NYC is Fly-Over Country Now!
Posted by aogTuesday, 28 April 2009 at 21:08 TrackBack Ping URL

Of course, the blogosphere is abuzz about a Presidential 747 buzzing New York City.. The impetus for was apparently the Obama Administration decided they need better stock photos of Air Force One and sent one of them off to fly around New York City for a photo shoot.

Now, I think that’s kind of silly, but not a big deal — except that for reasons known only to the Obama Administration, it was kept a secret and no warning was provided to any civilians in New York City by design. Now that’s something worth getting riled up about.

There are various speculations about nefarious purposes or abuse of government resources, but I think it comes down to

  • That President Obama and his crew are so far out of the mainstream that it simply would not occur to them, not if they thought about it for months, that anyone would be bothered by it. The 11 Sep attacks are to them what the Pearl Harbor attacks are to my kids, except without the excuse of not having been an adult at the time.
  • As I have noted with the COLB issue, my view is that the first and frequently only reaction by the Obama Gang to information is to resist access, regardless of whether it makes any sense. It didn’t for the CLOB, and it didn’t for the fly over. But it’s just who they are.
  • I agree with the theory that Obama’s slowness to nominate played a factor as well, resulting in no one enough in the loop to stop and say “hey, couldn’t this be a problem?”. On the other hand, as the DHS “right wing extremist” issue shows, Obama appointees are not necessarily more clueful than Obama himself.

Naturally, I could not let this go by without mentioning the flagrant bias on the part of Old Media. Former President Bush is still, to this day, hassled about the “Mission Accomplished” sign on the aircraft carrier, which was put up by the sailors and not at the order or suggestion of anyone in the Bush Administration. Yet Obama is and I expect will continue to get a pass on this, even though it was, IMHO, a worse offense and far more traceable directly to Obama.

P.S. Best snark — “But he was only 47 when this happened!”.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 08:38

According to reports I’ve read, the FAA was concerned about panic in the Big Apple, but was ignored. Aren’t these expensive government agencies the last word in their area of responsibility? Shouldn’t they have put the kibosh on such a ridiculous stunt? Apparently, there were more photo ops planned for DC which have been canceled.


Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 09:09


The lawyers at DHS warned about the inappropriate language in that “right wing extremist” report and out it went. Attorney General Holder has said that he’s simply going to ignore the OLC when he disagrees, even though it is the OLC has historically vetted the Constitutionality of actions for the Executive Branch. So why not ignore the FAA as well?

But to me the question remains — why the secretiveness? That’s the part that doesn’t make sense. After all, the flyover could have been done without panic if it had been announced ahead of time.

P.S. COLB = Certificate of Live Birth. You should be able to read that if you hover over the acronym — I try to hover text any such possibly obscure thing.

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 10:28

From what I read, it was the Air Force that insisted on keeping the flight confidential. If so, and I think it entirely plausible, in the run of things, the New Yorkers of course were not aware of the flight, and the White House wasn’t aware it was being kept confidential.

Unknown unknowns, or the cock-up theory of history; take your pick.

What I can’t figure out, though, is why someone didn’t get jiggy with Photoshop and some stock photos of Air Force One and the NYC skyline.

Would have been a heck of a lot cheaper than flight time for a Whale and a couple Lawn Darts.




Bret Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 10:35

…read that if you hover…

Or u cud stoop 2 type it out - NO TLAs!

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 11:09


I have to stoop to type it out to make the hover text work. It looks like this in the actual source —

DHS(Department of Homeland Security)

I personally like TLAs if definitions are at my cursor tip. That’s the whole point of the InterTubes! Condensed information that can be easily expanded at need.

Bret Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 12:20

2 each their own.

Fixed that for you!

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 12:33


Sorry, Bret diverted me with a linguistic issue and you know how we all love those.

Anyway, I don’t think it’s at all clear who, exactly, was keeping this a secret. We do know that the event was initiated and directed from the Obama Administration and therefore the responsibility for the decision to keep it secret is there. If the USAF was in fact the party unyielding on keeping it a secret then it was up to the Obama Administration to either accept the consequences of that, cancel the event, or remember that the military answers to the civilian here1 and overrule the USAF.

Gosh, it burns to type this, but as a photographer I can understand the decision to get real photos and not just photoshop existing imagery. You can do excellent work with the latter, but you still need source material as a starting point. Even had proper warning been given, it may not have been worth it, but I can not consider a priori a bad idea.

1 Yes, I know, it is reaching to expect Obama or his crew to understand the Constitution, but he should have known that would be on the test when he began his run for the office of the President.

erp Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 14:37

Hover it is. I learned something new today! Thanks.

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 14:55

We do know that the event was initiated and directed from the Obama Administration and therefore the responsibility for the decision to keep it secret is there.

If, in fact, there was an actual decision. I think the simplest, and therefore most likely, explanation is that it is USAF SOP to keep the movements of AF1 confidential, and that the OA simply did not know that. The AF wasn’t unyielding, because it was never asked to yield, and the OA isn’t particularly responsible for not making a request it didn’t know needed making.

as a photographer I can understand the decision to get real photos

As do I. It would be very difficult to get the lighting angles for both the plane and the skyline close enough without shooting them simultaneously at the same place.

In my preceding post I was too busy being sarcastic to remember that.

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 15:10

In case it isn’t obvious, I never am certain I am doing something unless I am overdoing it.

Palmer Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 20:00

Well - Congratulations Mr. Obama! “Mission Accomplished”!!! It had to take a lot of personal sacrifice to be victorious over the the enemy on this one. Especially the victims of 911. Oh, another mulligan for the freshman President from Washington. But watch out, the true American ‘silent majority’ are especially good themselves in taking aim on Washington! Remember this truth, true and battered Americans will not do a “Fly Over” of Washington. You can fool some of the people, some of the time.….…

Barry Meislin Thursday, 30 April 2009 at 06:50

Stupidity happens. This was really stupid, but otherwise, no big deal, really.

Still, we all know what the media reaction would have been had Bush or McCain done it.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 30 April 2009 at 07:21

I would agree that as an isolated incident, it’s not that big a deal, but as an archetype of this Administration, I think it’s quite telling.

Barry Meislin Monday, 04 May 2009 at 04:42

Archetypes ‘R Us??!

Tracked from Political News and Blog Aggregator: Congress Divided Over Interrogations Probe on 28 April 2009 at 21:50

Washington Post: The legacy of George W. Bush continued to dog President Obama and his administratio

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