So the Bay Area is in it up to their waists for the next few months-- a tanker truck tipped over early Sunday morning, caught on fire and melted the two overpasses under which it rested. Which would be bad enough on its own, without even considering that a) one of those overpasses takes people from the Bay Bridge to Oakland and b) the other one connects the area around Berkeley (and everything north of there) to Oakland. Good times for the East Bay! By some miracle of God, no one was killed.
The story of it is here; the wording of it has changed a bit, but any full AP version of it should have a paragraph referring to the fact that Gov. Schwarzenegger plans on declaring an emergency and asking for federal funds.
Now, if only someone had studied the determinants of who gets federal emergency money...
The short of it: If you matter in the presidental election-- i.e. you're a battleground state-- then you're a lot more likely to get a sympathetic nod from Uncle Sam.
So how does California fit in? Well, it wasn't a battleground state, and on top of that, they didn't vote for Bush.
Professor Sobel puts the odds at "slim" that they get some federal money for this one. I think that's a bit generous.