MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The Covid vaccine is here, but the journey into people’s arms proves daunting.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also we’ll talk about international religious liberty under the incoming Biden administration.
Plus: perhaps it’s time to take a break from social media.
And the meaning and power of our words.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, January 12th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House to vote on 25th Amendment resolution, possibly impeachment » Lawmakers in the House could vote today on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.
Trump only has eight days left in the Oval Office, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that’s eight days too many.
PELOSI: Sadly, the person who is running the Executive Branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States.
She’s called members back to Washington to vote on that resolution. And if Pence does not move to oust Trump from office, the House will vote on impeaching the president for a second time.
A four-page impeachment bill would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”
It says he “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government” when he spoke at a rally on Wednesday after which a group of rioters broke into the Capitol.
It’s highly unlikely that lawmakers could complete an impeachment process before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration one week from tomorrow.
Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said Pelosi is presenting a false choice to members of the House…
GIDLEY: That if you don’t agree with them that he should be removed under the 25th Amendment, if you don’t agree with them that this president should be impeached again, then you do agree with the lawless thugs that attacked our Capitol building.
Gidley argued President Trump never encouraged violence.
Capitol Police were not staffed or equipped for riot » New revelations are shedding light on why rioters at the Capitol were able to quickly overrun police.
The department reportedly had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day. And while some of those officers were equipped for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told NBC’s Today Show…
JOHNSON: This could have been avoided if it had been anticipated. And it wouldn’t have been hard to see from open source reporting the dangers that were emerging.
The Associated Press reported that the Pentagon offered National Guard manpower ahead of Wednesday’s protest, but Capitol Police declined that help.
But former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned last week, gave a different account to the Washington Post. He said he had asked House and Senate security officials ahead of time for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby in case he needed quick backup. But he said they turned him down.
Sund said his superiors were uncomfortable with the “optics” of formally declaring an emergency ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration.
The House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, also resigned last week. And on Monday, House officials swore in his replacement.
AUDIO: Please raise your right hand…
Timothy Paul Blodgett is now the acting House sergeant at arms, the chief law enforcement officer for the chamber.
Meantime, the FBI is investigating whether some of the rioters had plans to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage. Some of the Capitol intruders were carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had reportedly accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate.
Biden taps career diplomat to head CIA » President-Elect Joe Biden has tapped career diplomat William Burns to lead the CIA.
Burns is an unconventional choice in that he has never been an intelligence officer.
The 64-year-old served as ambassador to Russia and Jordan during a 33-year career at the State Department. He rose through the ranks, retiring in 2014 as deputy secretary of state.
WHO experts to arrive Thursday to begin probe of virus origins » Experts from the World Health Organization are due to arrive in China this week for a long-anticipated probe into the origins of the coronavirus. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: After multiple delays, the Chinese government announced Monday that a team of experts from the World Health Organization will arrive on Thursday and will meet with Chinese counterparts.
WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed frustration last week over delays in getting China’s final approval for investigators to enter the country.
China’s government has strictly controlled all research at home into the origins of the virus. And state-owned media have played up fringe theories that suggest the virus could have originated somewhere else.
An Associated Press investigation found that China’s government is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to scientists researching the virus’ origins.
But researchers cannot publish any of their findings without first clearing them with a task force managed by China’s cabinet. Those rules are reportedly in place under direct orders from Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Trump admin. expected to re-designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly planning to re-designate Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” within the next week.
President Trump has taken a tough line on Cuba and reinstated many of the sanctions that the Obama administration had eased or lifted.
In removing Cuba from the list, the Obama administration had determined the country no longer supported international terrorism. But Pompeo is expected to cite Cuban support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as a major justification for the move.
Chinese state media blast latest Pompeo move on Taiwan » The State Department is also lifting restrictions on how U.S. officials can interact with Taiwan, and that is drawing an angry reaction from China. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Pompeo announced the decision in a statement over the weekend, calling the restrictions “self-imposed.”
He said the limits had been implemented to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. To reinforce the new policy, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Kraft will visit Taiwan this week.
Those displays of support for Taiwan’s independence angered China. The Chinese Communist Party considers the self-governing island of 24 million people a renegade province that should be brought under its rule.
Chinese State media lashed out, accusing Pompeo of—quote—“seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-U.S. ties.”
