Friday, November 30, 2007

Supposedly, on Saturday, the Great Barcelona Transport Snafu will come to an end, and service on all the RENFE commuter and regional lines running south and west from Sants station will be restored. The FCG line running west from Plaza España will be out of service for several more months, and the high-speed AVE line will not enter service for at least three more months.

So get this. The extremely controversial plan to reduce the speed limit on the motorways entering the Barcelona metropolitan area from 100-120 kph (60-75 mph) to 80 kph (50 mph) will also take effect Saturday. Supposedly the objective is to reduce pollution, but I swear that don't make a damn bit of sense to me. I figure that you want the speed limit to be as high as safely possible so that traffic will clog up less. The more traffic clogs up, the more smog-producing gasoline is wasted by idling, not to mention the time wasted by everyone part of the traffic jam. In addition, driving slower than is safely possible irritates drivers a great deal, and irritating the citizens unnecessarily does not sound intelligent to me.

In Spain, we have public holidays on December 6 (Constitution Day) and December 8 (the Immaculate Conception), which means that week generally becomes a vacation for a lot of people. This year, according to La Vanguardia, Catalans' Number One vacation destination will be New York. Seems the dollar is very low and they all want to go over there and buy out the whole city. All I can say is if America sucks so bad, how come everybody wants to visit it?

So, anyway, all you folks in New York and Orlando, get ready for a flood of Spaniards the first week in December, especially between Thursday the 6th and Sunday the 9th. They're the ones complaining about the food and not leaving tips.

The six illegal abortionists arrested this week had a hearing and testified; they have been bound over without bail until Monday. Looks like they'll be charged with conspiracy, forgery, and practicing without a license as well.

The EU's economic growth rate this year is 2.9%, and the Eurozone's is 2.7%. Not stunning, but not total stagnation either.

Looks like the PSOE has reached similar conclusions to the PP about electoral strategy; they're trying to tone it down, especially in the areas of regional nationalism. The PSOE doesn't want to offend any nationalists by harping on the theme of the unity of Spain; they would rather not put off the ones they have a chance at winning over, and not fire up the ones they don't have a chance at in order to keep them at home on election day.

Fighting broke out last night around the Vicente Calderón stadium in Madrid. 17 people were injured when the local Frente Atlético hooligans took on the Aberdeen fans before, during, and after the UEFA Cup game. There was some criticism about the light touch used by the Barcelona cops on the Glasgow Rangers supporters who came here a few weeks ago; the Rangers fans drank a lot, smashed a few bottles in the Plaza Catalunya, and urinated prodigiously in public. But there was no serious fighting or vandalism, and nobody got hurt. I thought it was pretty good police work, myself; the cops kept it under control but didn't interfere as long as there was no violence. And the public urination, which is nasty, could have been taken care of by putting up a few dozen portable toilets.

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