MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
New York City has new rules to deal with people living on the streets. Good idea or bad idea? We’ll talk about it.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also how pro-life laws affect complicated pregnancies.
Plus rooting out corruption in government.
And commentator Cal Thomas on extremism in politics.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, December 15th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine » Russia launched another air attack on Kyiv on Wednesday, but this time, the threat was neutralized.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv’s air defense system destroyed 13 explosive-laden drones.
Zelenskyy told his troops, “Well done,” adding… “I am proud.
The wreckage did damage five buildings, but no one was seriously hurt.
In Washington, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters…
KIRBY: We have been prioritizing air defense capabilities of late because that is the urgent need of the Ukrainians as even today, Kyiv came under attack from Russia.
The unsuccessful attacks Wednesday highlighted the strides Ukraine has made in putting those air defenses to efficient use.
The United States is reportedly set to send Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine, which would further bolster its defense.
Rate hikes » Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced another interest rate hike on Wednesday. He said inflation appears to be slowing down, but…
POWELL: We need to be honest with ourselves that 12-month core inflation is 6%. That’s three times our 2% target. Now, it’s good to see progress, but let’s just understand, we have a long way to go.
Continuing its fight against inflation, the Fed is raising its benchmark interest rate a half-point to a range of 4.25% to 4.5%. That is a smaller rate increase than at the Fed’s last four meetings.
But Powell believes more rate hikes are still needed to get prices under control.
Biden Africa » President Biden welcomed dozens of African leaders in Washington on Wednesday, telling them that the United States is “all in on Africa’s future.”
BIDEN: We’ve known for a long time that Africa’s success and prosperity is essential to assuring a better future for all of us, not just for Africa.
Speaking at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Biden said the United States is investing $55 billion in Africa over the next three years and that’s “just the beginning.”
Biden pledged help in modernizing technology across the continent, providing clean energy, bringing clean drinking water, and better funding healthcare.
The aid could serve to counter China’s growing influence in African nations.
Congress funding » Meantime, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers announced that they’ve struck a deal that should avert a government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer:
SCHUMER: This is welcome and important news. Congress now has a roadmap for funding the government before the conclusion of the 117th Congress.
Leaders from both parties say they’ve agreed to a “framework” on a new funding bill.
But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the job isn’t finished.
MCCONNELL: It will take seriousness and good faith on both sides to produce actual legislation that follows the framework.
Funding will expire tomorrow, but lawmakers are expected to buy more time by passing another temporary spending bill.
Peru’s new government declares police state amid protests » In Peru, the new government has declared a police state in response to violent protests, following the ouster of President Pedro Castillo. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: The government announced a 30-day national emergency on Wednesday.
The declaration suspends the rights of Peruvians to assembly and freedom of movement. It also empowers the police to search people’s homes without permission or judicial order.
The Defense Ministry said protesters who are caught committing acts of vandalism or violence—or blocking highways—will be met with a forceful response.
The council of ministers signed off on the declaration but didn’t mention Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in by Congress hours after lawmakers ousted Castillo.
For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
Weather » Meantime, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday for a very different reason.
A violent storm ripping across the country spawned tornadoes that killed a young boy and his mother in Louisiana.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator:
PRATOR: The few houses that are in there – totally destroyed. Gone. Just have to look for bits and pieces out in the woods of even the houses.
The storm also smashed mobile homes and damaged buildings in multiple southern states.
To the north, the same massive weather system blasted the Great Plains with blizzard-like conditions, dumping more than 2 feet of snow in parts of South Dakota.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a pro-life OBGYN addresses some concerns about pregnancy and abortion.
Plus, how Mississippi’s state auditor prepared for the job.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday the 15th of December, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up: mental health and the homeless in New York City.
Mayor Eric Adams launched a new initiative in which the city can provide involuntary mental healthcare to homeless people struggling to meet basic needs. Adams is empowering outreach workers, hospitals operated by the city, and first responders to get homeless people off the street and into treatment.
BROWN: Advocacy groups for the homeless immediately protested the directive. But some ministry leaders and experts on homelessness take a different perspective. WORLD’s Addie Offereins talked with workers on the front lines of the issue. She joins us now.
ADDIE OFFEREINS, REPORTER: Thanks for having me, Myrna.
