The World and Everything in It: August 16, 2022
The foster care system is in need of foster families, and the need may be increasing; the hot housing market seems to be cooling down; and two Australian brothers could be facing the end of a decades old family business. Plus: commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Fewer abortions in the United States may mean more children in foster care.
Are churches ready to help?
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also the housing market is showing signs of cooling, what’s it mean for home buyers and sellers?
Plus a visit to a fifth-generation Australian tannery.
And a real-world reflection on how pride often comes before a fall.
REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, August 16th. 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: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: China more military drills » China has announced more military drills around Taiwan after another group of US lawmakers visited the island.
TSAI: [Speaking in Mandarin]
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the threat that authoritarian nations pose to the global order.”
TSAI: [Speaking in Mandarin]
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey led the five-member U.S. delegation to Taiwan. He said Monday…
MARKEY: At this moment of uncertainty, we must do everything we can to maintain peace and stability for Taiwan.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit, China fired missiles over the island and into the Taiwan Strait. It also moved warplanes and navy ships across the waterway’s midline, which has long been a buffer between the sides that split amid civil war in 1949.
Beijing, which considers Taiwan its property, said Monday that it will take “strong measures to defend … territorial integrity.”
Taliban celebrates takeover anniversary » The Taliban on Monday celebrated the one-year anniversary of its takeover in Afghanistan as US forces withdrew.
AUDIO: [Sound of Taliban]
Bearded Taliban fighters, some hoisting rifles, staged small victory parades in Kabul. One group marched past the former U.S. Embassy, chanting “Death to America.”
But not everyone in Afghanistan is celebrating. The Taliban’s takeover sent the country’s economy into a tailspin and triggered a massive food shortage.
And one Afghan woman said her rights have disappeared.
AUDIO: [Speaking in Dari]
She said women are strictly limited in their right to work and many girls are prevented from getting an education.
GOP report blasts Afghanistan pullout » Meantime, House Republicans have compiled a scathing new report about the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan last August.
GOP Congressman Ronny Jackson:
JACKSON: It outlines the lack of planning, the lack of urgency by the White House, by the National Security Council, by the State Department.
Michael McCaul is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He told CBS that the intelligence community warned that Kabul could quickly fall to the Taliban.
MCCAUL: The military told us the same thing. And then we went to State and the White House and they paint a very rosy picture.
The report says the Biden administration ignored warnings and badly mishandled the withdrawal.
But the Biden administration pushed back. The National Security Council claimed the report was riddled with inaccuracies.
And State Dept. spokesman Ned Price told reporters…
PRICE: One year later, we are in a stronger position as a country because of the president’s decision, better able to focus on the threats and challenges, but also the opportunities of today.
He said the recent air strike killing al-Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan shows that America can still keep terrorists from using the country as a base of operations. But critics say it only shows that al-Qaeda is once again operating openly in Afghanistan.
FBI raid latest » The Justice Department on Monday rebuffed efforts to publicly release the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Trump’s Florida estate.
Several news groups have sought to unseal the affidavit. And Republicans have been calling for its release for days.
Senator Chuck Grassley:
GRASSLEY: Full transparency is going to be when they release the affidavit.
The search warrant and property receipt documents have been released. They outline generally what authorities seized at Trump’s home.
But the Justice Department says unsealing that affidavit that supported that warrant would reveal “highly classified” material and other information that would—quote—“cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
Former President Trump has accused the FBI of corruption in the matter. He said—his words—“This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country.”
Americans in Israel shooting » Three Americans from Brooklyn were among the eight people wounded in a shooting at a bus stop in Jerusalem.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is from Brooklyn, said one American was wounded as he bent down over his family to shield them from the bullets.
SCHUMER: He was shot in the neck and they had him on a respirator, but it looks like his condition is improving. His son was shot in the arm as he protected his son.
A pregnant woman from the U.S. was also shot in the abdomen. She had an emergency C-section, and her baby was in a neonatal hospital unit Monday.
The suspect is reportedly a 22-year-old Palestinian man. He turned himself in after the shooting on Sunday.
The motive was not immediately clear. The attack came amid heightened tensions between Israel and Palestinians.
Aung San Suu Kyi » The ruling military in Myanmar has convicted the country’s ousted democratic leader of more supposed crimes. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has more.
MARY MUNCY, REPORTER: The Myanmar military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi in February of 2021—the day she was set to win her fifth term as an elected leader of the country.
The ruling junta then charged and convicted her of sedition and corruption.
