The World and Everything in It: June 15, 2023
Nursing homes are still short on nurses following the pandemic; Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens following floods and gang violence; and the PCA celebrates 50 years as a denomination. Plus, commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news
PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. I’m Ruthie Stoltzfus, and I live in Elnora, Indiana with my husband Julian, my two sons Corin and Bennett. I most often listen to the program when my boys finish up their breakfast while I start cleaning up the kitchen. I hope you enjoy today’s program.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Nursing homes are running low on a key resource: nurses.
JENNIFER MALONE SEIXAS: When I tell you, there is no one to hire, there is no one to hire.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also, recent flooding in Haiti adds to a mounting humanitarian crisis. What are Christians doing to help? Plus, celebrating the 50th birthday of the Presbyterian Church of America.
WILLIAMSON: The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ belongs to those who by the grace of God are faithful to the scripture.
And World Commentator Cal Thomas says the firing of CNN’s president highlights the problem of media bias.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, June 15th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Fed rates » The Federal Reserve kept its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday after 10 straight hikes. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell:
JEROME POWELL: The committee thought, overall, that it was appropriate to moderate the pace, if only slightly.
The pace of rate hikes, that is.
Inflation was down last month from April, but at 4%, it was still twice as high as the Fed would like to see. And the Fed pays closer attention to core inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy sectors and core inflation actually rose four-tenths of a percent last month. And with that in mind:
POWELL: Nearly all committee participants view it as likely that some further rate increases will be appropriate this year to bring inflation down to 2% over time.
Each rate hike increases the odds of a recession. But the Fed says getting costs under control is critical for a healthy economy.
Garland defends special counsel » Attorney General Merrick Garland has broken his silence on Donald Trump’s indictment without actually talking about the case itself. Garland defended both the special counsel, Jack Smith, who pursued charges against Trump, and his decision to appoint him.
MERRICK GARLAND: Mr. Smith is a veteran career prosecutor. He has assembled a group of experienced and talented prosecutors and agents who share his commitment to integrity and the rule of law.
Former Vice President Mike Pence this week called on Garland to—quote—“stop hiding behind the special counsel” and explain the indictment to the American people.
Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to nearly 40 felony charges related to storing classified documents.
Europe AI » Lawmakers in Europe made history on Wednesday signing off on the world’s first regulations on artificial intelligence. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has more.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN: The European Parliament vote is one of the last steps before the rules become law, which could act as a model for other places working on similar regulations.
A yearslong effort by Brussels to draw up guardrails for AI has taken on more urgency with rapid, recent advances in chatbots like ChatGPT.
The measure will govern any product or service that uses an artificial intelligence system. The act will classify AI systems according to four levels of risk, from minimal to unacceptable.
Riskier applications, such as hiring workers or targeting tech to children, will face tougher requirements.
It will be up to the EU’s 27 member states to enforce the rules.
For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Ukraine/Russia » Russia has stepped up airstrikes on Ukraine amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
Moscow’s forces fired cruise missiles at the southern city of Odesa and shelled the eastern Donetsk region on Wednesday, killing at least six people.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg:
JENS STOLTENBERG: The Ukrainians are making gains, and they have proven extremely professional in the way to conduct this offensive, and also in handling the equipment they have received from the NATO allies.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said the counteroffensive is pressing slowly ahead.
Western analysts say the effort to dislodge entrenched, powerfully armed and large numbers of Russian troops could take years.
SBC Vote » The Southern Baptist Convention voted overwhelmingly yesterday to uphold a decision to split with two churches that appointed women as pastors.
Earlier this year, the SBC Executive Committee broke fellowship with Saddleback Church in California and Fern Creek Baptist in Kentucky.
Pastor Rick Warren founded Saddleback.
RICK WARREN: I am asking you to act like a Southern Baptist who have historically agreed to disagree on dozens of doctrines in order to share a common mission.
The convention’s statement of faith limits the office of pastor to men, citing instructions from the Bible.
About 90 percent of the delegates at the meeting voted that the churches are not, quote, “in friendly cooperation” with the SBC.
UK Doctor strike » Thousands of junior doctors are on strike in the U.K. today, calling for 35 percent pay raise.
The physicians walked out yesterday and won’t return to work until Saturday morning.
It is their third strike this year.
Junior doctors are clinicians with up to eight years hospital experience. They make up about 40 percent of England’s medical workforce.
Hundreds of thousands of medical appointments have been canceled due to previous walkouts.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Helping nursing home residents get the care they need. Plus, the birth of a denomination committed to reformed theology.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday the 15th of June, 2023. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: losing the nurse in “nursing home.”
