Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Afghanistan Armadillo

Highly recommended:
An intimate portrait of young, adrenaline fueled Danish soldiers stationed at Camp Armadillo, a base located in Helmand province in Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pipe Down an' Cool It

Climate catastrophe? The end of civilization as we know it? Cool It is based upon the book of the same name and lectures by Bjørn Lomborg, the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner travels the world with Lomborg exploring the real facts and true science of global warming and its impact.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Danish Art of Hygge

The Danes have a word that's hard to translate, and no foreigner can hope to pronounce, but it's as Danish as pork roast and cold beer
we read in The Danish Art of Hygge (tak til Valerie).
It's hygge, and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul.

… Gather the family and invite over a couple of good friends. Push the sofas and chairs up close to the coffee table. Douse the electricity and light some candles. Better yet, light a fire in the hearth.

Serve plenty of food and drink. Raise a toast or two, or three, and feel the warmth flow around the table. Look at each other until you see the candlelight shimmering in each other’s eyes. You've got hygge!

Luckily, we didn't have to use near-synonyms like coziness, fellowship, security, reassurance or well-being. They just don't add up to hygge. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Bjørn…

According to Hervé Kempf's interview of Bjørn Lomborg in Le Monde, the skeptical enviromentalist has become a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of global warming of climate change…

Update (from Radegunda in the No Pasarán comments section):
A few days ago, I read somewhere an email in which he explained to a concerned blogger (sorry I can't remember who) that he hasn't changed his views at all. It's just that his views had been misunderstood by the ideologues who tend to be enraged by any questioning of climate catastrophism--and who probably saw a propaganda coup in saying "Even Lomborg has come around ...."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dans le pays réputé « le plus heureux au monde », Hells Angels, Bandidos ou Black Cobra s'entretuent

Dans le pays réputé « le plus heureux au monde », Hells Angels, Bandidos ou Black Cobra s'entretuent mais ont pignon sur rue et même des porte-parole
écrit Olivier Truc.
Ils jouent sur le racisme pour recruter les jeunes.
Son article dans Le Monde commence ainsi :
ppelons-le Nick, pour raison de sécurité. Il a un peu plus de 18 ans. Nick est un jeune Danois qui lutte pour sortir d'un engrenage où de plus en plus de jeunes basculent depuis quelques années au Danemark, ce pays scandinave qui passe pour « le plus heureux au monde ». Nick fait partie de ces petits soldats du crime, chair à canon recrutée par des clubs de motards ou des bandes issues de l'immigration qui, depuis l'été 2008, se livrent à une guerre qui a fait 9 morts et 87 blessés au cours de 140 accrochages.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Go, Denmark! Denmark to the stars!

If all goes well, in the very near future Denmark will become the fourth nation to put a man into space
writes Walter Jon Williams (tak til Instapundit).
The unique thing about the Danish rocket is that there’s no government money involved. The rocket is funded privately.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sustaining a benevolent nanny state is proving to be challenging even for the notably generous Danes

…sustaining a benevolent nanny state is proving to be challenging even for the notably generous Danes.
For years, Denmark was held out as a model to countries with high unemployment and as a progressive touchstone to liberals in the United States
writes Liz Alderman in a New York Times article that appeared on the front page of the International Herald Tribune.
But now Denmark, which allows employers to hire and fire at will while relying on an elaborate system of training, subsidies for those between jobs and aggressive measures to press the unemployed into available openings, is facing its own strains. As a result, it is beginning to tighten up.

…“We have a famous flexicurity model, but now it’s all flex and no security,” complained Kim Simonsen, chairman of HK, one of Denmark’s largest trade unions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Happiest Nation on Earth: “Way too many Danes think ‘What’s in it for me?’ instead of considering what’s best for Denmark”

"…in light of the credit crunch and a growing public debt problem, Denmark’s generous public spending has come under scrutiny" writes Natalia Rachlin in the New York Times after referring to the country as "something out of a fairy tale: a place where social benefits are not just a last resort for the underprivileged, but an ingrained part of everyday existence, even for high earners."
Specifically, the state-funded pension program — which costs 96 billion kroner, or $16 billion, annually, an estimated 5.5 percent of gross domestic product — has fueled a discussion about the paradox of Denmark’s high earners receiving many of the same social benefits as the very neediest citizens.

“Way too many Danes think ‘What’s in it for me?’ instead of considering what’s best for Denmark,” Bendt Bendtsen, a member of the European Parliament and a former leader of the Danish Conservative Party, told the financial daily Boersen in a recent interview.

…Denmark has the highest overall tax burden of all O.E.C.D. member countries, with taxes to G.D.P. reaching 48.2 percent in 2009. Furthermore, numbers from the O.E.C.D. show that Denmark has one of the highest marginal tax rates for high earners — 67 percent — when consumer taxes are included.