BROWN: So tell us a little bit more about the directive. What does the mayor hope to accomplish?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, so Mayor Adams’ directive builds on current New York mental hygiene law. Current law gives officials the authority to hospitalize mentally ill individuals who pose a danger to themselves or to others. And this has typically been interpreted as they have threatened violence or committed violence against themselves or others. But Adams’ directive takes a more proactive approach to the law. In his announcement, he gave city outreach workers, law enforcement, and other officials the authority to hospitalized homeless individuals struggling with mental illness if they are failing to provide for their basic needs, and so pose more of a long-term danger to themselves or to the public around them rather than only if they have committed or threatened violence.
Here’s what he had to say about the directive.
ADAMS: It is not acceptable for us to see someone who clearly needs help and walk past. For too long there’s been a gray area where policy, law, and accountability have not been clear. And this has allowed people in need to slip through the cracks.
BROWN: Why are advocates upset?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, Myrna, so almost immediately several homeless advocacy groups denounced the directive. For example, Donna Lieberman with the New York Civil Liberties Union said Adams is playing fast and loose with the legal rights of New Yorkers. And Jacqueline Simone, a policy director with the Coalition for the Homeless, said the measure scapegoats homeless individuals who are struggling with mental illness as being violent, but that isn’t always the case. She accused Adams of not providing enough mental healthcare services and affordable housing for people to access voluntarily. And she said if there were more services available, people would access those services.
BROWN: How did proponents of the measure respond?
OFFEREINS: Yeah, so not all homeless experts or nonprofits working with the homeless take this perspective. I talked with Stephen Eide, an expert on homelessness with the Manhattan Institute, about some of the concerns of these advocates that I mentioned previously. I asked him how he would respond to groups that are concerned this program is bad for the freedom and dignity of homeless people. Here’s what he had to say.
EIDE: We have been trying their preferred solutions, building more housing, building more community programs that are offered to people on a voluntary basis. New York has been doing a lot of that. And New York will continue to be doing a lot of that. Just in the 2010s alone, New York cut a lot of psychiatric hospital beds, and invested a lot in housing, other community services. And yet, there are too many people living out of the subways and too many people stuck in jail. I mean, the jail system in New York City is a huge something about 1000 seriously mentally ill individuals. If we really want to get people out of jail to have serious mental illness, we probably need to be talking about something like hospitalization because I think stuff like housing is just not going to be enough.
BROWN: What do ministries to the homeless have to say?
OFFEREINS: So, James Winans is the CEO and President of the Bowery Mission in New York. His mission offers emergency shelter to homeless men and women who need a place to stay for the night, a shower, a fresh bed to sleep in. But he also has a life transformation program for homeless men and women where they get employment and training, transitional housing, help with budgeting and are able to turn their lives around. He works with the homeless day in and day out and he had a few things to say. Here’s a clip from our conversation.
WINANS: As usual, both sides of this argument have some validity. And so you know, as New Yorkers, we see daily people in very vulnerable circumstances and very disruptive conditions of mental well being, and I think intervention in those situations is compassionate. At the same time, I think, you know, history tells us that grave mistakes can be made if we take action without protecting the dignity of the individual. You know, without being ready to advocate for that individual and in a way that’s good for that individual. All of that really goes back to seeing each and every individual as a person created in God’s image, or deserves to be treated with all the dignity and frankly, individuality that God has created that person and any plan here needs, actually needs to recognize that.
And Winans says the Adams plan is only a part of an approach that should keep God-given human dignity front and center. He’s a little bit concerned about the execution of the initiative because New York struggles to recruit and retain a strong mental health workforce that has been weakened by COVID-19 when a lot of workers left during the pandemic. He also says it’s important to ask what happens when people leave the hospital.
WINANS: I think what the mayor has proposed in this case, is, is a short term fix. It’s one part of a bigger puzzle. And, you know, I think, I think, maybe a bigger even bigger question is what happens to that individual after they’ve been discharged from the hospital because they won’t stay in the hospital forever. And, and this is where you know, the Bowery mission wants to be one of those places of you know, life transforming community.
BROWN: To keep up with WORLD’s homelessness coverage and other compassion issues, head to wng.org and sign up for Addie’s weekly newsletter called Compassion. Addie, thanks for joining us.
