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Presidential Photo Ops

President Obama recently tried to deflect criticism of inaction over the border crisis by claiming: “I’m not interested in photo ops.” It was a peculiar statement from this most media-savvy of statesman. Here’s a look at presidential photo ops, BHO-style.
Uploaded: Jul. 14, 2014


Oktoberfest 2014
Sep. 23, 2014
The 181st Oktoberfest celebration got underway in Munich over the weekend, drawing tens of thousands of attendees for the start of the festival celebrating Bavarian culture with eating, dancing, colorful clothing, much merriment – and lots and lots and lots of beer. Here’s a look.
Celebrated each year beginning in September, Munich’s Oktoberfest — billed as the largest in the world — is famous for its sprawling beer halls crowded with revelers and bustling, carnival-like atmosphere offering up a wide range of entertainment for all ages.
The main attraction of Oktoberfest is, of course, the beer, handed out by the thousands in tall frosty mugs to the thirsty throngs.
Though many smaller localized Oktoberfest celebrations take place around the world, the Munich event is where it all began. Pictured, revelers fill one of the main beer halls on opening day.
More than six million people attended last year’s event, with crowds this year expected to exceed that mark. Pictured, an overhead view of the festival grounds in Munich.
Munich mayor Deiter Reiter taps the traditional first keg on opening day.
Reiter (right) hoists a stein with Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer.
Throughout the two-week festival, many attendees wear traditional Bavarian attire honoring the history of the event and Bavarian culture alongside those who arrive in more modern attire.
Some of Oktoberfest’s core events harken back to and celebrate Bavarian culture. The Parade of Costumes and Riflemen is a traditional part of the opening weekend ceremonies.
Gingerbread treats are another traditional part of Oktoberfest's many culinary attractions.
A high-carb welcome awaits!
BRING ON THE BEER!: First-weekend festgoers jam one of the event's numerous beer halls.
Spirits are high on opening day.
A tall cool one.
At hundreds of individual tables, the drinking and celebration takes on a more intimate scale.
Oktoberfest's iconic severs, clad in traditional dirndl dresses, haul handfuls (and then some) of beer to eager and very thirsty customers.
An Oktoberfest-sized pretzel for enterprising eaters.
Roasted chicken known as "Bavarian Hendl" is a favorite dish at Oktoberfest.
Servers haul the hendl to the hungry masses.
SEPTEMBER STYLE: Some more traditional Bavarian attire spotted on opening weekend.
ALONG FOR THE RIDE: Oktoberfest offers an amusement park-sized selection of rides and attractions — though it's probably best not to mix beer with fast-spinning entertainment.
Grabbing a selfie on the main fairground.
Bright lights, big city — and a little blurred vision?
A tired festgoer rests up for another round.
Cartoon of the Day
Sep. 23, 2014
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Middle East Journal
Sep. 23, 2014
National Review contributor Jillian Kay Melchior is traveling in the Middle East reporting on current events including the ongoing refugee crisis in Iraq. Here’s a look at some of the images she's posted of her trip at her Instagram account @jilliankaym.
“Around 12,000 Syrian refugees live in tents at the Kawergosh Refugee Camp in Iraq. In the winter, fires sometimes start, a great fear of the people who love here. Though this camp has been OK, another nearby saw a fire that killed a woman and her children.”
"A Syrian woman at Kawergosh Refugee Camp in Iraq."
“Today, I interviewed this 19-year-old Yazidi woman who escaped ISIS after being held captive for nearly a month. Totally heart-wrenching. Look for my story on her soon.”
“A Syrian child at Kawergosh Refugee Camp in Iraq”
“Two young Christian refugee women”
“Kids at a Christian refugee center at a church in Ainkawa, Iraq”
“One of the littlest Syrian refugees and me”
“A priest originally from Baghdad hosts a Mar Elia's Got Talent pageant distract the Christian refugees from their suffering. The priest himself has survived being shot, as well as several explosions around his previous Baghdad church, which had lost 80% of its membership to war, violence, displacement and death”
“To distract the distraught Christian refugees Mar Elia church in Ainkawa, their priest created a "Mar Elia's Got Talent" show. It's immensely popular among the 20+ families camping out in the church yard”
“This evening, the church service in Ainkawa, Iraq, was so packed people stood outside the doors”
“A young woman prays after the service at a Chaldean church in Ainkawa, Iraq”
“Praying in an Iraqi church”
“This 18-year-old Syrian boy borrowed some money from his brother to start a small clothing shop at Kawergosh Refugee Camp in Iraq. Today, he says, his little business is doing pretty well!”
“Boys smoking hookah in the parking lot of a park. Under Saddam Hussein, a prison was built on this land. It was a place of terrible memories for many Kurds, my friend says, so recently they built a park there to reclaim it.”
