Sal Faillace 2012

My indoctrination occurred before the pinkos took over public education.

I want my country back.

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Capitalists Cross Final Frontier

The Enterprise, from Star Trek, was a government vessel. In the 1960s it would have been fantasy to think a privately-owned company could boldly go where no man had gone before.

Fifty years later, it isn’t a fantasy. I’m acquainted with Virgin Galactic. But that’s more an vertically-oriented amusement park ride than a serious industry. Enter SpaceX:

SpaceX was founded in June 2002 by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk who had invested US$100 million of his own money by March 2006. On August 4, 2008, SpaceX accepted a further US$20 million investment from the Founders Fund.

SpaceX has nearly doubled in size every year since it was founded in 2002. It grew from 160 employees in November 2005 to more than 500 by July 2008, to over 1100 in 2010.

Drill, Barry, Drill!

Motor fuel prices—gasoline, to the ordinary folk—have risen to a headline-making level. Many people who mock those with doubts about the current President’s birth status are willing believers in some shadowy conspiracy by oil speculators. Scapegoating speculators is an indication of ignorance.

The short version is that speculation may be able to rise prices for a short time. But it cannot keep prices up. That’s because the method speculators use is futures contracts, which are paper agreements to deliver some physical commodity on a given date at a given price.

Speculators can’t take physical delivery. Even if they have the money, there’s nowhere to put the oil. Our storage tanks are full. Which is a product of past speculation; people bought oil and held it thinking the price would rise. It did, and that led to more oil being delivered than was consumed.

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Barry’s Still Not Black

The current U.S. President has released his long-form birth certificate. In one stroke he has made fools of all the leftoids who have insisted for years that the public has already seen this document.

Barry was born in Hawai’i. And the race of his father is listed as African. So the current President is, indeed, African-American. That’s not black. I argue that Barack Obama is not black in any meaningful way. He was raised in Indonesia and the rainbow State of Hawai’i. He did not have the “black experience”. That identity was something he adopted as a college kid.

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Poisoning Public Transport

I’ve seen several headlines about two Delta Airlines employees ambushed by a gang of teens while riding Atlanta’s commuter rail.

Borepatch, an expert in computer security, sees the incident in those terms:

Security types call this a "Resource Poisoning" attack, where something that was previously valued and trusted becomes worthless because of abuse.

Crime need not be actualized for resource poisoning to occur. If the environment feels unsafe, people choose not to take the trip.

Pagan Dreams

Today is Good Friday and Earth Day. Both are religious holidays. From what I’ve seen, one would hardly know Easter was upon us. If the United States was once a Christian nation, it is no longer.

Easter is now a time to affirm the failings and flaws of Christians, particularly Catholics:

Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church.


The networks couldn't seem to produce a truly positive or even neutral story about Easter, without then immediately throwing Christians under the bus.

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Barrels per Ounce

Gold is trading at record-high prices, above $1500 per ounce. Oil is trading around $110 per barrel ($2.60 gallon, to put it in terms similar to retail gasoline).

The politicians and pundits and current President have opinions and policy proposals regarding the price of oil. The touts and investment gurus are using the record gold price as reason to suggest buying gold. Buy high, sell higher!

Nobody outside the trading and investing universe seems to realize that the prices of gold and oil are relative. Not to each other, directly. But they’re both priced in terms of dollars, so the trading prices of those commodities are a reflection on the value of the dollar itself.

Oil and gold are fetching high prices due to not just the supply and demand of oil and gold, but also due to the supply and demand for U.S dollars.

Barack the Selfish

Steven Landsberg comments on the current President’s tax return:

Now we learn that on an income of $1.7 million, the Obamas paid $450,773 in taxes, taking full advantage of the Bush tax cuts. I think it is fair to ask: If the President believes that people like him ought to be paying more, then why didn’t he pay more? There is absolutely no rule against sending in more money than you owe.

Some voice on lefty radio said that such voluntary payments wouldn’t work because the IRS isn’t set up to take in a mess of checks. Non-stop comedy on that end of the dial, I tell you.

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Leftism is an Identity

Leftism is a matter of personal identity. It’s not about reasoned compromise or applied philosophy. It’s a label worn to confirm one’s own goodness.

