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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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April 17, 2022 11:54 am

CBS Sunday Morning,

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 17, 2022 11:54 am

An Easter edition of Sunday Morning. Erin Moriarty looks at the exoneration of a woman that was 34 years in the making. In a village in Southern Italy, Seth Doane digs deeper into a family tradition of bell makers over generations. Ben Tracy on a legal fight that’s taking the fossil fuel industry to court.

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade. Retiring on the coast. Life is full of moments that matter, and Edward Jones helps you make the most of them. That's why every Edward Jones financial advisor works with you to build personalized strategies for now and down the road. So when your next moment arrives, big or small, you're ready for it. Life is for living. Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Good morning and happy Easter.

I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. It's a question of justice for all. Some 3,000 people have been exonerated of wrongful conviction since 1989, the year a national registry began keeping count. It's estimated hundreds, maybe thousands, more innocent people remain behind bars.

Victims of mistaken eyewitnesses, inaccurate forensic science, and racial bias, among other reasons. Erin Moriarty examines new efforts to right these wrongs. In 1987, a faulty medical opinion sent Joyce Watkins and her boyfriend to prison for life. Joyce never gave up hope that their names would one day be cleared. I just had it in me. It was instilled in me just to never give up. Coming up on Sunday Morning, a story of redemption. How an unlikely partnership is giving back lives to the wrongfully convicted. On this Easter Sunday Morning, bells are ringing for our Seth Doan. The sounds coming from this part of the Italian countryside have not changed much in a thousand years.

To remove it, you have to smash the mold outside and inside, so cannot duplicate it. Every bell here is one of a kind. Absolutely.

We'll ring in Easter ahead on Sunday Morning. Ben Tracy tells us about a new legal push to make the fossil fuel industry the next big tobacco. Dr. John Lapook talks with author Delia Ephron about her real-life love story. David Martin asks if U.S. military aid for Ukraine is enough to make a difference. David Pogue meets a man who stumbled upon treasure in the trash.

Plus Steve Hartman, commentary for the holiday, and more. It's April 17th, 2022, and we'll be right back. You're innocent until proven guilty. But as Erin Moriarty explains, if you've been wrongfully convicted, reversing a guilty verdict can be all but impossible. I'm just not a person to give up. I knew that was somebody out there somewhere would help me.

This is a picture of me. In 1988, Joyce Watkins and her boyfriend, Charlie Dunn, were wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime, the murder of Joyce's four-year-old great niece, Brandy. It took everything away from us.

It took us from our families, him from his kids, took us from everything we worked for. Charlie Dunn died in prison. But last December, in a Nashville, Tennessee courtroom, 74-year-old Joyce Watkins finally heard the words she had prayed for from the Davidson County District Attorney General, Glenn Funk. I want to say to Ms. Watkins and to the family of Charlie Dunn, that I believe they were actually innocent. I had been trying to get this done for a long time.

How long? It took, I hope, 35 years. Exonerations are rare, and this one might never have happened if not for an extraordinary partnership between attorneys who are usually on opposite sides, those who defend the accused, and the prosecutors who put them away. Our job is not just to seek convictions. Our job is to seek to do justice. District Attorney General Glenn Funk says he is part of a growing number of prosecutors who believe they have to do more to uncover wrongful convictions and to prevent future ones.

The goals have to be not only righting any past wrong, then it's also how did we get it wrong, because we can't make that same mistake again going forward. In 2015, Funk set up a conviction review unit, and to show how serious he was, in 2020, Funk hired a lifelong defense attorney to run it, Sunny Eaton. I think it would be fair to say that Glenn and I probably have more heated debates than he might have with anyone else in the office, but I wouldn't be doing my job if that wasn't the case. But there was little debate over the case of Joyce Watkins, brought to them by her defense attorneys at the Tennessee Innocence Project. You need to spend all of two minutes with Joyce to realize that there is no way that this woman committed the crime she was convicted of doing.

Jason Gichner is the project's senior attorney. And it's not consistent with anything we know about Charlie or his family either. The couple's ordeal began late on the night of June 26, 1987, when a relative asked Joyce to come get her great niece Brandy, who had been staying with that family member in Kentucky for two months. Almost immediately, Joyce says, she knew something was wrong with the child and called Brandy's mother. I said, look, I'm fixing to take her to the hospital. She said, well, Joyce, we're on the way. But by morning, when Brandy's mother, who lived seven hours away, hadn't arrived, Joyce took the child to the emergency room.