REICHARD: During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses bore the brunt of caring for millions of patients. Over time, the strain burned out many of those frontline workers, who then left the profession in droves, leaving the U.S. with a severe nursing shortage. Back in April, the organization that certifies nurses made a startling announcement. Here’s audio from Good Morning America.
LARA SPENCER: According to a new survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 100,000 nurses quit the profession during the pandemic. And then 600,000 more nurses with at least a decade of experience plan to quit or retire in the next five years.
BROWN: Hospitals and doctor’s offices are recovering from the shortage, but nursing homes have not. They took the biggest hit – between 2020 and 2022, these facilities lost 15 percent - one-five- of their nursing staff, that’s over 200,000 people no longer caring for residents. And that’s bad news for families who either have a loved one in a nursing home or are planning to place someone there. Fewer nurses mean residents get less direct contact at a life stage when human connection is so important. In May, the U.S. Surgeon General warned that an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation is overwhelming the U.S., especially the segment of the population over age 65.
REICHARD: So what, if anything, can lawmakers do to help nursing homes give residents the care they need? WORLD Reporter Juliana Chan Erikson explains how legislators in Connecticut have tried to alleviate the problem.
JULIANA CHAN ERICKSON: The families went to these legislators in Connecticut saying that my mother and father are not being cared for in the nursing home. And the legislators read that to say, well, they just need nurses to spend more time with each resident. And so they came up with legislation that said, while the state requirement is that a nurse should spend three hours with each resident per day, let's increase that to 4.1 hours. And according to Medicare standards, that is the minimum 4.1 hours to be able to provide adequate care and make sure that grandma and grandpa have the time to get to the bathroom and have someone to talk to give them medication. Give them an appropriate meal 4.1 hours is adequate to give them that kind of service.
Sounds simple enough. Nursing homes short on nurses hire more nurses. Those nurses spend more time with residents. But at least one Connecticut nursing home administrator says that solution overlooks a serious problem, there aren’t enough nurses to fill those hours.
JENNIFER MALON-SEIXAS: From my perspective having run facilities that we’ve had this level of staffing, I know very, very intimately how challenging it’s been because the people don’t exist. Okay, they don't exist, and the people that do exist that stayed in the field in nursing are very, very costly.
BROWN: Jennifer Malone-Seixas, is the chief operating officer for two nursing homes privately owned and operated by her family in Danbury, Connecticut. The homes have weathered many storms since they were founded in 1947, but the strain of fighting pandemic infections has taken a significant toll.
MALONE-SEIXAS: And for some reason looking in retrospect the period of time that we're we've been in now for 2023 was harder because people are tired, they're burnt out, there are so many people who have left the field. You see everybody, everybody aged in place, including the staff. And the aging has, has accelerated because of the stress and the singular focus on that community.
Many staff nurses decided to try new careers or retire early. And once they left, they never came back.
MALONE-SEIXAS: There was one day in particular, I'll never forget it because I probably still have some trauma from it. It was April 12th, 2020, and it was a Sunday and eight people. Eight people decided to leave because of the pandemic. I remember that, I remember where I was, where I was sitting, I remember I started crying. And I remember it because it's, it was like so devastating.
ERIKSON: What do you, what do you do after you lose that many people on the, on the same day you still need to provide the hours. The resident’s aren’t going to check out.
MALONE-SEIXAS: You're just working, working, working, working, working, asking people to pick up, asking people to work an extra shift.
REICHARD: The optimal ratio of certified nursing assistants to residents in Connecticut is 8 to 10 residents per nurse. Malone-Seixas says if the state increases the time required between nurses and residents, every facility will struggle to find enough nurses to fill those hours.
MALONE-SEIXAS: When I tell you, there is no one to hire, there is no one to hire. Our wages over the past three years have gone up at least 22 to 25 percent on the base rate of what people are making. And then you have to incentivize people to work on top of that, because you don't have enough workers in the field. So a bill like this is nothing less than a punishment.
BROWN: Malone-Seixas and other nursing home administrators told Connecticut legislators they opposed the bill. Not because they didn’t want to give more nursing care to their residents, but because they simply couldn’t. Ultimately, lawmakers tabled the bill after failing to get enough votes to pass it.
