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The World and Everything in It: June 5, 2023

May 14, 2023

WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: June 5, 2023

On the Legal Docket, three opinions and an immigration argument; on the Monday Moneybeat, what's next now that the debt ceiling drama is over; and on the World History Book, the death of a persecutor. Plus, the monday morning news

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington DC on May 25, 2023 Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. Hello my name is Jiamei Farrell, and I am a teenager living in Kingston, Ohio. I want to give a special shoutout to Mrs. Bush for introducing me to such a wonderful podcast where I can hear world news but from a Biblical viewpoint. I hope you enjoy today's program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! The meaning of a single phrase in immigration law is at the center of a Supreme Court dispute.

JUSTICE THOMAS: I think the problem that we're having is that the government wants to broaden the definition.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That's ahead today on Legal Docket.

Also today, the Monday Moneybeat. Now that the political question of the debt ceiling is deferred for two years. We’ll talk winners and losers. Economist David Bahnsen will be along.

And the World History Book. Today, the death of an early persecutor of the Church.

ADAMS: So as far as the church is concerned, there's no goodness in Nero, he is an anti-Christ figure.

REICHARD: It's Monday, June 5th. 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 now for news with Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Debt limit » President Biden signed a bill into law over the weekend raising the nation's debt limit and avoiding default on government debts.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reacted Sunday:

CHUCK SCHUMER: I commend President Biden and his team for producing a sensible compromise under the most difficult of circumstances.

The Treasury Dept had warned that without a debt deal, the U.S. could begin defaulting on its debts this week, throwing markets into chaos.

But many Republicans say while the deal averts an immediate crisis, it does little to address the slow-moving trainwreck of runaway spending … and spiraling debt.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee:

MIKE LEE: Nobody in the world gets to do this. A family can't do this, and a business can't do this, and if they did they would be in trouble. So instead, they just agreed to fund each other's priorities. And this has resulted in the accumulation of a $32 trillion dollar debt.

The bipartisan bill will trim Washington's overspending, but the government will continue to run massive deficits into 2025.


China- U.S. » One of China's top military commanders is accusing the United States of making false accusations.

Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Jing Jianfeng says the Chinese navy did not act aggressively or recklessly by sailing a warship across the path of an American destroyer in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend.

But U.S. Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin told reporters:

LLOYD AUSTIN: To be clear, we do not seek conflict or confrontation. But we will not flinch in the face of bullying or coercion.

Beijing says the U.S. destroyer and a Canadian frigate conducting "freedom of navigation" patrols in the Taiwan Strait was a provocation to China.

The Pentagon says the U.S. military will continue regularly sail through and flyover the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea to emphasize they are international waters, and not Chinese territory.

Ukraine » Ukraine says the battle for Bakhmut continues as its troops continue to occupy positions around the city.


One Ukrainian officer says the battle will continue and that his unit is still carrying out attacks against Russian forces and advancing around the enemy's flanks.

Russia claimed victory over the city last month, but the chief of Russia's mercenary Wagner Group said he lost 20,000 men in the roughly 9-month battle for the city.

The Wagner Group has been transitioning out of the city since, and handing over its occupation to Russia's military.

India train » Officials in India say a signaling error caused a train to change tracks at the wrong time and crash into a freight train.

The wreck killed at least 275 people and injured hundreds more.


One passenger describing how everything appeared fine before the wreck, and how after the wreck he saw dead bodies, screaming children, and people crying for help.


Another describing how he went unconscious after the collision and woke up to a broken leg and other injuries.

With 40,000 miles of train tracks, India has the largest railway network in the world that runs under one management.

Federal Judge Drag Ban » A federal judge labeled a Tennessee state law placing restrictions on drag shows unconstitutional. WORLD's Josh Schumacher has more.

JOSH SCHUMACHER: U.S. District Court Judge for Western Tennessee Thomas Parker ruled the law was unconstitutionally vague.

The law prohibited adult cabaret—or drag—performances from public places or anywhere else minors might be present.

Judge Parker, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled that sexually explicit speech that does not legally qualify as obscenity is protected by the First Amendment the same as political or artistic speech.

