Monthly Archives: February 2012

Being Young and Making an Impact

Here’s the talk by 20-year-old Natalie Warne at TEDxTeen, about finding a cause and making a difference:

Chocolate and Child Labor

Child labor is one of those problems that sneaks up on you. Unless you spend a lot of time thinking about it and researching it, anything you consume, it seems, could be tainted by it. I was surprised, for example, to find that for over ten years, the American chocolate industry has been struggling with child slavery in Africa. This includes both Nestle and Hershey’s. Here’s a story from Mother Jones magazine about it, published to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

If you gave someone chocolate for Valentine’s Day, it may well have come from the Ivory Coast, the source of about 35 percent of the globe’s cocoa production. And if it did come from the Ivory Coast, it may well have been harvested by unpaid child workers being held captive on plantations—that is to say, child slaves.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin helped push legislation in 2001 that would have helped address this, but it was, according to the Moral Courage Project, blocked by lobbyists. There’s also a new documentary about the problem:

Blog Response: Anti-Christian Violence

I’ve posted the additional links below (plus the original, for convenience). Using these, what issues does Ayaan Hirsi Ali raise? What evidence does she provide? How does any background about Ali offer useful context? Are there any holes in her argument, or reasons to be skeptical?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s original Newsweek story.

A response from Rod Dreher, writing on his blog for The American Conservative.

A preview of Ali’s memoir, Infidel, published in 2008.

An interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the New York Times, from 2010.

A 2007 story from BeliefNet by an author who is critical of Ali.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The War on Christians”

In this week’s Newsweek, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has the cover story, which is entitled “The War on Christians.” I’d like you to read the article as a starting point, then return here for additional readings. (It’s three pages; make sure you read the whole thing, not just the first page.) As you’re reading it, don’t assume that everything the author is saying is the only side to the story. Wait until you have my additional links to form an opinion…

Blog Response: The Syria Crisis

What does the crisis in Syria seem to be about, what are the most important relevant facts, and what do you think the United States should do next?

Here are a couple of background pages to get you started, from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12482309

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13855203

Here’s the story from today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16878214