The World and Everything in It: February 9, 2024
On Culture Friday, how Hamas harms children; the new TV mini-series Masters of the Air captures the horrors and heroism of American airmen in WWII; and an audio postcard from a fishing village in Italy. Plus, the Friday morning news
PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. My name is Esther Abbe, and I'm from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I want to give a special shout out to my friend Sean who listens to WORLD every day and is the one who introduced me to WORLD. I'm so grateful that he did. Hi, Sean. I hope you enjoy today's program.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning! Today on Culture Friday: child hostages. We’ll talk about the harms of adult conflicts crashing into the lives of children.
AUDIO: I’m sure they messed around in the head. [Arabic] Be quiet or I’ll kill you with this knife, to an eight-year-old child as she was then.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. Also today, a new mini-series about the pilots who helped win World War II.
COLONEL HUGLIN: You are in charge of 35 planes and 350 air-crewmen, boys who have yet to experience combat.
BROWN: It’s Friday, February 9th. 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: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden docs » A yearlong Justice Dept. investigation into President Biden’s mishandling of classified information is over.
BIDEN: I was pleased to see that they reached the conclusion I believed and knew all along they would, that no charges should be brought in this case.
But the special counsel’s report was not all good news for the president.
It stated that Biden “willfully” retained and disclosed highly classified materials when he was a private citizen, including documents tied to sensitive national security matters. Something the president refuted last night.
BIDEN: For any extraneous commentary, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It has no place in this report.
The report described the 81-year-old Democrat’s memory as “hazy,” “faulty,” and “poor” and having “significant limitations.” It stated that Biden could not recall defining milestones in his own life such as when his son Beau died or when he served as vice president.
On that too, Biden pushed back:
BIDEN: My memory is fine. Take a look at what I’ve done since I’ve been president. None of you thought I could pass any of the things I got passed. How’d that happen?
Special counsel Robert Hur said he decided not to bring charges against Biden in part because his team believed a jury would see Biden as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.
But Republicans see a clear double standard. Trump reacted, saying “This has now proven to be a two-tiered system of justice.”
SCOTUS Trump ballot arguments » The Supreme Court is considering a case that could turn this year’s presidential election upside down. The justices heard oral arguments Thursday. WORLD’s Legal correspondent Mary Reichard has more:
MARY REICHARD: Donald Trump appealed to the nation’s highest court after the Colorado Supreme Court said Trump could be kicked off the state’s primary ballots. The state court said he engaged in “insurrection,” citing his actions surrounding the Capitol riot.
But Trump lawyer Jonathan Mitchell argued Thursday:
MITCHELL: This was as riot. It was not an insurrection. The events were shameful, criminal, violent, all of those things. But did not qualify as insurrection as that term is used in Section three.
But can a state invoke the insurrection clause of the Constitution without consent from the US Congress?
Lawyer Jason Murray for Colorado argued that Article II gives states broad power to run elections as they see fit.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed back:
KAVANAUGH: What about the idea that we should think about democracy, the right of people to elect the candidate of their choice?
The Colorado attorney seemed at a loss to answer several hypotheticals the justices posed, such as why a single state should get to decide who is President.
And most of the justices seemed skeptical of the state’s constitutional authority to keep Trump off the ballot.
For WORLD, I’m Mary Reichard.
Missing Marines confirmed dead » U.S. military officers have spent the past day or so delivering heartbreaking news to the families of five Marines.
All were aboard a helicopter that crashed Wednesday during stormy weather in the mountains outside of San Diego.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder:
RYDER: We mourn their tragic loss. We will forever be grateful for their call to duty and selfless service.
The Marines were returning from a training exercise in Nevada to their home base at Miramar.
Texas border » With a record number of migrants still crossing the southern border into the United States … Texas Gov. Greg Abbott briefed reporters Thursday about his state’s efforts to curb the border crisis. Those efforts include placing border barriers and deploying National Guard troops.
ABBOTT: Working with the National Guard on plans to expand the National Guard effort along the border region — more soldiers, more resources, more capabilities.
President Biden is increasingly laying the blame for the border at the feet of Republicans after GOP lawmakers this week rejected a Senate border bill.
But Gov. Abbott fired back:
ABBOTT: He does not need more laws. He has the tools in his toolbox to do exactly what Texas is doing, and that is to deny illegal entry into the country.
Abbott complained that the Biden administration has relentlessly fought his efforts to secure the border within his state.
Ukraine military leader shakeup » Ukraine’s top general is out.
