Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

The World and Everything in It - February 3, 2022


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - February 3, 2022

What’s behind Japan’s increased defense spending; the latest development in the legal woes of Christian bakers from Oregon; and Louisiana legalizes sports gambling. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!

Japan is arming itself in the face of threats from China and North Korea.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Also another round in court for the cake bakers in Oregon. We’ll talk about it.

Plus sports gambling.

And commentator Cal Thomas on containing anarchy in the streets.

BROWN: It’s Thursday, February 3rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Good morning!

BROWN: Now here’s Kent Covington with the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: U.S. deploys 2,000 troops to Eastern Europe » The United States is deploying 2,000 troops to Eastern Europe with Russia possibly poised to invade Ukraine.

KIRBY: These movements are unmistakable signals to the world that we stand ready to reassure our NATO allies and deter and defend against any aggression.

American troops are not heading to Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. Though, the United States has sent defense aid and weapons to the country.

The troops are deploying from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Poland and Germany. Poland’s defense minister thanked the United States for a strong show of solidarity.

The Biden administration is also shifting 1,000 soldiers from Germany to Romania and has placed a separate 8,500 U.S.-based troops on high alert.

Russia called the deployments unfounded and destructive. But while Moscow continues to complain that the West is acting aggressively, the White House once again pushed back. Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

PSAKI: There is one aggressor here. That aggressor is Russia. They are the ones who have gathered tens of thousands of troops on the border. They are the ones who are threatening to invade a sovereign country.

Russia insists it has no intention of invading and is willing to continue diplomatic talks. But the Kremlin has taken no steps to draw down its forces along the Ukrainian border.

Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across U.S. » A massive winter storm is making a 2,000-mile-long mess across the country. Forecasters are calling it Winter Storm Landon. Already, it has forced many schools to close and airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.

John Weiss with the National Weather Service says when all is said and done, Landon will have dropped rain, sleet, and snow from the southern Rockies…

WIESS: Across the southern and central plains, into the upper Midwest, across the Great Lakes, and all the way across New England—in the Northeast and into New England.

On Wednesday, the storm dropped freezing precipitation from Texas to Michigan.

Forecasters said parts of Missouri and Michigan could see up to a foot of snow.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told residents that snow plows will be hard at work, but digging out from heavy snow will take time.

DUGGAN: We want you to prepare for a four-day job, Thursday through Sunday, to get every neighborhood street cleared.

Officials in many of the affected areas are telling residents to stay off the roads, if at all possible, until the weather clears.

Omicron slams U.S. private payrolls in January » Private U.S. companies had fewer workers on their payrolls last month. It was the first time that’s happened in more than a year. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Payrolls dipped as surging COVID-19 omicron infections threw a wrench in commerce.

The ADP National Employment report showed that private payrolls dropped by 301,000 in January. That followed a December increase of nearly 800,000.

The last time private payrolls dipped was December of 2020.

The leisure and hospitality industry lost the most jobs, roughly 154,000.

ADP's chief economist Nela Richardson said the setback is likely temporary. COVID-19 cases are now falling in the United States.

Today, the Labor Department will release its broader employment report for January. That report is also expected to reflect the impact of the omicron wave.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Biden announces effort to cut cancer death rate in half » Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, President Biden said he is committing to measures aimed at cutting the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years.

It’s part of a relaunch of the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative that Biden helped launch as vice president in 2016.

The program is designed to speed up scientific discovery related to cancer, foster more collaboration among experts and improve the sharing of data.

BIDEN: My message today is this: We can do this. I promise you, we can do this; all those we lost, all those we miss. We can end cancer as we know it.

As part of the effort, Biden will assemble a “cancer Cabinet.” That will include nearly 20 agencies and federal offices—including leaders from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, the Defense Dept.

The American Cancer Society anticipates nearly 2 million new cancer cases and more than 600,000 cancer deaths this year.

And the issue is deeply personal for Biden, who lost his son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015.

Washington’s NFL franchise announces new name » The team formerly known as the Washington Redskins has adopted a new name.

Team owner Daniel Snyder made the announcement on Wednesday.

SNYDER: Today’s a big day for our team, our fans, a day in which we embark on a new chapter as the Washington Commanders.

