The World and Everything in It - April 29, 2021
WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - April 29, 2021
Police reform measures adopted since George Floyd’s murder nearly a year ago; an update on the Connecticut case challenging the admission of boys into girls athletics; and a new WORLD podcast coming out later this summer. Plus: a preview of this week’s Listening In, and the Thursday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Police reforms are underway in many states. We have a roundup of what’s happening.
Also an update on the litigation over female sports and males who identify as women competing against them.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Plus a preview of a brand new podcast coming this summer called LAWLESS!
And commentator Cal Thomas says it’s a bad idea to pander to the lowest common denominator in education.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, April 29th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden addresses joint session of Congress, pitches spending plan »
SOUND (Chamber NATS): Madam Speaker, the president of the United States!
President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time last night speaking to a smaller than usual crowd.
Instead of a packed chamber of 1,600 people, just 200 attended—by invitation only.
The president said when he took office in January, “America’s house was on fire.”
BIDEN: Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation, America is on the move again! [CHEERS]
He highlighted recent successes in the COVI-19 vaccine rollout and his biggest legislative victory with help of a Democrat-controlled Congress:
BIDEN: Together we passed the American Rescue Plan, one of the most consequential rescue packages in American history.
The president also highlighted a recent employment boom as businesses reemerge from the pandemic. And he took the opportunity to pitch the final piece of his $4 trillion dollar spending proposal.
In his $1.8 trillion dollar American Families Plan, the president is proposing national paid family leave, free community college, universal pre-K education and more.
He said Washington must keep spending big to keep America on the road to recovery.
BIDEN: But we can’t stop now. We’re in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century. We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better. We have to compete more strenuously than we have.
President Biden challenged lawmakers to pass new gun control measures and immigration reform.
He also took aim at voting rights laws, and he called on Congress to send him a police reform bill named after George Floyd. He added that he aimed to root out what he called systemic racism in housing, education and public health.
Tim Scott delivers GOP response to Biden address » South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott delivered the GOP response.
To the president’s call for police reform, Scott, who is African American, noted that Senate Democrats scuttled a police reform bill he authored last year.
SCOTT: My friends across the aisle seem to want the issue more than they wanted a solution.
He also charged that Democrats are weaponizing race for political gain.
SCOTT: We have made tremendous progress, but powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic, and if they look a certain way, they were inferior. Today kids are being taught that the color of their skin defines them again, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor.
Scott repeated GOP criticism of President Biden’s big spending plans, calling the proposals liberal wish lists. And he said the president’s plans to raise taxes on upper income families and corporations to help pay for it will kill jobs and hurt Americans at every income level.
And he called on the president to work with Republicans on bipartisan solutions.
Judge declines request to release video of Brown shooting » A judge on Wednesday denied requests to release body camera video in the case of Andrew Brown. Deputies fatally shot Brown inside of his car last week in Elizabeth City, North Carolina as they tried to arrest him on drug-related warrants.
Judge Jeffery Foster said he believed the videos contained information that could harm the ongoing investigation or threaten the safety of people seen in the footage. He said the video must remain out of public view for at least 30 days.
Attorney Michael Tadych is a petitioner for media outlets asking for release of the footage. He said he may appeal the judge’s decision.
TADYCH: And as I said in my argument, I think our clients through the First Amendment have a right to those records.
However, the judge said Brown’s family can view videos from multiple cameras.
The family and its attorneys saw a 20-second portion of one body camera video earlier this week. And after viewing that footage, the attorneys suggested Brown’s car was stationary and that he had both hands on the wheel when deputies shot him.
But District Attorney Andrew Womble on Wednesday disputed that.
WOMBLE: The next movement of the car is forward. It is in the direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots.
The FBI this week launched a civil rights probe to investigate the incident.
Recorded COVID-19 deaths in India surge past 200k » Deaths from COVID-19 in India officially surged past 200,000 on Wednesday.
That is the recorded number deaths attributed to the illness. The actual number is believed to be far higher. Some experts believe it could be several times greater.
Mortality data in India was poor even before the pandemic, with most people dying at home and their deaths often going unregistered.
Deaths have skyrocketed as a recent surge in coronavirus cases blindsided authorities.
Dr. Lance Pinto is a respirologist at a hospital in Mumbai.
PINTO: I think nobody anticipated the scale and the magnitude of what we are facing right now. I think all of us got a little complacent based on the numbers reduced to such low levels in the month of January—that we thought that the worst was behind us.
Hospitals are scrambling for more oxygen, beds, ventilators and ambulances.
The United States, other countries, and the World Health Organization are sending emergency supplies. And they can’t arrive quickly enough.
