Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

En español: El Rey Juan Carlos en la Unidad de Quemados

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

@DrNetas le saca los trapitos al sol,

En español: “Libres como dioses: una reflexión libertaria sobre las comedias griegas”

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Conferencia de María Blanco, “Libres como dioses: una reflexión libertaria sobre las comedias griegas”

Yesterday’s podcast, and a 10th anniversary

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure and the honor of being in Silvio Canto’s podcast with Miguel Portillo-Cuadra talking about Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues.

Updating, the ARENA party requests that the election results be annulled (link in Spanish).

Yesterday was also Fausta’s Blog’s 10th birthday, which I celebrated at the podcast. I had initially started blogging on local issues but over time turned to what really interests me, Latin American politics.

March 11th was also the 10th anniversary of the Atocha train station bombing in Madrid. Barcepundit has a list of all the people who died.

¿Cómo se dice “chutzpah” en castellano?*

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Elderly woman who botched religious fresco demands royalties
The elderly Spanish woman who ruined a religious fresco with her botched restoration is now demanding royalties from her work after it became an unlikely tourist attraction.

Give it time: the Whitney will have her as guest artist.

* How do you say “chutzpah” in Castilian Spanish?


Spain: Go elsewhere, young man (and woman)!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

As the country hopes for a huge bailout, Spanish newspaper El País has an article in Spanish inciting Spaniards of all ages to legally look for work anywhere in the world, since Spain’s unemployment rate is a mind-boggling 25%.

By “anywhere in the world”, I really mean anywhere, including Communist China. The only continent they don’t mention is Africa.

¿Hora de hacer las maletas? Un repaso a las oportunidades que hay fuera
El mercado laboral no levanta cabeza y emigrar es una salida cada vez más habitual.
Europa es el primer destino recomendado a los profesionales españoles.
Le siguen América Latina y EE UU. China ofrece oportunidades para los más arriesgados.

Time to pack your bags? A review of opportunities abroad.

  • The labor market is not recovering, and emigration is the most frequent alternative.
  • Europe is the preferred option for Spaniards.
  • Latin America and USA follow. China has opportunities for the most daring.

English-speakers in engineering, tech, and health-related professions are in demand. The article says that recruiters from Norway, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, France and Switzerland are hiring Spaniards. Singapore, Israel are also hiring. The Latin American countries are ranked by most-restrictive (Brazil and Chile) to least restrictive. The only country they do not recommend is India.

They have a world map showing the local unemployment rates, and jobs in demand.

This is terrible in two ways: Spain had briefly recovered from the centuries-long diaspora of its best and brightest, most of which were not schooled but found education and opportunity in other lands (as my grandparents did). Now the brain drain is striking twice as hard, with Spanish engineers looking for work elsewhere, even unemployment among engineers is “only” 8%.

The article goes on to compare entrance restrictions among countries, and advises anyone contemplating China to look in medium-sized cities, settle for much lower pay, and, if you are going to live there while job hunting, to give yourself six months to learn the local language and have 4,000-5,000€ to live on.

It ends by saying,

Now all you need to do is to gather your courage and pack your bags. These countries offer a better job future than Spain. Without a doubt.

Back to the future, again.


Spain close to junk status, French lunacy, Estonian twitters

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The rolling disaster that the European Union has become continues,

Spain downgraded again, at risk of junk status, or close to becoming a new bra size at Victoria’s Secret,

Spain’s sovereign debt rating was slashed three steps Thursday by credit rating agency Fitch, which warned that the nation is at risk of being downgraded into junk bond status.
The nation’s debt rating was cut from “A” all the way to “BBB,” the lowest rating that is considered investment grade. And the new rating was given a negative outlook, meaning it at risk for further downgrades.

France’s new president, François Hollande, must think this is a good thing (if he’s thinking)

France intends to lower the legal retirement age from 62 to 60 for a small class of workers, the government announced Wednesday, maintaining a campaign pledge by the newly elected president, the Socialist François Hollande, and partly undoing a major change by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The change will allow people who entered the work force at age 18 or 19 to retire with full state pensions at 60, instead of 62, assuming they have paid into the pension system for 41 or 41.5 years, the period typically required to qualify for full state benefits. Exemptions for short periods of unemployment will be added and those for maternity leave will be extended.

