The World and Everything in It - March 3, 2022
Retail pharmacies are getting into healthcare; President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee; and a monster truck driver who uses his platform to share his faith. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Basic healthcare delivered by your local drug store is about to become much more common.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: We’ll talk about that.
Also the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court begins this month. We’ll hear what to expect.
Plus a profile of a monster truck driver.
And commentator Cal Thomas on the State of the Union address.
BROWN: It’s Thursday, March 3rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Good morning!
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: More than 800k Ukrainians are now refugees amid invasion » More than 800,000 Ukrainians are now refugees, fleeing their homes amid the Russian invasion. And Ukraine says more than 2,000 civilians have died.
But President Biden said Russia and Vladimir Putin are paying a heavy price.
BIDEN: Putin is now isolated from the world more than ever. When the history of this era is written, Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.
The United Nations General Assembly voted 141-5 to condemn the invasion and demand Russia’s withdrawal. That is a symbolic measure, but the ongoing sanctions from the United States and the West are not.
Still, Moscow is undeterred. Russian forces laid siege to two strategic Ukrainian seaports Wednesday and continued to bombard the city of Kharkiv.
A massive armored convoy appeared stalled outside of the capital of Kyiv. Some military experts say they’re likely regrouping and awaiting orders.
And the Russians have reportedly encircled the large port city of Mariupol.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters:
KIRBY: We knew that they were advancing on Mariupol, a major population center in the south. We do believe that that advance is ongoing. We don’t believe that they are in the city center, and we do have every indication that Mariupol will be defended.
Putin's forces claimed to have taken complete control of the port city of Kherson. It would be the biggest city to fall yet in the invasion. But a senior U.S. defense official disputed that.
A second round of talks aimed at ending the fighting was expected today between Ukraine and Russia. But Moscow has yet to show any real interest in negotiating a peace.
Powell expects a quarter-point Fed rate hike this month » The Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates later this month. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters Wednesday:
POWELL: With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, we expect it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at our meeting later this month.
Powell said he supports a traditional quarter-point rate hike, rather than the larger increase that some of its policymakers have proposed.
Most other Fed officials have in recent weeks supported a similarly modest rise, while a few have said they back a half-point hike. Higher Fed rates typically lead, in turn, to higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, including for homes and auto loans and credit cards.
Powell explained how a rate increase may help to curb inflation.
POWELL: So what will happen then over time is demand will moderate as interest rates get into the economy over time, and these annual price increases in everything where prices are going up will moderate as well.
He did leave the door open to a bigger hike in the event that inflation doesn't noticeably decline this year, as the Fed expects it to.
White House unveils new pandemic response plan » The White House unveiled its updated COVID-19 response plan on Wednesday. Officials say they are outlining a path back to normal routines, while also protecting against possible future variants.
President Biden’s top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said vaccine advances mean vaccine makers could produce a new shot to target any future variant fairly quickly.
FAUCI: These expedited plans and processes will help us reach our goal that updated vaccines can be developed, approved, and manufactured in approximately 100 days.
And a “test to treat” program would allow people to test for COVID at a local pharmacy or other sites and if they test positive, receive Pfizer’s antiviral pills right there on the spot. White House Virus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients:
ZIENTS: Hundreds of one-stop sites will open across the country this month located at local pharmacy clinics, community health centers, long-term care facilities, and veterans health centers.
President Biden on Tuesday announced that Americans can request four more free COVID-19 tests through the administration’s website.
Fires break out in New Zealand protest camps » Thick black smoke billowed across the grounds of New Zealand's Parliament as fires broke out at the site of protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Retreating protesters set fire to tents, mattresses and chairs as authorities in riot gear moved in on the camp, deploying pepper spray.
Video showed protesters setting tents and other objects ablaze and throwing objects at police as they ran into surrounding streets.
Authorities said violent conspiracy theorists had replaced the original demonstrators. Police reportedly made about 60 arrests.
Hundreds of demonstrators arrived in Wellington in February to protest pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates for workers in health, education, and public service sectors.
Leaders said they only chose to camp out in front of Parliament after dialogue options failed. The organized group set up tents, brought in portable toilets, dug out a vegetable garden, and even created a daycare tent.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: retail healthcare.
Plus, an unsurprising State of the Union.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday the 3rd of March, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: docs in the box. Delivering healthcare in a retail setting.
