MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
President Biden plans to wipe out certain student loan debt but he’s getting pushback from within his own party.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Also it’s been three years since Nigerian Christian Leah Sharibu was kidnapped by terrorists. We’ll hear the latest on that.
Plus encouragement for husbands this weekend.
And if your Valentine is a bit frayed, commentator Kim Henderson has some advice for wives.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, February 11th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BASHAM: And I’m Megan Basham. Good morning!
REICHARD: Time now for news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Impeachment managers, defense wraps up opening arguments » Lawmakers will reconvene at noon today for day-three of former President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
On Wednesday, impeachment managers wrapped up opening arguments, detailing months of tweets and remarks by the former president that they say fueled the Jan. 6th Capitol siege.
Congresswoman Madeleine Dean told senators…
DEAN: Donald Trump told his supporters ‘They are stealing the election. They took away your vote. It’s rigged!’ That was not true.
And Congressman Jamie Raskin argued…
RASKIN: In the days leading up to the attack, you’ll learn that there were countless social media posts, news stories, and most importantly credible reports from the FBI and Capitol Police that the thousands gathering up for the president’s Save America march were violent, were organized with weapons and were targeting the Capitol.
Impeachment managers charged that Trump was no innocent bystander, but was instead the “inciter in chief.”
But Trump’s defense lawyers maintain that the president neither called for nor expected violence.
And many Senate Republicans say they’ve seen nothing that proves the former president’s guilt. Senator Kevin Cramer told Fox News on Wednesday…
KRAMER: I think that the line between criminal liability and firing up a crowd is a pretty tough cause-and-effect to make for an insurrection.
The trial will continue at least through tomorrow afternoon. After closing arguments, senators will have a total of four hours to question both sides.
Dems attempt to push through school funding, wage increase » Democrats muscled past Republicans this week to advance two big components of President Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan.
Democrats on the Education and Labor panel approved a measure that would send $130 billion in additional relief to schools and another that would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki touted a report from the Congressional Budget Office suggesting the wage hike would help many at the bottom of the pay scale.
PSAKI: They’ve also concluded that 27 million American workers would—millions of low wage workers, I should say—27 million American workers would be able to get—it would help get them out of poverty.
But Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said Democrats aren’t painting the complete picture.
ERNST: What they are forgetting, these progressive liberals, is the folks in middle America where the cost of living is much lower. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will put 1.4 million Americans out of work.
Democrats hope to rush the bill to Biden for his signature by mid-March, using a special budget-related process called reconciliation. That will allow them to cut Republicans out of the process.
House Republicans attempted dozens of changes to the legislation. One proposed amendment would have exempted small businesses or certain rural areas from a minimum wage hike, but that amendment failed.
It’s still unclear, though, if Democrats will be able to pass the minimum wage hike using budget reconciliation.
Government investigating massive counterfeit N95 mask scam » Federal authorities are investigating a massive counterfeit N95 mask operation after someone sold fake 3M masks to hospitals and government agencies. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: N95 masks are considered the gold standard for protection against the coronavirus. But foreign-made fakes are becoming increasingly tough to spot. And that is raising worries over the safety of healthcare workers.
Homeland Security investigator Steve Francis said DHS is seeing “a lot of fraud and other illegal activity” as crooks cash in on the pandemic.
Investigators say they’ve also seen an increase in phony websites purporting to sell vaccines, as well as fake medicine and personal protective equipment.
Federal authorities have already executed more than 1,200 raids, seizing more than 10 million counterfeit 3M masks alone. And 3M, based in Maplewood, Minnesota, has filed more than a dozen lawsuits over reports of fraud, counterfeiting, and price gouging.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
14 states call on Biden to reverse course on Keystone XL » Fourteen state attorneys general are calling on President Biden to reverse course on the Keystone XL pipeline. Biden has signed an executive order seeking to stop construction on the project.
In a joint letter to the president, the attorneys stated—quote—“Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities.”
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said a growing number of lawmakers, including some Democrats, are asking Biden to rethink the order. But he said they’re not banking on it.
P.BUSH: For us, an industry that employs over 400,000 Texans and on average pays over $120,000, this is the lifeblood of our economy, so we’re going to leverage every legal remedy available to the state.
The new Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee is one of those Democrats asking President Biden to reconsider.
Senator Joe Manchin said Keystone XL and other pipelines “continue to be the safest mode to transport our oil and natural gas resources, and they support thousands of high-paying, American union jobs.”
President Biden sided with environmental groups that say the pipeline poses too great a great risk.
