Barack Obama

Your $328,000 Photo

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Since I went into an ALL-CAPS CONNIPTION over White House spokesman's Robert Gibbs' jokey dismissal of questions regarding just when the administration planned on releasing the photo behind the photo-op that terrorized Manhattan last month, decency compels a thumbs-up for the Friday-afternoon release of this image, coupled with the resignation of the responsible military office director, Louis Caldera. Who, by the way, sounds like the kind of guy who shouldn't be managing anything more strenuous than a fantasy baseball team:

$328,000

Deputy military director George Mulligan said he first told Caldera about the proposed photo shoot on April 20 — a week before it was scheduled to take place. The same aide also said Caldera should notify deputy chief of staff Jim Messina because it was an unusual move.

Caldera told officials he didn't recall the conversation. Ultimately, Caldera didn't tell Messina or Gibbs. "When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation," according to the report.

Caldera also told officials that he didn't read an e-mail detailing the flyover plans until it was over. Mulligan, Caldera's second-in-command, sent him an e-mail message on April 24 advising him again to tell Messina and Gibbs about the photo shoot.

Caldera said he hadn't seen the e-mail because he has two official accounts. He also said he was suffering from severe muscle aches and had been prescribed pain medication.

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  1. Be curious to see a manifest of who was on that plane. Also that’s an extremely shitty picture.

  2. That picture is truly creepy: Lady Liberty a bare speck in the middle distance crushed far beneath the massive hulking metaphor for the presidency in the foreground. Not the sort of imagery I’d think the White House would want to convey these days.

  3. Ann Althouse fingured this one out. This was not a photo op. No one does a photo op with real planes in the day and age of photoshop. This was a joy ride given to connected donners that went bad. They just made up the lie to cover up what it really was. Of course the state run media compliantly reports the cover story.

  4. Air Force I looks like a giant bird about to crap on Lady Liberty. Fitting I guess.

  5. Not the sort of imagery I’d think the White House would want to convey these days.

    In all serious honesty, I’m sure it is. And not entirely for malicious purposes, mind you: the will to power isn’t all about wanton destruction. There’s the meticulous and PR-backed stuff, like “health care”.

  6. Ultimately, Caldera didn’t tell Messina or Gibbs. “When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation,” according to the report.

    I’m guessing that’s because he did tell them, and didn’t think up a convincing lie why he didn’t.

    Either that, or he really is utterly incompetent.

    You gotta love the cop-out that he was doped to the gills. Like that make it all OK.

    Whatever. Even the most charitable explanation (the White House military liaison is utterly incompetent and stoned out of his gourd) doesn’t exactly reflect well, does it?

  7. He also said he was suffering from severe muscle aches and had been prescribed pain medication.

    Obviously, this means we need to ban pain medication IMMEDIATELY. It’s for the panic-stricken children of New York!

  8. Also: fuck that shitty-ass photo, yo.

  9. “Also: fuck that shitty-ass photo, yo.”

    It is terrible. No way a professional photographer would have ever taken it. It is obviously a snapshot taken by an F16 pilot. Why would you run a “photo op” with no profressional photographer? Why would the Whitehouse initially refuse to release the photos? The answer I think is that there never were any photos. This was a joy ride for VIPs. After the gig was up, the found a snapshot taken by one of the F16 pilots to say “here we were doing a photo op”.

  10. It is obviously a snapshot taken by an F16 pilot.

    I didn’t know they let blind people fly F-16s. Holy crap that is a terrible picture.

    $328,000 is half again as much as my house cost. This is fiscal responsibility, administration? Seriously?

  11. Fucking stupid picture. Better pictures are in the news today, though.

  12. It costs about $50k per hour to fly an f-16, so you would never use those to take pictures. You would only use those to be IN pretty pictures. So if the democrat’s story is true, who was taking the pictures of the 747 plus the 2 f-16s?

    Hope and change!

  13. I’m just about certain now that the photo op story was a cover up. That, or Obama just wanted to screw with New York.

  14. URKOBOLD +1!!

    Thanks for the link, Pro Lib – I love the grinning mug shot at the end. priceless

  15. Domo, domoarrigato-san. I’ve returned to the Laughing Obama, Lord of the Sky photo once or twice since then. It’s a personal favorite.

  16. $328,000 is half again as much as my house cost. This is fiscal responsibility, administration? Seriously?

    It’s more than 2.5 times the cost of my house… and even more time than the house is currently worth. (I live in the boonies.)

  17. OK, all youse that’s hatin on the pic — whip it out. Let’s see your photo taken from really high showing the green giant lady and the big plane. Hmmm?

    By now there must be some ‘shopped versions out there. Any linx?

  18. Louie, you’re doing a heckuva job!

  19. They are apparently up to something again. I work on Broadway in Manhattan, and we got the following email this morning:

    “As per the FAA, a military plane will fly down and back up the Hudson River today between the hours of 10:30 to 11:30 am. “

  20. That picture is truly creepy: Lady Liberty a bare speck in the middle distance crushed far beneath the massive hulking metaphor for the presidency in the foreground. Not the sort of imagery I’d think the White House would want to convey these days.

    What has Obama done since taking office to make you think he values liberty more than his own power?

  21. Godwin:

    Doesn’t Triumph of the Will prominently feature majestic imagery of Hitler’s airplane?

  22. Wow, that looks like a photoshop – but a very bad one.

    In the days following the flyover, I saw several well done composites – whipped up quickly by folks without access to nearly as many stock photos of Lady Liberty & Air Force One. All of them looked better than this one; more convincing & more majestic. All of them costing considerably less than $300,000 & causing much less trauma.

