The World and Everything in It - May 5, 2022
Voices of protest and prayer outside the Supreme Court; the hot housing market; and a Mississippi woman lobbying public colleges to end open dorm policies. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Buying a house these days calls for creative thinking as homes sell so fast.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also outside the Supreme Court, protests over abortion.
Plus a Christian grandmother takes on a state’s university dorm policy.
And commentator Cal Thomas on the leak heard around the world.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, May 5th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Russian forces strike supply points in Ukraine » Russian forces are stepping up their attacks on supply lines in Ukraine shelling and bombing railroad stations and other transit points that help bring in weapons from the West.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated on Wednesday that his country needs more weapons to beat back the Russians.
ZELENSKYY: We need heavy artillery, heavy equipment to beat the Russians. And the U.S. has this kind of equipment.
The White House is asking Congress for an additional $20 billion in military aid—$33 billion overall.
The Russian military said it used sea-and air-launched missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine. Russian war planes and artillery also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots.
But Russia also struck plenty of other targets as well, setting off air raid sirens across the country on Wednesday.
AP evidence points to 600 dead in Mariupol theater airstrike » And a report sheds new light on the death and destruction from Russia’s shelling of civilian targets.
The bombing of the Donetsk Theater in Mariupol on March 16 stands out as the single deadliest known attack against civilians to date.
Oksana Syomina was among the survivors of that attack.
SYOMINA: The blow was terrible. Everything was in a fog. We did not see each other. Then my husband went upstairs to see what happened, and he started to get hysterical. He said corpses were everywhere.
An Associated Press investigation found evidence that the attack was far deadlier than estimated, killing close to 600 people.
One woman who lived near the theater ran to help and said she’ll never forget what she saw.
AUDIO: It is very difficult in psychological terms when someone around you is calling their father. A woman is being taken away by the arms and she shouts ‘I don’t want to live. Why should I live if the whole family died.’
The 600 estimated casualties is almost double the death toll cited so far, and many survivors put the number even higher.
EU takes major step toward Russian oil ban, new sanctions » In response to the atrocities in Mariupol and elsewhere, the European Commission announced a new round of proposed sanctions against Russia on Wednesday. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen…
LEYEN: We are listing high ranking military officers and individuals who committed war crimes in Bucha and those who are responsible for the inhuman siege of the city of Mariupol.
She called on the 27-nation bloc to phase out imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.
But she conceded that won’t be easy.
LEYEN: Because some member states are strongly dependent on Russian oil. But we simply have to do it.
Hungary and Slovakia say it will take them years to break away from Russian oil. The commission says it would give them a waiver, at least through the end of next year.
Member states must unanimously approve the proposals, and they’re likely to fiercely debate them. The EU still gets about 25 percent of its oil from Russia.
The Fed hikes interest rates » The Federal Reserve is hiking interest rates faster than usual, trying to beat back soaring inflation with the cost of almost everything on the rise.
The Fed raised its benchmark short-term rate half a percentage point on Wednesday. That was double the usual amount. That follows a quarter-point increase last month.
Greg McBride is chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. He says those rising interest rates will increase the cost of borrowing money. For example…
MCBRIDE: Going forward, what we will see is variable rate debts, things like credit cards, home equity lines of credit, private student loans. Those loans will stair step higher in concert with the Federal Reserve.
Those rising rates could dampen or eventually even halt the country’s economic growth for a time. But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters…
POWELL: The American economy is very strong and well positioned to handle tighter monetary policy.
With inflation at a 40-year high and still rising, the Fed says it must take action at a faster rate than usual.
North Korea fires ballistic missile amid rising animosities » North Korea has test-launched yet another ballistic missile. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more on that.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Officials in South Korea said the missile was launched in the Pyongyang region and landed in waters off North Korea’s eastern coast.
It called North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches “a grave threat” that undermines international peace and security. Japan also detected the North Korean launch and quickly condemned it.
The launches violate U.N. Security Council resolutions banning any ballistic launch by the North.
The latest test-firing came days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to speed up the development of his nuclear program. He vowed to produce nuclear weapons at—quote—“the fastest possible pace” and threatened to use them against rivals.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: rallies outside the Supreme Court.