A state-run media commentary also said the Trump administration is trying to “burn the house down” before leaving office and has crossed a “dangerous red line with China.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: kinks in the COVID vaccine supply chain.
Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on the power of words.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 12th of January, 2021.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: vaccine supply chains.
OK, let’s play teacher for a minute and grade vaccine rollouts. France would probably get an F, as in fail. In one week, the country vaccinated just 500 people.
REICHARD: On the other end of the curve, Israel gets an A. The tiny country inoculated 15% of its population in just two weeks, more than 1.6 million people. That’s the fastest pace in the world.
As for the United States? Well, it’s landing somewhere in the middle.
WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg reports.
AUDIO: [Cameras flashing]
LINDSAY: I’m ready.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: On December 14th, New York nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first healthcare worker in the United States to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
LINDSAY: I feel hopeful today, relieved. I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history.
In the month since, 9 million people have gotten their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. That’s about 3 percent of the population.
While the fact that anyone has gotten a COVID-19 vaccine shot within a year of the pandemic’s start is an achievement, these numbers are still far below the Trump administration’s projected goal.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui is chief medical adviser for Operation Warp Speed. In November, he said 20 million Americans could get the vaccine by the end of the year.
SLAOUI: We plan to have enough vaccine doses available for use in the U.S. population to immunize about 20 million individuals in the month of December.
But getting a vaccine from a factory all the way to an arm is proving more difficult than expected.
David Ding specializes in healthcare supply chains at Rutgers Business School.
He compares the vaccine supply chain to a river, starting with the headwaters.
DING: So upstream essentially, are the manufacturers.
The upstream supply chain also includes securing the ingredients to make the vaccines and the government regulations to certify them.
David Ding says the Trump administration helped take care of these upstream issues.
DING: To help those pharmaceutical companies to speed up the clinical trial process, to find the best candidates for vaccine. And then to also help pharmaceutical companies to secure the raw materials and including the vials and all those different other packaging materials.
By the end of 2020, Operation Warp Speed had purchased 400 million vaccines. And so far, it’s delivered 25.5 million doses to states.
Ding says the operation is running into more trouble downstream in the states.
There, vaccines have to flow through the final white water rapids of coordination, storage, and distribution.
DING: The largest problem we have right now is what we usually call the bottleneck or another term that last mile delivery to administer the vaccine to patients’ arms.
And it’s not really a new problem. Bruce Y. Lee is with the CUNY School of Public Health.
LEE: We’ve seen this before, where a lot of the focus is in, okay, how do we encourage development of a new vaccine? But then many times, the actual logistics of producing and delivering, distributing the vaccines is overlooked. If you’re not actually delivering it to people, it’s not going to have an effect on the disease.
There are a few reasons for the current bottleneck. The first is the sheer scope of the task.
David Dobrzykowski is a supply chain professor at the University of Arkansas.
DOBRZYKOWKSI: We’re asking healthcare providers and pharmacies to do right now is on a scale that has never been realized previously.
Dobrzykowski says the second problem comes down to a shortage of manpower.
Hospitals have to inoculate their own workers while still caring for all of their patients.
DOBRZYKOWKSI: Hospitals are very, very good at complex care. They are the place to go if you need ICU care for, you know, a COVID condition. But they’re not really organized in a way for vaccine distribution.
The federal government contracted with drug stores CVS and Walgreens to immunize nursing home staff and residents. Pharmacies know how to provide medicine in stores. But delivering it is another endeavor.
DOBRZYKOWKSI: This is a whole new twist now that we’re asking pharmacies to administer those vaccines outside of the confines of their facility and actually travel to a nursing home for, you know, a larger scale type of vaccinate, vaccination type of, you know, event.
And there’s something else.
Rutgers’ David Ding says supply chains rely on demand. And right now, some front line workers, especially in nursing homes, don’t want the vaccine.
DING: There’s a very high percentage of people who refuse to take COVID vaccine.
In Ohio, more than half the people working in nursing homes refused to get a shot. At a veterans home in Illinois, only 1 in 5 staffers got the vaccine.
Ding, Dobrzykowski, and Lee expect that as time goes on hospitals and pharmacies will find their stride. And demand is likely to pick up as well.
But as distribution widens to the general public, Dobrzykowski predicts new sources of bottlenecks.
