US debt ceiling saga, killer whales rampage, k-leather debate, Spain’s cleaning app

May 31, 2023 Episode 153

US debt ceiling saga explained, Orca killer whales rampage, Australia’s k-leather debate, Spain’s household chores app

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… The debt ceiling defined, killer whale’s rampage, k-leather ban and a household chores app.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


 LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!

This week…

Wondering why everyone is relieved about an increase in the “debt ceiling” – never mind what that is? Well, we’ve got you covered as we dive-deep with our “debt ceiling explainer.”

And remember our story on killer whales bumping into boats off the coast of Spain? Well, we have an update, as that bumping returns – with a vengeance!

And a debate over a ban on “K-leather” is on in Australia. Confused? Here’s a clue: This is a very “bouncy” story.

And who does the housework in your home? Well, a new app helps keep domestic peace by keeping track – just in case there’s any imbalance in household chores.


I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder otherwise known as my… mama!

MAMA: Also, otherwise known as Lyndee Prickitt.

LEELA: Yes, okay that. Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s the…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: So, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the debt ceiling lately and maybe wondering just what kind of interior design that is, right?

LEELA: I know! Debt ceiling! I mean what’s that even supposed to look like. Although, I do have a friend who keeps mishearing it as “dead ceiling” and you can probably imagine what she’s thinking!

MAMA: Ohhh gosh well, Never fear. This is not a bloody roof, nor is it dull interior design, and it’s not even one of those needlessly complicated financial phrases people in banking like to use. This is pretty much what it says on the can, a ceiling, as in as high as you can go…

LEELA: Can’t go any higher!

MAMA: Of debt.

LEELA: As in owing money. Like when you spend alllllllll your allowance or pocket money and go “into debt” with your parents or siblings borrowing a bit more than you have.

MAMA: Exactly. Except unlike a lot of loans from family (coughs) – real-world debt has to be paid back.

LEELA: Or you’re in trouble.

MAMA: Yep, that’s called “defaulting on your debt” or your loan. And guess what happens then?

LEELA: Nobody will loan you any money ever again.

MAMA: Ok, well, not ever again. But they will think you’re dodgy and won’t want to lend money to you for a long time.

LEELA: I mean, why should they take a risk on someone who can’t pay back a loan?

MAMA: Exactly. You’re now classified as a “risk.”

LEELA: Until you prove otherwise, no one wants to play with you. I mean, “do business” with you.

MAMA: And that pretty much sums up part of what was happened with the US. The government wants to raise the debt ceiling, so it can borrow money to pay for things. If it doesn’t then it defaults on its loans.

LEELA: Bad news. Because the US is one of the biggest and richest countries in the world if it becomes a “risk” to do business with, it could upset financial markets at home and around the world, right?

MAMA: Totally. You see, governments need money to run a country, right?

LEELA: Ahh haa Yeah, they build roads, bridges, schools… even tennis courts.

MAMA: Right. Now a lot of that work happens at the local and state government levels, but at the center or federal government there’s a lot of work that needs to be paid for too.

LEELA: Like “keeping the country safe” with military and defense budgets. Du-du-duuuuun!

MAMA: And social security.

LEELA: Oh. As in those payments old people live off of.

MAMA: Okay, to be more precise, US Social Security provides some income for those who are retired or if you can’t work due to a disability.

LEELA: Got it. So, the government needs money. And because of inflation

MAMA: As in rising prices of goods and services.

LEELA: I know, my gosh, gummy bears are sooooo expensive now! But anyway! Because of this, I mean, inflation the government has to borrow more money than it needed last year to pay for everything, am I right?

MAMA: You are so right. But…

LEELA: I know this part. I really do… they can’t borrow more because they’ve reached the debt ceiling.

MAMA: Bingo. So, the federal government.

LEELA: As in US President Joe Biden.

MAMA: Right. He has to ask congress to –

BOTH: “Raise the debt ceiling!”

MAMA: And that’s pretty much what’s happening. And here’s the thing. This gives congress which right now is controlled by Republicans leverage, or more power, over the president.

LEELA: And the Democrats.

MAMA: Right. So, they don’t like some of the plans the Democrats have for spending the money on government schemes, so this has been their chance to say, no, we won’t raise the debt ceiling unless you spend the money the way we want you to spend it.

LEELA: Uh-oh. No wonder they’ve been debating and haggling for the last few weeks.

MAMA: Ahh haa.

LEELA: And not coming to an agreement also means the government would shut down, like people would stop working, until more money is found some way or another, right?