The four-year-old, seen here as she was transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center, was suffering from head and vaginal injuries. She died a day later. Joyce, did it ever occur to you at that moment that you would be accused of her death?

No. But they questioned you. They asked me what happened to her. I told them I didn't know. I couldn't tell them something that I didn't know because I don't know. What she also didn't know is that the assistant medical examiner had mistakenly concluded that the child's injuries had occurred when she was at Joyce's house. Once that opinion came out, everybody just got laser focused on Joyce and Charlie. It didn't matter that they cooperated with the investigation, that they kept meeting with the police over and over again without a lawyer and saying, we didn't do this.

Come to the house, come take whatever evidence you want, photograph the scene. It just didn't matter. When you heard at the hearing last December, just how wrong her medical evidence was, how did you feel about that? Broken. Broken. Real heartbroken. Joyce Watkins believed the appellate courts would make it right, but the truth is, without compelling new evidence, it's difficult to get an appeal, let alone win one.

Their appeals were all denied. Well, that's hurt from the heart because my daddy was doing time, hard time, or something he didn't do. Nathaniel Dunn is Charlie's oldest son. Did you visit him while he was in prison?

Yes, ma'am. It hurt going to see him and it hurt when I left, you know, because I had to leave him down and he couldn't come home with me. It hurt all over.

Charlie Dunn died of cancer in 2015. Later that year, Joyce Watkins was granted was granted parole and released after 27 years in prison. What was your mission at that point? To prove our innocence. Joyce, determined to clear Charlie's name as well, was unable to do it on her own and turned to the Tennessee Innocence Project. It's a really tough road to prove that you are actually innocent through our current appeals process.

Jessica Van Dyke is the director. If you're on your own trying to do this and trying to get medical experts to help you and trying to get back into court and litigate a complicated appellate process, doing that on your own is almost impossible. And it takes time, time that Joyce didn't have, so her defense attorneys did something that was once unimaginable. They went to the district attorney's office that once put the couple behind bars and asked for a new look at the case.

There's nothing controversial, there's nothing political, there's nothing adversarial about it. If there is evidence that these people are innocent and went to prison for something that they didn't do, there doesn't need to be a fight about it. We should all be running to the courthouse as fast as we can to fix it. Last fall, Sunny Eaton filed her report.

Her conclusion? The wrong people were tried for Brandy's death. We have so much information that these injuries with this child happened before ever getting into Joyce and Charlie's custody.

They were the only two people who sought help for this child. Less than two months later, in front of a courtroom filled with Joyce and Charlie's family and friends, it was official. Ms. Watkins, this charge against you is dismissed and to the family of Charlie Dunn, the charge against Charlie Dunn is dismissed. It was a happy day.

It was a happy day. There are now conviction review units in 28 states, but the process does not always run smoothly. Some state officials fearing that reopening cases will clog courts oppose any efforts to make it easier. Take what happened in St. Louis, Missouri. More than three years ago, the city's top prosecutor, Kim Gardner, found overwhelming evidence that Lamar Johnson, imprisoned for 27 years, was innocent of murder. But the Missouri Attorney General continues to defend his conviction. Johnson remains in a maximum security Missouri prison.

What I'm struggling with is trying to understand why I have not been hurt. I do think it's offensive that some other court or attorney general would try to intervene and keep someone in prison who the district attorney had properly investigated and determined to be innocent. What about all the DAs and states attorneys who say we have to protect the integrity of convictions?

Not if we have it wrong. Getting it wrong in the case of Charlie Dunn and Joyce Watkins caused them to lose everything. Joyce will still need a pardon from the governor to get any compensation. And so far, there's been no justice for four-year-old Brandi. Whoever killed her is still free. You never got to grieve either. You never had time to grieve the loss of Brandi. No, I haven't.

But I'm gonna go and visit her grave. Church bells are ringing the world over this morning, especially in the Italian town of Agnone. Seth Doan has sent us a postcard. Easter Sundays have been ringing in this way for centuries. Here in the ridgetop town of Agnone, bells chime from 14 churches. This is Molise, one of the lesser known regions of Italy. But this otherwise obscure location is at the heart of a thousand-year-old tradition. It's home to the business Pasquale Marinelli was born into, one of the oldest bell foundries on earth.

