Sunday, February 18, 2007

Latest news from B-ville: Some guy tried to hijack a plane from Mauritania to the Canary Islands a couple of days ago; this was apparently not related to terrorism, just some not real smart illegal immigrant. The passengers and crew overpowered the guy; after 9/11, nobody's going to sit still while some criminals might be going to crash your plane into a football stadium.

Barça defender Lilian Thuram has stuck his nose into the upcoming French election. He says Nicolas Sarkozy has a "racial" vision of France, and has been devoting most of his free time denouncing Sarko. Yeah, he's got the right of freedom of speech, and he hasn't used an official team press conference to spout off, unlike Oleguer. Still, I would rather sports stars, like movie and rock stars, keep their mouths shut about politics rather than using their position to support ideas many of them, from Thuram and Oleguer to Barbra Streisand and Sean Penn, don't know a damn thing about.

Andalusia votes today on the referendum for its own statute of autonomy, but the process hasn't caught the attention of the public or the media since both major parties generally agree on the text. The statute will pass easily, and turnout will be low. See how easy it is to do things when there aren't a bunch of nationalists involved?

On the 3/11 trial: Even La Vanguardia has pointed out, "Threads link the radical Islamist groups in Spain to almost all the terrorist actions carried out in the name of Al Qaeda in the last ten years: from the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (August 1988, more than 200 dead) to 9/11, the murder of the film director Theo Van Gogh, Casablanca, or the deployment of men to fight against the Americans in Iraq."

Even La Vangua says: THESE ARE ALL THE SAME PEOPLE. If we are going to fight terror, we have to do it on every front, and the main front right now is Iraq. Those who want the US to pull out are irresponsible.

Those interested in following the 3/11 trial should check out a blog called Playing Chess with the Dead, written by a gentleman with whom I suspect I agree about only one thing: the conspiracy theory blaming the PSOE / ETA / rogue cops / CESID / the Masons for the bombings is ridiculous.

Notes from Spain, in a rare current-events comment, has more.

From the "If This Had Happened in Cleveland" department: Some psycho in a small town in Toledo beat his mom, wife, and son to death and seriously injured his two daughters before committing suicide by jumping out the window. No hypotheses about the hidden violence bubbling up behind the peaceful façade of Spanish society, though. Meanwhile, get this, the managing director of the Lleida soccer team got his throat cut with a broken wineglass in a brawl at a bar at four in the morning a couple of nights ago.

The number of reported crimes in Catalonia has increased by 17% in three years. La Vangua says, "The fear of being the victim of a crime has been more present lately." It also says that 70% of Spaniards associate crime with immigrants.

There's a ship loaded with 6000 tons of fertilizer in trouble off the Galician coast; the government says it's no big deal. If it turns out to be a big deal, watch the PP go after the PSOE in exactly the way the PSOE went after the PP after the sinking of the oil tanker Prestige. How can you blame the sinking of a ship on a political party? Well, they do it in Spain.

Rijkaard announced that he's staying at least through next season, thereby quashing a lot of the rumors and instability around the Barça. People are still mad at Eto'o; I guess they'll forget about this tempest after he scores a few goals. He's really not ready to play yet, and will sit out tonight's game in Valencia. This should be a good one. If Barcelona can pull out a win, they'll open up a several-point lead on everyone else--especially since second-place Sevilla plays fifth-place Atlético Madrid, and a weak Real Madrid drew at home last night against Betis.

Colin Davies is on a roll.

Puerta del Sol announces the birth of Madripedia. There is already a Cordobapedia.

Kaleboel comments on language immersion, as practiced in Catalan schools.

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