Physicians are in short supply. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in just 12 years, this country will have 42,000 fewer primary care doctors than it needs.
REICHARD: But several major retailers are trying to help fill that void. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher reports.
COMMERCIAL: This is where prescriptive care meets preventative…
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Last year, big-box pharmacy chain CVS announced plans to turn some of its stores into doctor’s offices. The company already operates some health clinics. But its new three-year plan includes putting about 350 more doctors in stores across the country.
COMMERCIAL: This is CVS HealthHub. We aren’t just reimagining our stores. We’re reimagining our roles. Creating healthcare that’s more accessible, more personal, better connected, and more comprehensive.
And CVS is not alone. Walgreens and Walmart have similar strategies for moving into healthcare.
So why are these traditional retailers making such a radical change? Like all successful businesses, they see a need and are moving to fill it. In this case, it’s a shortage of primary care physicians like Dr. Omar Hamada.
HAMADA: Primary care means basically, the first physician that a patient will see when they have a medical problem.
The field of primary care includes pediatricians, family and internal medicine doctors, and OBGYNs.
And Americans’ ability to access that sort of care is diminishing. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates the United States could be short up to 42,000 primary care physicians by the mid 2030s.
Dr. Jeffrey Singer is a physician and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
SINGER: The point is, there's no question anybody who's tried to get appointments lately, including myself, with a physician, particularly a primary care doctor, is oftentimes has to wait a while.
And the need for doctor visits is likely to grow.
The Census Bureau estimates that about 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States. That means a lot more people are going to need extra care, especially from primary care physicians. At the same time, the average physician is 55 years old—or older—and getting close to the end of their careers.
And Dr. Omar Hamada says, the shortage is only going to get worse, for two main reasons.
HAMADA: One, the older docs are retiring, and many of them are now retiring earlier, especially because of what's been happening over these past couple of years with the pandemic.
Hamada says this retirement wave is partially due to physicians just feeling overwhelmed. Part of it is irritation about increasing regulations. And part of it is just a lack of morale.
HAMADA: The other thing is that more and more physicians are avoiding primary care and going into the sub specialties.
That’s mostly because primary care physicians make less money than other doctors. Hamada says primary care physicians often begin their practice in six-figure debt. After all, they’ve gone through four years of college, four years of medical school, and three years of residency. But once they get into the workforce, they’re making five-figure salaries and working 70 to 80 hours a week.
HAMADA: So somebody has to really want to be a primary care physician to go into these days.
But patients still need primary care. Dr. Jeffrey Singer says some outside-the-box solutions could help fill that gap.
SINGER: There's a lot of opportunity to increase the healthcare workforce.
One of those opportunities involves nurse practitioners.
SINGER: Some states, for example, a state in which I practice Arizona, allows nurse practitioners to practice independently of physicians as primary care providers. And the evidence is they do an excellent job providing primary care, but other states require them to work for or under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor.
Another way to get more primary care physicians? Allowing international medical graduates and immigrant doctors to start practicing medicine in the United States. Singer says stringent immigration and licensing requirements limit the opportunities doctors from other countries have to practice medicine here. Loosening those could provide an influx of physicians into the U.S. primary care system.
And then, of course, there’s the new supermarket-like primary care model offered by retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.
NARRATOR: We’re expanding our products and services.
SHOPPER: Huh, they do a lot here…
But not everyone thinks that’s a good solution. Dr. Sterling Ransone is a primary care doctor, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
RANSONE: I think that, you know, the basis of primary care is building a durable relationship with the patient over time. And I think people get better care when they've got a trusted physician that they know and who's known them for years.
Dr. Ransone believes consumers likely aren’t going to get that sort of personalized care at a local pharmacy whose primary focus is turning a profit.
But others aren’t as skeptical. Joe Antos is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He welcomes the creative solutions from the likes of CVS, and the loosened nurse practitioner restrictions in places like Arizona, as well as technological advances like telemedicine visits.
ANTOS: The fact is that the U.S. healthcare system, even though it can be very slow and stodgy to adapt to changing circumstances, the fact is that we have seen major changes exactly because technology has made it possible.
And Antos says this might actually turn out to be better for consumers.
