Weekend Reading: The price tag of raising a child in America; Haiti Smoldering; Nobel Prize highlights China’s thuggery, Full Disclosure on the Oil Spill Impacts

The price of a child: Fascinating article in the Christian Science Monitor on the full parenting price tag, beyond the scary Christmas list, and why that doesn’t begin to describe the joy, the complexity, and multitude of choices. 

In the equation of life, few parents ever really do the math on the actual dollars-and-cents cost of a child. Sure, the holiday season rolls around and they know that Xbox or that iPod Touch on a kid’s wish list is going to tax budgets; sure, the looming cost of a college education can sap some enjoyment from a family vacation. But few parents would guess that the average American child costs more than $200,000, and that’s before college even starts.

Haiti smoldering over another rigged election: My colleague Rusty Pritchard, in Haiti, to assist with relief and development efforts, is hunkered down at his residence, waiting for Port au Prince to settle down. He can’t visit projects and the airport is closed. 

Clashes and shooting were reported Thursday in Haiti’s capital for a second day as demonstrators staged a march to protest what they said was election fraud in the Nov. 28 presidential elections.

At least one person was reported dead in the renewed violence. Frantz Lerebours, the Haitian National Police spokesman, also said that one person had been killed on Wednesday in Les Cayes, a seaside city in the southwest, as a mob tried to burn a local election office. In the north, in Cap-Haitien, gangs clashed but no deaths were reported, Lerebours said.

China dissident wins Nobel Peace Prize: Even without reading the story I know this recipient is more deserving than last year’s. China’s leaders aren’t happy; imagine that.  

 Keeping dissidents locked up, blocking prominent intellectuals from leaving the country and blacking out news reports — China is pulling out all the stops to keep news about Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo out of public sight. Beijing is even creating China’s own alternative peace prize to take attention away from the Nobel award ceremony in Oslo on Friday. Why is China doing this? Liu’s Nobel Prize has exposed old fault lines in China: a country claiming modernity and progress, while controlling the flow of ideas and free speech.

What we know about the impact of the oil spill; and what we don’t know: A thorough discussion on how the oil disappeared and how it continues to impact the sea life and the people who depend on it (in Flourish magazine). 

The oil spill also damaged the Gulf’s delicate deepwater coral reefs. First discovered in the 1970’s, these deep reefs, found only in the Gulf of Mexico, are vital to over 70 different species of fish. Early inspection of these corals after the oil spill was encouraging. Corals found 20 miles away from the site of the spill looked healthy. However, further inspection closer to the oil spill has revealed large areas of corals smothered in oil, dying or already dead. What we know about the biological impacts of the spill is dwarfed by what we don’t know. The real unknown is what will happen to future populations. Although it’s unlikely that toxic hydrocarbons will increase in concentration as they move up the Gulf food chain, we don’t know what disruptions to the interconnected aquatic populations have occurred until the larval organisms of those populations grow up.

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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