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Morning Wrap: 8/24/11

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BART defends station closures, state auditor probes Hercules, MSNBC gives Al Sharpton a talk show, more tuition woes ahead, plus, yes it’s true, the head of the state Public Utilities Commission emcees a dinner for a lobbyist, and more inside.

Top of the morning’s news
  • The cost of insuring Bank of America against default over the next five years hit a record Tuesday, indicating more nervousness about the mega-bank’s survival prospects than at any time since the 2008 financial crises. SF Business Times
  • That earthquake that jarred much of the Bay Area at 11:36 last night measured 3.6 on the Richter scale and was centered 4 miles northeast of San Leandro. Chronicle 
  • MSNBC announced it was handing its 6 p.m. weekday slot to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who will host a show called “PoliticsNation” starting Aug. 29. Poynter
  • Strange but true: Actress Lindsay Lohan is suing rapper Pitbull, saying he damaged her reputation by mentioning her arrest record in his hit, “Give Me Everything.” California First Amendment Coalition

  • Actor Sean Penn stumped in Petaluma on behalf of West Marin author and activist Norman Solomon’s bid for the congressional seat being vacated next year by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma). Press Democrat
  • The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club last night endorsed Supervisor John Avalos in the San Francisco mayor’s race.
  • Michael Peevey, the head of the California Public Utilities Commission, who recently went on a Swedish energy junket with utility executives, followed that up by serving as emcee at a dinner for a retiring Southern California Edison lobbyist. Chronicle
Other news
  • A Napa State Hospital patient was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for murdering psychiatric technician Donna Gross of Concord at the hospital last October. Bay City News Service
  • BART officials defended the policy of shutting down stations during protests as the best way to keep the system running and patrons safe. Chronicle 
  • A sentencing date of Dec. 8 was set for a former Fry’s Electronics executive indicted for trying to shake down the chain’s vendors to support a lavish lifestyle. Mercury News
  • Although cigarette smoking has fallen sharply among Californians, new research shows that hookah use is on the rise, especially among young adults. California Watch
  • A Vallejo preservation group is ramping up its bid to acquire the USS Olympia, the only surviving steel warship of its era, and place the historic vessel along the Mare Island waterfront. Vallejo Times-Herald
  • Hercules is the target of an audit by the State Controller, the third California city to be audited since the Bell financial scandal last year. Contra Costa Times
  • Facebook plans to acquire several companies by the end of the year. Mercury News
  • Educators warn of still higher tuition and fewer classes at California’s public colleges and universities as they brace for the possibility of more budget cuts. AP
  • The Mercury News’ Mark Purdy says the NFL must do more to prevent violent outbreaks by fans such as the one that marred Saturday’s 49ers-Raiders game at Candlestick Park.
  • A Tiburon woman accused of running a $3 million Ponzi scheme with her husband was sentenced to a year in jail and eight years probation. Marin IJ

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