The World and Everything in It: June 8, 2023
Pro-life lawmakers in Oklahoma disagree over how to legislate constitutional protections for the unborn; understaffed prisons grapple with a surge in overdose deaths among inmates; and a retired missionary nurse preserves her stories as memories fade. Plus, Alabama gets an official state cookie, commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news
PREROLL: The World and Everything In It is made possible by listeners like us. My name is Neal Cummings. I live in Schenectady, New York with my wife Karen. We celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. I am a very blessed man by God’s grace and faithfulness and faithful partnership with this lovely lady along with our three adult daughters and five grandchildren. I hope you enjoy today’s program.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Pro-lifers in Oklahoma struggle to keep legal protections for the unborn safe from court interference.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also today: Inmate drug overdoses are on the rise. We’ll tell you why. Plus, how a 100-year-old missionary nurse holds on to her memories.
SCHUITEMAN: It helps my memory. And it just makes the whole picture back. It brings it right, in focus.
And World Commentator Cal Thomas on the hardening bigotry of low expectations.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, June 8th. 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: It’s time for news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Canadian wildfires, U.S. air quality » The air quality in parts of the United States has reached hazardous levels as smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets the Northeast and Midwest.
That forced Major League Baseball had to postpone games in New York and Philadelphia last night.
Meteorologist Zack Taylor:
ZACH TAYLOR: Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of improvement at least to the end of the week, where we’ll probably have some of that poor air quality and pretty hazardous air quality conditions.
Heavy smoke has triggered air quality alerts as far south as South Carolina.
More than 400 fires are currently burning across Canada in what could be the country’s worst wildfire season on record.
Ukraine » In southern Ukraine, authorities rushed to rescue hundreds of people stranded on rooftops Wednesday after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam along the Dnieper River one day earlier.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal:
DENYS SHMYHAL: The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station is a crime against humanity. Russia must face power and unified response.
Moscow claims Ukraine was to blame.
U.S. officials say they cannot yet determine exactly what happened to the dam.
The disaster has left many Ukrainians homeless and without drinking water. Crops are ruined, land mines have been displaced, and the stage is set for long-term electricity shortages.
Pence » Former Vice President Mike Pence opened his bid for the White House on Wednesday in Iowa by blasting President Biden’s policies and firmly denouncing former President Donald Trump.
At a launch event in suburban Des Moines, Pence again said Trump was wrong to demand that he not certify the 2020 election results.
MIKE PENCE: And on that day, President Trump also demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. Now voters will be faced with the same choice. I chose the Constitution, and I always will.
Pence also said his two-time running mate has abandoned conservative principles.
He said, “After leading the most pro-life administration in American history, Donald Trump [is] retreating from the cause of the unborn” … and blaming “election losses in 2022 on overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Burgum » Meantime, another Republican candidate threw his hat in the ring.
DOUG BURGUM: We need a leader who is clearly focused on three things: economy, energy, and national security.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced his campaign in Fargo on Wednesday.
BURGUM: And that is why today, I’m officially announcing that I’m running for the president of the United States of America!
The 66-year-old two-term governor is a husband and father of three.
Burgum joins a field of now nearly a dozen Republican candidates.
U.S., China defense chiefs square off in Singapore » White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby says the U.S. will keep a strong presence in the Indo-Pacific region despite threats from China:
JOHN KIRBY: If the message that they're trying to send is that we're not welcome or or our presence needs to be diminished or they want us to stop flying and sailing and operating in support of international law. Not going to happen.
At a meeting last weekend in Singapore, China’s Defense Secretary … said no country would be allowed to come between China and Taiwan without facing consequences.
A short time later, Chinese naval vessel harassed a U-S destroyer in the Taiwan Strait.
Target » Stock of retail giant Target continues to fall amid a boycott. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER: Target shares dropped nearly 1% on Wednesday. The corporation has now lost about $13 billion dollars in market value.
Customers revolted in response to Target’s “PRIDE” merchandise displays. And the controversy grew with revelations that the company has long partnered with a group that looks to inject LGBT materials in schools … and keep parents in the dark if their children choose to identify as the opposite gender.