Plus, punishing the attempt to sabotage the court’s work.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday the 5th of May, 2022.
You’re listening to World Radio and we thank you for listening. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up on The World and Everything in It: protests and prayers outside the Supreme Court.
REICHARD: …as you’d expect. After the draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case leaked on Monday night, pro-abortion protesters immediately started to organize. The next day, they held rallies in cities across the country.
Pro-life groups have taken a more cautious approach, given that the leaked draft is just that—a draft.
The draft indicates the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, but it’s not a final opinion and so the matter is not yet settled.
BROWN: Still, that didn’t stop pro-lifers from engaging abortion supporters with their perspective on a post-Roe future. WORLD Digital reporter Carolina Lumetta traveled to Washington, D.C. Tuesday to check out the protests outside the Supreme Court. Here’s some of what she heard.
AUDIO: Shame, shame!
[Speaker bashing pro-lifers moving to chants…]
Who’s streets? Our streets!
REICHARD: In between the pro-abortion speakers, a few pro-lifers tried to engage with the protesters.
AUDIO: [Pro-abortion activists arguing with a pro-lifer]
The woman who came to this man’s defense wasn’t planning to join the rally. Her name is Michele. She’s an 18-year-old college freshman.
MICHELE: I was actually not expecting to come. I was walking home from getting groceries and this is my commute home. So… I was really just listening. I saw a lot of people gathering around that poor guy and I was just like [groans]. And I wasn’t really sure like what the beginning of the conversation started with, so I didn’t really want to speak to something like they’d already discussed but like they said something I had experienced. I was raised in a Catholic school and so when they say something, they’re speaking for a whole group, that I didn’t experience, I felt the need to just say, hey, you’re wrong. I just want to let you know. [laughs]
BROWN: Michele attended the rally outside the Supreme Court in December when justices heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson. And even though she wasn’t planning to stop at Tuesday’s event, she’s encouraged by what the leaked opinion might mean.
MICHELE: I’m hopefully optimistic. I’m praying hard that that is the decision that goes, that carries through to the end. I do know that with it being leaked it was most likely an attempt to intimidate some of the justices into changing their minds. I hope that that doesn’t happen. I pray that that doesn’t happen.
Speaker: When human rights are under attack, what do we do?
Crowd: Stand up, fight back! Stand up, fight back!
Speaker: When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do?
Crowd: Stand up, fight back! Stand up, fight back!
Abortion supporters outnumbered pro-lifers during Tuesday’s rally, but Michele says she’s not intimidated.
MICHELE: I know that we do hold the silent majority in America and that the majority of America is pro-life, or does support some restrictions on abortion, whether it’s at a certain age or stage of life. And so I really do believe that the majority of these people are all bark and no bite. They can scream in my face all day long. It’s not going to change the fact that I know that I’m right and whether this was in a different time in history, this would be seen very, very differently, I hope, 50, 60, 75 years down the line.
REICHARD: Michele compared abortion to slavery and noted at one time, a vocal group of influential Americans thought that was OK, too. She says she’s praying for a time when, just like slavery, abortion is recognized for what it is.
MICHELE: I think that abortion is an evil and it’s something that can be avoided entirely. And I don’t really see a reason to have this in the 21st century with the medical devices that we have, with the science that we know, and with the resources that we can obtain.
During Tuesday night’s rally, a group of 13 students from The Catholic University of America knelt to pray. A crowd of abortion supporters soon surrounded them.
AUDIO: [Yelling, swearing]
BROWN: They jeered and shouted profanities at the praying students for about 15 minutes while the group continued to pray silently. The students said they faced the same abuse the night before.
MICHELE: I mean, we figured we’d just go there and say our piece, which is just praying. Because a lot of this conflict and division is not going to, I would like to see a lot of that solved by dialog. But I think we saw tonight, that doesn’t really happen, so we just hope in prayer. Honestly, there’s not a lot of things. There’s not a lot of things that can hold this country together and it seems like God is one of the last things on that table.
REICHARD: To read more of Carolina Lumetta’s ongoing coverage of the reaction to the anticipated verdict in Dobbs v. Jackson, visit WNG.org.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the real estate market. Home prices rose nearly 20 percent in 2021. And prices continue to soar, even with interest rates rising. First-time home buyers are having a particularly hard time. WORLD’s Jenny Rough reports.