India's daily recorded deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday the 29th of April, 2021.
You’re listening to World Radio and we’re so glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
First up on The World and Everything in It: police reforms.
Last week, a jury convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the death of George Floyd. The incident nearly a year ago sparked nation-wide calls for police reforms. Those calls have only intensified following the verdict.
REICHARD: But many local governments have already started making adjustments to police policy. WORLD’S Sarah Schweinsberg reports now on the most common changes.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Last summer, protestors marched in cities across the country demanding changes to police practices.
SOT: Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!
Some called for defunding the police. That slogan meant everything from abolishing law enforcement to diverting funds from police to other services, like social workers and mental health providers.
Other protestors called for a reimagining of police work from law enforcement to community guardianship.
Local politicians promised to get to work reforming police practices.
SOT: The mayor of Rochester, New York, says reforms are coming to its police department after Daniel Prude’s death at the hands of police.
And New York was not alone. In the last year, 30 states have passed more than 140 police reform bills.
The laws center on increasing police accountability and overhauling use of force rules.
Sixteen states, including California, New Jersey, and Minnesota, have passed state-wide bans on chokeholds while Iowa restricted their use.
Another five states got rid of no-knock-warrants. That’s a warrant allowing police to enter a property without notifying residents.
To create more police accountability, Illinois, Virginia, and eight other states passed laws mandating police turn on body cameras in more situations, including protests, traffic stops and SWAT tactical invasions.
Four states have banned or limited qualified immunity. Those are Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Qualified immunity shields law enforcement officers from personal liability while on the job.
Another five states passed laws requiring officers to intervene when a fellow officer is engaged in misconduct.
Howard Henderson is a professor of justice administration at Texas Southern University. He says restrictions on use of force and more transparency are important first steps.
HENDERSON: We began with the chokehold first because if we could stop people from being killed, harmed physically, emotionally, we start there. And from the other end, it is a system in place whereby police officers are shielded from responsibility and accountability, which is destroying the legitimacy of policing before our very eyes.
Another trend? Slashing police budgets. More than 20 major cities have diverted funds from law enforcement to other agencies. That added up to over $840 million dollars in direct cuts to U.S. police departments.
Twenty-five cities also removed police from public schools, cutting another $30 million dollars in law enforcement spending.
But some criminal justice experts say these reforms won’t make meaningful changes to policing.
Thaddeus Johnson is a criminologist at Georgia State University. He says banning chokeholds and using more body cameras don’t address root issues of distrust.
JOHNSON: And don't get me wrong. I think those were necessary, and very important steps. But one could also take the angle that it actually was to almost appease the masses. What it doesn't get at is how we got to that point.
But Howard Henderson at Texas Southern University says after lawmakers pick the low-hanging reform fruit, they can start addressing more difficult questions. Like how to create community policing. That’s a strategy that focuses on developing relationships between law enforcement and communities.
HENDERSON: We're seeing the community saying, hey, we like the fact that people are now listening to us. Let's see if we could pass laws to make sure that no matter who's in positions of power, that we keep a criminal justice system and more importantly, a policing system that is responsive to the needs of the community.
Still, some criminal justice experts say the changes implemented in the past year have already gone too far.
Rafael Mangual is a legal policy expert at the Manhattan Institute. He says cutting police budgets and restricting police use of chokeholds could backfire.
MANGUAL: So if we want more highly educated, more psychologically stable candidates, you're going to have to pay for that, right? So cutting police budgets undermines you know, the broad understanding that more quality candidates coming into the field and policing is a good thing. And when you start taking really effective grappling techniques off the table, what you may end up seeing is some interactions that might have been able to be brought under control, devolving to a point in which lethal force becomes necessary and more likely.
Congressional Democrats are ready to move ahead with a federal bill that reflects popular state changes including banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds.
Its most controversial provision would get rid of qualified immunity for all local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. That’s a non-starter for Republicans. So GOP Senator Tim Scott is spearheading a compromise. Scott’s bill wouldn’t ban qualified immunity but would make it easier for citizens to sue police departments.
While the reform spotlight is focused on Washington, federal measures would only go so far. Police departments are locally run, so most of the changes coming out of Capitol Hill are really more like requests tied to federal funding. Departments that don’t implement them could lose hiring and training grants.
So those advocating for change say they’ll continue to put pressure on local governments.
HENDERSON: One of the realities is that police reform has to happen. The issue is, what is it that has to change?
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: protecting women’s sports.
Last year, four high school girls sued the Connecticut Association of Schools. They challenged the state’s decision to allow biological boys to compete in girls’ events.