Fox News reported this week that Target has also funded a group that calls for sanctions against Israel and for shutting down Mount Rushmore as a symbol of white supremacy.
Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk this week predicted that Target will eventually face a class action lawsuit from investors over political decisions by the company that have worked against its shareholders.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Pro-life lawmakers in Oklahoma hit unexpected roadblocks. Plus, preserving memories from the mission field.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 8th of June, 2023. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you are! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
First up: diverging strategies among pro-lifers in Oklahoma. Last week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that two laws protecting babies from abortion in the state are unconstitutional. The opinion cited a March ruling that blocked enforcement of a third pro-life law.
Abortion businesses are still shut down in the state because a fourth law—from way back in 1910—is still in effect. It protects babies from abortion except to preserve the mother’s life.
REICHARD: Some people think the newer protections could have survived state court review had more pro-lifers rallied around a bill that died in a recent legislative session. But there’s the rub. Can pro-lifers agree on how to use laws to protect the unborn? WORLD’s life beat reporter Leah Savas has the story.
LEAH SAVAS, REPORTER: Oklahoma State Sen. Julie Daniels found out about the state Supreme Court decision the way most people do: by reading the news.
JULIE DANIELS: Honestly, I was very angry. And I was very sick to my stomach about what had happened, knowing that we might have been able to prevent them being bold enough to take this additional step.
A bill she sponsored in the session that ended in May would have clarified the state’s multiple laws protecting unborn babies from abortion. She thinks passing that would have prevented this ruling.
DANIELS: I had warned that this could happen. I certainly did not want it to happen. And I believe that, since this decision was handed down within a week of us leaving the Capitol, that the Supreme Court was watching to see if we would take action. And I believe, and others do, that we left a vacuum.
But some Oklahoma pro-life lawmakers strongly opposed the bill.
DANIELS: The point of disagreement was, of course, the rape and incest reported to law enforcement exception.
Now, some pro-lifers believe it’s wrong to put exceptions in a law protecting the unborn, because it still puts some babies at risk of abortion. But others support these exceptions as a way to get more middle-of-the-road voters on board with pro-life legislation. They consider it key to avoiding pro-life losses down the road.
Right now, Oklahoma law only has exceptions to save the life of the mother, and if it stays that way, Daniels and others fear more voters will listen to pro-abortion groups. Those voters might support a ballot measure adding a right to abortion to the state constitution which would invalidate any existing protections for unborn babies in the state.
In 2022, pro-life groups nationwide lost in six abortion-related ballot measures. Senator Daniels and the group Oklahomans for Life fear another defeat like that in their state.
DANIELS: I have to face the reality—not as I wish it to be but what I think we're facing on the ground in Oklahoma—either an initiative petition question to make abortion part of the Constitution, or a Supreme Court acting as a legislature outside of their authority to do the same or something similar. Again, there are those of us who have thought, as you have, about this issue for decades. The general public has had half a century of being told that this is a right, which it never was.
Despite these concerns, other pro-life lawmakers opposed her bill. Rep. Jim Olsen estimated that adding rape and incest exceptions would legalize the killing of 200 unborn babies a year.
JIM OLSEN: Number one, that is a very speculative guess that this would even help us. Related to that, the left is going to run a State Question at some time, regardless of what we do. And then thirdly, these are human lives we're talking about. And I don't think it is properly within our purview, as legislators to decide, oh, those 200 babies over there, we can just let them die. I don't think we can do that. I don't think we should do that. The whole approach is a very weak and defeatist approach. We're backing up before we even show up for the fight—before there even is a fight.
After last week’s state Supreme Court ruling, he and Sen. Nathan Dahm said they still oppose Daniels’ bill. But they acknowledged the need for some amendments to the existing medical emergency language.
NATHAN DAHM: We would use the exact same phraseology as the 1910 statute, which says preserve the life of the mother. And so we're going to try and use that exact same language, and basically back the court into a corner since they already upheld that language.
But he sees the threat that the state Supreme Court still poses to the future of unborn babies in Oklahoma.
