The World and Everything in It — November 23, 2020


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

The Supreme Court considers juvenile sentencing and the ultimate question of redemption.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket. 

Also the Monday Moneybeat: a temporary government program actually comes to an end!

Plus the WORLD History Book. 25 years ago, a computer animated movie changed filmmaking.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, November 23rd. 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: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.


KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump campaign appeals dismissal of Pennsylvania case » President Trump’s campaign continues to press its courtroom battle over election results in several states. 

The president and other plaintiffs are appealing a federal judge’s decision to toss out the campaign’s case , seeking to block Pennsylvania from certifying its votes. 

Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis said the campaign didn’t get a chance to fully present witness testimony in court. 

ELLIS: We have to appeal, and we have to go through that whole process before ultimately, the Supreme Court could overturn that, and then we would get an evidentiary hearing.

U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that in his view Trump had asked the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million voters. 

With the judge’s ruling, Pennsylvania Replican Senator Pat Toomey said it’s time to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory and for President Trump to “accept the outcome of the election.”

North Dakota GOP Senator Kevin Cramer said he still fully supports Trump’s right to exhaust all legal options. But… 

CRAMER: Frankly do think it’s time—well it’s past time—to at least cooperate with the transition. I’d rather have a president that has more than one day to prepare. 

Former Trump White House adviser Chris Christie and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster are also among those calling on the president to work with Biden’s transition team. 

Health officials renew warnings about holiday gatherings » Health officials are renewing their warnings this week about gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving. 

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that we won’t see a huge spike of new cases or hospitalizations during the Thanksgiving holiday.

FAUCI: You’re not going to see an increase until weeks later. Things lag. So what you don’t want to see is another spike in cases as we get colder and colder into December. And then you start dealing with the Christmas holiday. We can really be in a very difficult situation. 

If you are going to gather for the holiday, officials say try to keep those gatherings as small as possible and try to spend more time outdoors. 

Those warnings come as cases continue to surge. On Saturday, COVID-19 deaths topped 2,000 in the United States for the first time since May 7th. 

Americans could receive first vaccine doses by Dec. 11 » But the good news for Americans is that a coronavirus vaccine is likely just weeks away. 

It may still be spring or summer before life returns to normal. But the first Americans to get vaccinated could receive their first of two doses by December 11th. 

Drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna both have vaccines that appear to be safe and effective.

The head of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, Dr. Moncef Slaoui told ABC’s This Week

SLAOUI: We know that these vaccines are highly effective. They are as safe in the short term as any other vaccine that is already approved. 

Slauoi said he’s concerned that politics have fueled skepticism over the safety of the vaccines. 

Officials cannot yet guarantee their long-term safety, but Slauoi said he believes the risks to be very low. And he said he won’t hesitate to receive either vaccine or for his to receive it. 

Dr. Tom Inglesby is Director for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He told Fox News Sunday he is very optimistic about the vaccines.

INGLESBY: I wouldn’t call this good news. I would call this great news. We have two vaccines that are making their way through the approval process that may be as high as 95 percent effective.  

Pfizer and Moderna are waiting for FDA authorization. 

FDA authorizes emergency use of COVID-19 therapeutic » In the meantime, the Food and Drug Administration has given the green light for emergency use of a COVID-19 therapeutic.

The drug from biotech firm Regeneron is the same one President Trump received after his diagnosis last month. 

The FDA is allowing the antibody drug for high risk patients, age 12 and over. They’ll receive it as a one-time treatment through an IV.

The authorization allows doctors to start prescribing it as studies continue to establish safety and effectiveness. The FDA says results so far suggest it can cut down on hospitalizations and severe illness. 

Regeneron is making 300,000 initial doses available through a federal government program. 

Trump defends climate accord pullout during G20 Summit » President Trump told world leaders Sunday that bowing out of the Paris Climate Accord was the right move for America. 

TRUMP: I refused to surrender millions of American jobs and send trillions of American dollars to the world’s worst polluters and environmental offenders. And that’s what would have happened.

In a video statement during the virtual G20 Summit, he called the accord “one-sided” and “unfair” to the United States. And he said it was designed to cripple the U-S economy, not save the planet.

The president said since pulling out of the agreement, the United States has reduced its carbon emissions, while making America energy independent. 

But Joe Biden says leaving the accord was a mistake. He plans to rejoin the global pact, which the Obama administration helped to forge five years ago.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: two Supreme Court cases challenging the criminal justice system.

Plus, Katie Gaultney on some history-making pioneers.

