Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Time to look for an alternative.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
A French judge is investigating bribes that Total executives allegedly paid Iranian officials to secure business in the Islamic Republic. Last week, the judge issued preliminary charges of abuse of company funds and corruption of foreign agents against Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie. The company and Mr. de Margerie deny any wrongdoing, but the Total experience is all too typical of the way European firms cut deals with dictators while their own governments provide political cover.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
IT'S SUNDAY, so it's TV time!
Those are channels from around the world (basically US & UK): news, financial, film, kids, etc.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Europe's citizens must be on their guard against political correctness and moralising politicians, says the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
The former Portuguese premier and centre-Right politician is concerned that freedom can be the loser in European culture wars over climate change, cheap air travel, Islam and free speech.
"We should be aware of people who, sometimes for good reasons, try to establish what I call private moral codes, for this or that, be it climate change, religious behaviour or any kind of social behaviour," he says.
Mr Barroso, a former Maoist student firebrand who fought against the Portuguese dictatorship in the early 1970s, still regards himself as a freedom fighter, even when the calls for bans or restrictions are in a worthy cause, such as global warming or respect for Muslim communities.
"I was 18 years old when a democratic revolution came to my country. Before we could not read the books or listen to the music we wanted," he says, speaking in his 13th-floor office in the Berlaymont building in Brussels. "I am radical on these matters. If there is an excess of freedom, it is better to have excess than less." Europe has been deeply divided over controversies surrounding Islam.
Violent protests on the continent, in the Middle East and in Asia followed the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed and the Pope faced calls to apologise after a speech on theology and the origins of Islam sparked international controversy.
But Mr Barroso backs the right to offend.
Controversies over the war in Iraq and U.S. unilateralism have overshadowed a more pragmatic and multilateral component of the Bush administration's grand strategy: its attempt to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy and international institutions in order to account for shifts in the global distribution of power and the emergence of states such as China and India. This unheralded move is well intentioned and well advised, and Washington should redouble its efforts.That's the intro of an interesting article by Daniel Drezner at Foreign Affairs. Read it all.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was "Ride mass transit." This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.UPDATE. Robert Samuelson doesn't buy it either:
The actual politics of global warming defies Hollywood's stereotypes. It's not saints vs. sinners. The lifestyles that produce greenhouse gases are deeply ingrained in modern economies and societies. Without major changes in technology, the consequences may be unalterable. Those who believe that addressing global warming is a moral imperative face an equivalent moral imperative to be candid about the costs, difficulties and uncertainties.
BJORN LOMBORG about Europe's little dirty secret on global warming:
It will do next to no good - and again at very high cost. According to one well-established and peer-reviewed model, the effect of the EU cutting emissions by 20 percent will postpone warming in the 21st century by just two years, yet the cost will be about $90 billion annually. It will be costly, because Europe is a costly place to cut carbon-dioxide, and it will be inconsequential, because the EU will account for only about 6 percent of all emissions in the 21st century. So the new treaty will be an even less efficient use of our resources than the old Kyoto Protocol.Leed el resto.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Well, since this defies logic, I think it's quite unnatural too. When do we start euthanizing those jerks?
Monday, March 19, 2007
In response to the latest Islamist threat against Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español - PSOE) thought it appropriate to assure Spaniards that "Afghanistan is not Iraq." PSOE officials told news agencies that while the war in Iraq was "illegal," the mission in Afghanistan is being supported by the UN and includes 37 countries. It turns out Islamic terrorists don't care all that much about the distinction.
In a video issued this month by the Global Islamic Media Front, a hooded man warns that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "exposes Spain again to threats." The terrorist also delivers a message to all those Spaniards who flocked to the polls to elect the Socialists after the March 11 Madrid bombings: "The Spanish people have been tricked by a Socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan." So much for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's assurances that the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq would make the country safer.
