Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Not much news from around here. The PSOE has been blasting away at ex-Prime Minister Aznar's refusal to apologize for joining the Coalition in the Iraq War. Way to go, José María! Stand up to those appeasers of terrorists!

PSOE head apparatchik José Blanco wants the International Criminal Court to put Aznar on trial for war crimes. The PP's irresponsibility counts for little compared to this, wanting to bind over your country's former elected leader to a bunch of foreigners for trial and punishment--for having made the correct and morally difficult decision. I suppose the US will have to grant him political asylum.

One of the more childish examples of sniping against Aznar are the repeated mentions in the press to what is called "la foto de las Azores." Seems that Bush, Blair, Aznar, and Durao Barroso had a meeting in the Azores Islands right before the war began, and a photograph was taken. Ever since then, Spanish commentators (as always obsessed with images) have attacked Aznar for, alleging he entered the Iraq War in order to get his photo taken with Bush and Blair. Naturally, this ridiculous accusation is made by those whose lives would have been complete if they had posed in a photo with Arafat, Mao, or Che, and project their infantility onto others.

Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi is in big trouble; the National Court ordered him to be arrested this afternoon. He is to be tried, starting tomorrow, on yet another count of exaltation of terrorism. He's currently out of prison, but has a 15-month suspended sentence to serve. The National Court is going to throw out his appeal on yet another conviction, though, (but not until after the May municipal and regional elections) and he'll have to serve both sentences in a real prison. It's about time.

In related news, Otegi announced that it is an "error" to use terrorism in order to gain independence for the Basque Country. This will be news to all the victims of ETA. Of course, he's lying, and he left himself an out by claiming that ETA is only using violence "to achieve democratic conditions."

The Dutch health department has announced that, get this, they want to ban smoking tobacco in "coffee shops." Coffee shops in the Netherlands are places where they sell cannabis for consumption on the premises; they are technically illegal, but openly tolerated. You will still be able to smoke all the weed you want there, but you can't light up a Marlboro.

Contradictions in Catalonia: There's been a lot of talk around here about how we want to attract a higher class of tourism, not your low-rent European drunken youths that flock to the Catalan coasts every summer. So guess what--the Generalitat is extending legal drinking time for an hour starting this summer! Discos will be allowed to stay open till 6 AM, and "music-bars" (basically what we'd call a bar in the States, that is a place where you go to drink) until 3:30 AM. Cool, I suppose--I haven't been to a disco for years, or closed down a "music-bar," either.

Some Scandinavian magazine rated the beach at Barceloneta one of the top fifteen in the world. Huh? It's not one of the top fifteen in Barcelona province, much less the world, and the water is filthy. I remember going in once, many years ago, and getting all itchy. My favorite beach towns are Cadaqués and Collioure. each of which is worth at least a weekend.

Only German animal-rights activists would want to kill this little fellow. Fortunately, their calls will not be heeded.

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