The World and Everything in It — March 24, 2021

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Some Democrats want to do away with the filibuster. That means a mere one-vote majority would pass legislation. We’ll talk pros and cons.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also World Tour. 

Plus we return to Houston, Texas, where last year’s annual livestock show was cancelled at the last minute. But what about this year?

And WORLD founder Joel Belz on the crumbling reality of basic math.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, March 24th. 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: It’s time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Democrats vow action on gun control » Democrats are renewing their push to pass new gun control measures. 

That in the wake of Monday’s massacre at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 dead. 

In an address Tuesday afternoon, President Biden offered his condolences to the victims and urged members of Congress to take action. 

BIDEN: We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country once again. 

And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to bring to the Senate floor legislation passed by the House that would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers. 

SCHUMER: We must confront a devastating truth in the United States: An unrelenting epidemic of gun violence steals innocent lives with alarming regularity. 

But Senate Republicans oppose that bill, and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told reporters on Tuesday that he does too. 

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley said that doesn’t mean nothing can get done. 

GRASSLEY: I think that we can make bipartisan, common sense, and constitutional progress on the issue of gun violence if we work together. 

It is unclear whether any of the bills currently up for consideration would have made a difference in the Colorado case. Most of them involve tougher background checks. According to a police affidavit, the shooter had purchased an semi-automatic rifle six days earlier.

Police identify Boulder shooting suspect, victims » Meantime, police have identified the suspect in Monday’s mass shooting, as well as the victims. 

Boulder police Chief Maris Herold provided other details about the incident on Tuesday. 

HEROLD: Officers arrived on the scene within minutes and immediately entered the store and engaged the suspect. There was an exchange of gunfire in which the suspect was shot. No other officers were injured. The suspect was taken into custody at 3:28 p.m. 

That suspect is 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa who lives in suburban Denver. Prosecutors have charged him with 10 counts of murder. No word yet on a motive. 

The youngest person who died at the King Soopers store was 20 years old, and the oldest was 65. Fifty-one-year-old Boulder police officer Eric Talley was among the victims. 

AstraZeneca working to update “outdated information” » AstraZeneca is working to clear up concerns that it may have used “outdated information” when it announced the results of its U.S. Phase 3 vaccine trial. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: On Monday, the company reported the results of a study of some 30,000 Americans who received the vaccine. Those results showed the shots to be safe and effective against COVID-19. And executives said they would apply for FDA approval early next month. 

But on Tuesday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said it was concerned that the vaccine trial results may have used “outdated information.” 

AstraZeneca said in a statement that the data it released Monday included cases up to Feb. 17th, as the study rules specified.

It also said it was continuing to analyze newer cases and that newer data rolling in has been consistent with what it had already reported. 

But the company on Tuesday promised an update within 48 hours.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

White House new $3 T spending plan » After winning passage of a near $2 trillion relief bill, the White House is now mapping out a $3 trillion spending bill. 

Biden huddled privately this week with Senate Democrats to talk strategy on a massive package that would spend big on infrastructure and many domestic programs. 

Democrats say the package would include family-friendly policies like strengthening education and paid family leave.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s unlikely to win much, if any, Republican support. 

MCCONNELL: We’re hearing the next few months might actually be a trojan horse for massive tax hikes and other job-killing left wing policies. 

Democrats in Congress have signaled a willingness to go it alone if Republicans aren’t on board. 

Polls show no clear winner in Israeli election » Exit polls in Israel last night indicated no clear winner in Tuesday’s election. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Polls showed Netanyahu and his religious and nationalist allies falling short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in parliament. 

But opponents of Netanyahu’s Likud party also appear to have fallen short. That could set the stage for weeks of paralysis and even an unprecedented fifth consecutive election. 

The polls show Netanyahu and his allies with 53-to-54 seats in the 120-seat parliament. His opponents were projected to win 59. 

But exit polls are often imprecise and the official results may not be known for days.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Senate Democrats consider killing the filibuster.

Plus, Joel Belz on the lost art of counting.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 24th of March, 2021. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: the push to bust the filibuster. 

Last week, President Biden said he supports changing that Senate rule.

The filibuster is a parliamentary procedure that actor Jimmy Stewart helped make famous in his 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Stewart played a young senator who talked for nearly 24 hours straight to hold off a vote on a corrupt public-works bill.

AUDIO: Yes, and a man even powerful enough to control congressmen, and I saw three of them in his room the day I went up to see him. —Senator, yield!— No sir, I will not yield!