It's not just work or heritage for Pasquale, it's a love affair. I have a wife but here I have a harem, he joked, adding you have to love bells, they're cared for, caressed and touched. Bricks make up the base, then layers of organic cement form the bell's shape, which is ultimately cast in bronze. These wax details will become a sort of stamp, personalizing the bell. But each one is already unique.

The molds have to be cracked apart and destroyed as part of the process of removing the bronze. How do you feel when the bells in town ring? I try to understand, he chuckled, are they mine? Yes, yes, I wonder if some of my ancestors made that bell, Pasquale told us, and I get excited because I know everything that goes into it. We asked him to take us up to the one of those towers to hear this bell made by his great-grandfather. Pasquale couldn't help but chime in, playing another one made by his father and uncle. Everything is handed down, Pasquale's older brother Armando Marinelli told us. For how many generations?

I'm 26, he said, my son is 27. Over the years they've developed some prominent clients, including popes. Each bell is blessed by a priest. Easter is tied to bells because the sound of bells is a sound of joy, a sound of resurrection, Armando said. Basically, the bells communicated events. Important moments have been marked with bells for centuries, guide Massimo Crisho explained.

First Holy Communion, someone got married, someone died. The died is a very low tone and it has big intervals, so it goes down, and of course, they tell time. The first ringtone will give the hour, the second ringtone will give you the quarter past, so 215 will be down, down, ding, 1145 sucks. He's brought his tour groups to this foundry and its museum for 16 years. For Americans familiar with the Liberty Bell, he's sure to note the damaged ones.

This cannot be fixed. Once a bell is cracked, it can never ring properly again, but has to be melted down and refashioned. This bell was hit by lightning. They showed us the most dynamic step in which they heat up the bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, and then pour it into bell-shaped molds buried in dirt. There was excitement in the air, even for this little demonstration. Now we're calmer, Armando added, and hope to hear these bells ring at Easter, the joy, the hallelujah.

Finally, the most emotional moment, what they call the rotura, or breaking. For as many years as they've done this, the work itself, it seems, never gets old. The Biden administration promised some 800 million dollars in additional aid and weaponry to Ukraine this past week. But will it get there in time? And will it be enough?

David Martin takes a closer look. From Javelin anti-tank missiles to body armor, the U.S. military has shipped some 10 million pounds of weapons and equipment bound for Ukraine. But is it enough? It still does not feel like we are all in to win. Retired General Ben Hodges, a former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, says U.S. support for Ukraine is just too cautious. We have exaggerated the potential for a so-called World War III to the point that we're making policy decisions based on an exaggerated fear. Fear of provoking a man who has thousands of nuclear weapons at his command and is willing to deliberately bomb civilians in an attempt to achieve something he might call victory.

The whole reason that they transitioned to this medieval approach of smashing cities is so that at some point, somebody would say, for the love of God, please stop killing these civilians. Let's get to a settlement, which is exactly what the Russians want, a settlement. Last week, Russia again warned the U.S. weapons shipments could bring unpredictable consequences. But that didn't stop the Biden administration from ratcheting up its support for Ukraine, with 18 howitzers and 40,000 artillery shells. It's a standard field artillery piece, pretty lethal combat system. Retired Army Colonel Richard Hooker served with the 82nd Airborne. How long will 40,000 rounds last? I would say weeks, not months. The howitzers are part of a new military aid package, which also includes 200 armored personnel carriers.

It will be helpful, but I wouldn't characterize it as a game changer. I used to think that given these atrocities and the depth of the depravity of the actions of Russia, that the West would become involved. But clearly, the West has made a decision that they're not going to go in there with direct force. Retired General Philip Breedlove is the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe. The Biden administration says it has spent more than two and a half billion dollars on equipment for the Ukrainian military.

Isn't that enough? I don't think that the amount of money nor the amount of tons of equipment that we've provided is the measure of merit. The real measure of merit is when are these weapons in the hands of the Ukrainian military so they can destroy Russian equipment, so they can kill Russian soldiers, because that is what will end this war. Breedlove says Western aid has failed to save the city of Mariupol from Russia's siege tactics. Forces in Mariupol are surrendering because they didn't have enough food and bullets.

