Friday, May 30, 2008

Not much news today. Econ stuff: The national budget for 2009 will be €160.2 billion, a 5% increase over 2008. Solbes proyects a balanced budget for the next two years, and then a surplus in 2011. However, these projections are based on a 2-3% annual growth rate, and the private sector's predictions say it mignt not be even half that.

Meanwhile, economics counselor Antoni Castells announced that the Generalitat's budget deficit for 2007 was €762 million, €300 million more than projected.

Car sales in May were down 18% over May last year. Consumer spending must be way down.

Other news: These idiot chefs are still arguing with one another over whether it's OK to use chemical additives in haute cuisine, and everybody is talking about it, which means our frivolity level here in Spain is high, as usual. That's one of the things I love-hate about Spain: there's a lot of excitement about things that aren't important at all. Which I guess is true in America as well, but I notice it more here.

The Barcelona press is split: La Vanguardia is supporting Santamaria, probably because he is the spokesman for a long-running promotion they're doing, distributing cooking utensils. El Periodico is supporting Adria, probably because Santamaria is backed by the eternal rival La Vangua.

Complaint about the newspapers: They're always running eight million promotions at the same time. La Vanguardia is promoting an atlas, a CD series, a book series, and a collection of exotic bugs encased in plastic, as well as the kitchen stuff. I wish they would lay off the damn promotions and charge less for the paper.

By the way, El Pais has raised its price to €1.10. I imagine the other papers will soon follow suit. They very obviously practice price collusion; I'm not going to claim that the papers are actively conspiring to rip us off, but it's clear that nobody is willing to compete on price.

The 150,000 members of FC Barcelona are mad. 9000 of them signed a recall election petition against club president Joan Laporta, double the necessary number. So it looks like there will be an election. Barça elections are always fun because they're full of outrageous skullduggery. Somebody's already stolen a computer with access to the entire Barça database, and has allegedly tried to sell it for a million euros to an opposition candidate.

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