On Sunday, a federal district court judge dismissed the case because the two boys have already graduated, therefore making the case moot.
REICHARD: The religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom represents the girls. Christiana Holcomb is an attorney with the firm. She called the ruling a slap in the face to women.
HOLCOMB: You know, our clients Selena, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley pour everything into their sport. And the court essentially came back and said your losses and your achievements mean nothing. So, their past injuries are what keeps the case from being moot. They do have injuries that are addressable. In fact, these are the very types of injuries that Title IX was designed to prevent. You know, Chelsea Mitchell four times was the fastest girl in a state championship race, and yet did not walk away with a gold medal because biological males bested her in that competition. These girls have lost out on opportunities to advance their championships, titles, opportunities to compete in front of college scouts. And those are rare are injuries that are addressable by the court. And so we think the federal district judge got it wrong.
REICHARD: In his ruling, the judge noted that no other boys are currently trying to compete in girls track and field events. Because the two female plaintiffs still in high school aren’t likely to face male competitors, they no longer face the alleged harm. But Holcomb says that’s not true.
HOLCOMB: It only takes one biologically male athlete to push a young woman off the championship spot. It only takes three to eliminate biological females from the podium altogether. So you know, these are opportunities that are so important to these young women's not just athletic careers, but their future educational opportunities, as well as they compete for college scholarships. And, you know, the opportunity to pay for and finance their education. You know, we know that more than 90 percent of female executives in the United States were collegiate athletes and competed in sports. And so there are lifelong benefits that flow to these young women from having these athletic opportunities, and we want to make sure that those are protected.
REICHARD: For those watching the case closely, the judge’s ruling might not have come as a surprise. During arguments in the case, he ordered ADF attorneys to stop calling the transgender athletes “biological males.”
HOLCOMB: And I think that does speak volumes as to where the court is coming from on this particular issue. But again, ultimately, we are optimistic that Title IX was designed to provide these opportunities for young women and we look forward to restoring that fully.
REICHARD: ADF attorneys plan to appeal. Holcomb hopes to get a favorable ruling before the two young women graduate from high school.
HOLCOMB: You know, these policies are anti-science and anti-woman, and in many respects, turn back the clock on women's rights and opportunities across the country. So if we want a future where young women can continue to be on the podium and showcase their talents and earn those college scholarships, then we do need to protect the integrity of women's sports.
REICHARD: But even if ADF loses the case, bringing attention to the issue has had an effect. Since the four Connecticut students filed their lawsuit, about half the country’s state legislatures have passed bills to protect women’s sports.
HOLCOMB: I do think it's extremely encouraging to see lawmakers across the country look at what's happening in Connecticut, look at what has happened to young women in Idaho and other states across the country and recognize, we don't want this to happen in our state. We want to ensure that the purpose and the promise of Title IX is preserved for female athletes. We want to stop sex discrimination against these young girls and ensure that they have equal athletic opportunities with male athletes.
REICHARD: But, of course, the legal fight is far from over. Transgender activists are already gearing up to challenge many of those bills in court. Ultimately, this issue is headed for a future Supreme Court docket.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: OK, so Megan, what would you do if you saw a scary animal lurking in a tree in your yard?
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: If Brian wasn’t around, I don’t know, scream? And call animal control.
REICHARD: Smart! Well, a lady in Poland did call animal control when she saw something in her tree for two whole days! Inspectors asked her some clarifying questions to discern what the mystery beast could possibly be?
She thought maybe an iguana. She begged them to come quickly, because people in the neighborhood were afraid to go outside.
BASHAM: Well, yeah, if it’s in a tree it could pounce on them!
REICHARD: Inspectors thought maybe an abandoned pet. They carefully approached the tree... and saw a headless, limbless…
BASHAM: Oh, no!
BASHAM: The french pastry?!
REICHARD: Yes! A buttery, flaky croissant. Reportedly non-venomous, totally harmless. Someone likely just threw out for the birds.
The inspectors were gracious about the whole thing, though. They said it’s better to err on the side of caution and check things out.
BASHAM: Terrorized...killer croissant.
REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, April 29th.
Thank you so much for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the case of Terri Schiavo.
You may remember the Terri Schiavo story as a bitter legal war over a disabled woman’s right to live or right to die.
But the Schiavo case was—and is—so much more. It’s a story of love and lies, money and betrayal. And the cast of characters? An ordinary American family caught in the glare of an international media spotlight. A husband with a changing story and a history of violence. A civil rights attorney who claimed to be on the side of law and reason but actually championed death in the service of his own spiritual awakening. Before the Schiavo case ended, it would wrap in a governor, a president, and even the pope.
