Zingers over Alabama:

Responding to the scathing letter from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Boeing says remarks by its officials recently would apply to any new production facility in any state, not just Alabama. George Talbot of the Press-Register obtained a copy of Boeing’s reply to Shelby. In it, Jim Albaugh, Boeing defense division president and CEO, writes, “Despite the fact that final assembly [of the KC-30] would be performed by very capable Alabamians, we believe this overall approach presents increased risk in meeting Air Force requirements.” Shelby told the newspaper that Boeing “continues to miss the point of my letter.” He says the risk assertion “is unsupported by historical performance.” And, he urges Boeing to focus its efforts on “delivering its two-year delayed tankers to Italy and Japan.” Boeing officials have dismissed the lateness issue, saying that USAF will benefit from fixes the company has made after production problems discovered during the tanker modifications for the 767s bound for Japan and Italy.