This is The World and Everything in It.


NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Monday morning and we are rolling up our sleeves for another week of The World and Everything in It. Today is the 23rd of November, 2020. 

Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Good morning to you. 

Quick reminder, we’re keeping up for awhile longer our listener survey if you’d like to add your voice to it. Pretty simple and not intrusive, takes just a couple of minutes and helps a lot. If you could do that today, we’d be grateful. It’s easy to find: just visit listenersurvey.org. That’s listenersurvey.org.

EICHER: One more reminder. Well, more of an encouragement. 

We’ve been asking this month, if you’re a regular listener, if this program is meaningful to you, but you’ve not given before to help keep the program going, would you please make some kind of gift of support this month?

We have a commitment to match whatever you’re willing to give, dollar for dollar, as a tangible demonstration that we’re all in this together, that no one gives alone.

REICHARD: Right and the practical effect is to make any gift go twice as far, just as an added incentive.

So please pay a visit to wng.org/donate and you can do that right on your phone or text the word “Give” to the number 218-300-2121. First-time givers this month, let’s see how many new supporters we can bring on board to help keep this program strong.

EICHER: Wng.org/donate or text the word “Give” to the number 218-300-2121. Thanks for considering it.

REICHARD: Well, it’s time for Legal Docket. Today I have two oral arguments the Supreme Court heard this month by telephone, as per usual since May. 

First up, a dispute about juveniles convicted of murder and what sentence courts can impose. 

Specifically, whether courts have to make a determination of permanent incorrigibility before handing down a life sentence without parole for an offender younger than age 18.

EICHER: Let’s set out the facts of the case. Back in 2004, a teenager by the name of Brett Jones left his home in Florida to live with his grandparents in Mississippi. He’d had all he could endure of physical abuse from his stepfather. His mother was of no help either. She suffered from mental illness and drug abuse, as well as physical abuse from her husband, the same man who was beating and choking 15-year-old Brett.

REICHARD: Brett Jones himself was a troubled young person, defiant and violent. 

Just three weeks after moving in with the grandparents, Jones got into a physical fight in the kitchen with his grandfather. Jones had been hiding a girlfriend in his bedroom, and his grandfather disapproved. The confrontation escalated into pushing and punching. Jones then grabbed a knife and killed his grandfather.

EICHER: A jury found Jones guilty of murder. He received life in prison without the possibility of parole. Today, Jones is 31 years old and serving out his sentence at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution. 

Now, there’s a lot of history to this particular case we’re leaving out in the interest of time. 

But it is important to understand how the law has changed with regard to sentencing juveniles since Jones’ crime in 2004.

REICHARD: A year after the murder, in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional for anyone younger than 18. Five years later, the court barred sentences of life without parole for that age group, except for murder. In 2012, the court also struck down automatic life sentences without parole for minors who commit murder. A few years later, the court made retroactive that decision for all juveniles serving mandatory life sentences.

EICHER: Lots of changes in a short period of time, and murkiness in the details. But for Jones, it meant he now had the right to a new hearing to determine whether under the new rules his sentence passed Constitutional muster.

REICHARD: Jones’ lawyer, David Shapiro, argued his client didn’t receive the proper sentencing. The judge needed to find that Jones is “permanently incorrigible,” meaning not capable of being rehabilitated.

Ever.

SHAPIRO: Brett never really had a chance to show that he wasn’t permanently incorrigible in any kind of meaningful way because the court had been told that it doesn’t need to resolve that question against him in order to sentence him to life without parole. I absolutely believe that Brett substantively is not permanently incorrigible. His grandmother, the wife of the victim, testified on his behalf. A correctional officer spoke of his rehabilitation, his extraordinary record in prison, how he is an incredible worker and tries to get along with everyone…

Shapiro essentially argues that a child has capacity for change that adults don’t have. Jones completed his GED, learned a trade, behaved in prison. Therefore, judges ought to consider this capacity for change while deciding whether someone is permanently incorrigible. 

But defending Mississippi’s sentencing process was state Deputy Solicitor General Krissy Nobile. Mississippi law, like two other states, explicitly says a judge need not find incorrigibility.

NOBILE: The sentencing court here took care to consider the implications of age, age-related characteristics, and the nature of the particularly brutal murder of Bertis Jones. On the whole, the sentencing court disagreed that youth and its attendant characteristics diminish the penological justifications for a life-without-parole punishment.

Let me break off here and provide some definitions. You heard the term “penological justifications,” and those include four:

Retribution, which is punishment.

