Amber rose, video vixen extraordinaire (is she a video vixen), former stripper (?) all round celebrity groupie, made famous for her relationship with Kanye West and more recently her affiliation with Mr Black and Yellow himself, Wiz Khalifa, has made her way to Ghana. Why should we as a nation care who this woman is? I have no idea whatsoever. I have been seeing some commercials on TV, advertising a concert with Trey Songz and at the end of said advertisement, Ms Rose gives us a mouthful about coming to Ghana as part of the concert tour.
It is interesting that somehow, society has been made to care about a woman, albeit very beautiful woman, who is famous for nothing, with the exception of her lovely posterior. It is truly fascinating. Of course there are also some naked pictures of her floating around the internet somewhere, so I suppose that helps matters some.
Anyway, what ever the case I logged on bossip.com this morning and I am treated to an article about Ms Rose in the motherland interacting with local school children. There is a picture of her posing with some young girls from a Muslim school in Ghana. Apparently she was at the school to give the young girls a pep talk about serious issues like “girl power”. Given the way they are all beaming in the photo shown below, I wonder if the school authorities would appreciate this “role model” even more if they knew her present credentials as well as her past history.
I am quite positive that the school authorities, the girls themselves and their parents would see Ms Rose and all that she represents as being “Haram”. Not that I am a Muslim, but I find it interesting that Amber Rose is being touted as a role model for African Muslim Girls. I mean a simple Google search for this woman’s image, will reveal that she has an apparent distaste for clothes. While personally I do not mind the nakedness (Ms Rose is gorgeous), I am not sure school authorities would like that (publicly of course, privately I am sure they will be as perverted as the rest of us). Well for better or for worse, Ms Rose is in Ghana and she is now being touted as a role model for young women/ girls.
It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries, there are an estimated 100,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed by Western countries.
I am certainly not surprised by this news. Cocoa production takes place in some of the most rural parts of West Africa. As an uncle of mine would say, it takes place at the “back of beyond”. It takes place in areas where ideals and ethical behavior are tossed aside for the need to earn a living and put food on the table. Is child labor acceptable, it most certainly is not. However, it will remain in place and cocoa production will remain an exploitative process until local governments make an effort to develop those areas located at the back of beyond. Development of those areas will create more of a Government influence allowing for improved regulation of the cocoa production market. Until then, cocoa production will continue to take place in dark, desolate places and the exploitation of children and other human beings will continue as long as the auditing light of regulation fails to fall upon those places.
What exactly is the “Cocoa Protocol”?
Ten years ago, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced legislation mandating a labeling system for chocolate. After the industry raised concerns, a compromise was reached that required chocolate companies to voluntarily certify they had stopped the practice of child labor. The certification process would not involve labeling products “child-labor-free,” as initially proposed.
Instead, it calls for public reporting by African governments, establishment of an audit system and poverty remediation by 2005. The deadline had to be extended to 2008 (read Fortune Magazine’s report on the state of the protocol in 2008) and again to 2010. Today, many aid groups say some of the provisions have still not been met.
This protocol will not be effective for the reason that for countries that export Cocoa are dependent on the revenues to be earned from production. They do not have an incentive to self report this matter, as the protocol suggests, because reporting may lead to negative outcomes for the exporter nation. For instance, their exports may be passed up because of a subsequent label like “blood cocoa” or “child labor cocoa”, labels which may adversely affect export revenue. Additionally self-reporting requires that governments have the means to investigate and address issues of abuse. In a country like the Ivory Coast, which has been decimated by a number of years of civil strife and conflict, how is this possible. The weak government that was recently established has difficulty maintaining law and order in the urban centres, how much more the most rural of rural areas. Even in a country like Ghana, where there has been peace and stability for many years, there are significant challenges when it comes to addressing the process of production in the rural areas.
Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter. As I was reading the article, I came across a comment in the comments section, which I thought was really funny.
Oh boy, here it comes…. The 2012 Movie of the year, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connelly, a cocoa smuggler and a reporter become enmeshed in Ivory Coast politics and warfare in “The Blood Chocolate”
That would indeed be a funny movie.
For the life of me, I cannot remember where I found it. What I found interesting (aside from the kinkiness) was the look on her face. Suggesting that Justin Bieber is a guilty pleasure for many people. Even I have found myself humming a Justing Bieber tune or two every once in a while and I happily disparage his brand of music and the image he project, whenever I get the chance. Lol..