“Two Christian refugee boys play near the churchyard tents where their families are living”
“A statue of Mary in Ainkawa, Iraq”
“A painting at an art gallery in Erbil, Iraq”
“A mosque in downtown Erbil, Kurdistan (Iraq)”
“Kawergosh, a refugee camp for Syrians, popped up around existing homes in a village near Erbil. This one had a cool painting on the side”
“Refugees from ISIS are sleeping in the first three floors of this structure”
“In the Kurdish part of Iraq, many cars have bumper stickers featuring the Stars and Stripes”
“Neatly bundled trash on the road to Dohuk”
“Seriously, I can't get over how much this part of Iraq looks like the Wyoming prairie”
"Blue Mosque, #Istanbul"
“Two Peshmerga troops at a base in Kurdish Iraq”
“Kurdish troops at the military base. (Don't worry, guys-- despite the heavy equipment, we were at a well-fortified location away from the front line, and I'm keeping safe.)”
“An ISIS mortar, post-U.S. airstrike, rests at Kurdish base. "You did this! Thanks!" one Peshmerga soldier jokes after learning I am American.”
“A kid carrying a Kurdish flag decorated the wall of a school in Makhmour”
“A man and his son stand in Makhmour, a town capture by ISIS, then reclaimed by Kurdish forces covered by U.S. air strikes. Today, about half the resident have returned.”
“This man slept through ISIS's siege of his city, awakening to find it occupied. He talked his way out of trouble, uneasily prayed at the mosque with the militants, then escaped during he Kurdish counter-attack that reclaimed the city. He was a crazy character, calling me "little sister!" in broken English and "La Mujer" in broken, random Spanish…”“An ISIS mortar, post-U.S. airstrike, rests at Kurdish base. "You did this! Thanks!" one Peshmerga soldier jokes after learning I am American.”
“Spires to the sun mark the Yazidi holy site in Lalesh”
“Another Yazidi sun spire in Lalesh.”
“Inside the Yazidi temple in Lalesh, worshipped tie knots in colorful silk as they make wishes. Others untie the knots later, which they say they believe releases them to heaven.”
“Two men sit in the courtyard of Lalesh, the most holy site for Yazidis. I think they're the rough equivalent of monks, but I could be wrong.”
“Some families that escaped ISIS have taken refuge in unfinished buildings with no running water”
“Displaced Iraqi Christians nap in a room of a church on Ankawa.”
“Two displaced Iraqi women”
“A Yazidi family that escaped after 8 days trapped on Mount Sinjar by ISIS. The husband has a tattoo of a heart with his wife's name written inside.”
“An Iraqi Christian man poses with his sketches of Christ, which decorate the doorframe of a church in Erbil. Refugees camp nearby.”
“Children displaced by ISIS”
“This little Yazidi girl, Claudia, 4, fled ISIS barefoot with her family, spending 8 days trapped on Mount Sinjar. You can't see it well in this photo, but her toenails are shattered and missing. She was silent during my visit, but her dad, pictured in the previous photo, says she sometimes asks whether ISIS is coming back to kill them all.”
“I spent some time this afternoon talking to this family of Iraqi Christians. The oldest sister just wants health and security for her children, including the one pictured. The younger sister wants to be a lawyer but says there are no opportunities for her in Iraq. The brother bemoaned the loss of his barbershop back home.”
“A woman described the difficulty of running from ISIS with her elderly mother-in-law, pictured, in tow.”
“Elderly Iraqi refugee women pray inside a church in Ankawa”
“A church yard in Ankawa holds tents for Christians who fled ISIS”
“Erbil, City Center”
“The citadel of Arbil, which is reportedly the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world. Its earliest historical mention dates to 2300 BC.”
“Taskim Square, #Istanbul”
“Me at the Blue Mosque #Istanbul”
“Blue Mosque, #Istanbul”
“The Hagia Sophia, #Istanbul”
“Inside the Hagia Sophia, #Istanbul”
“Men in Istanbul playing backgammon near some sweet graffiti”
“One last piece of #Istanbul graffiti”
“A Cuban cigar, mint tea and a reporter's notebook stuffed with good content — not a bad way to end an evening.”
Today in History: John Paul Jones, Defiant
Sep. 23, 2014
SEPTEMBER 23, 1779: John Paul Jones defeats two British ships off the coast of England during the Revolutionary War. Jones’s ship Bonhomme Richard had suffered extensive damage when he first attacked, but when one of the British commanders asked him to strike his colors, Jones replied: “I have not yet begun to fight.” Three hours later he had turned the tide of the battle.
1952: Republican vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon, seeking to save his place on the ticket with Eisenhower, takes to the airwaves in a half-hour defense against accusations of financial improprieties in his campaign. The address becomes known as the “Checkers speech” when Nixon vows to keep one gift he had received: his black-and-white dog.
