Better than building a tech park?

What a surprise. Here all these years I've been hanging out with people who think that closer ties between government and corporation in pursuit of high tech competitive advantage was the key to urban and region prosperity. It turns out that the best strategy may be that of encouraging gays to move into town. Shocked, shocked, I say!

From The Raw Story:

Study: 'Gay-friendly' cities enjoy more economic prosperity
David Edwards and Josh Catone
Published: Saturday June 23, 2007

Richard Florida, a professor from George Mason University and author of the book The Rise of the Creative Class argued that the more "gay-friendly" a city is, the more economically prosperous it will be.

In his March 2007 paper "There Goes the Neighborhood," Florida uses something he calls the "Bohemian-Gay Index" to demonstrate that "artistic, bohemian, and gay populations" have a "substantial effects on housing values across all permutations of the model and across all region sizes." He also found that more open and "gay-friendly" areas generally support higher income levels. . . . .

This morning on CNN's In the Money, Florida argued that educated kids are generally moving to the most "gay-friendly" cities after graduating from college because those cities tend to have the best job markets.

After realizing that the top 5 "gay-friendly" cities in the US -- San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Portland (Oregon), and Tampa -- are also prosperous centers of technological innovation, Florida decided to do a more thorough study. The results, he said, held up for other cities as well.

"Places that were open to gay and lesbian people were also the kind of places that could attract not only smart young people, but also Indian and Chinese immigrants who come here and start a lot of high tech companies," he said. "They were attracting people across the board, building up a talent base, and then innovating and starting these new enterprises."

The text of the paper in PDF is here.

Among peaceful nations: We're the number one! ...err, uh, make that number 96 !!!

On several ranking of nation states previously quoted on this blog -- environmental quality, strength of public education, health of democracy, etc. -- the good old U.S.A. has been significantly down in the ratings recently. Hence, I looked eagerly at a new study, "The Global Peace Index" prepared by the Vision of Humanity organization, a joint project of the Economist magazine and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, Australia. The study polled "an international panel of peace experts from Peace Institutes and Think Tanks" and rated the world's nations on several categories: measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict; measures of societal safety and security; measures of militarisation, etc.

The United States came in at number 96, just behind Yemen but a notch better than Iran. Will this study get much attention here? Probably not. Americans know that "We're Number One" in every way, including in our role the world's best hope for enduring peace.

More "Support the Troops"

It was the best of armies. It was the worst of armies. Two news stories paint a picture of the way the nation honors the defense of freedom on Memorial Day.

From The Daily Freeman (appropriately named)

Appeals court bars Cheney foes from West Point
Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS - The mere presence of Vice President Dick Cheney does not turn West Point into a public forum and is not an "open invitation" to protesters, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

Cheney is scheduled to deliver the commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy today, and about 1,000 people had hoped to march onto the campus for an anti-war demonstration. ....

The protesters' attorney, Stephen Bergstein, said the military gets too much respect.

"No other institution in our society enjoys the deference that the military establishment enjoys," he said. "There are things you can't do in our society, and protesting at a military institution is one of them. It's a shame because they invite Cheney and he can say whatever he wants."

Besides the constitutional issue, the court agreed with the Army that it had legitimate security concerns.
* * * * *

[In another story, some "legitimate security concerns" show up prominently.]

CNN: Young officers leaving service at 'alarming' rate

CNN reported on Friday about the "alarming number" of mid-level army officers leaving the military as soon as they complete their initial commitment, many of them citing family reasons and multiple deployments. The army has been forced to offer new incentives for re-enrolling, including bonuses and extra training.

The percentage of career officers deciding not to stay in the military is the highest it has been since the Vietnam War and includes many West Point graduates, "creating a brain drain in the top ranks." A general interviewed by CNN expressed concern that "we're losing the next generation of future combat leaders for the army."

* * * * * *
Perhaps what our intelligent career officers have figured out is that the current and future wars of Bush and Cheney have had a negative effect upon the defense of freedom in "Homeland" (formerly known as the U.S.A.). In years to come perhaps Memorial Day will become a time to remember the wisdom of avoiding the kinds of unjust, futile slaughter that cynical old "leaders" often impose on American youth. In this mode, Memorial Day could start by asking: What kind of war is it that will not permit photographing coffins of our fallen soldiers?