Very basic things. We need to make sure that those things are delivered to the front where the fighting is going on. How does the U.S. do that? Well, I think that we've done it in the past, haven't we? Remember the Berlin airlift.

That was in 1948 when Joseph Stalin threw up a land blockade around the city of Berlin, and the U.S. called his bluff with a massive airlift. I don't think that should be off the table for consideration. I think that's a good thing.

I don't think that should be off the table for consideration here. If U.S. supply flights fly into Ukrainian airspace, aren't they liable to be attacked by Russian aircraft? Surely they are. We took the same risks in the Berlin airlift, didn't we? And is this just a question of calling Putin's bluff? I believe we're accumulating risk right now by doing nothing. I do not believe there is no risk way out of this conflict. We need for the Ukrainians to win this fight. People are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.

This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, New Georgia's right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise.

In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Author and screenwriter Delia Ephron was trying her best to handle the loss of her sister and then the death of her husband. When she got mail, she talks about love, loss and more with our Dr. John Lapook. Good girl.

Come on, Charlotte. Author Delia Ephron knows a thing or two about romantic storylines, and lately she's been living one. If you were to summarize what happened to you over the last few years and pitch it to a movie studio, what do you think the response would be?

I think they would buy it. And she would know, do you think we should meet? She and her sister, Nora, co-wrote the 1998 classic rom-com You've Got Mail. Suddenly love lands on me.

It's so amazing to fall in love and how lucky that I got to. But before luck came grief. Delia lost Nora in 2012 and her husband Jerome Cass just three years later, both to forms of cancer. Every time I came home, he wasn't there to schmooze about every single thing in the world.

And yet he was everywhere, wasn't he? Delia coped with her grief by writing about it in a darkly funny 2016 New York Times editorial about disconnecting her late husband's landline. I absolutely hate Verizon. I spent four hours on the phone with them on a recent Saturday morning.

I know for sure I was disconnected three times. Soon she got an email from Dr. Peter Rudder, who reminded her they'd gone on a date 54 years earlier, set up by who else? Nora. Part of the amazingness of getting that first email was that he said that Nora had set us up. I mean, I just couldn't believe it. It was like she was reaching down to me.

What was it about the Verizon article that made you reach out to Delia? She was single. But you had remembered her all these years? Oh, of course. Who forgets an Efren girl?

You are enjoying yourself. Soon, Peter and Delia were an item. At the same time at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian, Delia's blood tests were being monitored at regular intervals by Dr. Gail Robose. It was a cautionary measure because of Nora's leukemia. Every six months, I would go in to see Dr. Robose and she would take my blood and she would say something like, this is the most boring blood I've seen all day and send me off.

Dr. Robose is director of Weill Cornell Medicine's leukemia program. Delia's results continued to be boring for eight years, but then in March of 2017, she comes in, she has a blood test and she was almost getting ready to get up and go. And something flashed on the review of the blood smear and I went to take a look and all of a sudden there's acute leukemia. When you saw that, what was your reaction?

Do you remember? I think I wanted to run away. The shock of this, I got to tell you, it's a gut punch for us and it's a gut punch to the patient. I spoke with Dr. Robose and she said when she realized that you had leukemia and she needed to tell you that, she wanted to run away. Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.

Oh my God. Delia writes about the diagnosis in her new memoir, Left on Tenth. As she is sitting there, the rest of the results come in. Results that leave no doubt, I have leukemia. I don't remember her telling me.

I only remember suddenly knowing it. She's going from feeling fine to this awful news, coming in the hospital, catheter in her arm, chemotherapy. It's absolutely an unbelievable sort of 180 in one's life.

But that 180 was, for Delia and Peter, a reason to take the next step. Peter and I were having breakfast on Sunday and I was making French toast and he suddenly stands up and says, will you marry me? I mean, the sweetest. It was so sweet. And I said yes.

To have and to hold, to love and to cherish. And we got married in the hospital, in the dining room on the 14th floor, with just a very few friends. And you were there.

Yes, I was there. As Delia's longtime friend, capturing the whole thing on video. There I had the hospital band on my wrist and the flowers in my other hand. And the wedding band on the other.

Yeah, exactly. There was just such a kind of amazing disconnect. And yet at the same time, it was just very loving. With her new husband by her side, Delia tackled chemotherapy and then a stem cell transplant.

You go to see your transplant doctor. And what does he say to you? He says, basically, I have a 20 percent chance of survival. And I said, but we just fell in love. I don't know why I said that, because obviously it was absolutely irrelevant.

Right. But I guess in my head, I wanted him to know this mattered. She says love is what kept her going. But the transplant took its toll and she was having trouble breathing. So she said to Dr. Robos, please come and see me. And I said, I just want out.

I can't take it anymore. And she was calling in people and asking for that end of life conversation. So I was mentally scrambling for what would be a way to handle this. And she said, this is so brilliant. She said, give me 48 hours.

And if I get somewhere, give me another 48. So she gave me hope and an end game in one sentence. I didn't want her to give up. I thought she'd be OK. Forty eight hours later, her breathing began to improve. Today, four years later, there is no evidence of leukemia on any test.

And she is still very much in love. When something like this happens, where everything fits in some way that is just extraordinary, it just makes you wonder about life. It's a dumpster diver's fantasy. Hundreds of artworks, possibly worth millions, discovered in the trash.

They're now on display and on sale with David Pogue. Let's dive in. Jared Whipple is a skateboarder and a mechanic in Connecticut. In 2017, he got a call from a contractor buddy who'd been hired to clean out an old barn. He just said, Jared, nobody's been in there in like 40 years. When Jared and his friend George Martin arrived at the barn, they found a giant 40 yard dumpster full of art, jam packed with art from front to back. Every piece you see is individually thick plastic with dust and dirt. But as they unwrapped the paintings, something clicked.

And I'm just like, man, this stuff. Who is this guy? Were their signatures on signatures on everyone?

They're signatures on everyone. F. Heinz. So we're Googling and we're Googling and nothing's coming up. Nothing.

Finally, a lucky break. It's a small painting from 1961 and it said Francis Matson Heinz. So now we have a whole name. Alright, here we go. Mr. Google. Mr. Google, where are we at? Mr. Google revealed that in 1980, artist Francis Heinz had wrapped New York's Washington Square arch in fabric. At that point, it's like, this guy's famous. Why is it in the dumpster?

Can't figure it out. Jared became consumed by the mystery of Francis Heinz. I was obsessed with the research every day, whether I'm at work, whether I'm home. The first breakthrough was an old book he found on eBay. And it was a treasure trove. It was a biography. It was his family.

It was his friends. It turned out that Heinz was born in 1920, grew up in Cleveland, served in World War II, and became an illustrator for department store ads. Francis Heinz had his 15 minutes of fame in 1980 when he wrapped the Washington Square arch. Peter Hastings Falk is an art historian and publisher. He did JFK Terminal.

He was in the Port Authority bus station. He stands distinctly as the only artist to ever wrap a building in New York. Almost every piece of Heinz artwork involves... Tension.

And all of the energy occurs within that tension. But then Francis Heinz disappeared. Francis really retired to his studio, essentially. He cared about one thing, creating every day. I just love the process of making art. So he would create all this art in New York and then truck it to the barn, because that was his storage facility, and just keep filling it, and filling it, and filling it, and just forgetting about it. Heinz died in 2016 at age 96, but Jared was determined to resurrect his reputation.

He began calling New York art galleries. I got so many doors shut in my face. Is this a snob thing? I don't know. Maybe I got a wrong etiquette.

I'm a little old school, and I'm blue collar. Finally, he met Peter Hastings Falk, who agreed to help. I was really impressed. I mean, I was blown away by the originality that I saw. Is there value to these paintings? Yes, it's well into the millions of dollars once all is said and done. In May, the Hollis Taggart Gallery will exhibit the dumpster treasures in Southport, Connecticut.

They're likely to sell for over $20,000 apiece. And by agreement with the Heinz family, most of the art belongs to Jared Whipple. Do you feel like the art world is finally taking you seriously? The art world right now is taking me more seriously than I ever imagined in my life.

I'm an undereducated skateboarding mechanic. You know, I can't even wrap my head around it. It's happening fast now. Maybe Francis could wrap my head around it. But I can't wrap my head around it. It's a new tactic in the increasingly urgent battle against climate change.

