Friday, August 24, 2012

In The News

When either Barça or Spain play futbol, I’m usually there, with a bowl of homemade guacamole and some chips, sitting on my couch, watching on T.V.  I was there last night, but without the snacks.

Soccer games in Spain usually start at 10 pm, which seems late enough.  Last night’s Super Copa game began at 10:30 pm.  And I was lucky to be watching it at home because many of the 90,000 spectators who attended the match at Camp Nou (a larger than usual percentage of them tourists because they are here on vacation while the Catalans are away on theirs) found themselves without transportation when the game was over at 12:30.

It seems that the city government no longer pays the 30,000 euros-per-hour that public transportation demands for working after regular hours and so neither the metro nor the buses were running.  City hall representatives say that they wrote to the Futbol Federation as well as to the two clubs to ask that the game be played earlier, say at 9:30.  But their letter was never answered and the schedule was not changed.  It took some people several hours to get back to their homes or their hotels, the taxis being overrun with fares.  Some just gave up and went to sleep on public benches.


Continuing on the topic of sports, today’s news has the sad story of Lance Armstrong who is giving up his fight against the allegations of drug use.  They say it may cost him his seven Tour de France cups.  Some nitwit on the internet named Carpenter says his giving up his fight is a clear sign that he is guilty, his logic being that if he were really innocent, he would continue fighting the allegations.

I don’t follow that logic.  In the first place, I was always dubious of the allegations that were brought forth years after the events.  But that aside, Armstrong has been involved in a fight to defend his innocence for years.  I don’t follow closely, but do they keep coming up with new accusations? new proofs?  How long does he have to keep fighting?  It’s already been several years.  Doesn’t he have the right, if he wants to, to turn his back on the whole thing and try to have a life.  He already put up a great fight against cancer.  As far as I’m concerned, the man deserves to be let in peace.  But in any case, his laying down his sword doesn’t say to me that he is guilty, but perhaps that he is tired.


Spain is on the move to change the laws governing rentals, specifically, how long it has to take before a tenant who does not pay rent can be evicted.  They are including some safeguards so that someone who becomes ill or unemployed gets special consideration.  But the rest will have ten days from the time the court says out.

Spain has the lowest percentage of rentals in Europe – only 17% of housing is rented, the rest is lived in by the owners or stays empty (by choice).  Until now, if a tenant refused to pay rent, they were protected by law and could stay in the property for years.  Meanwhile, if the landlord had a mortgage or other legal financial obligations, building maintenance, etc., he would have to continue paying them.  It was a crazy situation that kept many people from renting out properties for fear of getting stuck in an impossible situation.

I was one of those  A few years ago when I owned my villa and was thinking of going back to live in the US, I considered renting it out.  I did that for about one minute.  I couldn’t afford getting a tenant who moved in and then at some point stopped paying and I would be stuck with my hefty mortgage and no income to cover it.


Anders Breivik the mass murderer who killed 77 people in Norway was found by the Norwegian court to be sane.  Of course he’s not sane.  No one who does things like that is sane.  But he is functional enough to understand what he did and to meet whatever the requirements for sanity might be, and so he can be judged as a sane person.  He has been sentenced to 21 years in prison.  His minimum sentence is 10 years at which time his case can be reviewed.  If, in the future, he is found to still be a danger, his sentence can be extended.  This is a far cry from the death penalty sometimes imposed in the U.S., or the life sentences (stated specifically in thousands of years) that Spain imposes on ETA (but not Muslim) terrorists. 
Photo credit:  Futbol Club Barcelona 


  1. Concerning Armstrong,Lance, not Neil who I have just been informed that has dead today :-(, I don't understand it: The federation probably strips the seven tours and the olimpic medal. Does it mean that Armstrong was doped in all these races? If so, it means that the antidoping control are uneffective or the people in charge are incompetent...
    I remember when Josep Guardiola played in Brescia and faced doping charges. He was fighting for his innocence for years and years and finally won. I guess that for Armstrong, a more popular figure that Guardiola was is that age, is more difficult to withstand pressure.

  2. Jaume, I think the problem for Armstrong was that he was the victim of a witchhunt. I don't know why, but the charges came long after the events and kept on coming. I can't tell you the details, but it seemed that way to me and then yesterday I read an article, I think it was in the New Yorker magazine, it was posted on Facebook, that said the same. If it was a witchhunt, he probably had no way to ever prove himself innocent. They would just have kept on bring new charges forever.

    I forgot that about Guardiola. What an absurd charge. Of all people, he is the least likely do use drugs! He's such a wonderful sportsman. He embodies what sportsmanship is all about.

  3. Jaume, it was the New Yorker. Here (I hope) is the link for the article

    1. Very interesting. Thank you. By the way, you've got mail.