Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TV3 is reporting that two Al Qaeda operatives were arrested in Barcelona this morning. They're Moroccans and recruiters for jihadi volunteers; their network sends recruits to training camps in the Sahara and then on to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Spain passed the United States in the list of the world's top cocaine users. 3% of Spaniards have used cocaine within the past year, and it's 7% of high school students. In the EU as a whole, less than 1% of persons used cocaine. One in five European cocaine users is Spanish. This sounds to me like a problem. Hypothesis: As Richard Pryor, I think, said, "Cocaine is God's way of telling you that you have too much money." There's lots of cash floating around in Spain.

There's an insect plague in southern and western Catalonia, some kind of tiny little black fly whose bite hurts like hell. The Generalitat is going to spend half a million euros fumigating the creeks and streams where it breeds. Sounds like something useful to do with our tax money.

Barça signed Yaya Toure, who is supposed to be a hell of a good defensive midfielder. He will replace Edmilson, and maybe Marquez as well. They announced today that Motta is definitely out, along with Saviola, of course.

Amnesty International issued one of its tendentious reports saying that 102 countries practiced torture. So of course TV3's report paid attention only to Amnesty's charges against the United States. As usual. By the way, Amnesty says it's all America's fault because we have "legitimized the use of torture," which obviously had a great deal of influence over the behavior of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda, who would never, never have tortured anyone if there weren't a prison camp at Guantanamo where a few hundred very dangerous people are held.

I suppose you saw that Cameron Diaz was criticized in Peru for carrying a bag with a Maoist red star and a quote from Chairman Mao. Peruvians in general don't much like Maoists, since Shining Path killed quite a few people in the name of Mao. What I want to know is why Cameron Diaz would think that wearing Communist symbols, including the infamous Che T-shirt, is cool. I'm sure she knows that wearing a swastika T-shirt would get her well-deserved public scorn. I don't see a difference between the two, myself, though the Che T-shirts are useful as they show at a glance that a person is too ignorant for you to waste your time with.

Current big political stink: They're trying to decide what route the high-speed train (AVE) will take below Barcelona between Sants and Sagrera stations. One proposal runs close to the Sagrada Familia, and a hoohaw is being made about the vibrations causing the thing to fall down or something. I doubt it; lots of subway and train tunnels have been dug under lots of cities, and Notre Dame and Saint Paul's haven't collapsed yet. Hell, the blue line of the subway already runs right under the Sagrada Familia. Also, if all the new construction they're doing collapses, I'll be more than happy anyway, since it's ugly as hell. They should have stopped building when Gaudi died and just left it.

Oh, yeah, I read somewhere that the Sagrada Familia does not have a municipal building permit, and apparently never had one. This does sound like something that ought to be worked out just for the sake of coherence.

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