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Rev. Pat Robertson’s controversial remarks in which he advised that it was acceptable to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer’s drew a harsh rebuke from God Almighty, who held a press conference today to tell him to “shut the fuck up.”
The bearded King of the Universe, dressed in His trademark flowing white robe and carrying a lightning bolt, spoke to reporters at New York’s Hyatt Grand Central for forty-five minutes in a press conference specifically called to denounce the televangelist.
“I’ve held my tongue while he’s jabbered on and on about me punishing this group and that group with floods and earthquakes and such, but this was the last straw,” He said. “Enough already with that moron.”
In addition to debunking Rev. Robertson’s Alzheimer’s statement, the Almighty categorically denied using natural disasters in the past to punish gays, Haitians, and other targets of Rev. Robertson’s scorn.
“Oh, please,” He said. “That’s just weather.”
On another topic, God attempted to put distance between Himself and the presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas: “Rick Perry is qualified to be President in the same way that Olive Garden is qualified to be Italy.”
Led by the biologist Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” atheism has taken on a new life in popular religious debate. Dawkins’s brand of atheism is scientific in that it views the “God hypothesis” as obviously inadequate to the known facts. In particular, he employs the facts of evolution to challenge the need to postulate God as the designer of the universe. For atheists like Dawkins, belief in God is an intellectual mistake, and honest thinkers need simply to recognize this and move on from the silliness and abuses associated with religion.
Most believers, however, do not come to religion through philosophical arguments. Rather, their belief arises from their personal experiences of a spiritual world of meaning and values, with God as its center.
In the last few years there has emerged another style of atheism that takes such experiences seriously. One of its best exponents is Philip Kitcher, a professor of philosophy at Columbia. (For a good introduction to his views, see Kitcher’s essay in “The Joy of Secularism,” perceptively discussed last month by James Wood in The New Yorker.)
Instead of focusing on the scientific inadequacy of theistic arguments, Kitcher critically examines the spiritual experiences underlying religious belief, particularly noting that they depend on specific and contingent social and cultural conditions. Your religious beliefs typically depend on the community in which you were raised or live. The spiritual experiences of people in ancient Greece, medieval Japan or 21st-century Saudi Arabia do not lead to belief in Christianity. It seems, therefore, that religious belief very likely tracks not truth but social conditioning. This “cultural relativism” argument is an old one, but Kitcher shows that it is still a serious challenge. (He is also refreshingly aware that he needs to show why a similar argument does not apply to his own position, since atheistic beliefs are themselves often a result of the community in which one lives.)
Even more important, Kitcher takes seriously the question of whether atheism can replace the sense of meaning and purpose that believers find in religion. Pushed to the intellectual limit, many will prefer a religion of hope if faith is not possible. For them, Tennyson’s “‘the stars,’ she whispers, ‘blindly run’” is a prospect too bleak to sustain our existence. Kitcher agrees that mere liberation from theism is not enough. Atheists, he maintains, need to undertake the positive project of showing how their worldview can take over what he calls the ethical “functions” of theism.
There are those — Dawkins, for one example; existentialists like Sartre, for another — who are invigorated at the very thought that there is no guiding power in the universe. Many others, however, need convincing that atheism (or secular humanism, as Kitcher prefers) has the resources to inspire a fulfilling human life. If not, isn’t the best choice to retreat to a religion of hope? Why not place our bet on the only chance we have of real fulfillment?
Kitcher has a two-part answer. First, he offers a refined extension of Plato’s famous dilemma argument in “Euthyphro” to show that contrary to widespread opinion, theism is not in fact capable of grounding the ethical values that make life worthwhile. Second, to show that secularism is capable of grounding these values, he offers a sophisticated account of how ethics could have evolved as a “social technology” — a set of optimally designed practices and norms — to satisfy basic human desires.
Kitcher’s case is open to serious objections, but it has the conceptual and logical weight that is lacking in the polemics of the scientific atheists. It also lets Kitcher enter into genuine dialogue with believers like the philosopher Charles Taylor, whose defense of religion in “A Secular Age” offers an essential counterpoint to almost everything Kitcher says.