Deterrence, which is aimed at other possible offenders, to discourage them, or deter them.

Incapacitation, which is simply to remove a dangerous offender from contact with society, that is, to protect society from the offender.

And rehabilitation, which is preparation of the offender for life outside incarceration.

The judge considered those factors as well as Jones’ youth, essentially finding incorrigibility without saying it outright. At least that’s the argument Nobile put forth.

But Shapiro argued that is just not enough; Supreme Court precedent requires more, a specific finding of incorrigibility, not just the assumption. 

Justice Samuel Alito seemed skeptical. Listen to this exchange with Shapiro, again for Jones:

ALITO: If you have it in front of you, could you just repeat the first sentence of your presentation this morning? 

SHAPIRO: Yes, Your Honor. The first sentence was: “Settled law recognizes the scientific, legal, and moral truth that most children, even those who commit grievous crimes, are capable of redemption.” 

ALITO: This is fascinating. You want to take us and you want us to take the courts of this country into very deep theological and psychological waters. Do you think that there are any human beings who are not capable of redemption? 

SHAPIRO: Well, Your — Your Honor, I — I think that there are many psychologists who can very much testify and –

Shapiro seemed to stumble a tad here, but said people do exist who cannot be rehabilitated back into society. Justice Alito followed up:

ALITO: I mean, there are a lot of people who think that every human being is capable of redemption. There’s actually a famous quote by Gandhi, who says exactly that. There are a lot of Christians who believe that. You think of the good thief on the cross. So, what if a judge says, you know, wow, the Supreme Court says I have to determine whether this person is capable of redemption, I believe that every human being is capable of redemption? What do you do with that?

What you do, Shapiro replied, is focus not on personal beliefs about redemption, but upon a judge looking at the person’s capacity for rehabilitation. That includes hearing evidence from before and after the crime in question. 

Chief Justice John Roberts wondered about the nuts and bolts of that: does Jones want a mere statement on the record about incorrigibility? Something more? Something less? Shapiro answers:

SHAPIRO: And there are any number of ways that it could be done. One is through words, not magic words, but words, but—that convey in substance the idea that the defendant is permanently incorrigible, going to commit more crimes, going to recidivate, et cetera.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett wondered whether Jones should have sued directly on 8th Amendment cruel and unusual punishment grounds. Yet Justice Alito signaled he thought the court may have stepped over its authority already:

ALITO: What would you say to any members of this court who are concerned that we have now gotten light years away from the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment and who are reluctant to go any further on this travel into space?

Shapiro replied it’s no further travel at all to ask a trial court to decide whether a minor is permanently incorrigible and read court precedent to require that. 

One thing’s for certain: the outcome of this case will affect hundreds of juveniles who face a lifetime in prison. Should Jones win here, he’ll still have a life sentence; but he’d be given a chance to show he is eligible for parole.

When I saw what this final case today was about, I felt a lot like Justice Alito when he said this:

ALITO: It’s always a pleasure to have another case involving the Armed Career Criminal Act. It is a real favorite.

Ah, yes, the Armed Career Criminal Act, ACCA. It deals with repeat offenders. You could say the law itself is kind of a repeat offender at the Supreme Court. 

ACCA puts a longer prison sentence on felons who repeatedly commit certain crimes and whom authorities find in possession of a gun. 

Charles Borden Jr. had three prior felony convictions for aggravated assault. Then in 2017 police found him with a gun during a routine traffic stop in Tennessee.

Borden pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm as a felon. The government threw the ACCA book at him to add additional prison time, given his three priors.

But Borden argues one of those prior convictions shouldn’t count against him, because his mental state was not intentional. Reckless, for sure, but not intentional.

And that oughtn’t qualify as a “violent felony” under ACCA’s “use of force” clause. 

One wrinkle: later that same year in 2017 the 6th Circuit ruled that reckless aggravated assault does qualify as a violent felony. So Borden argues you can’t apply that new rule retroactively to him. 

You can get the flavor of the questions in this from Justice Stephen Breyer to Borden’s lawyer:

BREYER: Suppose we take what I think is the best definition of  recklessness. A person’s reckless when he consciously disregards a substantial and  unjustifiable risk that the bad result will  follow. So, I have my baseball bat I’m swinging around. I know I am the worst baseball player in history. I know that this baseball bat is likely to slip out of my hands and bump somebody on the head. There’s a person standing in front of me. I think: Oh, that person may be hit. I don’t want him to, but he might be because I’m so bad. And then I swing it, and he’s hit.

