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The Saga of a 747 Photo-Op

Scott on April 29, 2009 at 12:32 pm

The fall-out continues regarding the bone-head decision to have Air-Force One do a low-level flyover over Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

CBS reports the following:

Federal Aviation Administration’s James Johnston said the agency was aware of “the possibility of public concern regarding DOD (Department of Defense) aircraft flying at low altitudes” in and around New York City. But they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI and even the mayor’s office and threatened federal sanctions if the secret got out.

So when Louis Caldera, Director of the White House Military Office, says…

Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision.  While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption.

…what he ISN’T saying or admitting is that the “confusion and disruption” was HIS FAULT!  While he might have informed various agencies and authorities about the impending flyover, he also told these agencies and authorities that they were NOT ALLOWED TO TELL ANYONE ABOUT IT…AND he threatened them if they DID tell.

It has also been reveled that Louis Caldera had in reality scheduled TWO photo-op flyovers – the disastrous one over New York on Monday, and one for next week over Washington, D.C.  Strangely enough, the D.C. flyover has now been cancelled.

Many are rightly asking whether these photo ops were even necessary.  From what I’ve read, this current incarnation of Air Force One has been in use since the early 1990′s, which means that there are probably PLENTY of photos of it flying over D.C., New York, Philadelphia, the Grand Canyon and maybe even Epcot or Disneyland.   In fact, it took me less than 15 seconds to find this shot:

air_force_one-mt-rushmore

I bet you could make an amazing family-vacation-slide-show using photos of Air Force One that have been taken at every major U.S. national landmark over the last 10-15 years.  Why did the White House people figure they needed MORE photos, ESPECIALLY given how costly they are to take?  And come on, why couldn’t they just wait until Air Force One was actually FLYING SOMEWHERE on official state business?

Where I come from, that’s called working smarter, not harder.

And about that $328,000…

President Obama has been telling everyone to tighten their belts.  He recently ordered his cabinet to make $100 million more in cuts to their administrative budgets.  But somewhere in the White House someone thought that spending $328,000+ on a photo-op/training session was worth the cost.

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In a story about the first cabinet meeting by President Obama and his charge to cut an additional $100 million, Bloomberg News reported:

There is “a confidence gap when it comes to the American people,” Obama told reporters at the White House before his first meeting with his full Cabinet. “They’ve got to feel confident that their dollars are being spent wisely.”

Interesting choice of words, President Obama – “…confidence that their dollars are being spent wisely.”

Nothing screams CONFIDENCE like spending $328,000 on an unnecessary photo opportunity so the White House can have new pictures of Air Force One over the Statue of Liberty and against the New York City skyline!

I wonder how ELSE they could have achieved the desired result while saving the $328,000?

Here’s an idea – PAPARAZZI:  If the paparazzi can snap pictures up the skirt of Britney Spears to catch her going commando, and if they can snap pictures and even take video of politicians sneaking in or out to visit mistresses, girlfriends, illegitimate children, etc…then taking shots of a huge airplane cannot be that much of a challenge.  Why not toss them a few thousand dollars to take pictures of Air Force One in action?  With some of those massive lenses, I bet they could catch some amazing photos for almost nothing.  Who knows?  They might get lucky and catch Air Force One out on the town with some slinky DC-10!

Here’s another idea – PHOTOSHOP:  Many people have realized that this supposedly tech-savy administration doesn’t seem to know about basic photo-editing software that made this whole fiasco unnecessary.  Over at NRO, one guy put up this shot he made in less than 15 minutes.  It looks pretty good to me.

air-force-one-statue-of-liberty

Another NRO contributor put up this one just for fun…air-force-one-new-york-city1

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