The World and Everything in It: February 21, 2023
The electric vehicle supply chain starts in cobalt and lithium mines before the cars make their way to driveways; Wisconsin voters head to the polls to choose who will replace a retiring conservative justice; and a small business teaching business skills to people with disabilities. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
The Biden administration is pushing electric car sales.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today we’ll trace the electric vehicle supply chain from foreign mineral mines to your driveway.
Also the state-by-state abortion battle. Today, a key state Supreme Court vote in Wisconsin.
Plus helping people with disabilities find independence.
And out on the hunt with Whitney Williams and family.
BROWN: It’s Tuesday, February 21st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Now the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden in Kyiv » President Biden is in Warsaw today after making an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday.
Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he vividly recalled their phone call when Russian tanks rolled across the border one year ago this week.
BIDEN: You told me that you could hear the explosions in the background. And the world was about the change. I asked you, how can I be of help? You said, “Gather the leaders of the world. Ask them to support Ukraine.”
Biden spent more than five hours in the Ukrainian capital, talking over next steps in the war with Zelenskyy. The two leaders also honored fallen Ukrainian soldiers and Biden met with staff at the US Embassy in Ukraine.
National security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters:
SULLIVAN: We did notify the Russians that President Biden would be traveling to Kyiv. We did so some hours before his departure.
Sullivan said they notified the Kremlin for—quote— “deconfliction purposes.”
Another earthquake » AUDIO: [Cars honking]
Sirens and horns blared in the Turkish province of Hatay after another earthquake struck near the Syrian border on Monday.
The 6.3-magnitude quake was blamed for three deaths, hundreds of injuries, and it toppled several more buildings.
Turkey has felt some 6,000 aftershocks since a pair of devastating earthquakes struck earlier this month.
Landslides, flooding in Brazil » Rescue crews are working to locate missing people in Brazil after heavy rain this weekend triggered landslides and flooding.
Hundreds of people are without shelter in the northern state of Sao Paulo. At least 36 people have died.
AUDIO: There are still people buried. Firefighters are working and we are all hoping to find someone alive.
A city hall worker in the Sao Sebastio is saying that firefighters are hoping to find survivors buried in a landslide.
The city recorded nearly two feet of rain in 24 hours—double the expected precipitation for an entire month.
DeSantis in blue state cities » Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is kicking off a pro-police tour of major cities in blue states.
In New York City on Monday, he spoke to a gathering of police officers who feel unsupported and let down by their local government. He said every city and state must support law enforcement…
DESANTIS: To support policies that keep communities safe, and to abandon this woke nonsense like just releasing these criminals or electing prosecutors that don’t follow the law.
DeSantis also criticized President Biden’s handling of the border crisis saying Biden seems more fixated on problems in Ukraine than on troubles at home.
The governor is widely expected to run for president in 2024. According to some polls, he’s already the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
Israel protests, changes » The Israeli parliament is one step closer to overhauling the country’s legal system. Lawmakers voted Monday in favor of legislation that would give parliament the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority vote.
Critics say the legislation will erode democracy. One demonstrator in front of the Israeli parliament said the bill would turn the country into what he called a pure dictatorship.
AUDIO: Because all the power will be with the government, with the head of the government, and we’ll all be without rights.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies argue the bill would restore the country’s balance of power.
Woman able move long paralyzed limbs after electrode treatment » A woman paralyzed for roughly a decade can now move her limbs, thanks to a medical breakthrough.
Heather Rendulic suffered a stroke that partially paralyzed her left side until a research team from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University implanted an electrical device near her spine.
RENDULIC: Everything we did just blew me out of the water, blew my mind that, you know, this technology was helping me improve in ways that I didn't think were possible post-stroke.
The device helped her regain her ability to use her previously paralyzed left hand and arm.
The study offers hope to other victims of stroke paralysis.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the potential consequences that may arise from an increase in electric vehicles.
Plus, the fight for life makes its way to state supreme courts around the country.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 21st of February, 2023.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: electric cars.
The Biden administration wants half of all cars sold in the United States to be electric and the goal is to do it by the year 2030.
President Biden had this to say to the Detroit Auto Show back in September.
BIDEN: The great American road trip is going to be fully electrified, whether you’re driving coast to coast on I-10 or on I-75 here in Michigan charging stations will be up and as easy to find as gas stations are now.