    Who much longer are these incompetent morons in power?

  23. “As per the FAA, a military plane will fly down and back up the Hudson River today between the hours of 10:30 to 11:30 am. ”

    Maybe they are trying to get some actual pictures they can release….

  24. Vox – word on the street is they canx the mission 20 minutes after the news release. It’s amazing how dumb people are. If it was stupid the first time around – doing it AGAIN 3 weeks later requires sub-human levels of intellect.

  25. When you can dump that kind of money on a “photo op” it makes it really hard for me to believe you need my income tax check for a few thousand dollars. I mean what can you buy with that puny amount of money it wouldn’t even get AF1 off the runway. Nope I think I could spend it much better and get a lot more for myself and my family if I just hold on to my tax money this year and maybe next as well.I mean after all if you can blow $328K + on some cheesy photos your certainly a lot better off financially than I am. So in parting I would just like to say GO FUCK YOURSELF!

  26. It’s amazing how dumb people are. If it was stupid the first time around – doing it AGAIN 3 weeks later requires sub-human levels of intellect.

    Nah, just superhuman levels of arrogance.

  27. I wondered when the designated scapegoat would be identified and sacrificed.

    It’s not surprising that everyone’s pretending like he made the call himself, instead of passing it on to the White House for approval from the president. Obama couldn’t admit to such an embarrassing gaffe, especially so closely following his other embarrassing gaffes with foreign leaders.

  28. No. Fear and arrogance, you hayseed, not ignorance!

  29. It’s not surprising that everyone’s pretending like he made the call himself, instead of passing it on to the White House for approval from the president. Obama couldn’t admit to such an embarrassing gaffe, especially so closely following his other embarrassing gaffes with foreign leaders.

    DITTO

    I’m sure the president spends a lot of time coordinating photo-ops. WHEN HE’S NOT PLANNING ON DESTROYING CAPITALISM. amirite?

  30. Looks like the big plane ate green chilis for lunch and took a dump in the harbor.

  31. Who ordered the flight? It seems Caldera was just responsable for getting the bird in the air.

  32. I’m sure the president spends a lot of time coordinating photo-ops. WHEN HE’S NOT PLANNING ON DESTROYING CAPITALISM. amirite?

    Did you know he’s going to take care of your credit-card problem for you?

  33. Or how about this: When you declare that you and you alone are going to fix all known problems, you open yourself up to criticism when you create new ones.

  34. Caldera told officials he didn’t recall the conversation. Ultimately, Caldera didn’t tell Messina or Gibbs. “When asked why he failed to do so, he did not offer a coherent explanation,” according to the report.

    If he had pulled that shit on Kenny Loggins, he wouldn’t just be handing in his resignation — he’d be found floating in the Potomac.

  35. Interesting that back on April 29 of last year, the tenants of our building received the following e-mail:

    In order to prevent any alarm and help address any questions tenants may raise, please be aware that there will be a flight of 2 F-16’s coming up the Hudson River Tuesday, April 29, 2008 between 1:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. The aircraft should be flying at 5500 ft and should be turning around at the George Washington Bridge, proceeding back down the Hudson and exiting south. Since 9-11, Fly-By’s such as this have caused concern among some people who were not aware of their true nature.

    This is a media event celebrating the One Millionth Sortie in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

    Thanks.

    Joseph A. Galasso

    Senior Vice President

    Director of Security and Life Safety

    S.L. Green Realty Corp.

    Leaving aside for a moment the cost of this equally banal and wasteful media event, it appears that _somebody_ remembered to alert the rabble:

    God Bless America, and DUCK!

  36. Mulligan’s behaviour also is hard to understand. He kept emailing Caldera but Caldera didn’t do what he was telling im to do. Why didn’t he call? Or email and tell Caldera that if he’s too busy or too stoned or whatever that he could inform the WH on his behalf?

  37. God Bless America, and DUCK!

    Less talk, more bumper stickers.

    Molon labe? I had to give it away!

  38. Ann Althouse fingured this one out. This was not a photo op. No one does a photo op with real planes in the day and age of photoshop. This was a joy ride given to connected donners that went bad. They just made up the lie to cover up what it really was. Of course the state run media compliantly reports the cover story.

    Bullshit.

    More precisely, I have no idea whether or not donors were on that plane or not.

    But, if Team Red wants to latch on to this, then, why was the Bush Administraion allowed to do the same exact thing with narry a peep?

    To clarify, much was made by Team Blue (and paleo-right wingers like Raimando) during the Ehime Maru incident that the sub was showboating for a bunch of high rolling Bush-Cheney donors. Now the truthiness value of this assertion is also subprime – but the ride was part of a longstanding (and still ongoing) practice of ‘Distinguish Visitor’ embarks on various military platforms.

    This is what I want to stress. DV embarks are longstanding and ongoing, and were frequently and regularly done during the last adminstration (and the one before, and the one before that AFAIK). And I think the program is worthwhile.

    But Team Red *never* objected to any of this stuff when it happened before. Not one damn bit.

  39. Yes, I rather think this sort of thing is SOP for presidents, too. But the lack of eptness in dealing with the matter–from freaking out New York to mishandling the, let’s be frank, cover up–is telling.

  40. Not defending the picture, but they do make a twin seat version of the F16.

  41. But, if Team Red wants to latch on to this, then, why was the Bush Administraion allowed to do the same exact thing with narry a peep?

    Yeah, when that sub dove for the statue, I thought we were all goners.

  42. Fuck Obama and the plane he rode on.

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