Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined

by Kim Barker of ProPublica
Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 6:26 AM

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.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is $22.5 Million a Big Enough Penalty for Google?

by Megha Rajagopalan of ProPublica
Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 8:41 AM

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."

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Chronicle Misses Chance to Include Pollution Risks in Coverage of Chevron Fire

by Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá of Environmental Health News
Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

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.

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Paul Ryan Reading Guide: The Best Reporting on the VP Candidate

by ProPublica
Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Want help going beyond the horse race? ProPublica is gathering the best stories out there on Congressman Paul Ryan, his positions, and his background.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Oakland's Pandora Asks Listeners to Share Their Emails with Romney

by Lois Beckett of ProPublica
Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 6:21 AM

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.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Content on

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

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.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Criticism of Rebecca Kaplan Is Misguided

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 7:07 AM

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.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guardian-Examiner Merger Creates a Brave, New, Apparently Happier World

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 4:37 PM

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.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Social Media Privacy Bill Would Allow You to Unfriend Your Boss

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 4:43 PM

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.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

State Redevelopment Letter Makes No Mention of Oakland’s Kaiser Center or Coliseum City

by Robert Gammon
Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM

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.


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