BROWN: The International Energy Agency says battery and mineral supply chains will have to expand by a factor of ten to meet the new demands. And that could create a cascade of unintended consequences.
WORLD’s Mary Muncy has the story.
AUDIO: [Cobalt mining]
MARY MUNCY, REPORTER: The supply chain for electric vehicles, or EVs, starts in cobalt and lithium mines in China, Chile, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Miners dig for the raw materials for EV batteries often in dangerous conditions.
The United Nations says two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from the Congo.
This is Mark Dummett, a researcher for the human rights group Amnesty International.
DUMMETT: In many cases they literally dig out tunnels and mines by hand. They dig deep underground. One of the miners told us the mine that he dug was 50 meters deep.
The UN says about 20 percent of the cobalt mined in the Congo comes from artisanal mines like that.
DUMMETT: They use the most basic tools—hammers and mallets to chip away at the rock, they load up their sacks and they call up to their mate at the top and they pull them up by rope.
Children can be a source of cheap labor in these types of mines. They can also get in and out of smaller spaces than adults.
The UN estimates that some 40,000 children are sent into the mines in the Congo.
Dummett says it’s hard to tell exactly how dangerous these mines are. People don’t always report accidents and sometimes bodies are left in the mines.
Once miners get the cobalt out, small mining operations take it to trading houses owned mostly by Chinese men and women.
DUMMETT: We found that a lot of this, if not most of it, goes to China where it is then processed further.
The International Energy Agency says 70 percent of battery production comes out of China.
This is Diana Furchtgott-Roth. She’s the director of the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at the Heritage Foundation.
FURTCHGOTT-ROTH: The batteries themselves, sources say put together in Xinjiang, with slave labor from the Uighur community, these people who are in concentration camps.
Biden is taking steps to move that manufacturing to the U.S.
BIDEN: I signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act. It gives tax credits to new electric vehicles fuel cell vehicles made in America.
Companies can get a tax break if most of their battery production is in the U.S.
Many companies are already jumping at the opportunity.
BMW is opening up a $1.7 billion battery plant in South Carolina, General Motors made a deal to get all of its raw materials from North America and private companies are opening up their own battery plants all over the U.S.
But making the batteries in America could put EVs out of many Americans’ price range.
Here’s Furtchgott-Roth again.
FURTCHGOTT-ROTH: Now, what's happening is that auto manufacturers are artificially lowering, lowering the price of electric vehicles and subsidizing them with profit making internal combustion engine pickup trucks and SUVs.
This is where the network of charging stations comes in. Once that new EV drives off the lot, the question becomes where to get electricity.
Biden’s plan could make finding a charging station a lot easier in the U-S. The federal government approved funding for all 50 states to build charging stations. But some states say maintaining the stations is not worth the investment.
Wyoming has a little more than 500 EVs in the state.
FURTCHGOTT-ROTH: Wyoming has asked that those electric vehicle charging stations be put near the national parks, such as Yellowstone National Park, or Grand Teton National Park, because that's where the tourists go in their electric vehicles.
The government rejected Wyoming’s request. So Wyoming is allowing private companies to apply for the federal funding, but the state won’t be building its own charging stations.
The final step in the EV supply chain is the electricity itself.
FURTCHGOTT-ROTH: The move to battery electric vehicles. is not as clean as it seems, is not zero emission vehicles because first of all, the electricity has to be made someplace and that causes emissions.
But that doesn’t mean EVs are automatically dirty. The Environmental Protection Agency says overall, EVs typically produce less emissions than gas-powered cars.
The determining factor is whether the electricity came from a renewable energy source. If the electricity came from solar or wind energy, that’s going to cut down emissions.
But right now, Furtchgott-Roth says those energy sources are unreliable, so dirtier forms of energy are used to back them up.
For now, it’s still a long road to a safe, reliable, and emissions-free supply chain.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Up next, the fight for life moves to state supreme court elections.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, the battle between pro-life and pro-abortion is happening at the state level.
In 14 states, voters choose State Supreme Court justices. And Wisconsin is one of those states.
Today, Wisconsin voters are going to the polls to choose two candidates to run for the seat of a conservative justice who’s retiring.
Our life beat reporter Leah Savas interviewed the candidates in this election. Here’s what she told us about it.