JULIE PEARSON: Three bedrooms up and it’s got a bedroom down with a rec room. It’s got a beautiful deck in the back that has a spectacular view. Beautiful sunset.
JENNY ROUGH, REPORTER: It’s spring. Homebuying season. But realtor Julie Pearson says in her neck of the woods—Northern Virginia—there’s not enough inventory to keep up with demand. In March, new homes in the area averaged just 15 days on the market before they sold.
Ralph McLaughlin says that’s true across the country. McLaughlin is chief economist for Kukun, a real estate evaluation and data analytics company.
RALPH MCLAUGHLIN: Half of all homes on the market are gone within four weeks. In some markets it’s three-quarters of all homes. That’s pretty insane.
McLaughlin says pre-pandemic, the market was like the Wright brothers’ Flyer.
RALPH MCLAUGHLIN: Moving along at sort of normal speeds. A ho-hum average housing market.
RALPH MCLAUGHLIN: I would describe today’s housing market as SpaceX Starship. It’s moving at breakneck speed. Today, there are about half as many homes on the market, so it’s very, very tough to find a house. And if you get one, it’s likely not to meet your preferences.
Kim and Jordan Basenback got caught in today’s Starship market. They got engaged in January of 2021 and started house-hunting in Virginia. Neither had owned a place before. But Kim had a dog.
KIM BASENBACK: A 95-pound dog, so he needs some space.
AUDIO: [Dog slurping water]
And had other plans on her mind, too.
KIM: We started to just gravitate towards single family homes that had just a, you know, an extra room or two that we could turn into space for a kid or two [laugh].
They found the perfect house.
JORDAN BASENBACK: A huge, nice pool in the backyard, huge privacy fences, huge living room, you know, it was just like, it checked all these boxes, heated floors.
KIM: And then it had like this covered outdoor area with fans and like a TV, like, so you could like entertain. I mean it was just—
JORDAN: Really nice.
Jordan is a teacher. Kim, a financial planner. They felt confident they weren’t sticking their necks out money-wise. They put in an offer. But got outbid.
KIM: Oh. That house, it still hurts.
The market began to balloon. They made another offer, on a different house. Outbid again. Then the market went crazy—and so did Kim and Jordan.
KIM: And then we just started going like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Every weekend we were putting offers in.
Single family homes were going $50,000 to $100,000 dollars over the listing price. The Basenbacks tried to keep their wits about them.
KIM: A lot of people are waiving all contingencies. Hey, we don't care what the house, what condition the house is in, we're going to waive the inspection. We're going to waive the appraisal.
The Basenbacks didn’t waive the appraisal. They knew if the appraisal came back under what they offered, they’d have to pony up that extra money. It felt like too much financial exposure.
Economist Ralph McLaughlin says plunging inventory and record-low mortgage rates weren’t the only factors driving the change.
MCLAUGHLIN: The pandemic really made households rethink where they live and work, which now for many households tend to be the same place.
After their eleventh offer was rejected, the Basenbacks took a break. They married and rented in the area where they hoped to buy. That gave them a chance to get to know their community better and figure out the neighborhoods they liked—and didn’t.
McLaughlin says the right fit is important. When it comes to a house, staying put for the long-term brings the best investment. He’s not sure that’s going to happen in today’s frenzy.
MCLAUGHLIN: If people are being a little more, I don’t know, reckless or careless, if you will, because the market is so frantic and they’re just going to buy whatever they can get, what you’re going to have is most likely a mismatch problem. You’re going to get folks that thought they were buying one thing and they actually got another. And so there may be some discontent with that.
Perhaps the market is overheated, but he doesn’t believe we’re in a housing bubble or foresee a meltdown.
MCLAUGHLIN: You don’t get housing market collapses unless you have (A), an economy that’s really gone down the gutter and/or (B) you have a market where people have to sell their homes. Today, you know, the economy is rife with inflation, and that’s not great. But it’s still growing. We aren’t shedding jobs. We’re actually gaining jobs.
Those conditions don’t tend to lead to foreclosures. Plus, the market is starting to shift.
MCLAUGHLIN: If you look at inventory charts squint your eyes really, really, really tightly you can see inventories growing a little bit. And we may see a very different housing market within the next six to 12 months. A more normal looking housing market.
