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Finland for Thought » 2006 » November | 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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30.11.2006

Finland is the capital of Norway

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 8:27 pm

I don’t even know where to begin with this one – From “Earth Girls are Easy“…

Hat Tip to MP83

Eliminating Denmark’s top tax bracket (60%) would pay for itself

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 11:41 am

Found this article from one of the most interesting new blogs out there, Scandinavian Finance, hosted by Finland for Thought reader Väinämöinen – From The Copenhagen Post

Lowering taxes leads to higher state income. It sounds like every Liberal’s mantra, but the recommendation comes from one of the nation’s most respected research institutes, the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit.

The conclusion, to be published Friday in a report titled ‘Tax, work and equality’, is the first time scholars in Denmark have documented that eliminating the nation’s top tax bracket – a dizzying 60 percent – would pay for itself. According to the report, for every DKK 100 tax reduction for the highest earners, tax revenues would increase DKK 120, a net DKK 20 gain for the state.

‘The high levels of taxation are not effective. That’s something that should be of interest even to those who believe that people who earn more should also pay more. Right now we’re shaking extra money out of them. Maybe we should try to find that money someplace else,’ said Torben Tranæs, Rockwool research director. According to calculations made by the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI), eliminating the top tax bracket would give an extra DKK 2 billion in taxes.

[...]The top-heavy tax structure has also been a political tool for ensuring a more level social structure. But the report concluded that the social equality ensured by progressive taxation means fewer tax revenues and fewer funds for Denmark’s cradle-to-grave social welfare system.

An evening with Depeche Mode

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 10:05 am

Saw this in Helsingin Sanomat a few days ago – Tonight at Lady Moon in Helsinki (right across from the train station) they’re having “An evening with Depeche Mode” from 21-04 hosted by DJ Brinque (known for spinning 80′s new wave music around Finland). No entrance fee.

depeche_mode_helsinki.jpg

29.11.2006

Eurabia A Myth?

Tags: Uncategorized — Author:   @ 8:59 pm

The blogosphere is abuzz on both sides of the pond by this provocative article by Ralph Peters:

…We don’t need to gloss over the many Muslim acts of barbarism down the centuries to recognize that the Europeans are just better at the extermination process. From the massacre of all Muslims and Jews (and quite a few Eastern Christians) when the Crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099 to the massacre of all the Jews in Buda (not yet attached to Pest across the Danube) when the “liberating” Habsburg armies retook the citadel at the end of the 17th century, Europeans have just been better organized for genocide.

It’s the difference between the messy Turkish execution of the Armenian genocide and the industrial efficiency of the Holocaust. Hey, when you love your work, you get good at it.

Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe’s Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front – a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch – all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal….

Are Finland’s Muslims also living on borrowed time?

Opposition to NATO Membership Remains High

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:03 am

“The TNS Gallup poll commissioned by the information service of the national cadets’ society shows that about a quarter of the Finnish population are in favour of NATO membership, while 65 percent of respondents expressed opposition to joining NATO.”

OECD: Finnish Economy To Grow 5%

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:01 am

“The OECD suggests that to facilitate job creation and alleviate bottlenecks in labour supply due to the ageing of the population, remaining pathways to early retirement should be phased out and greater wage flexibility in the central wage agreements put in place. The outlook report added that to avoid a pronounced house price cycle, incentives for municipalities to provide land for house building in fast-growing regions need to be sharpened.”

Fortum Cancels Electricity Price Hikes

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 12:00 am

“Finland’s largest energy company, Fortum, on Tuesday cancelled electricity price increases that it had announced last week.”

28.11.2006

Why Bush has never visited Finland

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:58 pm

Bush is currently a few short kilometers away in Estonia, but has never visited Finland. Here’s Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, Andres Kasekamp’s reasoning…

Bush visits some 15 foreign countries each year. So far he has not paid a visit to Finland. Kasekamp is of the opinion that Estonia’s success story fits well with the Bush’s philosophy of a liberal market economy and new democracy.

First and foremost, however, the visit reflects Bush’s gratitude towards Estonia, whose soldiers have been present in Iraq since 2003. In Afghanistan the number of Estonian troops was increased to 120 this autumn. In relation to the size of the Estonian population, this is a significant investment.

In Estonia, less and less people support the participation in the war in Iraq.

