How Air Force One Got Its Name

Columbine II takes off from Marana, Ariz., in March. (Photo: Ramon Purcell)

Columbine II takes off from Marana, Ariz., in March. (Photo: Ramon Purcell)

Originally published on the FAA’s internal website and at Medium
By K. Daniel Glover

Piecing together history can be as difficult as solving a complex jigsaw puzzle, and sometimes you never can fill all the slots. So it is with determining the exact role the FAA played in naming the president’s airplane — but the agency definitely was part of the discussion back in 1954.

The origin of the call sign Air Force One became newsworthy this past March when a restored Lockheed Constellation took flight for the first time in more than a decade. The aircraft’s given name is Columbine II, but it was also the first presidential aircraft to be called Air Force One. Now the plane’s new owner, Karl Stoltzfus of Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, Va., wants everyone to know the true story behind the name, not the myths floating around the Internet.

“I’m not interested in a ‘better’ story,” said Stoltzfus, who has contacted presidential and Air Force historians and the former personal secretary of Air Force One pilot William Draper. “I’m interested in accurate history.”

A crowd greets Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, as they exit Columbine II. (Photo: First Air Force One/Facebook)

A crowd greets Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, as they exit Columbine II. (Photo: First Air Force One/Facebook)

The history of Columbine II began at a Lockheed factory in Burbank, Calif., in 1948. It left the plant with the tail number 48–610, a designation that would become important six years later. Lockheed Air Service used the plane for shuttle flights between New York and Iceland for a few months in 1949, but it was converted from military transport to a VIP aircraft in 1950.

This particular Constellation served the U.S. Air Force secretary until Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president in November 1952. The plane’s first mission for the president-elect fulfilled his campaign promise to personally visit Korea in an effort to end the Korean War. Weeks later the plane officially became Eisenhower’s aircraft, and he named it Columbine II after the flower of wife Mamie Eisenhower’s adopted home state, Colorado.

The transfer of the plane to presidential service set the stage for a momentous air traffic control encounter involving Columbine II and a commercial flight with a similar call sign. But nailing down the details of that incident is a herculean research task.

“There are about six different urban legends out there on the Internet,” said Air Force historian Robert Spiers, who started the legwork in 2007 after numerous queries about how Air Force One got its name. Some stories, like the fanciful tale of a mid-air collision that damaged the undercarriage of Columbine II with Eisenhower on board, are far-fetched.

“If that had actually happened,” Spiers said, “it would have been all over the media.”


A School Official Who Homeschools?

Originally published at PJ Media
By K. Daniel Glover

Bonnie Henthorn and her husband spent their formative years in Tyler County public schools. Between them, their two children spent at least 15 years in that school system. The family has paid taxes that support the schools for decades.

bonnie_henthorn_twitterWith deep roots and a historical perspective like that, Henthorn is an ideal choice for president of the Tyler County school board, a role she has filled since 2014. But none of that matters now because in January she committed the unpardonable sin of public education: She started homeschooling.

Henthorn announced the family decision at the Jan. 4 school board meeting, citing two reasons that had nothing to do with Tyler County schools. “One is that I want them to have a more Christian-based education,” she said. “… Number two is I no longer feel that the state leadership has the best interest of the students at heart.”

That very personal decision, designed to benefit Henthorn’s sophomore son and seventh-grade daughter, quickly became the topic of a very hostile public debate.

At the meeting, board member Linda Hoover peppered Henthorn with questions. She implied that Henthorn couldn’t lead an education system if her children weren’t part of it and that pulling them from it is “a slap in the teachers’ faces.” Another board member, Jimmy Wyatt, called it a “questionable decision” that might show a lack of faith in the county school system.

The outrage escalated over the next few weeks. A Tyler County native created a Facebook group and a petition demanding Henthorn’s resignation. The Charleston Gazette-Mail published an editorial decrying the “sad mess” in Tyler County and calling Henthorn “unsuited for public school leadership.”

At the next school board meeting, the union that represents Tyler County teachers expressed its lack of confidence in Henthorn. Even State Board of Education president Michael Green, whom Henthorn specifically mentioned when criticizing state leadership, felt compelled to issue a statement.

Read the rest of the article at PJ Media.

Your Guide To Pet Names For Politicos

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

Children learn at a young age that if you really want to get under someone’s skin, make fun of their name. Bloggers have taken that skill to new heights in adulthood, as they try to score points against their political enemies by giving them memorable and sometimes mean-spirited nicknames.

Below are some of the ones I’ve taken note of since I started tracking blogs. I’m sure there are many more, so if you have a blog name for your least favorite politician, bureaucrat or media personality and want to expand the list, add your voice in the comments.

— Sen. Felix Macaca: Former Sen. George Allen, R-Va.
Sen. Smirk: Joseph Biden, D-Del.
Sen. Switchback: Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Gov. Privatize: Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.

Tax Hike Mike: GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (also called “The Huckster“)
Harry Potter: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin
Multiple Choice Mitt: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

Senator Pants On Fire: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Both Ways Shays: Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Pete StarkRavingMad: Rep. Fortney (Pete) Stark, D-Calif.

Netroots, DCCC Find Common Ground

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

When Democratic bloggers first came on the political scene, they clashed with the party establishment’s fundraising apparatus in Washington. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in particular was a frequent target of netroots scorn.