The video was shown on "Voice of the Caliphate," a weekly video magazine launched by Al Qaeda in 2005. Titled "Messages for the Governments of Germany and Austria," it advises those two countries to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and to cease helping the United States and the UN. The references to Spain's presence in Afghanistan are not new. Terrorism expert Javier Jordán notes that the March 11 cell referred to Afghanistan in their communiqués. In fact, the terrorists' very last message called for the end of the supposed "truce" earned after Spain's withdrawal from Iraq. Spain's continued military commitment to Afghanistan was reason enough to continue the jihad in Spain.
In fact, the danger facing Spain is greater today than it was on March 11, 2003. Fernando Reinares, former terrorism advisor to the Interior Ministry and senior analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute, told the Los Angeles Times, "It is undoubtedly true that Spain is much more of a target today than before." One reason for the increased threat level is that Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has been calling for the reconquest of Spain about as much as Hamas leaders call for the destruction of Israel. Last month he exhorted Islamists in the Maghreb -- the northwestern part of Africa where 80 % of the 300 terrorist suspects arrested in Spain since March 11 come from -- "to once again feel the soil of Al Ándalus beneath your feet." Previously Zawahiri had called for liberating Muslim land "from Iraq to Al Ándalus."
Thursday, March 15, 2007
UPDATE. The full transcript of the confession is here.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
A dumb decision in practical terms: yesterday Algeria -who is in the opposite side to Morocco and used to go side by side with Spain- announced it's raising the price of the natural gas it sells to Spain by a whopping 20%, and did it the day before an official visit by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. Algeria supplies 60% of all natural gas that Spain uses.
UPDATE. One correction: Algeria supplies Spain with 44%, not 60%, of natural gas used.
Indeed, since at least the election of Ronald Reagan, the left and the right have grown ever more snappish with each other. Each feels entitled to take the wheel without suffering any backseat driving. Each side feels the other is illegitimate in some way, which somehow justifies their nastiness. That can be a shame, but really, it's not the end of the world.
We've seen worse. For example, in his 2004 book, "The Two Americas," Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg proclaimed: "Our nation's political landscape is now divided more deeply and more evenly than perhaps ever before."
This might strike some — say, anyone who's seen the scene in "Gone with the Wind," in which all those Civil War dead and wounded are laid out like cordwood — as a bit of an exaggeration. Call me crazy, but such bloodshed seems like a deeper sign of division than a bunch of partisan bloggers sweatily pounding their keyboards, or liberals and conservatives watching different cable news networks.
Denouncing partisanship doesn't make anyone pure of heart. Uniters can be motivated by selfishness just as dividers can be on the side of the angels. Have you noticed how the people most concerned about political polarization tend to be politicians in power? Arnold Schwarzenegger has refashioned himself as a "post-partisan" governor in the hopes of bridging the supposedly terrible divisions in California. Maybe the guy who called Democrats "girlie men" in 2004 really has had a change of heart. Or maybe it dawned on him that partisanship, although really useful for getting elected, is a handicap when it's time to govern or burnish your record.
[...] Many of our greatest heroes were men and women who were willing to rock the boat. If consensus is such a high political value, then the abolitionists, suffragettes and civil rights marchers are all villains.
Indeed, unity is overrated and often undemocratic. Decrying the "culture war" and "polarization" is something decent people are supposed to do, like recycling or paying more for organic breakfast cereal that tastes like cat litter. But the alternative is no great shakes.
Hillary Clinton leads an all-star cast of politicians who wax poetic on their desire to get beyond politics, move past partisan labels or put ideology aside. When you hear that rhetoric, consider this as a translation: "Those who disagree with me should shut up and get onboard the progress train."
I have never witnessed anyone who said that we need to get beyond ideology actually abandon his own position for the sake of unity.
For example, Al Gore constantly says the time for debating global warming is over and the time for unified action is now. But he says that because he wants the other side to stop being such a pain in his neck by disagreeing with him. Gore critics and fans alike can agree that he would be an idiot and an intellectual coward if, valuing unity over substance, he switched sides. Similarly, activists on both sides of the Iraq war may think that unity's nifty, but few seem willing to embrace the opposition's view to achieve it.
