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Finland for Thought » 2006 » October | 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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U.S. Census data of Finnish and Swedish ancestry

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:57 pm

1990 U.S. Census data of Americans with Finnish ancestry, Swedish ancestry, and all Americans.

Poverty – Families 5.5% 4.5% 10.0%
Poverty – Unrelated Individuals 20.9% 17.3% 24.2%
Poverty – Persons 8.3% 6.7% 13.1%
Per capita income ($) $15,673 $17,720 $14,420
Unemployed 5.7% 4.2% 6.3%
Divorced 8.5% 8.2% 8.3%
Bachelor’s Degree or higher 24.2% 27.4% 20.3%
Native Born (in the states) 95.2% 98.0% 92.1%

Is Social Democracy a viable model for the European future?

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:11 pm

From one of my favorite bloggers, Tyler Cowen… (you should read his the whole post)

Part of the demographic problem, of course, is that the real standard of living in Western Europe is remarkably high. Western European women have learned how much fun they can have, living in Europe and traveling abroad, when they are not tied down with four children. The extreme secularism of Western Europe – a philosophy which I share and indeed cherish – also promotes small families. Religious exhortations to have more children, combined with a child-friendly church culture, do in fact raise birth rates. In both economic and cultural terms, Western Europe is not investing enough in its future.

It seems that for Western Europe to regain its dynamism, it has to move to a freer market economy, higher rates of childbirth, higher immigration, and greater religiosity. It has to stop being the Europe which we (or at least I) love, and become more like the United States.

Legal tattoos and tax breaks for hookers

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:21 pm

Tattooing is now legal in the state of Oklahoma

Some say it’s an art. Others say it’s a sin. But nobody can say tattooing is illegal in Oklahoma after Wednesday, when the state becomes the very last to permit it. The moral tangle is over. The win goes to lawmakers who argued that tattooing is inevitable, so it may as well be regulated for safety. The win is also claimed by the state’s tattoo artists, who can now ink most anyone 18 and older without fear of handcuffs and fines.

Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen is considering giving prostitutes a tax exemption

“My primary desire is to get those involved in prostitution out of it. There are examples of individuals who are forced to continue because they need to earn money to pay back taxes and this is a situation we don’t want,” Halvorsen told newspaper Dagbladet. [...]Member of parliament Inga Marte Thorkildsen, like Halvorsen a member of the Socialist Left Party, said the state acted as a pimp when it defined prostitution as not being work but taxed earnings from it.


LGBT issues in Finland, tonight on Radio Free Finland

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:47 pm

Listen tonight at 21.00 (GMT +2 / 2pm EST) on Radio Free Finland for the live interview with Jani Ryhänen, President of the Social Democratic Pink Rose organization, a political LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender) organization in Finland. We’ll be discussing LGBT issues in Finland.

UPDATE: Many many thanks to Jani Ryhänen for joining us this evening, and special thanks to everyone who participated in the live show! We discussed lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Finland and related topics. Finland is one of the leading countries in this regard but there’s still much room for improvement.

And here’s the podcast…

Download the show in MP3 format at 64kbps (19.3 MB – 41:28)
Download the show in AAC+ format at 24kbps (7.4 MB – 41:28)


Negative political campaign ads

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 9:04 pm

U.S. elections are nine days away, I’ve been watching some American TV courtesy of TVUPlayer and been enjoying all the negative political campaign ads. Each year they reach new lows, it’s funny. Here’s a great spoof on negative campaign ads from one of the most brilliant sketch comedy shows of all time, HBO’s Mr. Show… (if you like fucked up humor about religion, American politics, and drugs)

And another about negative television ads…

If you liked these, click below for more of my favorites from Mr. Show…

Jani Ryhänen of SDP’s Pink Rose, this week on Radio Free Finland

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:30 pm

Join us tomorrow night at 21.00 (GMT +2) on Radio Free Finland for the live interview with Jani Ryhänen, President of the Social Democratic Pink Rose organization, a political LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans gender) organization in Finland. We’ll be discussing LGBT issues in Finland. Some info about Jani…

Studying Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Organization and Training Officer of the Social Democratic Youth in Finland. The president of the first political LGBT organization in Finland, Social Democratic Pink Rose. Active in the politics – member of the Finnish Social Democratic party and several NGO’s. Appreciates friends, good restaurants, art and running. Easy going guy.