For a long time, meaningful engagement between believers and nonbelievers was, especially in the United States, blocked by an implicit mutual agreement: religious belief was exempted from challenge, provided it remained within a private sphere of religious life, and was not asserted as relevant to any issues of public concern. Over the last few decades, however, conservative Christians have rejected this agreement, particularly over issues like abortion and evolution. The scientific atheists, led by Dawkins, rightly responded with their aggressive insistence that militant believers justify the claims they wanted taken seriously in the public sphere.
The resulting polemics cleared some murky air but now have little use except to keep assuring each side of the other’s perversity. Kitcher’s secular humanism reanimates the debate, promising much needed serious reflection on whether the divine can or should be eliminated from our moral lives.
Such a debate may not result in a victory for secular humanism. But even if it does, secular humanists would still face the much greater practical task of embedding their convictions in secular versions of the religious institutions, rituals and customs that even today remain vital fixtures in our social world. But Kitcher’s challenge, unlike Dawkins’s, is one that reflective believers have no easy way of evading, and meeting it may well seriously revise their understanding of their faith.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – A jubilant President Barack Obama said that tonight’s Republican forum was “the best debate ever,” calling it “the first good news I’ve had since I nailed bin Laden.”
Mr. Obama watched the debate surrounded by advisors in the White House Situation Room, where the mood was said to be tense “up until the first time Rick Perry opened his mouth.”
“I’m not a big TV watcher,” Mr. Obama said, “but that debate had to be the most entertaining two hours I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.”
Mr. Obama confirmed that he had DVRd the debate for future screenings at the White House, which tonight was the site of a spectacular fireworks display in the moments after the debate’s conclusion.
Among the debate’s highlights, the Republican candidates took pains to enumerate their plentiful broods of children, which added up to a number slightly greater than the population of China.
For his part, Gov. Perry of Texas made the biggest impression by questioning the existence of Social Security, climate change, earth, wind and fire.
Also notable were his pro-execution comments, which tonight won him the coveted endorsement of the National Association of Electric Chair Manufacturers.
“We don’t have high unemployment in Texas,” he noted with pride, “because if you don’t have a job, we kill you.”
And in perhaps the most revealing moment of the debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) explained why she does not believe in evolution: “It’s really let me down.”
As the eurozone battles public debt issues, a city in Germany has made it easier for sex workers to pay taxes.
Bonn has installed automated pay stations on the streets in which streetwalkers can pay and print out receipts for a 6 euro fee (about $8.70) each night, according to anarticle in the New York Times. If police stop the prostitutes, they must have a current ticket to practice their trade.
Prostitution is legal in Germany and income taxable. While collecting tax returns is easier at brothels, getting government revenues from curbside sex workers is more problematic for Germany tax authorities.
“What the government in Bonn was finding was that it was hard for sex workers who solicit sex on the street to fill out tax returns for many reasons: A) they were probably really busy, but also some of them don’t speak the language,” Nadia Bilchik, a CNN editorial producer, explained on CNN Saturday.
The Siemens-built meter machine – a converted parking meter – cost nearly $12,000; of the city’s 200 sex workers, an estimated 20 work on the streets, according to the Times.
“We expect to get some 200,000 euros ($288,000) per year from the meter,” city spokesperson Isabelle Klotz told AFP.
According to an article in Suddeutsche Zeitung, the move was made to make taxes more equitable as sex workers in the city’s designated “Eros centers” and sauna clubs already paid taxes. Street prostitution in Bonn is limited to an area opposite an “Eros Center,” and customers use one of six “sex boxes” – partitioned parking spaces – equipped with emergency buttons to alert nearby night watchmen of trouble, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung.
One Bonn sex worker – 24-year-old “Nicoleta” from Romania – interviewed by Deutsche Welle said her main problem isn’t the new tax, but a recent drop-off in business. “It’s not that much money, but when there’s no work, well…”
Fascinating social policy. While they are not saying that prostitution is necessarily a good thing, they have recognized that it is a part and parcel of the society. As a result, they will not make attempts to stomp it out, rather they will try to control it and simultaneously generate revenue, which can then be used for other social purposes. It is admirable and perhaps other countries could take a page out of this particular book. Unfortunately, dealing with the issue of prostitution comes with the baggage of religion and its supposed devout morals. We shall wait and see.