Wednesday, September 28, 2005

When playing with trolls be sure to wear your synthetic prophylactic!

I have been over to the dark side and was jousting with the enemies of light.
Well actually I was just commenting on the above blog. I had thought that a good discussion of India, US and Iran would be elightening while having some good clean fun.

From time to time, I would go to and enjoyed making fun of the liberals there. Often I would continue a discussion until the other side did not respond.
I normally do not use derogatory labels or put down other's opinions but after the long thread at Thom Hartmans blog I have to say that there is no redeeming value to their discussions. I know that it is hard to change peoples minds, but since we could both explore new ideas in a community setting we might be able to understand each other and each side of an issue better.

Here is how the original coversation started out.
"Prime Minister Singh will need extraordinary political sagacity and exemplary patience to convince Mr Bush that New Delhi is a mature democracy and a responsible nuclear power which can have cordial relations with both Washington and Tehran."
My Response:
I am sorry Kate, but often I don't see your point. What do you want us to think about? What is the discussion going to center around? Please frame it as a question to ask this community. Or, what is your goal?
If you had been reading the news you would see that Bush is convinced that India is "mature democracy and a responsible nuclear power". Look here:Bush Waives Nuclear-Related Sanctions on India and The U.S. and India: Sharing Nuclear Technology and lastly Bush embraces India's nuclear power program.
Looking at our history of mistakes with supporting non-democratic states, I can see that it would good for the US to influence them not to do the same. Democratic Peace!
While I see that the US has no option officially to support such deals, they do realize the need for India to have stable supplies of energy to grow and prosper as the second largest population of Muslims in the world.

I was probably a little hard on Katie, but was hoping that she would explain in detail what she felt about this information. The world is full of information but finding meaning to it is the hardest. Kate often did not explain what she felt but just posed questions or presented information without a context of the meaning.

I don't want go into every post and explain the process from somewhat rational debate (IMO) until it digressed into meaningless dribble. It came to the level of 1st graders fighting over whose dad is stronger or smarter or... I am going to respond to sunrise part two's last comment of length. He was the only one to respond to my comments except for another troll that tried to get into a discussion of "What is the discussion going to center around?"
I can understand going around a center, but what does a center go around?

A related question: is it possible to find an actual point in a center or does the search go on infinitely into smaller and smaller? I've always wondered about that one, wondered if you could help.

And now let me decipher the dog shit from sunny?
sunnyYes, so is "Djibouti", but its not one of the 46 that Mr "Democratic Peace" guy uses? [else where is the count of 15 F v NF?]
My response from earlier comments of sunny:
So I guess I will waste my time chasing every imaginary conflict that sunrise has thought up in his life. Again in this one for was a conflict from 91-94 with the FRUD causing a rebellion with about 1000 deaths. Djibouti also received independence in 1977.
And sunny response:
Yes "Djibouti" is on the list along with "Yugoslavia", and many many others, as far as the whole list goes, but its not one of the 46 in question, is it?

So to answer this this was a civil war defined as a rebellion and is not one of the 46 that Democratic Peace is referring to. Unfortunately I never saw the list of 46 wars that Dr. Rummel counts for his discussion but sunny kept referring Major Episodes of Political Violence
as the list of 46. Idiot did not bother to look at the definition of war and there is 311 incidents listed with only 46 international violence or wars not including internal wars (ie civil wars). Even though I explained the theory, he is too stupid to follow simple rules of a theory. This is when I knew that any more discussion with him is futile.
I remember now, Ron, you're the guy who rejected the notion that Americas freedom bombs had killed many Iraqis, or something. All those cluster bombs and Napalm killings were accidents or necessary for freedom etc. Bet you're a believer in 'Progressive Genocide' too. Give War a chance, eh Ron.
My response:
Again you have not explained what you mean. Since you are putting words in my mouth then what freedom bombs are you referring to (Clinton, Bush)? How many cluster bombs do you think have been used compared to suicide car bombs? Since you are the intellect here, why not explain what is the "Progressive Genocide" that you talk about?
Why not give freedom a chance for citizens around the world? Of course I am looking forward to eating your freedom fries in Zimbabwe.

Well, i didnt think i would have to explain, and besides, you never asked me to before.

I refered to "freedom bombs" in response to this from you.

