Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Escargot instead of apple pie

Just found out today that the United States Pentagon has requested the Air Force, One, the airplane that transports our commander in chief, be built over seas, over seas in France. Seems that these US citizens feel that we as a nation will be better served if folks who are not American are best fit and prepared to build the best dang luxury jet in the world than folks born on these shores.

Doesn’t make too much since to me. Especially in this age in which safety is paramount. Now I know Americans can be just as likely to see harm come to our great leader, but I do not think they will be more likely than foreigners. Nope, I aint xenophobic, I just think that doing such, especially in this economy sends the wrong message.

For almost twenty years, Boeing Co. has made the 747 jumbo jet that has become equal to the flying White House. As such, it is seen is aw inspiring to other nations and a since of pride for Americans – I just don’t think it is sending a message that will encourage…. Not to mention, I know it got some with top-secret, high-tech stuff that I can’t even begin to name. However, I would not want anyone other than Americans to be privy to what this stuff is. Seems to make the job for our security forces, especially the Secret Service a lot harder. What sense does it make to have the internal blueprints of this vehicle in the hand of another nation, even if that nation is considered a friendly nation?

Although this is not schedule to start until 2016, it still seems like a slap in the face to me for of all folks, it should be our government that should by American first just as much, if not more than the American people. This is not a slap in the face of Airbus, the likely builder of the next generation of Air force one, but more so the Pentagon, who tried to sneak this tid bit of info under the cloak of darkness. And it is not as if Airbus would build a cheaper plane. Reports suggest that the Airbus A380, if passenger planes are compared, will cost $50 million more than the new 747-8.

I read once where Thomas Jefferson wrote “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” I do not thinking the consideration of building what we can build at home abroad, at a likely higher cost is taking care of the American public. Likewise I think doing such is no way protecting us, neither in the form of jobs, nor in terms of our national security. This aint no slap in the face to Airbus as I said, and I may be putting too much into this, but last I looked the Presidential limousine was a Cadillac and it was made in America. If Air force one becomes a flag ship product for Airbus, we may as well make the next limousine a Mercedes Benz, or better yet, replace Apple pie with escargot..


MsKayotic said...

Honestly this is serious bullshit on the behalf of the Pentagon.

I so think that if we have overseas patronage of the jet who carries our Commander-in-Chief, we're telling Americans we aren't capable of doing the job they've been doing for years as well as put our new president at risk for some terrorist activities.

One way or the other this government is gonna do whatever they can to try and undermine this new president. Their reasoning is their own but it's blatantly obvious why they would make this suggestion now instead of say 8 years ago.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of building support for these asinine wars nationalism has been on the wane. We see the average citizen as far more bellicose with regard to issues that affect our community and commonality such as what we deem as socially and economically important. Nationalism has served it's purpose for govt entities and corporations, with few exceptions, it's no longer a necessity.

Let's be real, neither the congress, the executive branch or any corporation has you nor I anywhere near the top of their agendas.

Sister Girl said...

Wow,I honestly never put much thought to this until you brought it to light !

There is a lot to be said about why are we NOT doing this build for our CIC, but who steps up & intervene for the persons that have the same qualification here ?


Dallas Black said...

Good points. However even George W Bush conceded during 9/11 that the current 747 was "inadequately" equipped to deal with the situation. The documentary has him describe how he had to land to address the nation, teleconferencing was not good etc. In my opinion, Boeing needs to step up their game. If we have brown AT&T phones on Air Force One then we need a change. Yes, it should be done in the USA and security is an issue. However Boeing may need a slap in the face to realize they are no longer king and need to provide the best in technology for our new commander and chief. Just a diff perspective.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this, the larger messages this sends out IMO is not good. Why is it that we create nothing in this country anymore?

T.Allen said...

Agreed and your apple pie:escargot analogy is spot on.

rainywalker said...

That is one of our major problems in the country. We don't make things anymore. We have outsourced many or most of the products we use. We used to be good at building things and still could. Greed is selling us down the river. The Romans did the same thing except for most of their weapons. Your post should embarrass Americans, but I'm sure it will be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

This is particularly problematic when the Pres.'s agenda is, at least rhetorically, against shipping jobs overseas.

I am not liking some of the contradictions I'm seeing in these early days.

MUATA NOWE said...

I am not surprised! Thanks for the info!!


Marleaux said...

Dayum, America doesn't even buy American anymore...

Anonymous said...

I heard about this plan about a year ago on my local news channel. Although the security thing is a concern, I do believe that the plan is to build a quality product for cheaper.

I work for the Feds and know first hand that projects that should have a reasonable costs somehow always have an increase in "justifiable" expenses.

For example right now, I am battling with completing a project that would cost only about $200K outside of the government but government design center wants to charge us about $600K just for drawings and specs. And don't mention the change orders that will be sure to follow before we will actually get those into our hands. They'll submit some specifications and drawings to us and want to charge us $40k to incorporate our comments. This is all BEFORE the actual construction begins.

So, it is not hard for me to believe that the U.S. probably got a lump sum quote or something from a foreign country to build something better for less than half the cost. This is not hard to believe at all.

