The World and Everything in It - July 26, 2021
WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - July 26, 2021
On Legal Docket, the court order requiring Minneapolis to hire more police officers; on the Monday Moneybeat, the latest economic news; and on History Book, significant events from the past. Plus: the Monday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
A judge orders the Minneapolis city council to hire more police. This, after eight people fed up by the violence sued the city.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today, the Monday Moneybeat: a record-breaking week on Wall Street. We’ll tell you what the market’s telling our analyst David Bahnsen.
Plus the WORLD History Book. Today, the 40th anniversary of a fairytale wedding.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, July 26th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Federal government reconsidering mask guidance as COVID-19 surges » The federal government is reconsidering its guidance on mask wearing as COVID-19 cases continue to soar.
That according to President Biden’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He told CNN’s State of the Union that half the country is not yet fully vaccinated.
FAUCI: That’s a problem. Particularly when you have a variant like delta, which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently.
New U.S. daily infections are up fivefold from late June, now around 60,000 new cases a day. That’s a level not seen since April.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled over that span. The good news remains that so far the number of daily deaths from the virus has not significantly increased.
At the moment, the CDC still advises that fully vaccinated people generally don’t need to wear a mask. That guidance could change. And some local governments are already once again requiring face coverings in public.
But Johns Hopkins infectious disease specialist Dr. Amesh Adalja said it will be very difficult to get the public to comply with a return to stricter mask guidance or mandates.
ADALJA: Not many people are going to wear it, and it’s not going to be something that has a major impact because it’s the unvaccinated individuals, people who haven’t gotten vaccinated, unlikely to wear a mask, who are spreading this and it’s going to be in certain areas where mask use isn’t very common to begin with.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the Pfizer vaccine to be 88 percent effective in preventing illness from the delta variant. And it’s even more effective at preventing severe illness or death.
Officials say almost all Americans now hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
DHS cancels 31 miles of border wall in Texas » The Department of Homeland Security has officially cancelled contracts for more than 30 miles of border wall construction in Texas.
When former President Trump left office, about $2 billion of unspent cash was allocated for border wall construction. Much of that money was under contract.
President Biden suspended construction of the border wall when he took office. And his administration has not requested any additional funds for border barriers in the 2022 budget.
But National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said that doesn’t mean taxpayers are off the hook.
JUDD: To avoid litigation, the Biden administration is in fact paying these contracting companies the money they were scheduled to make, but they’re just not doing any work for it.
The Department of Homeland Security stated that work never started on the now-cancelled 31 miles of border wall. It said the federal government had not yet acquired the necessary land to build the barriers.
Fire crews make limited progress against Oregon’s Bootleg fire » Fire crews in southern Oregon have managed to more than halfway surround the Bootleg fire, the largest of nearly 100 wildfires burning in the West.
Well over 2,000 crew members are working to corral the blaze in the heat and wind. The sprawling fire is now spreading more slowly. That’s progress. But it has already taken an enormous toll, and it’s not done yet. Marcus Kauffman is a spokesman for Oregon’s Department of Forestry.
KAUFFMAN: Unfortunately, the fire has destroyed 67 single residences - 67 homes - and 117 minor structures. So those are outbuildings, garages, sheds, clubhouses.
Fire behavior analyst Jim Hanson said “This fire is resistant to stopping at dozer lines.” He said with extreme weather and all the dry tinder fueling the blaze, firefighters are having to constantly reevaluate their control lines and look to their backup plans.
Meantime, flames racing through rugged terrain in Northern California destroyed multiple homes over the weekend. The Dixie fire, which started July 14, has now leveled more than a dozen houses and other structures.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for four northern counties.
More than 85 large wildfires are burning around the country, mostly in Western states.
One victim of South Fla. condo collapse remains missing » One victim of the condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida remains missing.
Officials haven’t named that person, but the family of 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya told CNN that she is the final victim.
The Miami-Dade Police Department took command of the search effort after firefighters on Friday declared an end to their search. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky told reporters…
COMINSKY: What we just encountered these past 30 days, this represents what we are and who we are as a fire service and obviously as a taskforce.