The Tennessee Attorney General indicated he would likely appeal the ruling.

If the law remains struck down minors could be exposed to sexually explicit entertainment.

For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.

Twitter » Another top Twitter executive is out the door, apparently over an effort to censor conversations about transgenderism.

Ella Irwin, head of trust and safety, has resigned. Her departure came shortly after Twitter owner Elon Musk criticized the platform's handling of tweets about a conservative media company's documentary that confronts that dangers of transgenderism and cross-gender procedures for children.

Twitter initially said the documentary and tweets about it would effectively be shadow banned and affixed with hate speech warning labels for so-called misgendering.

But Twitter later reversed course and allowed the tweets without restriction.

Box office » Spider-Man swung into first place at the weekend box office.

SOUND: [Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse]

The animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opened with a massive weekend haul of $121 million domestically.

The film is a sequel to a successful 2018 animated Spider-Man movie.

Disney's live-action remake of the Little Mermaid finished second with another $40 million dollars.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: defining an obstruction of justice. Plus, the Monday Moneybeat.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It's Monday, June 5th. Glad to have you along for today's edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It's time for Legal Docket. Today we cover three opinions handed down last week plus one oral argument from April.

First, the opinions.

One is a win—for now—for two pharmacists in a case we covered just last week. They sued the SuperValu and Safeway pharmacies under a federal law called the False Claims Act. Here, the false claim had to do with both chains’ pharmacies allegedly seeking improper reimbursement from government programs such as Medicaid. The pharmacies submitted retail prices and not the discount prices customers paid under a coupon program.

REICHARD: The case is remanded to lower court to get into the state of mind of the operators of the pharmacies: Did they subjectively believe they’d submitted false claims? That's a different standard than proving what an objectively reasonable person might have thought. The Supreme Court ruling simply clears up disagreement over what standard of knowledge is required under the FCA.

Now for the second opinion, again unanimous.

A man named Fiyyaz Pirani bought 250,000 shares of a company that made a messaging app for business. Pirani sued the company Slack after the stock price dropped 35 percent. He accused the company of filing a misleading registration statement that led him to buy the shares.

But only some of Pirani's shares required a registration statement. Others did not: Namely, those listed for sale directly to the public. The case will now go back to a trial court and Pirani will have to prove which of the shares he bought he can trace to misleading info in registration statements.

EICHER: Okay, final opinion today, this one 8-1. It's a blow to organized labor.

This ruling says employers can sue a union in state court … when the union carries out a strike in such a way that causes intentional damage to the employer's property.

You can hear the winning argument from the lawyer representing a concrete company. Attorney Noel Francisco:

FRANCISCO: It's really no different than the riverboat crew that drives out into the middle of the river and then abandons ship. That is not merely a stoppage of work.

EICHER: The strike tactic involved the company's big concrete-mixer trucks, the ones with rotating drums to keep the concrete from hardening so it can be poured. When collective bargaining talks stalled, the union would order a work stoppage but only after the trucks were full of concrete.

The company would scramble to save the concrete from ruin, but they couldn't. That's why the analogy of abandoning ship in the middle of the river worked.

The union tried to argue that federal law preempts state court claims for damages.

But the high court found the union wouldn't find refuge in federal court. The union failed to take reasonable precautions to mitigate risk of damage to the employer's property, so federal law would not "arguably" protect that conduct.

The court ordered the case remanded.

REICHARD: Those are the three opinions and now on to our one oral argument today dealing with a pair of cases brought under the INA, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

On the one side, two men subject to deportation. On the other, the federal government, with Attorney General Merrick Garland named.

These disputes revolve around the meaning of a phrase in the I-N-A: "offense related to the obstruction of justice." Early on in the case, Justice Clarence Thomas got to the heart of the matter:

JUSTICE THOMAS: Mr. Gannon, could you give us a straightforward definition of ‘obstruction of justice’?

Here are the facts: two noncitizens entered the United States decades ago—one of them in 1965, the other in 1985. The two men eventually received green cards that allowed them to live and work in the U-S.

