Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The high-speed train (AVE) between Barcelona and Madrid entered service this morning. Remains to be seen whether this will help or hurt Zap in the election. La Vanguardia has a piece complaining about the years-long delay of the AVE (they have a point, though the blame rests equally on the central government, the Generalitat, and the municipalities) and on the fact that the system is centered in Madrid (what do they expect? Madrid is, like, in the center). La Vangua demands AVE routes from Barcelona to the French border, and from Barcelona to Valencia. It claims that the French don't want to extend their line to the Spanish border because they fear that Barcelona would take over too much business and influence from southern French cities like Montpellier and Toulouse. I doubt it. I think they have other priorities within France.

A bunch of student wannabe radical Cataloonies disrupted a speech by PP candidate Dolors Nadal at the Pompeu Fabra university here in Barcelona, screaming "Fascists get out!". Says Pilar Rahola:

Let's make this clear. Francoism made everyone who confronted it appear to be good. However, in the basket there were apples that were as rotten as Francoism itself, and the fact that they were persecuted does not make them freedom fighters. The Stalinists, for example, who had repressed and murdered their political adversaries, became epic victims through the Francoist repression. But, nevertheless, they were victimizers too. The same thing is true with the extremists in the Catalanist struggle. They were persecuted by the dictatorship, but they were not all democrats. Today, looking at these young barbarians, I remember the most fundamental thing: no people, no cause, no flag is immune to Fascist temptations. Denying this is a form of justifying it.

The Zap-Rajoy debates are set for February 25 and March 3. Zap should never have agreed to this. Rajoy can clean him up in a one-on-one debate, and that should result in an electoral bounce for the PP that the PSOE won't have enough time to fight back against.

There is speculation going around, probably started by the PP, saying that the PSOE and CiU will cut a deal after the election, in which CiU will join a coalition government in Madrid in exchange for the Socialists' dumping Montilla as Catalan premier, to be replaced by Artur Mas. Montilla has strongly denied it.

The Mataró police chief lost his license for eight months for drunk driving. What I want to know is why he's still the Mataró police chief.

Good news for folks interested in Catalonia: They've put the whole Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana on the Internet for free. It also includes a Catalan dictionary. The website runs really slowly, though. As far as I can tell, you can only search, you can't browse. Another problem: It was last updated in 1989. Still, if you're looking for information about Catalan or Spanish history, literature, politics, and the like, this is a welcome addition.

They rounded up 26 more Internet kiddie-porn pervs here in Spain. It seems like they round up another bunch of these guys every week. Is Spain that full of pedophiles? It can't be any worse here than in other Western countries, but you never hear about this stuff happening in other places. Maybe the Spanish cops put a higher priority on child pornography than other countries do.

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