The World and Everything in It: May 27, 2024 | WORLD
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The World and Everything in It: May 27, 2024


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: May 27, 2024

On Legal Docket, an injunction against Starbucks and malicious prosecution in a stolen jewelry case; on the Monday Moneybeat, the government sues Ticketmaster; and on the WORLD History Book, a tribute to Billy Graham. Plus, the Monday morning news

Starbucks employees and supporters during a union election watch party, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. Associated Press/Photo by Joshua Bessex, File

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. My name is Karen Wynia, and my husband and I are farmers near Sioux Center, Iowa. We were honored to have some of the WORLD journalism students worship recently with us at our church. We hope you enjoy today's program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Today the case of the $45-dollar stolen ring. 

JUSTICE ALITO: This is a crazy little incident. Why didn’t your client just give the police officers the ring?

NICK EICHER, HOST: That and a tangle with Starbucks over a labor union on the Legal Docket.

Also today the Monday Moneybeat: another federal anti-trust prosecution, the economics of that.

Later the WORLD History Book: a coal mine fire shuts down an entire town for good.

AUDIO: Experts say there is enough coal for the fire to burn for 500 years or longer.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, May 27th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas storms » An especially violent tornado season struck again over the weekend. Residents in parts of several states are sifting through piles of splintered lumber and shattered glass where their homes once stood.

Kim Weston lost her home in Texas.

RESIDENT:  It was a godsend we weren’t home. The neighbor across the street had an RV and it landed on our house. Um, the only part that's standing is where we would have been sheltered.

She said she’s grateful to be alive. But the storms killed 15 people across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Cooke County, Texas Sheriff Ray Sappington said Sunday:

SAPPINGTON: We are still in a search and rescue mode. And uh, the damage is really devastating.

He said in some places, there is “just a trail of debris left” in the area bordering Oklahoma.

Border/Venezuelan gang members arrested » Border security remains a hot topic of debate on Capitol Hill. Democratic leaders last week tried to revive a Senate border bill with another vote on the measure, which was already rejected by Republicans months ago. Most GOP lawmakers said the bill was insufficient and could even make the problem worse.

But Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said Sunday:

MURPHY:  For many of us, we are just heartbroken. We're sick over the fact that our Republican colleagues in Congress continue to vote against bipartisan border security.

But Republicans called last week’s vote a political stunt, designed to try and take the heat off of Democrats for the border crisis.

But Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said that effort won’t work.

JOHNSON:  We've experienced since last December over 10, 000 people on average per day under Biden has been over 7, 000 people per day and in this country illegally. That's their open border policy. They want an open border. They caused a problem.

Republicans maintain that President Biden could fix the border crisis immediately by reinstalling the Trump-era policies he rolled back in 2021.

Trump gets mixed reaction from libertarians » It wasn’t quite the type of reception former President Trump is used to at his campaign events. He was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos … when he spoke at the Libertarian Party National Convention over the weekend.

TRUMP:  I am truly honored to be invited here tonight as the first president in American history to address the Libertarian National Convention. Great honor. 

Many in the crowd were already skeptical before he took the stage, saying he doesn't align with their values.

He garnered applause when he offered this commitment:

TRUMP:  I will put a libertarian in my cabinet and also libertarians in senior posts.

But the boos grew louder when he called on attendees to make him the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president.

Trump VP » Meantime, rumors continue to swirl around the identity of Trump’s future running mate.

The New York Times, citing several unnamed sources close to the campaign, say Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has emerged as a top contender in the veepstakes. Those sources reportedly told the Times that Trump values Cotton’s reliability and clear communication on policy.

But another person believed to be on that shortlist, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says only the former president knows which way he’s leaning.

BURGUM:  He's got so many good choices that he could make and only he knows what choice he's going to make and he'll make that choice at the right time. 

Other rumored top contenders include Senators Tim Scott and Marco Rubio, and Gov. Kristi Noem.

Election security prep » And with the election less than six months away top state officials are working to assure voters that they can trust the process. Pennsylvania’s Republican Secretary of State Al Schmidt told NBC’s Meet the Press:

SCHMIDT:  Elections have never been more safe and secure with a voter verifiable paper ballot record of every vote that's cast that is used in not one, but two audits after every election to ensure the tabulated results are accurate.

And Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger added …

RAFFENSPERGER:  We now have photo ID for all forms of voting in Georgia. And we add an additional day of early voting, 17 days. And we're also going to do pre scanning, pre processing [SIC] ballots. I’ll fight every day to make sure we have fair, honest, and accurate elections.

Former President Trump questioned the results of the 2020 election in numerous states, including Pennsylvania and Georgia.

MUSIC: [Chim Chim Cher-ee]

Richard M. Sherman obit » Richard M. Sherman has died at the age of 95. You might not know his name, but you probably know his music.

Richard was one half of the prolific, award-winning Sherman brothers, along with his late brother Robert. The pair penned hundreds of songs together, including songs for “Mary Poppins,” and the “The Jungle Book.” 

MUSIC: [It’s a Small World After All]

as well as the most-played tune on Earth …

MUSIC: [It’s a Small World After All]

Walt Disney Co. announced that Sherman died over the weekend due to age-related illness.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: Starbucks at the Supreme Court on this week’s Legal Docket. Plus, the Monday Moneybeat.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s The World and Everything in It for this 27th day of May, 2024. We’re so glad you’ve joined us on this Memorial Day! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD’s June Giving Drive is right around the corner, but this week I want to direct a message to you if you are a regular listener but haven’t supported WORLD financially yet.

Maybe you’ve thought about it but just haven’t gotten around to it.

You may even remember that the last time we specifically sought to welcome first-time WORLD Movers that some of our longer-time WORLD Movers had offered to double all new gifts. That is, match your one dollar with their one dollar.

That was last year. This year, we’re doing something a little different—

This year, our friends are making possible a triple match, but I have to say in the same sentence that it’s good this week only. If you give a first-time dollar, it’ll be matched with two, and that’ll make your gift three.

So a triple match for new WORLD Movers, but you have to make that decision and act on it this week to take full advantage.

REICHARD: I see why it’s just for the one week, very generous offer! The address to visit

Today, two more oral arguments the Supreme Court heard last month.

The first one has to do with the largest chain of coffee shops in the U.S., Starbucks—and efforts to unionize workers, partners as they’re known.

Granted, the legal question of procedure at issue here you may find a bit dry. Stick with me, though: the facts are anything but.

Flash back to January 2022, a particularly aggressive effort to unionize Starbucks partners in Memphis.

Here’s shift supervisor Kylie Throckmorton on WREG News:

KYLIE THROCKMORTON: If we were unionized we can help fight for the scheduling that we need. We can help make sure that everybody’s getting the hours they need.

EICHER: The partners formed a committee, they met with other stores that had unionized, and then sent a letter to the CEO outlining their intentions.

Then things escalated: higher ups closed the store early after union organizers invited news crews. Workers unlocked the store to allow media inside. Off-duty workers even accessed the safe. Of course none of this was authorized.

REICHARD: Next day, Starbucks interviewed people and reviewed security camera footage. It fired the seven partners who entered the store without authorization.

And media dubbed them the “Memphis Seven.”

More minor infractions did not result in termination—things like not ringing up a free drink.

EICHER: Still, former store manager Amy Holden blasted what she called “union busting.”

AMY HOLDEN: We have a process at Starbucks when it comes to corrective actions in terminating partners. We do not move straight to termination for anything that is not considered egregious, like stealing and harassment and those kinds of things. I feel like this is definitely union busting, and it’s definitely unfair.

Starbucks issued written statements saying the firings are completely justified by the many policy violations the workers admit to. And what’s considered “egregious” could be a matter of opinion.

REICHARD: Enter the National Labor Relations Board. NLRB is a federal agency that referees disputes between employers and employees.

The Workers United Union filed with NLRB charges alleging unfair labor practices and retaliation.

While these administrative proceedings are pending, the Board can ask a court for a preliminary injunction. What that does is preserve the status quo until the merits of the allegations get sorted out.

EICHER: The NLRB won that injunction, and it’s been in effect now for nearly two years. Among other things, it required Starbucks to reinstate the so-called Memphis Seven.

So that’s the background. The question the Supreme Court will answer is this: How hard should it be for the NLRB to get an injunction?

Lawyer for Starbucks Lisa Blatt argued that the lower court used a standard much too lax:

LISA BLATT: Preliminary injunctions are extraordinary and drastic remedies. Here, the Board seeks a coercive injunction backed by contempt sanctions, and the Board seeks the very same injunctive relief that it would get if it won the case.