Along the way, each was convicted of a crime. One for dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. The other for being an accessory to a crime.

Immigration judges ordered the men removed from the country under that phrase in the I-NA: "offenses related to the obstruction of justice."

So Justice Thomas's question seems reasonable enough. Here's the government's answer, provided by Deputy Solicitor General Curtis Gannon:

CURTIS GANNON: An affirmative act that includes a specific intent to interfere with the process of justice and law.

EICHER: The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the removal orders but further appeals in separate circuits resulted in split decisions. They clashed over the meaning of "offenses related to the obstruction of justice."

So the legal question before the high court is what lawyers call statutory construction. It has to decide the meaning of that phrase and whether the offenses these men committed fit that meaning.

Gannon, for the government, advocated for a broad definition using a variety of sources.

GANNON: The question is just whether, as a category, as a family of offenses, obstruction-of-justice offenses need to have a pending proceeding. And we think the answer to that is clearly not.

The wheels of justice can be obstructed even before they begin to move. Indeed, one of the best ways to obstruct an investigation or a proceeding is to ensure that it never starts in the first place.

Some of the justices took issue with the sources the government used for its definition, including Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Mr. Gannon, let me start with, what other aggravated felony is defined merely by dictionary --by the dictionary? Because that seems to be what you're doing. Tell me what other identified aggravated felony do we approach that way.

REICHARD: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson suggested looking to other statutes in the United States Code where Congress had defined obstruction of justice. She refers to it as Chapter 73.

JUSTICE JACKSON: And so, if Congress says an offense relating to obstruction of justice, and then, in Chapter 73, they list a number of offenses under the heading "obstruction of justice," I guess I don't understand why we are being directed to some sort of a generic categorical approach about a particular offense called obstruction of justice when that's really not a thing. Here's a list of all of the things, some of which require a proceeding, some of which don't. Why isn't that what Congress intended "obstruction of justice" to mean?

On the part of the men, their lawyers maintain that the offense needs to be linked to a pending proceeding.

Lawyer Mark Fleming argued that requiring a time element gives clarity to the definition.

MARK FLEMING: I think our position does solve all the workability problems, because it's easy to tell when an investigation or a proceeding are pending.

Justice Samuel Alito pressed him further:

JUSTICE ALITO: How is it easy to determine whether an investigation is in progress?

FLEMING: Well, if the --if the police have opened a case file and they're asking questions and they're interviewing witness --potential witnesses and they're trying to figure out, you know, whether a crime has been committed, that's an investigation. If the grand jury's going to meet on Monday, there's been an investigation to -- to prep them and get them going. I think that's much easier to identify than what the government has --has put forward, which is completely amorphous.

EICHER: Even in a technical debate about definitions, sometimes humor breaks out, or maybe it is nervous laughter on the attorney's part.

When Justice Gorsuch offered Fleming an opportunity to make any remaining points, Justice Kavanaugh laughed.

JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: Yeah, I thought we spent the whole argument talking about your two points, but maybe --maybe I'm wrong about that.

FLEMING: I --I --I hope I haven't worn out my welcome, Your Honor.

REICHARD: Justice Thomas made reference to a famous treacherous journey by Greek hero Odysseus.

JUSTICE THOMAS: I think the problem that we're having is that the government wants to broaden the definition. It's like we're navigating between Scylla and Charybdis, and no one is giving us a way to get between the two extremes.

Finding a middle ground won't be easy. But that's why it's at the Supreme Court.

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: Well, good morning, Nick, good to be with you.

EICHER: All right. Now we can say the debt-ceiling debate is behind us, or we could say the debt-ceiling debate is only two years away, meaning we’ll do this again either under a new Republican administration or a possible second term of Biden-Harris.

Now I know that strictly speaking this is not so much a debate over economics. It's almost purely about political performance and policy choice. So let's talk about that aspect, let's talk about winners and losers. What do you take away from all this?

BAHNSEN: I have a couple takeaways. I think that speaker McCarthy handled himself very well; I think he did some unexpected things. He was able to balance a number of different interests.

