Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The prosecutor's office has announced that it will ask the court to put imprisoned ETA terrorist Ignacio de Juana Chaos under house arrest, as he is "at risk of death" due to the hunger strike he has been on since November.

De Juana Chaos was the head of ETA's Madrid cell, which was responsible for 25 murders. That's more than Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Jack the Ripper put together. Let him rot in jail and if he dies, that's his problem.

The big stink around here is poor performance by Renfe, Spain's train system, especially on the commuter lines in the Barcelona area. Yesterday a tree branch came down across the main Barcelona-Valencia line down in Tarragona province and caused all services to be shut down. In addition, the line from downtown Barcelona to the airport was out of service from 6:30 AM to 2 PM, which also snarled up the rest of the commuter network. 80,000 people were delayed for up to several hours.

My main complaint here is that Renfe is not a private company, it's state-owned, and you know what I think about state-owned companies. I can understand the argument that we should subsidize public transportation in order to discourage the use of cars and to make travel easier for everybody. People are demanding, though, that we get decent service in exchange for the tax money we spend, and they have every right to do so.

Our genius third assistant mayor, Communist-Green Imma Mayol, announced yesterday that she supported the squatters that currently plague Barcelona and that she considered herself "anti-system," which is Spanish code for idiotarian naive-Left frootloop. She boasted, "I rebel against injustice," and I guess that if she's anti-system that means she thinks the city she helps govern is an unjust place. Imma added, "I feel closer to a squatter than to a speculator." CiU responded that Mayol had invented a new category, "anti-system activists with an official chauffeur," and the Socialists, leaders of the Tripartite coalition that governs Barcelona and Catalonia, said, "You can't live inside the system by day and be anti-system by night."

By the way, a letter to today's La Vanguardia takes Mayol to task for shouting from the rooftops that Barcelona's air pollution is double the EU maximum, and demanding that sweeping changes be made, when she herself has been in charge of the city government's environmental department for the last seven years.

La Vangua also reports that a line of cocaine costs three euros in Barcelona. That's less than half the price of a mixed drink, and booze is cheap here too.

The cops busted an Al Qaeda guy in Badalona; he's a Moroccan accused of being part of the gang's finance and forgery infrastructure.

Most brilliant recent idea to alleviate the housing problem: ERC wants to slap a nine-euro-a-day charge on vacant apartments. Better ways to alleviate the housing problem: 1) abolish rent control 2) liberalize antiquated zoning laws 3) make it possible for landlords to evict renters who don't pay or trash the place, which they need a court order to do now.

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