News

A Short Lesson in Fake News Headlining

As I was browsing a Teamsters group on Facebook this morning, I came across a headline that seemed rather relevant to my line of work. It states that Amazon workers are “working without air conditioning, experiencing exhaustion and dehydration.”

Amazon_Warehouse_Workers_Say_They_Have_Been_Working_Without_Air_Conditioning__Experiencing_Exhaustion_and_Dehydration.jpg
Screenshot from article

The scene in the photo is a familiar one to my co-workers and me. Our (not Amazon) hub takes in trailers that look very much like this one, filled to the top with packages to unload. The conveyor belt in the middle can extend all the way to the back of the trailer, enabling us to get packages out without repeatedly walking the length of the trailer. Like the conditions mentioned in the article, only certain areas of the hub are air conditioned. The “work” areas are not. Moreover, my primary line of work is terminal tractors, and most of ours also are not equipped with air conditioning. These days, I’m consuming at least 160 oz. of water, with electrolytes, from the time I enter to the time I leave.

Naturally, this being a Teamsters group on Facebook, some commented that Amazon workers should unionize in order to prevent this kind of thing. I suspect many of them didn’t actually read the article. And obviously, if our being unionized doesn’t earn us air conditioned hubs, terminal tractors, or delivery vehicles, it’s downright illogical to think Amazon workers will fare any differently just because they unionize.

Now that you’ve had a short education in such things, let’s read some of this story.

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — A group of East African employees is asking retail giant Amazon to improve working conditions at an eastern Minnesota warehouse.

Employees at the Eagan facility made the request at a Monday news conference called by the Awood Center, which defends the rights of East African workers, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

The employees allege they have experienced exhaustion, dehydration and injuries while working without air conditioning. Workers said the conditions are particularly difficult for Muslim workers who are celebrating Ramadan and observing a strict fast.

“Recently, I couldn’t work because I needed water,” Nimo Hirad, an order picker at the facility, said through an interpreter. “I got so thirsty, I couldn’t even swallow my saliva. I ended up breaking my fast and drinking water two days in a row.”

How might we approach this? Maybe we need a conversation about the extent of required religious accommodations. Perhaps we should have a conversation about whether doing warehouse work in June without drinking water is a bad idea. The headline writer here appears more interested in making Amazon look bad and not offending any cultural sensitivities.

Amazon later announced that they were reducing quotas for workers celebrating Ramadan, which—if Amazon were unionized—would probably be met with several grievances filed by non-Muslim employees who were presumably forced to make up the gap.

I think I’ll go get a glass of water now.

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News

Now Writing at Things Above Us!

The all-star team over at Things Above Us has brought me onboard as a writer. My first article is about how changes in NASCAR’s points system may reflect negative societal changes. The rest of the blog is much more worth checking out and subscribing to.

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A restart at Texas Motor Speedway in November 2014. Photographer: Garrett O’Hara.

Moka Thought will continue as an outlet for things that don’t fit within Things Above Us.

 

Short findings

“Gideon Knox” reviewed J.D. Hall’s book in 2013

My own browsing of Amazon.com today revealed a customer review of J.D. Hall’s book, Help, Mom! There are Arminians Under My Bed! written by “Gideon Knox,” a known pseudonym for Hall.

Customer_Review

J.D. Hall is best known as the leader behind the Pulpit & Pen discernment blog. Gideon Knox is the name of his LLC and the name under which he left a comment on my blog back in 2016.

Update 2: The following exchange contains new information on this matter.

Kathryn_Andrews_on_Twitter___He_stated_the_Amazon_account_with_the_name_Gideon_Knox_is_registered_to_his_wife_s_email__He_did_not_specify_who_actually_wrote_and_submitted_the_review__Either_way_it_s_not_a_legit_impartial_review_…_https___t_.png

Update 3: I somehow made this post blank for about 1.5 hours. Kind of weird, but its up now, I hope.

Book review

How to be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint by Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft. How to Be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2016.

Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and King’s College whose name may be known to older evangelicals as one of the signatories to Evangelicals and Catholics Together (1994). He also describes himself as a former Calvinist.

In How to Be Holy, Kreeft lays out a theology of sanctification intended for members of nearly any theistic religion. As a popular-level book, it tends to avoid such longer terms as ‘sanctification’ in favor of such descriptions as hinted on its cover as ‘being holy’ and ‘becoming a saint.’ As a Protestant approaches the book, one may be inclined to believe that the title refers to justification, but its content is indeed more towards sanctification, and “Becoming a Saint” isn’t referring to Vatican canonization. It’s also important to note that despite the sound of the title, Kreeft is not arguing for the possibility of perfect sanctification in this life. As a theology of sanctification, however, it suffers from its Roman Catholic theological underpinnings and a hermeneutic which fails to account for the immediate context of individual scripture verses.

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Essays

“Grid girls” ban reveals motives, blurs cultural lines

Formula One announced yesterday that they have now banned the practice of using “grid girls” during Grand Prix weekends. The move follows similar recent actions from the World Endurance Championship and Formula E.

For the very uninitiated, Formula 1 is widely considered the peak level of single-seater, open cockpit, open wheel auto racing. It races in twenty-one countries annually, garners an annual television viewership of 350 million people, and is worth $8 billion USD (just the corporate ownership, not including the teams). F1 might seem to be small fry in the United States. Worldwide, especially in Europe, it commands much attention. Continue reading