REICHARD: Blatt pointed to precedent laying out four factors courts use to decide whether to order an injunction:

(1) How likely is this to succeed on the merits? (2) Is irreparable harm going to happen if there’s no injunction? (3) Are the equities balanced? And (4) does the injunction serve the public interest?

BLATT: Such relief is highly inappropriate absent a clear showing under all four factors. The government justifies deference because the Board, not trial courts, ultimately decide the merits at the back end. But Congress directed trial courts, not the Board, to apply factors at the front end.

Only Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson seemed to disagree, seeing employment as different.

JUSTICE JACKSON: But we are in a particular context, and I think the context has to inform how we understand what Congress intended with respect to this provision of the statute providing for this kind of injunction.

BLATT: Well, maybe we should just talk about what we're talking about, and that is: does anything in that statute or anything in common sense say the Board gets to walk in and get a coercive injunction on the notion that they have a non-frivolous legal theory and the district court is barred from finding facts, it's barred from weighing witness credibility, and all that matters is the government has not presented a joke.

EICHER: Blunt as usual for Lisa Blatt. She’s argued 50 cases before the high court, more than any other woman.

The other justices seemed to lean in her direction. Here’s Justice Clarence Thomas in an exchange with Blatt for Starbucks:

JUSTICE THOMAS: Ms. Blatt, the government says that Petitioner's ahistorical, decontextualized approach is inconsistent with the statutory text, the basic premises of equity, and over a century of case law. What's your reaction to that? (Laughter)

BLATT: No. (Laughter) I don't even know where they're getting that. I just think the text on its face, you don't have to get too far, says "just and proper." That obviously harks to traditional equity. And, here, we have the four factors.

Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: You're right, it's the court that has to decide the likelihood of merits.

… while recognizing there’s still analysis to do on the other three factors: harm, balance of equities, and the public interest.

REICHARD: I think this exchange between Chief Justice John Roberts and the lawyer for the Memphis Seven shows why Starbucks is likely to win here:

JUSTICE ROBERTS: Do you agree with your friend on the other side that we can dispose of this in a short opinion? (Laughter)

If they can, it’ll resolve a split among appellate circuits and give employers a sense of certainty that the NLRB is subject to the same standard as any other government litigant.

It’s worth noting that other big companies are also challenging the NLRB: Trader Joe’s, Amazon, and SpaceX, which says the structure of the Board fundamentally violates the Constitution.

EICHER: And our final argument today, that of Chiaverini versus City of Napoleon, Ohio.

Here are the facts. A man came into a jewelry store and sold a ring and diamond earring he claimed to own. He negotiated a price of $45-dollars with store manager Jascha Chiaverini.

But then a phone call came. It was another couple seeking to recover the items. Chiaverini denied anything was wrong and suggested they call the police. He did the same.

REICHARD: But then, trouble ensued. Chiaverini wound up arrested on multiple charges, and spent a few days in jail.

Then he sued for malicious prosecution because he said police didn’t have probable cause on all the charges against him. But the trial court dismissed on grounds that as long as one of the other charges did, that’s enough.

Chiaverini’s lawyer argued that is not the correct rule. His lawyer is Easha Anand:

EASHA ANAND: Plaintiff may make out a malicious prosecution claim by proving that one charge is not supported by probable cause, even if other charges are, provided, of course, that the plaintiff also makes out the other elements of the claim.

Justice Samuel Alito asked the same question I had in mind when I heard about this case:

JUSTICE ALITO: This is a crazy little incident. Why didn’t your client just give the police officers the ring?

ANAND: Well, Your Honor, he asked for the opportunity to consult with counsel because the hold letter was ambiguous, right? It said both hold this as evidence and return it.

ALITO: I know. I mean, there’s crazy behavior on both sides, but look, when the police officers are there and say give the ring to the people, you know, why doesn’t he just give it to them? He paid $45 for this, right? What did he think was going to happen?

EICHER: The lawyer for the city argued the appeals court decision is reasonable. Here’s lawyer Megan Wold:

MEGAN WOLD: Applying the correct Fourth Amendment rule here means setting aside the charge that Petitioner alleges to have lacked probable cause and assessing whether the remaining charges objectively justify his detention.