DOBRZYKOWKSI: The challenges that the distribution supply chain faces today, again, in early January, will be very different in early February, March, April, and so forth.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: protecting the persecuted.
The Trump administration prioritized religious freedom abroad. He made it a guiding principle for U.S. foreign policy. In an executive order issued last year, President Trump called religious freedom “America’s first freedom.”
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Advocates for people persecuted around the world welcomed the attention. And they say the Trump administration took significant steps forward on religious liberty issues. That, even as other policies such as on immigration and asylum set it back.
The question now? Will the Biden team build on Trump’s foundation?
Joining us now to talk about that is Mindy Belz. She covers international issues as WORLD’s senior editor. Good morning, Mindy!
MINDY BELZ, REPORTER: Good morning, Mary.
REICHARD: What has the Trump administration done to highlight the persecuted?
BELZ: You might say he raised the profile, and he did that by putting people who are passionate about this issue in key places. One of them is Vice President Mike Pence, another was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both championed the importance of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy and made it key to national security, which is something that many people have been saying should happen for a long time.
Trump also appointed Sam Brownback as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. Brownback is former senator and governor of Kansas with a lot of long history on this topic, who was able to create Ministerials at the State Department level and something called the International Religious Freedom Alliance. These are things that were happening at a diplomatic level, but that’s what was new and exciting about them. One State Department official told me, “Nothing of this scope attempted or imagined before.”
What they did was create a network of senior government leaders around the world who are activated, you might say, on the importance of protecting this ‘first freedom.’ So, I think what the Trump years did was put a lot of scaffolding around the world in place on protecting religious freedom. And that’s scaffolding that we can hope the Biden administration will build upon, not tear down.
REICHARD: You’ve noted some signs that the Biden administration is at least sympathetic to the cause of persecuted minority groups. One is his pick for secretary of state. Tell us about Anthony Blinken.
BELZ: Tony Blinken is a long-time adviser, going back to Biden’s Senate days, and he served at both the State Department and National Security Council under President Obama. Two things I think make him an interesting pick: He has parents who both survived the Holocaust, and he speaks with feeling about how the United States protected and welcomed them. I’m told protecting believers from oppression is an important issue to him.
The second thing is he’s been described as a hawk, and we don’t often see a career diplomat who supports the use of U.S. military power. Blinken broke with the Obama administration over its Syria policy, and in 2017 he applauded the Trump administration for using airstrikes in Syria after a deadly chemical weapons attack there.
REICHARD: Now, Sam Brownback is U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Liberty. Who might be his replacement under Biden?
BELZ: Brownback will be a hard act to follow, and my personal opinion is President Elect Biden would be wise to keep him in the post. But that’s unlikely to happen. The candidates I learned are potential successors include respected names who have served or are serving in these areas: One is Rabbi David Saperstein. He held the post under Obama. Other names include Katrina Lantos Swett and Gayle Manchin, both who have served as commissioners for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
There’s a somewhat new name, though, that’s interesting and that is Nury Turkel. Turkel is a Uighur American lawyer and also a member of the commission. His selection would highlight the horrific tension of Uighur Muslims in China that’s ongoing and would be a first for that community. The downside is that Turkel is the least experienced in diplomacy of those names and that is a key part of the job.
REICHARD: We’ve mentioned how the Trump administration’s stance on asylum-seekers was a kind of contradiction to its efforts on religious liberty. But I gather that’s likely to change dramatically under the Biden administration.
BELZ: That’s right, Mary. President Trump not only cut back on admissions for asylum seekers and refugees, but he actually mocked the program. He called it a scam at one point. Since many of those actually are persecuted religious believers, that’s undermined overseas some of the good advances that we’ve been highlighting.
What Biden plans to do is restore the overall program to its pre-Trump level—and actually its pre-Obama level. Already he has said he will raise the refugee resettlement cap this year to 125,000 refugees from its current 15,000. That’s a huge change that will appeal to many Christian and other religious groups.
What we’ll want to watch, Mary: pressure within the Democratic Party to relax border security or admissions protocols in such a way we get another kind of chaos than what we’ve seen with these programs during the Trump years.
REICHARD: Mindy Belz is WORLD’s senior editor. She wrote about this issue in the latest issue of WORLD Magazine. We’ll link to her story in today’s transcript. Thanks so much for joining us today!
