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LAX Missile Attack?

WirNit has a story about an apparent missile attack on a plane out of LAX

A pilot on an American Airlines flight out of LAX to Chicago over Thanksgiving weekend called the Tower to say that as they were climbing after takeoff at about 6600 feet they saw a rocket fly up past them and just miss the airplane. The FBI interviewed the pilots and have detemined that it was probably a flare or a bottle rocket.

missile attack Mover Mike

Update: DECEMBER14, 2004 FOX News reported a year ago that

Counterterrorism officials are beefing up security at Los Angeles International Airport to protect jetliners from terrorists armed with shoulder-launched missiles.

I suspect there has been some “reaming” done over this embarassment!

Who is Professor Steven E. Jones of BYU?


It only took five days for his school to tell him to stop giving interviews. Now Brigham Young University is issuing statements discrediting Professor Steven E. Jones for his recent paper declaring that the World Trade Towers were brought down, not by the planes crashing into them and burning them down, but by some internally placed explosives.Internet news sleuth Greg Szymanski reports that Jones’s findings have been defamed by his BYU colleagues and administration, in a deceptively polite sounding and patronizing release: “Brigham Young University has a policy of academic freedom that supports the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and ideas,” it began. “The university is aware that Professor Steven Jones’ hypotheses and interpretations of evidence regarding the collapse of World Trade Center buildings are being questioned by a number of scholars and practitioners, including many of BYU’s own faculty members. Professor Jones’ department and college administrators are not convinced that his analyses and hypotheses have been submitted to relevant scientific venues that would ensure rigorous technical peer review.”

Jones is no longer talking openly with the media, at the request of the BYU administration.

Colorado handles outspoken activist Ward LeRoy Churchill differently that BYU handles an alternate theory to the attack on the WTC.

Steven E. Jones WTC Ward LeRoy Churchill Mover Mike

Enron Ripples

The rock that was Enron is still generating ripples in the energy swamp. From the SacBee, Bankruptcy appears to be likely for San Jose power generator.

A major power company, Calpine Corporation supplies customers and communities with electricity from clean, efficient, natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants. Calpine owns, leases and operates integrated systems of plants in 21 U.S. states and in three Canadian provinces and is building a plant in Mexico. Calpine was founded in 1984

When energy prices collapsed in mid-2001, many of the big power sellers making money in California wound up in bankruptcy court, including Enron. Calpine lost $683 million in the first nine months of this year and has been fending off bankruptcy rumors for some time.

Besides the bankruptcy of big power sellers, Calpine owes $18 Billion and almost all of its plants are fueled by natural gas.

a nice strategy when gas was cheap, a poor strategy now that gas has roughly quadrupled in price since 1999.

Another ripple is making the news in Portland, Oregon. Willamette Week breaks a story, credited by KATU Channel 2 at 11:00 PM, that PGE, owned by Enron collected taxes from utility customers and didn’t pass them on to Enron and didn’t pay the governments involved, but took the taxes into revenue of PGE and used them. The Oregonian has a story by Gail Kinsey Hill about $1 Billion in overcharges beginning in 1997, which appears to be related to the Willamette Week story, which hits the streets at 10:00AM, but does not credit Willamette Week. The Oregonian does say

Much of the controversy focuses on PGE’s collection from ratepayers of $80 million to $90 million annually to cover income taxes, most of which never reached federal and state authorities because of Enron’s tax strategies.[…]

PGE serves customers in 52 cities and parts of six counties (in Oregon). Portland accounts for roughly 25 percent of the utility’s electricity consumption.

Enron Calpine PGE Mover Mike

Carnival Of Liberty XXII

Carnival Of Liberty XXII is up at Below the Beltway.

Eric Cowperthwaite says Carnival of Liberty

is a forum to showcase writing on individual liberty. Whether your writing focuses on how it has been restricted, or how it is growing, or some other facet of individual liberty, it’s something we want to showcase and expose to a wider audience. On a weekly basis, the host of the Carnival gathers submissions from around the web and then formats the whole into a single entry on their blog. The host decides how to organize the entries, whether there is a theme or not, and makes sure that the contributors get credit for their work.

Check us out!

Terry Krohn Interview Wednesday

Here’s advance notice on a Wednesday Post. Mover Mike will be posting an interview of Terry Krohn author of Eye of the Pyramid. Books can excite, intrigue, inform, educate and take me to a whole different place. They can enhance existing interests or start me off into a whole new area of exploration. For me, Eye of the Pyramid was such a book. So come back Wednesday night late for the interview and there will be a special bonus.