Wold drove home her point:

WOLD: The court articulates in a paragraph the standard that it's applying for malicious prosecution, and it says that the success of the malicious prosecution claim depends on whether probable cause supported his detention. And so we need to know what the Petitioner's detention was. And, here, it was this few days' detention pursuant to a warrant supported by probable cause on two charges. And that satisfies Fourth Amendment reasonableness. So there can be no Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim.

REICHARD: If Chiavirini prevails, law enforcement will likely see an increase in malicious prosecution claims. Three other circuits follow the rule he wants; the circuits are split on this matter, so clarity is needed.

And that’s this week’s Legal Docket!

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The WORLD and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s time to talk business, markets, and the economy with financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen. He’s head of the wealth management firm The Bahnsen Group and he’s here now.

David, good morning!

DAVID BAHNSEN: Good morning. Good to be with you.

EICHER: Another antitrust case, David. The Biden administration is suing Ticketmaster, claiming it’s running a monopoly over live events and illegally driving up prices. Federal prosecutors and 30 DAs and state attorneys general filed suit in federal court in New York last week. The lawsuit seeks to break up Ticketmaster on the grounds that it’s squeezing out smaller promoters. The parent company Live Nation denies it’s acting unlawfully.

What do you say, David? I know we addressed some of this fairly recently, but anything different with this one? What do you think of the Ticketmaster suit?

BAHNSEN: Yeah, I think it's going to fail. I think it is wrong legally, wrong economically, and outside the appropriate jurisdiction of the federal government. But I think antitrust should be reserved for areas in which I believe consumers are being legitimately harmed, and where there are artificial barriers to entry that have been enacted. And my reading of this case is that that is not the situation here. And I believe this is more politically driven around the Biden administration's agenda of looking for populist battles to fight that where it appears, you know, similar to the credit card fees we talked about a couple of weeks ago. There's a little, you know, catnip here, for some voters like oh, look, they're trying to lower fees on credit cards or lower fees on concert tickets, and things like that, and who wouldn't want their fees lowered? Well, the answer is those of us who believe the federal government doesn't need to be in the business of concert tickets. 

So I think perhaps they should get their annual deficit below $2 trillion, and then worry about concert tickets. So the damage economically here, if this were to prevail, which again, I do not believe it will, is that you are looking to the government to try to do the work that companies should be doing. Go beat Ticketmaster in competition. And there are plenty of other companies engaged in ticketing for events, creating advantages with promoters, the details of this would not be appalling to anyone who understood it. And again, one could say I tried to get tickets for a Taylor Swift concert and it was hard to do what it was expensive to do, I'm sure. But just think about the logic of saying whenever I have a frustrating experience as a customer, imagine the impulse, what it would do to the economy if our impulse was always you know what, I can't afford to eat at Le Bernardin, or I can't get a dinner reservation at Polo Bar, I'd like to ask Joe Biden to help. I mean, it's an absurd response. But that's really what's going on here. And the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, is playing into this. They're telling people that when they're frustrated, the federal government should come and and regulate companies in a way that would be more helpful. And that creates huge costs throughout the economy.

EICHER: All right, David. Last week, on the program, we had an interview. I thought you'd be pretty interested in, talking, with Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance Defending Freedom. He was talking about the third annual Viewpoint Diversity Index. It's a report card on public companies seeking to bring to light abuses of our fundamental freedoms and your name came up. Tedesco talking about your shareholder resolution from last year with JPMorgan Chase, with the idea to try to push the company to stop so-called debanking of clients with conservative religious or political views. And I just want to get your thought on this year's index, David, and ask whether you think it represents some progress in corporate America?

BAHNSEN: Oh, it's huge progress. This is one of the biggest victories that I have seen in the philosophy of engagement over boycott. I do not believe for a second that JP Morgan, at a corporate level, was censoring Christians or conservatives. I think there were branches and managers and various, you know, extensions of the company that were doing this, and they got caught. And they, my resolution last year resulted in some huge changes. And I'm not taking all the credit personally. My consultants and lawyers and the work with Jeremy and the team at ADF. There were a lot of people involved besides me. But this was just an incredible victory to see them take down their restrictions on who could have a WePay account, to see Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan stand up and say we absolutely refuse to censor people for their faith or their politics, acknowledging the merits of the resolution.