LEAH SAVAS, REPORTER: Yeah, so a big thing to keep in mind about this current election is that the Wisconsin Supreme Court currently has a four to three conservative majority. The Justice who is leaving who is retiring is one of the four conservatives. So essentially, whoever takes her seat will decide whether or not the court tips conservative still, or if it will tip liberal. And that’s a big deal in Wisconsin right now. They have a split government, meaning that Republicans have a majority in the legislature, but the governor is a Democrat. So it’s really hard for either party to pass priority legislation right now. So it means a lot of these essential questions, political questions, will be coming down to the state Supreme Court. And one of those big questions has to do with abortion. The state currently has an old law from 1849 that is protecting babies from abortion starting at conception. So that went into effect last summer after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision from the US Supreme Court. And so that essentially shut down abortion facilities in the state. So now there’s a lawsuit challenging that law. And they expect it to make it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court eventually. And so it’s basically going to be the Wisconsin Supreme Court that gets to decide if this law stands or falls.
BROWN: Leah, tell us a bit about the candidates who are running.
SAVAS: Yeah, so there are four candidates in the race. Two of them are technically conservative, and two of them are technically liberal, although, as we talked about, this is also in name a nonpartisan election, but it’s become really clear in the race what their stances are on judicial philosophy. And for some of them, it’s very clear what their political stances are on issues like abortion. So the two conservative candidates are former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Daniel Kelly, and then Judge Jennifer Dorow. And basically, they’ve made it clear that they’re going to take state law at face value in any court rulings that they might issue on the Supreme Court. The other two candidates are Judge Everett Mitchell—he’s also a Baptist pastor—and Judge Janet Protasiewicz. They’ve made it pretty clear that they would see part of their role on the court as an opportunity to change things that need to be fixed in the state. And on the abortion issue, specifically, the two conservative justices, they have not openly stated their position on abortion. But these other two, the liberal ones have clearly said that they support abortion access.
EICHER: One of the liberals in the mix here is Judge Mitchell—the Baptist minister—rooting his view in what he calls “social justice.” And in this clip from a candidate forum last month, you really hear his expansive view of the role of a judge.
MITCHELL: The law not only is about what's in books and statutes and case law, but the law is what looks at what it looks like in the lives of people who have the impact, to change something that is wrong before you. And that is what a judge is supposed to do also. Not only just follow patterns and trends of what everybody else says, but ask the critical questions of ‘why are we doing this?’ and ‘can we change it?’
SAVAS: The two conservative candidates, so that’s Justice Kelly and Judge Dorow, they were also very open about their faith, but you could see that their understanding of Christianity is more grounded in the full counsel of God's Word. So this is how justice Kelly defined the gospel, he described it as the good news that all men are sinners, we’re all fallen. And we need a restored relationship with God. And God made a way for that through Jesus Christ. So basically, he didn’t just see it as love God, love your neighbor, which was more of how judge Mitchell described it, but he saw it more in how we would understand it from a complete biblical context.
But he also made it clear that his personal beliefs would not affect how he rules in cases. The clue though, for pro life voters is that he does believe in interpreting the text of a law to solve court cases. And a lot of groups supporting him say he has a proven track record of doing this when he was on the Supreme Court before. So Judge Dorow, by contrast, she doesn’t have this same track record. She was never on the Supreme Court in the past. But she says she has that same philosophy, and in our interview, she used the example of how she reads scripture to explain her interpretation of the law. And in our interview, she used the example of how she reads scripture to explain her interpretation of the law. And the idea there was she considers what the context was when it was originally written. And that's how she makes those decisions about what scripture has to say, and also about what a law has to say.
BROWN: Leah Savas is WORLD’s Life Beat reporter. If you visit our website and go to today’s transcript, we’ll have a link to her article on that Wisconsin race that’s going on today.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Four years ago, an unusual pizza topping burst onto the scene: pickle pizza! Audio here from WDIV, Detroit from 2018, when it all started.
AUDIO: This is delicious. This actually is really good. Really good. It's the bomb
Dill pickles, for real. On pizza. I’m sorry that sounds terrible.
Turns out, though, that the tart topping is no flash in the pan as demonstrated by the Food Network's Guy Fieri. Last year he traveled all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska, to an establishment called The Hungry Robot—just to try out the pickle pizza.
FIERI: It's delicious. I like biting into it and getting the pickle crunch. That's a destination pizza.
Hey, he’s the expert.
And he’s backed by something called the 2023 State of the Union pizza report … put out by a network of independent pizzerias. It found that pickle toppings were the big winner last year—growing in popularity all across the country.