I state this not as fact, but as hypothesis. It is drawn from much experience. And although I might be guilty of confirmation bias (seeing what I already believe), it explains the leftoid obsession with personality. They’re much more willing to make personal attacks and use ad hominem fallacies in place of sound argument.

This idea has been better developed around the intertracks. But I haven’t come across a comprehensive accounting of the incidents of politics as personality. Maybe in another life I will write one (comparing the levels found in several major political philosophies).

Tax Day 2011

It’s Tax Day. Both ends of my radio dial can talk about little else. But I didn’t hear them explain why it was moved back from April 15th. Tax Day was postponed because a District of Columbia holiday (Emancipation Day) fell on the Fifteenth this year.

It’s interesting to me that today is also Passover, but the Jews do not get any official holidays. Even after decades of multiculturalism and diversity worship. Anyhoo…

If I could make only one point about taxes, it would be this:

Every nickel a government spends is a tax.

The spending may be a nickel that was taxed away last year and deducted from the government treasury. Or it may be a nickel borrowed from the private economy which will need to be taxed away at some time in the future to settle the debt.

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Minneapolis Riverfront in the Days of Disco

The now-demolished Great Northern Depot in downtown Minneapolis could inspire many posts on railroads, how changes in transportation technology changed the role of railroads, and how that allowed planners to re-purpose land at the core of cities, specifically Minneapolis, since this depot stood at the gateway to Northeast Minneapolis. Those changes were driven by economics and politics.

But I’m not ready to launch into any of those. I just happened across an archive of photos of the Great Northern Depot from the 1970s. It was one of those times where I was following the intertracks without a destination in mind, and found a treasure. For railfans and history buffs, at least.

Mainstream preservationists and historians—if that’s not an oxymoron—seem mostly interested in façades. I’m more fascinated to understand how the buildings worked.

1978 view beside Post Office looking upriver toward GN Depot

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Saracens and Sailing Ships

Armies are often accused of preparing for the last war. It means they train and equip guided by the lessons of recent combat instead of first looking to the future. The next war is often quite different, due to advances in technology, differences in geography or the character of the enemy.

There were many casualties in Iraqi Freedom because the U.S. was using equipment and tactics designed to fight the Soviet Union in northern Europe. Staying at war for a long time allowed those mistakes to be corrected.

In a strategic (instead of tactical) sense, we may still be fighting the last war. If one subscribes to some version of a global war on terror (or a global Salafi jihad, to put the proper Islamic face on the terrorists), we might be wise to look back several wars for strategic insight:

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Planning FAIL — Boston Edition

Boston, like nearly every U.S. city, ripped out large swaths of its core to accomodate motorists in the 1950s and 60s. Boston’s downtown freeway was called the Central Artery (a great name, that sounds even better in the native accent). In the 1970s, Boston, like most places began to realize that freeways tend to break up the organic pattern that makes urban living interesting and attractive.

So the planners came up with a plan to correct the plans of the planners who tore out the city’s guts to build interstates. They would bury the Central Artery. Put the traffic underground, and instead of a noxious concrete wasteland dividing neighborhoods, there would be an open green space at ground level to re-unite Bostonians.

Minneapolis dreamers have a similar vision. I’ve seen sketches of a park built over I-35W around 35th to 38th Streets. It would expand an existing park (MLK) and repair a gash in the Field, Regina Northrup neighborhood. Since we just reconstructed I-35W in south Minneapolis, that plan will be locked in the dream stage for at least a few more decades.

Which is good, because in Boston, all they did was change the color of the barrier from gray to green:

Women Getting Even

Today is Equal Pay Day. Or at least a convenient approximation so lefties can feel righteous without making any meaningful sacrifice.

This date symbolizes how far into 2011 women must work to earn what men earned in 2010.

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

…NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid avoid religious holidays and other significant events.

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It’s Not Just Minneapolis

A decade or two of the New Urbanist vision has led to some shiny and popular developments. But on the whole, urbanist claims about walkable villages being what the market demands are not supported by the facts.