OFFEREINS: You’re welcome, Myrna.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the effect of pro-life laws on complicated pregnancies.
And parents, be aware that this story may not be appropriate for children. So now’s a good time to hit pause and come back later if you have young ones around.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Leah Savas is WORLD’s reporter on the life beat. She interviewed Dr. Ingrid Skop about what the laws actually allow in difficult pregnancies.
Dr. Skop is a practicing OBGYN in Texas, a state that has an abortion ban. She is also Senior Fellow and Director of Medical Affairs at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Here now is their conversation.
LEAH SAVAS, REPORTER: Dr. Skop, thanks for joining us today.
INGRID SKOP, GUEST: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
SAVAS: So there are any number of news articles circulating about women who have had severe pregnancy complications. And these articles point to pro life abortion bans as the reason why these women’s conditions got so bad. So as a pro life Doctor, how do you evaluate and respond to stories like these?
SKOP: When I have seen these stories, it makes me very sad, because I think they are documenting substandard care, but they’re also documenting just general ignorance of what the state laws say. Of course, I’m an obstetrician in Texas, where I’ve been practicing for 25 years. And the reality is that nothing has changed in my practice. With the Texas abortion restrictions, I have never performed elective abortions. But there have been times when I’ve needed to intervene in a pregnancy to save a woman’s life. And I’ve always been able to do that. And I’m still able to do that. It’s important to know I think that Catholic hospitals, Methodist hospitals, Baptist hospitals, very few of these hospitals will allow elective abortions, and yet they’ve always allowed care for miscarriages, care for ectopic pregnancies, and care for pregnancies that are posing a risk to a woman’s life. So nothing has changed, except that the media has promoted a narrative which is false that says that doctors are not allowed to intervene. Most of the laws are written in such a way that they say the doctor may use his reasonable medical judgment to determine if a pregnancy separation needs to occur if a woman needs to be separated from her baby, because the pregnancy is posing a risk to her life. This can be done by abortion, but it can also many times be done by induction of labor. But the law allows either one of those things to happen if it needs to happen.
SAVAS: So a lot of pro life groups will argue that abortion is never medically necessary, and that you could, like you mentioned, induce labor early or perform a C-section when a woman is facing complications. But these stories talk about inducing labor early as if it’s the same thing as an abortion. Can you explain what the legal and medical difference between inducing labor and an abortion are?
SKOP: Very good question. Legally, an abortion is an action that has the intent of ending the unborn human’s life. So with that definition in mind, I think we can recognize that in the rare, heartbreaking situations where a woman’s pregnancy poses such a risk to her life, that she needs to be separated from her baby, the action that needs to occur is the separation. So the intent is not to kill the unborn human life, but the intent is to intervene on behalf of the mother’s life. Sometimes it is the case that we know, because it’s exceptionally early gestational age or for some other reason, we know that the outcome of our intervention is going to be ending the fetal life. But it was not the intent. The intent was to protect the mother. And sadly, in that case, the baby could not survive.
If we induce she, has a baby to hold. Perhaps if the baby’s alive for a few minutes after birth, she can be with the child, as the baby passes away. She can photograph, she can perhaps bury the child, but it’s a much more compassionate way to allow her to mourn her child than to dismember the child, which of course will not allow any of that mourning process that I just described to occur.
SAVAS: Could you explain the legal and medical difference between an abortion and removing an ectopic pregnancy?
SKOP: Yes, an ectopic pregnancy is the unfortunate situation where the embryo or fetus has implanted in a location outside of the normal location in the uterus. Most frequently, this will be in the fallopian tube, although on occasions it can be in other locations. But the reality is, almost never can this baby survive to a point at which he can be born alive. Inevitably, as the continued growth of the pregnancy occurs, it causes catastrophic bleeding. This is a relatively common cause of maternal death. And so every obstetrician knows that when you’ve made the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy, that you need to intervene and again, every prolife obstetrician, every Catholic obstetrician, every religious hospital allows this intervention, there has never been confusion about whether we treat an ectopic pregnancy. This can be done by surgery, or it can be done by an injection of methotrexate.