ZELENSKYY: [Speaking Ukrainian]
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announcing a military shakeup Thursday abruptly firing army chief Valery Zaluzhny.
ZELENSKYY: [Speaking Ukrainian]
The president told reporters that he thanked Zaluzhny for his service, but said a new strategy and new leadership are needed.
The general is something of a national hero. He was widely credited with helping lead Ukraine’s military to many of its early victories against Russia.
He’ll be replaced by Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky who has served as the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces.
King Charles update » In London, Queen Camilla said Thursday that King Charles III is doing well, all things considered. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN: Camilla said King Charles has been “very touched by all the letters and the messages the public have been sending” from around the world.
She added that he’s doing extremely well under the circumstances.’'
Buckingham Palace announced this week that the king had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer and would begin treatment immediately.
He’s canceled all upcoming public appearances but continues to handle other duties.
For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. Plus, Masters of the Air.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday the 9th of February, 2024. 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
It’s time for Culture Friday, and joining us now is John Stonestreet. He’s president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
JOHN STONESTREET: Good morning.
EICHER: John, I know you’re following developments in the Middle East, in particular the war in Gaza over Hamas. Given all the back and forth that’s gone on over the remaining hostages, I thought a reminder was in order about what’s at stake here. And we should note well that there really was no distinction made among women and children and elderly. Hamas grabbed everyone they could get their hands on October 7th. Let me take a few minutes to tell you the story of one former hostage. This audio is courtesy of Israeli television. It’s about a young girl named Emily Hand.
THOMAS HAND: She’s still afraid.
That’s her father, Thomas Hand. He’s Irish-Israeli. Hand is part of a collective farm, a Kibbutz that was overrun October 7th by Hamas.
They kidnapped his eight-year-old daughter Emily. She’s nine now and was among the hostages released in November. But Emily still won’t talk about what happened, not directly.
HAND: She actually has code words for Gaza, terrorists, she has lots and lots of code words. [Emily’s voice Hebrew] She doesn’t even want to say it.
Terrorists dragged Emily from her home in her pajamas. She was given other clothes to wear and she had them on when she was released and taken to a hospital. But when she got there, she promptly ripped off the clothes and tossed them in a wastebasket.
HAND: Just threw them in the bin. She didn’t want anything, anything from them.
Three men were her guards. They moved location to location, her father believed, to stay a step ahead of Israeli defense forces.
HAND: I’m sure they messed around in the head [Arabic] … be quiet or I’ll kill you with this knife … to an eight-year-old child as she was then. Barbarians.
And so Emily’s code words are maybe a little more understandable. So too her continual fear, her memories of seeing people she knew, neighbors, lying dead, as she was taken away to Gaza, thinking her father was either kidnapped, too, or killed.
HAND: She always wants to know that the door is locked, that the shutters are down. She wants to be secure, feel secure in the house.
Emily wants to be secure, feel secure. That’s interesting. She probably is secure now, and what she wants is to feel secure, because I doubt she does.
Couple of observations: Emily speaks in code about the experience. It’s literally unspeakable, so she has to come up with other words.
Her father ascertained that Emily was threatened with death if she didn’t keep quiet. Holds up a potential murder weapon and threatens an 8-year-old. Dad’s comment is one word, “barbarians.”
Can you address the core issue here of the adult world breaking into the world of children—and I think of the Palestinian kids who have had this war foisted upon them by Hamas. Children receiving instruction in Jew-hatred in schools. Some of it if not all of it courtesy of the UN refugee relief agency.
Again, bringing adult conflicts into the lives of children.
What does that do to human beings culturally?
STONESTREET: You know, I think it’s an interesting question, given the story to, you know, to ask the question this way. In other words, we all kind of internally recoil whenever we hear a story that involves the targeting of children. And that tells us something, doesn’t it? I mean, it tells us about, I think the natural way we think about children. And these are things that you can find traces of in history, not that there hasn’t been, you know, the dehumanization and the mistreatment of children throughout times past, particularly before Christian civilization because there were, but even then there was a sense that at least the little ones should be protected.
And it points to something about how we are made and who we are and how we think about what it means to be human. And maybe it's because children don’t make the choice to come into the world, they’re here, not on their own, and they are absolutely you know, dependent. And we can harm them in so many ways. Here, in a sense, this little girl comes back physically unharmed, but mentally harmed deeply.
I think about a document that was produced by a set of organizations. And I was proud to be a part of the signees last year, called The Promise to America’s Children, looking at a completely different set of issues, but also recognizing the same reality that children have the right to be protected in their hearts and minds. In other words, how they think and how they imagine the world. That certainly includes the right to not be abused physically or sexually, but also not to be subjected to unwarranted and untested and irreversible medical experimentation, like we’re doing in the name of gender ideology.
