You have to laugh 1: For some time now, the Russian RT TV station has been highlighting President Putin's claim that the Americans have satellite data which shows who really shot down the Malaysian airline over the Ukraine and so could prove it wasn't Russia or their surrogates in Eastern Ukraine. So, you'd expect Moscow to be delighted with the prospect of an international enquiry. But guess who's just vetoed this. I wonder what RT will make of this turn of events. Doubtless it will be plausible, if only marginally so.
You have to laugh 2: Mr Putin has opined that "Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel prize for his stewardship of Fifa". I'm an avid viewer of RT channel (largely for the unintentional laughs) but I've never heard anything this preposterous even there.
Only in Spain?: Another great use of the new 'Citizen Security Law? Well, no. Making prostitutes wear reflective jackets is being done under an existing law. But in Madrid the new law is being used to target prostitutes. Specifically those who commit an act of sexual provocation in a public place, such as an industrial estate. I wonder if this description includes truck parks. But, anyway, the law will also be used to 'crack down on prostitution in public places, such as near schools and children’s parks.' Sometimes I feel I'm living in Alicia en el País de las Maravillas. Am I alone?
Incidentally, the president of Venezuela is so horrified by the Citizen Security Law (commonly known as The Gag Law) that he's accused President Rajoy of being "the hitman of the Spanish people" for introducing tough penalties for public order offences. Slightly OTT, I think. But essentially true.
The EU: You want some reasons why it ain't working? Here's four. Recent developments have highlighted, of course, how tough national challenges can't be solved by a committee of 28 or even 19. For, no committee of any size ever solved a problem of any sort. Being comprised essentially, if not totally, of people who enjoy being on committees.
Finally . . . . Some nice quotes from Kurt Vonnegut's lovely little book A Man without a Country:
- A lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semi-colons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they show is that you've been to college.
- If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is to go into the arts.
- The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon. [I guess he means Colin Powell]
- It certainly helps to remember what the great socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw said about this planet: "I don't know if there are men on the moon but, if they are there, they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum."
- I asked the graphic artist Saul Steinberg how I should feel about Picasso. Six seconds past and then he said: "God put him on earth to show us what it's like to be really rich."