Officials will analyze forensic evidence from the site of the collapse, but they say there are no bodies left to be found.
Search teams identified 97 people who lost their lives when the 12-story Champlain Tower crumbled on June 24th.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Minneapolis gets orders to hire more police.
Plus, the wedding of the century.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday, July 26th, 2021 and you’re listening to The World and Everything in It. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today! I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning. It’s time for Legal Docket.
AUDIO: [Sounds of protesting]
Peaceful protests and violent riots around the country that followed the killing by a police officer of George Floyd in Minneapolis ushered in changes.
In some cities, one of those changes included a “defund the police” movement.
The Minneapolis city council was in the forefront of that. It cut $8 million from the police, and diverted that money elsewhere. The move represented a roughly 5 percent budget cut at a time when crime was spiking.
Now we have sobering numbers to quantify some of the damage. Statistics from the Minneapolis police department compare violent crime of the first six months of last year to the first six months of this year.
REICHARD: Listen to this: 64 percent increase in homicides. 30 percent increase in robberies; 39 percent increase in gunshot wound victims.
That’s no surprise to Cathy Spann. She’s living it. She was in bed and heard what ended up being 19 rounds of gunfire. Two neighbors, shot.
SPANN: Literally at my front door, I could hear the sounds of the bullets and this is something that has been occurring literally, on a weekly, daily basis, all throughout the area in which I live and work in an area in which I love, I love this area. But the violence has just literally gotten out of control.
Plagued by groups taking over public streets and drag racing and doing stunts in the roadways when people are trying to go about their daily routines, walking across the street or buying groceries.
SPANN: And it's just people are traumatized by what is happening in their community, just traumatized. So without having some level of policing, some level of law and order, the neighborhood in which I live and work in a neighborhood in which I love. It is really disheartening to see some of the things that I have never seen before. And I have lived and worked in this community for over 25 years. And I've never seen this type of violence before.
EICHER: The last time crime rates were like this in Minneapolis? In the 1990s, when the town earned the derisive nickname “Murderopolis.”
Young children haven’t been spared the violence. A 6 year old girl sitting in a car, shot in the head. A 9 year old girl jumping on a trampoline, shot dead.
REICHARD: So rather than sit by and watch their city devolve into even more chaos, some citizens took action.
Cathy Spann and seven others sued the city for failing to live up to its own rules.
The city charter sets out a specific mathematical formula for police-force size relative to the population. The citizen lawsuit faulted the city for letting the number of officers drop beneath the minimum legal level.
EICHER: And they won the case.
This month, Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson ordered the city to increase the number of officers. She told the city council not to use outdated census data from 2010 to figure staffing levels for today.
Judge Anderson said city officials must “immediately take any and all necessary action to ensure that they fund a police force.”
REICHARD: I called the attorney who represents the eight citizens, James Dickey.
DICKEY: I think Judge Anderson, one of the keys is that she understood that the city of Minneapolis has to be proactive about making sure that its police force numbers track with the population. Now Minneapolis is a little bit unique compared to many other cities in that it actually has a minimum requirement in this charter. But it's not enough for the city to say in 2020 -2021, which is what it is doing, that well, we get to rely on a 2010 census that puts us 100 officers below, you know, at the minimum that we should be at. And I think Judge Anderson recognized that reality requires the city to be proactive and to spend wisely and make sure they're ready for whatever the census requires of them, you know, based on the language of the city charter.
Easier said than done. Officers have quit, taken medical leaves of absence for PTSD, or early retirement from increasingly thankless jobs. That’s been going on ever since the city council began dismantling the police department, leaving the city 200 officers short from the mandated number.
I contacted the mayor’s office and the city council president for comment. Each politely declined to talk to me.
But city council President Lisa Bender did point out in an email that when she took office in 2014, the police department’s budget was $145 million annually, versus $177 million now. I asked lawyer Dickey about that.