I do understand that a lot of people wanted him to get more out of this. But I frankly, think he got more than I expected. I mean, at the end of the day, the Republican Party does not have the White House, they do not have the Senate, and they have the House by a very, very small minority, and so to get your caucus to hold together while having to play with a really, really hot potato in threatening that you won't approve the new debt ceiling in trying to get other things accomplished. It hasn't gone well in the past when others have tried it.

And you almost certainly have a media working against you that is really antsy to blame you for anything negative that goes down. I think he was able to hold his caucus together in that way and yet still extract some concessions that I think are more than just symbolic. Some of the things that they got done by trying to freeze spending in place and the amount that they would have grown otherwise in terms of certain expenditures getting a work requirement in for able bodied people taking food stamps: These are good concessions that were not on the legislative table. I think that's a good thing politically for some of the causes that I happen to believe in.

The other takeaway is that we are in need of a balanced budget amendment. We don't have to worry about how much debt we take if everything we spend is paid for. And I think the idea of rightsizing the government and eliminating this constant deficit spending (which pushes the national debt into the stratosphere) needs to be addressed.

EICHER: On the balanced budget amendment, is there anything about the surprising ability of Republicans to wring some concessions out of the Democrats on spending, anything at all that gives you any hope that fiscal responsibility in the form of a BBA has a chance now?BAHNSEN: First of all, the two things are totally separate because this entire thing had nothing to do with balancing the budget, it was just simply a way to cover the spending that they had already committed to. And there really wasn't any conversation through the political machinations of the debate about a balanced budget amendment. Even if there were such a conversation it would require a President to sign it into law, and this President and the one before this one have had no regard at all for a balanced budget. And frankly, neither did the two before them as well. It's been a very long time since there's been an appetite for balancing the budget.

The notion that permanent deficit spending—not war time, not emergency, but permanent deficit spending—where you’re debating about whether or not you’re going to do 600 billion or 1.8 trillion of deficit spending has been the lay of the land for a long time. You have had presidents where the deficit in one year went from a trillion down to 500 billion, and they would talk about what fiscal hawks they were and how fiscally responsible it was that they lowered the deficit for one year: Only spending $500 billion more than we have. So that's how far we are along, Nick, from a real place of dealing with balanced budget.

And I think it will take more of a right-wing penetration of federal government and it will take people on the right actually caring about it and taking it seriously to change things. Most importantly—and we have talked about this on the podcast before—it will take a serious approach to entitlements. The notion of anybody ever balancing the budget without a really realistic moral and fiscally prudent approach to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and health care commitments is ridiculous.

EICHER: And then before we wrap up today, with so much of the news economy taken up by debt-ceiling talks and votes, what are we not talking about that we should be?

BAHNSEN: I think that the unemployment report that came out on Friday was fascinating because we saw a significantly higher amount of new jobs created than people had anticipated. But again, the data was not quite so simple: The unemployment rate did tick higher because there were 130,000 new people in the labor participation force. And yet, with 330,000 new jobs created—almost double would have been expected—it was clearly a very robust jobs number.

But the household survey went down; it showed 300,000 jobs lost. So we were getting a little conflicting data in there. And then the average hours worked dropped 0.1 hours. So not by a huge amount, but you’re not seeing a greater amount of hours worked. And in fact, you’re down to a 12 or 13 year low in average hours worked, even as a really record number of people have jobs. So that's why I say it was a mixed bag.

It continues to confound people that think inflation and jobs are supposed to be working against each other. You have seen the inflation rate drops substantially and yet not seen unemployment go up in response. And you’re seeing wages haven't gone higher at the lower end.

But then that rate of growth has really, really slowed. It has not proven to be what they call a wage price spiral, whereby people making more money lead other prices to end up going higher; as yet that has not happened. So I think it's for those who are sitting around waiting for a lot of people to lose their jobs, and that will be the signal that the Fed has to pause. The job market continues to look very good.

EICHER: David Bahnsen is founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group. His personal website is . His weekly Dividend Cafe is found at

David, thanks, I hope you have a great week!

BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, June 5th. 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. Next up, the World History Book. Today, the first drive-in movie theater, plus a milestone for a beloved preacher. But first, the death of a persecutor in the early church. Here's WORLD's Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with June 9th, in the year 68 AD. The tyrannical Roman Emperor Nero commits suicide.

He came to the throne at age 17 and proved ruthless—poisoning his up-start step-brother, staging his mother's suicide, and executing his first wife.

Famous for his self-indulgent appetites he married a former male slave in a public ceremony at age 27. Nero wore a scarlet wedding veil—taking the role of bride.

The Roman empire crumbled under Nero. It didn't take long to lose the support of the people and its leaders. In an attempt to win over critics, he blamed a devastating fire in Rome on Christians—and ordered imperial persecution.

EDWARD ADAMS: So as far as the church is concerned, there's no goodness in Nero, he is an anti-Christ figure.

New Testament professor Edward Adams from a 2002 BBC documentary.

ADAMS: He is the embodiment of evil. Nero treated Christians with particular cruelty and barbarity. Tacitus tells us that he had them rounded up, he had them dressed in animal skins and attacked by dogs. He had some crucified.

Nero seemed particularly fond of burning Christians—symbolic punishment for the accused burning of Rome. Church historians believe that both the Apostle Peter and Apostle Paul were killed during Nero's reign.

Next we head to June 7th, 1891. English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon delivers his last sermon at London's Metropolitan Tabernacle.

VIDEO CLIP: Young men, if you could see our Captain, you would get down on your knees and beg him to let you into the ranks of those who follow him.

A reenactment of that last sermon from a 2010 documentary: The Life of Charles Spurgeon.

VIDEO CLIP: It is heaven to serve Jesus. I am his recruiting sergeant these 40 years and more have I served him? Blessed be his name and I have had nothing but love from him. I would be glad to serve him another 40 years. His service, his life, peace, joy, all that you would enlist under the banner of Christ this very day. Amen.

After this message Spurgeon was unable to preach due to his gout, rheumatism and Blight's disease—a severe kidney condition. When Spurgeon died in January, 1892, he was only 57 years old. Yet during his more than 30 years of ministry, he founded churches, trained pastors, and published more than 150 books.

He preached to large crowds everywhere he went. He intentionally spoke to the everyday person instead of the educated.

In 2013, John Piper delivered the inaugural Spurgeon lecture at Orlando's Reformed Theological Seminary: He spoke of Spurgeon's gospel legacy:

JOHN PIPER: Spurgeon stands as a witness to what happens when love for God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated truth feeds the flame of love for people—an explosion of zeal and energy and creativity in the church. All of it aiming to glorify God and bring sinners into the fullness of joy in him.

When Spurgeon died, more than 100-thousand people lined the streets for his funeral procession. Every shop along the route closed to honor the "Prince of Preachers."

We end today on a lighter note: June 6th, 1933. Richard Hollingshead opens the very first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey. Conventional movie theater seating at the time was very uncomfortable for Hollingshead's mother, so he came up with the idea of an open-air theater where people could sit comfortably in their cars and enjoy the show.

He worked out the ideal arrangement and number of cars for the best viewing. He secured a patent and invested 30-thousand dollars to open his first location. Hollingshead charged 25 cents per car, and an additional quarter for every person in the car. But it was the concessions sold during intermission that were the key to profitability.

INTERMISSION COMMERCIAL: Golden, pure creamery butter, rich flavorful satisfying. That's what it takes for the finest buttered popcorn and that's what we use.

Drive-in popularity spiked in the early 60s, with more than five thousand theaters across the country.

COMMERCIAL: Choose a JVC video home system and you'll get a picture as true and as reliable as JVC technology can make.

But as viewers were given more home theater entertainment options, interest soon waned and drive-ins mostly disappeared. According to the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association, as of November 2022, there were just over 300 active theaters nationwide.

That's this week's World History Book. I’m Paul Butler.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Fighting back against corporate social activism. We’ll talk with economist Jerry Bowyer.

Also, retail presidential politics in Iowa. A World Journalism Institute report from the starting line for the Republicans.

And Classic book of the month. 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: I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy chapter one, verses 12 through 14.

Go now in grace and peace.

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