The 1,700-mile pipeline was planned to carry roughly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Biden announces sanctions against Myanmar generals » Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, President Biden said the United States is taking action against the military leaders behind the coup in Myanmar.
He said first, the U.S. government will prevent the generals from improperly accessing “the $1 billion in Myanmar government funds held in the United States.”
BIDEN: And today, I’ve approved a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.
The president again called on those generals to relinquish power and release the political leaders it is now holding captive.
Meantime, in Myanmar, large crowds demonstrated against the military takeover on Wednesday, defying a ban on protests.
AUDIO: [Myanmar protest]
Tens of thousands of protesters packed the streets in the country’s biggest cities.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: the president’s push to erase student loan debt.
Plus, Kim Henderson on a two-fold approach to lifelong love.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Thursday, the 11th of February, 2021.
You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you are! Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. First up: student debt.
Last year, in response to the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, the government froze federal student loans. Borrowers weren’t required to make payments, and interest accumulation stopped.
REICHARD: This year President Joe Biden extended the freeze through September, and he wants Congress to forgive $10,000 dollars of federal debt per student. But some Democrats are pushing for more drastic action.
WORLD’s Esther Eaton reports.
ESTHER EATON, REPORTER: Hope Campbell graduated from Union University in May 2020 with a degree in political science and about $9,000 dollars in debt. Thanks to the freeze, she hasn’t had to make monthly payments yet.
CAMPBELL: Which was nice because that’s really the only COVID relief that I’ve felt, because my parents still claim me as a dependent. And, yeah, so I haven’t gotten any stimulus money, so that was, that has been a good plus.
Campbell is one of about 43 million people in the United States with student loan debt. Altogether, they owe about $1.5 trillion. By paying a hundred dollars here and there, Campbell has whittled her debt down to about $7,000.
Prominent Democrats want President Biden to wipe out the rest of Campbell’s debt with a stroke of his pen. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York unveiled the proposal last week.
SCHUMER: We are here today to introduce our proposal to cancel $50,000 in student debt and take a huge burden off so many people in America.
Schumer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and others are pushing Biden to do that by executive order. So far, Biden has resisted, preferring to let Congress do the cancelling. His press secretary, Jen Psaki, reiterated his stance at a briefing last week:
PSAKI: The President has and continues to support canceling $10,000 of federal student loan debt per person, as a response to the COVID crisis. He’s calling on Congress to draft the proposal. And if it is – if it is passed and sent to his desk, he will look forward to signing it.
Biden’s smaller forgiveness package is intended to target borrowers who never graduated college. Without a degree, they don’t reap the reward of higher earnings and so struggle to pay off even small amounts of debt.
But critics say canceling debts places an unfair burden on taxpayers, especially those who didn’t attend college or who worked to cover costs as they went. Lindsey Burke, director of education policy at The Heritage Foundation, explained the problem to Sinclair Broadcast Group last week.
BURKE: Many individuals made a conscious decision not to attend college to avoid debt. So forgiveness proposals at any amount would foist someone else’s debt onto them.
Biden’s $10,000 forgiveness proposal will cost about $370 billion, according to higher education researcher Preston Cooper. And Senator Warren estimated forgiving $50,000 per borrower would cost almost twice that.
And canceling current debts won’t prevent future students from racking up new debt loads. To help with that problem, the president has proposed eliminating community college tuition for low-income students. But that wouldn’t make much of a dent in future loans. Analysts at the American Enterprise Institute estimate it would only take 14 years for federal student loans to climb back to today’s level.
Campbell used academic scholarships, a job as a residential assistant, and help from her parents to reduce her undergraduate debt. But now she’s considering taking out more loans to pay for a master’s degree in social work.
CAMPBELL: I have definitely looked at how much tuition costs. I’m waiting on my like financial aid package, which apparently will show up in March. So, yeah, I’m a little nervous about that, of how much it’s going to add.
Only a quarter of student borrowers have graduate degrees, but a Brookings Institution analysis last year found that they account for half of all U.S. student debt.
Campbell won’t have to worry about her current loans until later this year. And until she finds out whether Congress will write them off, she doesn’t plan to make any regular payments.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Esther Eaton.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: persecution.
Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of a mass kidnapping in Nigeria that sparked international outrage.
On February 12th, 2018, Boko Haram fighters attacked a school in Dapchi, in northeast Nigeria. They took more than 100 girls hostage. A month later, only one remained in captivity: 15-year-old Leah Sharibu.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Most of the girls were Muslim. But Leah Sharibu is Christian. Her captors demanded she renounce her faith to gain her freedom. She refused. Three years later, she still hasn’t come home.