Not this year. The DCCC has paired with the netroots fundraising vehicle ActBlue in a new campaign dubbed “Red To Blue” in order to raise cash for candidates fighting in some of the country’s toughest Republican strongholds.

Here are the details from an e-mail I received from ActBlue last week:

Not only is ActBlue partnering with the DCCC at this stage of the effort, ActBlue played a critical role in drawing the DCCC’s attention to the profiled candidates.Of the first group of “Red to Blue” candidates, eight have used ActBlue to build a community of supporters and raise critical early funds, and the remaining two, as yet unnamed nominees in Illinois and Louisiana, are being supported by ActBlue’s pioneering “Democratic Nominee Funds.”


Did Fred Thompson Lose His Way Online?

Originally published at Beltway Blogroll

About a year ago, Fred Thompson began making a presidential splash online.

After bloggers started talking up the possibilities of the actor and former Republican senator running for president, Thompson won a high-profile endorsement from a fellow Tennessean, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Then all of a sudden, Thompson started popping up all over the Internet.

He posted a guest blog entry on RedState and earned mainstream media attention for “blogging up a storm“; he picked a public video fight with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore; and he tapped some big names in new media to help spearhead his online activities.

I even mentioned Thompson’s online non-campaign as a “bright spot” in GOP e-politics when interviewed by The Washington Post.

All of that early work on the Web came to naught this week when Thompson ended his presidential campaign (arguably a bit too soon), and one blogger thinks Thompson faltered because he lost his innovative way.

Thompson “was strong with new media, but then he abandoned it. … I don’t know what happened,” Roger Simon, the head of Pajamas Media, told The Washington Times. “I think some of the misfire of his campaign is that he didn’t stay with that initial impulse.”

I’m not sure how on the mark that analysis is. Thompson’s campaign seems to have faltered for more traditional reasons — poor strategy, bad staffing decisions, lousy timing (he took forever to get into the race), lack of money and the failure to overcome the image of Thompson as a lazy campaigner. But the reality is that Thompson’s approach to the race changed after he became an official candidate.

That probably had more to do with the realities of presidential campaigning than a conscious decision to go old school. Who has time to blog when traveling across the country to greet voters and raise money? But the end result is that the man who once held out promise of becoming the nation’s first blogger-in-chief finished the GOP race as a disappointing also-ran.

The GOP Report Card On Tech Issues

Originally published at Tech Daily Dose

We know the grades for the Democratic presidential candidates, so now it’s time to see where the Republican candidates rank on the tech policy scale. TechPresident has the report card, and none of the candidates scored higher than a C:

  • Rudy Giuliani: D
  • Mike Huckabee: C (“and we’re being generous”)
  • Duncan Hunter: F
  • John McCain: C-plus
  • Ron Paul: C
  • Mitt Romney: D-plus
  • Tom Tancredo: F
  • Fred Thompson: D-plus

A Bipartisan Dose Of E-politics Video

Originally published at Tech Daily Dose

Republican new media consultant David All has partnered with Dan Manatt of PoliticsTV to produce a new Internet video program dubbed NetCenter08. The first episode revisits the controversy over last week’s CNN/YouTube debate featuring Republican presidential candidates.

Who Cares What Bobble-head Dolls Think?

Originally published at Tech Daily Dose

Back in the summer, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ridiculed and resisted the CNN/YouTube debate format because CNN let a snowman ask Democrats a question. Romney and the rest of the GOP field will try answering video questions themselves tonight, but now Fred Thompson — or at least one of his staffers — appears to be skeptical of the format.

Adam Aigner-Treworgy, a National Journal/NBC reporter embedded with the Thompson campaign and in Florida for the debate, said Thompson Communications Director Karen Hanretty scoffed at the format when asked if video questions from voters could change the playing field of the race.

“Do you mean real questions from bobble-head dolls?,” Hanretty said. “We’ll see how [big] the viewing audience is.”

Why Is CNN Still Picking The Questions?

Originally published at Tech Daily Dose

That’s what techPresident wants to know about tonight’s Republican presidential debate, which will feature video questions submitted via YouTube.

Rather than letting YouTube users pick the question, a very World Wide Webby thing to do, CNN is still insisting that it needs to filter the questions to avoid controversy. But techPresident disagrees and is citing a spreadsheet of the YouTube community’s response to all 4,927 submissions to make its case.

The spreadsheet lists the videos by views, favorites, ratings, comments, honors and links. TechPresident focused on the 40 that were viewed the most.

“And guess what we discovered?” Josh Levy wrote. “No cyborgs! No snowmen! Only two of the top 40 videos stick out as possibly too weird to show the candidates. … In fact, that vast majority of these top videos ask important, cross-partisan questions.’

We’ll know tonight how that filter compares with the one chosen by CNN — namely, debate moderator Anderson Cooper, CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman and two or three other network staffers.

A Peek Inside YouTube Politics

Originally published at Tech Daily Dose

James Kotecki, now a video commentator at The Politico, rose to new media fame this year by offering unsolicited advice to presidential candidates from his dorm room and posting videos of the sessions to YouTube.

It seems only fitting, then, for YouTube to give Kotecki the keys to its home page on the day of the CNN/YouTube debate featuring the Republican candidates. Kotecki explains in a video and offers a peek inside the political world as seen through the eyes of YouTube users: