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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.”

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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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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.

 

News

Dark Humor and Incivility

“Too soon”? Perhaps. Did “we” have it coming? Also yes.

By “we,” I mean the Navy, as I am a Navy Surface Warfare veteran.

By now, you probably know of the recent respective collision incidents involving USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, and you almost certainly know of the damage in south Texas from Hurricane Harvey. The two ship collisions cost the lives of 17 U.S. Sailors. The overall death toll from the hurricane is yet to be known until flood waters recede.

Now add satire news. Notwithstanding the far too common problem of people believing satirical news articles to be true, this came in the other day from Duffel Blog, a military-themed satire news site. Continue reading

News

What Was Being Worshiped Yesterday at First Baptist Church in Dallas?

I found myself once in the middle of something like this at a Sunday morning service at a relative’s church. I had left the Navy about five weeks prior, and they wanted veterans to stand up for their particular service anthems. I remained seated for “Anchors Aweigh.”

Moreover, they managed to “churchify” the song. You see, there’s a line in the song that goes “Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam,” and they’re not talking about drinking ocean water. But the church had purchased music along with accompanying lyric video from some company, and they changed the offending lyric to “hail to the foam.” The church leadership itself was probably completely unaware of this.

“Hail” to the foam? Really?

the way of improvement leads home

Jeffress 1

Yesterday was “Freedom Sunday” at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The pastor of First Baptist is Robert Jeffress.  He is a Trump supporter, Christian nationalist, and prominent court evangelical. As the pictures attached to this tweet indicate, it was a day of patriotic celebration in the church sanctuary.

People waived American flags during the service.

The last time I checked, the waiving of the American flag was a sign of support or loyalty to the nation.  Jeffress had no problem allowing such an act to take place in a church sanctuary–the place where Christians worship God as a form of expressing their ultimate loyalty.  Patriotism is fine. Flag-waiving is fine.  But I wonder if any…

View original post 190 more words

News

What Christians need to know about USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206)

News came to the Christian twittersphere yesterday via Dr. White that the U.S. Navy is naming a ship after homosexual rights icon Harvey Milk.  I have nothing unique to contribute in terms of the record of Harvey Milk’s life, but I am a seven-year Navy veteran who specialized in floating gray vessels, so it’s probably a good idea to dispel some potential myths or untruths that have arisen or may arise later concerning the nature of this news.

If you are a Navy veteran of any kind, this post will probably teach you close to nothing.  The aim here is to assist fellow Christians in understanding the particulars and especially to help Christian bloggers to avoid perpetrating erroneous information. Continue reading

News

Christian News corrects Together 2016 article, but there’s still something fishy.

Following my post pointing out its factual error, Christian News has now corrected its article.

Editor’s Note:An earlier version of this story stated that a message from Bergoglio was played at Together 2016, which was previously promoted by the organization PULSE, led by Nick Hall, in a national press release: (see“Pope Francis to Address Americans at National Mall Event ‘Together 2016’ With Special Video Message.”) For unknown reasons, PULSE decided to circulate a video invitation/endorsement from Bergoglio via their social media channels rather than playing a video message at the event as the group initially announced.


The obvious lingering issue, of course, is Jordan (JD) Hall (no known relation to Nick Hall or Mark Hall), the personal and vitriolic nature of whose comment and subsequent podcast requires no defense except to point out one item: the fat joke on Facebook is inappropriate.

Jordan Hall claims that Christian News’ “jumbotron” error was minor, not unlike any error that may be published in a newspaper.  How did such an error arise, what is its level of seriousness, and how might have it been prevented?  I submit the following. Continue reading