Big Brother’s success in Finland vs. the U.S.

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:36 pm

If you didn’t know all ready, the tv-show “Big Brother” is HUGE in Finland. It comes on like six (?) days a week I believe, even if you don’t watch the show you know what’s going on thanks to media coverage and discussions around the coffee machine (you can even get Finnish Big Brother news in English). Now in the states it’s a different story, I couldn’t find the ratings but it just hasn’t had the same impact as it has in Finland.

So I was trying to figure out why the same show is big in Finland but not in the states. For one thing, in Finland the viewers get to vote out the houseguests, while in the states the houseguests themselves do the voting (probably cause SMS isn’t nearly as popular in the states). And the U.S. has a lot more reality shows to compete. But I think it’s stereotypical Finnish characteristics and Finland’s homogeneousness that make this particular show so popular.

When I watch an American reality show, I can’t really relate with those people – they’re just actors from far-off locations and have little in common with me. I don’t care about them so I wouldn’t want to spend an hour of my day watching them muck around a house. But in Finland, the cast are from near-by towns that you’ve probably visited, and being a homogeneous society, there’s a lot more characteristics that you and the cast share. And I think there’s this Finnish instinct to spy on other people’s lives, especially your neighbors. The whole Nordic welfare state model is kinda a “big brother” (well more of a “nanny”), so naturally the show would fit right in. (Although the states is turning into a REAL big brother society each year)

Oh and there’s a lot more nudity and sex compared to the US version, that has to boost ratings.

Consumers Worried about Electricity Price Hikes

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:06 pm

Consumers in Espoo gathered on Monday evening to hear why their electricity bills will rise sharply next year. Finland’s largest energy company, Fortum, had to explain why residents could be paying as much as 15 percent more. Fortum will raise prices throughout the country, but most of all in the Helsinki suburban area of Espoo. Fortum claims it is one of the last major power companies in Finland to raise prices. On Monday, two more followed suit, as utilities based in Vantaa and Tampere also announced rate hikes.

Immigrant Children to Get Own Residence Permits

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:05 pm

For this reason, a photo of each child must be submitted with each residence permit application. An extra fee of 50 euros will also be charged for each child’s application, along with the current 175 euros per adult.

Malpractice Claims on the Rise

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:04 pm

The Patient Insurance Centre believes that this year, six percent more complaints will be filed than in 2005. This would bring the total number up to 8,000. [..]In the past few years, less than a third of malpractice claims have led to damages being paid to the patient. Last year, 31 million euros were paid out in a total of 2,300 cases.

Why so many Americans support the death penalty…

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 1:01 pm

And you wonder why so many Americans (and 28% of Finns) support the death penalty…

Juha Valjakkala, sentenced to life in prison for murdering a family of three in Sweden in 1988, escaped from the Hamina labour colony in Finland on the night between Monday and Tuesday.

Finnish police have issued a warrant of apprehension for the prisoner, who goes by the name Nikita Joakim Fouganthine.

27.11.2006

Juice Leskinen, Finnish rock music icon, dies at 56

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:01 pm

I’m not familiar with his music, but he sounded like my kinda guy

Leskinen’s musical inspirations included John Lennon and Bob Dylan, but his songwriting also followed traditions set by Finnish artists such as Reino Helismaa, Jarko Laine, Eino Leino and Lauri Viita. While his best-known compositions have become evergreens in Finnish popular music, Leskinen was most influential as a lyricist.

In the early 1970s Leskinen introduced an element of realism into the relatively young genre of Finnish rock music, introducing satire and overt humorous references to sexuality. His style was typified by an unconstrained interpretation of rough, provocative and mischievous elements Ango-American rock lyricism adapted to Finnish culture.

Leskinen’s songs abound in intimate descriptions of human relationships, but equally popular were his satirical pieces which made fun of authority – especially police, and other officials, who were portrayed as excessively interfering with people’s everyday lives.

Radio Free Finland on FST’s “Neon”

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 10:44 am

Super dooper big thanks to Keksi for recording the show last night, encoding it to an online format, and uploading it!! So here you can watch the segment…

Download the segment in high quality
(119MB, 9:21, XViD)
Download the segment in normal quality (25MB, 9:21, Windows Media)

Or watch it on YouTube… (low quality)

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