ANTOS: I think the average patient should also become more aware that they stand to not only get as good care, but also lower cost to them more conveniently. More, more patients need to recognize that there's a lot in this for them.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Before I go, I want to tell you a little about something else. And that’s the World Journalism Institute—or WJI, for short. We are currently accepting applications for this summer's class. I attended WJI in 2020—during the first year of the pandemic—so it was over Zoom. Even remotely, I learned more in those two weeks about journalism grounded in facts and Biblical truth than I had in my college classes up to that point.
But that wasn’t even the best part: the real highlight was getting to spend time with the WJI staff. The knowledgeable team of instructors encouraged me in more ways than I even fully realized at the time. They're not just good journalists, they personally live out God's word while practicing their craft. So if you’re interested in studying Christian worldview journalism—or know a young person who is—apply online today. This year's course at Dordt University begins in May. WJI.world. Again, that’s WJI.world.
MRYNA BROWN, HOST: Up next: Who is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson?
The Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday it will begin the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Jackson on March 21.
That keeps the Senate on track for a possible final vote next month. If confirmed, she will replace outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: But who exactly is Judge Jackson and what could we expect from her if she is confirmed to the nation’s highest court?
Joining us now to help answer that question is Brad Jacob. He is an associate dean and professor of law at Regent University School of Law. Professor, good morning!
BRAD JACOB, GUEST: Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
REICHARD: Glad to have you. Well, Ketanji Brown Jackson is 51 years old. She is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. First, tell us the importance of that particular court?
JACOB: Well, in legal circles, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit is often referred to as the second highest court in the land. It's been a veritable pipeline for judges going on to be Supreme Court justices. The DC Circuit tends to get many of the biggest cases with national impact, because they come in through Washington, DC, and they go to that circuit. So these are judges who are used to dealing with important controversial cases.
REICHARD: Of the top candidates that were rumored to be on President Biden’s short list, some Republicans say Judge Jackson might be the most liberal among them. Do her issued opinions back that up, in your view?
JACOB: I think she is a political liberal. From my perspective, more importantly, she is not a textualist. Her focus is not necessarily on what did the words of the Constitution or the statute mean when they were written. She is much more likely to say, what should this statute mean today? What should this constitutional provision mean today? So she's not in any way going to be following the jurisprudence of an Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas or a Sam Alito. As to whether she is more or less liberal than some of the other candidates, it's kind of hard to say. Probably depends on the issue.
REICHARD: Would you say her writing is distinguished in some way, either scholarly or as to the quality of writing?
JACOB: Her writing is known to be very strong. This is a very, very smart lady, very capable. She has by all reports been a good judge at the trial level. Now, again, maybe not the worldview that that your listeners might or at least many of your listeners might be hoping for or that I might be hoping for, but of the universe of people that President Biden would be considering for a Supreme Court slot, she is extremely well qualified, extremely capable academically, she does write clearly, a very articulate woman. There's a lot of very good things about her even though, again, she's not going to be the kind of justice that President Trump would have appointed or George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan for that matter.
REICHARD: Well, there’ll be plenty of vetting is going on I’m sure. Now, I understand that she once served as an advisory school board member at a Christian school in Maryland, that was before she became a judge. That school’s website had a clear belief statement on it that aligns with traditional Christian values, such as marriage being between one man and one woman for life, naming sexual immorality as anything outside traditional, male-female marriage, and the sanctity of life that includes the unborn. Do you think that past will figure into this confirmation hearing at all?
JACOB: It’s possible. She has basically renounced those positions. And it's hard to know how this developed from her. She says that she got onto the board of that Christian school and didn't realize that they held positions in favor of traditional marriage and against abortion. Are those issues where she's changed her position as she becomes more visible, kind of on the political left, and she was maybe comfortable with them once but isn't today? Is it maybe something she never really thought about until she started becoming a candidate for high office? It's hard to say. But I think she's going to repudiate that. And say, I didn't know those things. And I don't support those views, and it probably won't affect the confirmation process.
REICHARD: You mentioned that Judge Jackson is not a textualist. I’m wondering if you could flesh that out a bit? Is she concerned more with Constitutional principles or more in line with equitable ideas of justice?
JACOB: The big division in constitutional scholarship is between those who believe that we should do the very best we can to follow the original textual meaning of the document and if it doesn't work any more, then we should amend it. That's one group, the textualist or the originalists. On the other side, you have the group that are generally referred to as the living constitutionalists. And they will say that they are looking to the principles that underlie the Constitution—things like justice and empowerment and human dignity and equality, some of those kinds of issues. And that if the words of the document no longer accomplish those principles in our current society, then they will walk away from the words and interpret it as does the kind of justice that they think is necessary. Ketanji Brown Jackson, I think, is clearly in the living Constitution camp. She's not going to feel herself bound to follow the original meaning of the Constitution the way, again, Sam Alito or Clarence Thomas, maybe Neil Gorsuch would do on the court.