DICKEY: So, you know, yes, there's more money available than there was in 2014. But the number of officers compared to 2014 is significantly down and the population of Minneapolis is significantly up. So to say that the dollars have gone up, and that’s that is not the whole story. Furthermore, as Council President Bender recognized in her deposition, the vast majority of the Minneapolis police budget depends on what the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the police Federation says. So, you know, let's just say somewhere between 80 and 90% of the entire police budget is police salaries and the collective bargaining agreement that the city negotiated, provides that those police salaries increase over time, then of course, the money's going to have to increase. So just the fact that things have risen does not ensure that police are actually on the street and enforcing the laws in Minneapolis.
The council president also sent me the charter language, quote: “The Mayor has complete power over the establishment, maintenance, and command of the police department.” Lawyer Dickey responded, that’s only part of the story.
DICKEY: But the reality is when the city council members who stood up at Powder Horn Park in June of 2020, said that they were going to defund and dismantle the Minneapolis police department, they meant it. Because they've done that by reducing the amount of money available to the mayor to hire more cops.
I also spoke to Erik Kardaal, a lawyer who filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the National Police Association. I asked what stood out to him about the court order.
KARDAAL: Well, I think just the straightforward nature of it, I mean, the judge is, recognizing, well, look, there's a formula, the 17 police officers, employees, per 10,000 residents, and that does a calculation, the respect the number of residents, you know, times 0.0017, and comes up with 700 some police officer/ employees total. And the point is that it was so simple, right? You know, why did that end up on a judge's desk?
While happy with the court order to restore proper police numbers, Kardaal remains cautious about the end game of the city council.
KARDAAL: But they haven't learned anything from this court decision. They are still talking about defunding the police, reducing the police, replacing it with something else without, you know, amending the charter.
Lawyer Dickey for the eight citizens who sued thinks their example is worth paying attention to.
DICKEY: Sure, yeah, I would say that, first of all, this case sends a message that you can stand up against what seems like insurmountable odds and overcome them...look at the city charters that you're dealing with, look at the you know, those are like the constitution for every city. Minneapolis didn't just come up with this idea out of nowhere. If you're in a city where there's a movement to defund the police and there's a crime wave that's going on, take a look at your city charter and make sure that your elected officials are actually following the law and make maintaining a force that is necessary under those constitutions.
City fathers wrote the charter in 1961, and not everyone wants to keep it the way it is. In November, voters will decide how the city will approach policing going forward.
Cathy Spann thinks her fellow citizens want to strike a balance between police reform and public safety.
SPANN: At one point, Mary, I felt like a hostage in my home, a hostage in my community. So when we live in a community like this, there is a level of anxiety. There's a level of fear. But Mary, I am trying to be hopeful. I believe that the lawsuit brings us some level that says if we can have sufficient policing, along with police reform, that we can make a difference and bring back this community and take it back block by block. We have got to make a difference and take a stand and that's really what the lawsuit was about. It really was about taking a stand.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
NICK EICHER, HOST: The contents of a mysterious metal box shut down a major bridge in South Carolina earlier this month.
Authorities near Charleston closed down one of the state’s busiest bridges. This after someone saw suspicious box set up against one of the bridge’s support pillars.
Police inspected pictures of the large, locked metal box with red and green buttons. They then asked transit authorities to shut down traffic—including water traffic on the Cooper River.
A bomb squad then investigated and fortunately, they did not find any explosives in the box - or anything dangerous for that matter.
So what was inside the box? It was, of all things...
A liposuction machine.
REICHARD: The fat-sucking machine?
EICHER: I don’t think those work on concrete and metal.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen joins us now for our regular conversation and commentary on the economy. David, good morning to you.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.
EICHER: Big week on Wall Street—didn’t start that way, but sure ended that way with all the major indexes hitting all-time highs and the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossing the 35,000 mark for the first-time ever. What is the market telling us? What’s the big market story?
BAHNSEN: Well, I think the market story was the huge drop. At one point it was down 950 points on Monday, it had been down 300 points to Friday before. And then it just went up throughout the rest of the week quite significantly, starting with over 500 points of rebound on Tuesday alone.