And then they have the right to their most important relationships, which of course, is the family. So whenever, for example, an educator steps up and goes, “Parents should get out of the way because we know best for the child,” that’s a violation of that right. Because their most important relationship, the one that actually establishes and determines their long-term success, is with the parent. And that's when you hear the story of an Israeli little girl getting taken out of that context, out of that protection into Gaza, she is deeply harmed even if she comes back, physically unscathed.
BROWN: John, I want to talk about another atrocity towards children, specifically girls. As you know, on February 6th, global attention was drawn to what’s known as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation or FGM.
To be clear FGM, a despicable practice. Involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or non-medical reasons.
Huge problem in Africa. So much so that more than two decades ago, African leaders declared FGM a global crisis. Here in this country in the 1990’s, lawmakers outlawed FGM.
Here’s my questions: How can we clearly call out one form of mutilation while applauding another form of mutilation, under another name—namely, so-called transgender surgeries?
STONESTREET: You can if you have devolved into a Romans 1 culture, where you call up, down and down up. That’s really the only explanation. I mean, these things are so identical, and President Obama was crystal clear on female genital mutilation and good for him, he was willing to step up and do it. And yet at the same time, his State Department would advance a different form of harmful practice, aimed at someone’s the sexual aspects of one’s identity, and aimed at children, and would withhold federal aid in the name of that, and President Biden has picked that up after President Trump has not. So, you know, he joins with all these voices, but then his policies have turned around and actually advance the very same mutilation. You know, I challenge someone to actually put these two things on paper, female genital mutilation, and irreversible, whether chemical or surgical interventions to a child’s natural healthy development, and figure out a way to prove that these things are different. It’s impossible. It’s literally the same practice. Only one dates back thousands, thousands of years and one started yesterday.
BROWN: Well, John, I wonder, have you heard about what’s happening to the owners and patrons of a coffee shop in your state? For seven months a group known as the Denver Communists has staged monthly protests outside the Drip Cafe. The Colorado coffee shop is being targeted for its faith based beliefs, namely that homosexuality is wrong and a sin. The owner says he doesn't hate anybody. LGBTQ community members are welcome and served at the shop, yet the protests continue. The property reportedly vandalized and customers harassed. So John, several years after what happened to Barronelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips, what have we learned? Are you hopeful outcomes will be different?
STONESTREET: Well, you know, my understanding of the story is that it's different in one way, is that the owners of this coffee shop haven't been targeted by the state. And that has been the case for both Barronelle Stutzman, for Jack Phillips and for Lorie Smith, although hers was a pre-enforcement challenge, which was quickly followed up with some other things. But then here's what happens in Colorado: state actors, whether we're talking about the Civil Rights Commission, misbehave, and they mistreat people of faith and they show obvious scorn. And then they go to the Supreme Court and they get smacked down. And when they get smacked down, then they come back and double down on it and one of two ways.
So right now the state legislature, other state actors are contemplating similar legislation that would extend the same sort of anti-discrimination statutes and laws to nonprofits like us here in Colorado, so that we would actually be subject to the same sort of government scrutiny that the Supreme Court said the state was improper to level against Jack Phillips. So it's completely upside down.
But then here's the other way that state actors do, they get out of the way, and then that private actors then harass other private citizens. And that's been the ongoing struggle for Jack Phillips, where an attorney, a man who dresses and speaks and acts as if he is a woman, and fashions himself as a civil rights advocate, as an attorney, has gone on now a 10 year campaign of harassing another private citizen. This is not something that should ever be allowed, he should actually have been ordered to cease and desist by all kinds of different state actors. But instead, they have essentially enabled and encouraged this sort of misbehavior. So I can't imagine that there's going to be any state actors…of course, you know, the Denver Communists that what they were called? What a, what a great name, the Denver Communists have every right to protest, this is their right to do it. But the targeting of slander, the vandalism, these things are illegal, these are things that should be stopped. So if you're asking me, given the track record of my state, whether they will hold themselves accountable, to follow the clear instruction of the Supreme Court, or to hold citizens accountable to the law, if they're on this side of these issues. So, no, I don't have a whole lot of faith that anything will be different this time around. But good for the owners of the Drip Cafe for being clear, for being clear on loving customers, being clear on their own convictions. And God bless them.
BROWN: John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thanks so much, John.
