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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘spain

[LINK] “Catalans Spur the Remaking of Spain With Battle for Independence”

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Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.

Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.

Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.

“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”

Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.

He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that ferry tickets for the Toronto Islands can now be bought online.
  • Discover‘s Crux considers SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering habitable exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars, defends the potential existence of exoplanets at Kapteyn’s Star, and looks at the Epsilon Eridani system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that a second Scottish referendum on independence is possible, according to Alex Salmond.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Mormons are unhappy with the Scouts’ gay-friendly shift.
  • Language Hat considers the history of family name usage in Russia.
  • Languages of the World examines in two posts the argument that primitive peoples have simple languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the strategies of Spanish populist group Podemos.
  • Peter Watts considers the peculiar thing of people lacking large chunks of the brain who nonetheless seem normal.
  • Diane Duane, at Out of Ambit, is quite unhappy with an impending forced upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes how labour-saving technologies improved the lives of women.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers proposals to explore small solar system bodies.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what would happen if Bernie Sanders won the nomination of the Democratic Party.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to statistics on the population of Abu Dhabi.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the depopulation of South Ossetia and looks at the Russian Orthodox Church’s hostility to Ukraine’s Uniate Catholics.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes that although Labour apparently did a good job of convincing potential voters it was right, it did a worse job of getting them to vote.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Crooked Timber’s John Holbo wonders about people who are foxes and hedgehogs, following Isaiah Berlin.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one examination of carbon and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres and links to another noting how white dwarfs eat their compact asteroid and other debris belts.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the dinosaurs disappeared in the Pyrenees amidst environmental catastrophe.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Liberty University is liable for helping a woman hide her child away from her lesbian partner’s custody.
  • Language Hat notes an apparent mistake in prose.
  • Language Log examines new frontiers in negative negation.
  • Languages of the World notes the role of Dante in establishing an Italian literary language.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders what books contain the most wisdom per page.
  • The Search notes one librarian’s experience with web archiving.
  • Torontoist shares photos of the Pan Am Games.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that genetic engineering of babies for IQ will occur as soon as the technology becomes possible.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that support is growing for an enquiry into the Malaysian Airlines shootdown, notes military reform’s stagnation in Russia, and looks at a Crimean Tatar meeting in Turkey.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World notes that Spain has come out weaker of this round of Eurozone negotiations.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes a house on downtown Toronto’s Jersey Avenue, a near-laneway, that is on the market at nearly eight hundred thousand dollars.
  • Centauri Dreams warns that with the passage of Dawn and New Horizons and Cassini, an era of unmanned space exploration will come to an end.
  • Crooked Timber’s Belle Waring considers Western/Asian cultural differences on gender.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper seeking to detect exoplanet rotation rates and other data via eclipses, and links to another noting the discovery of N2H in a ring around TW Hydrae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the results of a genetic analysis of the dwarf mammoths of Wrangel Island.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at how the Second World War started Ireland’s break from the Sterling zone.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the good of tech criticism.
  • Joe. My. God. celebrates a decade of same-sex marriage in Spain.
  • Language Hat looks at how promoters of a literature or a work can get things they champion translate.
  • The Planetary Society Blog has two posts celebrating its role in the New Horizons probe.
  • Towleroad notes that YouTube star Shane Dawson has just come out as bisexual.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at an incipient Cossack separatism.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Anthropology.net notes the discovery of some Neanderthal skeletons showing signs of having had the flesh carved off of them.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the messages carried by the New Horizon probe.
  • Crooked Timber makes the case for the continued relevance of Bob Marley.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at recurrent streams on Mars carved by perchlorate-laced water.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh argues that Spain is still digging out of the long crisis.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the story of a Louisiana trans man fired from his job for not detransitioning.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that China is not really a revisionist power.
  • Justin Petrone looks at ways in which young Estonian children are demonstrating and developing a fear of Russia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog examines the failure of the Dragon rocket.
  • Towleroad notes that the Russian-language version of Siri is quite homophobic.
  • Understanding Society looks at the criticial realist social theory of Frédéric Vandenberghe.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at trends in violence in the North Caucasus and warns of Central Asian alienation from Russia.

[ISL] “Happily Obscure: the Kingdom of Macaronesia”

Frank Jacobs of Strange Maps has an enlightening post looking at Macaronesia, the collection of North Atlantic islands off the European and African coasts that includes the Portuguese Azores and Madeira, the Spanish Canaries, and the independent and ex-Portuguese Cape Verde islands. I wrote about this 2005, there noting how despite its independence Cape Verde was moving as quickly as poissible towards the European Union and its Macaronesian peers. The very idea of the region, Jacobs argues, is still obscure.

In its most common definition, Macaronesia consists of four island groups, belonging to three different countries: the Azores, the Madeira Islands [5] (both Portuguese possessions), the Canary Islands (Spain), and the independent archipelago of Cape Verde.

The name refers to the Fortunate Islands, a.k.a. the Islands of the Blessed (makaron nesoi), situated by ancient Greek legend beyond the Pillars of Hercules, in the Atlantic Ocean. As is the case with Atlantis, the precise mix of fact and fiction is hard to untangle in the case of the Fortunate Islands.

Perhaps those Greek legends were based on actual knowledge of the Canaries or other nearby islands. But their location beyond the horizon of the Greek world provided them with mythical qualities: island paradises rich in fowl and flowers, last resting place of heroes. According to Pliny the Elder, the only drawbacks were the “putrefying bodies of monsters, which are constantly thrown up by the sea.”

In later centuries, the Greek legends of happy faraway lands beyond the sea were conflated with similar Celtic legends (Avalon, Tir na nOg), with Viking explorations of Vinland and even with the Antilles.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2015 at 10:58 pm

[LINK] “Catalan Leader Hopes EU Will Convince Spain to Discuss Split”

Bloomberg’s Sangwom Yoon and Esteban Duarte write about how the Catalonian president wants the European Union to encourage Spain to negotiate Catalonia independence, so avoiding a more disruptive unilateral declaration of independence.

Catalan President Artur Mas said he hopes to avoid a unilateral declaration of independence by leaning on the “biggest” European Union countries to convince Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to negotiate the split.

“Some European countries will get involved in the affair” if the central Spanish government continues to refuse to collaborate on Catalonia’s independence, Mas, 59, said in an interview in New York. They could try “to convince the authorities in Madrid that it is always better to negotiate and to reach agreements because the economy is at stake.”

The Catalan leader made the two-day visit to persuade asset managers and business executives to keep investing in Catalonia and support its secession because separation will guarantee a better economic future for both the Catalans and the Spanish. He also delivered a speech at Columbia University, in which he invoked American poet Robert Frost by likening Catalonia’s path to independence as the road less traveled.

Mas said he will begin the process of separating from Spain if pro-secession parties win a majority in the Sept. 27 elections, even though the Spanish government calls any such moves illegal. The Catalan leader agreed Mar. 31 on a road map toward independence with Oriol Junqueras, the leader of his separatist allies Esquerra Republicana, another political party.

While no European countries have voiced support for Catalonia, their neutrality on the matter is a positive signal for the Catalans, Mas said.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 9, 2015 at 10:50 pm

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