Israeli works near the Temple Mount did not cause damage to the historic site, a UNESCO report set to be published Wednesday states. However, the UN organization recommends that the excavations at the place be suspended in order to allow for international monitors to arrive in Jerusalem and supervise the project.Yeah, like they would have never filibustered the project. Anyway, the main point is that all the rage and hysteria was, of course, completely unwarranted.
In the report, which was obtained by Ynet, UNESCO experts laud Israel for the transparency with which the works were being carried out, and note that the excavations conducted near the Temple Mount compound do not jeopardize its stability.
According to the report, the works near the Mugrabi Gate have been properly documented and supervised, in compliance with international professional standards.
Nevertheless, the organization criticizes Israel for failing to involve other institutes in the project, probably referring to the UN's World Heritage Committee and Muslim bodies, such as the Waqf.
In a video posted on the internet yesterday, the date and authenticity of which have yet to be confirmed, Al Qaeda warned that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "once again puts Spain at risk."
The main message of the video, which was recorded in Arabic with subtitles in German, was directed at the governments of Austria and Germany, who are warned not to "follow the example of the socialist government in Spain, which has deceived the public by withdrawing its troops from Iraq and sending 600 more to Afghanistan. The countries of Islam are one nation, and the Spanish government has put the country at risk again by sending its troops to Afghanistan," warned the single masked spokesman.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Three years after the deadly bombings of March 11, 2004, Spain has become a deeply divided country, split into two in a way not seen since General Franco died and the country made a transition to democracy more than three decades ago.
A few samples (all links in Spanish):
- Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, deputy prime minister, called the Popular Party "agitators" and reproached them of basing its strategy in "lies and propaganda." Remember, this is not a mere party official, but the number two in Spain's government. That is, she represents us all, not only the people who voted for her party.
- Manuel Chavez, the Socialist Party chairman and president of the Andalusian regional government, says that the Popular party has proven that it's less focused in the end of ETA than the end of the Socialist government. No less. He's probably dialing Joe McCarthy's number now.
- Luis Yáñez, a Socialist Euro MP, says the crowd reminded him of the demonstrations during the Franco regime in support of the dictator.
- Jose Blanco, PSOE's organization secretary, that is, one of the highest officials and main spokesman, says that the PP thinks that there were many people attending the protest, but that it was half of the people who have been killed in the Iraq war (implying that it was a war that Aznar's PP administration supported). He draws his 300,000 figure from his party calculations (remember, the probably swollen figure given by the PP was 2.2 million; quite unlikely, but no less unlikely than those 300,000), and from the discredited Lancet study which stated that 600,000 people have died in Iraq as a consequence of the war.
- Jose Blanco, again, saying there's an increasing number of people who believe that we must defend Spain from a leader like Rajoy, the chairman of the conservative Popular Party.
- Antonio Pastor, Socialist spokesman in the Basque parliament, said that the protest was "an unusual exercise, a masquerade, an act of shamlessness, of disloyalty against the state and of contempts towards its institutions." [for peacefully protesting on the streets?] He also said that the conservatives only have the elections in mind, which indicates its "moral and political misery" and that they "represent the far-right rather than the civilized right."
And that's only during the first 24 hours after the demonstration.
Not a small feat for people who have been chastising Bush all these years, saying he crushes the opposition's freedoms and labels his opponents with bad words. Just imagine he, and GOP officials, would have said a tenth of the above about Code Pinkers and other anti-war groups.
This country resembles Venezuela more and more.