The pension change is expected to bring more than 110,000 additional retirements next year, at a cost to the state of more than $1.25 billion, the president’s office said in a statement, but is to be paid for entirely by a 0.1 percent rise in taxes on employees and companies. The decree is expected to take effect in November.

As if France could afford the retirees it has now??

Meanwhile, the only EU economy with annual growth of 7.6% (a whopping FIVE TIMES the euro-zone average) gets dissed by Paul Krugman.

Yes, the death-panels-and-sales-taxes guy whose blog is richly titled The Conscience of a Liberal, who will tell you that “the French have it right” when it comes to healthcare. The very same Krugman who puts to use the good-old “lies, damned lies and statistics”, or, as Bruce McQuain calls it, statistical cherry-picking.

As it turns out, Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves (background here) saw Krugman’s tweet, and, voila! Flame war!

Go to the link in this tweet,

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll see why austerity may be what has made Estonia grow.

Estonia and Austerity: Another Exploding Cigar for Paul Krugman

The Road to Freedom: Earned success

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012


Arthur Brooks’s new book, The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise deals with “entrepreneurship, personal responsibility, and upward mobility”. Today he has an article in the Wall Street Journal,
America and the Value of ‘Earned Success’
‘We found that even when good things occurred that weren’t earned, like nickels coming out of slot machines, it did not increase people’s well-being.’

Earned success means defining your future as you see fit and achieving that success on the basis of merit and hard work. It allows you to measure your life’s “profit” however you want, be it in money, making beautiful music, or helping people learn English. Earned success is at the root of American exceptionalism.

This means, policy-wise,

All surveys show that most Americans still embrace our free enterprise system—today. The crucial test is whether the country is willing to support the hard work and policy reforms that will sustain it.

As Elizabeth Foley says,

Earned success is indeed, as Brooks points out, the heart of American exceptionalism, and it leads to individual happiness in a way that handouts never can.

Go read the whole thing. The book is also available on Kindle.

The strikes in Spain stay mainly in the plain?

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

El Marko reports from Spain,
Spanish Unions Revolt Against Labor and Fiscal Reform

Thursday’s general srike in Madrid, unlike Barcelona’s, was largely a pacific affair. Two communist unions, the CCOO and the UGT, did their best to shut down the capital of Spain, and were met with solid resistance from the retail sector. The two unions, which represent a majority of unionized Spanish workers, failed to paralyze the retail sector, with approximately 80 percent of businesses remaining open. 17% of Spanish workers belong to unions with membership being voluntary. Huge mobs of union-led protesters attempted to force the closure of retail shops in the streets adjacent to the Puerta del Sol Plaza in Madrid’s city center

The garbage and vandalism were appalling.

Imagine if, instead, the strikers actually found something constructive to do. But that would take personal responsibility and creativity, wouldn’t it?

Read the whole photo report here.

Proof positive that, if you have enough money, someone will marry you

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Duchess of Alba and Alfonso Diez

Duchess, age 85, $5 billion.
Diez, age 60.

Slide show here.

She’s been widowed twice. I fear for him.

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“Say cheese!”, and today’s roundup

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

No, it was not photoshopped.

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Iran released the two Americans on $1 million bail.
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Report: At least 200 murders in Mexico now linked to Fast & Furious weapons, as Mexican officials learned of “Gunwalker” from news reports

In yesterday’s phone conference, Sen. Issa explained that the US- Mexico relationship has been seriously damaged. As the investigation finds more bodies, one has to wonder if the damage is irreparable

Around 1,500 of the guns went unaccounted for, about two-thirds of those guns ended up in Mexico, a border patrol agent was shot and killed with weapons that were sold as part of the operation, 57 Fast and Furious weapons have been connected to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., and in Mexico an unconfirmed toll of at least 200 people have been killed or wounded with other weapons linked to the botched effort.

And then there’s this: ATF agent suggests digging up dirt on Sen. Chuck Grassley to help forestall Gunwalker investigations

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Tetrachromats, anyone?
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I’ve only found this at El Herald, which is not yet in English-language media,
Spain arrested a Cuban accused of being a member of al-Qaeda. Among other activities, Ernesto Feliú Mora, age 26, allegedly posted 1,126 jihad-related videos.
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And, on a lighter mode, Claude: to know him is to love him.

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