Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all Super PACs put together, new spending estimates show. These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don't have to disclose their donors to the public.
It's the largest civil penalty the Federal Trade Commission has ever imposed for violating one of its orders. But after the agency announced that Google will pay $22.5 million for overriding privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser, skeptics quickly criticized the penalty as little more than symbolic for a company that had $2.8 billion in earnings last quarter. The Los Angeles Times called the settlement "a drop in the bucket." CNN said it amounted to "financial wrist-slap." Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog called it "woefully insufficient," and in a statement of dissent, the FTC's Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch said it is "a de minimis amount of Google's profit or revenues."
In the wake of this week's Chevron refinery fire, the San Francisco Chronicle missed an opportunity to present information about the health effects of particulate matter and a long history of research linking it to hospitalizations for cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.
Want help going beyond the horse race? ProPublica is gathering the best stories out there on Congressman Paul Ryan, his positions, and his background.
North Carolina resident Crystal Harris was listening to Garth Brooks' "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" when an ad appeared on her iPhone screen, followed by a pop-up message. "To help Mitt Romney become the next president, Romney for President, Inc would like to use your email address — tap OK to let Pandora share this info," the message read.
Many of you may have already noticed new content that has begun to appear on our blogs. In addition to our staff-produced blogs, we’re now featuring content from four additional sources: KALW radio news; ProPublica; Environmental Health News; and The Daily Climate. This new content will greatly enhance our daily news offerings, while providing readers with smart, in-depth reporting on issues that go beyond the East Bay and Northern California.
Over the past few weeks, Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan has come under fire for publicly objecting to the federal crackdown on medical cannabis and the attempt by US Attorney Melinda Haag to close Harborside Health Center. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson and Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond both argued that Kaplan’s objection to the crackdown was wrongheaded and that she should have focused instead on the spike in violent crime in Oakland. But the criticisms of Kaplan are not only misguided, they’re ridiculous.
There was a time when the division between mainstream dailies and alt weekly papers seemed as sacrosanct as the separation of church and state. So thought Tim Redmond, editor and publisher of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which bucked that old notion in May when it merged with The San Francisco Examiner. Now that the two papers are comfortably sharing office space — but not editorial content — in San Francisco's financial district, Redmond admits the transition went even more smoothly than he'd anticipated.
And more importantly, it would prohibit your boss — or your university, or any public agency — from requesting your username and password on any social media network. Today the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 1349, a bill by San Francisco Senator Leland Yee that would forbid California universities from demanding access to students' accounts. A similar bill by San Jose Assemblywoman Norma Campos, which Yee co-authored, will go before the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee tomorrow. Both legislators say they've seen a rash of privacy invasions lately, as schools and businesses attempt to control the networking habits of their students and employees. Whether the law will be effective at curbing ill-considered posts, or aggregators of such posts, remains to be seen. But privacy advocates say it's a step in the right direction.
Oakland’s receipt of a warning letter from state Controller John Chiang on the use of redevelopment funds last year has been making headlines over the past week. Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross have repeatedly made a big deal out of the letter, contending that Chiang is demanding that Oakland pay the state more than $30 million for redevelopment expenditures involving the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and the proposed Coliseum City project. However, the letter from Chiang, obtained by the Express, makes no mention of either the Kaiser or Coliseum City, nor does it demand that Oakland pay the state any money. Instead, Chiang’s missive is merely a form letter that he sent to cities and counties throughout California. In fact, the letter is not even specifically addressed to Oakland.