The team was known as the Redskins from 1932 until two seasons ago. The franchise dropped its old moniker in response to criticism that it was offensive to Native Americans.

As the Commanders, Washington keeps the same burgundy and gold colors that were around for the three Super Bowl championships in the 1980s and early ’90s glory days.

The team chose Commanders over other finalists such as Red Hogs, Admirals and Presidents. Early on in the process, fans got behind the name Red Wolves, but it was ruled out over copyright and trademark hurdles.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Japan beefs up its military.

Plus, a fix for our nation’s growing lawlessness.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 3rd of February, 2022. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up on The World and Everything in It: Japan’s military machine.

Ever since the end of World War II, Japan has relied on the United States for almost all of its national defense. But over the past decade or so, that’s started to change.

WORLD’s Josh Schumacher explains why.

AUDIO: [Sound of tanks firing]

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: In early December, Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force held its annual military training exercises. Battle tank regiments shot at each other across open ranges. And these live fire matches could soon get a lot bigger.

This year, Japan’s defence ministry has asked for nearly $7 billion dollars in additional funds to spend on military equipment. That’s a significant increase in a country that has spent the last 75 years avoiding armed conflict.

FUMIO: [Speaking Japanese]

But Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Japan needs to beef up its defenses and increase its capability to attack enemy bases amid rising threats from North Korea and China.

Zack Cooper is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He says, for a long time, Japan spent only about 1 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.

But the country’s dominant political party, the LDP, now wants to double that number to at least 2 percent.

COOPER: Let's be honest, though, that they're not there now. They're not going to be there for quite some time. But we are seeing something like 7, 8, 9 percent growth in defense spending year on year, which for Japan is actually quite significant.

Japan’s increased interest in self-defense started about 10 years ago amid a dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands.

But, it’s got a long way to go to rebuild a military apparatus dismantled after World War II. And it’s not just about spending.

Bruce Klingner is a former U.S. intelligence officer who’s now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He says the pacifist constitution the United States helped write for Japan after World War II effectively requires the country to renounce war as a foreign policy tool.

KLINGNER: For Japan, they saw it in a way as a pretty good deal. There was a policy called the Yoshida doctrine where it was sort of, Japan, would focus on making money improving its economy and leave its defense to the U.S.

Klingner uses the analogy of shopkeepers and a neighborhood policeman to explain how this policy has played into regional dynamics.

KLINGNER: So they could be sort of the shopkeeper in the neighborhood, and they wouldn't, you know, they would leave the the defense to the to the U.S. as the neighborhood's policeman.

But now, China has put Japan’s “shop” in jeopardy.

KLINGNER: So it's, you know, if you want to think of a neighborhood or a, you know, an old wild west town where, you know, Black Bart and his gang have come into, you know, Tombstone and throwing their weight around…

Initially, things weren’t that bad. And, as a result, the neighborhood basically chose to ignore China’s increasing aggression.

But now, Klingner says, that’s no longer a viable option.

KLINGNER: Well, as things get worse and worse. Well, now, it's not just the sheriff, the U.S., who's saying we need to do things. It's now the townspeople saying, ‘Yeah, you're right, this is getting so bad, that I do need to go out of my comfort zone.’

A significant portion of Japan’s concern involves China’s increasing aggression toward Taiwan.

Zack Cooper says a Taiwan controlled by China presents a significant strategic threat to Japan.

COOPER: If you look at the map, you know, Japan lives in a pretty tough neighborhood…

To the North, a nuclear-armed Russia. To the west? Nuclear-armed North Korea. Further to the south and west, China, with its own nuclear arsenal.

Cooper says that makes Taiwan an important strategic ally.

COOPER: Japan would be really hard to defend, if it couldn't rely on the fact that it's hard for Chinese ships to sail out into the Pacific Ocean without having to pass through a choke point that is controlled by either Japan, or the Philippines, or between the two of them in Taiwan. And these are choke points that the United States and its allies and partners can watch pretty closely…

These chokepoints created by Taiwan and the surrounding islands make Japanese security easier to manage.

COOPER: I think one concern is that if Taiwan were held by China, and used as a staging point, that would be much more difficult for Japan to do—it would have to look not just to the west, but also to the east and to the south. And this would be really, really challenging operationally.

