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The World and Everything in It - May 12, 2022


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It - May 12, 2022

Lessons crisis pregnancy centers in Texas have learned since the heartbeat law went into effect; the changes Elon Musk hopes to bring to Twitter; and a man who believes less is more. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Ah, news you can trust. Thanks for that endorsement, Allison family! And if you’ve not given a gift of support yet, now’s the time to join the team. WNG.org/donate!

Well, Good morning!

Pro-life support is already stepping up in Texas.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also Elon Musk, Twitter, and free speech. What’s it all mean?
Plus wretched excess meets minimalism.

And commentator Cal Thomas.

REICHARD: It’s Thursday, May 12th. 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: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: House approves massive aid package for Ukraine » Lawmakers in the House have emphatically approved a fresh $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, $7 billion more than President Biden's initial request.

The measure sailed through the House on a vote of 368 to 57. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday …

PELOSI: This legislation will make an immediate and substantial difference to what is happening in Ukraine.

The bill would fund more weapons for Ukraine’s military, provide economic aid, and assist regional allies.

It would also provide $5 billion to address global food shortages caused by the war's crippling of Ukraine's agricultural industry. President Biden told reporters:

BIDEN: Ukraine has 20 million tons of grain in storage and silos right now that they’re trying to figure out how to get it out of the country to market, which would reduce prices around the world.

Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle have also signaled a willingness to approve a major aide package. But it’s unclear when the chamber will take up the House bill. Republicans say any Senate legislation should be narrowly focused on the war.

Democrats fall short with legislation to enshrine abortion rights into law » Senate Democrats fell short on Wednesday in an effort to enshrine abortion access into federal law.

Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the largely party-line vote.

HARRIS: On this vote, the yeas are 49. The nays are 51. Three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having not voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to.

Democrats would have needed 60 “yes” votes to move ahead.

They have vowed to try again with the conservative majority of the Supreme Court apparently poised to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. That would leave abortion law up to the states.

But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the measure would not simply enshrine Roe v. Wade into law legislatively. It would go much further.

MCCONNELL: Our Democratic colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months until the moment before the baby is born. It is chilling that anybody would write legislation like this in 2022.

McConnell said it would also roll back medical safeguards and waiting periods.

President Biden called on Congress to pass legislation upholding abortion rights.

Biden’s views on the matter have shifted over the years. He once said abortion was not consistent with his Catholic faith. But the White House says the president now supports legalizing abortion all the way to the moment of birth.

US overdose deaths hit record 107,000 last year, CDC says » More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation's overdose epidemic. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The CDC says roughly one American died of a drug overdose every 5 minutes last year. The 2021 death toll marked a 15 percent rise from the previous year. It also set a record.

The White House issued a statement calling the accelerating pace of overdose deaths “unacceptable.”

The Biden administration recently announced its national drug control strategy. It calls for measures like connecting more people to treatment, disrupting drug trafficking and expanding access to overdose-reversing medications.

U.S. overdose deaths have risen most years for more than two decades. The increase began in the 1990s with overdoses involving opioid painkillers, followed by waves of deaths led by other opioids like heroin and—most recently—illicit fentanyl.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Inflation slowed slightly in April » Inflation slowed down a bit in April after seven months of relentless gains, which could be a small sign the price increases are beginning to peak.

The government reported Wednesday that consumer prices jumped 8.3 percent last month from a year ago. That was a slight dip from the 8.5 percent surge in March.

On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.3 percent from March to April, the smallest increase in eight months.

Still, Wednesday’s report contained some cautionary signs that inflation may be becoming more entrenched. Food and energy categories jumped twice as much from March to April as they did the previous month.

Hong Kong police arrest Roman Catholic cardinal » The Chinese government has arrested several people in Hong Kong, including a 90-year-old Catholic cardinal, under its so-called national security law. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has that story.

JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen, singer-actress Denise Ho, lawyer Margaret Ng, and scholar Hui Po-keung.

They face charges over their prior roles as trustees of the 6-12 Humanitarian Relief Fund. The organization gave legal aid to participants of 2019 pro-democracy protests. The group was forced to shut down last year.

Its former trustees will reportedly be charged with colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security.

Zen, a retired archbishop of Hong Kong, has long been a critic of China’s communist government. In 2018, he condemned the Vatican’s provisional agreement that allows Beijing to select bishops and argued it would lead to persecution of underground Christians.