The posit I was thinking of lately was that liberals deal in fuzzy numbers and don't like thinking of exact numbers. I do not disagree with the basic concept of freedom bombs but do not want to say they killed many (how many is many?). We can fight over the life of one person but allow millions around the world to die needlessly.
Death is not pretty and dying of anything is a trajedy but saying one death is worse because it was our bombs is ridiculous. I guess sunny would like a terrorist bomb to die by (less painful). I just asked for sunny to explain progressive genocide, but just responds with "you never asked be to before". He also never used it before (or myself) when I asked him about it. So I should ask him to explain something he never brought up. Ha,Ha,Ha.
I don't see what clinton or bush has to do with it, maybe you can explain?
Yes, there was three incidents of war with Iraq and wanted to know what freedom bombs he wanted me to defend. sunny being a good liberal, I could bring up and defend one incident but he could respond with outcomes of other incidents and thus mixing oranges and apples.
I'm sure more cluster bombs were used than car bombs, both in Yugoslavia and Iraq, and i know the cluster bombs were used first. But you brought it up.
Now mixing up incidents to confuse the issues. No car bombs in Yugoslavia. Much more car bombs aimed at civilian targets than cluster bombs. Again sunny is so obsessed with cluster bombs. A bomb that kills you, kills you and does not matter what it is composed of does it??? But again sunny wants a nice soft terrorist bomb with nails and glass.
Why not give freedom a chance before democracy and dropping freedom bombs. Take Yugoslavia as an example, peaceful for nearly fifty years under Tito, great place to go on holiday and what not, and when he dies the US and UK give support to every area wanting to secede in the form of dropping freedom bombs. Not to mention the support of the likes of "terrorists" groups such as Al Qeada, on the ground! ALL in the name of peace and deomcracy of course.
Peaceful for 50 years as long as we forget the ethnic cleansing. Right? And the The Bleiburg massacre of 250,000 deaths. And the political repression of all freedoms of his country with not free status until the US and NATO changed the country to free. I now realize that sunny likes communist regimes for his defense of Tito and Chavez.
My statement:
Your discussion of McDonalds number of franchises has no bearing unless we have access to the exact list of countries that McDonalds counts. As far as Kasmir not having a McDonalds, the theory holds that a country no matter where they place their McDonalds is then considered a McCountry and when any McCountry fights another McCountry this then violates the theory of McDonald's Peace Formula. Again changing the theory to fit the facts. No?
sunny's response:
It does have bearing if you consider that the number of democracies in the world according to Freedom House is about the same as the number of McDonalds countries around the world. Yet Mr "Deomcratic Peace" guy uses less than 90 democracies for his formula. I wonder what the results for the McDonalds Peace theory would be if one were to be so selective with McDonalds. It also has bearing if you use the list of democracies at Freedom House that includes all 120 or so democracies and not just a selected 87 or so. So, i ask again, do you have the list of "electoral democracies" listed by Freedom House?
So now after dispelling the McDonalds Peace Formula at least 3 times with 3 exceptions (Yugoslavia, India&Pakistan, US and Panama) he now goes back to this theory again. Sunny is an idiot. Freedom House does not rate as to democratic or not democratic, it rates as Free, Partial Free and Not Free. Dr. Rummel used the less than 90 because that is the number of free countries world wide. Stupid. I used a list of 92 McDonalds Franchises. Thusly close to the 88 free countries. If sunny wants to use 120 McDonalds countries this will just make it more likely that more wars result between McD and McD. If sunny wonders what the results will be then why does he not find out? Why answer when he fails to answer his own inquiry or my questions? He has failed to give any list that he uses, even when he refers to the wrong list.
more puke from sunny:
So, no, i'm not changing the theory to fit the facts, i'm pointing out the fact that the two are unfairly compared. To be fair [consistent] would be to have that list of "electoral deomcracies" from Freedom House, or use a selected list for McDonalds just as Mr "Deomcratic Peace" guy has with democracies. [say, by the number of freedom fries per capita or something]
We are basing the theory on Democratic Peace by a per capita number we can define. Freedom we are defining as a public good that everyone can partake of equally. Not everyone has access to McDonalds and have to pay for this service. Again sunny changes the theory to fix the results. He wants to eliminate any country that does not have enough Freedom Fries.
sunny dog poop:
That simpLy isnt true, take a look at that the list and yoU will see "war" listed. [Of which there is about a dozen between countries i believe]
The war categories at Major Episodes of Political Violence
are Ethnic War or Civil War and there is some "Adjective" War but like I said no "War". And if sunny was smart he could determine between international wars and wars inside borders. But maybe not?
As for inconsistancies, off the top of my head, the one i remember because it was the last i lookwed at, was Nicuragua, circa 1989.
Inconsistancies to what? Nicaragua was not listed and was not free on Freedom House in 89. What an troll!
More bile from sunny:
Again, off the top of my head "India v Pakistan" is listed 7 times, and that as you kow has been because of an unsresolved issue left over from Colonial times. Not least becasue the british skipped off a year earlier than expected/announced, and amongst many problems caused there is the matter of Kashmir left in some kind of limbo status. BTW did you know the Indian PM is from an area of Pakistan. Making the whole thing look like a civil war, that's what you said about Palestine/Israel wasnt it.
What an idiot, India-Pakistan is listed 7 times but only one entry has any deaths of 1000 or more! Thus these conflicts are not of the 46 except the one of violence.
Ohhhh, I forgot all violence is derived from the evil empire of Britain and thus the son of the devil is the US. So skipping out a year earler caused a war some 52 years later. Actually some of the violence is attributed to Ghandi deciding to seperate Muslims and Hindus between the two countries. Sonia Gandhi is an Italian citizen. So what idiot. If you can not figure out what a civil war is then there is no hope for you!!!
More sunny:
Simply take all conflicts unresolved, and therefore repeated, as one conflict. Looking at the example above, it would reduce the count by six.
I'm not sure what you mean by "the fact that every war of course has its roots in the faults of the US", as clearly India v Pakistan is the fault of the British. Maybe you need to change your glasses.