She’s currently serving an 11-year sentence, but a new conviction on political corruption charges could bring her total up to 17 years.
And she faces additional charges that could add decades to her sentence.
The U.S. and other Western governments say the military has been stacking up manufactured charges to keep Suu Kyi locked away.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, condemned the new sentencing and demanded her release.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Fewer abortions in the United States may mean more children in foster care. Are churches ready to help?
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 16th of August, 2022.
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. First up on The World and Everything in It: Over 420,000 children live in foster care in the United States.
If more states protect babies from abortion, will that mean more abandoned or neglected children in foster care? And if so, are churches ready to respond? WORLD’s Lauren Dunn reports.
LAUREN DUNN, REPORTER: Mason and Hannah Ryel got their foster care license in Kansas less than a month ago. Their social worker called them at 11:00 that night.
HANNAH: She said, I wanted to let you know, we just found out this evening that your license went through. And I have this one-year-old little boy.
Mason and Hannah already have a five-year-old and one-year-old. They weren’t able to say yes to that placement because of a scheduling conflict. But the call confirmed for them that children in their area needed families to be available right now.
Foster care is a vital part of caring for vulnerable children. Chelsea Sobolik is the senior director of policy and advocacy at Lifeline Children’s Services.
SOBOLIK: So foster care is vastly different than domestic private adoption. So the goal of foster care is reunification with a birth family. The best outcome for foster care is that a child is able to safely go back home.
Foster care agencies from Washington state to Pennsylvania have seen shortages of foster families, sometimes even going back years. In some states, including the Ryels’ home state of Kansas, children entering the system sometimes stay in hotel rooms or even staff members’ offices because there are no other options.
But will the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, which allows states to regulate abortion, make the problem worse? That’s hard to say.
SOBOLIK: It's too early to tell. And the reason being is because, you know, we don't we don't know yet what decisions women will make.
There aren’t numbers or data that can point to definite increase yet, but some experts also point out that as more children are protected from abortion, some of those children will likely be born into families dealing with difficult situations. Jedd Medefind is president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, or CAFO.
MEDEFIND: In those cases, in particular, we can expect that many of those children will have a special risk of going into the foster system, of experiencing the abuse, or perhaps the serious neglect that ultimately landed a child in the foster system.
But whether or not more children enter the foster care system, Medefind points out that Christians have a unique calling to help.
MEDEFIND: All throughout history, Christians at their best have been known for caring for children that the world has forgotten. But what we've really seen over the past couple of decades is, I think, a resurgence or a reawakening to this historic role in the American church.
Chris Seaton is the executive director and co-founder of Project Belong Virginia.
SEATON: Once we were approved, we were placed with two kids, one was six, and the other one was 11 months old.
The children stayed with the family for two years before another family adopted them. During that time, Seaton could sense that their fellow church members wanted to support them, but weren’t always sure how.
In 2018, Seaton an d a local adoptive mom started Project Belong Virginia to help churches in northern Virginia support adoptive and fostering families.
One initiative that they encourage churches to consider is “care communities,” in which a small group of designated people wrap around a family to offer whatever support they might need. Seaton says families who have this kind of support often keep fostering longer, and are less likely to burn out.
SEATON: Maybe it's a meal, a regular meal that happens every week, maybe it's some driving help, because invariably, when you're fostering, there's so many appointments and that sort of thing. Maybe it's help around the house, maybe it's tutoring help. Maybe it's quick, I need a 3T jacket from Target, you know, or do you have any hand me down rollerskates, you know, or whatever.
Project Belong Virginia works with about 85 churches in northern Virginia, and Seaton says they’ve seen more interest since the Dobbs decision in June.
SEATON: I see churches asking the question, how do we dig into this? How do we really be a part of the community? And we have seen an uptick of interest, which is heartening, because usually in the summer, it's a little bit more quiet of a time. And so I know that that's directly related to the decision earlier this summer.
Earlier this month, Kansans voted against a state constitutional amendment that would have allowed more protections for the unborn. During that time, foster mom Hannah Ryel read social media comments claiming that Christians who call themselves pro-life don’t care about children who have already been born. She wanted people to know that many Christians prove those statements wrong. She shared their plans to foster in a Facebook post to friends and family.
HANNAH: I know so many people who have opened their homes who have adopted, who support local ministries. Even if one person saw that I'm thankful that we have that opportunity to voice that.
In Kansas, the Ryels say that while there are other families in their church who foster, the church is just starting a foster care ministry. Mason and Hannah are still awaiting their first placement. They are licensed for up to two foster children, ages six and under.
