- I am very late to this link, but if you haven’t seen this comic explaining why Obama won a Nobel Prize, you should!
- I’m also late to tell the story of the first (and only) rain the San Francisco area has had this season: basically, it was a piddling mid-size shower, and yet it shut down major roads and cut power to thousands of homes
- In other San Francisco news, the foggy city’s mayor dropped his bid to run for California governor next year. Gavin Newsom has made plenty of people unhappy already (city residents complain about things like crime and homelessness, for instance) — but even after losing his Mr Sheen status, he still stood out amongst a fairly lacklustre field. There seems depressingly little hope for a leader who can drive home the changes California needs to, y’know, function properly.
- Speaking of the governor — the current one, that is — there’s been plenty of chatter online about the hilarious letter he wrote to exercise his veto on a recent bill.
- And speaking of San Francisco, allow me to put small worries like an ill-planned triathlon in Perth into context. Until yesterday, the main bridge into the city was closed for almost a week — dumping n00b riders on an already-busy subway system, and throwing egg on the face of the state agency responsible for its (still-delayed) reconstruction. Nobody’s happy that it took so long to fix a crack that was already supposed to be fixed, at least until it got windy …
- And finally, I’m saddened that it took an (admittedly spectacular!) fire to draw attention to the great big oil spill off the West Australian coast. It’s clearly screwed up the ocean environment (hopefully temporarily, if the oil is cleaned up), so I assume there’ll be consequences for the company involved? So far all they’ve had is part of the bill and some bad PR, and I don’t see strong signs there’s anything more to come.
Then I went to catch the bus back to my train station. At first I was entertained by staring out the window and listening in on the two Aussie tourists sitting opposite me who couldn’t quite figure out how to convert time zones. But then we stopped in North Beach, they got off, and a hipster girl came on and took their spot.
And then she motioned to her dog, which jumped up on the seat next to me.
A few anecdotes before the more serious political post to follow:
- The Valentine’s Day pillow fight was fun!
- My favourite quote from last night’s FAILparty (at a surprisingly cosy bar hidden behind SF’s Federal Building): “I love how the Internet has made ‘fail’ a noun, but I’m sad for ‘ure’. I feel like we should throw a ‘ure’ party, to mourn its loss.”
- Tonight’s Facebook developer event was cool for explaining how the news feed will become first-person and more about sharing, but also because Mark Zuckerburg dropped by to say hi to everyone …!
- And okay, I couldn’t resist some politics. I suppose it was necessary for the US to pass an enormous bailout bill, right after Australia’s parliament enacted our own mini-version, but even though both went through with amazing speed I’m surprised at how much party bickering there still was (in both cases). In WA, for instance, observe how the Premier supported the plan at first, only to fall in with his party and question it two days later!
- Let’s start with the American car industry bailout, since I neglected to comment on the give-the-plebs-some-cash stimulus packages that happened in both the US (where a second is coming!) and Australia. I was not a fan of the $13.4 billion move, and public opinion was clearly against it, although that was mixed with perceptions that spread blame for the industry’s woes far and wide. And so Ford, for example, felt it necessary to go to the lengths of a flashy PR campaign to tell people “no, honestly, we’re not all bad, we deserve the money”!
- I find it hilarious, and also more than a bit terrifying, that the state government of California is so heavily screwed by its inability to get a budget together that the governor is talking about reducing the school year, and the state’s biggest paper is suggesting a Commonwealth-style rule to force an election after blocking supply. (Ha!)
- The big news story of the week in the Bay Area is that a seemingly innocent dude (who, by the way, was black) got shot by railway police after New Years celebrations, which has been enough to stoke a few protests (particularly among San Franciscans who see themselves as above such things) and earn blanket coverage on commercial TV.
- The new president’s inauguration hasn’t even happened yet (though on that note, I’ll be there and will post photos on this blog!), but on Facebook I already see folks gearing up for the next round of elections! Thus both San Francisco’s mayor and a Valley billionaire and sitting member are already gaining support for upcoming runs on the California governor’s office. And Facebook’s ad system is even deigning to show me ads for specialised software for managing election campaigns!