I have become fascinated by the economics of the book publishing business. I had a conversation with published author Ron Franscell about this subject not too long ago. Ron says couple years ago, this was the rough breakdown on a typical $25 hardcover book:

–Amazon will earn about $13.50 as the bookseller (traditional booksellers actually earn slightly less.)
–The publisher keeps $8.50 to $10;
–The shipper/distributor will make about $2.50;
–The author will earn $1.25 to $2.50 (roughly 10% of the net or retail price, depending on the size of the publisher and/or the author, and their deal.)

Everybody pays their own expenses, of course. Amazon has employees, big servers and warehouses; publishers have skilled employees, printers, equipment, etc.; and distributors have trucks and shipping costs. Nobody is making an easy buck.

But the author has the worst cost/benefit ratio. He pays for all his own equipment, supplies, travel, phones, a 15%-off-the-top agent, a publicist, etc., too — although he earns the smallest share from his art.

Today, publishers require (not ask … require) authors to shoulder most of the promotion of their books, too. If an author does a book-signing in your town, it’s likely he’s there at his own expense. Publisher-underwritten book tours are reserved for only the biggest- and best-sellers … yes, exactly the people who need LESS promotion.

The great bulk of “successful” authors are selling 3,000 to 5,000 copies, and pocketing $10,000 to $15,000. Four of last year’s five National Book Award nominees reportedly had sold fewer than 5,000 copies.

So tune in Wednesday to my interview with Terry Krohn. I promise you some excitement!

Eye of the Pyramid Terry Krohn Mover Mike

Carnival of the Capitalists 11-28-05

Gill Blog sponsored by Gill Advisors Inc., where their work focuses on business continuity and risk management has the latest Carnival of the Capitalists.

Mover Mike is represented with post about hedging and the proposed Barrick acquisition of Placer Dome.

BTW, Bloomberg has a story about President Pierre Lassonde of Newmont Mining Corp., the world’s largest producer of gold.

He says the price of the precious metal may rise to more than $1,000 an ounce in the next five to seven years as demand from Asian economies outstrips the global supply.

Actually, he said the price of gold would be some number followed by three zeros! And he doesn’t mention that the central banks are running out of gold to sell to suppress the POG.

Carnival of Capitalists gold Pierre Lassonde Mover Mike

Copper, Squeeze or Corner?

I have posted three times about copper prices and the possibility of a squeeze based on an alleged short postion by a trader at the SRB in China of 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of copper. I posted here that the short position was confirmed in the Washington Post By Peter S. Goodman who wrote

China on Thursday acknowledged that a since-detained government trader placed a series of disastrous bets on the price of copper in London this summer, leaving the state to cover hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, according to a report in official Chinese media.

I have read two articles in the last two days that indicate the story may be wrong. The first involved a man who visits a great number of places in China and says that there is a surplus of metal in the country. The second is an analysis by Frank Veneroso who comes to the same conclusion in a different way. He speculates that hedge funds are attempting to corner the market for copper and that demand for copper in China has slowed because of the rise in the price.

If the latter sources are correct, the price of copper is headed for a fall below $1.00 and some hedgies will get hurt. Stay tuned!

copper Mover Mike

Katrina Spawns “Homesteaders”

How many weeks has it been now since Katrina came close to destroying New Orleans? From the Seattle PI, After Katrina, living on the second floor, Dr. Joe Thompson

…focused on the half of his house left intact by Hurricane Katrina: High above the floodwater, the craftsman-style house’s second story had survived the storm unscathed.[…]

Tired of hotels and imposing on relatives, families are returning to their partially destroyed dwellings, taking refuge above the warped wood and stripped wallboard and cocooning themselves in a world of familiarity – even if only one half of it survived.

They have no electricity or hot water, many cook outside and use the hose to wash dishes, but at night you can see candles fickering in a window and flashlights moving in the upstairs’ windows. These are the “homesteaders”

Lynn and Bobby Shirer live on the second floor where it is cozy and it is home!

Come morning, the couple pads down the spiral staircase and re-enters the world of destruction they’re trying to patch: Walls are stripped to the studs on the bottom floor of the elegant Georgian. The wood floors, bloated with floodwater, have been ripped out. Like a burial shroud, a blue tarp covers their ruined furniture.

We’ve had Northwest storms in the winter that leave us without electricity for brief days or at most a week, but to go for weeks…I can’t imagine the hardship!

