Thursday, July 13, 2006

Aimless thoughts while listening to The Mountain by Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band (Yes, I despise Steve Earle's politics as much as anyone, and I don't think he's precisely a positive role for America's youth, either. Among other things, he's been married six times, done prison time, and been hooked on heroin and apparently everything else toxic. However, I love his stuff):

Israel is on the offensive against Hezbollah. Good. The Spanish press is unanimously anti-Israel, and both El Periodico and La Vanguardia have been publishing strident anti-Israeli/American articles and cartoons.

Examples: Ferreres from El Periodico, July 12. Uncle Sam: "You have the right to bomb them, as long as you do it ethically."

Ferreres, July 11. Passerby: "Your Holiness, since you support the family so much, couldn't you go to Gaza and give the ones over there a hand?" Pope: "And get called an anti-Semite? With my past record, I have to be careful."

Ferreres, July 4: Muslim father: "They always say, 'Violence gets you nothing.' They should add, 'Unless you use it against those who are defenseless.' In that case, it gets you everything." Agreed, in this case the tanks could be either American or Israeli.

Genius outgoing Catalan regional premier Pasqual Maragall has decided to call regional parliamentary elections on November 1, irritating everybody because elections are generally held in Spain on Sundays, and November 1 is a Wednesday. Get this logic: Maragall and the Socialists figure since if the election is on a workday and employers by law have to give their workers four hours off to vote, that will lead working-class voters to turn out massively.

They don't close down the bars and liquor stores on Election Day over here like they do in Kansas. The running joke is that we close down alcohol outlets in order to reduce drunk voting; in reality, it's a reform measure left over from the old corrupt days in the Thirties when they'd drag every bum in town out of the gutter to vote and pay them off with a pint of whiskey.

La Vanguardia's Joaquim Ibarz got an interview with Mexican president-elect Felipe Calderon. Quotes:

(Provocation) is part of (Lopez Obrador's) habitual strategy, but we are ready...There will not be an institutional crisis despite the demonstrations. I am prepared to confront this radicalization and govern with a belligerent opposition. Lopez Obrador is losing more credibility each day. The more radical he becomes, accusing everyone of being a traitor, the more electoral support he loses. This not very democratic attitude will cost him votes and credibility among those who voted for the PRD...It is lamentable that Lopez Obrador is accusing his own representatives at the polling places of being bribed...Our surveys show that the great majority of Mexicans is convinced that the elections were clean.

The Iberia pilots' strike has ended and air traffic is expected to be back to normal tomorrow.

Spain is nowhere near meeting any of the Kyoto Protocol's limits, of course; CO2 emissions in 2012 will be 37% higher than in 1990, when the protocol limits them to 15%. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund is complaining that the extension of irrigated farming is the main cause of greater water use in Spain. Well, duh, we're Europe's Florida and grow all the fresh fruit and vegetables they eat in Berlin and Oslo and Sunderland, if they ever eat any fresh fruit and vegetables in Sunderland. They also bitch about golf courses, which they of course are against since golf is stereotyped in Spain as a rich man's sp0rt.

Well, 1) the number of golf courses will keep expanding as long as the number of people earning enough money to take it up keeps expanding, and this is what we want, isn't it? 2) they provide lots of jobs, admittedly mostly low-wage, but that's what working people need more of, right? 3) they are effectively mini-wildlife refuges, and if you don't believe it, visit Kansas City and count the amount of waterfowl, songbirds, and forest creatures ranging from raccoons to deer living on the courses there, and 4) we live off tourism. If tourists want golf courses, we need to give them golf courses or they'll go somewhere else.

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