Friday, May 09, 2008

The drought has finally broken. There's a low-pressure system over the western Mediterranean bringing counterclockwise winds from the east carrying moist air. It's going to rain until at least next Wednesday, at least four inches total in all of Catalonia, and this should make an appreciable difference in reservoir levels. It'll be a green summer out in the country.

The situation in Burma is beyond scandalous. It's openly criminal. Figures (probably exaggerated) of half a million dead are being thrown around, and there are reports of cholera and malaria outbreaks. The Americans and several other countries, including the Brits and Aussies and of course the Thais, are just waiting for permission to start flying in aid, and the xenophobic Burmese junta won't let them. Even the UN and Amnesty International are denouncing the junta. Meanwhile, of all things, they're having a pseudo-election tomorrow, a referendum on a new constitution. If this doesn't bring the government down--remember last year's rioting, brutally put down?--I don't know what will.

Meanwhile, in one of those slightly admirable and slightly silly ceremonies they have around here, the Generalitat's Catalonia International Prize has been jointly awarded to Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a Burmese woman doctor. The honorees will receive €100,000 in cash (rather generous) and an Antoni Tapies sculpture (rather worthless). My problem here: It seems to me that the moral stature of the awardees is higher than that of the awarders, and that the awarders are attempting to buy moral stature by associating themselves with the awardees.

Monica Terribas has been named president of TV3, so good-bye to hopes of its de-politicization. Even though the Socialists are in power, TV3 will always be the heart of nationalist influence in Catalonia. Monica is probably most memorable, at least to me, for her adrenaline-fueled (?) performance the night of the 2004 US election, and for her interview with Colin Powell, when she got a bit snippy and he bulldozed her.

Our friends in Esquerra Republicana have pitched in on the Free Franki crusade. Puigcercos and Pepelu Carod are vying to see who can be Cataloonier; Puigcercos has called on the government to liberate him. Carod took it farther and denounced "the impunity enjoyed by those persons and media that insult, defame, and lie about Catalan reality, its institutions, or its political representatives." Wow. Sounds like Pepelu's against free speech for everybody but him.

ETA update: The French cops found the car used by the terrorists who killed the two Guardias Civiles near Bordeaux, but the killers are still at large. No news on the murderers of Isaías Carrasco, who are also still at large.

Get this: 36 local cops, including the police chief, have been arrested in the Madrid suburb of Coslada for extorting protection money from bars and discos, and for collaborating with a Romanian gang that trafficked in prostitutes. I'm pretty sure that corruption among local cops is pretty well entrenched in Spain. I know some places in Barcelona that have been operating illegally for years, and they must be paying somebody off.

The cops rounded up yet another bunch of Internet kiddie-porn pervos, 17 this time. Jeez. These guys are just crawling out of the woodwork.

The Barça firestorm is growing. All the fans are mightily pissed off that the team looked so bad against Real Madrid. Eto'o, Edmilson, Xavi, and Bojan were harassed as they drove away from practice yesterday. There's a movement to get rid of Laporta, but I don't think it'll be successful. Rijkaard is officially out as coach and Guardiola in, and Beguiristain shows no signs of stepping down as general manager.

1 comment:

Akaky said...

Anytime you have large scale organized crime, you have corrupt cops. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. The one cant exist without the other.