MAMA: You got it. Or until they reach an agreement. Not a pretty picture. Well, they finally they reached a bi-partisan agreement – as in both political parties – agrees to increase the debt ceiling to a staggering $31.4 trillion dollars. But still – not everyone is happy with this.

LEELA: Oh, geeze!

MAMA: A handful of hard-right Republican lawmakers are still threatening to oppose the deal when Congress officially votes on it before the U.S. runs out of money later this week!

LEELA: The plot thickens!

MAMA: Well, most experts think it’s gonna clear Congress despite them. But still….

LEELA: What a tamasha! That’s Hindi for drama, by the way.

MAMA: Totally. But that’s politics for ya!

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-debt-ceiling-negotiations-push-towards-critical-default-deadline-2023-05-27/




 MAMA: From one bumpy drama to another. First, we’ll need a bit of this…

NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suite. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarine. Submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling! Nature.”  

MAMA: You may remember way back in 2020 – in episode 18, in fact – we brought you a story from Spain about the bizarre and dangerous behavior of orcas.

LEELA: Yes – orcas as in killer whales!

MAMA: They were bumping into boats and shipping vessels.

LEELA: And freaking out sailors.

MAMA: Ah-huh. Well, we have a top up.

LEELA: Well, run the sting, then, Mama.

TOP-UP TIME STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Go on give me a top up, please? It’s top-up time. Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Now? Yeah, now. It’s top-up time.”

MAMA: So, here with an update on this is Nina and Marcky Granena from Spain.

LEELA: Take it away, you two.

NINA AND MARCKY: They´re baaaaaaaaackkk.

Oh no. Who?

A pod of ticked off orcas… attacking boats off the coast of Spain!

Oh yeah… I remember now!

A few years ago, they were doing the same thing.

Well, it’s happening again.

And this time, big Gladis is out for blood.


Yes, Gladis. She’s a huge orca who’s been out ramming boats.

She did it the other day, and almost sunk a yacht!

Last time, scientists said the orcas might be avenging some earlier incident…

Like maybe Gladis was hit by a boat or entangled with some fishing line.

But it’s a little dramatic, don´t you think?

She destroyed the boat. I mean, the coast guard had to rescue them!

Well, you never know what’s going through an orca’s brain.

Yeah, let´s not open that can of worms.

From Barcelona this is Marcky Granena and Nina Granena for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thank a lot you guys. But – don’t go away – I believe there’s another story from Spain we need y’all to report on!

[SOURCES: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/orcas-attacking-boats-gladis-killer-whale-b2346615.html



MAMA: So now we have a sort of nature-meets-sports-fashion-meets-environment kind of story, actually.

LEELA: Oh, oh.  Do tell.

MAMA: Well, first of all, if I say Australia, what are the first few things that come to your mind?

LEELA: Crocodiles! Creepy crawlies. Desserts, Beaches and…

MAMA: And…

LEELA: Kangaroos, of course!

MAMA: Exactly.

LEELA: How did I not say that first?! Those adorable marsupials as in animals who have pouches on the outside of their bellies in which to carry their babies around. A-dor-a-ble!

MAMA: Definitely. But believe it or not, also a pest to some.

LEELA: What? No way.

MAMA: Yep way. And how to keep this thriving population in check did I mention there are millions of them is a hot topic down under.

LEELA: I see. And wait, what’s this got to do with sports and fashion?

MAMA: Sporting footwear. Actually, here to tell us more is our other new Australian reporter, Caitlin Brooks.

LEELA: Well, welcome to Newsy Pooloozi then, take it away Caitlin!

CAITLIN: Thanks, Leela.

You’re right – we have a lot of kangaroos here in Australia.

In fact, there are twice as many kangaroos than people

Our population is just over 26 million.

But it’s estimated we have around 55 million kangaroos!

So, it wouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a market for these creatures.

Yes, I’m talking about turning kangaroo meat into sausages and using their hide for their leather.

Just like we do with cows and goats.

Kangaroo leather, or K-leather, is used in boots, shoes, wallets, hats

But some predict that if the use of K-Leather continues, we could see a decline in kangaroos.

And that’s one of the reasons that two major sports brands, Nike, and Puma, are phasing out or slowly getting rid of K-Leather in their products.

Good news, right?

Well, it’s not that simple.

Many people, especially farmers, consider kangaroos as pests, because they can bounce around properties and disrupt fields, never mind annoy farmers.

So, should more major brands phase out kangaroo leather?

Many say yes, but also some say no.

Yes, it’s a topic that keeps getting “bounced” around here in Australia.

What do you think, Leela?

