Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yearly inflation in Spain hit 4.7% in May, a five-point increase over April. It is directly caused by the increase in oil prices, and by the subsequent increase in the price of every other raw material. Inflation is not a good thing. Better low growth than high inflation.

The CIS, the government polling agency (and why we need one I don't know), says that the PSOE would beat the PP in a general election held today, 43.6% to 37.6%. I'm surprised to see the PP so high, what with the internal power struggle and the poor electoral campaigh they ran. Zap is a very weak incumbent and they had no business losing to him.

Oh, by the way, I'm going on record right now to say that McCain is going to win the US election handily, taking the Republican heartland along with the big three swing states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Hillary is not going to give up; she's going to take Obama all the way to the convention. And the Republicans are going to jump all over Obama's past record, and lack thereof. He and his crazy wife and their past and present associations are going to make him unelectable. I will bet they have some oppo dynamite on him, too. McCain will win both the center and the right, which has nowhere else to go. They may not much like McCain but they will come out to vote against Obama.

I think Bobby Jindal would make an excellent vice-presidential candidate. He's young, attractive, more conservative than McCain, more qualified than Obama, and being East Indian-American and a convert to Christianity isn't going to hurt. This guy gets elected in Louisiana, so his appeal to the Southern Christian vote is real. He ought to nail down the Bible Belt for the Republicans. He'll also be appealing to the naturalized citizen vote, as he's the son of immigrants, who tend to be very socially conservative. And he'll make it possible to vote Republican and not look racist, for people who think that's important. Jindal can talk technocrat with the college graduates and talk Jesus in the small towns. Besides, he and his family are vegetarians, which I think is totally cool. I also think McCain should offer Secretary of Defense to Joe Lieberman, and announce it now if Lieberman agrees. I wonder when the Democrats are going to kick Lieberman out of the party.

Water update: The reservoirs that supply Barcelona have reached 50% capacity, and it's even higher in the reservoirs in the Ebro watershed. They are going to build the aqueduct between Barcelona and Tarragona in case of future emergencies, but they will not transfer any water this year. The tanker ships will continue bringing in water until August. The current water restrictions will be lifted very soon. Also, the rains have been so good that the danger of forest fire this summer is very low, at least until September.

My former boss Jimenez Losantos is definitely off the reservation; he's bolted the PP. He accused Ruiz-Gallardon's witnesses, Acebes, Zaplana, and Aguirre, of "total bald-faced manipulation." These three used to be Losantos's favorite politicians, and they've thrown him under the bus. They are more loyal to Gallardon (and Rajoy) than to Losantos. He is definitely going to lose this lawsuit; the only support he got was from Pedro J. and Luis Herrero. One thing is that Gallardon doesn't come off looking too great, either; he seems like a whiny little kid who says everybody's calling him names.

Something just happened that really pissed me off. Some woman came to my door (I have a sign on my door saying "No solicitors or Jehovah's Witnesses") saying she was not a saleswoman, she was from Endesa and wanted information about my use of natural gas. I said to myself, hell, it's a survey, I'll help her out and tell her how much gas we use. So I go find the latest gas bill to show her that we used eleven euros worth of gas last month. She asks me to show me the bill, which I do, and she starts writing down stuff. I look and see that it's a form to get me to change companies, from Gas Natural to Endesa. I say, "What's going on here? I don't want to change companies." She said, "If you don't change companies you don't get the discount." I said, "So you are a saleswoman, trying to get me to buy something I didn't ask to buy," and shut the door on her.

Has Endesa, or any other company, tried this on you? It's most certainly an unethical business practice, and somebody ought to complain to the consumer protection people.


El Mago del Dedo said...

They tried that scam on my mom too. Actually twice. Here in Barcelona, they did the survey trick on her and She could realize it was a sales scam and stop it. At her house at el pueblo in Galicia, Gas Natural just got her DNI number forged her signature and switched her. She was not even there, they probably got the DNI breaking her mailbox or something. It is just preposterous.

shtove said...

It's so perverted when people use the word preposterous.

Doesn't that Gramm chap advising McCain give you economic chills?

charlie said...

the problem with bobby is he is terrible on TV. he also doesn't interact well with the press when they are not writing about his resume. So as a VP candidate he has significant weaknesses. He would do well in the VP debate, but I think his campaign upside is limited. Also, he'd face hell back home in LA.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever give your bill to these people. Somebody from Orange
asked for the telephone bill to my grandmother. After one month he was paying the telephone/internet to Orange instead of Telefonica. He had collected the bank account, her name, etc. Orange just pays some money to these people if they achieve some new customers, but probably weren't aware of these dishones practices.

Anonymous said...

Losantos is going to lose? To steal a line from Pirsig, that may be true, but it's a hell of a thing to say. I still have hope for the Spanish justice systemt. I don't know why you say he's bolted the PP though. He's always had an interesting relationship with them. I just read De la noche a la mañana and found it a fascinating read. Still working through La ciudad que fue. I got engaged in Barcelona years ago in el barrio gótico, but I am not sure I would back to Catalonia now, not even for El Bulli,

Ben Sinister said...

McCain won handily all right...not! I won't be bowing down before the new guy; he'll certainly get some pointed e-mails from me. But at least he won't spend half his term on vacation, and his appointments will generally be more competent than the Texas oil crooks and Bible-thumping misanthropes of the last eight years. Maybe I'll even get a real health insurance plan. Right-wingers throwing fits about "spreading the wealth" refuse to acknowledge that their beloved Bonzo started a class war in 1980, and the wealthiest one percent have been winning ever since. It's time for some checks and balances in the economy. My current income can't even maintain my modest lifestyle, and several of my friends are in the same boat (USS Bush? RMS Titanic?).

Bloodthirsty vegetarians crack me up.

Love ya,
Ben Sinister

Sometimes life is black and white
Now and then I take a stand
Since you voted for him twice
You can't make me shake your hand

Let's talk about the elephant in the room
That's you!

It's too late for looking back
On the fun we had before
You took growing up too far
I don't know you anymore

Let's talk about the elephant in the room
That's you!

Some will stand by you
But I don't
Some will let it go
But I won't

Let's talk about the elephant in the room
That's you!


When you were a boy
Your parents bought you any toy
As they saw you grow
They told you who was good to know

Green plastic soldiers
Lying on your bedroom floor
Green plastic soldiers
Dying in a game of war

Others had to fight
As you were getting bombed at night
Children of your own
Will never play in lands unknown

Green plastic soldiers
Lying on your bedroom floor
Green plastic soldiers
Dying in a game of war