MASON: Even if you only have the kid for a week, if you can show the love of Christ to that kid for one week, you have no idea what God can do in that one week, and that one week might plant the seeds for a faith that grows with the child for the rest of his life.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Lauren Dunn.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Up next: The shifting housing market.
It was pretty remarkable that in the middle of pandemic-related shutdowns that hammered the economy, the housing market took off like a SpaceX rocket.
Homebuyers tried to outbid one another as the number of house hunters outpaced the number of house sellers. It now appears the white-hot housing market may be cooling off just a bit.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: What’s the state of the housing market right now, where is it heading, and what about mortgage rates?
Joining us is Dale Vermillion. He wrote the book titled Navigating the Mortgage Maze: The Simple Truth About Financing Your Home. Dale, good morning!
DALE VERMILLION, GUEST: Good morning, Mary. Great to be with you. Thank you so much for having me.
REICHARD: Well, it looks like things are cooling off now. Where does the market stand in terms of prices and availability?
VERMILLION: You know, we are seeing a turn. It’s interesting as the rate started to shift about November of 2021, and we let into 2022, the first quarter was pretty active. Second quarter, it seemed like everybody kind of held their breath to see what was gonna happen. We have seen rates literally double in a 92 day period in 2022. We have never seen that in U.S. history. They've been tracking rates since 1971. First time that's happened. We've had the single biggest interest rate increase this year that we've ever seen, with rates going up over 300 basis points—that's over 3 percent in a matter of about five months. So that's really record performance. And what that's done to the housing market now is we've seen several things. A lot of people have jumped out of the market, partially because they were frustrated because they couldn't get contracts because of the competition, partially because of the increase in interest rates, and partially because of the increased values in properties. But we are seeing a turn now in the last several weeks. We have seen a lot of shifts in the marketplace that actually benefit buyers today. We're seeing the market for the first time in a long time move from a sellers market to a buyers market. And that's because now we're starting to see listings drop a little bit. People are realizing that they can't get those same values they were just three months ago or two months ago. So that's starting to change and that's bringing affordability back into line. And we're seeing less people offering on property. So there's a better chance to get contracts today than there used to be. So all these things combined have really led to a better buyers market right now than we've seen in a long, long time.
REICHARD: As overheated as the housing market has been though, is there any danger of a repeat of 2008 when the housing market collapsed?
VERMILLION: We definitely don’t have happening today what happened in 2008. 2008 was really a product, Mary, more than anything else of poor quality loans. It was a Wall Street product problem. It really came back to credit quality that was the primary driver of that major catastrophe that we had with housing. What we are going to see and we're already seeing, you know, property values always lag after listing prices. So we've seen over 10 years of property values increase. That's the longest run that we've seen since World War Two. We are starting to see, because listing prices are being pulled back, you'll start seeing property values drop in markets around the country. But I think that's going to be regionalised, not nationalized, like we saw in the 2008-2009-2010 markets. And the reason for that largely is due to work from home. Work from home is changing everything, Mary. It's interesting how today people can live pretty much anywhere they want to live in a lot of cases and work from where they're at. So for that reason, places that people want to be are going to continue to be high demand. That's going to keep prices up. It's always about supply and demand at the end of the day. But those markets where people don't generally want to get to, you're gonna start to see some drop in property value. So we will not see what we saw across the board in 2008 in 2022, but we will start to see property values drop in parts of the country.
REICHARD: Dale, where are mortgage rates right now and where are they likely heading as the Federal Reserve raises rates?
VERMILLION: Yep. So, one thing that’s really important for everybody listening to understand is that the Fed rate increases do not directly affect—believe it or not—mortgage rates. Now they do affect, you know, your rates in your savings and checking and money markets, and it affects car loans and personal loans and those kinds of things pretty directly. But when it comes to the mortgage arena, it's more based on a combination of inflation numbers. It's based on the bond market. Those are the things that really drive what interest rates do and although we did see a correlation between the increase of the Fed and the increase of the rates in the first half of this year, if you remember, just a couple weeks ago, we had the Fed raise the rates 75 basis points and interest rates dropped by almost a percent. So, you won't see a direct correlation anymore going forward like we have been seeing as they've been making the correction for inflation. So, as we start to see inflation numbers drop—we just saw a drop recently in the last week or so—we'll start to see mortgage rates move down. Today, they're sitting at about 5.3 percent on a 30 year fixed loan about 4.6% on a 15 year loan and adjustable rates are averaging right around 4.35. So, they're lower than they've been. They are going to probably hinge between the mid fours, mid fives, I would think, for the third quarter of 2022. Now, I have a lot of friends that are experts in this industry like I am that watch these numbers all the time. And in all the people that I've spoken to, what we really think is going to happen this year is rates gonna stay around that 4.5 to 5.5 percent range for the remainder probably of this year, maybe start to decline a little bit in the fourth quarter. And in 2023, we anticipate a little bit more drop and maybe see rates get in the low fours.
