The US Dollar is positively correlated with the price of things the US exports. And negatively correlated with oil prices because the US is still a net importer, though importing only about a third as much as it did a decade ago.
So you will see the dollar go up when world markets are robust for American products like software, jumbo jets, cereals, Wall Street scams, and Hollywood.
That's highly context dependent. The US Dollar soared starting in Summer 2014 due to the end of QE. It had absolutely nothing to do with US exports. The USD returned to where it otherwise would have been without the Fed debasing it so heavily. If the Fed raises interest rates, it'll go up further - again, while having absolutely nothing to do with US exports in that case.
The USD and oil trade inversely because oil is priced in dollars globally. If the value of the dollar rises, oil inherently must drop in price. It has nothing to do with the amount of oil the US imports or not. What matters is the currency that oil mostly trades in globally, and that is US dollars. The dollar doesn't go down because oil goes up, that confuses the relationship entirely. It's oil that trades in dollars, not dollars that trade in oil.
"forking and threads are basically the same thing"
It's nowhere near that simple. You can fork lightweight like threads or heavy. One of the terrible things about Apache performance was all the heavy forking on every single request for generated pages. That was back when it was really expensive.
"This is an effective subsidy for "sprawl" and is a huge driver of why the US built environment looks the way it does."
To be fair, the subsidies are not mostly in highway building. Suburban feeder style streets (4-8 lanes with lights, turn lanes) get bigger subsidies and drive more sprawl. But even those are a smallish factor.
The big subsidy is free and cheap parking. Most American cities require that businesses and new homes provide enough parking for everyone who ever wants to come to park free. That's a subsidy equivalent to about $10-30k per car per year, depending on your local real estate costs. The outright majority of space in real estate development in the USA is devoted to satisfying this centralized Soviet style command-and-control mandate.
Countries with the most free market real estate development in the free world, like Japan, still build freeways. In fact, Japan has a silly amount of freeways because you don't even need or want a car usually. Those countries are different because they require a lot less parking.
So the induced demand and highway subsidy question is not the most central to the car dependence and sprawl question. Parking mandates are much more important to the way life is actually lived in America.
"that this article is getting so many down votes."
You can't downvote stories.
The secret ranking formula automatically downgrades stories that reach certain thresholds of views and votes depending on the distribution of comment voting. Upvotes can actually make a story fall in the rankings. The exact details are considered a state secret, but you should not expect that upvotes will always promote a story.
It's not just the cost of buying baby stuff. It's that people's lives fall into regular patterns. Usually, there are few opportunities to change someone's pattern. Pregnancy is one of the biggest such opportunities. For example, say someone goes to QFC for their weekly groceries - it's hard to convince them to go in the opposite direction to Safeway, even if it's about the same distance. Pregnancy is one of those few times when people's shopping patterns are up for grabs. If you can slip in and get them to go to Target for a few critical baby-things, maybe you can get them going to Target for everything else for the next ten years.
The importance of that really depends on who observes holidays. There is no legal incentive for US employers to observe any. I don't know where your eleven come from, but that sounds like the Federal Government's number for its employees. Private employers typically observe 4-8, including Christmas.
On the bright side, I'm a shift worker, so I get to take holidays whenever I want, no questions asked. It's bundled in with my PTO, except it doesn't roll over if I don't use it. As a result, your first seven days of PTO are "holidays."
It's a big opportunity for Mexico, then. Already home of the most cost effective first world (OECD) universal health care system, Mexico has good facilities right on the US border in half a dozen cities and is popular for eye and dental procedures for US visitors already.
Everybody in the startup community could explain why LivingSocial was doomed from the start five years ago. It's only the East Coast naifs investing great wealth of other people's money that are in any way astonished.
I wouldn't consider that a cautionary tale for anyone but easily conned New York investors.