Friday, April 3, 2009

Presidential Transport, Superhero Style

Apparently, we have inadvertently elected James Bond or Batman as our fearless leader and President of the United States. I say that after reading an article from BBC News in Washington about President Barry's vehicles and all of the gadgets and all of the security that they have. I guess I always thought that they probably had bullet proof glass and doors and brand new tires all of the time. Oh, and some special holders in the front for those little flags and stuff. I had no clue that his Presidential limo can do everything but fly. (And it might actually be able to do that as well! But that's probably not something you want to publicize too much. You're much better off if you keep that to yourself and then one day just fly over the crowd in your big ol' limo. It's a real crowd pleaser.)

Every President has his own little entourage. But the entourage is far from little. President Barry's is freaking huge. According to Max Deveson for the BBC News, President Barry travels with at least "...200 security officials, dozens of political aides and a team of personal chefs" not to mention the "...White House medical unit - nurses, surgeons and other medical professionals." The medical folks are always on call just in case President Barry gets the sniffles or something. He easily travels with well over 300 people whenever he goes somewhere. I don't think I run into 300 people during the course of an entire day, let alone travel with them. (Ugh. When I travel it's to get the hell away from people. It certainly isn't to bring them with me. It's a philosophy that I adopted during one of the many family road trip vacations that I was subjected to growing up: "Always remember, when you're big, leave these people behind!")

Obviously, if President Barry is traveling over seas to a far and distant land, he's going to need a plane. The plane of choice is Air Force One, a 4,000 sq ft Boeing 747. It is also six stories high, 231 feet, 10 inches long with a wingspan of 195 feet, 8 inches. So it's almost as long as it is wide. And 231 feet is a little bit over 3/4 the length of a football field. Holy crap, that's a BFP (Big Fat Plane). It's a BFP that is fully equipped for just about anything that you or I would never even think would be possible for us to do on a plane. Of course it has an office for him to work out of and meeting rooms for him to, uh, meet out of. That's to be expected. It also has an onboard gym so that he can work out while in flight. That I did not expect. President Barry called Air Force One "spiffy" when he first saw it. Yes, I'm sure it was very "spiffy", to say the least. If there's one thing I think of when I think of the President of the United States, it's "spiffy". Or something. So then, Spiff, what else?

Well, if President Barry does get the sniffles and there are all of the medical personnel there, they might as well have adequate supplies for any sort of health related situation. Therefore, "...Air Force One has medical facilities, including a fold-out operating table, emergency medical supplies, and a well-stocked pharmacy." Huh. How well-stocked? Like Oxy-contin well-stocked? Or Grey Goose vodka well-stocked? Oh, and I can't forget the " of AB-type blood which travels with him for emergency transfusions." So the next time you're reading about President Barry flying around in ol' AF-1 there, remember that he's also flying around with a whole bunch of blood as well.

Then we have the communications. When you're on a 4,000 square foot plane, you can't just holler from one end to the other if you need something. ("Yo, Michelle! Where's the remote?!") AF-1 has 85 freaking telephones, 19 TVs, 238 miles of wiring, and full communication services. What the hell are "full communication services" in addition to the 85 phones? Internet? Walkie-talkies? Shoe phones? That's a lot of stuff. It's a wonder that, given the way the rest of the country is run at times, the people who are in charge of everything seem to be able to get it all done and have the plane operate correctly. Air Force One might actually be our most efficient government program. Sad. We can get ONE plane to go like it's supposed to, but that's all. Nice.

But here's where all of the Bond-y stuff and Batman-y stuff comes in. Get this: "The plane is fitted with some robust security equipment including shields to protect its instruments from an electromagnetic pulse. The communications equipment is even capable of withstanding radiation from a nuclear attack." Holy crap. What?! Protective shields? Nuclear attack proof communications? (They really want to make sure they can get online in the even of global disaster!) And while that's all cool and very superhero, I haven't even told you about the helicopter and the limo yet. They might actually be cooler than AF-1.