In general, physicians need guidance from their professional associations, to tell them to help them interpret the laws, and to tell them, It’s okay to intervene. And we’re not seeing that sort of guidance. Unfortunately, many of the medical organizations are pro choice in ideology. And so they have stood back and they have not given the doctors guidance. And so I think this, the media misinformation, and the failure of medical organizations trying to provide guidance for physicians, has led to physician inaction that is inappropriate. I think if the doctors know that they’re not going to be punished, honestly, they’re afraid of being charged with a felony. But if they knew that their hospital system has their back, that their medical organization has given them the guidance to practice as they always have practiced, then I think that this issue would go away.
SAVAS: Well, Dr. Skop, thank you so much for joining us today. And I really appreciate your insight on these really difficult cases.
SKOP: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you, Leah.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Several drivers caught going a little too fast through a school zone in the Florida Keys this week got pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy—a particularly mean one.
Here’s the deal. This time of year in Monroe County, drivers who speed just a smidge over the school zone’s speed limit have a choice:
That can either get a speeding ticket or receive an onion from the Grinch!
The sheriff’s department explains:
LIBB: I’m deputy Andrew Libb with the Monroe County Sheriff’s office. We’re down here in Marathon, Florida in the school zone with the Grinch. We’re trying to spread the word about traffic safety in the school zone …
The idea’s from the mind of Col. Lou Caputo, who thought of it years ago. This week he was dressed in full Grinch green, toting his bag full of onions.
BROWN: Talk about being caught off guard!
REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, December 15th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The watchdogs of government.
They’re known by various titles: state auditor. Comptrollers, examiners, and inspectors general. Whatever title is used, each supervises public finances.
REICHARD: Today, WORLD Senior Writer Kim Henderson introduces us to Mississippi’s state auditor. It’s a role he’s been preparing for a long time.
KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR WRITER: Mississippi State Auditor Shad White is making a name for himself as a corruption fighter. Like when he uncovered the biggest fraud scheme in Mississippi’s history—more than $77 million in misspent welfare money.
ANCHOR: New cases have been unsealed involving a mother and son accused of millions . . .
But before all that, White made a name for himself at Northeast Jones High School.
TUCKER: I always loved Shad. He was just one of those kids that was in there. He was easy-going—never a discipline problem, never. Went by the rules, you hear me? Shad’s going to go by the rules.
That’s Ann Tucker. She taught White when he was in ninth grade. She’s been teaching at Northeast Jones for 63 years.
TUCKER: He was not the kind of kid that was out there just tooting his horn and doing all that kind of stuff. He was motivated, had his goals in mind even then. Was even thinking about college I remember, in 9th grade.
Tucker also taught former NBA player Kenny Payne, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and Erin Napier, the HGTV star. But these days, she’s really happy to have a former student sitting in the state auditor’s office.
There, Shad White has been pretty busy.
White is a married father of two preschoolers, with another child on the way. Since taking office four years ago, he’s recovered more than $65 million dollars. He was only 32 when he started the job. His youthfulness seems almost out of place in the state office building, a 1949 Art Deco high-rise.
White is clean cut, with a short hairstyle fitting his side gig: JAG officer for the Mississippi Air National Guard.
WHITE: I had a really happy childhood in a little bitty town . . .
White came from a blue-collar family, but he seems custom-made for fighting white-collar crime. He went to college with his game face on.
WHITE: Plenty of people use it as a resort for four years, and, you know, in my mind that wasn’t why I was there. By the end of my college career at Ole Miss, I felt like I had leveraged the place as much as I possibly could . . .
White studied economics, but he also fell in love with politics. He made Ole Miss history as the only student to snag both the Truman and Rhodes Scholarships. The Rhodes win took White to England.
WHITE: The University of Oxford has a reputation as a Keynesian school. And I disagreed a lot with the Keynesian worldview . . .
But the school brought in visiting professors and speakers.
WHITE: It was a really interesting intellectual environment because I felt like I got to see multiple viewpoints on the economy.
Harvard Law School came next. There, White served as president of the Federalist Society, a conservative organization.
WHITE: It made me the most popular person on campus, as you can imagine. (laughs)
But under White’s leadership the group grew to become the largest chapter in the country. He platformed speakers that were new to many Harvard Law students.
WHITE: . . . to talk about the importance of stable families, a mother and the father in the home. We brought in a professor to talk about the legality of prayer before public meetings. We brought professors in to talk about the benefits of entrepreneurship.