BELZ: Thank you for having me, Mary.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Here’s one for you court-watchers.
A New York man is suing the makers of Kings Hawaiian dinner rolls for false advertising.
You see, the rolls aren’t actually made in Hawaii, even though right on the label it says Hilo, Hawaii.
Robert Galinsky learned the rolls are really made in California. Now, Galinsky concedes that a reasonable consumer would understand the phrase “Hawaiian Rolls” by itself doesn’t mean made in Hawaii. No more than “Moon Pie” means baked on the moon.
Regardless, Galinsky argues the label misleads consumers who might not have bought non-Hawaiian rolls, or else would be willing to pay less had they known the truth.
He wants unspecified damages and the label changed.
BROWN: Hm. “King’s Californian Rolls.” Just doesn’t have the same ring.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 12th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Resolutions.
We’re almost two weeks into the New Year now. Maybe you made some resolutions, and now you’re finding it hard to maintain those good intentions.
REICHARD: You’re not alone! Today, WORLD senior correspondent—and mom of four—Katie Gaultney shares a personal look at an area of her life that she’s trying to discipline.
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: A couple months ago, my 5-year-old, Sam, asked me a hard question.
SAM: Mommy, why are you always looking at your phone?
The fact is, of course, I’m not looking at it all the time. But his question tapped into some insecurities I have—wondering if my children notice how glued I often am to my iPhone—and it convicted me. Most of the time, I’m not doing meaningful stuff with my phone. I’m scrolling Facebook, checking Twitter, watching Instagram stories. Wasting time. And if I’m really honest, escaping the duty and privilege of my high calling of being a mom.
The effects of social media on mental health are well documented. And it’s clearly a huge time-stealer. But my ears perked up when I was researching a WORLD History Book segment and came across a TED Talk by computer programmer Cal Newport:
NEWPORT: We have a growing amount of research which tells us that if you spend large portions of your day breaking up your attention, to take a quick glance, to just check, “Let me quickly look at Instagram”—that this can permanently reduce your capacity for concentration.
Permanently reduce my capacity for concentration. Whoa. I talked to the women in my church community group about my concerns and my plans to take a month-long “fast” from social networks from Thanksgiving to Christmas. My friend Meg has been off social media for a while now, for reasons I hadn’t considered.
MEG: It really helps me to think, the people that are posting are typically super narcissistic, and do I really want to feed into that culture? No!
My community group gave me good advice: Delete the apps from my phone and change my passwords to something really long and complicated. And they urged me to consider my intent: Is this really just a month-long exercise, or would I consider extending it?
I told them I hope that I find this social media detox so fulfilling—and that I’ll be so successful in breaking the cycle of addiction—that I won’t even want to get on it. Or at least, not in the way I was before, where it was an unhealthy escape from the blessings right in front of me.
So I jumped in. And I journalled along the way to see any patterns, triggers, observations. I’ll go ahead and share a few journal entries with you.
Nov. 25 — The social media fast has begun! I called my 7-year-old over this morning to bear witness to the official start of this experiment. She cheered me on as I deleted apps off my phone. I’m about an hour and a half into the detox process, and I’ve only flipped over to where my social media apps used to be twice to try to check them before realizing they’re gone.
Nov. 26 — I start each day with a Bible reading plan. Well, yesterday, I really did notice my mind was less distracted, and I found myself thinking about the passages I read throughout the day. I wish I could say that’s typical, but I think when I have a quiet period where I could reflect, I end up filling it with mindless scrolling instead.
Dec. 6 — Every Sunday I get a notification about how many hours I was looking at my phone the previous week. I just got my weekly notification, and my screen time was down 79 percent from the previous week! We’ve had more time for read-alouds, art, playing together outside…
Dec. 8 — I have a confession to make: I got on Facebook last night. But it was only a minute, and my intentions were pure. I got an email notification that a friend from high school tagged me in a post on Facebook. I haven’t seen this guy in 18 years. And my first thought was maybe someone had died, a classmate or teacher. So I got on, used my computer. Turns out he was dragging me over an article I wrote about religious liberty and adoption. And this is weird for me, because while I tend to waste my time on social media, I don’t get in “fights” on social media. I sent him a private message to see if we could resolve any lingering conflict I may have been unaware of… and I got off Facebook. Because honestly, that kind of thing is the reason social media doesn’t need much of a place in my life.
