Saturday, March 01, 2008

The media agreed with me about the dull Catalan debate last night; El Periodico headlined "Debate nulo," more or less "Useless debate." Nobody said anything interesting. The only occurrence of note is that Duran Lleida started out looking very strange, and at halftime he put on a sweater because he was getting chills. They've cancelled his campaigning for today "for medical reasons." He had surgery on February 12 to remove a tumor from one of his lungs, and I'm afraid there's something really wrong with him. It's a shame, because he's a decent guy and a real professional.

Campaign promise update: The PP will raise monthly state retirement pensions by €150 a month. The PSOE will raise them by €200 a month. The Communists will increase the minimum to €900 a month.

Meanwhile, Zap accused Rajoy of stirring up anti-immigrant xenophobia, and Rajoy promised to revive the damn water plan again.

In February 161 people died in traffic accidents in Spain.

Idiots department: The pro-ETA teenage punks in Bilbao torched two ticket-canceling machines in a commuter train station last night, and set up barricades and stoned a city bus this morning. No arrests were made. Meanwhile, last night in Madrid a handful of Fascists had a legal demo, so the squatters and their ilk came out to break it up and got into it with the cops, setting up flaming barricades and tossing bricks at them. No arrests were made. And this afternoon the Fascists had another legal demo in San Sebastian and the ETA punks tried to break it up, stoning a bus, setting up barricades, and fighting with the cops, who charged them and arrested two.

The US State Department has come out with a report identifying Spain as the biggest drug emporium in the world. It's the highway for cocaine entering the EU from Latin America and hashish coming in from Morocco. 3% of Spaniards use cocaine regularly; one in five European coke users is Spanish. Spain has a higher percentage of users of not only cocaine, but also hash and designer drugs, than any other European country. Surprisingly, only three or four of the comments at La Vanguardia are along the lines of "I don't believe anything those lying gringos say, and besides the CIA controls all drug trafficking anyway."

The answer to the problem, of course, is to legalize recreational drugs. Then you could a) tax them b) make sure the product is not adulterated c) allow sales only to adults and d) drive the drug gangs out of business. The United States's War on Drugs is the most wrong-headed policy that our government has.

Great news: Barcelona is going to license 130 small bars to put on live musical shows. About the only thing I don't like about Barcelona's nightlife offerings is the lack of live music, and now there's going to be a lot more. Ridiculous news: The city government is going to subsidize said bars with €600,000 of the taxpayers' money so that they can meet the soundproofing requirements. Just what we need. Government-subsidized bars. Only in Spain.

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