Mover Mike Katrina

Barrick (ABX) and Hedging

Barrick Gold Corp.(ABX), has made a hostile takeover bid for rival Placer Dome Inc. (PDG). Now hedging has become an issue.

In rejecting Barrick’s $9.2-billion (U.S.) offer Wednesday, Placer chief executive officer Peter Tomsett took a run at Barrick’s hedging practices, saying they exposed Barrick shares to “risk and uncertainty” and could significantly hurt Barrick’s future financial results.Barrick fired back that its percentage of reserves committed under hedge agreements is almost exactly the same as Placer’s, and that Barrick has been steadily whittling down its hedge book since the end of 2001 while Placer’s overall hedge position has increased over the same period.

Gold producers use hedge agreements, or forward sales contracts, to protect themselves from flat or falling gold prices and also to help secure financing for new mines.

Many mining companies borrow money from the banks to develop mining properties. The banks who are risk averse require the mining companies to sell the future production forward, which means that a company sells its future production today at, say $550 per ounce. This works great for all concerned if the POG stays at this price or goes down, because you sold it all at $550. The rub is that POG goes to $650 and the mining company doesn’t pick up that extra $100 per ounce.

Hedging helped Barrick’s financial performance during the 1990s. But when the price of gold began to rise this decade, many investors began to shun hedged producers in favour of those who could sell all of their production at spot prices.

For twenty years POG was in a bear market and hedging worked just fine and Barrick was one of the few profitable gold mining companies. The POG bottomed at $250 in 2001 and has since doubled. IMO the POG will be higher than the Dow Jones Industrial average in the years ahead and hedging is a guaranteed loser. Most investors in gold mining shares shun companies that hedge their production. After all, we take all the risks involved in the mining business, mines can flood, there can be environmental risks, labor strikes, political risks and mines can give out. We want the ability to make obscene profits if our scenario for the POG works out.

My sources tell me that Barrick may be as much as $3 Billion offside on its hedges. Meaning if Barrick was forced to buy back its hedges it would cost them $3 Billion more than they received. That is $3 Billion that should have benefitted the shareholders. I believe that their troubles are only beginning.

GATA has warned mining companies for years to get rid of their hedging. Many have done so including the largest Newmont (NEM)*, but Barrick and Placer Dome have not. GATA has also warned that that central banks and bullion banks are short 12,000 to 16,000 tons of gold, meaning the gold has been borrowed (leased) and sold. Now some leasors want their gold back and supplies of gold used for price suppression are half of what is declared publicly. It’s a huge impetus for huge price increases.

*Newmont has inherited some hedge agreements through acquisitions.

Barrick Placer Dome Newmont gold

Update: From Vietnam we learn that real estate has been so hot that many borrowed gold, sold it and used the proceeds to buy real estate. Now the POG has jumped and they are in trouble.

Ngo Xuan Quy from Tan Phu district, Ho Chi Minh City, one such individual said that the gold price was VND 890,000 per tael when he borrowed gold but it has now risen to VND 940,000 per tael, equating to a loss of VND50mil over half of month.


New Movie About Tesla Starring David Bowie

David Bowie to play Nikola Tesla in new film.

Rock idol David Bowie has landed a new movie role, playing the inventor and electrical genius Nikola Tesla.Bowie, 58, will star alongside Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine in forthcoming film The Prestige, according to movie industry magazine Variety.

Tesla is regarded as one of the greatest scientists in the history of technology and one of the most innovative engineers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The new thriller is based on a 1996 novel by Christopher Priest, The Prestige

From Publishers Weekly
Priest’s new novel (the title of which refers to the residue left after a magician’s successful trick) is enthrallingly odd. In a carefully calculated period style that is remarkably akin to that of the late Robertson Davies, Priest writes of a pair of rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London. Each has a winning trick the other craves, but so arcane is the nature of these tricks, so incredibly difficult are they to perform, that they take on a peculiar life of their own; in one case involving a mysterious apparent double identity, in the other a reliance on the ferocious powers unleashed in the early experimental years of electricity. The rivalry of the two men is such that in the end, though both are ashamed of the strength of their feelings of spite and envy, it consumes them both, and affects their respective families for generations. This is a complex tale that must have been extremely difficult to tell in exactly the right sequence, while still maintaining a series of shocks to the very end. Priest has brought it off with great imagination and skill. It’s only fair to say, though, that the book’s very considerable narrative grip is its principal virtue. The characters and incidents have a decidedly Gothic cast, and only the restraint that marks the story’s telling keeps it on the rails.

Nikola Tesla DavidBowie The Prestige Mover Mike

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