Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ominous warning... mudslides likely in LA

Today the threat of mudslides is deadly serious. With at least another two days of torrential rain, including tornados, the fire ravaged areas around LA are saturated and the authorities are evacuating hundreds of home. There is an extremely high chance of huge
mudslides. If they happen, they could demolish homes in a heartbeat.  Officials fear another disaster like the one in the town of La Conchita, California on January 10, 2005. The mudslide took 10 lives and destroyed 15
houses.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

LA's tornado warning

Much to the delight of local TV, LA is on storm watch this week. Today we had a tornado warning, but it didn't materialize. It was, according to the LA Times, just "tornado-like." It is very wet though - 3 big storms are passing through CA this week - we've had two and apparently the worst is still to come. But apart from waterspouts, a few flooded streets and lots of mud, it's not a major problem. less cyncially, the soil is saturated and last year's fire damaged area, are ripe for mud slides. Thousands of people preparing to evacuate...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gay marriage trial

The federal trial over California's ban on gay marriage will delve deep into some of the fundamental issues that promote discrimination, bigotry and misunderstanding. What it means to be treated equally... what exactly is 'marriage? Are children affected when their parents are gay? Can gay people 'grow out of it.' Unfortunately, for the time being, the proceedings will not be seen on TV - although that could change on Wednesday. The trial could last up to 4 weeks - but it seems inevitable that the case will end up in the US Supreme Court, where a landmark ruling could and should be made.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tough times ahead

Another tough day for California, and hardly the final budget Arnold
Schwarzenegger would have chosen to present to the State. The governor
who was elected on the promise that he would fix the state's economy,
has proposed another round of deep spending cuts. In an austere budget
plan, Schwarznegger says spending will be cut on health and human
services, welfare, transport and environmental programmes. It takes
California back to its spending levels of six years ago.  In the past
12 months the state, which has a $20b deficit, has seen a big drop in
income from tax revenue. Unemployment stands at 12.3 per cent - the
third highest in the United States.  the governor said California was
slowly beginning to emerge from the worst economic downturn in decades
but that it would be three to four years before tax revenues
recovered. He said, "tough times still lie ahead." He acknowledged the
budget would be painful - but he said California was resilient.

Michael Jackson's doctor

Prepare to hear a lot more about the death of Michael Jackson in the next few months - actually, years. A flurry of reports today suggested that prosecutors in LA are planning to charge the singer's doctor with involuntary manslaughter. The District Attorney office here told me that was not true, because they had not been presented with the case yet. Of course, it could be true (eventually) and the local media has pounced on the story - and the prospect of another high profile trial in LA. The saga continues...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Avatar smashes $1bn box office speed record

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from California. Everyone seems to be savoring the prospect of a new decade and a new start. I echo that, although the noughties weren't that bad. Leaving aside the obvious dark times - 911, the global meltdown, I have fond memories of my first full decade in the US. But it is time to look forward and there is so much to be optimistic about. I love new beginnings, chapters, calendars, timetables, projects, assignments, workouts, goals, dreams. It's difficult to know where to start. Best to just get on with it...