EICHER: And that’s the filibuster in a nutshell—extending debate in order to delay or block a vote. It dates back to the 1800s, but recently it’s become a much more commonly used tactic. 

Anyone in the chamber can debate a bill as long as he wants to debate it until—and here’s another term to learn—until cloture. That is, until three-fifths of the Senate—that would be 60 senators—vote to end debate.

The current Senate is 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break ties, so slight edge to the Democrats. But they don’t have the 60 votes needed to overcome filibusters.

REICHARD: Back in 2013 came the nuclear option, so-called. Democrat Harry Reid was Senate Majority Leader at the time and he nuked the filibuster. 

REID: The change we propose today would ensure executive and judicial nominations an up or down vote on nominations.

So not a complete annihilation of the filibuster, despite the apocalyptic term. It eliminated the filibuster in these narrow cases: for executive nominees and federal judges, allowing Democrats to confirm President Obama’s nominees with just 51 votes.

But maybe the term “nuclear option” fits after all, because it did blow up a precedent that Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned about at the time. McConnell said the Democrats would rue the day.

MCCONNELL: Say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, you’ll regret this, and you may regret it a lot sooner than you think.

EICHER: Five years later, Republicans control the Senate and the White House, and who is majority leader—Mitch McConnnell. He deployed the predicted nuclear option to end the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees.

Today, President Biden’s party in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, some Democrats want to do away with the filibuster entirely. That would allow them to pass any legislation with a simple one-vote majority.

REICHARD: Joining us now is a man who knows all this history very, very well. He represented Wyoming in the U.S. Senate for nearly two decades, retired Republican Senator Alan Simpson.

Senator, thanks for joining us this morning!


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with our correspondent in Africa, Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Niger suffers deadliest attack—We start today here in Africa.

Niger’s president has ordered three days of morning for 137 people who died in a series of jihadist attacks over the weekend.

AUDIO: [Man speaking French]

A government spokesman said that in systematically targeting civilians, the armed bandits had gone a step further into horror and brutality. It was the deadliest jihadist terror attack in the country’s history.

The gunmen attacked villages near Niger’s border with Mali. More than 230 people have died in attacks on the region in the last week. Niger is the world’s poorest nation and has continued to struggle with Islamist insurgencies that have spilled over from Mali and Nigeria.

Tanzania gets first female president—Next we go to Tanzania.

AUDIO: [Woman speaking Swahili]

The country’s first female president took the oath of office last week. Samia Suluhu Hassan ascended to the presidency after her predecessor died suddenly. John Magufuli reportedly had COVID-19, although the government has not confirmed it. He opposed vaccines to combat the disease, refused face masks or lockdown measures, and stopped the publication of case statistics.

Africa only has one other female head of state, Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde. But her role is mostly ceremonial, whereas Hassan will serve as Tanzania’s head of government. 

Protests in the UK over crime bill—Next to Europe.

AUDIO: [Sounds of chanting followed by exploding smoke/tear gas canisters]

Protests in the British city of Bristol turned violent on Sunday. Clashes with police left 20 officers injured. The crowds had gathered to oppose a new policing law now being debated in Parliament. Critics say it would limit the freedom to protest.

The government proposed the bill in part because of anti-racism protests last summer. Mass gatherings are currently banned in England under coronavirus restrictions.

The chief of the local police force said extremists had hijacked an otherwise peaceful protest in an attempt to stir up anger against police.

Volcanic eruption in Iceland—And finally, we end today in Iceland.

AUDIO: [Sound of lava spewing]

After weeks of anticipation, a volcano near the country’s capital began erupting on Friday. The volcano is not spewing much smoke or ash, and the flowing lava is not a threat to nearby towns. But it’s close enough to the city to attract tourists and scientists who want to observe the eruption up close.

AUDIO: This is very exciting for us because we have been here since, for a bit more than two weeks. So we came really in the Reykjanes to analyze the formation here. We can get the ground cracks and so on, triggered by magma intrusion but also the tectonic activity. For us this is just amazing. It is really interesting to see that.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Kimberly Strable of Great Falls, Montana recently made history when she earned a PhD in business administration. 

The historic accomplishment isn’t as much about the degree as the degree holder.

Dr. Strable is 17 and that makes her the youngest American to earn a doctorate degree.  

