Interesting Items 02/07

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue –

1.  Truckers
2.  Spaceflight
3.  Mining
4.  Bridge
5.  F-35
6.  Debt
7.  Freight
8.  Flores

1.  Truckers.  Well, that didn’t take long.  Only a week after chasing Brave Sir Justin from his lair in Ottawa, Canadian truckers protesting vax mandates, passports and other COVID-related foolishness were met with armed squads of local police going from vehicle to vehicle stealing fuel.  This protest heated up nicely over the weekend as the national Canadian government, provincial governments, and most importantly, the media were all thoroughly embarrassed by the protest and the nationwide support for the truckers.  With one exception in Ottawa, a lefty anti-protester using his vehicle to commit mayhem on the truckers, things have been relatively peaceful.  This may very well change as law enforcement is now being used by their masters to bust up the protests.  This should be a lesson to us all, as those in the military, national guard, and law enforcement for the most part WILL FOLLOW ORDERS regardless of what those orders are.  And if they are doing this in laid back Canada, they most certainly will do it here.  Planning otherwise is an exercise in wishful thinking.  Warning:  Godwin’s Law violation upcoming.  If you have ever wondered why German military and law enforcement did what they did during the Holocaust, now you know.  And now you know that our law enforcement and military will default to the same conclusion should the time come in this nation.  Go Fund Me got themselves involved as donations in support of the protest approached $10 million, freezing the account.  They then announced they would be shifting the donations to more worthy destinations.  These actions were quickly blasted as massive theft and fraud by many including Elon Musk.  Florida Governor DeSantis threatened a fraud investigation of Go Fund Me, which got an immediate promise to return the donations to their donors.  Donations are now being funneled through an outfit that calls itself GiveSendGo.  They claim to have already raised over $1.4 million in less than 12 hours.  This is not going to end any time soon.  And the worse the governments behave, the worse it is going to end up for the governments involved. 

2.  Spaceflight.  One thing I keep a close track of is the cost of putting things into space.  Ran across the attached graphic from Visual Capitalist detailing the change of the cost of putting things into space for the last 60 years.  For much of the history of space launch 1960 – 2005, this was exclusively a government enterprise with lowest costs in the vicinity of $5,000/lb into orbit (Saturn V).  Space Shuttle, sold as a truck into orbit ended up hideously expensive at over $60,000/lb into orbit.  It was not until the late 2000’s when SpaceX started operating that there was any downward pressure on these costs.  Why is this?  Because SpaceX was a private company in competition with the world.  Everything else was government.  So far, those costs are below $1,600/lb into low earth orbit.  And if they can figure out how to get Starship operating, that will approach $200/lb, which may be the reason Interior and other government agencies are conspiring to make sure that doesn’t happen.  The cheaper it is to get to space, the more people are going to go.  And stay.  Fascinating graphic. 

3.  Mining.  For some reason, the following story echoed a week or two ago although it is originally from October.  Try to square the attempt to shut down a proposed copper – nickel mine in Minnesota with the push toward renewable energy and electrical vehicles all of which need copper, nickel and the other elements found in those sorts of finds.  Harris – Xiden proposed a 20-year ban on mining activity near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  USFS filed an application for a mineral withdrawal with BLM for 350 square miles of public lands within the watershed.  The process starts with the typical environmental review of potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of copper nickel mining in the area.  It also conveniently includes a two-year freeze on mining related activity while the review is taking place.  After the review is complete, it goes to Interior Secretary Haaland who will undoubtedly agree with it and put the ban in place.  This is another example of O’Bama – Trump – Biden back and forth.  The O’Bama administration recommended the ban in late 2016 starting a process that the Trump administration halted 20 months in.  Note that Minnesota was in full throated support of the moratorium.  The decision does not yet impact the two mineral leases that Twin Metals holds just outside the wilderness.  Harris – Xiden will take care of those at a later date based on what they have already done to oil and natural gas leases on federal lands.  The O’Bama administration revoked those two leases in 2016.  This was reversed by the Trump administration which increased them by 10 years.  The mining company has applications pending for additional leases and permits that would be impacted by a mineral withdrawal.  They have spent half a billion so far developing the proposal. 

4.  Bridge.  So much for infrastructure spending, though that didn’t stop Joe Biden from attempting to make political hay out of it.  A bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh a week or so ago, conveniently timed just before a Biden road show on the recently signed infrastructure bill.  The Pittsburgh mayor jumped on board, telling reporters that the collapse highlighted the need for federal funding.  American Thinker printed a piece by Monica Showalter reviewing restoration funding for the bridge.  It was scheduled to be restored in 2016, mainly by replacing rusted out steel supports.  Instead, the money was diverted for bike lanes, green energy programs, and lanes for self-driving cars.  The repairs were originally funded out of the 2009 O’Bama era stimulus.  Virtually every infrastructure legislation since 1998 has operated this way, with decaying infrastructure repair funds diverted to green silliness.  And as time goes by, the rust continues to do what rust does, and things start breaking. 