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, February 9th, 2024. 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: The horrors and heroism of World War II.
Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks changed television when they teamed up to create Band of Brothers for HBO in 2001. The series gained critical and popular acclaim for both its high production values … and its honest portrayal of friendship and loyalty on the western front. Then they took on the Pacific theater with The Pacific in 2010.
EICHER: Now, Apple TV+ is airing a follow up to those series. It’s called Masters of the Air, and it dramatizes the exploits of the brave airmen of World War II with new episodes through the middle of March. Here’s Arts and Culture editor, Collin Garbarino.
GALE CLEVEN: OK, boys. Here we go.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Americans view the Second World War with a special reverence. We even call the people who fought Nazi Germany to preserve freedom “the Greatest Generation.” Their struggle, quite possibly, will prove the highwatermark of American civilization, so it’s only right that we continue to preserve the memory of their deeds by retelling their stories.
Masters of the Air attempts to do just that. The nine-part series adapts Donald L. Miller’s book of the same name and dramatizes the true story of the United States Army Air Force’s 100th Bombardment Group during World War II.
COLONEL HUGLIN: You are in charge of 35 planes and 350 air crewmen, boys who have yet to experience combat. Their lives depend on order and discipline and your example.
JOHN EGAN: Yes, sir.
The story begins in June of 1943, when 35 B-17 Flying Fortresses, each with 10-man crews, arrive in England. A young navigator named Harry Crosby, played by Anthony Boyle, provides narration. But the series focuses on the friendship of pilots Gale Cleven and John Egan, who go by the nicknames “Buck” and “Bucky.”
DANCING PARTNER: So you’re Bucky, and he’s Buck?
EGAN: Ah, it’s a long story.
Austin Butler plays Buck, a reserved, responsible, settled man who just wants to get back to his beloved Marge. Callum Turner is Bucky. He’s a high-spirited partier who quickly grows numb to the horrors of war. And Masters of the Air depicts many of those horrors in harrowing detail.
CLEVEN: Here we go. Flak incoming. Hold on boys.
Most episodes feature the men of the 100th heading out on bombing raids over hostile territory. Flak from German anti-aircraft guns fill the skies, tearing sheet metal along with flesh and bone. Casualties are high, earning the bomber group the nickname “the Bloody Hundredth.” The series features a dizzying number of characters—including appearances by the Tuskegee Airmen. But we barely get to know them before they’re snatched away.
The camera doesn’t flinch from the gore and that contributes to the TV-MA rating. The men also use some foul language when under extreme duress, and some turn to alcohol and womanizing to try to cope with their trauma. The show contains a couple of bedroom scenes, but in this series—unlike HBO’s Band of Brothers—Apple obscures any nudity with sheets and lighting effects.
Despite some objectionable material, Masters of the Air possesses moral clarity about America’s role in the war and the evils of Nazism. There’s no hint of irony or cynicism in this show that highlights the heroism of the Greatest Generation.
SANDRA WESTGATE: Your friend was on that plane for one reason and one reason only. Because Adolf Hitler and his gang of thugs decided they should rule the world. That’s it. That’s the only reason anybody dies in this war.
Masters of the Air actually gave me a new appreciation for the work my grandfather did with the 444th Bomb Group in World War II. The Army Air Force wouldn’t let him fly because he was colorblind, so he worked as a plane mechanic. I had always imagined he merely gave engines a tune up, but after seeing these flak shredded bombers return to base, I now realize he basically had to reconstruct these planes from the ground up. Ten souls depended on his ability to rebuild engines and patch sheet metal.
HARRY CROSBY: The B-17 had 12 machine guns, protecting us from every side. We called it the Flying Fortress.
The B-17 might have been state of the art in 1943, but this supposed Flying Fortress was little more than a tin-can death trap. The engines were prone to mechanical failure, and the crew often worked in temperatures as low as negative 50 degrees. Not only did the thin fuselage offer little protection from the elements, it provided even less protection from anti-aircraft guns and enemy fighters. The planes didn’t have electronic navigation systems. A human navigator sat in the nose of the plane with a map, a pencil, and a watch, plotting a course to the target and hopefully home again. It seems miraculous that any of these men survived.
EGAN: We’re going to get through this. Come on. Don’t you stop believing that.
CLEVEN: Sure, Bucky.
We owe it to them to keep the memory of their bravery and self-sacrifice alive.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, February 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next: the call of the sea.
Working as a fisherman is difficult. A lot of hard work, little income and a lot of sacrifice. But once you have experienced life on a fishing boat, it is hard to go back to anything else.