Soooooooo, I stand corrected. Instead of the evil US it was the only other evil empire of Great Britain.
sunny rectal view:
Ive told you, and you appear to agree, that none of us know the number of selective democracies at the time of the initial conflict, thereby making the statistics merely a hunch. Thereby further nailing the coffin shut on Mr "deomcratic peace" guys theory.
We do not need to go by hunches. We know when out breaks of violence occurs and whether the countries involved were free or not. Of course sunny believes that 911 was a result of the crusades of the middle ages and thus we deserved the vengence of islamic extremist.
more sunny puke:

No one but you claimed the ganging up was random. Forget the ganging up part then, its stil 1 in 25.
As for me being able to produce the numbers, i cant. No one can, hence the theory put forward by Mr "deomcratic peace" guy is utter nonsense. And that's besides the fact that he selects one type of democracy for his theory.

Let me get this right. Ganging up is not random but the violence of Not Free countries is random. Sunny can not produce the numbers since he is stupid and unwilling to look at any other theories that may change how he sees the world. We have produced the numbers. Now I admit that I am learning and trying every day but others such as Dr. Rummel have examined these theories with numbers much more than me or sunny. Again it is not a type of democracy it is how free are the citizens of a nation is. Why do I communicate with such a troll?
sunny parting asshole:

Well isnt that a shame, falling flat on your face with the rose coloured glasses joke as you did.

I look forward to your reply about Chavez and "operation balboa".

All the best.

sunny again tries to divert attention to some mythical event in Victor Chavez's mind. But of course being a communist means you have to create external or internal enemies. I hope that this does not result in all the other communist regimes.

Well it has been fun and I learned a lot. In the end though it left a bad taste in my mouth, and did not evolve into a meaningful conversation that leads to better understanding. I am not sure where my community is but I am still looking for a good site that is willing to look at issues from many points of view with respect for all participants.

Friday, September 16, 2005

McDonald's Peace Formula,What?

This is response to "sunrise part two" at above link.
This may give credence to somebody that I take little stock in their opinion, but he does show a link to the theory of McDonald's Peace Formula entitled as "Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another.
...or Do They?" by Matthew White. Since Dr. Rummel felt it was important to respond to such issues brought up in Still, No Wars Between Democracies, I too will look at these issues.

The first point I would like to make is that we need to set a definition of Democracy. My definition of "Liberal Democracy" is derived from Freedom House. The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 most free and 7 least free. A country has a rating for Political Rights and Civil Liberties for each and averaged to determine it's standing as far as Free (1-2.5) Partial Free (3.0-5.0) and Not Free (5.0-7.0). While Mr. White tries to muddy the water in understanding about democracies, he fails to create a viable definition. And just as sunrise has pointed out that saying something is something (a democracy) does not make it so.

Let us go through some of his points now. In "Everyone forgets the fine print", all he has to do is go back to the definition. Everytime someone says communist we do not have to have a lengthy insertion of what is a communist coutry is and whether it is a true Marxist vs. Maoist. "The old double standard:" does not even make sense to put Slobodon Milosovic next to Richard Nixon as comparison. Of course maybe sunny has some information about the "Right Wing Dealth squads of Nixon".

