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Finland for Thought » 2006 » July | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

Finland for Thought
             Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & United States

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Afrikan Tähti designer dead at 76

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 10:54 pm

Kari Mannerla, the creator of Finland’s unofficial national board game, Afrikan Tähti, is dead at 76. He designed the game when before he was in his twenties and the game has sold about 3.5 million copies. I think every Finn, and probably every foreigner in Finland has some fond memories of playing this Afrikan Tähti.


French man stares at Rovaniemi webcam

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 4:13 pm

French man writing for L.A. Times very fascinated with a Rovaniemi webcam, goes for a visit…

I initially assumed that everything on camera would somehow reflect Lapland’s identity. I imagined that a herd of reindeer might show up from around the corner, or that in winter, sleighs would replace cars.

No such luck: just normal-looking automobiles, blurry people and this never-ending gray light. After a while, I found this reassuring. Rovaniemi, in the end, has the same texture as any other European town.

Refreshing the site as many as three times a day became a kind of therapy, an escape from the urban pressure and chaos of Marseilles, with its narrow streets choked with cars and people, often under crushing summer heat. It was comforting to know that there is a place, somewhere, calmer than where I live all year long. We had two small children, and I couldn’t travel as before, so the webcam allowed me to transport myself a little each day.


4 out of 5 Finns want religion in public schools

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 10:29 am

A vast majority of Finns believe that religious education should remain part of the public school curriculum, according to a survey published by two provincial newspapers.
Four out of five people interviewed want to keep religion in schools, while 16 percent say it should be discontinued in its current form.

Wow, that’s a big difference from the U.S. However, “religion in schools” means very different things in the states than in Finland. Most Americans know *nothing* about other religions, it was never taught in our schools, or by our parents, and certainly not in Sunday schools – you have to learn it on your own. And as we know, ignorance breeds intolerance.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of those polled approved the current tax system whereby the state-supported Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church gets a share of corporate tax revenues. Just over a quarter of respondents wanted to end that arrangement.

The Lutheran Church receives about 100 million euros worth of such tax funds annually.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those figures were about the same in the states. Bush increased the amount of tax money going to “faith-based initiatives” and alot of Americans supported this. Of course as a strong believer in seperation of church and state, you all know how I feel about this one.


Inspirational picture of the day

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:00 pm


Other favorites from this list: Drugs, CAPS LOCK, Bitches, Dental Plan, Centipedes?, Gangsta, and It’s Gay.


Recording an episode of Family Guy

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 4:40 pm

Some Thursday fun – For all you Family Guy fans, here’s a video of the cast doing the voice overs…

Hat Tip to Erno I. for the link!

EU president Finland summons Middle East crisis meeting

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:10 am

“Finland, the EU member state holding the bloc’s rotating presidency, said Wednesday it would hold an extraordinary EU foreign ministers’ meeting on the Middle East crisis in August.

The timing of the meeting is rare since August is normally devoted to summer holidays at EU bodies.

Erkki Tuomioja (soc dem), the Finnish foreign minister, is to chair the meeting. He was in Rome Wednesday attending an international conference on the situation in Lebanon.”

Pay Hikes for Finnish Parliamentarians

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:10 am

Finnish Members of Parliament are to get two pay hikes within less than a year. From August, an MP’s monthly salary will go up from EUR 5,220 to EUR 5,400. Those who have been in office for more than 12 years will see their pay rise from EUR 5,600 to EUR 5,800.
A further rise will come from the beginning of April 2007, raising the monthly pay to EUR 5,540, and for those serving for more than 12 years to EUR 5,950.

President and Foreign Minister Demand Explanation

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:09 am

“President Tarja Halonen has demanded an explanation from Israel for the bombing of the United Nations base in Khiam, in which a Finnish military observer is believed to have been killed.
In a statement, Halonen said that Israel had no right to strike the base.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has called the attack truly tragic.”

More Finns Victims of Hacker Attacks

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:08 am

“Last year, about 3,000 Finnish credit card numbers were stolen by computer hackers. According to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, as many as 4,000 Finns’ computers are continually broken into.”