Evidently, the pizza preferring public think it's a—wait for it—really big dill.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, February 21st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: thriving in the workplace.
For people with disabilities, finding a place in the workforce can be a challenge. They often need special accommodations, or struggle to meet expectations.
EICHER: A small business in Tennessee aims to make a difference—teaching business skills through coffee. Here’s WORLD reporter Grace Snell.
AUDIO: [Traffic, birds…]
GRACE SNELL, REPORTER: It’s a wet, gray day in eastern Tennessee. The building just off US-70 looks like an old bank—brown sloped roof, faux stone walls, a row of glass doors. But a sign out front announces the name “Riverside Coffee Shop” to passersby.
AUDIO: [Door opens…chatter…]
Inside, it’s as bright as the day is drab. High skylights illuminate tables and yellow accent chairs dotting the open floor plan.
FAITH LEE: Yeah, let me go get her...you can actually follow me...
In a side room, a middle-aged woman with long blonde hair chats with an employee.
LEE: We’ll pick up on this later…
HAVAH: Shall do…
LEE: Hi, I’m Angela…
Angela Lee is a mom, therapist, and founder of Riverside Coffee Shop. She started the business to help young adults with disabilities make the jump to the workforce.
Lee’s son Tristan is her inspiration. Tristan has Down’s Syndrome. He started a job as a janitor—and hated it.
LEE: He needed way more support than I was able to give him and then he said I hate to clean and I’m like I, there's got to be something better than janitorial services and bagging groceries for this for this population…
Laws require accommodations like wheelchair ramps for people with physical handicaps…
LEE: But if you have a learning disability, there is no law that says that there has to be environmental supports in place. And the stories I was, I was hearing was that they’re trying to work and that they’re getting fired for what as a behavior analyst, I would say it was stupid reason.
Lee is out to change that. She runs a life skills program out of the coffee shop. Most of Lee’s students are on the autism spectrum. Others have Down Syndrome, like Tristan.
LEE: We’re trying to get these young people employable, teaching them how to be a good employee, how to be a good coworker, how to follow the health department rules. If somebody’s coming on the floor…close-toed shoes, hair pulled back.
Faye Presley is the lead teacher. She’s been at Riverside for five months now. Today, Presley and the class are making Valentine’s Day cake pops.
PRESLEY: We did one round last week and they sold out. So we’re ready to start round two.
Five students—Tristan, Zach, Elliott, Amelia, and Claire—gather around a folding table and don rustling plastic gloves.
Lee’s 18-year-old daughter Faith helps out. She sports an AC/DC T-shirt and converse—hair clipped back.
FAITH LEE: Claire, did you already wash your hands? Yes. Are you ready for some gloves? Yeah…
Claire—quiet and dark-haired—struggles with her oversized gloves. Faith patiently coaches her along.
FAITH LEE: Go ahead and change out your glove. Do you want to go put them in the trash can? Thank you, Claire.
It’s a slow, repetitive process. But Lee says that’s key to learning. Staff rehearse good business practices with students over and over again.
PRESLEY: Now you gotta go wash your hands again. I know. That stinks. But we remember we’re doing this for customers is different than when we’re doing it for ourselves.
Presley sets a big bowl of red velvet cake on the table. Students plunge in armed with spoons.
PRESLEY: You can get a better angle if you’re standing up. So that might be…
FAITH LEE: I love the teamwork of you holding the bowl…
ZACH: Well, no it’s just if it falls off the table, I’ll have to clean it up…
AUDIO: [Music and chatter…]
Soon, it’s time for Claire’s shift in the coffee shop. She joins Havah, who’s already on duty.
LEE: You're waiting for Havah and then you guys are gonna start doing an inventory list of the products, okay? Umm. Click, click...music…
When it’s time to make a drink, Faith comes over to help Claire tackle the order—a vanilla latte.
AUDIO: [Coffee maker whirs…]
FAITH LEE: Alright, Claire, while we’re waiting can we start the milk?…That’s good. Perfect. Good job, Claire.
AUDIO: [Machine puffs…]
CLAIRE: Here’s your drink…
Amelia, a cheerful teen with tousled hair and glasses, comes in to wash up after operation cake pop.