"Shifting the definitions to fit the theory:" has some valid points in that if a science fiction event occured then maybe we would have to change our perception. Going back to our definition of liberal democracies, Russia (5.5) is not free and Ukraine (3.5) is only partially free. Thus even if these two do wage a war it would be just what our theory states.

Now that White brings up Canada and the US let us look at Do democracies fight each other?.
To help his argument, he put forward a rigorous definition of the term:

* regular elections for the most powerful government positions
* competitive political parties
* near universal franchise
* secret balloting
* civil liberties and political rights (human rights)

Now we have a good definition let us see what else the BBC has brought forth:
"The exception that makes even established democracies take up arms against one another is fish," he says.

Disputes between Canada, the US, Britain, Norway, Iceland, Spain and Portugal have escalated into violence, sometimes involving naval gunfire, he says.

Baden thinks one of the reasons is that fishing crosses borders and national jurisdictions, and "too many fishermen chase too few fish".

"If we can't manage the diplomacy of fish, how can we manage nukes, human rights, or terrorism?"

While this does put a different perspective on Democracies vs. Democracies, let us look at some of the comments since they explain it better than I could.

Alex in England said:
When was this great Anglo-Canadian fish war exactly? How many millions died? How many refugees fled? Democracies argue and squabble, but they don't engage in mass genocide the way that theological and ideological states do.

and Hugh Fidgen, UK said:
Let the FishFinger wars begin! If this is the best that can be come up with I don't think the problem of warring democracies should lose anyone any sleep.

As stated by White "Statistically insignificant sample:", this is countered by information from Dr. Rummel in the link earlier. In 1972 (43/148) 29% of countries were liberal democracies and in 2003 (87/192) 45% were such. The number of countries in total increased by 44 and the number of democracies increased by the same number.
White then states "Of the 39 international wars between WW2 and Y2K, 6 might have been between democracies." What 6 conflicts is he talking about. Out of the 39 that he lists earlier in the piece not one stands out as a Democracy vs. a Democracy.
For the matter of "Mathematical Probability:", I will let Dr. Rummel explain this.
Now, some people don't llike subjective statistics, so lets calculate the probability. There are 46 cases of international violence, and six alternative ways that could occur (e.g., F-F, or PF-PF). Let the number 1 stand for the F-F alternative, and the other five numbers for each of the others. Throw a six-numbered die 46 times, and what is the probability that it will never come up with a 1? The probability that it will not come up a 1 in one throw is 5/6. So, the probability of no 1 in 46 throws is 5/6 to the 46th power (assuming each case of violence is independent), which is a probability of happening by chance of 8.017E-36, or about the probability of one being hit by a meteor. Obviously, there has to be something more than chance here. And what is that something? Surprise. It is two countries having democratic governments. That is, the democratic peace.

And now onto the issue of Mcdonald's Peace Formula that started this post from sunny. First even Mr. White disputes his own findings in note 5 with:
Unfortunately for world peace, the Big Mac Attack Rule finally broke down in 1999. On 24 March 1999, NATO began its air attack on Yugoslavia. Faced with angry nationalism, vandalism and boycotts, all the McDonalds in Yugoslavia shut their doors on 26 March. This means that for two full days, McDonaldland was wrenched asunder by its first intramural war ever.

So maybe some people should read first and post later. When first hearing this theory I thought the natural reaction by McDonald's is to find liberal democracies to start business under. But perusing their list of countries I saw that many non-free countries had the BigMac. Most notable are China(6.5), Lebanon (5.5), and Pakistan (5.5). It passed up Norway, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Barbados, Bahamas, CostaRica, and Iceland which are all 1. I first looked at the number from Freedom House for the entire period of 72-05. My numbers for MacDaddies is 3.03 and the non was 4.15, but this was over the entire period so I narrowed for only 2005 since I don't have all the dates for when McDonald's opened operations in each country. For just 2005, the results were 2.47 for the BigMac and 3.65 for the non. Which shows that the overall number for BigMac was free and non was partially free. This does show a difference but more than likely McDonalds would be more concerned about business climate in larger cities, property rights, social factors and large enough narkets. These factors I also do not have on hand for such a research.

Since this theory failed he also mentions the "Greens Peace Theory" of how many golf courses are there per 100,000 citizens and "160 cars per 1000 people" as the dividing line in the car theory. And of course these are for another day.

Even if you can find fault with the theory that Democracies do fight each other, you would have to compare it to the mass graves of communist regimes. The Democratic Peace posits also states Democracies: have the least foreign and domestic violence, commit the least democide, is a method of nonviolence, and have no famine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How nerdy are you?