Hui, Ng and Ho were jailed over their connections to pro-democracy protesters and media outlets.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: lessons from Texas for pro-lifers.

Plus, a presidential strategy to beat back inflation.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 12th day of May, 2022.

Thank you for listening to today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up: breaking barriers to motherhood.

If the leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade remains unaltered, 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place that will keep abortion legal. Thirteen states have laws that would ban abortion almost entirely.

REICHARD: Texas is one of those states. And pro-life pregnancy centers there have had practice operating in a post-Roe America since September. That’s when the Texas Heartbeat Bill went into effect. It bans abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy.

WORLD’s Bonnie Pritchett talked to several center directors to find out what they’ve learned.

BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: Jo Markham directs Agape Pregnancy Resource Center, a pro-life pregnancy center in Round Rock, Texas, on the outskirts of Austin. I talked to her less than 48 hours after news of the leaked Supreme Court opinion broke. She started out by explaining why she was late to our interview.

MARKHAM: Because I was on the phone with the Round Rock Police Department. We've asked for extra patrols in our area, because the pregnancy center in downtown Austin, it's not too far from us, Trotter House, was vandalized last night…

A band of self-described anarchists bragged about their work on social media. They called for similar action against other pregnancy centers and posted their addresses.

MARKHAM: So, we we had anticipated this for the last 48 hours. And and so it begins… [8:35 -] So, actually, as soon as I get off this call, I'm driving back into the center. And meeting with the security company, we're getting an entirely different, more sophisticated security system. New deadbolt on our front door…

Updating the center’s security system can be a distraction. But, if the past eight months have taught Markham and her colleagues across Texas anything, it’s how to pivot quickly and direct resources toward the new challenges.

Since September, Texas law prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat develops, usually 6 weeks into the pregnancy. The limit used to be 20 weeks. That has drastically cut the time women have to decide about aborting their baby and the time pro-life counselors have to educate them about their options.

Threesa Saddler directs Raffa, a ministry in Northeast Texas that offers support to families and women with unplanned pregnancies. She says women now feel a looming sense of urgency that can overwhelm them.

SADDLER: I would say the other big thing that we've seen that we've suggested to other centers is being able to serve her quickly. Being, having the staff and the resources and the time schedule available, that if she calls at 4 o'clock on a Thursday, you got her. Yeah, we can get you in. you know, and so Just making sure you have the the ability to serve those needs. That's been the biggest takeaway that we've had to change is our schedules have become very flexible. Let's put it that way…

If Roe is overturned, a Texas law banning abortion, except to save the life of the mother, will go into effect 30 days later.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human services, abortionists in the state performed almost 57,000 abortions in 2019. That number represents a lot of women who could be seeking assistance if abortion becomes illegal. Saddler says pregnancy centers need to be prepared.

SADDLER: Because if she's telling me I'm behind on my rent, there's no way I can have a baby right now. Okay, let me take care of that. So she's never going to be able to be successful if the church doesn't step up and meet those needs. That's the biggest need we see because all we hear when she does come in is barrier, barrier, barrier. Right? I can't have this baby because, fill in the blank. So, if we want to create a world where abortion is unthinkable, how do we remove whatever is in that blank?

Like Raffa, Agape is shifting to provide resources in-house instead of referring women to services in the community. And, if Markham’s experience over the last eight months is any indication, she’s confident donors will meet those needs in a post-Roe America. Since September, donations have exceeded 20-year averages, providing for new staff and a facility remodel.

The clinic directors said even with abortion bans in place, the practice won’t end because of easy access to online abortion pills. Shipping them into Texas is illegal.

SADDLER: But anybody with a cell phone can go on to websites that are overseas pharmacies and purchase the pills…

That’s why pregnancy centers will need to dramatically increase their marketing campaigns.

SADDLER: A large marketing campaign digitally is very difficult, but the abortion clinic is no longer “We have to drive to Dallas to go get our abortion.” If they have a cell phone, they can get an abortion. So, the abortion clinic’s in their hand now, which means for so many times, the only way I have to reach them is to be in that search, or on, you know, a Snapchat ad or, you know, an Instagram ad, and advertising on those platforms where our target audience is, is extremely expensive…

Saddler’s marketing budget has skyrocketed—from $700 to $12,000 a year.

A group of about 20 pregnancy center directors across Texas meet weekly online. Markham said their meetings began during the pandemic but have proven especially helpful since the Heartbeat bill went into effect. She admits they weren’t prepared then.

