Monthly Archives: October 2008

thebadPoll – Who should be the next US president?

thebadPoll has not had the most auspicious beginning. But I’ll press on with it, stubborn as I am.

The US presidential election is now only a few days away. Barack Obama seems to have the lead across the country, including most of the ‘battleground states’. But as they say: it’s not over until it’s over.

This week’s poll is simple: who do you think should be the next US president? There are three choices: John McCain, Barack Obama or neither/someone else. As always, your comments are welcome… is this a chance for transformative change, irrelevant, more of the same?

You can vote at the top of the page, to the right of the main article area (no registration necessary).

thebadPoll – Historical memory

I’ve just started reading The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution and Revenge by Paul Preston and I’m finding it to be an interesting, though terribly sad, piece of work. One of Preston’s main hypotheses seems to be that the way Spain suffered under dictatorship for so many years after the Civil War meant that it was very difficult for the Spanish people to ever truly reconcile themselves to what had happened, and what they and their neighbours had done.

Anyone living in Spain will have noticed that the Civil War and following dictatorship continue to be not just the cataclysmic events of Spain’s 20th century but also reference points which are sure to be mentioned sooner or later in almost any discussion about Spanish politics, culture, society or even geography. Only yesterday, I saw on the Catalan news that plans are still afoot to give and official pardon to Catalan president Lluis Companys, 68 years after he was executed at Montjuïc fort. And many families continue to struggle for the right to exhume the bodies of relatives left in mass graves throughout the country.

There seems to be both a political and a personal angle to the way the Civil War is so frequently conjured up, and I have little doubt that this experience is different in Catalonia than in other parts of Spain.

This week’s poll asks: What’s the best way to deal with Spain’s historical memory?

You can vote in the sidebar to the right, and of course, leave comments on this post in the traditional manner. With this poll, you may select up to two options, as they’re not all mutually exclusive.

thebadPoll – should everyone understand Catalan?

I’ve been planning to add a polls feature to thebadrash for quite some time. Then South of Watford and Iberian Notes did it, so I thought I’d better hold off for a bit. Anyway, here’s the first one, and I’ve chosen a topic which has come up, yet again, in the Catalan news.

The Constitutional court in Madrid is deliberating on potential changes to the Catalan statute of autonomy, approved by referendum here about two years ago. One of the clauses that might be removed is the bit that says that people living in Catalonia should know Catalan. It’s basically copied from the Spanish constitution, which makes a similar demand in support of Spanish.

So my question is simple: in your opinion, should people living and working in Catalonia be able to understand Catalan? You can vote below in this post, or at the top of the sidebar to the right >>>>

UPDATE: By the way, I’ll try to run at least one of these each week, so it’ll be a regular feature. Of course, as well as voting, you are more than welcome to comment on the question or your response using the traditional comments system. Let me know if you have any problems voting, too.

Fox News and the ‘split’ vote

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s quite amusing. A Fox News Channel roving reporter asks the customers in a diner somewhere in Pennsylvania who they’re planning to vote for, and the vast majority raise their hands for Barack Obama.


My question: does the word ‘split’ always imply ‘into equal parts’? Or does the presence of a couple of McCain supporters actually make the ‘split’ word accurate, if still misleading?