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March and cancelled all music tours and events, both their careers came to a screeching halt. They had no idea how they were going to keep paying for their house.

ZITO: We made these cinnamon rolls for Easter Sunday for our little cheat meal. And we really liked them. 

CHRISTIN: These were literally the first cinnamon rolls we had ever made.

The rolls smell amazing. They’re bigger-than-your-fist: Flaky spirals of sourdough, laced with spicy cinnamon sugar, and slathered with a generous helping of salted buttercream icing. The perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sourdough twang. 

CHRISTIN: He just kept, you know, experimenting in the kitchen and having fun. I secretly made him a logo for his business and was like, here, try this!

It didn’t take long for the word to get out. 

ZITO: We made this little form and we post it online and all of a sudden, you know, I had 60 orders. The next weekend we sold 83. The third week, and we sold 250. And then it was 400. And then we’re like, oh, I think we have something you know with this. 

And it just keeps growing. These days, they make about 14-hundred rolls a weekend. 

ZITO: We use about 60 pounds of butter a week, and about we make 120 pounds of butter cream for every week. 

The business started out in the Zitos’ kitchen. Then, it moved to their garage with a borrowed industrial sized oven. Now, they book time at a restaurant incubator in town to use an industrial sized mixer, ovens, and baking equipment. 

From the beginning, the Zitos have made this about more than just themselves. The business also supports the music community. The bakery slogan is “buy a roll, save a roadie.” 

ZITO: We’re blessed. We have a good kitchen to work out of, and I said if we’re gonna do this, let’s donate right off the bat. And people have rallied behind that, because they’re not only supporting us, but they’re helping to support the community…

Fifty cents from every roll goes to a charity called MusiCares. It provides emergency financial support to people in the music industry during times of crisis. 

Skills from both their careers came into play as the business took off. Christin’s social media skills streamlined the process as the cinnamon rolls are only available by pre-order. Customers pick them up in one of four pop-up locations on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

Zito’s logistics skills came into play as they scaled up from making 60 to 1,400 rolls. While the baking business is booming, there have been some challenges along the way.

ZITO: We’ve been married for eight and a half years and the entire time we’ve been married, and I’ve toured, so we’ve never been together this much ever, not just living together but like working together. One of us is way more patient than the other person…

Running a pop-up bakery certainly isn’t for everyone, but Zito and Christin encourage others facing uncertainties not to be afraid of trying something new. 

ZITO: A lot of people are stuck in their fear of not knowing what it is they could do or how to pivot or how to move. You just have to like, put in the time and keep exploring. Don’t dismiss something right off the bat, follow it through, give it a shot, see where it can lead you.

CHRISTIN: There is something for everybody out there that you can reinvent yourself. And it’s scary, but it’s worth it. You just have to take steps and try, because you never know what could actually succeed.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Vivian Jones in Nashville, Tennessee.

MEGAN BASHAM: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s episode of Listening In.

This week, a conversation with Christian counselor and author Larry Crabb. He’s written more than 25 books on psychology, Christian discipleship, and faith formation. Crabb’s been living with cancer for more than 20 years, and a close family member was just recently diagnosed with a life-threatening disease as well. In times of family heartache and trial, host Warren Smith asks, “is God good?”

WARREN SMITH: That really does seem to be the key question doesn’t it? In other words, when we look at Romans 8:28—”All things work together for good.” It’s sometimes really hard to see that and understand that if you don’t have a biblical definition of what good is.

LARRY CRABB: Pretty impossible I think to see it without that, that definition of good. But that to me, this is kind of a new thought but fresh in my mind, you know, sin did not begin in the Garden of Eden, it began Lucifer. And Lucifer apparently, if you look at Ezekiel 28, and Isaiah 14, if you look at those passages, you come to realize that Lucifer decided on his own. “I’m going to decide what is good,” which belongs only to God that prerogative. But he now decides what is good and what is evil, and that’s what he tempted Adam and Eve—to Eve particularly. “Let me tell you, is God holding out on you? Is there some good He’s denying you?” Is he denying me some good with the health in the family? Is He denying me some good when certain things happen? My mother had Alzheimer’s, my brother was killed in a plane wreck. Is God denying me good? By his definition, no, but man does that raise the question: “What’s the summum bonum?” What is the greatest good? A lot of lesser goods, but what’s the greatest good? And I got to cling to that.

BASHAM: That’s Larry Crabb talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, look for Listening In wherever you get your podcasts.

MYRNA BROWN: Today is Thursday, September 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

MEGAN BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Commentator Cal Thomas now on the solution for real—and perceived—grievances.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: There was a time in America, unknown or not experienced by people under the age of 50, when politics was a contact sport. It was played with mostly accepted rules and the equivalent of “sportsmanship.” Losers would graciously concede and wish the victor well, in most cases vowing to work with him or her for the good of the country. The public expected it.

Somewhere around the time of the Vietnam War and Watergate it started to become ugly. Instead of sportsmanship, the “players” began to engage in mutually assured destruction, to borrow a term used during the Cold War.

It isn’t that in earlier elections politicians refrained from slurring and slandering each other. Many did. The 1800 contest between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was cutthroat in the extreme.

As recalls, Jefferson’s camp labeled President Adams “a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant.” In return, Adams’ men branded Vice President Jefferson “a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.”

This year’s pre-election rioting, looting, and shootings in many American cities isn’t just a consequence of the failure or refusal of politicians to fix problems. It’s also a failure by too many citizens who look to government to find solutions for things it was never created to address.

There have been injustices as long as humans have walked the Earth. The U.S. government has tried mightily and at great expense to fix them. But most are matters of the heart, not matters for politicians. If they were matters for politicians, wouldn’t they be fixed by now? While it is possible for government to impose or tolerate immorality, it is close to impossible to impose its opposite. This is the role of churches and of individuals making the right decisions for themselves and their families.

Is anyone ignorant of what creates “a more perfect union” that establishes justice and promotes the general welfare? The information is readily available. It is not classified.

The anger arises when people refuse to search, find, and then live by well-established principles that have mostly worked for those who have embraced them throughout history. Anger solves nothing and only deepens divisions and multiplies the problems the angry claim they want to resolve.

In her book, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It’s Too Late, Shannon L. Alder writes: “Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others—it only changes yours.”

If only the rioters devastating our cities would understand this and look to themselves and not the next election, or Washington, to redress real and perceived grievances.

I’m Cal Thomas.

MYRNA BROWN: Tomorrow: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett, and feminism.

We’ll talk about that with Theology Professor Katie McCoy on Culture Friday.

And, a review of the most popular streaming show in America right now. Megan says you’ll get a kick out of it.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Myrna Brown.

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.

The Lord says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

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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