Joining us now to talk about Leah’s case is Onize Ohikere. She is WORLD’s Africa reporter, based in Abuja, Nigeria.
Good morning, Onize!
OHIKERE: Good morning, Mary!
REICHARD: About six months after Leah’s abduction, Boko Haram released an audio recording of her asking Nigeria’s president to negotiate for her release. Is that the last time her family heard from her? Have they had any confirmation that she’s still alive?
OHIKERE: Unfortunately there hasn’t been any recent proof of life, although there’ve been some few in the past. Back in August of 2018, just months after Leah was abducted, she appeared in the only video recording ever seen so far and pleaded for the government’s help on her case and for people to help her parents and younger brother. In January last year, a released hostage who was also held by the extremist group said she came across with Alice Ngaddah, a Christian aid worker who was taken about one month after Leah. Alice at the time said Leah was alive and doing well. But nothing recently.
REICHARD: In 2019, Leah’s mother came to Washington to plead with U.S. lawmakers to intervene in her daughter’s case. The family said then that they hadn’t heard from the Nigerian government in months. Have government officials spoken at all about the case since then?
OHIKERE: The government has insisted it would not relent in its effort to bring her back home. February last year, government reports said the insurgents rejected a ransom offer to free Leah, but that’s still unconfirmed. And I think that represents the difficulty the family is facing. Leah’s parents, as you said, reported they have been in the dark over her case.
Only last month, her father Nathan, told the BBC in an interview that he has left everything to God as rumors circulated that Leah had given birth to a child for one of the insurgents. He said he was unable to verify the report since government officials have still not spoken to the family.
REICHARD: Leah’s kidnapping was not the first involving a large number of schoolgirls. Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of girls from a school in Chibok four years earlier. That got a lot of attention all around the world. And many of those girls are still being held. Are these cases something that still gets attention in Nigeria? Is Leah’s plight well-known?
OHIKERE: There’s definitely some frustration/exhaustion over how long the case has lasted. But the recent capture of the Kankara school boys, who were abducted and released in December, drew a lot of questions and anger over the delay in Leah’s case and some of the remaining Chibok school girls. Leaders from the Christian Association of Nigeria had reminded the government that it bears the moral burden to release the girls.
There are also groups actively pushing awareness so people still remember Leah is not free- The LEAH Foundation started a 7-day prayer campaign – ends tomorrow with different intentions for her release and for other victims of persecution.
REICHARD: Violence against Christians has continued to rise in parts of Nigeria. Do these ongoing attacks get a lot of coverage there? Is it something that the Christian community talks about?
OHIKERE: Yeah these attacks have persisted for a long time the northeast. Now we hear of even more attacks against Christians and communities in the northeast, northwest,, central Nigeria. So there’s a growing sense of awareness of this worsening insecurity.
Just over Christmas break, multiple attacks on churches and communities in the northeast and in the central Plateau state.
Late in January, just last month, a Catholic priest was abducted and then killed in Minna, a city in central Nigeria. Churches share these stories and prayers for affected communities.
It has also triggered a sense of helplessness in people’s perception of the government, because they have more or less lost confidence in the government’s ability to ensure their safety. The [CAN] of Nigeria again this month asked authorities to start considering help from other countries like the US and Israel to fight insurgency and abductions.
REICHARD: Onize Ohikere is WORLD’s Africa reporter. She’s based in Abuja, Nigeria. You can read her reports on wng.org and hear her international news roundup on World Tour here every Wednesday. Thanks, Onize!
OHIKERE: Thanks, Mary.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Here’s some real estate news in case you’re looking for a place in London town.
The asking price is $1.3 million. A lot of money, for sure. But relative to other real estate in London, it’s sort of a bargain. The average home there goes for more than $700,000.
And this thing? It’s like a small skyscraper! Five stories high, luxurious touches galore, and in a desirable district.
Listing agent David Myers had this to say about the property:
MYERS: The house is simply so special because of how unique it is. There’s no house in London that—there are houses in London that are five stories high, but not that have such a unique space, such individuality.
Aaah, but there’s a catch.
BASHAM: I knew it!
Right? Well, what makes the home unique is it’s only 6 feet wide! It’s known as the skinniest home in London. And only around 1000 square feet.
The structure built over 100 years ago originally served as a Victorian hat shop with storage and living space above.
BASHAM: History, hats, and an incentive to purge.
I could use that!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 11th. We’re so glad you’ve turned to WORLD Radio to start your day.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Valentine’s Day is this weekend—hopefully that’s not news to you.
Over the next few minutes, we have some encouragement for both husbands and wives on ways to cultivate loving relationships.