Take Gotham City:

Some of the best evidence that the tide has not turned against dispersion and suburbanization comes from an unlikely source:  New York’s 2010 census results. If dense urbanism works anywhere in America, it does within this greatest of US traditional urban areas.


In all, this 23 county metropolitan area has the nation’s largest population and actually extended its margin over second place Los Angeles, which has been converted from a growth leader to a laggard giant growing slower than most Midwestern metropolitan areas. New York added 574,000 residents, while Los Angeles added 473,000.


If you had read the New York Times and other Manhattan-based media over the last decade you would have assumed the suburbs were in decline and cities ascendant, particularly in the New York area.

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Minneapolis Planning Fail

I used to be one of those urban snobs who would rant about the god-forsaken suburbs. I could go on and on about treeless cookie-cutter tracts of sterile garage doors hiding soulless monotony that passed for neighborhoods. Now I am wiser.

The suburbs have advantages, and the form of development is a minor factor in quality of life. I still prefer the city, but I am not so arrogant about it. Planners and the electeds who hire them, however, are still filled with hubris.

For the decade-plus I have been involved in neighborhood activism, at the grassroots of urban planning efforts, I have seen millions poured into subsidizing development in Minneapolis. We’ve turned abandoned downtown railyards into residential neighborhoods, home to tens of thousands. We built a light rail line to connect the Minneapolis core to the other major regional amenities.

Identifying the Enemy

Deciding who to blame for the aftermath of a recent Koran-burning incident is yesterday’s news. Now we’re supposed to be worried about Radiation from Japan Libya re-relocating the KSM trial the GOP budget proposal a Federal shutdown. But I’m behind on my panics, and this perspective on the murder of U.N. staff in response to a book burning resonates with me:

Maybe [Senator] Graham was really objecting not to inspiring the enemy, but rather to inciting the enemy by offending them. And since Graham wants to talk about WWII, let’s do exactly that. Charlie Chaplin’s filmed mockery of Hitler was certainly offensive to that dictator and to the other senior Nazis, and could have been viewed as inciting them to continue the war rather than making an early peace–but I don’t think the Roosevelt administration ever considered having Chaplin arrested for incitement.

Ah, Senator Graham might say, that is not a good analogy. The Koran burning did not just offend those who are fighting against us; it offended all Muslims everywhere.

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God Forgotten

A Christianity which is not basically mystical must become either a political ideology or a mindless fundamentalism.

Quoted from: Behold the Spirit by Alan Watts

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It’s Never Too Late to be Irrelevant

Last night, local public television aired an episode of what they think is relevant and even-handed science programming. It was really poltical propaganda and disaster porn for comfortable lefties:

Featuring environmental visionary Lester Brown, “Plan B: Mobilizing To Save Civilization” delivers a clear and unflinching message – either confront the realities of climate change or suffer the consequences of lost civilizations and failed political states.

What makes Plan B significant and timely is that it provides audiences with hopeful solutions — a road map that will help eradicate poverty, stabilize population, stabilize climate, and protect and restore the earth’s forests, soils and fisheries. It includes ways of protecting and restoring soils, forests, rangelands, and oceanic fisheries, plus conserving the earth’s biological diversity. It also features case studies that clearly show signs of a new energy economy emerging.

They’re still harping on global warming? And the short version of those solutions was, “Invest heavily in rainbows and unicorns!” Forced spending does not create an “energy economy”, it creates a rent-seeking subsidy economy. There’s no accounting among these types for what people value (by spending their own money).

Dilbert cartoon mocking green energy.

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The Kerfuffle in Libya

The U.S. attacks on Libya have all the factions twisted around. I’ve heard the same arguments and justifications and condemnations for both ends of my radio dial. And across the intertracks.

I applaud those lefties who hold some integrity to the anti-war stance. We’re halfway through Bush’s third term. But it was a lefty who teased out the line from Obama’s speech about Libyan agents having killed Americans (a quarter-century ago) as evidence that Obama is defending U.S. interests and American lives.

Many righties and libertarian types are having difficulty with the newly-minted Obama doctrine, which seems to be call for U.S. military action when human rights are grossly violated. So, why aren’t we bombing Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Myanmar (or Barney Frank’s apartment)?

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