REICHARD: Dale Vermillion is the author of Navigating the Mortgage Maze: The Simple Truth About Financing Your Home. Thanks for your time today.
VERMILLION: Mary, always great to be with you. Thank you for having me.
NICK EICHER, HOST: You’ve seen those 26.2 stickers on people’s cars—26.2 and 13.1—do you wonder what those are? Well, they refer to miles that make up a full marathon or a half marathon.
Robert Pope is way beyond those piddling distances. He’s an ultramarathoner.
Last week, he achieved a first: he ran from Galway on Ireland’s west coast all the way to Dublin on the other side of the island in less than 24 hours.
Here’s Pope on CBC radio:
POPE: So I'm gonna set meself this challenge, I think that I probably can't do it. I gave meself a 40% chance of actually pulling it off.
You’d think even a smaller chance of pulling it off, when you consider the racing fuel he chose. It wasn’t exactly the typical pre-marathon diet.
He downed a pint of Ireland’s famous brew and then took off across the island.
POPE: And we got to like 25 mile point and I said to my crew, I said, I think I'm gonna have to wind this up boys because I'm not sure if I fancy another 20 hours of feeling sick.
I don’t know why he thought he might feel otherwise!
Nevertheless with the encouragement of others along the way, he persevered and ended the 133.5 mile run the way he started it: with a second pint of Guinness.
Perseverance, not brew, made the difference.
POPE: Your body wants you to stop because you’re tired. But it literally sometimes is just keeping one foot in front of the other.
Words to live by.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, August 16th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a dying trade.
Two Australian brothers tan leather for a living. In fact, their family has been tanning leather outside Melbourne, Australia for a very l-o-o-o-ng time.
So as the current generation ages, what’s next for the family business? Here is WORLD correspondent Amy Lewis with their story.
AUDIO: [Tacking nails]
AMY LEWIS, REPORTER: Fifth generation tanner Ross Greenhalgh stoops beneath a low ceiling. He’s in a corrugated metal drying shed in Bunkers Hill, Victoria. Greenhalgh tacks a deer hide to a nail-pocked board. When he’s done, he slides the board into place beside hundreds of other hides in the shed.
(Photo: deer hides tack)
AUDIO: [A/C & heater]
A blowing heater and air conditioners dry the air and the hides in the moist winter air of the southern hemisphere.
Greenhalgh Tannery has been around since just after the Australian Gold Rush of 1851. This is their newest location–built in 1863. Black cows wander across the driveway amid gnarled apple trees at least a century old.
ROSS: So my grandfather's place, see the chimney over there? We had a fire three years ago that wiped everything out, bushfire…So, his house was there. That's where my father grew up. And his sister.
AUDIO: [Bell on store door]
AMY: It smells good in here. (sniff)
The Greenhalgh Tannery showroom shelves are full of new Ugg boots, leather purses, belts and pelts and stamping tools. But the smell of history permeates the room with the earthy, brown aroma of fresh leather. This is the smell you might remember from the tack room of a barn or old leather-bound books.
But the smell of leather is fading. Most leather today goes through a three-day-long chemical chrome tanning process. Only 10 percent of all leather produced in the world still uses the 3-month-long vegetable tanning method.
Ross’s co-worker and older brother Bruce explains the beginning of the veg-tan process.
BRUCE: So when you get the hide these usually come salted so we soak them back. That’s to rehydrate them and get rid of the excess salt. After that we split them in half and flesh them….
The first wet parts of the process are done in the beam shed.
ROSS: And the reason that is because big tanneries back then they used to have, you know, 50 of these beams with someone over each one of them doing it. So, it was a beam shed.
Fleshing used to be done by hand.
ROSS: That's, this is a fleshing knife. Right? Bit rusty because we don't use it very often at all. But you put the hide over to cut the meat off the back and you slice it with this. But this is sharp, razor sharp. And the more you tilt back, you can alter how deep you cut each time.
An experienced flesher could get all the meat off the back of a hide in five or ten minutes. Now they have a machine that can do it in thirty seconds.
BRUCE: After they’re fleshed, they’re put in a lime solution with a bit of sulfide as well. That plumps it up and loosens the hair.
