What company are you hosting with?
Other folders in var/ have same permissions? what about inside var/session and var/cache?
I host with Pair Networks http://www.pair.com
I’m wondering if this is related to the other problem of not being able to proceed with the install through HTTPS, but I can just fine with HTTP.
Here’s what I did.
I downloaded and unpacked magento-0.6.13700.tar.gz. I was logged in through SSH and used wget to grab the file. Once it was unpacked I changed the permissions of the few files and directories according to the installation instructions.
[edit: removed domain]
Then I tried to go to https://secure.example.com/magento to do the install. If you go to that page, you’ll see what I mean. If I move the magento directory to my non-https site then it works just fine.
I have completely removed magento and unpacked it again, but have not set the permissions on any directories, but you can at least see what I was talking about. The calls to getBaseUrl() get processed, but the calls to getJsUrl() and getSkinUrl() do not.
If I move magento to my non-http webroot then everything appears to work fine, though I have not completed an install yet to see if there are other problems down the road.