But not everyone in the region shares Japan’s concern. Or as Bruce Klingner puts it, some countries in the region aren’t all that excited about standing up to “Black Bart” and his gang.

KLINGNER: Some are saying, Well, look, you know, if it's the sheriff versus the bad guy, I don't want to take sides there, because I could get hurt.

Zack Cooper says Japan has tried to shore up its defenses by building trade deals and national security networks with its neighbors in the region.

COOPER: The Japanese relationships with China, North Korea and South Korea are tense. But Japan has very good relationships in Southeast Asia. And if you look at polling data, many Southeast Asian countries have far more faith in Japan than they do in the United States, or the European Union or China…

In other words, Japan has turned into something of a leader in the region.

COOPER: So whether that's in Southeast Asia, whether it's with Australia and India through the quadrilateral grouping that they all have, we're now seeing Japan take on actually a leadership role as a convener to try and hold the region together.

And regional leadership almost always requires a strong military to back it up.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: another do-over for Sweetcakes by Melissa.

Last week, an appeals court in Oregon ordered the state to reconsider damages awarded in a discrimination case. It all arose nine years ago when two women sued for emotional damages after Christian bakers declined to bake a cake for their same-sex wedding.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: The former owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa are in for a new round of litigation after being forced to close down their business in 2015.

Joining us once again to fill us in on what’s happening here is Steve West. He’s an attorney and writes about religious liberty issues for WORLD Digital. Good morning to you, Steve!

STEVE WEST, REPORTER: Good morning, Mary.

REICHARD: Well, first of all, Steve, just give us a refresher here. Remind us where this case began.

WEST: This is one of those cases that reminds us that some litigation seems to never end. It all began nearly a decade ago. Two women, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, sued the Kleins in 20-13 after a 20-12 cake-tasting at which Aaron Klein informed Rachel that he could not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. She left with her mother, but then her mother turned the car around and went back to challenge him on his religious views. Aaron quoted Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” The Kleins lost an administrative hearing at which they were also fined $135,000 and lost when they appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

REICHARD: And I read they were forced into bankruptcy by that. Okay, so then the Kleins appealed that 2017 ruling against them by the Oregon Court of Appeals. What happened there?

WEST: The case went up to the Supreme Court, and the court threw out the Oregon court’s ruling and sent it back, telling it to take another look at its ruling in light of the then recent Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling. In that case, the court found that Colorado officials demonstrated hostility to baker Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs when it found him in violation of a similar nondiscrimination law.

REICHARD: So the Oregon Court of Appeals has doubled down on its finding. They thought the Kleins’ broke the state’s nondiscrimination law and that the law does not violate their religious liberty. But the judges said the state agency that handled the Kleins’ case should reconsider its judgment against them. On what basis?

WEST: In setting aside the damages award, the court criticized the state prosecutor for equating Aaron Klein’s religious beliefs with prejudice. Here’s a line from the opinion: “Given [the agency’s] overarching and multifaceted role in this case, it directly suggests a governmental preference for one faith perspective over another in what remains an ongoing, emotionally hard discussion within American communities of faith.”

But here’s the thing: There’s no discernible difference between this case and Masterpiece Cakeshop. In both cases, you have state officials with demonstrated hostility to the bakers’ religious beliefs.Yet here, the court upholds its ruling that the law was violated while sending it back to the same state agency that demonstrated bias to reconsider the damages–where it’s difficult to imagine a different result unless the state just drops its request for damages. Stephanie Taub is a lawyer with First Liberty Institute. She represented the Kleins and says the case will be appealed. But that could take a while. After the case was briefed and argued, it took two years for the Oregon Court of Appeals to rule–a delay that is highly unusual.

REICHARD: Right now, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to review a lower court ruling applying a similar nondiscrimination rule to a wedding photographer in Colorado, Lori Smith. What is the potential impact of that case?

WEST: If the court accepts Smith’s case, many creative professionals could gain some clarity on whether their free speech rights and religious convictions will be honored. We’re talking wedding photographers, florists, cake bakers, and videographers. Smith challenged the same Colorado law that Jack Phillips ran afoul of. There, the judge wrote that “protecting both the dignity interests of members of marginalized groups and their material interests in accessing the commercial marketplace” justified overriding Smith’s free speech and religious liberty. That sounds like a baked in bias against religion to me.

REICHARD: Steve West writes about religious liberties for WORLD Digital. You can read his work at WNG.org. You can also subscribe to his free weekly newsletter on First Amendment issues, called Liberties. Steve, always good to have you on. Thank you!

WEST: You’re very welcome, Mary.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Well, if you’re a fan of cold weather, we have some good news for you.

Well, actually, Punxsutawney Phil has some good news for you, translated here from “groundhogese.”

AUDIO: I couldn’t imagine a better fate with my shadow I have cast than a long, lustrous six more weeks of winter!

The famous groundhog saw his shadow on Groundhog Day yesterday.

The long-running tradition in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania draws thousands of Phil fans every year—except for last year when it happened virtually.

The event originates in a German legend about a furry rodent. According to records dating back to 1887, Phil has predicted winter more than 100 times.

But again, our top headline today: Six more weeks of winter! So don’t box up that winter coat just yet.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 3rd. 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: Sports Betting. Back in 2018, the Supreme Court opened the door for legalized sports betting in all 50 states.

REICHARD: That case was Murphy v. NCAA. Ever since then, state lawmakers have tried to get part of that money pie. But at what cost? WORLD Senior Correspondent Kim Henderson brings us this report.

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: When sports gambling comes to a state, the ads do, too. Lots of them.


Did you catch that bet amount? Single digits. David Cranford is a pastor in Louisiana, a state where gambling apps like DraftKings and FanDuel went live just last Friday. He says single digit bets are part of the problem, especially for college students.

CRANFORD: One of the attractive things about online sports betting is that I can bet $1 or $2 at a time. I can start very small. I can start at a place that fits my collegiate budget. I mean, we're all poor in college.

But for some people, gambling has an addictive power, just like alcohol or opiates.


The United States Gambling Research Institute reports that problem gambling affects 7 percent of people in Louisiana.

CRANFORD: Like most addictions, the desire will not remain small. They'll not be able to stop increasing their bets and so you're going to wind up with college students who are absolutely addicted to gambling.

Being able to gamble with an app means betting has gone from back rooms to dorm rooms, even classrooms. Anywhere a gambler can glance at a phone or laptop. You can place a wager with the ease and privacy of a touch screen any time day or night.

Last year, Americans wagered more than $42 billion on sports as new legal markets went live.


Students see and hear celebrities push gambling apps all the time. That’s the actor, Jamie Foxx. And here’s NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees.


But Brees also partners with Pray.com, a religious social media platform.

Will Hall says that’s confusing. Hall is director of Public Policy for Louisiana Baptists, and he fought against Louisiana’s new gambling laws alongside Pastor Cranford. He has little patience for those who hawk vice, whether it’s celebrities or legislators greedy for gambling revenue.

HALL: They're ignoring the negative impact on lives and on families. I don't know how—they've got some kind of blinders on. They just can't see. That's all I know.

Kathleen Benfield of Louisiana Family Forum works with Hall and Cranford to curb the gambling tide. She says their state is in deep.

BENFIELD: The gambling industry has replaced the oil and gas industry as the number one revenue generator for the state of Louisiana in terms of revenue, and budget . . .


But gambling doesn't represent industriousness. Or an economic tool. Instead, it’s the lure of quick money without work, and somebody always loses. Benfield does believe Louisiana will hit the jackpot—in broken lives and families.

BENFIELD: Basically this is a house of cards that eventually is going to collapse. The churches are the ones that are there as the safety net catching the people . . .


But even in states where sports betting isn’t legal, it’s still a problem. Lilly Ettinger is on staff at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she’s seen some students rack up six-figure gambling losses. She thinks part of the problem is that sports betting is “gamified.”

ETTINGER: It starts with kids playing loot boxes and online gaming and microtransactions. And it starts with really shiny pretty apps that make it look like a game and you don't realize how much money you're losing.

Her fellow staff member, Chaplain Dakota Henry, thinks students view gambling as a socially-approved vice.