The Presidential helicopter is called Marine One. They're not real creative with the names of the Presidential transport vehicles over there. (They're kinda like how Robert Palmer would do all of his music videos in the 80s the same. Couldn't think of anything else, eh, Robert?) Oh, but the President and his family all get Secret Service code names that are just all over the place. Names like Renegade, Renaissance, TwitterBerry, Love Muffin, Stud Cannon (Clinton, of course), Insufferable Shrew (Hillary), etc. But the vehicles are just One and Two. There's no Obamamobile, Obamacopter, Barrycycle. None of that. Marine One's little trick up it's sleeve is that it " capable of firing flares to divert heat-seeking missiles." And again, I say, Holy crap! Can't they demonstrate that for the public just once? Well, OK, once a year! Like on the Fourth of July! It'd be patriotic. It'd also be cool as hell to see a helicopter shoot out flares that whack a missile out of the sky. It'd be hard not to refer to your country as the "Home of the Brave" with something like that in the pack pocket of your helicopter. So to speak.

Then there's The Beast. No, not Hillary. The Presidential limo. President Barry's wheels has "...a tear gas cannon, a night-vision camera and oxygen tanks." A cannon?! That shoots tear gas?! Awesome! Put that on the Fourth of July lineup right after Marine One flares out some rockets! Cool. Wait, what are the oxygen tanks for? "It is capable of withstanding a chemical attack." It's hermetically sealed so they'll be able to breathe in there if the chemical attackers do their things. And I'm not saying I want that to happen, I just want to see how it works. How about if instead of doing the chemically attacks, they just drive that thing around the pig farms in Iowa (where the stench is rumored to be so horrendous that it justifies receiving the $1.8 million earmark included in the last bazillion dollar spending bill) and have it do it's thing there?

Along with all of that coolness, President Barry won't have to worry about having to dig around in the trunk for a tire jack to fix a flat because "...should its tires be punctured, the car can still drive at up to 60mph." The Beast is "...fitted with military grade armor at least five inches thick." Five inches thick? I'd read that it weighs 5 tons and is built from titanium, so that makes sense. It also makes sense that it gets 8 miles per gallon as well. (Go green, my ass.) "Its reinforced steel plating is said to be able to protect against bullets, chemical attack, and even a missile strike." Great! They can drive it out to the pig farms, seal it all up and then attack it with a missile (what's that's going to hurt? A few pigs? Mmmm...bacon.) so we can see it do it's thing!

The Beast is also equipped with "...rocket-propelled grenades and pump-action shotguns." Right on! A cannon AND a grenade launcher. Most excellent! Something this cool really should not be kept hidden. They should be showing this puppy off whenever they get the chance. How often does President Barry use The Beast anyway? Oh, right. Everywhere. They even bring it on Air Force One when he travels, reinforcing the impression that it is indeed at BFP.

After riding around in The Beast for a little while, I'll bet that President Barry starts to wish that he was a little more superhero-ish. If you have access to a car (that's legal for cryin' out loud!) that can shoot grenades, launch missiles, and provide you with your own air, you're going to feel a little more nerdy than usual in your coat and tie sitting in there. You're going to want a utility belt and maybe some shiny, plastic, knee high boots. Oooh! And a cape! You have to have a cape in a car like that. Totally.

With all of the stuff that he's had on his plate since he took office, I'll bet that there are days when he just doesn't want to get out of that thing. He probably figures he has air in there, he's totally protected and no one will bother him. And even if they did bother him, he could just launch a grenade at their bothersome ass. I'd stay in there too. Just me and my cape.

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grannyann said...

I loved it.....I have always felt Barry has a "thing" for AF and Marine 1 since he hardly stays on the ground more than a couple of days at a time. Just long enough to spend a few zillion dollars and up he goes again Its really a status thing.

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