Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The slaughter continues on Spanish highways: 103 dead during the four-day Easter long weekend. (You get Friday and Monday off in Catalonia, Valencia, Basque Country, and Navarre, and Thursday and Friday off in the rest of Spain.) Most Spanish roads are pretty good, but there are a few places that are so poorly designed (case in point: trying to get off the Diagonal on to the Ronda de Dalt) that they cause total disaster. Another problem is Spanish herd vacation behavior. The highways around here are built to handle more or less normal traffic, but Spaniards leave major cities en masse on long weekends and for the August holidays. This means the traffic load is tripled or quadrupled and the whole system crashes. On Monday afternoon a 33-kilometer traffic jam built up at the Tarragona tollbooth. We missed the gridlock because we come into town off the N-II from Lleida, which gets little traffic compared to the routes up and down the coasts and to the Pyrenees.

Latest French survey: Sarkozy 28%, Royal 24%, Bayrou 18%, and Le Pen 16% heading into the first round of the presidential election, to be held April 22. Of course, the idiot French Left is shooting itself in the foot once again by running several extremist candidates, including a Commie, a Green, two Trots, and Jose Bove, who just might suck up enough of Royal's vote to squeeze Bayrou through to the next round.

What an embarrassing fiasco for the British armed forces Iran's little game has been. The Iranians have just raised their bet with their announcement that they're producing nuclear fuel "on an industrial scale." I vote we call; right now they've got a pair of deuces to our four aces, but if we wait much longer they'll have a royal flush and there ain't nothing that beats one of those.

Get this. Our regional government, the Generalitat, has spent €2.6 million in tax money over the last three years promoting official Catalan "national" sports teams. Specifically, they gave the money to the Platform Pro Catalan Sports Teams, headed by a member of ERC. Interestingly, ERC promised to contribute €1.2 million a year to the Platform, and to spend €7.5 million a year promoting Catalan "national" teams.

And the Catalan Radio and Television Corporation, the Generalitat's own propaganda organ, is €13 billion with a B in debt. That's 11.4% of Catalonia's annual GDP. How can they possibly spend that much money? You could make 130 Hollywood big-budget spectaculars, or 1300 clever comedy or dramatic movies, for that amount of cash, and people might actually want to watch them.

Meanwhile, Manuel Castells, the most overrated alleged intellectual in Catalonia, denounces corruption in La Vanguardia--both abroad, including allegations against Bush, Blair, Chirac, Putin, Lula, the Chinese government, and the yakuza, and in Spain, specifically mentioning Andalusia, Valencia, Madrid, and the Balearic Islands. Interestingly, in his article covering two-thirds of an opinion page, the eight little letters "Cataluña" don't appear. Or the letters CiU or PSC or ERC. Or the famous number 3%.

More from La Vangua: Manuel Trallero neatly disposes of Catalonia's own Katie Couric, Monica Terribas, who thought she'd try to get smart with Colin Powell on live television.

Ingenuous Monica Terribas thought she'd have Colin Powell for lunch. Hey, if you're a black man who grew up in a ghetto, became Chief of Staff of the greatest world power, and even made it to Secretary of State, then the journalist who tries to interview you should behave fashionably leftist (hacer monerías progres). Powell ate her with potatoes and left her like a sardine, just the bones. It's one thing to wear sandals to show off your little feet and your painted toenails while you interview Zapatero, and another entirely to try to tangle with a guy who doesn't just look tough.

La Vangua also gives massive quantities of publicity to the new UN bogosity on global warming, and criticizes by name the United States, China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia for being unwilling to go along with the report's conclusions. Now wait a minute. Seems if you can't get either the Americans or the Chinese to go along with your report, then the consensus you're claiming may not exist.

ETA has been making its usual threats again; among them was that they were going to kill a cop if De Juana Chaos had died on his hunger strike. They gave an interview to their house newspaper, Gara, featuring a photo of two ETA thugs wearing masks. The thugs said:

"ETA cannot imagine elections without the "abertzale" (pro-ETA) left." (Translation: Their puppet party, Batasuna, is banned and can't participate in the May municipal elections.)

"If the government carries out its attack against the abertzale left, ETA will take it very seriously." (Translation: If their party doesn't get un-banned, somebody dies.)

"The peace process is still blocked because the Spanish government has not listened to what the people say." (Translation: The only people whose say counts are us.)

"Basque society knows perfectly that the keys to solving the conflict are territoriality and the right to decide." (Translation: The killing continues until an ETA-governed Basque Country including Navarra gains independence.)

"With its action at Barajas, ETA is trying to redirect the peace process and send a clear message to the government to think about: it is necessary to fulfill your promises, to deactivate the repressive machinery it uses against the Basque homeland." (Translation: Let our terrorists out of jail or we'll kill some more people like we did at Barajas.)

These cynical, ironic bastards. I hate them for what they do, and for how they do it.

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