REICHARD: Let’s start with husbands, shall we? WORLD’s Paul Butler recently spoke with a marriage counselor about some helpful ideas for men. Good advice not only for this weekend; it’s good for the rest of the year, too.
ADAMS: I’ve never found a woman who did not want to be dated by her husband.
PAUL BUTLER, CORRESPONDENT: As an elder, missionary, and marriage counselor, Todd Adams spends a lot of time mentoring men—particularly husbands. He’s been at it for a quarter of a century.
ADAMS: It actually can be very enjoyable to find ways to bless your wife. And you need to study her. We need to study our wives, and understand what it is that really blesses, what really makes them shine and glow.
When Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, many men struggle to know exactly what gift will best communicate love to their wives. Perhaps that insecurity stems from poor selections in the past. And while there are dozens of helpful online gift guides this time of year, every woman is different. So what’s a man to do? In his many years of counseling, Todd Adams has discovered a gift that never fails.
ADAMS: I believe, one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our wives is to celebrate them and the way we think about them, and the way we pray for them. Because as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. And we know from Scripture that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, so we start with cherishing our wives in our thoughts.
Over the next 48 hours, many husbands will agonize over Valentine card selections. What’s the best approach? Humorous? Romantic? Sarcastic? It’s difficult to find the perfect card. Todd Adams has a practical suggestion. Skip the card this year. Instead, write a love letter.
ADAMS: I think a physical letter is a wonderful thing. And, people today, when they get a letter, are deeply blessed because it’s just, it’s not something that’s done much anymore. So, to write a physical letter to your wife is a tremendous blessing. It’s a statement of value of her…
Sounds good, but many of us struggle to know what to write…
ADAMS: When they’re pouring themselves out, which our wives do in their role in the home as, as wife and mother, ways that they are investing their energy and their attention, their focus, their love. So many selfless acts. And I think they need to hear that from us, that we’re noticing those things.
A good starting point is a heartfelt compliment.
ADAMS: Things that are character things and behavior things, things that represent her values and her uniqueness as a person. What I like about you. You know you could start a sentence with that: “some of the things I enjoy, or I appreciate, I like about you…” and just just start writing, just let your heart flow.
Todd Adams has been married for 34 years. He hasn’t always gotten it right, but he learned early on how important it is to not just do these things on Valentine’s Day. Your wife is expecting kindness and affection this weekend, but about March 7th? Or April 17th? Or November 3rd?
ADAMS: It is important. Events like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, those are important. But what almost has with some women more impact is when there’s just a random Saturday morning or something and you leave a letter of love on her pillow…
Adams acknowledges that Valentine’s Day can be a struggle for some husbands—as it’s a reminder that their marriage isn’t exactly what they want it to be.
ADAMS: There are men that are so discouraged, and feel so beaten down, or depressed about the state of their marriage, because I hear the same thing from enough men that I realized that there are times when a whole segment of men feel like it’s kind of hopeless…
But it’s not hopeless. Adams has seen over and over again how many times God works through a man fighting for his marriage.
ADAMS: I want to take us to Philippians 4:8. Whatever is beautiful, whatever is true, whatever is virtuous, whatever is good report, etc. Choose to focus on the good and the beautiful, and the strong in your wife. And if you feel like that’s like 10 percent of what you experience and the 90 percent is hard, well focus on the 10 percent and pour yourself into that. It takes discipline of thought. It takes some real going to the Lord seeking for the spirit to transform the inner person. Really the first place to go is to the Lord in prayer and ask him to stir love, affection, like even appreciation, all of that friendship, companionship, stir that in your heart that is the first place to start.
So this weekend, buy that gift, write that letter, have a nice dinner, but make it truly special with a fresh start.
ADAMS: It’s a project to practice all around the year—by project I mean, you know, a focus on something to make a priority—and I find that men who dig into that, find it’s actually very enjoyable to ratchet up their romance in their marriages by…thinking outside the box and being attentive apart from just the almost dutiful expressions of you know, of Valentine’s Day and so forth.
MUSIC: [LOVE LETTERS by COLE PORTER]
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.
REICHARD: Later in the program, Kim Henderson has some thoughts for wives this Valentine’s weekend.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next, a preview of Listening In. This week, host Warren Smith talks with author and speaker Brett McCracken. He’s an elder in his church and is also a senior editor at The Gospel Coalition.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: McCracken remembered as a kid learning about the “food pyramid” in health class. And how the daily elements of a healthy physical diet ought to include a variety of good foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy. That inspired him to develop a similar idea for good spiritual health. Let’s listen in.