DAHM: All indications are that the Oklahoma Supreme Court did this in an attempt to lay the groundwork so that they can create a right to abortion on demand.
If that happens, Dahm said district attorneys should ignore the state supreme court and enforce the law anyway. And he says the state legislature should impeach those justices for violating their oaths of office.
A state ballot measure also concerns Dahm, but he’s more confident in voters than he is in the State Supreme Court.
DAHM: Depending on how the state question is drafted, if Oklahomans were adequately informed on it, no, I do not believe the majority of Oklahomans would vote for a right to abortion to be added to our Oklahoma constitution.
Meanwhile, Sen. Julie Daniels is calling on other pro-life lawmakers to be realistic.
DANIELS: My greatest concern is that we, we are looking at the world through rose colored glasses. And we can't do that in Oklahoma. I’m now living in a post-Roe world where legislatures need to make decisions—how are you going to protect children and keep abortion out of your constitution? And that then forces me to consider what the general public—voters—would think was reasonable or unreasonable in terms of exceptions. Because once you put an abortion in your constitution, I think it'd be very, very difficult to get people to remove it. My goal is to stop that from happening.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leah Savas.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: drug overdoses in prison.
SOUND: Seven inmates were taken to the hospital for fentanyl exposure.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Sound from K-I-N-G 5 News in Seattle.
Overdose deaths rose more than 600 percent between 2001 and 2018 in prisons and spiked almost 400 percent in local jails.
BROWN: What’s going on here, and what are authorities doing to intervene?
Part of the challenge is that many people who go to prison on drug-related charges lose easy access to drugs but not their addiction to them. WORLD Compassion reporter Addie Offereins explains.
ADDIE OFFEREINS: With prisoners, once they leave jail or prison, oftentimes, they've had no access to their drug of choice while they're incarcerated. Or if they have kind of, you know, undercover. It's been very intermittent. And so they lose a lot of that tolerance. They come out of prison, and they access these super potent drugs like fentanyl, and their body can't handle that it's a shock to their system and they overdose.
REICHARD: Some prisoners are getting fatal doses of drugs earlier in the game, while they are still in prison. Here’s Michael Hallett, a professor of criminal justice at the University of North Florida. He says a surprising number of inmates get drugs from an unlikely source…their prison guards.
MICHAEL HALLETT: You know, the fact is that not only are we having a dramatically hard time recruiting people to work in prisons, but even when we do manage to convince people to become correctional officers in, especially in maximum security prisons, they're so dramatically understaffed that they get coerced by the inmates to bring in drugs and other kinds of contraband not only for side money, but for their personal safety.
BROWN: The nation’s largest maximum security prison is the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Many of the prison staff are women, while the majority of prisoners are men. The number of job applicants for open positions continues to drop…so these prison staff are more vulnerable to coercion by inmates who threaten violence if their requests aren’t met.
But beyond drug abuse and reduced staff, prisons are failing to achieve their core objective when it comes to drug-related crime.
OFFEREINS: Originally, prisons and jails in the United States were meant for rehabilitation. But sadly, like Dr. Michael Hallett mentioned, he believes that American prisons today have become drug dens. And so he really wants to see the federal government get involved in this while at the same time lifting up and prioritizing these faith based programs that do look at an inmate holistically are able to offer redemption and a community.
REICHARD: In Chesterfield, Virginia, staff at a local jail took matters into their own hands. It connected inmates with volunteers from Helping Addicts Recover Progressively…or HARP.
MARLON TURNER: Thank God, I didn't add to the statistic of the mortality rate. But I still was walking dead.
REICHARD: Marlon Turner was once an inmate and an addict. But thanks to his time in HARP, he’s now free from his addiction. He’s also a certified peer recovery specialist with the program.
TURNER: You know, you have to equip someone, you have to add some things to take some things away.
BROWN: As the rate of overdose deaths continues to climb, a mix of federal and local solutions will be required to take and keep drugs away from prison inmates.
OFFEREINS: We can't dismiss incarceration or dismiss criminalizing drugs, totally. But then we have this issue that that place of rehabilitation and that place where someone is supposed to be taken out of their environment, which is jail or prison is so infiltrated with these drugs and is so crippled by its lack of staffing that that becomes a problem in itself.