Here's Ben Tracy. If climate change were a disaster film, it would likely be accused of being too over the top. Wildfires reducing entire towns to ashes, hurricanes swamping cities, droughts draining lakes and withering fields, and raging oceans redrawing the very maps of our coasts. And now many cities and states are asking, who's going to pay for all of this? This is real. We're on the front line of climate change right here in Charleston.

John Tecklenburg is the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina. The city has been battered by an endless parade of floods due to sea level rise. Some desperate homeowners have resorted to raising their homes by several feet. In the next 50 years, we'll see another two to three feet of sea level rise. The water is our greatest asset. It's also become our biggest challenge. So the city is raising large parts of its existing seawall. And the Army Corps of Engineers says Charleston should build another eight miles of wall. The city expects an estimated $3 billion in climate change related costs. Can you raise taxes high enough to cover these costs? It's like any big project.

You've got to look under every rock. Underneath one of those rocks are the fossil fuel companies, whose carbon emissions from oil, coal and gas, study after study has shown are major contributors to climate change. Charleston is one of more than two dozen cities, counties and states that are suing these companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhillips. I feel if you contributed to the problem that you should contribute to the solution. So in some ways it is a bit of a money grab.

Well, to the extent that they participated in what created this need, it's a money grab because there's some responsibility for what happened. The suits are modeled after the big tobacco cases of the 1990s and accused the companies and industry groups of making false and misleading claims about climate change. I'm suing ExxonMobil because they lied to us.

No court's going to have a hard time understanding that. William Tong is attorney general of Connecticut. He's suing ExxonMobil under the state's consumer protection laws. He says internal company research done by Exxon and Mobil, which used to be separate companies, shows they were aware of the dangers of climate change since at least the 1980s. There's a study from, I think, 1982 in which they produce a chart that shows as the levels of carbon dioxide rise, the temperature of our atmosphere will rise.

And that chart is almost exactly right. And the suit also cites this 1988 internal draft memo from an Exxon spokesperson, advising the company emphasized the uncertainty of climate science. This is a strategy document from ExxonMobil that basically says, let's lie. Let's say the science is not clear. Let's downplay the fact of climate change. Tong points to ads that look like editorials from ExxonMobil, as well as executives own words. But scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate.

Some of these internal memos from the company acknowledge uncertainty about this. Does that strengthen the company's argument that this was not settled science? No, it doesn't, because the fact is, is that they knew with a fair degree of certainty that there could be serious catastrophic effects from the continued use of fossil fuels. The fact that scientists have questions about their data is unremarkable. That's what scientists do. So your argument is, even if they didn't know everything, they knew enough.

That's right. ExxonMobil is named in all 24 of these lawsuits and says these claims are baseless and without merit. In total, the cases accuse more than 40 fossil fuel companies of a disinformation campaign. A doubling of the CO2 content of the atmosphere will produce a tremendous greening of planet Earth. Some point to this video, backed primarily by the coal industry, promoting the benefits of pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As more and more scientists are confirming, our world is deficient in carbon dioxide.

We reached out to several of the companies. Some responded, writing they are working to combat climate change. In addition, ExxonMobil and Shell said these lawsuits do nothing to advance that goal. Fighting climate change requires policy making, not lawsuits. Phil Goldberg is an attorney with the Manufacturers Accountability Project, a group helping the fossil fuel industry push back against these lawsuits. The attorneys in some of these cases, though, would say that what they're doing is trying to hold these companies liable for deception.

Is that fair? So Ben, this is not an issue of who knew what or when or who said what and when. The federal government has had the very same information that they're saying that the energy companies had going back in the 1960s and 70s and 80s. The question is what we're going to do about it today.

The scope of the problem is one that requires really a national approach. Richard Lazarus teaches environmental law at Harvard. Cities and counties and states are being the ones left with the problem when the federal government doesn't step up to the plate. He says even if the cities and states prove the fossil fuel companies deceive the public about climate change, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll win. They've done a really good job of showing that the oil and gas industry, I think, engage in fraudulent activity. The challenge of causation to prove that their fraudulent behavior is what prevented the United States from passing laws we needed to reduce those greenhouse gas emissions. So far, the industry has filed a series of motions slowing down the cases. Charleston, South Carolina, is bracing for a long and uncertain legal battle.