REICHARD: But Connecticut lawmakers haven’t given up on fixing the problems faced by nursing home residents. At the end of May, they unanimously passed a bill that would require nursing homes to be more open about their finances. It would also add protections for residents who are discharged from nursing facilities. There’s more lawmakers can do to help residents and nurses, but getting more clarity on the problem is a good place to start.
BROWN: Juliana Chan Erikson is WORLD’s marriage and family beat reporter. If you’d like to learn more about this story, we’ve included a link in today’s transcript.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
This week, leaders of Caribbean nations gathered in Jamaica for a meeting with one agenda item: helping the struggling nation of Haiti.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: The prime minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, urged the group to look for practical solutions to the complex problems.
PHILIP DAVIS: It is important that we recognize that what we are striving for may in the end may not be perfect but will likely be something that in the immediate term is effective, something that saved lives, something that brings an end to the killings, something that brings an end to the rapes.
The prime minister went on to list more problems that plague Haiti, including kidnapping, looting, and gang warfare.
REICHARD: And the list goes on. Last week brought a significant earthquake to the coastal city of Jeremie. Days earlier, heavy rainfalls caused floods and landslides that killed 51 people and destroyed more than 30,000 homes.
BROWN: Here to talk more about the situation in Haiti is David Vanderpool, a doctor with Live Beyond, the U.S.-based charity. He works at a hospital just north of the capital of Port-au-Prince.
REICHARD: Dr. Vanderpool, welcome.
DAVID VANDERPOOL, GUEST: Hey, thank you so much for having me today.
REICHARD: Glad you're here. Well, could you start by telling us a little bit about your work in Haiti? How long have you been involved and what does your organization do?
VANDERPOOL: Well, Live Beyond is an organization, a Christian organization that basically goes into the low income countries, such as Haiti, and provide for physical needs. So I'm a trauma surgeon and so we typically build hospitals, we train local physicians and nurses to a higher standard. We also build schools and churches and that kind of thing. And so we believe that taking care of people's physical needs is, is paramount, especially in these countries, these low-tiered countries. So we've worked in five countries worldwide, Haiti being the one of the worst, for sure
REICHARD: Well, when you speak with Haitians, which of their country’s many, many troubles are heaviest on their minds would you say?
VANDERPOOL: You know, that's a, that would be a hard question to answer. There are so many problems in Haiti that have been unresolved, you know, throughout the years. Haiti has been very high on the list of countries that have needed the most help for for hundreds of years, actually. And so, you know, basically to answer that globally, they want development. And by that, I mean, very little electricity, no running water, no sewage control. Food insecurity is always very high, and so there are many people who are starving. So it's really hard to pin down one of those. But it all falls under the rubric of a lack of development. Typically, people rush in and help Haiti acutely. And that's very important with all the earthquakes and hurricanes and things that they have. But then the development phase, which takes the longest that is actually the hardest thing to do is usually left undone. And so each successive disaster, like the one that we're looking at now, is bad, and it's worse.
REICHARD: How have the recent floods affected the humanitarian situation and your ability to help in Haiti?
VANDERPOOL: You know, it's really difficult. The flooding is primarily west of us, so we're on the east side of the country, our area doesn't flood that badly. But during the rainy season, this happens several times a year. So this, this very scenario, you could keep this copy and replay it next year, because there's going to be another disaster exactly like this. And it's very difficult because logistically, you can't drive from point A to point B, because the roads are washed out, the bridges are washed out. Now, with all the gang control of the country, it's too violent to actually distribute food or medical supplies, or whatever is needed in the parts of the country that are hit hardest. And so it's become much, much more difficult now than it ever was at the 2010 earthquake, just because of all the political instability and the violence that we face on on a daily basis.
REICHARD: I want to talk big picture now, Doctor. Your organization does mission work around the globe. So I'm wondering what similarities or differences do you see between Haiti's ongoing problems and the other places that you serve?
VANDERPOOL: Well, you know, that's a great question and one indicator of how a country is doing is maternal mortality. And so the women who die in birth or from birth complications, and so this indicates the infrastructure of the country, how they're taking care of vulnerable populations. And so most countries in the world, you look at all the very low tier countries in the world, most countries are improving their maternal mortality rate, which means that they're doing a good job in their countries, just a real basic indicator. Unfortunately, Haiti is, their maternal mortality rate is much worse today than it was in 2010 when we when we got there. And so Haiti is much worse than any other place that we've worked and we've worked in similar countries, they just are on an upward trajectory, whereas Haiti is on a downward trajectory. And that's something that needs to be stopped. This is this, this downward trajectory is harmful, not only for Haitians, obviously that's the biggest thing, but it's harmful for the entire region. And so Haiti, the region around Haiti is being destabilized because of this inability to provide basic services to its people.