That's a very strong thing to say. But I live here, and have never heard such claim, quite the opposite: Popular Party officials have taken great pains to explicitely say over and over again that they are not questioning the legitimacy of the Socialist party victory, but that they want all possible lines investigated. If they are suggesting they have said it without really believing it, that's a judgement of intentions that a serious news organization can't make. I'm afraid I don't have time now to look for quotes, but actually it doesn't matter: it's the AP who should be able to back that extraordinary statement.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
GOOD PIECE by on the Wall Street Journal on Spain's current political scenario (requires subscription, but the link should work for a few days):
Shrouded in white canvas, the memorial commemorating the March 11 terrorists attacks will be unveiled outside Atocha rail station here tomorrow, the third anniversary. Though the exact design is secret, the high glass structure is said to reflect light at different angles in tasteful tribute to the 191 lives extinguished that day.The outtro is quite blunt:
It will be out of place in Spain. The aftermath of 11M -- once eme, as that day in known in Spanish -- has been anything but tasteful. If America unified following 9/11, Spain split along sharply sectarian lines within hours of the commuter-train bombings. An election swung from the ruling and favored center-right Popular Party, whose support for the Iraq war the left quickly blamed for inviting terror, lost to the anti-American Socialists. The Islamist architects couldn't have hoped for a better result in striking three days before polling day. But those traumatic events have been followed by others, shifting the course of Spanish history in ways no one then imagined possible.
The dominant presence in this edgy Spain is the leader, Mr. Zapatero. With an undistinguished academic and political record, little travel experience and no foreign languages -- a man even Socialists didn't expect to win -- he was once dismissed as the "accidental prime minister." With the tensions currently building up in Spanish politics, the country can ill afford any more accidents.Make sure you read the rest.
Eva Belén Abad Quijada, Spain, 30 years old
Óscar Abril Alegre, Spain, 19 years old
Liliana Guillermina Acero Ushiña, Ecuador, 26 years old
Florencio Aguado Rojano, Spain, 60 years old
Juan Alberto Alonso Rodríguez, Spain, 38 years old
María Joséfa Alvarez González, Spain, 48 years old
Juan Carlos Del Amo Aguado, Spain, 28 years old
Andriyan Asenov Andrianov, Bulgaria, 22 years old
María Nuria Aparicio Somolinos, Spain, 40 years old
Alberto Arenas Barroso, Spain, 24 years old
Neil Hebe Astocondor Masgo, Peru, 34 years old
Ana Isabel Avila Jiménez, Spain, 43 years old
Miguel Ángel Badajoz Cano, Spain, 34 years old
Susana Ballesteros Ibarra, Spain, 42 years old
Francisco Javier Barahona Imedio, Spain, 34 years old
Gonzalo Barajas Díaz, Spain, 32 years old
Gloria Inés Bedoya, Colombia, 40 years old
Sanaa Ben Salah Imadaquan, Spain, 13 years old
Esteban Martín De Benito Caboblanco, Spain, 39 years old
Rodolfo Benito Samaniego, Spain, 27 years old
Anka Valeria Bodea, Romania, 26 years old
Livia Bogdan, Romania, 27 years old
Florencio Brasero Murga, Spain, 50 years old
Trinidad Bravo Segovia, Spain, 40 years old
Alina Maria Bryk, Poland, 39 years old
Stefan Budai, Romania, 37 years old
Tibor Budi, Romania, 37 years old
María Pilar Cabrejas Burillo, Spain, 37 years old
Rodrigo Cabrero Pérez, Spain, 20 years old
Milagros Calvo García, Spain, 39 years old
Sonia Cano Campos, Spain, 24 years old