But they’ve learned since then, and Markham says they’re happy to share with facilities across the nation if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

MARKHAM: I never thought I would live to see it. And then we began to talk about praying, and I could all I could pray was just “Jesus, Jesus, you know, just Jesus. Do it, let it be.” And just so hopeful now that this is going to happen, that it's going to be overturned. That lives will be saved. This has gone on too long. This has gone on too long. And it's time. It is it's time.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: freedom of speech in America’s new town square.

That is the way Elon Musk described Twitter. The world’s richest man said in this digital age, the social media giant is essentially the new de facto town square, where Americans turn to voice their opinions and values.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: For that reason, he said it is critical that freedom of speech is protected on Twitter and that the company has failed to do that.

He feels so strongly about it that he bought Twitter and stated free speech as his motivation.

He’ll pay about $44 billion, and he plans to take the public company private, giving him more freedom to reform the platform.

BROWN: What effect could Musk’s purchase of Twitter have on the flow of information in the United States and around the world?

Joining us now to help answer that question and others is Will Duffield. He is policy analyst with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. He studies government regulation and private rules that govern speech online.

REICHARD: Will, good morning!

DUFFIELD: Thank you for having me. 

REICHARD: Let’s start with what’s wrong with Twitter according to Elon Musk and what he might do to fix it.

DUFFIELD: Well, Musk thinks that Twitter is too censorial, that it moderates content too much. And Twitter has certainly increased its moderation over the past half decade. However, the trouble for Musk and his goals of liberalizing that moderation is that most of the steps Twitter has taken to increase its moderation have been done in order to mollify advertisers and celebrity users. So, if Musk wants to change those rules, roll that back, he's going to have to find some other way of keeping Twitter profitable.

REICHARD: So to be clear, Musk isn’t talking about entirely doing away with the policing of content. The line will still be drawn somewhere, right?

DUFFIELD: Certainly. And even over the past week, he seems to have walked back some of his early, more forceful commitments to free speech on the platform. (pickup at end of this answer)

REICHARD: As Musk tries to turn Twitter into a truly free and open—marketplace of ideasif you will. What problems will Musk run up against here in the United States?

DUFFIELD: Well, legally in the United States, he can render Twitter as open as the First Amendment allows. So he can allow any lawful speech on the platform and because of a statute called Section 230, he—as the platform's operator—can't be held civilly liable for what his users say. In other countries, that story is different and maybe even more different as the European in particular passes new internet regulations.

REICHARD: Examples of trouble in Europe?

DUFFIELD: Well, the Digital Services Act includes new monitoring requirements for platforms. In general, other countries without the First Amendment protections we enjoy in the United States, restrict all sorts of content. And platforms that do business there have to tow that line. For instance, Turkey has a law against insulting Turkishness. So platforms will remove or render content locally unavailable, if it seemed to violate those rules. So as operator or owner of Twitter, Musk will have to decide how to deal with all of these varied rules between countries. And if he wants to keep doing business in all of these places.

REICHARD: Assuming Musk follows through with his pledge to ease the censorship policies at Twitter, do you think this will influence other social media platforms to rethink the way they police user content?

DUFFIELD: Well, I think at first, everyone will look and see how it goes at Twitter. Twitter has always been a little bit more open, freewheeling than other platforms. It's built that way. You can see content from anyone. There's a general algorithmic feed that's not just what your friends have posted. And so the direction that it goes in or what succeeds and works for Twitter might not be what works for every other platform. That diversity is valuable.

REICHARD: For a while now, Republicans have threatened the legal protections that social media companies enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

They argue that if companies like Twitter are going to selectively delete posts or annotate them with warnings, they are curating user content, acting as a publisher rather than a neutral platform. And therefore, they can be held responsible for user content.

Explain that Section 230 protection a bit if you would and what it could mean if that’s ever lifted.

DUFFIELD: Yeah, so first of all, there's no expectation of neutrality in Section 230. It both protects platforms from liability, on one hand, for what their users post, allowing them to set liberal rules. But it also allows them to set whatever rules they want, indemnifying them against suits about their governance. So if you were to see changes to this law, it would really restrict what Musk could do with Twitter one way or another. Now, thankfully, I think, from a sort of political standpoint—especially given the timing of Musk's acquisition—if the Republicans were to make real gains in the midterms this fall, any changes they would want to make to Section 230 might affect what Musk can do with Twitter. And this might take some of the wind out of the sails for reform. It might be better to adopt a wait and see approach for those who have hopes that Musk can liberalize Twitter and take it in a new direction.