Tune-in Monday night for the live interview, all you need is Skype to listen-in and a micrphone if you wish to participate. If you don’t want to ask your questions live, you can e-mail us (info >>AT>> radiofreefinland dot net) before the show or send a text chat to us during the show, and we’ll read your comments live on the air.

Click below to read more about the Pink Rose organization… (more…)


Tips for the Finnish supermarket

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:30 pm

Here’s a few quick tips when shopping at a Finnish supermarket…

In today’s modern world, there’s no need to have coins in your pocket…except at the grocery store (and parking meters). At all Finnish supermarkets you need to have a coin to get a shopping cart, the coin is then given back to you when you return the cart. And not just any coin, often only 50 cent or 1 euro pieces. I never have coins in my pocket and forget about this fact each and every week as I enter the store.

I guess there was a serious problem in Finland some years back with people not returning their shopping carts, so the stores took appropriate measures. But I have found that American coins also work in these carts – quarters, nickels (shown in the blurry photo below), and pennies (sorry, no dimes). And I’ve found that you can even get the nickel back without returning the cart. The other trick is to take two abloy (typical house) keys and jam them in the coin slot, one on the left and other on the right.

Once you’re in the store and ready to check out, don’t get in the first cashier line you see. Finns have this strange ailment that whenever they see a line, they feel they must be in it. Every week at my local supermarket I think there’s huge lines at the checkout, then I’ll stroll twenty registers down and there’s a bunch of girls sitting there without any customers.

After you’re done placing your items on the conveyor belt, be sure to place that triangle stick behind your things – in the states, the person who begins placing their stuff on the belt does this first. And grocery bags cost money, like 20 cents a bag, but they’re much more durable than the free ones in the states.

And there’s no pissed off teenager there to pack your grocery bags for you, you need to do this yourself – and for a male, this can be a very intimidating experience, cause you got like 30 seconds to pack everything before all the lanes are full and you need to share yours with another customer. The checkout girl gives you that nasty look while she fires up that other conveyor belt so your food gets smashed into that wall and you stand there and witness all your delicate items being crushed into one another.


Photoshop of the Day

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:41 pm



Finland, 6th happiest country in the world. U.S. is 23rd

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:57 pm

Denmark #1, Sweden #7, Canada #10, England #41, Russia #167. From BusinessWeek Online

It’s dark and cold in the winter and has some of the highest taxes in Europe. But that doesn’t get in the way of Finns’ overall happiness. High quality medical care — at little to no cost — contributes to the country’s high average life expectancy. The country’s free educational system is one of the best, resulting in a 100% literacy rate. Poverty is rare; so too, is extreme wealth. “Our beloved government makes sure that taxes are high enough to prevent easy ways to riches,” says Jaakko Lehtonen, director-general of the Finnish Tourism Board. “Finns think a good salary is two cents higher than your neighbor’s; it’s enough to make you feel wealthy and subsequently, happy,” he says.


Famous Finnish-Americans

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:14 pm

Check out the list from Wikipedia, here’s a few highlights…

# Pamela Anderson (b. 1967) actor
# Matt Damon (b. 1970) award-winning screenwriter and actor
# Renny Harlin (b. 1959) producer/director
# Jessica Lange (b. 1949) two-time Academy Award-winning film actress
# David Lynch (b. 1946) director
# Jorma Kaukonen (b. 1940) blues, folk and rock guitarist (Jefferson Airplane)
# John Morton (1724–1777) delegate who cast the deciding vote in favor of the United States Declaration of Independence
# Eero Saarinen (1910–1961) architect and product designer of the 20th century, famous for his simple, sweeping, arching structural curves

…and here’s a free online documentary about Finnish-American life.