BROWN: Addie Offereins is WORLD’s Compassion beat reporter. If you’re interested in learning more about this story, we’ve included a link in today’s transcript.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Myrna, you live in Alabama, so you might already know this: Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that establishes the official state cookie—the Yellowhammer. That’s thanks to the students of Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery.
MARY CLAIRE COOKE: It's pecans, oats and peanuts … and it has peanut butter filling in the middle.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Cookies and milk, etc
REICHARD: Yeah! That’s fourth grader Mary Claire Cooke who stirred up the winning recipe.
Senior Russel Powell takes some of the credit too. He was one of the students who sampled the 26 submissions before choosing the one cookie that best represented Alabama.
RUSSEL POWELL: It has three ingredients that really encapsulate the state of Alabama with pecans from Mobile and Baldwin counties.
After signing the bill, Governor Ivey said: “Sweet Home Alabama just officially got a little sweeter!”
BROWN: Mary, you’re in the Show-Me State, so you can find the recipe link in today’s transcript.
REICHARD: I’m on it. It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 8th. Thanks for tuning us in 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: memories.
Last week, our 25th class of World Journalism Institute students wrapped up their reporting projects and submitted stories, including the one you’re about to hear. WJI student Alessandra Gugliotti interviewed a former missionary nurse living in Sioux Center, Iowa.
REICHARD: Having lived 99 years, this woman has many stories to tell! Keeping the details clear can be a challenge. So what does it take to pass those stories on to the next generation? Here’s the story.
SOUND: [KNOCK ON DOOR]
ALESSANDRA GUGLIOTTI, REPORTER: Memories fade.
AUDIO: Hi there! How are you? Come on in.
Good thing for books.
ARLENE SCHUITEMAN: This one was on Sudan. This one was on Iowa and Ethiopia, and then this is Zambia.
This is Arlene Schuiteman. She was a missionary nurse in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Zambia, but she’s not quite sure when that started.
SCHUITEMAN: I can't remem—I can't remember those things at all.
It was around 1955. A lot of time has passed. She’s about to turn 100 years old.
JEFF BARKER: She does get forgetful.
That’s her biographer Jeff Barker. He was wanting to tell a story about women in ministry when he ran into Schuiteman. He noticed something when he interviewed her for the first time.
BARKER: Arlene had a stack of papers next to her. And I said, What's that stack of papers? She said, that's for another time. I said, Well, when can that other time be? I’d like to come back and talk about those.
That stack of papers was her collection of journals. She began journaling on her 19th birthday, and from then on, filled roughly one journal each year.
SCHUITEMAN: It helped me to remember. It helped me when I looked back. If I wanted to remember something, you know, I could look in my journal when it happened and so on.
Almost 10 years after that birthday, she found herself listening to a church sermon on missions.
SCHUITEMAN: The topic was like, Who will go? Who will? Who will I send? And he he emphasized that part of his sermon so powerfully that I felt that it was me that had to go.
Just one week later, she was in the pastor’s office.
SCHUITEMAN: And then he sat down, and he wrote an address. And he says, Here, write that address.
475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY. That connected her with the Foreign Missions Board.
Four years later, she would be on her way to Africa. She’d be serving as a nurse in a region that is now South Sudan.
Her sister Greta helps her recall what that time was like…
GRETA: Well, there was one time that a little boy got grew or group gored by a bull. And the doctor wasn't home and you had to do surgery on the boy.
SCHUITEMAN: I think he was about 10. Nine or 10 maybe?
GRETA: The doctor wasn't around and so they came into the village, and so you just had to do it.
SCHUITEMAN: Yeah and he lived. He got so attached to me that he was always comfortable following me where I was. That was really cute.
Barker started telling stories like these, first through plays. But then Schuiteman asked him to write her biography.
Barker: And I said, Arlene, I’m a playwright, I'm not a biographer. And then she finally said, Well, Jeff, if you don't do it, nobody can do it, because it takes me too long to develop a trust relationship with someone.
