A message from the Governator. Earlier this month Californian State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano caused a bit of a political stir when Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unexpectedly showed up at a Democratic Party dinner in San Francisco. The Congressman was peeved at what he saw as a “cheap publicity stunt” by the man responsible for cuts in social services, enforced stand downs of state workers and failure to act on some gay-rights issues. “Kiss my gay ass” he shouted as he called the Governor a liar.

It was not the most decorous of behaviour but this week the Terminator has had revenge of a sort. Assemblyman Ammiano sponsored Bill number AB1176 — an unexciting piece of legislation designed to help San Francisco’s port with finance issues and the Governor vetoed it.

As is the custom with such things he wrote a letter explaining his rejection lamenting “the fact that major issues are overlooked while many unnecessary bills come to me for consideration,” and concluding, “I believe it is unnecessary to sign this measure at this time.”

There’s nothing very remarkable about that except that a vertical reading of the far-left-hand letters in each of the missive’s eight lines offers a more blunt explanation: “I fuck you.”

Simply a weird coincidence said the Governor’s press secretary Aaron McLear to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Politicians behaving badly. In politics there are some things best left unsaid because, leaving aside questions of morality, the words uttered do more harm to the speaker than the subject of them. Yesterday’s attack by Liberal MPs in the South Australian Parliament comes into that category.

Raising the issue of the assaulting of Premier Mike Rann by a man upset by contact between the Premier and his now estranged wife will surely be seen by the voting public as an irrelevant smear by a party well behind in the opinion polls. There is not a vote to be won from the issue but the very desperation implicit in the tactic is capable of losing support.

It was a piece of campaigning stupidity.

Expect a quarter of a per cent rise. The Crikey Election Rate Indicator is point strongly towards a quarter of a percent increase in official interest rates when the Reserve Bank Board meets on Melbourne Cup Day. Since the publication of the September quarter inflation figures the probability assessed for a half a point rise or no change at all have both dropped.

Stand by for a record. There is some growing evidence that the weak El Niño in the Pacific Ocean appears to be strengthening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US Department of Commerce in its 26 October reports says:

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) were at least 1.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

If that happens it will be wonderful to observe how the climate sceptics react to not being able to say anymore that the world is cooling.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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