After their pause, the Basenbacks made their twelfth offer last month. $50,000 over asking, and they did waive the appraisal. They also sent a letter introducing themselves to the seller, who was taking offers as they came instead of all bids at once.
JORDAN: I was watching Downton Abbey during it. The duke who runs the Downton Abbey, he is a steward of the home, he’s not the owner of the home. And so we sort of brought that into the letter, too. You know, we will continue to be good stewards of this home.
They moved in last week.
AUDIO: [Unpacking boxes]
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Jenny Rough in Northern Virginia.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: A Florida nurse decided to do something a little more interesting for her birthday this year.
Raymonde Sullivan went tandem skydiving for the first time.
Now I’ve known people who’ve done that, but I should mention that Raymonde is a retired nurse who mended the wounds of soldiers on the front lines during World War II!
The birthday she just celebrated by jumping out of an airplane was her 100th. She told television station WPTV:
SULLIVAN: I had never done it. So I thought I must do it while I can.
She said the experience was scary, and while she’s glad she tried it, she’ll choose a different activity for her 101st birthday.
BROWN: You go, girl!
REICHARD: It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 5th. This is WORLD Radio and we’re so glad to have you along with us today. Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Pushing for a change.
Christians face growing conflict in modern America as social norms slide further and further away from biblical teachings. Trying to turn the tide can be difficult.
BROWN: Especially on college campuses, where liberalism often reigns. Today WORLD Senior Writer Kim Henderson takes us to meet a woman who is shaking up the status quo at public universities in her state. Here’s her story.
KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Nancy Barrett is the epitome of Southern hospitality. She’s quick to offer coffee, as well as an impromptu chicken salad lunch. Both served on her mother’s china, mind you.
But if there’s any subject that can change her calm demeanor, it’s college dorms. And what is happening in them.
BARRETT: I have a friend who is from Colorado, and she called me to see if she could borrow my condominium to allow her daughter to leave the room during exams.
Her friend’s daughter was living at the University of Mississippi, Barrett’s alma mater, in a dorm with open visitation. Students don’t often report violations of visiting rules because that would be tattling, and peer pressure is strong.
BARRETT: There was a boy in the room with her roommate. And the night before she had slept on the floor of the laundry room. So that disturbed me, her mother terribly, all of us.
Barrett was disturbed enough to contact the school. She couldn’t believe what she learned about open dorms and visitation policies.
BARRETT: From 10 in the morning until midnight during the week. From 10 in the morning until two in the morning, the next morning, on the weekends. Now, there's no reason for this policy to be in force. There is nothing good that ever comes out of boys being in girls’ bedrooms, and that is what a dorm room is. A dorm room is a bedroom.
Barrett was surprised to find administrators indifferent to her concerns. Back when she lived at Ole Miss, male students would have been expelled for coming into her room.
BARRETT: We were safe, though. We could, you know, visit back and forth in our pajamas or whatever we wanted to. We didn't have to dress to get out of our rooms. When do they study with people chit chatting in the room, a boy and a girl?
Studying may be the least of concerns for some students. One freshman described spotting a pregnancy test in the trash can in the bathroom on her floor. She also saw an empty Plan B abortion pill box.
BARRETT: It's a frightening thing, especially from a Christian standpoint. But from any standpoint, it's a dangerous thing. And it just needs to stop.
The danger part is of interest to Andrea Curcio, a professor at Georgia State University College of Law who researched and wrote about the issue after it hit home.
CURCIO: My daughter was a victim of a dorm-based sexual assault.
Curcio says conversations about college sexual assaults often ignore a basic fact—that the majority of them happen in dorm rooms.
CURCIO: We say don't put down your drink at a fraternity party. We say be careful when you're walking home on campus. There's blue boxes on campus, all of that, to create a sense of “it's not safe out there.” But there's nothing alerting students to the need to pay attention where they live.
Curcio isn’t convinced open or even co-ed dorms are the problem. Still, more than 70 percent of on-campus rapes occur in campus residence halls. In 9 out of 10 cases, the perpetrators are people the victims know.