5.  F-35.  Shades of the old cold war.  Anyone remember the Glomar Explorer?  This was a ship built by the Hughes Corporation used by the CIA to recover chunks of a sunk Soviet nuclear submarine in 1974.  The cover story of the effort was a deep-sea drilling rig.  The sub was sunk in 5 km of water and nobody in the world had the technology to exploit the wreck until Howard Hughes got involved.  The submarine had nuclear weapons onboard but was a diesel electric.  Last week, a F-35 operating out of the USS Carl Vinson suffered an inflight mishap.  The pilot ejected and was recovered.  There were another six injured on the deck of the carrier.  The Carl Vinson was operating in the South China Sea, which is where things get interesting.  The Navy now finds itself in a race to recover the wreck before the Chinese can get to it

6.  Debt.  Who knew members of The Squad in the House were capitalists?  Nobody.  Yet here they are.  A Brad Polumbo article in BASED Politics noted how Squad members stand to benefit from student debt cancellation they have been pushing early and often.  As it turns out, self-interest drives their policy recommendations.  For instance, AOC owes $15 – 50,000.  Omar owes at least $15,000.  NY Rep. Jamaal Brown owes $100,000 – 250,000.  Rashida Tlaib disclosed $50,000 – 100,000.  A NYP article has totals for many other congressional democrats.  Student loan debt cancellation only serves to help democrats who took out the loans and haven’t figured out how to repay those loans on a congressional salary yet.  Their current request dated Jan 25 is for Biden to cancel the first $50,000 of student loan debt which will make their problem disappear nicely, but not do anything about the rest of ours. 

7.  Freight.  As another example how disruptive the team Elon Musk has assembled comes a proposal by a former SpaceX engineer to allow self-driving, autonomous freight cars to deliver rail freight.   The initial proposal is to us autonomous rail cars to deliver long haul rail freight with trucks delivering the first and last mile cargo.  The proposal is self-driving electric rail cars capable of 80 mph.  Appears that each load will have three pieces – a front and back car with a shipping container held between them.  The startup has raised $50 million so far.  From here, energy storage and deconfliction appear to be the largest most visible problems.  Supply chain disruption is on the way.  Only this disruption may end up being more of a solution than the current problem. 

8.  Flores.  Fired Miami Dolphin’s coach Brian filed a class action lawsuit racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL and several teams.  Upon being fired, Flores, who comes from the Belichick New England coaching tree, was thought to be one of the hot prospects for the 8 other open NFL head coaching positions this winter.  Rumors coming out of Miami were that he was a bit prickly to work with, but his teams always played hard, and he did win games.  At issue in the lawsuit is a thing the NFL has called the Rooney Rule.  This league wide rule requires all teams to interview at least one ethnic-minority candidate for each open coaching position.  It applies to head coaches and coordinators.  Did I mention that Flores is black?  And today, the only other black head coach is Mike Tomlin at Pittsburgh, which gave the Flores legal team and the sports media their opening to flog the racial discrimination horse for all it was worth for an entire week.  Note the convenient reframing of the argument used here.  A requirement to interview ethnic candidates has been morphed into hiring black candidates for the job by the Flores legal team and the sports media.  The Rooney Rule puts teams in a difficult position, as it requires interviews of people after they have already decided who to fill the open position with.  Some of them handle it better than others.  Some handle it far, far worse; the New York Giants in this instance.  Appears the Giants held what amounted to a sham, square-filling, pro forma interview with Flores three days after they made up their mind who they wanted to hire.  The word somehow got out to Bill Belichick, who mistakenly texted a congratulation to Flores 3 days before the interview.  Flores sat through the entire interview with the text on his phone and apparently didn’t say a word about it.  He went on CBS the morning after the lawsuit was filed and complained about being humiliated in the process.  This is where the story breaks down, at least for me.  Being humiliated in an interview is not uncommon, though most of us generally do it to ourselves as we learn how to interview.  Not getting a job is not uncommon.  Interviewing for an open position after the hiring authority already has a candidate in mind or even hired happens all the time.  And it if hasn’t happened to you, it will.  There is a point in most interviews where the candidate gets to ask questions to the interview team.  I am astounded that Flores didn’t pull out his phone, show the team the text and ask them to explain it.  That he didn’t tells me that either the lawsuit was already in the planning stage before the interview or that he has the personality of an abused 3-year-old girl, quivering in fear of being offended / humiliated.  Color me skeptical.  I don’t think Flores is in any way abused.  I think the lawsuit was in process and I think he set up the Giants and the other teams he interviewed with.  Final point on this.  The NFL is an exclusive club which has fallen all over itself trying not to be the target of the race-baiting leftists.  Unfortunately, in caving into their demands, they demonstrated weakness and made themselves that much bigger a target.  Hiring preferences for minorities for open coaching positions have been in place since at least 2007, and likely before.  These hiring preferences work to elevate minorities while telling white candidates to look elsewhere for their next jobs.  When you have set up a structure based on discrimination against one group of candidates based on their race, don’t be surprised if someone calls you on it. 

More later –

  • AG

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