REICHARD: Terri Schiavo’s story is the subject of LAWLESS, an upcoming true crime podcast with New York Times bestselling author and investigative journalist, Lynn Vincent. Here’s a preview.
SOUND: CARRIE SHOW OPENER
LYNN VINCENT: It’s not every day that a call-in radio show saves a life.
SOUND: CARRIE SHOW OPENER
But that’s exactly what happened 20 years ago this week in Florida, when a bouncy little nighttime show for soccer moms…
CARRIE KIRKLAND: My show was light and fluffy and fun.
...saved the life of a severely disabled woman, and changed the entire course of a story that would first rivet America—and then the world.
You might remember this story. Terri Schiavo, a pretty, dark-haired woman with a mischievous sense of humor, turned heads when she walked into a room. But in the middle of the night on February 25, 1990, she collapsed in her St. Petersburg apartment under mysterious circumstances.
Deprived of oxygen for several minutes, Terri survived, but suffered severe brain damage. She needed help with food and water, so her nutrition was delivered through a gastrointestinal feeding tube.
At first, Michael, her husband of seven years, worked closely with Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, to care for her. But after receiving medical malpractice judgments totalling more than $2 million, Michael Schiavo stopped all rehabilitation and cut the Schindlers out of Terri’s life.
NEWSCLIP (NBC): Schiavo said he realized his wife would never recover. And in 1998 as her legal guardian, he filed a petition to end her life.
Schiavo and his lawyer, George Felos, argued that Terri was in what is known as a “persistent vegetative state,” or PVS, a kind of waking unawareness.
But Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother, says his sister laughed, cried, felt pain, and responded to visitors.
BOBBY SCHINDLER: She was starting to form words, and our entire family was encouraged and hopeful.
When Schiavo filed his 1998 motion to have Terri’s feeding tube removed, Mary Schindler was horrified, but she was also confident.
BOBBY SCHINDLER: I would go to bed and think to myself: “There is no way in the entire world that they’re going to starve a disable person to death.”
Then, in January 2000, Judge George Greer issued his ruling. According to Greer, Michael Schiavo had proven in court that his wife would not have wanted to live hooked up to a feeding tube. Greer authorized Schiavo to have Terri’s tube removed. As a result, an otherwise healthy woman with decades left to live would be dehydrated to death.
PROTEST: Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost...
Pinellas Park, Florida, April 24, 2001. Inside Woodside Hospice, Terri Schiavo lay in a dark, tiny room with a single bed. As a police officer guarded the door, a doctor disconnected Terri’s feeding tube and a countdown began.
Within a week to ten days, she would expire of dehydration, an excruciating way to die. Twenty-four hours had passed when help came from a very strange place. One might even call it providential.
SOUND: CARRIE SHOW OPENER
KIRKLAND: That particular night, I was literally going to go on the air with, you know, call in and tell me about your first kiss…
Instead, Carrie Kirkland decided to cover something more serious: the Terri Schiavo story. Carrie opened her phone lines and then—and then, a phone call that changed everything.
CINDY SHOOK: I’m sort of personal with this case, because I was the girl that Michael Schiavo dated after his wife had her heart attack...
That’s Cindy Shook, a woman Michael Schiavo had been dating even as he told that malpractice jury that he believed in his wedding vows and planned to take care of Terri for the rest of his life.
SHOOK: And he used to go visit her at the nursing home while we were dating, and he said immediately, as soon as he got near the door, her head was already looking at the door because she would recognize his voice, right? And she would start crying when he got ready to leave.
Shook’s call was a bombshell, raising questions about Schiavo’s claim that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state. Terri’s father, Robert Schindler, speed-dialed his attorneys, who sent a private investigator to Cindy Shook’s door. More revelations: According to the investigator, Shook said Michael Schiavo told her that he and Terri had never discussed end-of-life issues.
Shook would later say the investigator misunderstood what she said. Still, with lightning speed, Schindler attorney Pat Anderson filed a motion with Judge George Greer. With her sister disconnected from food and water, Suzanne Schindler describes what happened next:
SUZANNE SCHINDLER: It was just all of a sudden like a whirlwind, to try to use the new information that she had immediately, because now time is of the essence.
The investigator’s report raised the specter that Michael Schiavo had perjured himself when he claimed Terri said she would not have wanted to live.
Anderson argued in court that, based on this new evidence, Terri’s feeding tube must be reinserted. But Greer denied the motion, saying the new evidence came one month too late.
Enter Florida Attorney Jim Eckert, one of the most successful litigators in Pinellas County.