Dec. 14 — My kids have spent the morning bickering, and I’m not getting through to them. I want to go where I can’t hear them sniping at each other, close the door, drink some coffee and waste time on my phone. I’m realizing there are plenty of ways to do that besides social media. I’ve read articles, I’ve checked my email probably 10 times since I woke up, and I’ve played a word game. I’m convicted right now that I am honoring the letter of this “social media cleanse,” but not the spirit of it. Did I get on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? No. Have I allowed myself to be distracted by my phone? Absolutely yes. So I need to double-down on focusing on Philippians 4:8 and 9… dwelling on the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable…
Dec. 20 — It’s been a good week since I last checked in. When I’m less distracted, the kids just argue less. There’s an expression that people can be like thermometers, reacting to the temperature, or they can be like thermostats and set the temperature around them. When I’m fully engaged, I’m definitely setting the temperature. And our home is just happier.
And then, Christmas Day rolled around, the end of the fast. And I didn’t even feel the urge to download those apps I had deleted. My mind feels clearer, I read more, and my heart is more drawn toward my kids. Once I had made a firm boundary between me and my biggest escape, I wasn’t even looking for an escape. For that month, I felt fully present for the sweet moments of the season: Advent readings, making Christmas cookies, and decorating the Christmas tree.
KIDS: I like the Santa one. I like this one of me in PreK. I like the crown one. That just broke. There’s two crown ones.
I did, eventually, check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see if I had missed anything. And, shocker, I hadn’t. I think there’s a place for social media in my life, but it’s a very small one—only to send a message, or as-needed for work—that kind of thing. But as an excuse for just “filling the time?” No.
MUSIC: [Switchfoot, Life is Short]
I’m Katie Gaultney.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 12th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. How do you choose the words you say? Here’s commentator Janie B. Cheaney on why it matters.
JANIE B. CHEANEY: In the summer of 2018 Rasmussen published a poll indicating 31 percent of Americans feared civil war in the near future. A recent poll from YouGov has raised that fear to over half of us. Some are even stockpiling food and ammo.
So far, it’s been a war of words, and those who claim to be the most sensitive to verbal violence often use the most violent words, like Nazi, Fascist, bigot, racist—usually with colorful adjectives. Intemperate speech did lead to violence in March 2017, when sociologist Charles Murray was scheduled to speak at Middlebury College in Massachusetts. Murray wasn’t the one speaking, though. Protestors shouted him down, and later physically assaulted him.
They proved their point: speech can be violence. Speech can also be love, pain, motivation, inspiration, peace, and war. Words come so easily to us we forget where they come from and what they can do.
Where they come from, originally, is God. What they can do is create. And destroy.
It’s no mere metaphor that Genesis shows a Creator who brings into being by speaking. “Let there be” forms the bridge between His infinite mind and the finite universe, stretching out time and space and calling into being things that were not. His word is power.
We as His image bearers, finite though we are, share that power. Spoken words are a common-as-dirt example of the spiritual becoming material, as it did when “Let there be light” produced energy waves. In of the same way, Jerk! or Nazi! can produce a punch in the nose. Words become flesh, every day.
That’s why sins of the tongue get more coverage in the Bible than any other kind. James 3:1-12 is only one example. You can open the Psalms anywhere and find indictments against lies and flattery. And why does Jesus say we’ll be accountable for every word we speak? We’d like to think He didn’t really mean that. But why wouldn’t He mean it?
Destructive words are easy, quick, and effective. Constructive words are not as easy and quick, but can be just as effective. For example: Your sins are forgiven.
Those who were not my people I will call “my people.”
He called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Words create realities on legal contracts, peace negotiations, declarations and speeches. Families begin with them, cities build on them, churches are sustained by them, hope rises on them.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think civil war is at hand. But words are always on our tongues to say, hurtful and helpful. Enough of them can bring about a shooting war; it’s happened. But enough of the right words can restore peace. We are walking around familiars and strangers every day, on the street or at home or even in our heads. What words do we have for them?
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Tomorrow: We’ll talk about the political fallout from President Trump’s last few weeks in office.
And, we’ll tell you the story of someone rescued from the grip of sex trafficking.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Myrna Brown.
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 Bible says let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Go now in grace and peace.