Thursday, March 29, 2007

Remember when the Catalan Generalitat designated the Latin Kings as a cultural organization and started handing them subsidies? Well, four Latin Kings went on trial today in suburban Madrid for the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl.

Everyone in Spain is talking about the silliest possible thing: Zap went on TV Tuesday night to answer questions from an audience. He didn't say anything new or different, of course; the whole thing was a waste of time. Some joker asked Zap how much a café solo costs, and he said eighty cents, which is a bit low--most places charge a little more than a euro. This somehow caught everyone's attention, and is the only thing people will remember about this little publicity stunt. It's Rajoy's turn next month, by the way.

Spain's national soccer team sucks, as usual. They beat Iceland 1-0 last night, and are in third place in their qualifying group for next year's Eurocup, behind such traditional soccer powers as Northern Ireland and Sweden. They've got good players: half of Valencia, Xavi, Iniesta, and Puyol from Barcelona, and a few other guys like Ramos, Alonso, and Cesc Fabregas. But they have never played up to their potential, possibly because none of them are top-level international stars who are capable of carrying a whole team and because they have never had a good coach. Luis Aragones should be fired now--actually, he should have been fired right after Spain crashed out of last summer's World Cup. By the way, Iniesta should definitely be a regular starter for Barcelona, and they need to sell off Deco to give him a spot--though Rijkaard says that none of the "big four" international stars, Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto'o, and Messi, are going to be sold. Ronaldinho is openly flirting with Milan in order to hold Barça up for a raise, though he's signed through 2010. I'd tell him to piss off, that if he doesn't like his contract he shouldn't have signed it in the first place.

Note: Some Spaniards and Catalans are a bit persnickety about the Spanish Ñ and the Catalan Ç, which we normally change to N and C in written English. Seeing "Barça" written as "Barca" or "La Coruña" as "La Coruna" just drives some of them up the wall. However, Barça and Iceland player Gudjohnsen's surname actually doesn't have a D in it; rather, where we and the Spaniards write a D, Icelandic has what looks like the phonetic symbol for the TH sound in English. Inconsistencies like this are a bit annoying sometimes. I think I'll start a campaign to get his name spelled right around here. Somehow, I don't think anyone will give a crap, since nationalists get their feathers ruffled only about minor symbolic things like this when they are directly affected; they don't care at all about what people from other national groups might think.

Speaking of which, I think we American conservatives need to start a campaign to take over the Guardian's Comment Is Free section. They've got a policy of running several opinion pieces a week on the United States, most of which are unfairly critical and even offensively bigoted, and the posters in the comments section are even worse than their writers. Also, they habitually drag in America even when it has little or nothing to do with the subject. Normally I'd say live and let live, we have our sites like LGF and Free Republic, and the lefties have theirs like Kos and Democratic Underground. The Guardian is different, though, because it is a newspaper that is supposed to present a variety of opinions, but generally doesn't. I vote we go over there en masse and stomp those dopes with our superior ideas and rhetoric.

Check out this moronic piece on Cuba, for example. A few quotes: "Cuba, being a secular country, avoided the anti-homosexual religious overtones of its neighbours. However, repression of homosexuals continued after the 1959 revolution under the umbrella of a dogmatic interpretation of Marxism. It is a tribute to the humanistic essence of the Cuban Revolution that its leadership was able to face up to its mistakes and change course. Cuba is now set to become the most socially liberal country in the Americas...Another set of people who can claim some credit for Cuba's enlightened approach is the international left and solidarity campaigns. While the pressure for equal rights came principally from within Cuban society, there is little doubt that the government also listened to their friends and supporters abroad, those who unconditionally stood by Cuba throughout her struggle against US-sponsored invasion and terrorism, and the 45-year-long economic blockade." (Boldface mine.)

What economic blockade? There's an embargo, not a blockade. Cuba is free to trade with any other country that wants to deal with them.

Spanish foreign minister Moratinos is going to visit Cuba on April 2 and 3 in order to help prop up what's left of the regime there. Gee, I thought the EU was trying to pressure the Castro dictatorship into freeing its political prisoners. Guess not.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the big story is of course the kidnapping of fifteen British sailors by the Iranian regime. The Iranians now have their hostages, and they will do the same with them as they did with the Americans in Teheran and Westerners in general in Lebanon. I vote we take their nuclear sites out tomorrow; there's nothing they can do about it but kill the hostages, and that gives us an excuse to take out the whole regime once and for all.

More rioting in Paris: train company employees stopped a scumbag without a ticket at the Gare du Nord station, and it degenerated into a six-hour riot that ended in nine injuries and 13 arrests, along with the sacking of the train station shops.

Deep analysis of American politics in today's Vanguardia: a story on page 10 runs down Giuliani's and McCain's histories of marital problems, and claims that they will be the key to the Republican nomination. The story contrasts Giuliani and McCain with Mitt Romney, saying, "Although his Mormon religion permits polygamy, he has only married once and has shared his life with Ann for 37 years." Uh, no, the mainstream Mormon church does not permit polygamy. There are a few isolated splinter groups way up in the Utah hills that still practice it, but they have no power or influence and are considered a bunch of weirdos by all concerned.

I find it interesting that La Vangua never said anything about John Kerry's marital history; what's most suspicious about that is Kerry's obvious marriage for money. Why else would he have married that harpy Teresa?

The cops busted eight ETA terrorists yesterday in the Basque Country and Navarre; they found thirty kilos of explosives, timers, detonating wire, and chemicals to manufacture chloratite. Lock them up and throw away the key.

New illegal immigration technique: Sign up for a cruise, get off at Barcelona, and don't get back on the boat. Spain now requires Bolivians to have a visa to enter the country, and there's a cruise ship in Barcelona harbor with 82 Bolivians on board who they won't let into Spain.

All of the Spanish media has, of course, paid tons of attention to Halle Berry, who's in Madrid promoting her latest movie. She is certainly a fabulous babe, and looks great in the photos they took. Also, she did not pull a Sarandon and slag off the States as so many Hollywood types do when they get over to Europe. My question is, simply, why is it such a big deal when an American movie actress comes to Spain?

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