All right. What’s the difference really between that and my committing a crime knowing that that result is likely to follow or desiring it intentionally, purposely, that it’s likely to follow?

The hypotheticals were flyin’! What about texting and driving? What about waving your arms? How about trying to shoot a hat off someone’s very tall hairdo? 

All trying to find that line between intentional and reckless.

Although I frequently intend to make a prediction on how the court might rule, I have to say that to do so here might be, well, reckless.   

And that’s this week’s Legal Docket!


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Joined now by financial analyst and advisor David Bahnsen.

DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick.

EICHER: I love how the Wall Street Journal opened its Friday editorial: there is no permanent thing like a temporary government program, quoting Milton Friedman. But the editorial lauded Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, for declining to extend the temporary Federal Reserve bank lending facility. Can you take several minutes and explain what happened, please?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, I sure can. 

It isn’t quite as optimistic as getting rid of a full government program because this one was a special vehicle for the Fed that was created under the CARES Act that Mnuchin just simply said we’re going to let it expire as it’s set to expire December 31. And even then there were four other facilities he actually is extending. They’re kind of emergency liquidity facility for money markets and commercial paper. They’re continuing those. 

But some of the ones that were barely ever really needed or used anyway, they’re not extending them. And so I guess in the small picture it is good that they’re not extending it in the sense that it doesn’t allow Milton Friedman’s warning to play out. But in the big picture we shouldn’t fool ourselves. The big picture reality of the Federal Reserve becoming far more interventionist and relevant in times of crisis in American economic life, well, that’s not going anywhere.

EICHER: Explain, though, the purpose behind a Federal Reserve lending facility. The understanding I had when Congress passed the Cares Act was that there might be a liquidity problem for businesses, meaning trouble sourcing operating cash because the normal markets weren’t functioning properly in a time of economic crisis and then only the Fed could step in and make it happen. Explain why that is.

BAHNSEN: Yeah, I mean, the whole existence of the central bank is centered around the idea of them being the lender of last resort, that if in during a time of economic contraction, everyone is holding onto their dollars and their assets, then there’s no liquidity. No ability to transact. No ability for money to move. And to facilitate transactions and economic activity. 

And I think that the Fed played a very important role in March—the kind of, I would argue, legitimate function of getting malfunctioning markets functioning again via being a liquidity provider is out of the CARES Act, they also intervened to help in the corporate credit market. 

They created what they call this Main Street lending program. They did a whole bunch of other things that were meant to kind of heal certain asset classes, corporate debt for good  companies, not junk credits. The costs have gotten quite high. There was a total mismatch of buyers and sellers. 

That did last for about two weeks and it was brutal. And I think the Fed even announcing that they were coming into the market helped heal the market, but it’s ridiculous now.

It helped everyone for a couple weeks back in March. They haven’t even used the facility in months. They’ve only given out a few billion dollars out of hundreds of billions that had been allotted. And then the main street lending program is even more ridiculous. They gave out less than one percent of the total amount that the facility was set for. They gave 3.7 billion out of 600 billion. 

And, ultimately, the main street lending facility is really what proves what’s going on is that the companies don’t need access to credit. They have access to credit.

And so the whole thing, I think, is very logical what Secretary Mnuchin did and the press reaction in the first 24 hours afterwards was not just wrong—because they don’t even believe what they were saying—it was totally dishonest.

EICHER: OK, so that’s the media. But both the Fed chairman and Joe Biden—or, through his economic team—opposed what Mnuchin did. What’s the best argument against it? Or is there one?

BAHNSEN: Well, what the Joe Biden people did was immediately come out to say it was political. Like, “Oh, he’s trying to hurt the economic recovery as a new team comes in.” Because in this country, there is a vast majority of people that are not going to understand all the economic minutiae and it’s very easy to politicize anything just by using rhetoric. 

So, they came out and say, “Well, Mnuchin had some toys and he’s taking the toys away, therefore it’s going to be unfair for us.” 

But none of it is logical or rational.

In terms of what Chairman Powell said, he acknowledges that they’re not using the facilities that are not needed. He just said, why not maintain that flexibility with us so that if something does come up, we have the bullet already in the gun? In other words, he’s arguing philosophically, hey, you need to keep the central bank in a position and so he’s kind of wanting to restructure the intent of the CARES Act provisions which were meant to be emergency. 

He’s saying, OK, it was emergency, but you know another emergency could come up, too, so let’s just kind of keep the stockpile around in case we need to use it later. 

So, yeah, central bankers are going to wanna central bank.

EICHER: [Laughs] I love it! 

