Alan: “Now THIS is how you do a flashmob!!!!! What a crazy, delightful ever changing world! Who could have thought that in 2012 young people in Moscow would put on a ‘flash mob’ happening, dancing to an 83-year-old American song written by a Russian-born American Jew whose last name is the capital of Germany?”

Impossible to watch these six minutes without a broad smile.  Enjoy!  (But perhaps not as spontaneous and innocent as it appears — click here for the back story after you watch.)


James Fallows, here in The Atlantic (in part):

It’s a simple game you can try at home. Pick a country and describe a sequence in which:

  • First, a presidential election is decided by five people, who don’t even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms.
  • Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology.
  • Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them.
  • Meanwhile their party’s representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the courts.
  • And, when a major piece of legislation gets through, the party’s majority on the Supreme Court prepares to negate it — even though the details of the plan were originally Republican proposals and even though the party’s presidential nominee endorsed these concepts only a few years ago.

How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?

Underscoring the point, a Bloomberg poll of 21 constitutional scholars found that 19 of them believe the individual mandate is constitutional, but only eight said they expected the Supreme Court to rule that way. The headline nicely conveys the reality of the current Court: “Obama Health Law Seen Valid, Scholars Expect Rejection.”

How would you characterize a legal system that knowledgeable observers assume will not follow the law and instead will advance a particular party-faction agenda? That’s how we used to talk about the Chinese courts when I was living there. Now it’s how law professors are describing the Supreme Court of the John Roberts era.

Of course, the Court may uphold the Affordable Health Care Act.  I hope they do.  Even so, I hope President Obama, not President Romney, gets to make the next two appointments.


I shared my BOREF obsession yesterday and made the case for a risk-adjusted share price of $125.  In consequence, trading volume in the stock was . . . zero . . . though the asking price (at least on my screen) jumped from $10 to $10.25.

Meanwhile, the company issued this release yesterday:


Prague, Czech Republic, 25 June, 2012 – Wheeltug plc announces the successful installation and test of the first in-wheel WheelTugR system in Prague on a Germania 737-700. During testing, pilots were able to push the plane back, and taxi without waiting for a tug or powering up the engines.

Pilots were able to move the plane through motors in the nosewheel powered solely by the aircraft’s APU. WheelTug savings are projected to be greater than current airline per-flight profits.

The four day ‘M1’ system test was conducted at Prague Ruzyne Airport. The system performed on all pavement types as well as wet and oil-slicked tarmac. A “sneak peek” of the full test video, including a tugless aircraft pushback, can be viewed at http://www.media.wheeltug.com .

“The small and powerful M1 WheelTug, built into the nose wheel and powered solely by the ircraft’s APU, moves a commercial aircraft through the full range of pushback and taxi maneuvers across a broad range of weather and surface conditions,” said WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox.

“I’m excited about seeing engineless-taxi come to aviation. It was a great honour to be the first ilot to use WheelTug on a Boeing 737,” said Germania Captain Patrick Hintzen. “In particular, here are many delays on pushback and it is where the airline has the least control of aircraft. ith WheelTug, we are freed from the ‘chains’ that keep us parked at the gate.”

The tests were undertaken by the WheelTug team including key partners Endeavor Analysis, ICE Corp., Co-Operative Industries and Dynetic Systems. Tests were hosted by Prague Airport and ABS Jets, with the aircraft provided by Germania.

“We’re proud that we’re ready to enter the final stretch of system specification, leading to commercial deployment,” said Mr. Cox. “A recent study in conjunction with Oliver Wyman and US Airways, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, showed industry net profit of less than $164 per flight. Thus, WheelTug’s projected savings to airlines of over $200 per flight has the potential to dramatically increase airline profitability.”

“The M1 test reaffirms our forecast that WheelTug will soon lead to significant benefits for airlines, pilots, passengers and the general public,” said WheelTug director Jan Vana. “The team and observers at Prague Airport saw the power of WheelTug in action for ourselves,” said Vana.

“Specifically, we expect that the WheelTug system will:

– Significantly reduce fuel use;

– Substantially reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions;

– Increase safety and flexibility of airport operations;

– Provide airlines faster turnaround times, reduced engine wear and repair costs;


– Substantially decrease airport noise pollution.”

The WheelTug is designed for rapid retrofit. In under two hours, the test system was uninstalled from the Germania 737-700 and the aircraft returned to service.

After meeting the latest test milestone, WheelTug remains on target for Entry-into-Service for the 737NG and A320 families of aircraft. 215 WheelTug delivery slots have already been reserved by European, Middle East, and Asian airlines.

A full video of the test will be released at the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow, beginning July 9. WheelTug invites attendees to visit its Farnborough booth in Hall 4, A13.


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