REICHARD: Brad Jacob is associate dean and professor of law at Regent University School of Law has been our guest. Professor, thanks so much!
JACOB: My pleasure.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Teenagers these days!
Jack Sweeney created software that tracks the location of private jets and posts the data to Twitter in real time!
He started by tracking U.S. billionaire Elon Musk as a hobby. But now those skills are helping the world keep an eye on wealthy Russians with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Sweeney’s Twitter accounts give live updates on the movements of the planes along with maps of their locations.
That’s helpful, because the U.S. imposed sanctions on Putin and his cronies that include a task force to go after “yachts, luxury apartments, and cash.”
If they want to go after their planes too? Go talk to Jack Sweeney.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 3rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: your dream job.
Last year a career website polled 2,000 Americans: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not surprisingly, “professional athlete” grabbed the number one spot for men. For women? Teacher.
The poll found that sixty percent of people end up doing something very different from what they’d dreamed as a young person. Some find that very discouraging.
BROWN: But not everyone does! WORLD correspondent Whitney Williams recently caught up with someone who dreamed of being a professional drag racer —but his current line of work makes him feel more like a crash test dummy. And he gives God all of the glory for it.
AUDIO: [TOP FUEL DRAGSTER]
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, CORRESPONDENT: North Carolina native Bryce Kenny grew up in the fast lane. His late grandfather “Doc” Sipple was a chiropractor with a need for speed who spent several years traveling around the country competing in his Top Fuel dragster—you know, the long, skinny cars with the huge wing on the back? Sipple later went on to own and operate an IHRA drag strip. Kenny often traveled with his grandpa to the races. Found himself addicted to the fans—and the fumes—he worked on the crew in his teen years, lived the life, and loved it …
KENNY: And I said, I'm going to do that, because I wanted to do something that was unique and different. It looked like a fun career. But also the platform was huge.
Kenny remembers the first time he went 300 miles per hour in the Top Fuel. Grandpa was waiting at the end of the strip. He stuck his head down into the cockpit with Kenny, stuck his finger in his grandson’s chest, and with tears of pride in his eyes told him, "I am SO proud of you."
At 21, Kenny fought hard to stay in the driver’s seat, but he had a hard time finding a sponsor. The country was climbing out of a recession and not many companies were wanting to fork over a $3 million sponsorship. Kenny worked seven jobs just to fund the pursuit. After two years in survival mode, his professional drag racing dream stalled out. Kenny told his grandpa to sell the dragster and he wept after his final race.
KENNY: You know, I always like to always go back and say like, I failed at that dream. But I wasn't meant to have a platform in that maybe I will down the road. But God has always shifted my plans …
At that point, Kenny traded in his racing suit for a coat and tie and headed into the corporate world. It seemed like a downward shift, at first. But he started to love his job as an executive recruiter. And either way, Grandpa was proud.
But then Monster Jam called and invited the dragster-turned-business-man out for a test drive. Kenny had never even seen a show.
KENNY: So they said, “Well, we should probably have you go do that first”
What Kenny saw was an entirely new ballgame—wrong sports analogy, but let’s just say this: If you go backflipping through the air in a Top Fuel car, it’s a very bad day for you. At Monster Jam, flipping your truck is just another day at the office.
KENNY: You never forget the first time you see a Monster Jam truck jump in the air …
Kenny felt his heart rev. Maybe this was what God had for him…
KENNY: And so I didn't hear back though, from Monster Jam, and I thought that it was just kind of something, okay, it wasn't right.
So Kenny started settling into a life outside motorsports. He married his high school sweetheart. They had their first child. Life was good. Comfortable.
Four years into that comfortable life, Monster Jam called him back. At first Kenny competed in the shows more as a hobby. But then the company offered him the opportunity to go full-time. He felt torn...
KENNY: I had a mentor a long time ago say hey, you know, don't, never let something good keep you from something great. And, and I struggled with that because all of a sudden, it was an opportunity to do this full time and I was gonna have to leave my corporate job. And I went back and remembered that Godly counsel. And I thought man, if I stayed where I'm at, it's a safer world, it’s a safer way. [But] God never called us to safety.