To become leather, the hides have to be soaked in lime to loosen the hair. Then they’re scudded or scraped clean and de-limed.
Ross dons a long thick apron before pulling 160 neutralized pink hairless kangaroo hides from an immense metal drum perched on its side. Ammonia gasses smart the eyes. The hides definitely don’t smell like leather yet.
Kangaroo leather is unique.
ROSS: Kangaroo is the strongest leather in the world for its thickness…. four times the strength of cow leather the same thickness, hence it's used for a lot of football boots and things like that because it’s very strong.
AUDIO: [Watery wattle tea]
The hides are then suspended in pits filled with an increasingly intense wattle bark tea. The tannins of the wattle—or black acacia bark—replace the moisture in the hides over the course of two months. Those natural tannins are where the process gets its name.
AUDIO: [Squeezing machine]
After the hides are tanned all the way through, Bruce and Ross squeeze the hides dry, then shave them to an even thickness.
AUDIO: [Shaving machine]
BRUCE: And the top half has the good half. That’s the grain leather. And the reason you're doing that is because it's the hides themselves are not an even thickness. They can be thick in the neck and thick in the butt and fall away in the middle, that sort of thing.
Then they wax and dye the hides. After all these steps and all that time, the hides finally have that classic smell of leather.
The tannery and the leather they make are classic, but they can’t go on forever. The brothers are in their 60s and thinking about retirement. Here’s Ross.
ROSS: Probably the hardest thing is when you're getting in your twilight years. That's probably the hardest part is, When are you going to give up? (laughs) You know.
When the brothers retire, the smell of leather in Australia will fade that much more. The Greenhalgh sixth generation has chosen other professions.
It’s not too bleak a future for the brothers though. Bruce has an exit plan.
BRUCE: Oh, I've got a little house paid off on the Murray and try and head up there on odd weekends and holidays sort of thing. Fishing which, well you know, when I say fishing I throw the line out and go to sleep. Fish are pretty safe! (laughs)
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Amy Lewis in Bunkers Hill, Australia.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, August 16th. 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. Pride. It’s a common human failing. And it’s one thing to see it in others. Another thing entirely to see it in ourselves.
WORLD commentator Whitney Williams now with a reflection on the new Top Gun movie–and learning to see our talents and aspirations through God’s eyes.
WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Y’all, I know I’m a little late to the party—okay, a lot late—but Top Gun: Maverick—woo! I left that theater so pumped! Well, the second time, anyway. The first time my husband and I went to see it, I left humbled.
AUDIO: [THEATER/BOWLING/ARCADE LOBBY]
We had arrived at our local theater slash arcade slash bowling alley thirty minutes early. Thought we’d have plenty of time. Wrong. The display screen showed only two seats left—and right on the front row.
I reluctantly clicked “purchase” and tried to remain optimistic as I broke the bad news to my husband, who’d gone to get us popcorn and a Coke. He groaned.
“Maybe it won’t be that bad,” I said, as we walked toward theater six.
Imagine smashing your face against the side of an elephant.
“Yeah … no,” we both agreed, opting for a refund and a few rounds of arcade basketball, instead.
AUDIO: [BASKETBALL ARCADE GAME]
Within a few minutes, we were shooting into separate, moving hoops, side by side.
Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh after swoosh! I was making every basket! Taking him down! Whaaaat?
“Perhaps I’ve missed my calling!” I gushed out loud, choosing to ignore my two years on the middle school B team with zero wins. Swoosh. Swoosh. “Somebody call the WNBA!” I squealed as the buzzer sounded.
“Oh yeah?” my husband challenged with a devious look in his eyes. He swiped our card for another game and proceeded to bring the heat. Swoosh, swoosh, nothing but net for him, it seemed; meanwhile, my balls turned to bricks and my arms went wet noodle. “What a show off,” I said, smiling, as I watched him head to the bonus round three times, my future in professional basketball going up in smoke.
Jesus told a story about a similar situation: “A farmer went out to sow his seed and as he was scattering the seed … some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”
A related warning appears in 1 Timothy concerning church elders: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
So what then, for the beginner with big dreams, for the new convert with top gun aspirations? Discouragement? By no means! But “when you are invited,” Jesus says in Luke 14, “go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.”
I believe I’d prefer that to the shutdown Mav received in the original Top Gun.
AUDIO: Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.
I’m Whitney Williams.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Afghanistan. The Taliban took over that country a year ago, we’ll get an update on what’s happening now.
And, the story of a Christian camp during segregation.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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