Is India an oligarchy? Late last year, when India's income tax office tapped the phone of well-connected lobbyist, Niira Radia, they were looking for evidence of tax evasion and money laundering. But what they found instead was what many consider evidence of an even bigger problem: "[T]he tapes reveal that the country that prides itself on being the world's largest democracy is really ruled by a small coterie of powerful people." Some of the leaked tapes that sparked the scandal are available online, on the website of the weekly magazine that first broke the story, as well as a few transcripts. [more inside]
Gulf Coast Dolphin Death Toll Rising. Scientists clamor to figure out why 12 times the normal rate of dolphin deaths are being observed along the Gulf States. Results from an examination of 89 dead dolphins that washed up immediately after the Gulf oil spill have not been publicly released, but scientists concluded those dolphins "died from something environmental during the last year." Despite a steady drumbeat of stories in the media claiming that the Gulf has already been mostly cleaned up thanks to "teeny little janitors," getting far less media and public traction are more recent reports finding that the Gulf's sea floor is in fact still very much oily and dead. [more inside]
Breitbart strikes again. Conservative media activist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart made news again this week, bringing to light apparent video evidence of racism among the NAACP's ranks, in the form of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who was allegedly caught on tape in a speech to the NAACP, admitting that race had influenced her decisions not to provide assistance to white farm workers. But despite the fact that Sherrod was summarily dismissed from her USDA post as a result of Breitbart's accusations, the complete, unedited footage of the speech reportedly confirms Sherrod's claims that "her comments were taken out of context... that the anecdote was part of a larger story, one in which she explains how she overcame her initial prejudice" and that in fact, the reported incidents took place before Sherrod worked for the USDA, when she worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund. The white farmers described in the story have since confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that, in fact, Sherrod saved them from bankruptcy. [Via] [more inside]
"Watch out! The Big Banks Support the Financial Reform in Congress, So It Must Be Stopped!" This public service message brought to you by... the Big Banks? Robert Reich elaborates.
Bad News for Net Neutrality: "A federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks." The ruling is being viewed as a major setback for the FCC's National Broadband Plan.