AMELIA: Let me turn that off for a minute, I would say, making drinks sometimes can be fun. I don’t know a lot of drink orders, but I try my best. I have pretty bad social anxiety, so I like interacting with customers, but I'm just afraid I’ll make a mistake around one of them. 03:11 But, I’m allowed to make mistakes… I’m glad that nobody yells at me if I make a mistake or something like that.
Elliott, an outspoken girl with wispy blonde hair, also wanders over.
ELLIOTT: Need any help?
AMELIA: Oh, no thank you, I’m good.
AMELIA: It’s a party…oops…it’s a party at the sink. I forgot about the bowl itself, I was so focused on the tiny instruments…
For Faye Presley and Angela Lee, every dish washed and every counter wiped is a step in the right direction.
PRESLEY: We’re showing our students that they can live a little bit more independently than they are right now. And they can work a little bit more independently than they are right now.
LEE: The research shows that the more independent we can become as an adult, the better quality of life. So that’s what we want to do. That’s our goal.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Grace Snell in Lenoir City, Tennessee.
BROWN: You know, Grace is such a talented young lady. She’s been so much help on our Safe Haven series. And, you know, she’s just getting started.
Grace is just one of our many excellent reporters who got her start by attending World Journalism Institute—only two years ago.
EICHER: Good reminder that it’s coming around again. Looking forward to heading up to Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, and working with a new group of students.
And that might include you, if you’re a college student or the parent or grandparent of a college student with an aptitude for journalism.
We are taking applications now online at WJI.world. And let me just say, it is an involved application.
We’ve included a link in today’s transcript to learn more about WJI and as Myrna says, it’s a good idea to get started right away. The summer course runs from May 19th through June 3rd.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, February 21st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next, WORLD commentator Whitney Williams takes us along on a family hunting trip.
AUDIO: [DEER STAND CREAKING]
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Twas the last weekend of deer season and all up in the stand, three children were astir, scaring every whitetail in the land.
AUDIO: That’s probably that…
…my husband said, staring out the front window of the blind. In other words, the hunt was shot. A lost cause due to our noise level, and he was done shushing.
“We’re splitting up tonight,” he told me, a serious look in his eyes. That evening would be our last chance to fill the freezer, so we needed to increase our odds. Our eldest had shot a nice buck earlier in the season, and my husband had taken a doe, but it would take more than that to feed our family for the year. We basically live off of venison.
My husband took the twins to Papa’s stand and my nine-year-old son and I returned to ours, about 15 acres away, around 3 p.m.—crunch time. Mission: Meat. Could we rise up to the challenge? Did we have what it took to do this without Dad?
We sat for hours reading and watching. Spooked a few does early on, trying to get the gun up. Then … the cows came. It wasn’t looking good.
Approximately 30 minutes before things got dark and hopeless, I spotted a group of deer across the creek. “Don’t move,” I whispered. If things weren’t already serious in our stand, they got that way quickly. Eyes peeled, gun ready, we waited for the group to draw closer.
My son picked out the biggest doe and waited patiently for her to turn broadside. And waited. And waited.
Just as I worried that my son might miss our last opportunity for the evening, for the season, he took the shot.
“Did I get her?” “I think you got her,” we whispered, but it was hard to be sure. You must understand—it all happens so fast, the grass was knee-high, and there were at least a dozen deer scattering in all different directions the moment he shot. We jumped out of the stand and ran across the field in her general direction, hearts racing.
She’d dropped immediately right where she’d stood. “I’m proud of you,” I commented, wrapping my arm around my 9-year-old and giving him a tight squeeze.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we both had better hunts under our belts, but this time we’d gone it alone. Together. And we felt this confidence surging inside us like we were survivors! Pioneers! Living off of the land, providing for our family, just a mama and her boy. And it felt good.
AUDIO: [TRUCK/TRAILER APPROACHING]
About ten minutes later, we spotted my husband’s Chevy bouncing our way and our hearts filled with pride as his front headlights shined upon us in all of our camouflaged glory.
Just two strange looking trees smiling beneath the stars.
WHITNEY’S HUSBAND: Y’all got the blind all closed up?
HUSBAND TO ELDEST BROTHER: Good job, Bubba!
I’m Whitney Williams.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Former Sen. Alan Simpson weighs in on the debate over the debt ceiling and Washington’s spending problem.
Also, World Tour.
And a report from the campus of Asbury University.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
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: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6 and 7 ESV)
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.
Please wait while we load the latest comments...
Please register, subscribe, or log in to comment on this article.