How welfare reform changed America

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:29 pm

Wow, maybe Clinton wasn’t that big of a jerk afterall (of course, now all that extra money has just gone towards dropping bombs on Iraq) – From USA Today

The law signed by President Clinton on Aug. 22, 1996, has transformed the way the nation helps its neediest citizens. Gone is the promise of a government check for parents raising children in poverty. In its place are 50 state programs to help those parents get jobs.

In the 12 years since caseloads peaked at 5.1 million families in 1994, millions have left the welfare rolls for low-paying jobs. Nearly 1 million more have been kicked off for not following states’ rules or have used up all the benefits they’re allowed under time limits. Today, 1.9 million families get cash benefits; in one-third of them, only the children qualify for aid. About 38% of those still on welfare are black, 33% white and 24% Hispanic.

Three in four families on welfare are headed by unmarried women. As a result, employment rates for all single women rose 25% before declining slightly since 2001. Earnings for the poorest 40% of families headed by women doubled from 1994 to 2000, before recession wiped out nearly half the gains. Poverty rates for children fell 25% before rising 10% since 2000.

Link via Johan Norberg’s blog

Finnish observer killed by Israeli bombs at UN post in Lebanon

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:15 am

From the Guardian

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is at the centre of a diplomatic storm after accusing Israel of deliberately bombing a UN observer post in southern Lebanon, killing at least two peacekeepers.

Two peacekeepers were killed and two were feared dead under the rubble of their post in the town of Khiyam, near the eastern sector of the border.

On hearing the news last night, Mr Annan rushed out of a Rome hotel where he had been dining with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Lebanon’s prime minister on the eve of international talks on the Lebanon crisis. He said the Israeli hit on the observer post was “apparently deliberate” and demanded an investigation.

[...]Observers from Canada, China, Austria and Finland were among the dead at the UN post, UN and Lebanese officials said.

The Ovi, issue #16, online now

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:11 am

With plans to “go daily” in September, everyone’s favorite English-magazine-in-Finland, The Ovi, releases this month’s issue. This month’s topic, “copycats”. Read it online or download the PDF, also be sure to check out their blog and forum. Here’s a few articles from this month…

- The real intolerance in Finland
- Is homosexuality a disease?
- Paternity leave left
- Fast Chicks


“Between you and me, fuck Finland”

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 6:52 pm

Yeah yeah, I’m sure many of you have seen this, but for those who haven’t…

Hat Tip to Lauri L. for the link!

Problems with polygamy?

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:14 pm

This spring HBO introduced a new drama, “Big Love“, about a polygamous family in Utah. The father, three wives, and seven children live a rather sheltered life, in fear that their neighbors or someone will turn them over to the police. The family would then be split up, the parents would go to jail, and the kids to foster homes – all because the practice of polygamy is illegal.

So here’s what I don’t get – If you go around screwing lots of women, making babies with multiple partners and neglecting them all, it’s perfectly fine. Now if you begin to start taking care of those women and they all live under one roof voluntarily, it’s polygamy and you’re to goto jail. Makes no sense whatsoever.

Polygamy is a voluntary agreement between multiple people, however sometimes you hear about these 15-year old girls with 70-year old men. You hear about the one unemployed guy with 15 wives and 50 kids living in a shack, ripping off the state over welfare benefits. You hear about these women who are basically enslaved and beaten, they’re forbidden to leave their husbands. But it’s the same situation as the prostitutes, they become enslaved because the practice is illegal and they can’t go to the police.

As a firm believer in seperatation of church and state, I am against the state’s involvement in marriage. Marriage is a religious sacrament. But in today’s world, marriage is no longer one man and one woman – and even though I disagree with polygamy, I can’t understand why it shouldn’t be one of the socially and legally acceptable forms of marriage.



Eight Somalis Could Face Deportation

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:59 am

The Directorate of Immigration is issuing deportation orders for eight Somalis as a result of crimes they have committed in Finland, reports the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
Some of them face deportation to the unstable southern part of Somalia in contravention of recommendations made by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

The deportation orders are not yet legally valid. No recent deportation orders have been implemented, Helsingin Sanomat reports. Deportees can appeal the decision to the Administrative Court.

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