Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein is cold meat, as you undoubtedly know. The air is a little bit cleaner now that he's not breathing it.

This morning's big news in Spain, though, is that ETA planted a car bomb in the parking garage at Terminal 4 of Barajas international airport in Madrid. The explosion occurred at around 9 AM local time; the police evacuated the area, but one man, who was apparently asleep in his car, is missing and feared dead. About twenty more persons suffered non-serious injuries, several of them police officers.

The bombing is the end of their nine-month "permanent cease-fire," and certainly puts an end to the alleged peace process. It's definitely ETA, as Interior minister Perez Rubalcaba said at a press conference; they made two warning phone calls, one telling the cops to stay away since the bomb was a big one, and after the explosion they made another call claiming responsibility.

The airport is currently all snarled up, of course, on one of the year's biggest travel days, and thousands of people are stuck at Barajas. Hope you're not flying through there.

ETA has intentionally made Zap look like a complete moron, since last night he gave his year-end speech and said he was "convinced" that the negotiations with the terrorist gang "would be going better than now" within a year. To quote La Vangua on page 13 today, "Zapatero made a commitment to the citizenry that guaranteed the continuity and advance of the peace process, a continuity that did not seem so clear a few weeks ago."

This is going to mean a big hit to Zap's reelection chances; expect a several-point swing to the PP in the next surveys with only a year or so left before the next general election. I think he's a one-term accidental prime minister, a Spanish Jimmy Carter.

91,664 abortions were performed in Spain in 2005, 8% more than during 2004. That seems rather a lot when you consider that abortion on demand is technically against the law.

The Barcelona PP is calling for a ban on women wearing burkas in public. That's ridiculous. If somebody wants to wear a burka, it's that somebody's business. I would agree that police officers should have the right to demand that a burka-wearing woman uncover her face for identification purposes, but aside from such security concerns, keep the government's nose out of what people wear.

Irony: The Catalan Tripartite running the city of Barcelona, including the very Green and very Red Imma Mayol, is shipping off "organic urban residues," 50 tons a day, to somewhere in Murcia, nobody knows exactly where, to be "treated" and dumped in a landfill. The treatment plant, in Abanilla, has a lousy environmental record. Get this: the Metropolitan Environmental Authority, which is supposed to be in charge, had no idea this was going on. That's competence for you.

Tonight on TV 33, Catalunya TV's intellectual and avant-garde public channel, they're going to be showing two rock-pop-folk concerts at 11 PM and midnight that, one assumes, are supposed to appeal to a wide audience; this is a major TV-viewing night, one of the biggest of the year. So who's it going to be, maybe Dylan or Springsteen? U2 or Paul McCartney? How about Catalonia's most popular band, Estopa? Nope, it's old hack ultra-leftist Quico Pi de la Serra and then, get this, one of the guys from the mega-nationalist Electrica Dharma. I bet a total of 28 people tune in. If you have not yet seen total musical suckitude, here it is.

La Vangua says that Pau Gasol is going to demand a trade if Memphis doesn't get rid of him first; the article claims that Gasol's complaints were behind the firing of coach Mike Fratello, which if true makes the guy clubhouse poison, someone I wouldn't want on my team. This injury Gasol suffered in the national world championships has made him persona non grata, since he missed the first 22 games of this season, thereby immensely hurting the club that pays his high salary, and he's been playing lousy since he came back. I sure hope that world title was worth it, because this could be the beginning of a down-spiral that sees big Pau wearing blue and red stripes again.

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