She told television station KRTV:

STRABLE: I’ve been very business minded, I mean, from when I was a little kid from when I was 4 years old. And I want to be able to make a difference in the world and implement new methods and really bring a new perspective. And I think the best way to do that is if I was in higher-up management, and that’s where I’d like to be.

This won’t surprise you. She joined her local newspaper’s “Tribune Teen Panel” when she wasn’t even a teenager. She was 12. 

Dr. Strable comes from a family of early achievers! Her older sister was barely 18 when she earned her master’s degree.

And her three younger siblings say they want to be just like their big sisters.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 24th. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today for WORLD Radio. 

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

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

When Covid began to emerge around this time a year ago, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo shut down. Thousands of students from across Texas lost their chance to show and sell their livestock and compete for scholarships.

EICHER: Brooke McCrumb was one of those students and we introduced you to her last year. 

This year, the disappointed, frustrated, yet determined young lady and her peers set their sights on the 2021 show. 

They invested time and money in new livestock projects with the hope that the show would go on.

WORLD correspondent Bonnie Pritchett has their story.

MCCRUMB: I had two steers and four lambs this year so I was extremely busy…

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: Brooke McCrumb stands by the stall holding one of her sheep. His name is Springer. It’s March 1st but fans drone away overhead in an effort to keep flies at bay inside the Dickinson High School Ag barn.


Her two steers—August and Blue—are penned on the other side of the barn. She points to August, the white 1200-pound American Breed Cross, or ABC, steer. Their first meeting last spring wasn’t pretty. As a 650-pound calf, August dragged McCrumb and her parents across a muddy field, fighting their attempts to load him in a trailer.

MCCRUMB: He’s a sweetheart. Unlike my other ones he isn’t that big of a handful. I mean, besides from getting drug at the beginning of it all, I feel like a week later he was halter-broken and a perfect angel…

McCrumb won August last year through the Houston Livestock Show Calf Scramble, a highlight of the rodeo events. Students who wrangle a calf get a $1,750 check to buy one of their own. But with no rodeo last year McCrumb got her calf in a lottery.

JUDGE: This yellow steer, I think ties together a lot of things I value pretty high…

As he grew, August became McCrumb’s go-to steer at local shows, taking home top honors. But the Houston Livestock Show rules require students raising Scramble calves produce more than a tasty side of beef.

MCCRUMB: You write your monthly reports. You do your monthly expenses. You do certain essays. Shows I went to, anything that happened, major occurrences…

It’s like running a one-head cattle company. All of that work culminates at the next Houston Livestock Show—if there is one.

It’s days before the Houston Livestock Show is scheduled to start, and students and parents are on edge. Clay Menotti is a teacher and the Future Farmers of America adviser at Dickinson High School.

MENOTTI: They’re very nervous as well as I am. Every time I talk to, whether it’s a student or a parent, I just say, “As of right now, they’re still doing this…”

Their anxiety is not unfounded. Last year his students got word the show was canceled as they waited in line with their show heifers to enter the Houston livestock barn.

MENOTTI: This year it’s been a roller coaster up and down…

Houston is in Harris County where authorities have not reduced the COVID-19 alert level from its highest warning since June. Discussions between event organizers and local authorities provided a few assurances that, at least, the livestock show would go on.

MENOTTI: Well, they’ve never really necessarily said, ‘No, we’re not having it. There’s always been some speculation that they would cancel. So, for instance, the Fort Worth Stock show that’s always in January, it was canceled this year. When we found out about that, it kind of didn’t bode well for the shows later on in the Spring…

On February 3rd, organizers cancelled the rodeo. But Menotti held out hope for the livestock show.

MENOTTI: I kind of applaud the Houston Livestock Show Committee because they have stayed true to their word that they want it to be about the kids, about the students and their projects and they were adamant about having the Livestock Show the whole time…

Their bullheadedness paid off on March 15th.

ANNOUNCER: Well, Good morning! And welcome to the 2021 Houston Livestock Show, the Junior Steer Division…

The steer division—and the auction for its Grand Champion—is probably the most anticipated event of the livestock show.

ANNOUNCER: The next up in our main arena is our Class 3 medium weight steers weighing in between 1198 lbs to 1270. We have 28 head in this class and we’re placing 9…

McCrumb and August are in this round, the first of many that will showcase hundreds of steers. The students, clad in blue jeans, boots and neatly tucked-in shirts, parade their steers into the arena. 

ANNOUNCER: Thank you and here are your results…

At least $6,000 in feed and enough chores at the ag barn to fill a part time job culminated in a few minutes of showmanship in the arena of the world’s largest livestock show. August doesn’t make the cut.

