links for 2011-02-21

  • "There's no doubt that government budgets are in trouble. The big lie is that the reason is excessive spending.
    Public budgets are in trouble because revenues plummeted over the last two years of the Great Recession.
    They're also in trouble because of tax giveaways to the rich."
  • "Rather than following the script and resenting public employees as a privileged "other," the citizens of Madison increasingly view teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters, and other public workers as their violated neighbors."

    "At long last, resentment against the economic crisis is beginning to find its natural home, where it always belonged — against financial elites, their privileges and Republican allies. It is dawning on ordinary voters that something is wrong when hedge fund billionaires and investment bankers are making more than ever, while public workers (average Wisconsin pay: $48,000) are being made the scapegoats.
    Why did this take so long?"

  • "More than 15 years ago Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov tried to settle certain geographical problems in Tolkien's fantasy world. One thing led to another, and he tackled a bigger project – what if we assumed that it's no less real than our world? His conclusion was that in such a case, the story of the Ring of Power is most likely a much-altered heroic retelling of a major war – but what was that war really about?"