We're engaged right now with about a dozen different companies, and this is the only one where we collectively decided to withdraw my resolution this year, because of the positive movement that we've had with JP Morgan. They moved up to a score of a B, which again, it's not an A, but they were at an F, but they got to be in their scoring with the committee to unleash prosperity on political neutrality. And this is all a result of engagement conversation. I don't think it's all perfect. I don't think it's all done. But the amount of progress we've seen in a year with the nation's largest bank is to me very encouraging, and ought to be a model for others to not throw in the towel. You can't win fights that you don't show up for.

EICHER: My sense, David, is that we ought to do a defining terms around this idea of corporate engagement or shareholder activism, I think you really have to know your way around how publicly traded companies operate to comprehend what actually happens to bring about the changes that you're talking about here. So let me throw it open to you to pick a term to define that would be the most helpful to the most people in understanding this.

BAHNSEN: Well, I would say that activism is a word that comes up a lot and that it's often defined as either a left wing activist saying I want to go work against Exxon doing, you know, business in oil and gas. Or it can be right wing activist that says I want to go get a company to stop doing something that I don't like that they're doing. And so you know, that's where the word engagement comes from, is it's a way to channel your efforts to engage with the company, and engagement could become hostile, it could be argumentative, you know, they're we're fighting with them to do something they're not doing or, or, or stop doing something they are doing. 

I'll give you an example. There's a company called Gilead Sciences, which is a very large biotech company. They're in the business of saving human life. They have incredible HIV, the most successful HIV treatments on the market, and have become a much bigger player in oncology. So most of us would be in favor of curing cancer wherever possible. But then they decided to get all cute and woke and announce that they're going to pay for employees' reproductive rights when they want to cross state lines after Dobbs to go have an abortion. So so a lot of companies in Fortune 500 America did that. So we reached out and said, Wow, it's really interesting that you're so motivated to help people's you know, reproductive rights or choice around children. Do you have a program to help support parents with adoption that are looking to adopt? And they ignore us, and they argue, and they go back and forth, and then finally they come back and go, yes, we've added that. Here's the language and they start providing adoption benefits. 

And so I think that that's an example of engaging. It wasn't a friendly engagement initially, but it resulted in a modest concession from the company. So I don't think I'm giving you a definition here. I think I'm more giving you an example. But I view activism as someone who is approaching stock market ownership with a social political agenda. I view engagement as those who are legitimate investors that have an investment agenda, participating in their rights and activities to help drive a better outcome. That would be the distinction I'd make between engagement and activism.

EICHER: So I’m anticipating the listener who says, alright, so what’s my role here? I’ve got relatively few investments, you know, a 401(K), how can I have a voice or make a difference?

BAHNSEN: No, there really isn't. And that's okay. Because not everyone has to fight every battle. I mean, someone who, who just has a teeny tiny ownership of of a particular company that may not be the battle they need to fight. There's all sorts of other things within the church, within their community, within society that they can be focused on. But someone who isn't in a position to do something on that it would be an issue sample to me, a division of labor. You know, having a very tiny ownership through a mutual fund or ETF. It is not necessarily something and you also have to look at the risk–reward. It isn't necessarily something where they can move the needle, but it is something where they can spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and get in the best case scenario, no real result out of it. So I encourage those of us who are believers to be wise to exercise leverage where we have it, but not not punch the air. You know, we're trying to we're trying to win the fight here.

EICHER: Ok, David Bahnsen is founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group.

Check out David’s latest book Full Time: Work and the Meaning of Life at

Have a great week, David!

BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick. Enjoyed being with you.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, May 27th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next, the WORLD History Book. Today, a fire that burns for more than sixty years. Also, da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper restored and put on display.

EICHER: But first, a beloved pastor is honored with a statue at National Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill. Here’s WORLD Radio Reporter Emma Perley:

EMMA PERLEY: House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled a new, 7 foot tall statue to the public two weeks ago. Here’s Johnson on C-SPAN.

JOHNSON: As the Speaker of the House it is my pleasure to welcome you here as we honor one of America’s greatest citizens, and enduring heroes.

The bronze man holds a Bible in one hand, while the other hand points to the pages. And the family was also present to mark the historic moment for the influential pastor who died in 2018.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at the ceremony:

COOPER: North Carolina gives the nation a symbol representing one of our dearest treasures … the Reverend Billy Graham.

Growing up during the Great Depression, Graham tended to his family dairy farm and spent his evenings reading all kinds of books. He dedicated his life to Christ at 15 years old during a revival service lead by Mordecai Ham, a traveling evangelist.