So that he could do it, she gave him all her journals. And she meant for him to keep them.
SCHUITEMAN: I felt that maybe they would help somebody somewhere. I didn’t know where to put it if I just put it in my room, and they would just lay there and decay. And so I, I wanted Jeff to take care of them.
But she does miss those journals.
SCHUITEMAN: I do. Because it helps my memory. And it just makes the whole picture back. It brings it right in focus.
But because Barker condensed a lifetime of stories into four books, it’s easier for her to remember.
SCHUITEMAN: So when I read what Jeff wrote after he had talked with me and so many times. And I saw that he had it right. It helped me to just reread that and feel satisfied.
And others can, too.
Barker: There is no possible way that this story could have been told if Arlene had not been disciplined to write nearly every day in her journal. So here's a woman who has sought God with her whole heart.
That starts with hiding God’s word in her heart, which remains a sharp memory.
SCHUITEMAN: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Alessandra Gugliotti in Sioux Center, Iowa.
SCHUITEMAN: He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 8th. 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. On May 23rd, a television host on The View criticized Republican Senator and presidential candidate Tim Scott. After a media firestorm erupted, Scott joined the program earlier this week to give his point of view. Here’s a short clip from that conversation.
TIM SCOTT: My grandfather, born in 1921 in Sally, South Carolina, when he was on a sidewalk a white person was coming, he had to step off and not make eye-contact. That man believed then what some doubt now, in the goodness of America, having faith in God, faith in himself, faith in what the future could hold for his kids would unleash opportunities you cannot imagine. So what I’m suggesting is that yesterday’s exception is today’s rule.
HOSTIN: So America has met its promise?
SCOTT: No, The concept of America is that we are going to become a more perfect union.
BROWN: Inspiring words met with resistance. Here’s World Commentator Cal Thomas.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: When George W. Bush was running for president in 2000, he spoke to the NAACP’s 91st annual convention where he coined the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
By that he meant the attitude held by some that if one is Black, it automatically means they should not be expected to achieve much in life because so many start off in circumstances that are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.
Republican Senator and presidential candidate Tim Scott channeled Bush’s statement when he was a recent guest on The View. Scott decided to go on the ABC show after host Joy Behar claimed Scott “doesn’t get” systemic racism.
Scott indeed “gets” racism. He’s been stopped numerous times while driving simply because he is Black. Guards at the U.S. Senate have delayed Scott from entering the building and asked for identification even while he was wearing his Senate pin.
In his appearance on The View, Scott took issue with claims that he and other successful Black Republicans are “the exception and not the rule.” He called that “a dangerous, offensive, disgusting message to send to our young people today.”
Indeed it is, and it’s also a far more subtle and less observable form of racism. If a Black child is told, overtly or covertly, he or she cannot succeed in life, many will internalize that message. Some will use it as an excuse to engage in crime, including the looting of stores and even shootings as we constantly witness in some of our major cities. Others will simply give up, or drop out of school, dooming far too many to a life of failure and antisocial behavior.
Scott tried to present evidence that despite racism, which he acknowledges exists, there are growing numbers of Black people who are succeeding and ought to be seen not as exceptions, but examples for others to follow. He pointed out, “The fact of the matter is we’ve had an African American president, African American vice president, we’ve had two African Americans to be secretaries of state. In my home city, the police chief is an African American who’s now running for mayor.”
These facts don’t matter to the left because a change in attitude would require a change in policies. Freeing Black children from poorly performing schools would be a meaningful first step, something Scott has long advocated and the left opposes.
This latest dustup reminds me of a visit I made with Rev. Jesse Jackson. While at an all-Black middle school in the mid 1980s, Jackson told the young people not to have babies until they are married, stay off drugs and study hard. Any conservative could have given that speech. I recall urging him to speak less of politics and more about what he told those students. Alas, he did not follow my advice, but his challenge to those students was one more of them need to hear.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet returns for Culture Friday.
And, Collin Garbarino reviews the newest Transformers movie. 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. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Psalmist writes: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127, verses 1 and 2.
Go now in grace and peace.
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