Monday, February 25, 2008

So tonight's the first big Zap-Rajoy debate, and Iberian Notes will be liveblogging it from its comfortable sofa while trying to keep various cats from sitting on its keyboard. I'm betting on Rajoy.

The big front-page story in every Spanish paper is that Mr. Limousine Communist, Javier Bardem, won the best supporting actor at the Academy Awards. Just another sign of Spain's superiority-inferiority complex regarding the US: Bardem never shuts up about how much he hates America, but he's thrilled to get American recognition. And the same with the Spanish papers, which are vicariously enjoying Bardem's success as if it were theirs, too.

By the way, he pussed out and failed to call Bush a mass murderer during his acceptance speech.

Get this. They had to close down the maternity ward at the Josep Trueta hospital in Girona because of a respiratory virus going around that has affected at least three newborns. The National Health, which I had always had a good opinion of, has suffered an alarming drop in quality.

Speaking of incompetence, they had two sinkholes open up in the middle of a street in the Zona Franca, where they're tunnelling out the future metro line 9, and traffic's going to be screwed up there for the rest of the week. Good thing nobody was killed. Somebody has been doing an incredibly lame-ass job on research into Barcelona's subsoil, since they've had multiple cave-ins on the metro expansion, the commuter train system, and the AVE.

Spain is again Europe's most visited country, leading the EU 27 in total overnight stays in hotels. Tourism is our bread and butter, people, whether we like it or not. Spain is never going to be anybody's R&D headquarters, or the home of quality manufacturing, or a hotbed of globalized trade. It's Europe's Florida, and Florida is doing quite well, thank you.

So the Guardia Civil busted nine more Internet kiddie porn perverts. Jesus. Which sewer do all these sickos crawl out of?

On Saturday the ETA tried to assassinate some police officers; they planted a bomb with five kilos of cloratite at a TV transmitter near Bilbao, and called the cops. The bomb was set to explode when first touched, and fortunately they used a robot to approach it rather than a person, so nobody got killed.

Latest campaign promise: Economics minister Pedro Solbes says the government will take care of getting people's mortgages extended so their monthly payments will be lower, at no charge to anybody but the taxpayers.

Some guy got pulled over by the cops in Santander on Saturday night; he tried to get away, and nearly ran over the arresting officers, who pulled a gun and made him stop. He tested positive for methamphetamines, amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, and cannabis. That's a lot of drugs. I can't believe the guy could even sit still, much less drive straight. They sentenced him to eight months in jail, which will be suspended, of course. In America they'd lock his ass up for a good long time.

Over the weekend more than 140 illegal immigrants in two cayucos washed up on the Canary Islands, as the boat people continue their exodus from West Africa.

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