And this speaks to a really important thing in the economy right now, around this Delta strain, which is that of every single medical expert, every politician, everyone who's chimed in, on the impact of COVID for over a year, nobody has gotten it more right than Mr. Market.
The market has time and time again, said that the systemic risk and the worst-case scenarios that fearmongers have been promoting have never come to fruition and by Mr. Market, of course I mean, the combined activities of millions of people and trillions of dollars, what millions of people are doing with their trillions of dollars, and the signal that that has indicated in market price action has been the single most accurate COVID judge and jury for over a year.
EICHER: Let’s talk about the big rise in applications for jobless benefits last week. That seemed to come out of nowhere, but could it be just a blip in the data? How do you read it?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, there's a really strong possibility it's a blip. But it also was quite surprising. It's just that using rolling averages has been a much better and more accurate way to kind of assess the data. Because there have been what you're calling blips, there's been anomalies, there's been reporting things that kind of have skewed the numbers. And when you use kind of a three-week average, let's say it smooths for some of those potential anomalies.
I don't know anyone who was expecting a 50,000 increase in initial jobless claims. And even people who are determined to say the dumbest things possible about this Delta strain, even they can't possibly believe jobless claims went up this week, because of the real immediate silliness of some of the stuff people have said about Delta. So I am strongly leaning towards the “blip” theory. But that's where a couple more weeks of data will allow us to analyze it more cogently.
EICHER: Before we go, can we talk about infrastructure and the big budget bill in Washington? I know there are lots of moving pieces here, but what’s your sense of where all of that stands?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I am pretty confident that they now, when I say pretty confident I'm in the over 50% camp, that they will get the infrastructure bill as has been agreed to in this bipartisan framework that they will get this to open for debate on Monday.
All things considered, what is probably more important to people right now is what's going to happen to this other multi-trillion dollar spending bill because let's say the bipartisan framework on infrastructure breaks down, I have no doubt they're going to try to cram it into the bigger bill. And if it doesn't break down, then you know, at least we know that there was a ceiling and what they do with the infrastructure bill and that they didn't raise taxes to do it. But what happens to the three-and-a-half-trillion- dollar bill after the fact is more significant.
And honestly, Nick, and I know we have a lot of listeners in the South and on the East Coast. I think that the Virginia gubernatorial race is going to be a really crucial part of the three and a half trillion dollar spending bill. And let me explain what I mean: They have to pass a budget before they can open a budget-reconciliation window. They can't do the $3.5 trillion dollar bill apart from a reconciliation process.
So first, they have to pass a budget, then they have to open the reconciliation window. I think soaking wet, this thing is not going to come up until November. So you're probably going to see a process where a lot of Democrats are waiting to see what the environment or the mood of the country is about more taxes and more spending.
And let's say that the Republican defeats the Democrat insider Terry McAuliffe, in that Virginia Governor race. Well, you could look at it like it's just Virginians voting on their own local race, or you could look at it as kind of a litmus test of the national mood. And let's say the Republican ends up winning that race, it could very well alter the willingness of plenty of moderate Democrats in the House and a few moderate Democrats in the Senate to be willing to vote for a big tax and spending package. By the time we get to the October, November, December framework, when a budget reconciliation window will come to fruition.
EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. He writes at dividendcafe.com. And that’s your Monday Moneybeat. Thanks David, see you next week.
BAHNSEN: Thanks so much Nick. Good to be with you.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: The WORLD History Book. Today, royal wedding bells, a lifesaving breakthrough, and a young sculptress carves out a place in history. Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.
MUSIC: “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning”
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: President Abraham Lincoln was known in his day for his prominent features. He was tall, standing 6 feet, 4 inches. He had a high forehead, and he was the first fully bearded president. Those whiskers adorned chiseled cheekbones.
And the U.S. government determined those distinct features should actually be chiseled in marble. So on July 28, 1866, just over a year after Lincoln’s death, Congress awarded a commission for a full-sized marble statue of Honest Abe. The artist was a young, female sculptor: Lavinia “Vinnie” Ream.
