Saturday, May 10, 2014

Today in personalization

How did the Daily Mail become such an awesome authority on all things American? Who cares when you can put BILLIONS in capital LETTERS! But did you WONDER how many of those ASSERTIONS are TRUE?

You might already be wondering, for example, how the Kenyan usurper is planning to replace "his private fleet" of helicopters if he won't be able to use them until, um, five years after he leaves office. Or -- getting into just the first of the bulleted decks here -- how he's going to spend $20 BILLION if $3 BILLION of the total had already been spent between 2005 and 2009. Or you might read the text itself:

Adding in the likely $17 billion price tag for the new project – a number estimated by the Congressional Budget Office – the $20 billion total makes the fleet the most expensive helicopters ever built.

... and wonder why the link to the number "estimated" by the CBO takes you right back to the story you're reading! Or you could be wondering where all those pesky numbers themselves come from, which -- should you hang in with the Mail for a bit -- will get you to a story a day earlier from the incredibly reliable Daily Beast:

Each helicopter will probably cost at least $400 million. The entire project, to build at least 23 helicopters, has been estimated to eventually cost between $10 billion to $17 billion.

And how did that estimate come about? Well, let's flash back to an idea that began in 2005:

... The program quickly became so expensive each helicopter—then estimated to cost about $400 million in 2009 dollars—rivaled the cost of Air Force One, the president’s Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

Even President Obama seemed bewildered by the runaway program. “The helicopter I have seems perfectly adequate to me," Obama said. "Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. Maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it.”

The program was cancelled in 2009, with $3 billion already spent.

The new, initial contract awarded to the American defense contractor Sikorsky, is valued at $1.24 billion. Under the terms of the new contract, the U.S. military will take delivery of two prototype helicopters—based on the Sikorsky S-92 medium helicopter--in 2016. Another 21 fully capable helicopters will follow.

And that, one supposes, gets us back to the Mail's estimate:

The contract, given to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, will cost an initial $1,244,677,064 'for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement program.' For that price the U.S. Navy will get six test aircraft and all the necessary research & development.

How all that adds up to $20 BILLION on the PERSONAL FLEET -- well, that must be one of those things that set the Daily Mail apart from the lesser papers.

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