DAKOTA: If you bet on a team, you know, you're showing team spirit. That's not sinful, like people don't think of it in any kind of overt way.

That’s how Liberty law student Dylan Craig sees it—like a social activity. He and his friends have a betting group chat.

CRAIG: There's always a guy putting something in the chat saying, ‘Hey, you know, I'm going to bet on this game today. I'm gonna put $10,’ and we're all like, ‘Okay, cool. We're going to ride with you. We'll do it too.’ That way, we all feel like a little community . . .

But the Bible is clear about the troubles that come when we fail to steward our money wisely. That’s why Pastor Cranford says parents need to educate their children about the trap of gambling, and he cautions them to avoid the appearance of evil.


CRANFORD: Don't even go to these casinos to eat. Do not patronize them in any way, shape, or form, because even that sends a message to our children . . .

If statistics are right, 75 percent of college students have placed bets in the last year—according to the International Center for Responsible Gaming. That’s why Lilly Ettinger believes we’ve got to start talking about the implications of gambling.

ETTINGER: So that's the thing. Prevention. It's, you know, talking to your kids early, talking to your small groups at church early. You know, talk to your pastor about it. Like, when was the last time you heard a gambling sermon in your church. These are things prevention wise, we can talk about to have all of the knowledge of the potential consequences of these actions.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Hammond, Louisiana.

REICHARD: Kim also wrote about this for WORLD Magazine. You can find her report at wng.org.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 3rd. 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. Here’s commentator Cal Thomas on our need for politicians who are serious about crime.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Trust in government has been declining since the administration of President Lyndon Johnson. According to Pew Research, only 36 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents and 9 percent of Republicans and those leaning Republican now trust government. Who can blame them given its failure to perform on so many levels?

Rarely does a voice break through the wall of meaningless political rhetoric as it did last week at the funeral of New York Police Detective Jason Rivera. Rivera, along with his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, was brutally murdered by a man who was shot by a third police officer and later died. The alleged gunman, 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil, was on probation after a drug conviction in 2003. His mother said he was mentally ill.

Rivera's widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, received thunderous applause at St. Patrick's Cathedral when she said: "The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even members of the service."

Among those in attendance was Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. His lenient approach to criminal suspects has been denounced by police officers, police unions, and Republican politicians, but insufficient numbers of Democrats.

In what sounded like a direct criticism of Bragg, Dominique Rivera said of her late husband: "I know you were tired of these laws, especially of the ones from the new DA. I hope he's watching you speak through me right now."

Bragg later issued a statement in which he said he is "grieving and praying for Detective Rivera and Officer Mora today and every day, and my thoughts are with their families and the NYPD." He promised that "violence against police officers will never be tolerated" and "my office will vigorously prosecute cases of violence against police and work to prevent acts like this from ever happening again." How? He didn't say.

What Bragg and other district attorneys, liberal Democratic mayors in big cities, and even President Biden refuse to comprehend is their contribution to the violence and anarchy sweeping the land. They seem indifferent to the laws they took an oath to uphold.

If the streets are not safe for police officers, they cannot be safe for average citizens.

In addition to the murder of cops, people are being pushed onto subway tracks and attacked on sidewalks as they go about their business. Why are these perpetrators treated like misbehaving children who get sent to their rooms without dinner, but are back at the breakfast table the next morning?

The tendency is to forget monstrous events as other stories take their place. Recent police killings in New York, Harris County, Texas, and elsewhere must not be forgotten, lest they become more common and public safety is further compromised. Ultimately, it’s up to voters to put people in office who will do more than offer "thoughts and prayers."

Focusing on what happens in our nation’s prisons would be a good start. Because arresting more people and locking them up won’t actually solve the problem. Most will eventually get out. If we don’t do anything to help them reform while in prison, the circle will be unbroken. A changed life ought to be the goal. And that’s where prison ministries can make a difference.

I’m Cal Thomas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. We’ll talk about bans on conversion therapy in Canada and the difference between equality and equity.

And, the new streaming series The Gilded Age. It’s from the master of historical drama, Julian Fellowes… you know, the Downton Abbey writer.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Mary Reichard.

MYNRA 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.

Jesus said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39 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 login to comment on this article.