In May, 1944, Graham began preaching for the missionary organization Youth for Christ as an unknown, untested young pastor fresh out of college. The organization became Graham’s training grounds for evangelism. He then launched a revival crusade in Los Angeles which established him as a powerful preacher. 

Audio from a 1949 sermon where thousands flocked to hear his words:

GRAHAM: I do not believe that any man—that any man—can solve the problems of life without Jesus Christ.

Graham’s statue is a nod to his extraordinary dedication to the Great Commission. Son Franklin Graham on his father’s legacy:

GRAHAM: Our family is honored that our earthly father will be here in this Capitol pointing future generations to our heavenly Father and his son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you.

Though some have criticized Graham’s reluctance to take political stances in his sermons, he remained a steadfast spiritual anchor in the sea of cultural change during World War II and the Civil Rights era.

Next up: it’s 1962 and Centralia, Pennsylvania is a tiny town of around 1,000 people—most of whom make their living mining the coal deposits sprawling underground. Many eventually swap the dangerous work for less demanding employment, but the mines remain. Audio from WGAL TV.

NEWSCAST: This town was built on coal. And coal is fueling its demise.

On May 27th, officials decide to clean up a nearby landfill by lighting the trash on fire. What they don’t know is that the deep pit connects to a maze of stripmines. Audio here from author Joan Quigley about the disaster on C-SPAN.

QUIGLEY: It was around Memorial Day and the fire quickly spread from the dump down underground to the exposed coal seam and into the abandoned workings. For various reasons, the borough didn’t have enough resources to put the fire out.

As the flames spread underneath Centralia, the residents begin to notice. A man complains to the town council about the horrible smell of sulfur and burning trash. A gas station owner takes the temperature of an underground gasoline tank and is shocked to find it boiling hot. And a local boy falls into a sinkhole that seems to appear out of nowhere. But officials have no solutions. 

Audio from WGAL TV again:

NEWSCAST: After millions of dollars were spent on numerous, unsuccessful efforts to put out the fire, the federal government decided to let the fire burn itself out. Centralia sits on top of one of the largest veins of anthracite coal in America—the mammoth vein. Experts say there is enough coal for the fire to burn for 500 years … or longer.

The federal government eventually offers 42 million dollars to residents to evacuate, and most do. The 2020 census shows that only five people remain in the smoldering ghost town of Centralia.

Finally, on May 28th, 1999, one of Western civilization’s most famous paintings is revealed to the public after 21 years of restoration work. Audio from BBC News and restoration artist Pinin Brambilla Barcilon:

BARCILON: People become emotional when they see it. This painting of this man who opens his arms and asks, “Who has betrayed me?”

Leonardo da Vinci originally painted The Last Supper around 1498 A.D. on a monastery wall in Milan. Using oil paints, he carefully crafted the revelation of Jesus’s eventual betrayal using realism and emotion as each of the twelve disciples reacted differently to the news. But the nearly 30 foot wide masterpiece didn’t last long.

DOCUMENTARY CLIP: Due to his experimental fresco technique, it started to flake away almost as soon as Leonardo da Vinci had finished it.

The painting quickly deteriorated despite various attempts to restore it. At one point, it was forgotten completely while the monastery was used as a stable during the French revolution. Finally, in 1978, Barcilon began painstakingly removing surface layers of grime and reconstructing the painting to restore what once was. 

Barcilon again about the project:

BARCILON: It was a unique experience for a restorer to approach the genius that was Leonardo. A great privilege for me.

Less than half of The Last Supper remains the original work of da Vinci. Six restorers plus Barcilon have repainted sections of it over many years, and the original damaged pieces are lost forever. Yet Barcilon used a different restoration technique than others: she distinguished the original work from the repainted sections, using faded watercolors for da Vinci’s art and more vibrant colors for her own representation of what the painting originally looked like.

BARCILON: Each day was a slow struggle … that’s why it took twenty years. Honestly, I hope I did the right thing. Time will tell.

Some art critics complain that the restored version is altered—such as how Jesus’s sleeve is now draped over the table instead of behind it. But the painting can still be enjoyed and admired for its original beauty even with some tweaks along the way.

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Emma Perley.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: More Supreme Court decisions ranging from arbitration to race and politics. And, how a former occultist and rock musician went from spiritual darkness to online evangelism. That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

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 Bible says: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” —Colossians 2:8-10

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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