Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bartolo Colón Faces 50 Game Ban for Juicing

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

All right, bad news for baseball: A's pitcher Bartolo Colón tested positive for "performance enhancing" testosterone, just one week after another huge juicing scandal involving SF Giants MVP Melky Cabrera — over the same substance, no less. Both of them now face a 50 game suspension, which means that Colón, who won the prestigious American League Cy Young Award when he played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, will sit out for the remaining 40 games of the season, plus 10 post-season games, if Oakland makes it to the playoffs. He'll receive no pay during that suspension.

Bartolo Colón
  • Bartolo Colón

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Castlewood Lockout Deemed Illegal

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM

After two years of scuffling, an administrative law judge has finally deemed the Castlewood Country Club lockout illegal. Judge Clifford Anderson of the National Labor Relations Board maintained that the tony Pleasanton club, which came to loggerheads with workers in 2010 amid a dispute over health care, no longer showed any intent of bargaining to reach an agreement.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare

by Kim Barker of ProPublica
Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Matt Brooks describes the mission of the Republican Jewish Coalition as educating the Jewish community about critical domestic and foreign policy issues. But the well-dressed crowd that gathered in May for a luncheon on the 24th floor of a New York law firm easily could have figured that the group had a different purpose: Helping Mitt Romney win the presidency.

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Widely Used Pesticide Harms Boys' Brains

by Brett Israel of Environmental Health News
Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

A widely used pesticide — banned in homes but still commonly used on farms — appears to harm boys’ developing brains more than girls’, according to a new study of children in New York City. In boys, exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb was associated with lower scores on short-term memory tests compared with girls exposed to similar amounts.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Jon Stewart on Voter ID Laws

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Voter ID laws are the real story of this year's national elections. Designed by Republicans, the news laws will keep millions of blacks, Latinos, young people, and the elderly from voting this year. As a result, the laws could ensure victory for the Romney-Ryan ticket and GOP Congressional candidates, especially in the all-important swing states. Voter ID laws are supposedly intended to eliminate voter fraud. Except there's one big problem — voter fraud is extraordinarily rare in this country. The mainstream media, however, has done a poor job so far of covering this major issue. Who better, then, to boil it all down than Jon Stewart?

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Pennsylvania Is Just the Latest Ruling Upholding Voter ID Law

by Suevon Lee of ProPublica
Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 6:25 AM

On Wednesday, in a closely watched case, a state judge in Pennsylvania declined to block the state’s controversial voter ID law from taking effect. If the ruling is upheld on appeal, registered voters in the state will be required to show acceptable photo ID during the general election in November. There’s been a lot of attention on this lawsuit, given the closeness of the election and greater focus on voter ID laws, which critics say could disenfranchise voters who are likely to lack photo ID, often the poor, elderly, and minorities. (To catch up on this issue, check out ProPublica’s guide on everything you need to know about voter ID laws.)

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why a Curfew in Oakland Is Still a Bad Idea

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 6:29 AM

Last year, the Express published two investigative reports showing that curfews not only don’t work, but implementing one in Oakland would be unnecessary. At the time, then-Police Chief Anthony Batts, along with city councilmen Ignacio De La Fuente and Larry Reid, was pushing for a youth curfew as a way to deal with Oakland's soaring crime rate. Now, current Police Chief Howard Jordan has reportedly renewed the call for a citywide curfew, and the idea is still being backed by De La Fuente and others, including Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson and Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond. But the facts about curfews haven’t changed in the past eleven months: There is still no credible evidence that youth curfews lower violent crime, and there’s still no evidence that Oakland’s teens are responsible for the city’s continued high crime rate.

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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

UNITE HERE Calls for Boycott of Airport Businesses

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Three days after our story on alleged wage violations at Oakland Airport went to press, local union UNITE HERE sent a formal letter to the airport's primary concessionaire contractor, HMSHost, and all of its subtenants, announcing a consumer boycott at the end of August. Union representatives have asked the public to boycott Burger King, Jamba Juice, See's Candies, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Subway, Otaez, Gordon Biersch, TechShowCase, Silver Dragon, and World Passage Duty Free and Travel Retail for what they say are a whole host of unfair labor practices — from circumventing the living wage ordinance, to dodging state overtime laws, to punishing workers for attempting to unionize. (While employees of concession stands owned by HMSHost all belong to a labor union, their peers at the other sub-lease concessionaires lack any such protection.) The port, state, and National Labor Relations Board are currently investigating claims filed from 18 workers, two of whom were recently fired — allegedly for lobbying their employers.

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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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