Finns’ ecological footprint third-heaviest in world

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:24 am

Wow, and the United States’ second-heaviest. I thought Finland was supposed to be big on the enviornment..? Okay, now I’m waiting to hear how it’s perfectly okay for Finland to do what they’re doing, meanwhile the U.S. is killing the earth…

According to the report, Finland places third in the world in terms of its ecological footprint – the demand people place upon the natural world. The only two nations with a higher per capita figure out of 146 countries in the report were the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

The Finns scored a figure of 7.6 hectares per person of ecologically productive land, while the planet can sustain no more than a figure of 1.8 hectares. In effect this means that Finns are consuming four times the sustainable level, and that sooner rather than later at this rate of progress – for the Finns are by no means the only people “living beyond the planet’s means” – we shall be needing a new planet or two. The entire world’s ecological footprint exceeeds the corresponding biocapacity by around 25 per cent, and the footprint gets larger each year.


13% of Americans are libertarians

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:01 pm

According the CATO Institute from a recent edition of The Economist, 13% of Americans are libertarians and could be the largest block of swing-voters. That is, if you’re defining “libertarianism” as “favouring both
economic and social freedom”. So that means, Libertarian Party membership could be around 13% instead of it’s current rate of less than 1% (and we’re still America’s third largest party). For that to happen, the “tin foil” hatters and anarchists need to stop running the party…

Using data from Gallup polls, they found that, in 2005, 13% of the voting-age population shared all three views, up from 9% in 2002. That is easily enough libertarians to tip an election. And their votes are up for grabs. In 2000 George Bush won 72% of the libertarian vote, to Al Gore’s 20%, by repeating the mantra “My opponent trusts government. I trust you.” But in 2004, after Mr Bush increased the size of government and curtailed some civil liberties as part of the war on terror, his margin dropped to 59%-38%.

Click below to read the whole article from The Economist. Hat Tip to Billy M. for the article!


Markku from Finland, tonight on Radio Free Finland!!

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 7:02 pm

Everything you wanted to know about Finland, and more!! What to do, where to go, what to see, how to make love like a Finnish man – it’s all here.

Big thanks to Markku for spending some time with us! And special thanks to everyone who listened and participated in the live show. Big apologies though to caller Paul, for some reason my recording software to pick up his audio (two weeks ago it cut off prematurely, last week we had audio quality issues, and now this..).

For your listenening pleasure…

Download the show in MP3 format at 64kbps (14.8 MB – 31:37)
Download the show in AAC+ format at 24kbps (5.5 MB – 31:37)



Deported from Finland even if you have Finnish spouse and kids

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:04 pm

Wow – Even if you’ve been a Finnish resident for nearly a decade, and you have a Finnish spouse and Finnish kids…they can deport you, even for something as victimless as drug charges – That’s not right…

Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled Monday that a Gambian man who had been sentenced for an aggravated narcotics offence in 2003 would be deported from Finland upon release from prison in 2007. The court weighed the man’s offence against his family connections and lengthy stay in Finland. He had received a residency permit in 1998.

The Helsinki Administrative Court had previously considered that fact that the man was married with a Finnish citizen and had a child to be weighty arguments against deportation. However the Supreme Administrative Court upheld a decision made by the Directorate of Immigration in 2004 and ruled in favour of deportation.

Finland ties for #1 in freedom of the press

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 2:43 pm

Hats off to the Finnish state for allowing the media do what they wish, although there are very few cases in which Finnish journalists “push anyone’s buttons” to begin with, I wonder how much “self censorship” is done in the Finnish media. And when someone does test the Finnish free press boundries, like the publishing of the Mohammed cartoons, these people are investigated and sent to court – so there’s definitely room to improve in Finland. And there’s even more room to improve for the United States who ranked 44th 53rd according to Reporters without Borders

The imprisonment of reporter Judith Millerwas an unprecedented setback for press freedom in the Unite States and a milestone in the long legal battle to protect the privacy of journalistic sources. Two measures ensuring such protection at federal level are awaiting consideration by Congress.

UPDATE: Sorry, their website isn’t fully updated with 2006′s results, I accidently included the data for 2005 above. Here’s the full 2006 report.

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