Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fortunately, there isn't much news around here. They had a nasty bull run at Pamplona this morning and several people got hurt real bad, including one guy with broken bones in his ribcage and spine along with a concussion. An American caught a horn right in the ass, and some guy from Poland took a horn in the "perianal area," which sounds extremely unpleasant. TV3 has a photo. People, running with the bulls is dangerous, in case you hadn't figured that out already.

The Spanish woman injured in the Yemen terrorist blast who was in critical condition is now brain-dead, which means the toll rises to eight Spaniards and two Yemenis, not counting the suicide bomber.

The David Vitter prostitute scandal has hit the Spanish press, which is hammering on the hypocrisy theme. They have a point. If a Senator cannot keep his willy on a leash, he should not make pronouncements about what others do with their own unleashed willies. However, it is of course unfair to generalize from this one case that all Republican senators are hypocrites, or that hypocrisy is any more common in America than in Spain.

(Spanish hypocrisy isn't usually about sex; it's usually about solidarity and being holier-than-thou about the Third World, the consumer society, and ethical values. Lots of folks talk a good game about self-righteous do-gooder ideals around here, but very few follow up with any action.)

National Review said two things I thought were kind of silly; one was that "prostitution is illegal because prostitution is wrong," which makes no sense; why shouldn't people charge for having sexual relations, and how is that any more wrong than doing it for free? The other was that Larry Flynt has no moral standards. I'm not so sure. I bet Larry thinks that murdering people is wrong, and that robbing banks is wrong, and that raping children is wrong. He just doesn't think that either publishing nasty magazines or blackmailing hypocritical Republican senators is wrong.

They busted two more ETA terrorists in France yesterday; these guys were part of the cell in charge of stealing materiel, such as guns and explosives. Meanwhile, the cell they broke up in Santander was going to hit either the city hall or the courthouse with a car bomb.

Speaking of solidarity with the Third World, a Barcelona-based NGO called Intervida has turned out to be a scam; its directors have been charged with embezzlement, fraud, and conspiracy. Seems the contributions they were collecting went to buy real estate or shares in businesses, including the one that runs the Imax cinema here. Looks like they stole some €60 million.

The government has been running an ad campaign against domestic violence, which promises abused women that the law will do something to help and protect them. I call bullshit on that. 37% of the victims of domestic murder in the first half of 2007 in Spain had filed charges against their killers. 30% were under restraining orders. Two-thirds of the murders were committed in the victim's home, meaning the law is doing a lousy job keepìng violent men away from female victims. The first thing they need to do in domestic violence cases is get the woman out of there to a place where the man can't find her or can't get to her, and I have seen no signs of the government taking any such steps.

Barcelona signed Argentinian center-back Gabi Milito from Zaragoza for €17 million, the most they've ever paid for a defender. Milito is very good and is probably worth the money, especially since Puyol is injured and won't be able to start the season. These guys don't make all that much money, by the way. Milito, for example, will be paid €2 million a year, and he's one of the pillars of Argentina's national squad. I think Barça's highest-paid players like Ronaldinho get around €6 million a year. Kansas City designated hitter Mike Sweeney, who has sucked for years, is getting paid $11 million a year. There are lousy baseball players getting nearly double that. Also, Real Madrid signed Christoph Metzelder, another gimpy defender in the tradition of Woodgate and Samuel.

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