BROWN: WORLD Associate Correspondent Chiara Lamberti brings us this audio post card from an Italian fishing village.
MUSIC: [SOLE MIO]
CHIARA LAMBERTI, CORRESPONDENT: Monte di Procida is a small village in the province of Naples, built on a hill that falls sheer to the sea.
Its few inhabitants breathe in the saltiness of the air every day. Every evening, watching the sun dip into the sea, they know what the weather will be like the next day.
It’s a very quiet village and its streets are almost always empty—unless you go down to the small port.
SOUND: [Activity at the port]
At 7 a.m. boats are returning to the small harbor. They’ve been out since 3 this morning, fishing and gathering what the sea has to offer.
The boats are all different colors. The locals can tell which fisherman is coming by the color of the boat.
On the backs of the boats, as they dock, you can catch a glimpse of buckets of fish. Their scales glisten in the first light of day.
From the pier, you can hear customers shouting to ask which are the best fish caught. When the fishermen land, it is the customers crowded on the pier who help them with ropes. Everyone here knows each other and has experience with the sea.
For generations, the men of the village have handed down information to each other to learn how to recognize winds, currents, fish spawning seasons, and the most effective fishing techniques.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Italian]
For the oldest fishermen, the depths of the Gulf of Monte di Procida hold no secrets for them. These waters are full of octopus, cuttlefish, squid, gilthead, mackerel, small tuna, redfish, amberjack, fluke—all these make up the basis of the local cuisine.
But while the sea calls to everyone born here, not everyone can stay. After World War Two, some families were so poor that they did not have enough money to buy a boat and nets. So they sought their fortunes further away.
ILLIANO: I come from a family of fishermen. Back in 1976 we decided to emigrate in the U.S. in order to make a little money to buy a big fishing boat.
Alfonso Illiano left Monte di Procida and went to the United States for what he thought would be only a few years.
ILLIANO: But after being there for so many years, we realized it wasn’t the case. It was worthwhile to stay in the States instead of coming back here to do fishing.
Illiano is not the only one. Everyone in Monte di Procida has at least one relative on the East Coast of the U.S.
Giuliano Carrannante lived for 40 years in New Jersey. Carrannante always planned to return to become a fisherman, but along the way, life happened.
CARRANNANTE: I got a beautiful family overseas. Wife, three kids, six grandkids.
Carrannante is grateful, but as soon as he retired and got his pension, he and his wife started coming back to Monte di Procida.
CARRANNANTE: I’m here every year, four or five months of the year. And I love it.
He spends his days down at the port with the fishermen.
CARRANNANTE: We throw the net out at night, and in the morning we go and pick it up. See the wheels there? That brings it in.
After decades in the restaurant business, Alfonso Illiano also recently retired. Like Carrannante, he is using the time he has now to return to his village and live a more traditional way of life. He wakes up early and comes down to the port to spend time surrounded by the fishermen.
ILLIANO: That’s what I want, that’s what I’m looking for, no more than that. I don’t want anything more. I don’t need anything more. Go back to the roots.
SOUND: [Activity at the port]
Down at the port, customers have bought their fish. The fishermen stay to clean and mend the nets where they broke. Then they’ll go home to get some well-deserved rest—until 3 a.m. tomorrow, when they’ll go out onto the sea again.
MUSIC: [SOLE MIO]
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Chiara Lamberti in Monte di Procida, Italy.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, now it’s time to thank the team who helped to put the program together this week.
Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Addie Offereins, Lillian Hamman, Emily Whitten, Brad Littlejohn, Carolina Lumetta, Onize Ohikere, Jill Nelson, Janie B. Cheaney, Travis Kircher, Lauren Dunn, Cal Thomas, John Stonestreet, and Collin Garbarino.
And a new voice on the program this week…associate correspondent Chiara Lamberti [Kara Lahm-BEAR-tea].
Special thanks to our breaking news team…Lynde Langdon, Steve Kloosterman, Kent Covington, Travis Kircher, Lauren Canterberry, Christina Grube, and Josh Schumacher.
Thanks also to our breaking news interns…Tobin Jacobson, Johanna Huebscher, and Alex Carmenaty.
And the guys who stay up late to get the program to you early: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Our producer is Harrison Watters.
Our Senior producer is Kristen Flavin and Paul Butler is Executive producer.
Additional production assistance from Benj Eicher, Mary Muncy, Emily Whitten, and Bekah McCallum.
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, “Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” —Exodus 24:17, 18
Worship with brothers and sisters in Christ in Church this weekend, and Lord willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
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