Kenny felt God calling him to step out in faith.
KENNY: And so that's what I did. And to watch what he's opened up in the last six years, you know, I love it because somebody will come up to me and say, “you're a Christian, aren't you?”
Kenny was outspoken about his faith during his Top Fuel days. He’d even started a ministry. But to have this much reach?
Stadiums filled with 45,000 people or more. Thousands of those fans flocking to Kenny and his truck—The Great Clips Mohawk Warrior—at pre-show pit parties. Childrens’ hospitals inviting the mohawked monster truck driver to bring light into a family’s darkest moment …
KENNY: It's amazing to me the number of opportunities God has given me to share my faith in a way that I couldn't have created on my own.
But even when he’s not sharing his faith—whether he’s attempting a nose wheelie, flying three stories high, or breaking a world record—the dad of three knows God is with him and for him.
KENNY: A handful of years ago, there was this moment I had of sitting up in the truck. And I—truly—I looked up in the stands, there's four empty chairs, and I truly felt God say to me, “We're here, go have fun.”
Back at the pre-show pit party, Kenny speaks of “entertaining angels” as he works to show honor to each and every excited fan lined up to see him. God’s there in that line of fans. Kenny’s sure of it.
KENNY: I think he enjoys being part of the story because he gave us the talents and he opens the doors. And I think he just gets such a kick out of watching us move in faith.
Kenny believes Grandpa’s getting a kick out of it all, too, and he feels that proud finger in his chest after every successful run.
MONSTER JAM ANNOUNCER: “Let’s hear it for Bryce Kenny in Great Clips Mohawk Warrior!”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Whitney Williams in Arlington, Texas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Here’s commentator Cal Thomas on the state of the State of the Union address.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: President Biden’s poll numbers are tanking. Badly. The most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll gave him an approval rating of just 37 percent. He needed to do something spectacular, even radical, with Tuesday’s State of the Union speech to keep those numbers from sinking further. Unfortunately for Biden and his party, he did nothing likely to stem his free fall.
The opening part about Ukraine sounded tacked-on to a speech that had already been written. The words sounded good: freedom over tyranny was one good line. And the threat to go after Russian oligarchs may have appealed to that other war Democrats love to fight—that would be class warfare. But words are not the kind of weapons Ukraine needs right now. Closing U.S. airspace to Russian flights is symbolic. Closing airspace over Ukraine would be substantive. But no one wants a confrontation with a nuclear armed Russia and a Vladimir Putin who appears to some to be increasingly unstable.
President Biden said he had an agreement with allied countries to release 16 million barrels of oil. He claimed that would help drive down gas prices. He said nothing about the oil the United States still buys from Russia, enabling it to underwrite the cost of tyranny against Ukraine.
The rest of the speech was pretty much boilerplate Democrat talking points we’ve heard for years, including the familiar charge that corporations and “the rich” aren’t paying their “fair share in taxes.” Why is it that Democrats never tell us what that means? The Federal government takes in record amounts of revenue. It’s spending that drives debt. The president claimed he will cut the deficit in half. Not the debt, mind you. But that is hard to believe in light of his new spending proposals.
Perhaps the most laughable part of the speech was his promise to “secure the border.” Rather than finish building the wall, he wants to spend more on “technology” and give “citizenship to dreamers.” How does that stem the tsunami of migrants who have been entering the country by the tens of thousands? Rewarding people who broke the law to get here only encourages more to come. It also makes a mockery of immigration and other laws the president took an oath to enforce.
The president also threw in a proposal to spend more on cancer research, “fund the police, not defund the police,” and reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Weren’t we told Obamacare would do that? Why are these problems never solved? Because they are not the business of government. If government could fix these problems, wouldn’t they be fixed by now, given all the rhetoric and spending?
These State of the Union addresses would be much shorter if Members of Congress had to remain seated. I counted 58 standing ovations, most from Democrats. The public might be better served and less bored if presidents adopted the pre-television era policy of sending their thoughts on the state of the union to Congress in writing.
Unfortunately, that’s as likely to happen as politicians balancing the budget.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow on Culture Friday, the bravery of everyday Ukrainians. John Stonestreet joins us to talk about that.
And, Batman returns! We’ll review the latest movie featuring the Caped Crusader.
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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