Slow news day. This is good news since it means no domestic violence, Latino gang fights, terrorist bombs, or attempts by Zap to renationalize the phone company.
Economics stuff: The Ibex 35 market index rose 3.6% yesterday, led by the blue chips Telefonica and Banco Santander. It reached 13,430 points, which is still 11.5% off since January 1, when the index was over 15,000. La Vanguardia credits the recovery on Wall Street, the bailout of Bear Stearns, and the increase in second-hand housing sales in the US. The general feeling of impotence and dependence among Spanish investors on the American market must have a lot to do with free-floating anti-Americanism, even among people who should know better.
Second-hand housing sales in January were down 42% in Catalonia and 27% in Spain as a whole compared with one year ago. Pop goes the bubble.
So after literally years of whining about the PP's water plan to transfer Ebro River water to Valencia and Murcia, the Catalan government has come up with its very own redistribution of water resources, supposedly to be ready for late summer or early fall. They're going to build an emergency aqueduct between the headwaters of the Segre River, which flows into the Ebro, and the headwaters of the Llobregat, which supplies Barcelona with much of its water supply. Naturally, Lleida province is furious: "Those goddamn city slickers are stealing our water!" So Catalonia as a whole gets angry if water is to be sent to another Spanish region, but Barcelona doesn't think twice if water is to be taken from another Catalan province.
Talk about crazy contradictions: There is an association up in the Pyrenees that is trying to conserve the traditional Catalan breed of donkey. Great, I'm all for it. So last weekend they got 400 people together for a big old donkey fiesta. Great, sounds like fun. Except those dumbasses KILLED some donkeys and then ATE them, as the main event of the fiesta. Naturally, the animal-rights groups are angry enough to kick the barn door down. Bonus: They did the same thing last year and received so many protests that they naturally had to do it again.
Rafael Poch, La Vanguardia's man in Peking covering the Tibet crisis from half a continent away, reiterates that "The international media ignored the Tibetan pogrom against the Chinese in Lhasa," and "Official sources attacked foreign media manipulation of information."
Nancy Pelosi was in town yesterday for a stopover on the way home from visiting the Dalai Lama in India. She met with regional premier Montilla and Barcelona mayor Jordi Hereu, supposedly about ecology. God only knows why. Aren't there about two hundred more important people in Europe to meet with? Oh, well, it can't hurt anything.
The Spanish press didn't pay too much attention to the Obama and Reverend Wright fooferaw, nor have they even mentioned McCain's gaffe when he confused the Sunnis and the Shiites, but they're all over the Hillary-lied-about-Bosnia story. Reason? There's a good image, the film of Hillary and Chelsea at the airport receiving a state welcome and receiving a gift from a little girl with no sniper fire anywhere.
You know, I can actually see giving Hillary a break over this one. We all have the tendency to remember things in a way that puts us in the best possible light. She probably really did believe that she was facing danger there in Sarajevo, and has built it up in her mind to the point that she falsely remembers snipers being there. I doubt she was deliberately, premeditatedly lying.
As for Obama and Reverend Wright, this is only going to get worse as more of Wright's crack-brained crap comes out on video. Obama has not successfully distanced himself from this guy, and I'm not sure if he can. He's way in too tight with Wright, taking the title of his book from one of Wright's sermons and everything, Now, I doubt Obama really believes Wright's "The government invented crack and AIDS in order to genocide the blacks" stuff, but what I think it shows is that Obama really doesn't believe anything in particular. He's willing to go along with anyone and any idea that he thinks will help his career, and if that means sucking up to radical black racists in South Chicago, he's happy to do so if it will get him elected to the state senate.
McCain is already ahead of both Hillary and Obama in the surveys. The Democrats are going to blow this election.