Alicia Cano Martínez, Spain, 63 years old
José María Carrilero Baeza, Spain, 39 years old
Álvaro Carrion Franco, Spain, 17 years old
Francisco Javier Casas Torresano, Spain, 28 years old
Cipriano Castillo Muñoz, Spain, 55 years old
María Inmaculada Castillo Sevillano, Spain, 39 years old
Sara Centenera Montalvo, Spain, 19 years old
Oswaldo Manuel Cisneros Villacís, Ecuador, 34 years old
Eugenia María Ciudad-Real Díaz, Spain, 26 years old
Jacqueline Contreras Ortiz, Peru, 22 years old
María Soledad Contreras Sánchez, Spain, 51 years old
María Paz Criado Pleiter, Spain, 52 years old
Nicoleta Diac, Romania, 27 years old
Beatriz Díaz Hernandez, Spain, 30 years old
Georgeta Gabriela Dima, Romania, 35 years old
Tinka Dimitrova Paunova, Bulgaria, 31 years old
Kalina Dimitrova Vasileva, Bulgaria, 31 years old
Sam Djoco, Senegal, 42 years old
María Dolores Durán Santiago, Spain, 34 years old
Osama El Amrati, Morocco, 23 years old
Sara Encinas Soriano, Spain, 26 years old
Carlos Marino Fernández Dávila, Peru, 39 years old
María Fernández del Amo, Spain, 25 years old
Rex Ferrer Reynado, Phillipines, 20 years old
Héctor Manuel Figueroa Bravo, Chile, 33 years old
Julia Frutos Rosique, Spain, 44 years old
María Dolores Fuentes Fernández, Spain, 29 years old
José Gallardo Olmo, Spain, 33 years old
José Raúl Gallego Triguero, Spain, 39 years old
María Pilar Gamiz Torres, Spain, 40 years old
Abel García Alfageme, Spain, 27 years old
Juan Luis García Arnaiz, Spain, 17 years old
Beatriz García Fernández, Spain, 27 years old
María de las Nieves García García-Moñino, Spain, 46 years old
Enrique García González, Dominican Republic, 28 years old
Cristina Aurelia García Martínez, Spain, 34 years old
Carlos Alberto García Presa, Spain, 24 years old
José García Sánchez, Spain, 45 years old
José María García Sánchez, Spain, 47 years old
Javier Garrote Plaza, Spain, 26 years old
Petrica Geneva, Romania, 34 years old
Ana Isabel Gil Pérez, Spain, 29 years old
Óscar Gómez Gudiña, Spain, 24 years old
Felix González Gago, Spain, 52 years old
Ángelica González García, Spain, 19 years old
Teresa González Grande, Spain, 38 years old
Elías González Roque, Spain, 30 years old
Juan Miguel Gracia García, Spain, 53 years old
Javier Guerrero Cabrera, Spain, 25 years old
Berta María Gutiérrez García, Spain, 39 years old
Sergio de las Heras Correa, Spain, 29 years old
Pedro Hermida Martín, Spain, 51 years old
Alejandra Iglesias López, Spain, 28 years old
Mohamed Itaiben, Morocco, 27 years old
Pablo Izquierdo Asanza, Spain, 42 years old
María Teresa Jaro Narrillos, Spain, 32 years old
Oleksandr Kladkovoy, Ukraine, 56 years old
Laura Isabel Laforga Bajón, Spain, 28 years old
María Victoria León Moyano, Spain, 30 years old
María Carmen Lominchar Alonso, Spain, 34 years old
Myriam López Díaz, Spain, 31 years old
María Carmen López Pardo, Spain, 50 years old
María Cristina López Ramos, Spain, 38 years old
José María López-Menchero Moraga, Spain, 44 years old
Miguel de Luna Ocaña, Spain, 36 years old
María Jesús Macías Rodríguez, Spain, 30 years old
Francisco Javier Mancebo Záforas, Spain, 38 years old
Ángel Manzano Pérez, Ecuador, 42 years old
Vicente Marín Chiva, Spain, 37 years old
Antonio Marín Mora, Spain, 43 years old
Begoña Martín Baeza, Spain, 25 years old
Ana Martín Fernández, Spain, 43 years old
Luis Andrés Martín Pacheco, Spain, 54 years old
María Pilar Martín Rejas, Spain, 50 years old
Alois Martinas, Romania, 27 years old
Carmen Mónica Martínez Rodríguez, Spain, 31 years old
Míriam Melguizo Martínez, Spain, 28 years old
Javier Mengíbar Jiménez, Spain, 43 years old
Álvaro de Miguel Jiménez, Spain, 26 years old
Michael Mitchell Rodríguez, Cuba, 28 years old
Stefan Modol, Romania, 45 years old