White is the son of a youth minister father and a church organ-playing mother. He says being a Christian makes his job as state auditor easier, because he believes in absolute truth.
WHITE: We’re not living through some sort of postmodern landscape where everything is debatable in the auditor’s office. We’re enforcing rules around how you can and cannot spend public money . . .
When he speaks to crowds, White describes auditors as “fact finders.” Not everyone is thrilled with what his team uncovers.
WHITE: You have the chance to do really meaningful work, but it comes at a price, and the price is that you’re going to have to weather some criticism pretty regularly. And that’s okay, because that’s the price of admission.
White gets hate mail, threatening messages on Facebook. Fellow church members have told White he was wrong to arrest some of the defendants in the welfare case currently rocking the state.
WHITE: I wake up and I pray that prayer from First Kings, Solomon’s prayer for wisdom. “God, give me the knowledge to know good from evil,” and that gives me the confidence I need to come in every day and do this job in an even handed way.
White is confident, but he’s not cocky. He just says he’s committed to making Mississippi as corruption-free as possible.
WHITE: I view politics as a way to obtain offices that are necessary to hold in order to drive good policy forward.
And that has his high school English teacher, Ann Tucker, both smiling and a little concerned.
TUCKER: Every time I see in the paper where he has done something. I’m always telling my husband, “Well, if he runs for something else, I hope he’s got somebody good coming in for his office.” I want this to continue—what he’s doing—because it is just long overdue.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in South Mississippi.
REICHARD: To see photos and read the full print feature story about Shad White’s fight against corruption, look for the December 24th issue of WORLD Magazine and we’ll post a link to the digital version of the story in today’s transcript of this program.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, December 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Commentator Cal Thomas now on the defection of Senator Krysten Sinema from the Democratic Party.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Leaving aside any possible undeclared motives for leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an Independent, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said some things that have needed to be said for a long time.
In an op-ed for The Arizona Republic, Sinema wrote, “Americans are told that we have only two choices – Democrat or Republican – and that we must subscribe wholesale to policy views the parties hold, views that have pulled further and further toward extremism.” She added this is a “false choice.” More about extremism in a moment.
Sinema is still expected to mostly vote with Democrats and may be strategically positioning herself for re-election in 2024.
In her announcement last October that she’s leaving the Democratic Party, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii outdid Sinema. She said the party is “now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness,” accusing it of “racializing every issue, stoking anti-white racism” and “actively working to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.”
Concerning Sinema, little is likely to change. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said she will keep her committee assignments. A Wall Street Journal editorial notes that “Sinema voted for President Biden’s priorities some 90 percent of the time this Congress. Where her independence mattered in the last two years is preserving the Senate filibuster and opposing the worst elements of the Biden Build Back Better plan, especially its tax-rate increases. That enraged the unforgiving left that now dominates the Democratic Party.”
Back to the notion of extremism. The word is used by each party against the other. The first definition of “extreme” on dictionary.com says “of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average.” Haven’t we re-defined what used to be considered ordinary and average? The CVS where I received my latest Covid-19 booster asked for my “gender assigned at birth.” Is that ordinary, or average, or is it extreme?
Is it extreme to try to prevent more abortions and protect women from the regrets many feel after having had them?
Is it extreme to allow drag queens to lead story hours in public libraries, but deny Christian author and actor Kirk Cameron the same privilege?
Which is more extreme – having an open southern border that allows hundreds of thousands to enter the country illegally, some with deadly fentanyl pills and other drugs, or finishing the wall and allowing for their processing at established entry points?
Is it extreme to allow the government to expand in size and cost, creating a nearly $32 trillion debt, or attempt to cut spending and balance the budget for our future financial health?
Is it extreme to oppose thousands of new IRS agents who will conduct more audits, or limit their power by reforming the indecipherable tax code?
Is it extreme to protect seniors already receiving, or about to receive Social Security and Medicare while reforming these programs for future generations? Both programs are projected to run out of money by 2035 when only about 80 percent of today’s benefits may be available.
Good luck Sen. Sinema in your efforts to combat extremism. Your challenge will be less defining what is extreme and more defining what is normal.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow on Culture Friday: how the Peanuts gang gave salt and light to our culture.
Also, a review of the long-awaited Avatar sequel.
Plus, more Music of Advent from around the world—this time: Africa.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
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