JIM ECKERT: I got a phone call from Patricia Anderson—they had a very important case that needed my service.
Eckert filed suit in the court of Judge Frank Quesada, outside Greer’s jurisdiction. The new attorney asked for an injunction that would cause Terri’s feeding tube to be reinserted pending an investigation of Michael Schiavo. The Schindlers were not in the courtroom.
BOBBY SCHINDLER: We were in my parents living room, and we were watching Bay News Nine and they interrupted their regular program with breaking news that the judge had just issued an injunction or something and Terri's feeding tube was to be reinserted. I remember it was my mom, my dad, Suzanne. We're just jumping up and down hugging each other. We were just overjoyed that they were going to start feeding Terri again. And we felt very encouraged that we were going to save her life right there.
After 48 hours without food or water, Terri Schiavo got her feeding tube back. As it turned out, though, the battle to save Terri Schiavo was just beginning. The Florida governor took notice. Then Congress. Then the president, the Supreme Court, and even the pope.
This wasn’t just a family affair anymore. Soon, the whole world was watching the Terri Schiavo story. It was a case that would test the moral fiber of a nation.
BASHAM: Stay tuned for LAWLESS, a new podcast from WORLD Radio, premiering this summer.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next, a preview of Listening In. This week, host Warren Smith talks to author Clarissa Moll. In 2019, her husband Rob died in a hiking accident during a family vacation. He was only 41 years old. Ten years earlier he’d written a book on the art of dying well. In this excerpt of their conversation, Clarissa reflects on how her husband's words proved to be true.
CLARISSA MOLL: Thinking about death in advance makes a difference. Acknowledging our mortality makes a difference. It makes a difference in how we live, it makes a difference in how we die, it makes a difference in how we grieve— how the people who are left behind make sense of death, of loss.
And so I think over the first year that I lived after Rob died, there were many times where I thought to myself, “honey, you were right! All those times I didn't want to talk about this subject and you pressed into it. Every time that you encouraged me to think about what our life would be like if one of us were gone, and I wanted to plug my ears.” I'm glad he did it. I'm glad that he leaned into that really difficult subject because, you know, I don't think anything can prepare you for grief. There's nothing that can prepare your heart for the magnitude of what it feels like to lose a person that you love, the radical reorientation that happens after loss.
But I think you can prepare yourself to meet death to face death. And so even though, you know, I don't think our conversations prepared me for grief. I think they certainly prepared me well for death.
BASHAM: That’s Clarissa Moll talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, April 29th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
Commentator Cal Thomas now on America’s slide toward mediocrity in education.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: The state of Virginia, which used to be reliably red and mostly conservative, is providing more evidence of an increasingly blue and liberal hue.
State education officials are “considering” renovating math courses to lower standards or delay teaching higher-level concepts. Why? “Equity.”
Black, Hispanic, and low-income students have lower pass rates on state math assessments than White and Asian students. So instead of improving their instruction, educators want to ask students to learn less.
That sounds to me like a policy of dumbing-down as many bright kids as possible so as not to upset those with lesser math skills and initiative.
A policy like this would only add to America’s decline in essential subjects, especially if it spreads beyond Virginia. And that seems likely, given our present “woke” environment.
According to a 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, math and science scores for fourth and eighth-graders are dropping. And the lowest performing students are doing worse than ever.
Half way around the world, Chinese communist officials must be roaring with laughter. Unlike American educators, Chinese teachers push their students to achieve. And for the past 20 years, Chinese children consistently outperform their American counterparts in almost every subject.
When activists talk about equity in income, they mean everyone should make the same amount of money. Equity in education evidently means students should be equally stupid.
I was a terrible math student. But I’m a natural public speaker. And, I can write. Everyone has different skill sets. Students with math skills should be encouraged, not held back. Some might end up in the space program or other areas that benefit humankind—and keep America ahead of its Great Power competition. Those with fewer skills can be helped.
I managed to get through math and algebra while focusing on other interests and talents.
Equal outcome in math or any other area is impossible. It can only contribute to mediocrity. And we’ve had quite enough of that.
When I was in school, achievers earned praise and rewards. We had honor rolls, and at graduation a valedictorian and salutatorian. Those are mostly gone, apparently because of “equity.” What we encourage we will get more of and what we discourage we will get less of.
If Virginia follows through on its math restructuring proposal, it will likely increase the public school exodus. More parents will move to home and private schools where their children can get a real education. Assuming, of course, politicians don’t try to take away that choice in the name of equity.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet joins us for Culture Friday.
And, I’ll review the second season of a popular streaming series about the disciples of Jesus.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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