Segundo Víctor Mopocita Mopocita, Ecuador, 37 years old
Encarnación Mora Donoso, Spain, 64 years old
María Teresa Mora Valero, Spain, 37 years old
Julita Moral García, Spain, 53 years old
Francisco Moreno Aragonés, Spain, 56 years old
José Ramón Moreno Isarch, Spain, 37 years old
Eugenio Moreno Santiago, Spain, 56 years old
Juan Pablo Moris Crespo, Spain, 32 years old
Juan Muñoz Lara, Spain, 33 years old
Francisco José Narváez de la Rosa, Spain, 28 years old
Mariana Negru, Romania, 40 years old
Ismael Nogales Guerrero, Spain, 31 years old
Inés Novellón Martínez, Spain, 30 years old
Miguel Ángel Orgaz Orgaz, Spain, 34 years old
Ángel Pardillos Checa, Spain, 62 years old
Sonia Parrondo Antón, Spain, 28 years old
Juan Francisco Pastor Férez, Spain, 51 years old
Daniel Paz Manjón, Spain, 20 years old
Josefa Pedraza Pino, Spain, 41 years old
Miryam Pedraza Rivero, Spain, 25 years old
Roberto Pellicari Lopezosa, Spain, 31 years old
María del Pilar Pérez Mateo, Spain, 28 years old
Felipe Pinel Alonso, Spain, 51 years old
Martha Scarlett Plasencia Hernandez, Dominican Republic, 27 years old
Elena Ples, Romania, 33 years old
María Luisa Polo Remartinez, Spain, 50 years old
Ionut Popa, Romania, 23 years old
Emilian Popescu, Romania, 44 years old
Miguel Ángel Prieto Humanes, Spain, 37 years old
Francisco Antonio Quesada Bueno, Spain, 44 years old
John Jairo Ramírez Bedoya, Colombia, 37 years old
Laura Ramos Lozano, Honduras, 37 years old
Miguel Reyes Mateos, Spain, 37 years old
Marta del Río Menéndez, Spain, 40 years old
Nuria del Río Menéndez, Spain, 38 years old
Jorge Rodríguez Casanova, Spain, 22 years old
Luis Rodríguez Castell, Spain, 40 years old
María de la Soledad Rodríguez de la Torre, Spain, 42 years old
Ángel Luis Rodríguez Rodríguez, Spain, 34 years old
Francisco Javier Rodríguez Sánchez, Spain, 52 years old
Ambrosio Rogado Escribano, Spain, 56 years old
Cristina Romero Sánchez, Spain, 34 years old
Patricia Rzaca, Poland, 7 meses
Wieslaw Rzaca, Poland, 34 years old
Antonio Sabalete Sánchez, Spain, 36 years old
Sergio Sánchez López, Spain, 17 years old
María Isabel Sánchez Mamajón, Spain, 37 years old
Juan Antonio Sánchez Quispe, Peru, 45 years old
Balbina Sánchez-Dehesa France, Spain, 47 years old
David Santamaría García, Spain, 23 years old
Sergio dos Santos Silva, Brazil, 28 years old
Juan Carlos Sanz Morales, Spain, 33 years old
Eduardo Sanz Pérez, Spain, 31 years old
Guillermo Senent Pallarola, Spain, 23 years old
Miguel Antonio Serrano Lastra, Spain, 28 years old
Rafael Serrano López, Spain, 66 years old
Paula Mihaela Sfeatcu, Romania, 27 years old
Federico Miguel Sierra Serón, Spain, 37 years old
Domnino Simón González, Spain, 45 years old
María Susana Soler Iniesta, Spain, 46 years old
Carlos Soto Arranz, Spain, 34 years old
Mariya Ivanova Staykova, Bulgaria, 38 years old
Marion Cintia Subervielle, France, 30 years old
Alexandru Horatiu Suciu, Romania, 18 years old
Danuta Teresa Szpila, Poland, 28 years old
José Luis Tenesaca Betancourt, Ecuador, 17 years old
Iris Toribio Pascual, Spain, 20 years old
Neil Torres Mendoza, Ecuador, 38 years old
Carlos Tortosa García, Spain, 31 years old
María Teresa Tudanca Hernández, Spain, 49 years old
Jesús Utrilla Escribano, Spain, 44 years old
José Miguel Valderrama López, Spain, 25 years old
Saúl Valdez Ruiz, Honduras, 44 years old
Mercedes Vega Mingo, Spain, 45 years old
David Vilela Fernández, Spain, 23 years old
Juan Ramón Zamora Gutiérrez, Spain, 29 years old
Yaroslav Zojniuk, Ukraine, 48 years old
Csaba Olimpiu Zsigovski, Romania, 26 years old
Saturday, March 10, 2007
AGAIN, MADRID has taken to the streets in protest against Zapatero's anti-terror policies:
The rally is organized by the conservative Popular Party, now in opposition, and follow 65 smaller demonstrations across the country's cities yesterday evening. They're all against Zapatero's decision to allow one of ETA's biggest killers, Iñaki de Juana Chaos, to serve his reduced sentence at home after being in a hunger strike for about 100 days demanding his release. Of course the term 'hunger strike' is an euphemism: during the last weeks he was in a Madrid hospital with a more than lax regime for visits and his girlfriend staying with him. The police officers custodying him have publicly complained they were ordered not to search her, so who knows how many power-bars or other food she sneaked in. Anyway, Zapatero took the measure for 'humanitarian reasons' alleging he was in a very bad physical state, though it didn't seem an obstacle for him to take long 40-minute showers with her girlfriend (if you know what I mean) until the last day before he was sent home. Or leaving the hospital walking, as he did. Again, it's the police officers who say it, not me.
Many people, not only from the PP, view this as the last straw, as a measure in favor of a terrorist who just said he doesn't feel any remorse for killing and who belonged to a terrorist organization that just killed 2 inocent people in the Barajas airport bombing late last year. Even though Zapatero said then that he would stop negotiating with ETA, the truth is that soon after he has declared his intention to keep doing so. That's probably why today's protest is probably even bigger than the several million-man marches in recent months. Madrid public regional TV says it's 2.2 million, but Madrid regional government is PP so they're probably stretching the figures a little. In any event, it's another impressive gathering.
It's going to be interesting to see how the Zapatero government will react. I don't have much hope that he'll listen, though. His party went to the streets day in and day out against the Iraq war in 2003 when they were in opposition, saying it was a "genuine expression of popular feelings," but they have suddenly developed a pro-establishment view that reminds my to my late grandmother. The last few days, anticipating a big turnout in today's rally, they have been labeling the PP as extremists and agitators. Go figure.
They've also been using all kinds of rhetorical gimmicks, saying that the PP was the first democratic party that has refused to back the government in their anti-terrorist fight (what fight, some people asked). Or saying that when Aznar and the PP were in power they also sent ETA terrorists home for humanitarian reasons. What they don't say is that those terrorists Aznar sent home had cancer, AIDS or some other serious illness and were in a terminal state. In short, they were sent home to die, not to eat paella and get well. They weren't received as victorious heroes as De Juana was last week, but by grieving relatives who were accompanying his family member in his last days. Their health problems were not self-inflicted, and it wasn't up to them whether they would still have those problems or not. De Juana went by his own will into a hunger strike asking to be released or else. And the Spanish government simply caved in in order to not make ETA mad and keep negotiating with some bastards who had recently killed two people.
And that's why there's hundreds of thousands of people in the streets today. Again.
UPDATE. I've been writing fast because I wanted the post to go up as soon as possible; I'm noticing several style issues, but I think it's better not to re-do anyting now.
UPDATE II. Gateway Pundit has much more, and Toasted Bread is compiling reports of today's events.