I don't even know how to put this on my sidebar but at least in the post section it should work.
I am nerdier than 74% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Hope that was fun.
And now for something completely different...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Capping Profits/RoguePundit

This is in response to questions raised by Rogue Pundit. Let me first say that I am a strong supporter of free markets and not necessarily contrary to the ideas of laisser faire. But to be honest this is not a free market that we have. While it is not a monopoly, it could be refered to as an oligopoly. Where there are a few firms that face little possiblity of other firms coming into the market. An ustated goal of oligopolies is to get the "monopoly rent" (the amount a monopoly overcharges for having market control). Derived from economic game theory, oligopolies are very stable in pricing with little possibility of price wars in the long run. While monopolies recieve monopoly rents this does not imply that monopolies charge more than a complete free market. Economies of scale (the cost to produce one more dollar of output) will give the monopoly or in this case oligopoly greater efficiency than free markets. As in Microsoft their monopoly is derived from intellectual property rights (patents) as well as economies of scale. It is advantagious for the market to have one stable platform to build upon. Can you imagine every job you went to having a different computer opperating system and having to relearn all new codes or procedures? Thusly monopolies and to a lesser extent oligopolies can be a benefit to consumers in the short and long run. One advantage that oligopolies do have is that each firm wants to differentiate their product from other competitors. The differences can be small, but if one of the members of the oligopoly can create a new market for itself it can price a higher premium (monopoly rent).
Capping prices will never work in the long run but may be beneficial in a short run that squizes the profits out(even create negative profits for a short term duration). But adverse affects are possible in the short run if the firms are not sure what the regulations will be and how they will be implemented. In Anchorage they were going to have a permit process for cutting trees on your private land. The result was that many landowners cut down any tree that they were planning on doing latter rather than go through a permit process (increasing the cost of transaction as well as increasing uncertainty). As a matter of fact one report showed gas in Hawaii jump 30 cents.
As far as "zoning" or redlining or Geographical Pricing, these seem to be business decisions that are shortcuts to calculating the cost to do business in rural or outlying areas.While I understand the reasoning for using this cost structure, I think it is sloppy and shows poor management not to calculate the actual costs associated with individual outlets and locations.
If rural or outlying areas (outside WV) have the same fixed cost (ie regulations and requirements) without significant lower land costs (shortage of land just off I5 and zoning restrictions), then whatever marginal costs per unit of product will be higher in outlying areas. These marginal costs being employee labor to pump gas or costs added with additional stops that may not need complete truck loads. Of course I do not have enough information about the microeconomics to say for certain.
Another microeconomics issue to look at is that gas prices at the pump reflect futures prices and not what the price was paid for when delivery was made. We can look at is a replacement costs and not initial costs of items. When a business does not want to have idle cash or borrow every time the input product prices rise, then the business will charge higher for current stock to help pay for future stock prices. Most business can not do this (regulation as far as I know) and the manufacturer may cover some of this cost. But since the gasoline market is an oligopoly, prices tend to be "sticky" especially in the downward direction. The information for refinery prices are readily known so price increases happen almost immediately since no one wants to be left behind, but in the downwar direction of prices oligopolies do not want to get into a price war and thus will be reluctant to lower prices.
Thusly, this does not look to be a "price gouge". I am sure that price gouging has occured in the states hit hard by the hurricane. There seems to be some controversy about this issue but I tend to let the market determine the prices. Extra high prices tell producers and suppliers to get in gear and supply this area while the profits are good. But I see that lack of information by the victims may cause rational consumers to behave in ways that are not in their economic best interests. The refugees had no idea how long before they would be rescued and as such behaved in a short sighted and destructive ways.
So I am sorry that there is no easy ways to solve these problems. Some solutions to the market inperfections are: less regulation on who and how suppliers of gas can be implemented (local farmers that have high demands during peak production could supply the infrastructure to supply gas locally), alternative forms of energy (electric or bio-fuels), or arbitrage (people puchasing at the lower price locations and transporting to the higher price locations). While the differential of 13.5 cents seems high, the fact that the market has not found a solution in the short run may mean that this is not enough for a profitable endeavor.
But then again I could be wrong.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Blogs as Neighborhoods or Virtual Communities?

