Sunday, November 05, 2006

The new Catalan administration will be Tripartite II; everyone was surprised at how quickly the deal was made. I was expecting weeks of tense negotiations. Montilla will be premier and Carod-Rovira will be vice-premier. Montilla told Mas on Friday that he did not want to deal with CiU, and on Saturday Mas offered Carod half the cabinet portfolios and the chief of cabinet post. Carod turned him down and today met with Montilla, when the deal was cut. Supposedly Carod is going to behave himself and Montilla is going to be the boss. I dunno; Montilla is an inside-politics guy, a party hack, and will probably do a lot better keeping Carod in line than the charismatic dilettante Maragall did.

The PP is rubbing its hands in glee, since they can paint Zapatero as the guy whose party made a coalition with that crazy separatist Carod who went and met with the ETA in Perpignan for the next year and a half until the 2008 election.

The US midterm election is getting some coverage over here, though not intense. The general perception is that it's a referendum on Bush, which is of course a bit simplistic. Politics in the United States is largely local, and most people vote mostly on local and domestic issues. Agreed, foreign affairs plays a role, as do people's images of the national parties, but I think a House or Senate race is more of a contest between the two local candidates than a verdict on national politics.

Right now the polls say things are very tight. My gut feeling is that the Republicans will hold at least one of the two houses. If they can hold both, that would be impressive, since historically the electorate moves against the incumbent president toward the end of his second term.

If the Democrats win both houses handily, I'll be willing to agree the election was a referendum on Bush. If not...

There's been some typically brilliant commentary in the local rags from the likes of Manuel Castells and Andy Robinson, which I'll translate for tomorrow.

Football. Barcelona drew 1-1 with Deportivo at Riazor in a hard-fought but not especially stylish game. Carles Puyol's father was killed on Saturday afternoon in a labor accident--he ran a small company that owns excavating machines, and was out doing some work on a rural road when his excavator turned over and crushed him. Shows you something about Puyol and his family, hard-working salt-of-the-earth Catalan folk. Though the son is a multimillionare soccer player, Dad kept on with his everyday life. Of course Puyol instantly flew back home to his family, and Thuram substituted for him.

Ronaldinho is at about 80%; the guy could use a rest, I think. He hasn't had much rest since the summer of 2005. Thuram is not quite fitting into the defense; one explanation I've heard is that Juventus ran a much more solid defensive scheme, and Thuram had a lot of help there, while here at Barça he is often left on his own with an opposing forward while everybody else is halfway down the field. Saviola looks OK, but one problem is that he's small, and so are Xavi and Giuly and Iniesta and Deco and Messi, and you put all those guys on the field at the same time, especially against somebody like Chelsea, and they'll just beat the crap out of your quick skill players.

Real Madrid lost at home in the Bernabeu, 1-2, to Celta. Not good. Unless you're a Barcelona fan, of course.

They're going to hang Saddam. Good. I hope he finds the experience unpleasant. Zap said something about how the EU does not approve of the death penalty. I think the Iraqis don't give a rat's ass what Zap thinks.

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