German Of The Day: Zwangsbeitrag

That means “compulsory contribution” and refers here to the TV fees every German household has to pay for Öffentlich-Rechtliche or public-sector (or state) TV. You have to pay this here, you see, whether you watch these channels or not. You have to pay this here whether you even own a TV or not. Germany has the most expensive public-sector TV channels in the world, by the way.

ARD

Sounds reasonable, right? Hardy, har har. Well, now German “scientists” have suddenly figured out that Germany no longer needs these expensive public-sector channels and that they can be, pardon my French, “privatized.” German scientists are notoriously thorough, you know, and that’s why it takes them a little longer than other folks to figure this kind of stuff out.

Other Germans will not want to hear this, however. This is because, well… It’s hard to say why this is. It would mean getting rid of Tatort, for one thing. This would be earth-shattering or something. And in the end, Germans also want to have an official opinion maker, I suppose, someone they can always go to when they need an official opinion of their own, so-to-speak – and Der Spiegel isn’t handy at that moment.

The more things change the more they stay the same. So don’t even THINK about changing channels. “That’s right, folks. Don’t touch that dial!

Wissenschaftler stellen bei der Betrachtung von ARD und ZDF fest: Deutschland braucht nicht länger den teuersten öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk der Welt.

If It Wasn’t For Last Place We Wouldn’t Have No Place At All

Alllemagne, null points.

Eurovision

Deutschlands Schmach wird Teil einer Ausstellung: Es ist kein putziger Zufall, sondern tiefe Einsicht und Ausdruck der österreichischen Gemütslage, dass zum ESC im ehrwürdigen Leopold-Museum eine Ausstellung zu sehen ist, die “The Nul-Pointers” heißt. Der in Wien lebende deutsche Schriftsteller Tex Rubinowitz hat sie erstellt und dafür alle bisher 34 Sängerinnen und Sänger mit eiligem Strich auf Holztafeln gemalt, die im Wettbewerb null Punkte bekamen. Es ist eine witzige Schau mit traurigen Gesichtern, in einem Raum werden deren Lieder gespielt.

Forget Mediation

What these guys need is some meditation. Or maybe some heavy medication.

Strikes

Don’t worry. These GDL train drivers will be back for strike number ten before too long. And not that anybody cares anymore or anything, but the post office employees and kindergarden cop-people are still on strike here, too.

Remember when Germany used to be a “first world” country?

The latest strike is the ninth walkout in just 11 months and follows a five-day train strike earlier in May, which was the longest in Deutsche Bahn’s 21-year history.

Stress Lady’s Back

Now she’s stressed out about being in something called the “sandwich generation.”

Stress

Just eat more vegetables and get over it already, sweetheart. Sheesh. When this broad ain’t stressed out about sandwiches she’s stressed out about this, this, this or this. She’s really starting to stress me out. Know what I’m sayin’?

Rund 82 Prozent der deutschen Frauen zwischen 40 und 59 Jahren fühlen sich nach einer Studie zwischen Beruf, Familie und teilweise auch Pflege von Angehörigen immer wieder überfordert.

PS: Oddity 448. The word “Stress” is used more frequently and has a much more negative connotation in German than it does elsewhere. It is a very dirty six-letter word here. Germans strive to achieve a stable, stress-free life within predictable confines and anything that interferes with this is more stressful for them than any of us non-Germans out there can imagine. Germans will even get stressed out about stress that they don’t even have yet, thus subjecting themselves to even more stress and feelings of inadequacy (for not being under this type of stress yet), which can also be very stressful. Needless to say, this makes it very stressful for those otherwise non-stressed individuals out there who have to witness all of this.

But What Does This Guy Know?

China and Russia are the most avid intelligence gatherers in Germany, says Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany’s intelligence agency.

Maassen

But like, who cares about that? That’s beside the point or something. We Germans are empört (appalled) about this Skandal (scandal) and we’re going to stay that way, damn it.

Liebe Deutsche, findet euch damit ab, dass ihr ausspioniert werdet!

German Of The Day: Behindert

That’s what Germans are. Or at least one out of eight Germans are these days: Disabled.

Behindert

Not only are they getting more and more old and gray and in the way, they also seem to be doing so less gracefully.

Funny how the number could be so high here so quickly though, don’t you think (up 7 percent since 2009)? This couldn’t be another popular scam for some, could it? I’m so ashamed. How could I even think of such a thing?

Whatever it is, it reminds me of a German oddity I have observed here in Berlin: Oddity 168. If there were only two Germans left on earth, one would try to take advantage of the other by pulling out his “Schwerbeschädigter Ausweis” or disabled person ID. I was boarding a bus in Berlin once when two passengers got into a real argument over one of the seats reserved for the disabled by waving around their IDs and yelling back and forth at each other about who was the more disabled of the two. It came dangerously close to a real brawl. That made me wonder. Would the winner of the fight have then been disqualified for no longer being the most disabled one?

Gegenüber 2009 ist die Zahl der Menschen mit Behinderung um 7 Prozent beziehungsweise 673.000 Personen gestiegen.

Even When We Win We Lose

Or so it goes with SPD these days.

SPD

Germany’s Social Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, on Sunday suffered their worst-ever electoral setback in regional polls in Bremen, raising questions about party leader Sigmar Gabriel’s hopes of gaining ground nationally on Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats.

So sehen Sieger aus (this is what winners look like):

FDP

In Bremen ändern 6,5 Prozent für die FDP nicht viel. Im Bund aber eröffnet ihre Wiedererweckung Gedankenspiele für die Wahl 2017.

A Green Superpower?

Germany?

Coal

Germany is a superpower when it comes to setting ambitious goals. But it’s even better at burning coal.

Germany aims to generate 80% of its power from renewable sources by 2050 with nuclear being fully phased out by 2021. But given the costs associated with renewables and the challenge of replacing nuclear power efficiently, it is not clear that Germany will succeed in either of these goals…

The Germans have increasingly turned to coal as their power generation source of choice, especially U.S. coal. Today coal power plants are responsible for generating nearly half of Germany’s power, and numerous new plants are scheduled to come online in the next few years.

Overall, the increase in coal is likely to create a significant increase in airborne pollution and potentially stoke tension between Germany and its neighbors. But at the same time, if Germany wants to phase out nuclear power, coal is the only realistic option; a fact which some German politicians are starting to admit.

Border Patrol German-Style

German marines have rescued 200 (now over 400) refugees shortly after launching two ships to scour waters between Africa and Europe.

Border Patrol

The ship “Hessen” evacuated the boat in distress about 250 kilometers south of the Italian island Lampedusa. The refugees were brought to an Italian port, the German army said after discussions with Italian marine rescue officials.

The “Hessen,” along with the “Berlin,” also a Bundeswehr ship, were warned of a refugee distress situation on Monday morning. The ships had begun their search mission on Tuesday, when they sailed from Crete towards the sea area between Libya and Italy.

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