How do possible neighbors find your house?
Since I will be advertising a business on line I have looked at some of the search engines and some aspects of getting our name higher on a google search. I think in many ways you are doing just what needs to be done. You have lots of good outgoing links and an increasing number of blogs are linking to you, with a drop of one this week to 55. From the sounds of it you are spreading your name around by word of mouth and posting on other blogs.
One suggestion is to write some Meta Tags as in: (meta name="keywords" content="Pacific NW Portal, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northwest Progressive Institute, Puget Sound, Seattle, Portland, Boise, Spokane, Tacoma, Eugene, Bellevue, Redmond, Poctalleo,, Red State Rebel, Blue Oregon, Basie, Scott Jensen's Blog, From Red to White then Blue, Evergreen Politics, Pacific Views, RoguePundit, 43rd State Blues, BrightMind") into your code. In my informal survey, it looked as if more from the right were using meta tags. A couple of studies of links and left-right divide are at Crooked Timber and hp. But more importantly has a good overview of raising your rank on Google and here is more detailed explanation at Page Rank Explained. And then to check page rank at google-check page rank but ranking without a keyword or phrase does not make sense so Rocket Rank is better or try Goya-rank for Google, Yahoo and MSN. Alsoalso ranked #1 (Rocket Rank) for the phrase “progressive-conservative meeting of the political minds” in 6 out of 10 search engines with the remainder resulting in no ranking. And notable is Explode your blog traffic.
Here is an interesting survey of blog readers at Blogads.
While I hope this missive is insightful, I still see problems with trying to find a blog based on keywords or directories. Even if your rank is high based on the phrase used earlier how many will type this into a search engine? One problem I encounter on a frequent basis is that my search will not go to the permalink but to an archive or to the front page. Thusly you will get results that pick key words from multiple posts and not a single post. Directories also have a tough time getting the weblogs into a coherent taxonomy with the most distinguished one being DMOZ.

I kept getting rejected for Comment Spam. I tried it on kos and it rejected it for the meta tag example. I see now it failed here also. "One suggestion is to write some Meta Tags as in: (meta name="(b)keywords(/b)" content="Pacific NW Portal, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northwest Progressive Institute, Puget Sound, Seattle, Portland, Boise, Spokane, Tacoma, Eugene, Bellevue, Redmond, Poctalleo,, Red State Rebel, Blue Oregon, Basie, Scott Jensen's Blog, From Red to White then Blue, Evergreen Politics, Pacific Views, RoguePundit, 43rd State Blues, BrightMind"> into your code. Using() instead of <>."
Zap, thank you for your comments and yes maybe I am making too much of community into weblogs. As far as message boards I always felt it was way too random. One thought to the next never had any cohesiveness and often tended to be one sided conversations. Even now I avoid open threads at kos. One example that does come to mind in blogs helping to bring people and communities together is the family blog or the local blog.
I don’t want to give the impression of directing a person to the exact spot to go to but give a choice based on a ranking system of a persons wants and desires with as many choices as they desire. Again, thank you for your time and opening up this thread. I will have some other thoughts latter, if that is ok. Lastly your comment box seems way to small especially when using links.

I found a blog ranking site BlogStreet that also refers to groups of blogs as Neighborhoods or Visual Neighborhoods. I couldn't get it to work on my blog, but look very interesting.

Random Thoughts on Education and the Industrial Base of US

This may just be random thoughts but, "more emphasis on education at all levels, which I believe is a fundamental source of economic growth and prosperity, wouldn’t hurt" this makes me think about too much emphasis on social engineering that discourages the best and brightest from achieving success. Too many times I hear about trying to equalize outputs to make everyone feel good. I believe our best and brightest need opportunities to create a better world. The externalities from leading scientist are more important IMO than trying to get everyone into college, for example.
And I need to comment on: "After all, we don’t do as much manufacturing anymore, why should we need as many scientists and engineers?" by rakehell. I think we still need engineers and scientists as an important aspect of our economy irrespective of industrial base. The raw knowledge and information is still vital to economic growth. This is not an area that will loose importance in the growth of countries. Not like farming or manufacturing that have less and less work force in all developed countries.
Which brings up the second point on rakeshell's statement that has been widely disseminated as truth but completely false in: we don’t do as much manufacturing anymore. Hopefully this link to Council of Economic Advisers (pdf) will work or this link and choose first link. These files do not have data but the graphs which clearly show that while manufacturing employment as a percent of total labor has dropped from just under 35% in pre-1945 to now just over 10% in 2004, industrial production has increased from a low of 10 (1997=100 indexed) to around 110 and this year will be the highest ever. It did drop from 1999 until 2003.
Just like before the US economy transferred from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy, we will transfer to something else and even be better off.