AUDIO: Haters gonna hate. Central bankers gonna central bank! 

Words to live by. 

David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. David, thanks, good to talk to you.

BAHNSEN: Thanks for having me, Nick.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, November 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming up next: the WORLD History Book. This week, explorers and pioneers. Our guide is WORLD senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.

KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” That spiritual truth finds a historical parallel in Porteguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. He providentially discovered a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans 500 years ago. 

AUDIO: [WOODEN SHIP AT SEA]

Magellan and his fleet were sailing along the Atlantic coast of South America when a raging storm forced the ships into a bay. The diversion revealed a shortcut from the mainland of South America to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off its southern coast. It’s a treacherous route, oftening narrowing along its 350-mile length, with a strong current that has led plenty to a watery grave. 

The Institution of Engineering and Technology explained in a documentary how Magellan hoped this unexpected detour would provide quicker access to the profitable goods on the Spice Islands. 

CLIP: Magellan had no conception of the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and he imagined that South America was separated from the Spice Islands by a small sea, which he expected to cross in as little as three or four days. In reality, the fleet spent three months and 20 days at sea before reaching the Philippines. 

It marked the first documented European contact with the Philippines, and Magellan spent his time there converting the locals to Christianity. He ultimately was killed by the leader of a native tribe. His crew completed the remainder of the journey after his death, making it the first circumnavigation of the globe.

MUSIC: [BABY BABY, AMY GRANT]

And now we jump ahead to wish a very happy 60th birthday to the “Queen of Christian Pop,” Amy Grant. She turns 60 on November 25.

MUSIC: [ARE YOU LIVING IN AN OLD MAN’S RUBBLE, AMY GRANT]

Grant signed her first recording contract when she was just 15 years old. She enjoyed a successful career as a contemporary Christian music artist before crossing over to pop music in the 1980s and 90s. 

Here she is talking to Today Show host Jane Pauley about the difficulties of transitioning from CCM to pop. 

PAULEY: You were talking about how you were not getting airplay on top 40 radio. Have you cracked it yet?
GRANT: We got our first top 40 song this month, a song called “Find a Way…”
PAULEY: Well, congratulations… 

MUSIC: [LOVE WILL FIND A WAY, AMY GRANT]

Over her 43-year career, she has collaborated with artists from Michael W. Smith…

MUSIC: [FRIENDS, AMY GRANT AND MICHAEL W SMITH]

…to Art Garfunkel. 

MUSIC: [WORD FROM AN OLD SPANISH CAROL, AMY GRANT AND ART GARFUNKEL]

But occasional brushes with controversy have checkered her decades in the spotlight. 

MUSIC: [ALWAYS, AMY GRANT AND GARY CHAPMAN]

Her transition to secular music—then back to Christian—left some fans with a bad taste in their mouths. And she surprised many with her divorce from Gary Chapman in 1999, and her marriage to country music star Vince Gill a year later. 

She underwent surgery in June and has had a few months to heal up before this milestone birthday. Now, let’s let Michael W. Smith sing “Happy Birthday,” as he did with the band and crew in 2014, when they were rehearsing for an upcoming tour. 

MUSIC: [HAPPY BIRTHDAY]

And we’ll round out this week’s lineup with a playful entry: The release of Toy Story 25 years ago this week. 

MUSIC: [YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME, RANDY NEWMAN]

It marked an achievement in filmmaking by becoming the first feature-length movie created entirely of computer-generated imagery. The inaugural installment of the Toy Story franchise introduced characters Woody, an old West sheriff played by Tom Hanks, and Buzz Lightyear, space ranger, voiced by Tim Allen. The two have a rocky relationship starting out. 

CLIP: You are a toy! You aren’t the real Buzz Lightyear, you’re an action figure! You are a child’s plaything!/ You are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell! 

The story of little Andy and his favorite toys warmed a lot of hearts over the last quarter-century—and generated a lot of coin. The now four installments in the Toy Story franchise have made just over a billion dollars at the box office, and they’ve won plenty of awards.  

KALING: And the Oscar goes to… Toy Story 4.

By now, we’re used to seeing computer animation. But it truly was a pioneering technology in 1995. Now, animators have taken that initial animation technology and run with it… to infinity and beyond.

MUSIC: [YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME, RANDY NEWMAN]

That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.


NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: We’ll take you to France, where extremist attacks threaten free speech.

And, we’ll visit Paradise, California, for the first in a three-part series about the town’s recovery from catastrophic wildfires.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

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 steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way. 

Go now in grace and peace.


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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