But the day before, McCrumb and August competed in an exclusive show for the 103 calf scramble steers.

JUDGE TALKING: There’s no doubt this Class 3 offers us…

But the day before, McCrumb and August competed in an exclusive show for the 103 calf scramble steers. As the ABC steers line up for the final viewing the judge describes what sets the winner apart from the rest of the herd.

JUDGE TALKING: This calf that comes in in our top spot. His presence in the front in and the way the young lady gets him set up. He is a stand out…

MCCRUMB: Honestly, I didn’t realize I got first until he pointed to me. He, like points the number one to you. And it was very breath-taking and I actually started crying a little bit. And I got an H trophy which was, it’s pretty much been my dream for a very long time was to get an H trophy

BONNIE: What’s an H trophy?

MCCRUMB: It’s the Houston logo. It’s an H and it has a cowboy hat on and it has boots on. It’s just the Houston logo that everyone across the state of Texas in livestock production knows about [laughs]

August helped McCrumb realize her dream. Now she’s already dreaming of next year, her senior year, her last year to enter the Houston Livestock Show.  If a random steer won by drawing lots performed so well, McCrumb wonders what more could be accomplished with her hard work, accrued knowledge and a more intentional livestock selection.

MCCRUMB:  We’ve been looking at some steers and heifers. And I think I’m going to do one steer and one heifer. We’re going to do either one really good sheep or two sheep from my breeder. And then I graduate. [LAUGHS] Yes, this is the one that’s going to count.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett in Dickinson, Texas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

WORLD founder Joel Belz now on why concrete concepts like counting and numbers are losing meaning.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: Not the least of the weaknesses in our national culture, as exposed and highlighted by the pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, is this: We don’t know how to count.

Within the last month, we were told that 500,000 people had died over the last year because of the deadly virus. How many of those, some of us asked, had died explicitly from the virus and how many might have been expected to die, in any case, from other causes?  You mean we haven’t mastered the basic art of counting?

It’s in the middle of all this that the Biden administration serves notice that funding for the Social Security system will be running out sometime before 2029—just eight years from now. The numbers are vast, which is probably why no one bothers to take the warnings seriously.

Here’s a disheartening exercise you might try on some of your friends sometime soon. “Take this concept of a ‘trillion,’” you say, ”and tell me how many zeroes there are in that number.” Chances are good that no one will be ready with the right figure. Did I say we’ve become a nation that doesn’t know how to count?

But it’s not just those great big figures that expose our culture’s numerical illiteracy. A few very elementary figures will illustrate the point—and I fear that might be just as true within Christian circles as outside.

It’s historically the case, for example, that God’s kingdom work has typically been funded by the weekly 10-percent-of-earnings offerings of God’s people. Now, however, that principle has been so lost to our culture that the concept of a 10-percent tithe isn’t even hinted at in the two or three dictionaries I consulted. Most people today are as ignorant of 10-percent tithing as they are of how many zeros are in a trillion. And the best reporting I’ve seen (among those who call themselves evangelical Christians) suggests that only a relatively few people give regularly, and that what’s given comes in at a level closer to 3-percent than to 10. Did someone utterly fail to teach them how to count? 

Or ask yourself what’s gone wrong over the last several generations in evangelicals’ understanding of “1-7.” Give each member of your church’s youth group a blank sheet of paper and this simple instruction: “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the figures 1 and 7. Write a brief paragraph on the subject.” People throughout Christendom have always had at least a vague sense that the way they behave on a day of rest maybe ought to be different from what they do on the other six. Today’s young evangelicals are largely uninstructed, and therefore illiterate, on the whole subject.

Or shift the focus just a bit and ask those same young people what comes to mind when they see the figures “1-1.” How do you get simpler than that? But watch out! You may be walking on treacherous ground. Not so very long ago, the 1-1 configuration almost always suggested God’s standard for marriage: “One man, one woman.” Today that same little numerical pattern is considered by a growing part of our population to be “hate speech.”

You get the point. I challenge you to compile your own list of numbers that are losing their meaning. Whether they’re mega-numbers or mini-figures doesn’t matter so much. Just be on guard. 

I’m Joel Belz.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: college entrance exams. Last year, students couldn’t take them. This year, they might not need to. We’ll tell you why.

And, you may remember Coach Kennedy, the football coach in Washington state fired for praying on the field after games. We’ll give you an update on his case.

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.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. 

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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