Pat Davies: “Thank you for getting me to read the Michigan commencement speech – the Presdient is so rational. It calmed me down after the weekend opinion columns.”


Media Matters has done a terrific job of debunking the “Myths and falsehoods about Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination.”

Click at least a couple of them to get a sense of this?

Myth: Kagan’s policies on military recruiters make her “an anti-military zealot” and an extremist on social issues

Myth: Kagan is “radical”

Myth: Kagan’s thesis shows she’s a socialist

Myth: “Kagan Standard” means Kagan must answer questions about issues that will come before the Supreme Court

Myth: Kagan’s Goldman Sachs role taints her nomination

Myth: Conservative opposition is based on the substance of Kagan’s nomination

Myth: Obama used “empathy” standard rather than fealty to law in choosing Kagan

Myth: Kagan is unqualified because she hasn’t been a judge

Myth: Kagan has said judicial experience is an “apparent necessity”

Myth: Kagan’s record shows that she will rubber-stamp war-on-terror policies

Myth: Republicans would be justified in opposing Kagan because she lacks a judicial paper trail

Myth: Kagan’s 23-year-old statements about the Establishment Clause suggest she’s hostile to religion

Myth: Kagan’s recusal obligations would be “extraordinary”

Myth: Kagan “can become” too “emotionally involved on issues she deeply cares about”

Myth: Kagan not “fair-minded, impartial” and doesn’t have “proper temperament to be a judge”

☞ With any luck, we will have the benefit of her service for the next 35 or 40 years, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to get up to speed on this remarkable woman – former clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, former Dean of Harvard Law School, current U.S. Solicitor General.


Is it possible the various components are falling into place? This from an established motor maker:


North Plains, Oregon, 10 May 2010 — WheelTug Limited announced today that it has signed an agreement with Ward Leonard Electric Company, Inc., to develop and build the motors and associated mechanical components for its on-ground electric drive system for aircraft. For more than 100 years, Ward Leonard has been a leader in electric power innovation, and now designs and builds high-performance, high-reliability motors and control systems for demanding applications such as military, naval, oil exploration, and nuclear power.

The WheelTug(R) electric drive system is based on twin electric motors installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, providing full mobility while on the ground, without the use of the aircraft’s jet engines or external tugs for both pushback and taxi operations. WheelTug enables aircraft to be electrically driven from the terminal gate to the takeoff runway, and upon landing from runway exit to the gate. The resulting improvements in efficiency, flexibility, fuel savings, and reduced engine foreign object damage (FOD) yield projected savings of more than $500,000 per aircraft per year, plus reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Ward Leonard, based in Thomaston, Connecticut, will develop, build, and assemble the Chorus(R) motor, bearings, gearing, and other components housed within the hub of each nose gear wheel. The design that Ward Leonard will be implementing was announced last week.

The risk-sharing agreement, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, gives Ward Leonard exclusive rights to build these components for the Boeing 737NG, the initial WheelTug model. Ward Leonard also has an option to acquire Wheeltug shares.

Jon R. Carter, Chairman and CEO of Ward Leonard, said, “We are extremely pleased to be working with the WheelTug team to bring their innovative system to market. Ward Leonard’s long experience with high reliability motors for use in severe applications will be a strong complement to WheelTug’s development team in developing and achieving FAA certification for the drive system. I have great confidence that we will be successful together.”

Isaiah W. Cox, President and CEO of WheelTug, said, “Ward Leonard represents the perfect partner for the WheelTug motor module; they bring decades of relevant experience, along with state-of-the-art skills and tools for developing and delivering the most technologically advanced and rugged motors. We are delighted with this partnership.”

WheelTug is in talks with both airframe manufacturers and airlines regarding development of WheelTug models for additional commercial aircraft types, as well as for military aircraft. The company’s other risk-sharing partners currently include Co-Operative Industries for the wire harness, Luxell Technology for the cockpit interface, and ICE Corporation for the system controller.

Ward Leonard was founded in 1896 by H. Ward Leonard, an electrical engineer and inventor who in the 1890s managed Thomas Edison’s operations in setting up electric railways and power-generation stations….

☞ By now, after some dilution, Borealis owns 78% or so of Chorus Motors, which owns 85% or so of WheelTug.

As always, this is a speculation to be undertaken only with money one can truly afford to lose. And, as always, BOREF stock is ridiculously illiquid (if you can buy it at all) . . . so be certain to use “limit” orders that you leave in “good til canceled.”*

That said, if WheelTug’s heavily patented system does save more than $500,000 a year per 737-like commercial airliner, it could eventually become standard equipment on 10,000 jets, which could make for a lot of sales and ongoing maintenance contracts. If they threw off $25,000 in net profit to WheelTug annually (just to pull numbers wildly out of the air), that would be $250 million a year; so the company might eventually be worth $2 billion (eight times earnings); so Borealis’s 78% of 85% of it might then be worth $1.3 billion, versus the $15 million at which the company is valued today (5 million shares at $3 each). So an 80-fold gain from here.

I can’t stress enough how preposterously unlikely this is. But it’s not completely impossible . . . and it tosses in nothing for the chance this motor technology could prove useful in things besides commercial jets. (Cars, perhaps?) Or that the company’s allegedly gargantuan mineral holdings might one day prove valuable. Or that some of the company’s other patents and subsidiaries could pan out.

Long, long, long shots. But a lottery ticket I enjoy holding.

*If two of you rushed in to buy 500 shares with no limit, you might bump the stock to $4. An order for 5,000 shares could send it to the moon.


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