Three years after bombs ripped through four Madrid trains, killing 191 people and injuring nearly 2,000, Spanish officials and experts say the country is potentially in more danger now than ever before as extremist groups reorganize just beyond Spain's southern coast.
As the trial began here last month, more arrests and prosecutions were announced, and senior officials say radicals in Morocco and other parts of northern Africa, many with ties to Spain, increasingly take their cues from Al Qaeda.
[...] Maghreb-based networks remain the most serious threat to Spain in terms of Islamic extremism, law enforcement officials said this week. They said militants had begun to set up a centralized command and a string of training camps in southern Algeria and northern Mali, and have launched recruiting efforts targeting their brethren who live in Spain.
"We are seeing the Al Qaeda-ization of the Maghreb militants, and that is the evolution that most worries us," a senior counter-terrorism official in the Spanish Interior Ministry said in an interview.
This metamorphosis, combined with the start of the 11-M trial and the anniversary of the attacks, has prompted authorities to raise the terrorism alert level nationwide, the official said.
Nearly 300 suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in Spain since the attacks. Roughly 80% are from the Maghreb, according to a study by Madrid's Elcano Royal Institute.
Last month, Ayman Zawahiri, the purported No. 2 in Al Qaeda, called on Islamic radicals in the Maghreb to "raise the flag of jihad" over North Africa and Spain "to once again feel the soil of Al Andalus beneath your feet," according to transcripts. Al Andalus refers to that part of Spain controlled by Muslim forces for seven centuries until their expulsion by a Roman Catholic army in 1492.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
BUH-BYE, "Peak Oil":
The Kern River oil field, discovered in 1899, was revived when Chevron engineers here started injecting high-pressured steam to pump out more oil. The field, whose production had slumped to 10,000 barrels a day in the 1960s, now has a daily output of 85,000 barrels.UPDATE. Related information on oil sands extraction in Canada, here.
In Indonesia, Chevron has applied the same technology to the giant Duri oil field, discovered in 1941, boosting production there to more than 200,000 barrels a day, up from 65,000 barrels in the mid-1980s.
And in Texas, Exxon Mobil expects to double the amount of oil it extracts from its Means field, which dates back to the 1930s. Exxon, like Chevron, will use three-dimensional imaging of the underground field and the injection of a gas — in this case, carbon dioxide — to flush out the oil.
Within the last decade, technology advances have made it possible to unlock more oil from old fields, and, at the same time, higher oil prices have made it economical for companies to go after reserves that are harder to reach. With plenty of oil still left in familiar locations, forecasts that the world’s reserves are drying out have given way to predictions that more oil can be found than ever before.
In a wide-ranging study published in 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that ultimately recoverable resources of conventional oil totaled about 3.3 trillion barrels, of which a third has already been produced. More recently, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy consultant, estimated that the total base of recoverable oil was 4.8 trillion barrels. That higher estimate — which Cambridge Energy says is likely to grow — reflects how new technology can tap into more resources.
“It’s the fifth time to my count that we’ve gone through a period when it seemed the end of oil was near and people were talking about the exhaustion of resources,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of Cambridge Energy and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of oil, who cited similar concerns in the 1880s, after both world wars and in the 1970s. “Back then we were going to fly off the oil mountain. Instead we had a boom and oil went to $10 instead of $100.”
There is still a minority view, held largely by a small band of retired petroleum geologists and some members of Congress, that oil production has peaked, but the theory has been fading.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
How did a serious country, one that endured Antietam, sent a million doughboys to Europe in a mere year, survived Pearl Harbor, Monte Cassino, Anzio, the Bulge, Tarawa, Iwo and Okinawa, the Yalu, Choisun, Hue and Tet, come to the conclusion — between the news alerts about Britney Spears’ shaved head and fights over Anna Nicole Smith’s remains — that Iraq, in the words of historically minded Democratic senators, was the “worst” and the “greatest” “blunder,” “disaster,” and “catastrophe” in our “entire” history?Don't miss what follows.