I swear, if one of my co-workers comes to me one more gin to ask for upwards of $300K to continue to fund projects when there are so many other critical projects that need to be funded, I am going to slap somebody.

No, I wanna keep my job. But, I say, give it to France.

Garth Sullivan said...

my initial reaction is that it's a shame that we're contracting this out to a foreign country.

but, if we are getting a better product at a better price, my heart won't bleed for boeing.

the MIC prolly needs to be taken down a peg.

404 said...


I do enjoy escargot tho.....=0)

If my Cadillac has to start having parts shipped from France I'm goin the hell off......

*pourin my tangueray*

Curious said...

Let me do some housekeeping 1st. I can't sit for 2 hrs at the computer and listen to your show so I have a podcast of it. I hope people don't start to stare at me on the train if I start to react to it.

As for your security questions, somehow I don't think the secret service would allow any of the security aspects of the plane to be built or installed outside of US. I'm pretty sure it would be retrofitted here once the plane has been delivered.

Also, what message does it send? Perhaps it sends the message that the US is willing to work in in a global economy where it can still influence NATO countries to buy American military planes for billions and we'll buy 1 passenger jet from them. Quid pro quo.

My question is that with such a big ass plane that can only land at a few airports that have runways long enough to accomodate it, what's the point? Sure if he's only going to flying to LAX, Atlanta, O'Hare and JFK and a few foriegn nations, but what about the smaller towns? The President would have to take the bus if he was coming to Philly's airport.

As for escargot, I like mine done in a nice garlic butter sauce and I see no reason why I can't have a slice of apple pie afterwards. Maybe even with a scoop of french vanilla ice-cream.

clnmike said...

I have no problem iwth this, let this be a lesson to compete as opposed to being complacent.

paisley said...

well i do think that if the government doesn't show trust and pride in american made products that says a lot about the direction that we will be taking in bringing a lot of the outsourced jobs home,,, and i feel doing that,,, being able to literally support ourselves as a country is key..... this is of course the first i have heard of it,, and cannot make a judgment based on just this info as to why they made this decision.... have to read up on it...

msladyDeborah said...


This is one production job that needs to be done by Americans.

What an insult to the national workforce!

If the design of the plane is an issue then it seems to me that this is something they can sit down at the table about.

But I am definitely not down with the idea of that plane being built outside of the United States.

What the hell kind of message is this to us?

If the companies that design and build Air Force One need to step up their design game-so be it.

But this is not an idea that I am for period.

no_slappz said...


Boeing will continue to build and rebuild our Presidential jets.

However, as the following article states, the 747 is no longer in production. Maybe it's time to choose a newer model, like the 787.

Boeing set to refit Air Force One after EADS withdraws bid
6 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Barack Obama will keep flying American, after Boeing emerged as the sole contender to refit the Air Force One fleet when European aircraft maker Airbus and its parent company EADS withdrew from consideration.

The US Air Force is looking to upgrade the aging fleet to a next generation of three presidential jumbo jets, to be delivered beginning 2017, in an overhaul that will replace the current two Boeing 747s that were delivered in 1990.

But because 747s "have been retired from airline service, parts and maintenance are becoming increasingly expensive," said the Air Force.

Despite the high symbolism of transporting the US president, the competition had been open for EADS to enter the race.

In 2007 the EADS North American branch submitted to the US Air Force technical information and answered questions regarding Airbus commercial aircraft.

But Wednesday EADS said it aimed to invest in the United States and create aerospace, and "determined that participation in the AF-1 program will not help us meet these business objectives," according to EADS North America spokesman Tim Paynter.

For some observers the development was not a surprise.

"The American president would only travel in an American plane, for a question of image. (The EADS bid) was lost in advance," said a European source close to the industry.

The EADS withdrawal came hours before the US Air Force's deadline to submitting bidding information, leaving only Boeing in the running.

"We do plan on responding to the government's request for information," said Boeing spokesman Jarrod Bartlett.

Boeing have a long history of flying US presidents in highly customized crafts. A Boeing 707 was introduced as the Air Force One aircraft in the 1960s and used by president John Kennedy and his successors; it remained in service until 1998.

In withdrawing from consideration EADS likely escape a political firestorm similar to the one last year when US lawmakers criticized the Pentagon for handing over a massive 35-billion-dollar tanker contract to a Northrop Grumman/EADS team over Boeing, which had been considered a shoo-in for the deal.

The Pentagon later reopened the contract, acknowledging flaws in the US Air Force's initial decision.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday he hoped to relaunch the competition in the next few months, with the aim of awarding a contract by early 2010.

"We won once and we will win again," said EADS North America in response to Gates' announcement.

Rich Fitzgerald said...

I'm thinking like Curious that all the secret top notch stuff will be retrofitted. Don't think for a minute that Cadillac loaded everything into The Beast. It's a well known fact that West Coast Customs from the show Pimp My Ride did the job. They will do the plane too. LOL!

