Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Audiencia Nacional voted this morning to keep hunger-striking terrorist De Juana Chaos in prison; he's currently in the hospital, but he will not be sent home under house arrest, as he is demanding. Good. One thing about this guy is that he is not a repentant former terrorist, he's one of the most violent ETA loyalists. He's tried to escape from prison several times, has sent threatening letters to judges, and has celebrated ETA murders while behind bars. By the way, to the Zap government's credit, they're against turning him loose too.

There's a flu outbreak here in Catalonia. Hasn't hit me yet. The hospitals are full. Almost 200,000 people a day are seeking flu treatment in Spain. Meanwhile, more than 50,000 Catalans are on waiting lists for non-urgent operations. More than 14,000, including my mother-in-law, are awaiting a cataracts operation, about 6000 for bunions, 6000 more for knee replacements, and 5000 for hernias. I'm not complaining about the Spanish public health system, they've treated me very well, but it does have its disadvantages.

Somebody wrote a letter to La Vanguardia today pointing out that Ms. Anti-System, Imma Mayol, makes about €100,000 a year as third assistant mayor.

Tourists spent €8.6 billion in Catalonia in the first eleven months of 2006.

Some guy got stopped Monday night in Cunit at an alcohol checkpoint and he blew 0.68 mg/l on the breath test, so they immobilized his car, charged him, and turned him loose. About an hour later, the same cops were still manning the same checkpoint. The same driver came along in a different car. This time he blew 0.71.

Reminds me of a small-time drug dealer who lived next door to me in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1991-92. This guy's name was Tim, and he wasn't very smart. So one night he's driving home from the Jet Lag Lounge--Tim used to try to get me to go down to the Lag with him, saying, "There's some fine lookin' ladies at the Lag," which was true if your idea of a fine lookin' lady included missing teeth--and the cops nail him for drunk driving. So Tim goes back to the Lag the next night, and what do you know, the cops nail him for drunk driving again. He told me, "I think I can get out of this one. The cop accused me of drinking beer, and everybody knows I only drink Crown." This legal strategy did not work, and Tim got weekends in jail for three months. He instructed me to watch his stash, which he kept under the doghouse in the back yard.

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