In Newcastle, Australia, I’m Caitlin Brooks, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!!!!

LEELA: I heard what you did there, Caitlin – a topic that keeps getting “bounced” around like a kangaroo, perhaps? Nice one!

MAMA: Yes, interesting story, Caitlin. I honestly had no idea there was even a thing called k-leather, never mind a debate over it!

LEELA: Yeah, yeah, I heard a k-pop but not k-leather. When I first heard about the story I was like k-pop-leather that was like BTS lover something. Anyway, keep us posted about how it progresses!

[SOURCES:Kangaroo Leather – Leathers – Hides – Skins – Rawhide

Puma and Nike’s plans to phase out kangaroo leather misguided, industry stakeholders say – ABC News] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11540257/What-population-Australia-Latest-data-shows-1-1-growth.html]

MAMA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for our last story this week.

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: This is an odd app. Or maybe an apt app, come to think of it.

MAMA: Okay…

LEELA: So apparently, there are families who bicker about who in the house does the most amount of chores.

MAMA: What?! I’ve never heard of such a thing. (Coughs)

LEELA: And, no, this is about parents thinking kids need to do more around the house, but the grown-ups who sometimes – sometimes – might argue that one does more than the other.

MAMA: Never heard of this.

LEELA: Right… Well, in case any families – or couples – need a little help checking everyone’s done their fair share – technology is here to the rescue.

MAMA: Uhh! Are you talking about a robot maid? That would be awesome.

LEELA: No. A Spanish app that helps couples track their household chores.

MAMA: A Spanish app?

LEELA: Yep, apparently this is a source of some disagreement in Spain. So, yes, once again we have to go to our Spanish correspondents, Nina and Marcky Granena, for the story.

MARCKY AND NINA:  Marcky, who do you think does more work around the house, mama, or papa?

I mean, mama almost always does the cooking.

Well, papa always cleans up afterward.

Mama helps us with our homework.

Papa helps us with our sports.

Mama goes to the grocery store all the time.

Papa goes to the hardware store… all the time.

So… I guess everything is equal in our household…!!??!?

I guess it is!

Ok, ok, wait. We’re starting to sound like mama and papa.

Yeah, how can we settle this?

Don’t worry. Soon we’ll have a way to keep track.

Oh! The housecleaning app!

Yes! Spain’s Department of Equality has created an app that will let you keep track of who’s doing what around the house.

So-like-mama will spend 40 minutes sorting, hanging, and folding the laundry. And then papa will be able to see it on his phone.

Yeah, then papa will spend 40 minutes sorting, bagging, and throwing out the garbage. And mama will be able to see it on her phone.

It was originally created because a lot of mamas out there do more housework than the papas.

And by housework- I also mean admin. Like pay the bills, all the school stuff, and the doctor appointments.

True. You can´t argue with history.

But I guess mama is lucky in that way……  Since her Catalan is so bad, all the admin falls onto papa’s plate.

Just as well.

It’s good to have a strong male role model in the house.

Now, Marcky… about that favor I asked…

Yes, the foot massage. Getting right to it.

From Barcelona, this is Nina Granena and Marcky Granena for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, you guys! Ah, Mama… any chance you might think about rubbing my feet…

MAMA: Yeah, any chance you might think about setting the table and washing the dishes?

LEELA: Hmmmm…. Moving on!

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 –Republicans and Democrats in the US argue over whether or not they should raise the government debt-ceiling. What happens if they don’t?

The US government could shut down and default on its loans while world markets are rattled.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – If all that happens, federal government spending would be on hold for things like military spending and social security payments. What are social security payments?

Income people get when they retire or if can’t work due to a disability.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Gladis and her gang of orcas are bumping into boats and terrifying sailors off the Spanish coast. What is the other name for orcas?

Killer whales

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Australians are debating the merits of k-leather – leather made out of kangaroos, those adorable animals that carry their young with them. What are animals called that have these natural pouches?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The reason it’s a tricky debate is that there are soooo many kangaroos in Australia – more than two for everyone one person there – and they’re sometimes considered a pest. By What is the population in Australia?

26 million

And if you’re an educator and you want to test your kids’ listening skills… then have a look at this quiz online. Go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and let the kids take this quiz online or surprise them with an in-class pop quiz!

LEELA: A fun one, don’t worry. And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then HIT that subscribe button on whatever listening app you use to hear your podcasts.

MAMA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating! Or, or, or… better still leave us a review too! It really helps others find us and the more people informed about what’s happening in the wonderfully wacky world of ours, the better right!

LEELA: Go on – we’ll read it out loud if you do! Goodbye from us for now…