Ream was just 18 years old when she got that commission. She was the youngest person—and first woman—to be hired by the U.S. government as an artist. But it wasn’t her first time to sculpt Lincoln’s likeness. In 1864, the president agreed to the apprentice sculptor’s request to sit for a bust. He met with her for half an hour a day, five months straight.
After Congress selected her to craft a posthumous Lincoln sculpture, Ream faced public scrutiny. During a 2009 event at the Capitol Rotunda, Lincoln historian Harold Holzer reflected on the public reaction to the sculpture after its unveiling.
HOLZER: It was criticized by people who thought Congress had behaved inappropriately to pay so much money for a sculpture by so young and untested an artist...
It still sits at the Capitol Rotunda, though, depicting the president with a steady, downward gaze. He holds the Emancipation Proclamation in his right hand, and he’s wearing the vest, tie, and coat he wore to Ford’s Theater the night of his death.
Ream was just 23 years old at the presentation of the statue. She opened studios in New York and Washington, but withdrew from the art world when she became a wife and mother.
Moving now from art to science.
SOUND: Laboratory equipment
One hundred years have passed since researchers at the University of Toronto proved that the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar. The team of scientists, led by biochemist Frederick Banting, marked that achievement on July 27, 1921.
Prior to that breakthrough, people afflicted with diabetes were on horribly restrictive diets: an egg, a few green beans or brussels sprouts, an olive. Children dropped weight rapidly, succumbing to the disease in weeks or months.
Shortly before Banting honed his method, scientists began suspecting that a hormone in the pancreas regulated blood sugar. They even called it insulin. But they couldn’t extract the substance; it broke down too quickly. With the support of the University of Toronto, Banting and another student, Charles Best, devised a way to destroy the cells that broke down the insulin, leaving the insulin intact for extraction.
A 1958 Candian short film, The Quest, highlights Banting’s journey. Here’s a clip of a meeting between the researcher and his mentor, Professor J.J.R. McCleod, where Banting explains his plan.
THE QUEST: I extract the hormone from the dried up pancreas, from the islet cells, and I give it to a diabetic dog. That dog’s blood sugar is reduced, there’s your proof. The antidiabetic principle isolated, put to work!
Besides dogs, Banting and company experimented on fetal calves. Ultimately, pork and beef remained the primary commercial sources of insulin until the late 1970s, when researchers created synthetic insulin. For their efforts, Banting and Best received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.
And we’ll end today’s installment with wedding bells.
ANNOUNCER: And so, out into sunshine and bells and wild delight as a palpable wave of affection and pride wells out from the crowd (bells)...
It’s been 40 years since Charles, Prince of Wales, married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981.
The United Kingdom made the much-anticipated wedding day a national holiday. Charles, of course, was heir apparent to the British throne, while Diana came from a noble family but worked as a nursery teacher’s assistant. The idea of the prince marrying an “everyday girl” captured the public’s hearts—and eyes. A worldwide television audience of over 700 million watched the ceremony.
ANNOUNCER: As bewitching and romantic a bride as ever touched the heart of the world...
SONG: “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke
But, as with most wedding days, there were a few hiccups. Diana spilled perfume on her dress and covered the spot with her hand during the ceremony. She also mixed up the order of Charles’ names during her vows:
CEREMONY: … Take thee, Charles Philip Arthur George/ Take thee, Philip Charles Arthur George…
In fairness, that’s a lot to remember. Charles, meanwhile, said he would offer his bride “thy worldly goods” instead of “my worldly goods.” And the couple bucked the tradition of the bride promising to “obey” her husband.
The wedding cost about $48 million—up to $110 million, adjusted for inflation. As proof positive that an expensive wedding doesn’t necessarily equal a happy marriage, the union didn’t last.
SONG: CANDLE IN THE WIND BY ELTON JOHN
Sadly, after separating in 1992, Charles and Diana finalized their divorce in 1996—a year before Diana’s death in a car accident.
That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Law and order. We talked about policing in Minneapolis today, but it’s not the only city rethinking its approach to law enforcement. Tomorrow, we’ll tell you how others are handling the problem.
And, model trains. We’ll introduce you to someone who makes the model scenery that they roll through.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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