“If you take away social benefits from high earners, it’s basically the same thing as taxing them even more heavily,” said Mads Lundby Hansen, chief economist at Cepos, a center-right research organization in Copenhagen. “The question quickly becomes, why stay in Denmark? And the thing is, we need high earners here to invest in businesses, to keep the economy rolling.”

…Mr. Hansen of Cepos pointed to calculations done by his organization, based on data from the Ministry of Finance and Statistics Denmark, that show that in 2010 the percentage of the adult population living entirely off transfer income — whether it be welfare, student checks or state retirement funds — is at 43.2 percent.

… “What Denmark needs is to get people back into the labor market,” Mr. Hansen said. “We need to boost productivity. This should happen in two ways: by major tax reforms, and also, slimming down social benefits across the board — not based on income.”

[Lars Bruhn, founder and chairman of NorthCap Partners, a major venture capital firm,] acknowledged that Mr. Bendtsen’s comments had started an important discussion about how to get Denmark back on track. But he added that any solution that amounted to increasing the burden on the country’s handful of high-net-worth individuals would be counterproductive — no matter how politically popular it might be.

“This will undoubtedly lead some business angels, those wealthy individuals who will invest in the next generation, to leave the country in order to avoid being a Dane – leaving behind what’s supposedly the happiest nation on earth,” he said.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shades of the Little Mermaid? And Her Prince?

Det store kunstmuseum [ARoS i Århus] har fået lov til at udstille prins Henriks erotiske skulptur "De elskende" på museets aktuelle udstilling "I LOVE YOU", der sætter fokus på billedkunstens fremstilling af kærligheden med alt dertil hørende: Begær. erotik, romantik, lidenskab, sex, magt og smerte.

Dermed kommer Prinsens kunstværk i selskab med værker af en række internationale kunstnere som Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin og den kinesiske komet Yue Minjun. …

Prins Henriks skulptur "De elskende" var en gave til dronning Margrethe i anledning af hendes 70 års fødselsdag den 16. april i år. Skulpturen blev skabt i starten af 1970’erne og viser, som titlen antyder, et elskende par i kærlig omfavnelse, skriver ARoS i en pressemeddelelse.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Finally: An Entirely Valid Reason to Go on Strike

From Denmark: an entirely valid reason to go on strike (tak — hik — til Valerie)…
Scores of Carlsberg workers walked off their jobs in protest Thursday after the Danish brewer tightened laid-back rules on workplace drinking and removed beer coolers from work sites, a company spokesman said.

The warehouse and production workers in Denmark are rebelling against the company's new alcohol policy, which allows them to drink beer only during lunch hours in the canteen. Previously, they could help themselves to beer throughout the day, from coolers placed around the work sites.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Denmark's editorial pages, "there has been a total agreement that it is a necessary war"

While the "popularity of the international campaign in Afghanistan has fallen across Europe and in the U.S.", writes the Wall Street Journal's Alistair MacDonald (tak til Vincent),
the Danes have largely maintained public support for the effort, selling the mission as a humanitarian effort rather than simply protection against a terrorist threat, and building consensus among political parties. They have reaped the benefits of a largely supportive media and the country has, to some degree, rediscovered its pride in an active military.
In addition, incidentally, the British criticism of the U.S. ignoring its allies in tales of war and combat is turned against the Brits:
"When I read a U.K. paper its just like, the U.K. and nobody else" fighting, [Danish Defense Minister Søren Gade] said.
Finally, a chicken hawk charge ("if you haven't served or aren't serving, you cannot support") is pointed out — in reverse.
When troops say, " 'We did a job and we did it good, and it is worth doing,' then it is very hard indeed for a lot of people to oppose, because those are the men and women who risk their lives," he said.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Danish Troops Storm Ship Captured by Somali Pirates

Danish special forces have stormed a ship captured by Somali pirates, reports the BBC, and freed 25 crew members.
…it was the first time a warship had intervened after pirates boarded a vessel.

Troops in inflatable dinghies moved in after a distress signal from the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged Ariella.
Update: "Denmark over the past few years has been increasing an emphasis on its special forces," writes Sharon Weinberger, "which consist of the Jægerkorpset, an Army unit similar to British commandos, and the Frømandskorpset, the rough equivalent of U.S. Navy SEALs. Not only have they grown their ranks; they are seeking action as well."
"Events happen rapidly in our field, and if we are to measure up to the best special forces out there, it doesn't do any good if we only train," the special forces corps chief, Lt. Col. Henrik Friis, said in 2005, according to the trade publication Defense News. "We need to get out and complete some missions."