Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Civil Guard who was wounded in the ETA shooting in France is in a coma, "without signs of brain activity," and not expected to live. It seems that the murders were not planned; the ETA cell came upon the Spanish police officers in a cafeteria and decided right then to kill them, so they waited outside and did. I vote we hang murdering terrorist criminals, but maybe that's just me. I also vote we don't negotiate with ETA about anything.

Yesterday evening's demo was peaceful, fortunately. I had feared that the combination of echoes of the squatter riot and the Barça-Espanyol football game would get irresponsible youths from both extremes all fired up, which didn't happen. I'm not sure whether to call it a "success," as ever-nationalist TV3 did on this afternoon's news; they got about 200,000 people, enough to fill up Via Laietana from top to bottom. The organizers claim 700,000, as usual.

Nobody's still really sure what the demo was about, except that most of those involved were carrying a Catalan or Catalanist flag. The Zap government is interpreting it as an excuse to dress up irritation about the Great Transport Snafu in a nationalist cloak. The nationalist media is calling it a demand for more Catalan self-government.

Confusingly for outsiders, three of our local political parties were involved: CiU, the moderate Catalan nationalists; ERC, the Catalan national socialists; and ICV, which is Communist and Green and generally signs on to any expression of civil irritation at society although they are part of the governing coalitions in both Barcelona city and Catalonia as a whole. You wonder what a bunch of Christian Democrats are doing at the same demo with a bunch of unreformed Stalinists who support the Iraqi terrorists. The answer is that nationalism makes strange bed partners, though I don't believe that ICV is actually Catalanist--I think they'd join up with anyone indignant about anything.

One thing I find interesting here is what they call "institutional advertising," in which the political party in charge of a governmental body uses public money to put large advertisements in friendly media outlets praising what a good job they have done. Today in La Vanguardia the Generalitat's traffic department has two full color pages on how groovy the new 80 kph speed limits on metro area motorways are going to be.

The Espanyol-Barça match last night was excellent, ending in a 1-1 draw on goals by Iniesta and Corominas. It was a very physical game with good play by both teams. Iniesta, Messi, and Touré were the best Barça players, I thought, and Riera, Luis Garcia, and Corominas were the best for Espanyol.

Breaking news: Spain got Russia, Sweden, and Greece in its group for the Eurocup this summer. They should be able to get by the first round and then get eliminated in the quarters, as usual.

Oklahoma beat Missouri for the Big 12 championship, making Kansas clearly the conference's third team. Nobody expected anything like this at the beginning of the year.

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