I look at it like this. American companies need to step their game up. The designs from Foreign companies have always been flyer than American companies. Even you drive a Nissan truck.

no_slappz said...

To those who have the strange belief that we no longer manufacture goods in the US, I can only say -- open your eyes.

Has anyone bought an imported house lately?

Cars? Last year half the cars sold in the US had Detroit labels on them. But most of the "foreign" cars sold in the US were also built here.

Trucks? Peterbilt is All-American. PACCAR dominates among larger trucks.

Boeing is still Number One. But, for a lot of reasons, there are more planes than commercial airlines need. A few companies make small jets. The most popular are domestic.

Despite the latest news, Caterpillar and Deere are still building heavy equipment and farm machinery here.

The list is long. But there are many products that are no longer made in the US -- like shoes. Ninety-nine percent of shoes sold here are imports.

Why? Higher costs here. It's that simple.

Meanwhile, through the foolishness of environmental legislation, we have forced the exportation of thousands and thousands of energy jobs to a number of other countries even though we have plenty of oil and gas beneath our own ground.

no_slappz said...

curious, you wrote:

"My question is that with such a big ass plane that can only land at a few airports that have runways long enough to accomodate it, what's the point?"

If an airport is identified as an "International" airport, it's a good bet that a 747 can land at it.

Anonymous said...

Finally back home and must say I'm a bit worried.

I have to say it felt good not be bombarded with all the negativity that is the US media while I was away, but in the end, you can only keep the blinders on for so long.

The little that I have perused of President Obama's stimulus plan leaves me a little less than overjoyed. It seems the only "rescue" I see for us regular folk comes in the way of a whopping extra $25/wk in unemployment benefits and for those 60 days or more behind on their mortgages, the ability to refinance.

I'm hoping someone that has read the plan more thoroughly than I can tell me how wrong I am - that this plan will indeed benefit those of us most in need. Someone, please tell me that...

Vee said...

steady mind stimulation...and here i was reading the title thinking this was really about to be a post about good ole apple pie and the nastiest thing ever to be considered a delicacy.

I'm so silly!

funny...maybe somehow they will allow the plane to be bugged by the French so when comes the fall out, who can blame america for espionage? "Pin it on the other guys..they built the plane and broke out trust"...MMHMM!

Sista GP said...

I understand when companies go international to get better deals.

But I disagree with the practice of hiring international employees while overlooking their own domestic employees who are highly qualified and already underpaid for the work they do.

Curious said...

no_slappz, you are probably right about the international airports and the Boieng 747, but the post reffered to the Airbus A380 and while Philadelphia (PHL) is an international airport it is a fact that even with it's 2 parallel long runways is not large enough to handle the Airbus. I would not be surprised if there are many airports around the world that face that problem since the plane is so new.

Here is an article from the LA Times and the problems they have with the plane, although I do realize those problems would actually be irrelevant if Air Force One was an A380 my point is the aircraft is difficult to deal with.

Anonymous said...

When there is no competition for huuuuuge projects like this, Contractors are belligerent and expensive. It's quite possible that opening up the bid was mostly intended as a wake up call for Boeing.

no_slappz said...


The article about the Airbus 380 was interesting. But it boils down to a pseudo-story.

No airline would buy a plane that cannot land or take off from existing airports it intends to serve.

The Airbus 380 was designed with a complete understanding of the limitations of the international airports it uses.

Nikki Wadley said...

Is it just me or does this go against that whole 'creating more jobs for Americans' thing. Not to mention, boeing just recently had to make job cuts. I love living in this country of 'say one thing and do another'....

CraigJC said...

Great post, RAw. When are you going touch the man-on-the-ground facts about people losing their homes here in the GA, folk?

Anonymous said...

This is not good. I saw AF One, Clinton-era as it taxied in Philly during a newspaper assignment.

It was awe-inspring. Seeing that big azz aircraft made me want to run for President.

no_slappz said...


Do you readers a favor and tell them your story about the president's plane is incorrect.

You are now spreading falsehoods and failing to publish the necessary corrections.

The President's plane will remain 100% All-American.

That's the fact of the matter.

kukaberry said...

To tell the truth I can't decipher what is real or fake at this point. Reading this was the first that I've heard about the plans. I'm really tired of being blinded to all the politics going on so I've been reading up. Thanks for giving me something else to research.

Also, I like the diversity of ur blog. I read the Pomegranate post a few days ago and laughed endlessly! Thanks for ur comments and support.


Anonymous said...

Nicely put. I'm with you on keeping certain things domestically. It does send the wrong message.

Great post.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Do you mean you DON'T like the way the Pentagon goes about its procurement processes?

About the larger point, one of the great concepts that "Reaganomics" brought with it was that the object of buisness was no longer to maximize shareholder value, preserve debt-holder value and operate to the optimal point at which marginal cost equal marginal revenue, but rather to TEST just how much abuse the work force would take until it cried uncle.

Christ, I remember when Martin and Marietta were two separate competitors in that market and Lockheed was a major passenger jet manufacturer. The real freakout is coming with the first procurement of fighter jets from Tupelov!

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