1846: German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovers a new planet he names Neptune. The existence of an eighth planet from the sun had been postulated by French astronomers due to disturbances in Uranus’s orbit. Named for the Roman god of the sea, the blue gas giant was not visited by an Earth-based probe until Voyager 2 flew by in 1989.
SEPTEMBER 22, 1776: Continental Army captain Nathan Hale is executed by the British, and has some famous last words at the gallows. Hale had slipped into Long Island disguised as a Dutch schoolmaster to monitor British troop movements before being captured. According to folk legend, Hale uttered the defiant words: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
1980: Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invades Iran in a dispute over territorial rights to the oil-rich region, igniting the brutal and bloody eight-year Iran-Iraq War. An estimated 500,000 people are killed on both sides during a largely stalemated conflict that sees the use of chemical weapons. Iraqi campaigns against local Kurds also kill another 50,000 to 100,000.
1964: Fidder on the Roof debuts on Broadway. Adapted from Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem, Fiddler tells the tale of a pious dairyman in a small village in Tsarist Russia who clings to tradition in the face of his strong-willed children and the threat of a pogrom. Starring Zero Mostel, the musical wins nine Tony Awards and runs for more than 3,000 performances.
1927: Boxer Jack Dempsey loses the chance to regain his heavyweight boxing title after an infamous “Long Count.” Dempsey — who first won the title in 1919 and lost it to Gene Tunney in 1926 — failed to go to a neutral corner for five crucial seconds after knocking Tunney down in a rematch, allowing Tunney time to (barely) recover during the delayed 10-count and go on to win the bout.
SEPTEMBER 19, 1995: The New York Times and Washington post publish the so-called “Unabomber manifesto,” a lengthy 35,000-word tract written by a shadowy figure who claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks that had killed three people and injured 23 others over a span of 17 years. Former professor Ted Kaczynski is eventually identified as the author and arrested.
1970: The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuts on CBS. Starring Dick van Dyke Show veteran Moore, the sitcom follows the life of a spirited single woman working as a television news producer in Minneapolis. Over sevens seasons, Moore’s groundbreaking portrayal of an independent career woman garners wide critical acclaim and high ratings.
1777: British General John Burgoynes attacks Colonial General Horatio Gates at the First Battle of Saratoga. During the fighting, Brigadier General Benedict Arnold (inset) forcefully argues with Gates to send his troops in a counter-attack against the British column, a move which fails to turn the tide. Afterwards, Gates relieves Arnold as his second in command, feeding the young officer’s resentment.
SEPTEMBER 18, 1850: Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act, a bid to lessen tensions between slave and free states that were being exacerbated by a growing number of slave escapes. The act required the arrest of escaped slaves and their return to lawful owners, and is forcefully denounced by abolitionists as a “Bloodhound Law” that implicates them in the immoral institution of slavery.
1960: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro arrives in New York City to attend the United Nations general assembly, where the following week he delivers a fiery, four-hour tirade accusing the United States of aggressive imperialism. Three months after Castro’s tumultuous junket the U.S. breaks all diplomatic relations with Cuba, a prelude to the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.
1793: President George Washington lays the ceremonial cornerstone of the United States capitol building, future home of the House of Representatives and Senate. Congress moved into the north wing in 1800, but was forced to find temporary quarters after British troops burned the capitol and White House during the War of 1812; a rainstorm saved both from total destruction.
SEPTEMBER 17, 1862: General Robert E. Lee’s bold invasion of the north grinds to a halt at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland as Union and Confederate forces maul each other in the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Union General George McClellan bends but does not break Lee’s lines, and the stalemate ends with nearly 4,000 dead and almost 20,000 more injured.
1978: Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, the first peace treaty between the Jewish state and an Arab neighbor. Both men would receive the Nobel Peace prize, but Egypt was expelled from the Arab league the following year, and in 1981 Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists in retaliation for the treaty.
1976: NASA unveils the first space shuttle, Enterprise, an important milestone in the agency’s decade-long, $10-billion program to create a reusable low-Earth orbit vehicle. Though Enterprise would never fly in space, it was the first to test the design’s ability to glide back to Earth, proving the viability of aerodynamics that had been compared to a “flying brick.”
1972: The long-running series M*A*S*H debuts on CBS. An adaptation of Robert Altman’s acclaimed 1970 counterculture film, the show follows the lives of an Army medical facility operating near the front lines in Korea. Through eleven seasons mixing drama and comedy the show amasses numerous critical accolades, and its final episode in February 1983 draws a then-record 125 million viewers.
1916: German aviator Manfred baron von Richthofen — soon to be known as the “Red Baron” — shoots down his first enemy plane over the Western front during WWI. As commander of Fighter Wing 1 — dubbed “Richthofen’s Flying Circus” for its fancifully painted aircraft — Richtofen became the first fighter ace, eventually tallying 80 victories before being killed near Amiens in 1918.