At 75, Barrett is an unlikely activist. She’s a grandmother who’s more comfortable playing a supporting role to her trial lawyer husband than emailing newspaper editors. But she saw a gap in Christian response. Barret and others formed an advocacy group.
BARRETT: Nobody is tending to this problem. And so we noticed that, and so that's why our group has taken it on willingly and enthusiastically.
Their goal is the elimination of opposite-sex visitation in dorms at all public universities in Mississippi. They’ve contacted legislators and university chancellors. They’ve launched a website and placed full-page ads in The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi’s largest newspaper.
AUDIO: [TURNING NEWSPAPER PAGES]
Board member Janie Harris shares Barrett’s concerns. Most schools require freshmen to live on campus, and she says 18-year-olds aren’t willing to complain about the problems that come along with nearly around-the-clock visitation.
HARRIS: There's so much peer pressure on our young men and women their freshman year to fit in—to be accepted, to be popular—that so many of them are afraid to speak up.
Barrett believes everybody loses when boundaries come down. The girls. The guys. They suffer spiritually, physically, academically.
BARRETT: We will never know the harm that it brings on these young people, because much of this policy is shrouded in secrecy and shame. Administrators and our government turn a blind eye.
To truly make a change, schools will have to turn back the clock.
BARRETT: The closest we've gotten to an explanation is that men were allowed in the rooms since the ’70s. That's a long time to have a bad policy.
But Barrett offers an easy solution.
BARRETT: Nothing is required to fix this problem except a piece of paper taped to the door of each dorm— “There will be no opposite gender visitation.” Simple, cheap. Less than $5 per campus. This is not an expensive fix. This is a mindset.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Jackson, Mississippi.
BROWN: To read more about this story, look for Kim’s companion article in the latest issue of WORLD Magazine. We’ve included a link to it in today’s transcript.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Here’s commentator Cal Thomas.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: This week’s leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court shows just how far abortion supporters will go to keep Roe v. Wade in place.
But the sabotage effort isn’t likely to succeed. While acknowledging the document’s authenticity, Chief Justice John Roberts said the leak would not undermine the integrity of the court’s operations. That suggests it won’t influence the final vote in the case, as the leaker might have hoped.
Whoever is responsible for this unprecedented breach of confidentiality should face swift and serious consequences, starting with termination and extending to prosecution. Roberts has directed the marshal of the court to launch an investigation. It should begin with assembling the entire court—including clerks—to root out the leaker.
Predictably, those supporting abortion reacted swiftly, almost as if they were prepared for the leak. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement lamenting the loss of a woman’s “bodily autonomy.” What about the baby’s bodily autonomy, especially those who have developed sufficiently to live outside the womb if given the chance?
In the draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito says the 1973 case overturning restrictive state abortion laws was “egregiously wrong from the start.” So, where do the 60 million babies aborted so far go for justice?
Roe v. Wade has led to a modern version of Old Testament child sacrifices to pagan gods. Our modern “gods” are more sophisticated. We worship pleasure and bad decisions without consequences. The widespread availability of contraceptives, pregnancy help centers, and adoption services for those who have unplanned pregnancies do not deter abortion supporters. To them, abortion is a faux sacred rite.
What’s next? Senator Bernie Sanders was quick to issue a statement calling the Senate to end the filibuster so a majority might codify Roe with legislation.
Assuming the draft opinion reflects the court’s intent, abortion regulation will return to the states, as it was prior to Roe. California and New York, along with some others, will surely pass laws reflecting the content of Roe. Voters will then decide whether to punish or reward their lawmakers.
The hysterical reaction from many on the left again reveals their belief that they are the sole arbiters of all things. Those who disagree must conform or be smeared with what have become familiar pejorative labels.
But abortion supporters are losing the public opinion battle. Support for the pro-life position has grown steadily since the 1970s. Americans are now pretty evenly divided between pro-aboriton and pro-life positions. And support for abortion depends largely on the baby’s level of development. Only 28 percent of those who support abortion say it should still be legal after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Mississippi law at the heart of the Supreme Court case would stop abortion after 15 weeks.
If the court overturns Roe, it won’t end abortion. But it would sharply reduce the number of babies who die every year because of it.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow it’s Culture Friday with John Stonestreet.
And, summer movies. We’ll preview some of the biggest movies coming out during the next few months.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
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