REICHARD: We’ve been talking with Will Duffield with Cato Institute. Will, thanks so much!

DUFFIELD: Thank you for having me.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: A single-engine Cessna airplane made a safe emergency landing on Tuesday at a South Florida airport.

There was nothing at all wrong with the plane. It was an emergency landing because a passenger with zero flight experience had to land it!

The passenger and the pilot, both unidentified, were flying over the West Palm Beach area when the pilot experienced a medical emergency.

That’s when the passenger radioed for help.

AUDIO: I have no idea how to fly the airplane.
Roger. What’s your position?
I have no idea.

Air traffic control was able to connect him with someone who walked him through the process of landing the plane.

But aviation experts say it was still impressive that the passenger landed it as smoothly as he did.

They say his ability to stay calm during the emergency helped save his life and the pilot’s.

REICHARD: Calm, cool, and collected!

BROWN: It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 12th. This is WORLD Radio and we’re glad you’ve joined us today.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: minimalism. 

The American family is smaller than ever, yet the average American household has tripled in size over the past 50 years.

The average home contains 300,000 items. In other words, we have a lot of stuff. Today, WORLD reporter Jenny Rough talks with a man whose life changed after he had an insight while cleaning his cluttered garage.

JENNY ROUGH, REPORTER: In 2008, Joshua Becker lived in Vermont and worked as a youth pastor. He had a wife, two young kids. And, that Memorial Day weekend, a big chore on his to-do list.

JOSHUA BECKER: I went out to clean the garage on a Saturday morning, hoping that my son would enjoy the process with me, but he lasted about 30 seconds and headed off in the backyard to play.

Becker untangled hoses. Rinsed off bikes, rakes, sports equipment. And rearranged piles—and piles—of stuff.

BECKER: Hours later, I was still working on the garage. My son was begging me to come play with him.

Becker complained to a neighbor about the time and effort involved.

BECKER: And she's the first one to ever introduce me to the word, minimalism. She said, you know, that's why my daughter's a minimalist. She keeps telling me I don’t need to own all this stuff.

On its surface, minimalism is about owning fewer things. Becker knew he wasn’t supposed to look for happiness in his possessions. But he realized something profound that day.

BECKER: Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my 5-year-old son swinging alone on the swing set in the backyard, where he'd been all morning long, and suddenly realized that all the things I had purchased, all the things that I had accumulated, weren't just not bringing me happiness. They were actually distracting me from happiness. And not just happiness, but joy and meaning, purpose, fulfillment, significance.

Becker not only became a minimalist in his personal life. His passion turned into his profession. Today, he publishes a quarterly magazine, and he’s the author of the books: Things that Matter and The More of Less.

Shejal Carpenter reads Becker’s magazine. She and her husband, Josh, call themselves aspiring minimalists. They prefer living in an orderly space.

SHEJAL CARPENTER: I think we both have always been interested in organizing and not keeping too much stuff and keeping our house uncluttered.

They embraced minimalism further when they moved from Virginia to California. They left almost all their possessions behind. Rented out their furnishings or put them in storage. Then packed only what they needed or really wanted.

SHEJAL: Eight bags of luggage, and just us. And flew over.

JOSH CARPENTER: And whatever fit in the car that we shipped. Exactly. If it fit in the car that we shipped and the bags on the plane, we took it. If not, it didn’t come with us.

A handful of clothes. One set of utensils. A little artwork. Oh, and the Vitamix. Once they settled into a permanent place in California they furnished it simply.

SHEJAL: And then instead of shipping a bunch of stuff, we just got, you know, what we needed. Like towels, you're going to wash 'em every week. So why do we need five sets of towels? Why do we need five sets of sheets? We just, you know, maintain two sets of sheets and two sets of towels.

After two years they could barely remember what they’d left behind. The physical separation from their goods helped them see they didn’t need it—or even miss it.

SHEJAL: Once you are distanced from the stuff, it was overwhelming to see how much stuff we had accumulated. How much stuff was in all the drawers, how many sets of plates we had, how many kitchen random utensils we had, how many books we had.

They gave away a lot of it. Except those books.

JOSH: I have a soft spot for books. I think they bring energy to a space that other things don’t bring. So let’s leave books out of this, babe. [Both laugh.] I’m with Shejal with all the little kitchen trinkets. Like, oh, here’s my cheese knife. Here’s my knife for this. You don’t need all that stuff.

