A Photo-Op??

Let me get this straight: flying an Air Force One around lower Manhattan with a fighter plane chasing it, which scared the pants off the locals (I wonder why?) was a photo session, to get a picture of the airplane near the Statue of Liberty?

Never mind the idiot who thought it would be a good idea not to tell anyone about this (rather than inviting everyone out to watch and have an ice cream cone in Battery Park); how many dozens of thousands of dollars were spent flying actual airplanes around instead of neatly Photoshopping a picture of the airplane into a picture of New York Harbor?

Look at the picture in Kevin’s post. The plane has really nice sharp edges. Nothing from the background has to overlap it. The shadow of the aircraft doesn’t show (though that would be a simple matter to add). There’s no hair, foliage, or fuzz to mess with. You could make this precious photograph with scissors and paper!

If we still had golden fleece awards, this exercise would get one with a cherry on top, a sterling example of waste and abuse in government occasioned by men wanting to play with big noisy toys instead of a quiet computer. And no, the photoshopped montage would not be a fraud; no-one is presenting the old one as evidence that Air Force One really did fly by Mt. Rushmore on such and such a day.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.