REICHARD: You are such a happy guy, even though you see terrible things. What do you attribute that to?
VANDERPOOL: I tell you what, it's tough. We see so many terrible things. But you know that we are Christians. We believe in the Lord. He gives us joy. He is our joy. And so any joy that you see is, is coming from him.
REICHARD: Dr. David Vanderpool of Live Beyond, thank you for joining us. Really appreciate it.
VANDERPOOL: Thank you for having me.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 15th. 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: A golden anniversary.
Fifty years ago, the Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA, split off from the mainline Presbyterian church. Leaders in the movement created the new denomination with the goal that the church would remain faithful to the scriptures and reformed faith.
REICHARD: What was behind the split, and where is the PCA now? WORLD Associate Correspondent Zoe Miller fills us in.
ZOE MILLER, REPORTER: On December 4th, 1973, a small group of Presbyterian churchmen gathered in Birmingham, Alabama, for their first official meeting as a new denomination.
AUDIO: [1973 GA]
They had been concerned with how the Presbyterian Church of the United States—or PCUS—was shifting theologically. Here’s ruling elder Jack Williamson at that first General Assembly in 1973.
JACK WILLIAMSON: But her greatest deviation from her historic witness has been in her attitude toward the scriptures. The true church of the Lord Jesus Christ belongs to those who by the grace of God are faithful to the scripture.
As far back as the 1930s, some members of the PCUS were concerned with the church’s direction. But it wasn’t until 1965 that more Presbyterians started to catch on to the theological error in their churches.
Dr. Nick Willborn is a PCA pastor, seminary professor, and historian.
NICK WILLBORN: The issues that were on the table in the 1950s, and particularly as they matured in the sixties, those issues, everything from what is the Bible? How are we supposed to read the Bible?
The PCUS no longer required belief in the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. Instead, they saw it as a helpful guide to a religious life. The PCA’s founders opposed that view.
WILLBORN: They were very concerned that the seminaries were not teaching the right view of the Bible that was coming out into the churches.
The PCUS also began to identify the church’s work as supporting social movements of the day.
The conservatives felt that they needed to respond. They formed a group called “Concerned Presbyterians.” They issued literature on biblical orthodoxy and gathered to discuss a path back to the faith their church once held. Conservative laymen founded Reformed Theological Seminary as an alternative to the official seminaries. Their goal at the time was to shepherd the PCUS back into a state of Biblical faithfulness.
But in the end, they felt the only option was to separate.
In 1972, the PCUS established the General Executive Board, a body that exercised control over the entire church, down to each individual minister.
WILLBORN: So all of a sudden, this is hierarchy, this bureaucratic hierarchy has just taken control. That's when they realized they didn't have any, a Presbyterian church any longer in which they could function.
WILLIAMSON: We do so with tears, not with drums playing or flags flying. We go in humility at the task God has set before us.
The small group of conservative Presbyterians decided that there was no way forward with their mother church.
WILLIAMSON: Separation is the price for the principle. It has caused division and been heart wrending. It is only with much prayer and sorrow that we concluded that we had to separate.
When the PCA left the PCUS, they were forced to leave much of their money and many of their historic church buildings behind. But the founders decided that a body dedicated to the worship of Christ was worth it.
Though they united around biblical fidelity, the founders of the PCA held diverse views…so they had some initial differences about what the denomination should look like. Early on, issues hinged on whether the PCA would be a Reformed denomination with strict doctrinal and worship standards…or a denomination with more general standards. Those initial disagreements are still reflected even today as the PCA debates issues like women’s roles in corporate worship and human sexuality.
WILLBORN: We've had through our history in the PCA, a number of these areas where we agree at some very basic levels.
But then we've come to realize through the years, and this is what our general assemblies tend to circle around, are those areas where we're like, whoa, whoa, wait, we don't agree on this.
[SOUND FROM 50th GA]
In recent years, the PCA has struggled to clarify an official position on pastors who are gay and celibate. This year’s General Assembly will vote on an amendment that would ban ministers who embrace a gay identity - or other sins.
WILLBORN: We should uphold the purity of the church. And out of that we can have a biblical peace, not just a peace, peace, when there is no peace.
Dr. O Palmer Robertson is one of the PCA’s founding fathers. He was one of the featured speakers at the very first PCA General Assembly in 1973.
ROBERTSON: The primary standard, and if we're ever going to have peace in the PCA, if we're ever going to come in perfect unity, it is on the basis of what does the Bible teach?