Minimalist Joshua Becker says what to keep, or get rid of, will look different for every person.

BECKER: What a family of six needs looks different than a single guy in his 20s. Someone who lives in the city might need something different than someone who lives out in a rural setting. Someone who is a dentist, or an architect, or a teacher, or a writer, or a pastor are all going to need to own different things.

When it comes to hospitality, the Carpenters prefer to host small groups. So six mugs for coffee is plenty. That won’t work for someone who hosts weddings or large Bible studies at home. Becker says the idea isn’t to be rigid about owning a certain number of possessions. It’s to be intentional about your purpose and preferences. And to bring wisdom to purchases.

Josh Carpenter agrees. He remembers feeling guilty as a child because he had four jackets. His mom helped him understand it’s okay to enjoy clothing. What’s important is to not place value and security in possessions instead of God.

JOSH: Would I give them to someone? And if the answer's no, then I have to work on myself because that's the standard. And if I can’t give it away, then I’m a prisoner to it. ​​

Becker has been on his minimalist journey for over a decade now. And has honed the definition.

BECKER: Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things I most value in life by removing anything that distracts me from it. And so what are my greatest goals in life? From a faith-based view, it would be what is the purpose that God has me here on earth to accomplish? And then, what are the things that I need to own in order to do that well? And what are all the other things that I've either accumulated, or want, are pursuing, that are actually distracting me from accomplishing those things?

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Rough, in my cluttered home office.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 12th. 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. Here now is commentator Cal Thomas.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: In 1974, when inflation topped 11 percent, President Gerald Ford came up with a slogan: “Whip Inflation Now” or W-I-N. WIN buttons were manufactured by the millions and the administration asked people to wear them to demonstrate grassroots solidarity to combat the economic scourge. An Associated Press article later described the campaign as “one of the biggest government public relations blunders ever.”

Today the inflation rate is 8.4 percent, up from 7.9 percent in February and the highest since 1982. The biggest difference, though, is in the price of goods. In 1974 gas prices averaged 53 cents a gallon and a gallon of milk cost $1.34. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the soaring cost of these and other necessities today.

On Tuesday, President Biden visited Ohio to announce his plan to fight inflation. His perspective amounts to blaming your credit card for excessive spending.

The president claimed his administration has reduced the deficit—but not the $30 trillion debt. Several news organizations and the Congressional Budget Office have fact-checked that claim and found it mostly untrue.

Prior to Biden’s speech, the White House issued a “fact sheet.” It typically blamed others and made disingenuous assertions that the president’s policies are working, or would work if Congress approved them, which it won’t. It blamed Republicans for allegedly having no plan to lower energy costs. It conveniently overlooked the fact that they recently did just that when we enjoyed energy independence a little more than two years ago. Gas averaged $2.17 a gallon then.

The White House statement again attempts to pressure us into buying electric cars that are currently too expensive for most Americans. It also engages in economic sleight of hand by claiming some congressional Republicans want to raise taxes on individuals and small business owners when, in fact, the president and congressional Democrats want to raise taxes on “the rich” and “wealthy corporations” because supposedly they are not paying their “fair share.” Sound familiar? It should because this has been the Democrats’ mantra since FDR occupied the White House.

It isn’t that we don’t have experience with what produces a healthy economy: lower taxes, smaller government, loosening federal controls on businesses, and tax incentives that allow people to save more to take care of themselves, especially in retirement. It’s the difference between relying on yourself as a first resource and government as a last resort. Democrats want it the other way around because big government is addictive and enhances their careers and power.

What we saw in the Biden speech and the White House statement is another attempt to fool the public into believing that the failed policies of the past can succeed if the president repeatedly declares his faith in them.

If you still have your WIN button stored away, or can find one in an antique store, pin it on your clothing. It will be a great conversation starter and you can explain what it meant, why it didn’t work, and why the current administration’s updated version also won’t achieve this president’s stated goals.

I’m Cal Thomas.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: On tomorrow’s program: the conversations on women and abortion are all over the place. We’ll talk about it on Culture Friday.

And, road trip entertainment. We’ll tell you about a new version of a classic story that will redeem all those hours in the car.

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.

A reminder: If you listen to this program but haven’t ever supported it financially, would you consider doing that? May is our new-donor drive. It means so much. I hope you’ll join our team in support. WNG.org/donate.

Jesus said: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:28-29 ESV)

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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