So if you're not successful with this lawsuit, what does that mean for what you're trying to do here? We're going to find a way to fund the improvements that we need. But I bet you've heard the phrase, hope is not a strategy. Hope springs eternal, right? But in the meantime, the water keeps rising.

It happened this past week. Our Sunday morning cameraman, Efrain Robles, became a United States citizen 33 years after arriving in this country from Mexico with his mother. Efrain says he's really proud.

We're even prouder. On this weekend of Easter and Passover, we have thoughts on war and peace and more. From Yale University Chaplain, Sharon Kugler in New Haven, and to begin, Los Angeles Rabbi Steve Leder. During Passover, our festival of freedom, we celebrate two kinds of freedom. Freedom from, and freedom to. We remind ourselves that freedom from slavery is an imperative to use that freedom to liberate others who remain oppressed.

God granted us free will. Human suffering is therefore a human problem, not a God problem. We cannot only pray for freedom and peace, we have to work for them. There are more slaves in the world now than any other time in history. Their anguish is in the clothes we wear, our coffee, our phones, and in many, even sadder ways. There are billions more people shackled by poverty, addiction, depression, anxiety, abuse, loneliness, and of course, this cruel and senseless war in Ukraine. The religious question, the spiritual question, the Easter and Passover question is, what shall we, who are among the freest and most fortunate humans who ever lived, do with our freedom and good fortune?

Let's not congratulate ourselves until we use them to liberate our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and everywhere from the pharaohs of today. We have been living with a deep burden of global unrest, uncertainty, grief, and fear that is starting to feel brutally defiant in its staying power. Our spirits are suffering under the stress of it all. And now here we are gathered in this imperfect way across these many screens, longing for connection, for reasons to hope, longing for multiple kinds of peace. What can we do thousands of miles away from a new war, a new invasion to bring peace? Let us pray for peace, peace in Ukraine, where people are fleeing, hiding, or losing their very lives in defense of their home, their way of life, peace in all places where aggression, poverty, ignorance, and violence oppresses and destroys our human family, peace in our aching hearts so that we can be part of the kind of healing that is restorative, peace in our minds, to create a more just world, peace in the light, peace in the dark, peace in the big, peace in the small, peace in the weak, peace in the strong. May you be Shalom, may you be Salaam, may you be Shanti, may you bring and be peace.

May you bring and be peace. Appearances are deceptive, and this morning Steve Hartman has proof. 46-year-old Vaughn Smith of Gaithersburg, Maryland was reluctant to even do this story. It's not something that's like, oh yeah, I'm the best. That's not what it's about. In fact, most people didn't even know you had this skill. Correct. You were just the guy cleaning the carpets.

I was just the guy cleaning the carpets, yeah. Although a carpet cleaner by trade, Vaughn's real gift is for words. He is what linguists call a hyperpolyglot, defined as a person who can speak at least 11 languages. As someone who took four years of French in high school and only remembers un poquito, the idea that anyone could speak 11 languages is unfathomable.

But Vaughn doesn't just know 11. As the Washington Post recently verified, he is fluent in or has a basic grasp of all these languages. Spanish, Italian, Portuguese.

This may take a while. I speak some Hungarian, I speak Finnish pretty well, I speak some Estonian. He also knows Welsh, Norwegian, Japanese, Hebrew, and even American Sign Language. That I had. Vaughn studies mostly with apps and books, uploading new words and phrases with almost fiber optic speed.

So far, he has learned about 40 languages. Do people immediately like you more when you speak their language? Most of the time, yes. Is that part of the draw for you?

Yes. Although never diagnosed, Vaughn suspects, and his mother Sandra agrees, that he is probably autistic. Oh yes, that was the problem. He had lack of participation, not communication. Not able to express my feelings properly or misinterpreting other people's feelings or intentions. But over the years, Vaughn has learned that when you make the effort to speak to someone in their native tongue, people are so grateful, friendships often follow. It's about being able to connect with people. It's so good.

And you don't need to know any languages to understand the importance of that. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. podcast. And in each episode, me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky, fun, inspiring, and informative stories that exist out in the world because, well, I need it.

And maybe you do too. From the newest interior design trend, Barbie Corps, to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television. So watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 16:03:25 / 2023-01-29 16:19:28 / 16

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