Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Must Read: Which NorCal Beaches to Avoid; There Hasn’t Been an Oil Shortage

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 26, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Most Northern California beaches got good grades for cleanliness, but there are a few beaches you should avoid because of pollution, including Baker Beach in San Francisco, the Chron reports, citing a new analysis by environmental group Heal the Bay. Baker Beach got an “F” in the report because of high levels of dangerous bacteria there. Other local beaches receiving poor grades include Keller Beach in Point Richmond.

Theres no oil shortage.
  • There's no oil shortage.
2. Even though gasoline prices spiked this year, there hasn’t been an oil shortage, McClatchy reports, citing WikiLeaks cables. Indeed, demand for gasoline plummeted, as supplies remained robust. So why did prices spike? According to Saudi Arabian officials, it’s because unregulated Wall Street oil speculators have been driving up prices and the Obama administration has done little to stop it. In other words, it appears that the call to open more US coastline for oil drilling is wrongheaded. Instead, we need to clamp down on greedy speculators.

3. Speaking of greed, Chevron has been posting eye-popping profits, and yesterday demonstrators from around the world descended on the company’s San Ramon headquarters for its annual shareholders meeting to protest its oil drilling practices,

4. It turns out that Oakland false prophet/financial genius Harold Camping is a dangerous nutjob, too. The CoCo Times reports that one of Camping’s avid followers drowned over the weekend in Antioch when the man became convinced that God would save him in the Rapture and help him swim across a lake, even though he can’t swim.

5. UC Berkeley law school professor Goodwin Liu withdrew his nomination for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. Last week US Senate Republicans filibustered his nomination and refused to give it an up-or-down vote because they claimed he was too liberal.

6. A bill by Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner that would force to finally begin collecting sales tax from its customers is being backed by major retailers throughout the state, including Walmart and Target, the Ventura County Star reports.

7. Bay Area supermarket chain Andronicos is in financial trouble and is having a tough time paying its bills, the Chron reports.

8. And California State University foundations have abandoned their opposition to a bill sponsored by newspapers that would force them to reveal how they spend their money, the Chron reports. CSU nonprofit foundations, which raise billions of dollars, had been exempted from state open records laws. Their secrecy became controversial last year when CSU Stanislaus foundation refused to reveal how much it paid Sarah Palin to be the keynote speaker at a campus event. The new bill, however, still allows the foundations to keep their donors identities under wraps.

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