This week at its 50th General Assembly, Robertson reminded the PCA about the reasons for its founding: Staying faithful to the word of God.
ROBERTSON: We know of the painful remnants of sin that are within us as individuals and as a body. How can we possibly aspire to present the church, the PCA, to Jesus Christ as a pure virgin? My brothers and sisters, don't forget the power of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
Echoing that idea, fifty years ago, founder Jack Williamson says that all churches are bound to serve Christ.
WILLIAMSON: The Church must not claim our first loyalty - Christ has our first loyalty. And when the Lord Jesus Christ ceases to be Lord over an organization, it can no longer have our loyalty.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Zoe Miller in Memphis, Tennessee.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 15th. 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. Up next: media bias.
Before he worked for WORLD, Cal Thomas spent decades working at mainstream media outlets like NBC, FOX, and USA Today. He says too many media companies claim to be fair or objective while doubling down on their blindspots.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Last Wednesday, CNN fired its Chairman and CEO, Christ Licht. Before that name fades into a Google search, it is important to reflect on what Licht tried to do and why it was equivalent to offering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a corpse.
A lengthy Atlantic magazine interview seemed to be the basis for Licht’s dismissal. In it, Licht told writer Tim Alberta he sees newsrooms obsessing over various kinds of diversity, but not the kind he thinks would help restore public confidence in news reporting: “A Black person, a brown person, and an Asian woman that all graduated from Harvard is not diversity.” After his firing, an insider at CNN told FOX News Digital, “He got cancel- cultured because he wanted to level the ideological playing field.”
On June 9, David Remnick of The New Yorker released a podcast interview of New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. When asked about the state of modern journalism, Sulzberger replied: “Should the role of journalists be to push for a certain cause or party or group or ideology. … Or should the role of journalists be to independently follow the truth and try to arm the public with the facts and the context and the understanding it needs for this giant, diverse democracy to come together and self-govern?”
Monday’s New York Times serves as one of many examples of the opposite of presenting facts and allowing the public to make up their own minds. On the front page of the digital edition nearly every opinion column, including the lead editorial, is anti-Trump or anti-DeSantis. One headline is, “If the Supreme Court abolished Affirmative Action Here’s What Women Need to Do.” Yes, opinion columns are just that, but where is the diversity of opinion? There hasn’t been a consistent conservative at the Times since the late William Safire.
The Times, and much of broadcast and cable reporting on culture – from abortion, to climate, to gender – assumes there is only one view and opposing views are to be ignored or ridiculed. It is the same with the economy. Any politician who wants to cut spending and reduce the size and reach of government is branded as uncaring about the poor and children.
Sulzberger and his colleagues appear to read and watch only those things that reinforce their views. (Many conservatives do the same.) Why won’t this influential publication include conservative columnists in the paper, other than the rare guest columnist? Does Sulzberger read the Washington Times? Does he ever watch Fox News or consult The Heritage Foundation to gauge the thinking of some conservatives and Christians? Has he spoken with pro-life people, including women who have had abortions and regret them? Has he met poor people who want to get their children out of failed public schools, but are kept from doing so by Democratic politicians in New York?
Journalism is in trouble, largely of its own making. The days of fairness seem to have gone with the wind to the detriment of journalism and harm to the country. I think that is the point Chris Licht was attempting to make at CNN, a once credible news organization. That it cost him his job makes my point.
I’m Cal Thomas.
REICHARD: As a follow up to Cal’s commentary, it’s worth noting that at WORLD, we don’t claim to avoid all bias. We do strive for Biblical objectivity–to be clear where God is clear and charitable where He is not. Our executive editor Paul Butler put it this way in a January commentary.
BUTLER: So, we acknowledge that the Bible should direct what we cover, how we cover, and why we cover stories. We do our best to report all aspects of the news. But we do so from a distinctive worldview. We don’t cover the news to chronicle the glory or folly of man. We cover the news because the earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains.
BROWN: Secular outlets can’t reach that high calling. We can’t either, without God’s help. So, would you pray for us in that area? Thank you so much.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: on Culture Friday, John Stonestreet weighs in on Shiny Happy People, the new Amazon docu-series about the Duggar family.
And, two new films from studios that have seen better days will this weekend be the turnaround point?
A reminder that June is one of the two months of the year that we come to you, our listeners, for financial support. If you value this program and want to see it continue and grow, please visit wng.org/donate. It means the world.
That and more tomorrow. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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