BRETT MCCRACKEN: I thought about the food pyramid from my childhood and how that was such a helpful rubric kind of visual aid for guiding us to healthy sources of food food groups, for a diet that would make us physically healthy. And so I thought, what if I played off of that to create like a wisdom pyramid that functioned in the same way by pointing people to sources, in this case sources of information or knowledge, that are conducive to a healthy spiritual life.
So I basically scratched it out on a napkin and kind of how I would create a wisdom pyramid, if I were to do that. And I had a designer friend of mine, graphic designer, make it look nice. And people really responded to it and kind of went viral on social media, ironically, given that social media is the fats, oils and sweets category of the wisdom pyramid. So that’s where it started.
WARREN SMITH: Let’s look a little bit at the unhealthy diet that has gotten us to the place. You say, basically, that today we eat too much, we eat too fast, and we eat only what tastes good to us. You call that information gluttony. Can you say a little bit more about this idea of information gluttony and how eating too much too fast, and only what we like, is a problem?
MCCRACKEN: Yeah, I was helped with just thinking through this parallel to eating food and our physical health and different ways that bad eating habits make us sick. And I think it’s actually some pretty close parallels to bad habits of information intake, that also make us sick in similar ways to eating habits.
So the gluttony piece is, you know, obviously, when you eat too much food, when you’re a glutton with food, you’re going to get sick, it’s going to be bad for your health. And the same is true with information. And we live in an age of just an insane amount of information. It’s really mind boggling. How much information is at our fingertips. Literally, you pull out your smartphone, and you have access to the entire accumulated knowledge of human civilization basically.
And while that may seem like it would be helpful for our wisdom, I don’t think that it actually has been and I think most of us would probably say that, as there has been more and more information at our fingertips, we’ve actually as a society, by and large, become less wise. And why is that?
BASHAM: To hear Brett McCracken’s answer to that question and the complete conversation, look for Listening In with Warren Smith this weekend wherever you get your podcasts.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, February 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Commentator Kim Henderson now with some advice for wives from a love story that stood the test of time.
KIM HENDERSON, COMMENTATOR: My friend Toni wondered if that man of hers even took the time to read them, the notes she tucked in his shirt pocket every ironing day. Back then, as she sprayed the starch and swiped the sleeves, she’d write a little love line and put it there where he’d find it when he wore those shirts.
And Toni prayed, too, as she pressed the pinpoint cotton collars and the curled-up hems. Yes, she’d pray for that man of hers who had the mayor’s number on speed dial but couldn’t make it to their kids’ soccer games. Or church. Or home so very much.
And she wondered—without saying a word—about his not saying a word about those little gestures of love, the ones that spanned a course of years.
In time the children grew (along with his business), and the family address changed to a fancy subdivision where the pool guy made regular stops. Shirts went to the cleaners, leaving Toni more time. To pray.
But what about those love lines she had penned? Well, they ended up as lifelines—those notes and a hundred other things Toni did without expecting any sure return. Her beloved told her as much when he finally showed her the drawer where he had kept them—every last one of them—for all those years.
So when the couple and their teenagers eventually lost the house with the pool and their sure footing and pretty much everything else they had, they held on tight to each other and made it through. Then somehow Toni’s man, the one who had drawn up business plans and flown to New York every Monday, ended up working hard as a preacher, telling whoever will listen that life’s not about big houses and achieving American dreams, but about God and real love stories.
And I think it’s fitting to share a story like theirs on a day like this, as Valentine cards empty from store shelves. I think it’s fitting because one of Hallmark’s prefab love lines may do the trick this Sunday for some, but any set of sweethearts serious about standing the test of time should look hard at Toni’s two-fold approach to marital longevity.
Her plan was pretty simple. She believed in the practical demonstration of love, thus the notes, and she believed in God, thus the prayers.
So maybe you’re like me, thinking that’s a good two-sided coin to carry around in your heart pocket, no matter what kind of Valentine’s Day you’re anticipating this year.
On the other hand, maybe you’re thinking, “Who’s anticipating Valentine’s Day?” Because stories like those of Toni and her husband, well they’re just stories, right? Not happening in your world. Your marriage is hanging on by a thread, and a frayed one at that.
Toni would say, “Be thankful for the thread.” And right after that she’d say, “Try tending your marriage. Try the two-fold approach.”
I’m Kim Henderson.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Tomorrow: John Stonestreet joins us for Culture Friday.
And, I’ll review a new movie about an extraordinary discovery that changed our understanding of medieval history.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Megan Basham.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Proverbs tells us that whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
I hope your day goes well and we’ll talk to you tomorrow!