SEPTEMBER 16, 1620: The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, England, bearing 102 religious pilgrims and entrepreneurs to the New World where they would found the first permanent English colony in America. The ship intended to land in what was then called Virginia, but was blown north and after 66 days came ashore in Massachusetts. The Plymouth colony was established the day after Christmas.
1893: The Cherokee Strip Land Run opens some 8.1 million acres in the Oklahoma territory to settlers. One of seven separate land runs held in the region, the Cherokee run is the largest on history, attracting more than 100,000 settlers. The final run takes place in 1895, and in 1907 Oklahoma becomes the 46th state.
1810: Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issues the Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) calling for an end to three centuries of Spanish colonial rule over Mexico. Hidalgo attracts thousands to a populist peasant army that tries and fails to overthrow the government; Hidalgo is later executed. In the end, it is royalists of Spanish descent who engineer Mexico’s independence in 1821.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1950: General Douglas MacArthur stages a daring amphibious landing at Inchon and turns the tide of the Korean War. MacArthur’s plan was controversial given Inchon’s uniquely difficult geography, but the landing force — spearheaded by the First Marine Division — smashes ashore and drives through stubborn enemy resistance; two weeks later they would retake Seoul.
1935: A series of edicts known as the Nuremberg Laws deprive Jews of German citizenship and any functional role in German society, and also forbid marriages between Jews and Germans. They become the cornerstone for Nazi Germany’s racial laws that will accelerate the persecution of Jews and lead eventually to the Holocaust.
1916: The tank makes its battlefield debut at Flers-Courcelette. The Franco-British operation, part of the Somme offensive, was intended to break the German lines using massed artillery and infantry, but fails to break through and bogs down in a battle of attrition. The British deploy 49 Mark I tanks, but they are plagued by mechanical problems and difficult terrain, and prove indecisive.
SEPTEMBER 12, 1974: Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is overthrown in a military coup. Selassie had ascended to emperor of the African nation in 1930, and led the resistance to Italy’s invasion shortly before WWII. He later tried to modernize the country’s economy while solidifying his control, and helped found the Organization of African Unity. But famine and politician stagnation would doom his rule.
1959: The classic Western series Bonanza debuts on NBC, chronicling the adventures of the Cartwright family in Nevada. Starring Lorne Greene as the family patriarch caring for three sons, episodes ranged from drama to broad comedy and also touched on environmental issues. Airing for 14 seasons, it is among the longest-running series in TV history.
1954: The family television show Lassie debuts on CBS. The tale of a long-haired collie that looks after a farm family — and in particular the trouble-prone pair of young boys — the show airs for 17 seasons, one of the longest run in television history, with Campbell’s Soup along as sponsor the whole way.
1953: John Kennedy marries Jacqueline Bouvier, whom he had courted while still serving in the House of Representatives and during a whirlwind Senate campaign. Following Kennedy’s election as the 35th president, the young couple became political celebrities of the so-called “Camelot” White House.
SEPTMEBER 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four commercial airliners, flying two into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, killing more than 3,000 Americans. A fourth plane is brought down apparently by passenger action in Pennsylvania. The attacks lead to a new era of security procedures and an overseas campaign against Islamic terrorists.
1985: Cincinnati Reds player-manager Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s Major-League hit record of 4,129 in a game against the San Diego Padres, receiving a seven-minute standing ovation from a hometown crowd. “Charlie Hustle” would retire as a player the following year, but in 1989 was banned from baseball for gambling on Reds games.
1921: Silent-film star Fatty Arbuckle is arrested for the rape and murder of aspiring actress Virginia Rappe. A former star in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops films, the heavy-set Arbuckle protested his innocence in the Rappe case but was quickly condemned and his films boycotted. After two mistrials, a third jury’s final not-guilty verdict and apology comes too late to save his career.
1777: Advancing under a dense fog, British Generals William Howe and Charles Cornwallis lead 18,000 redcoats in a full-scale attack on General George Washington’s troops at Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Outnumbered and facing encirclement, Washington orders a retreat, and Congress is forced to flee British troops as they occupy Philadelphia.
1955: The Western series Gunsmoke premieres on CBS. Adapted from the radio serial, Gunsmoke stars James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, chief lawman of the frontier town of Dodge City, Kan. The show runs for a half-hour for its first four years before switching to a one-hour format, amassing 635 episodes over 20 years, the longest-running primetime show in history.
1813: Captain Oliver Hazard Perry defeats a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry had his flagship Lawrence all but sunk beneath him, but after transferring to the Niagra he sailed directly into the British line, firing broadsides at close range. After the victory he cabled President Harrison: “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
1924: The infamous criminal duo Nathan Leopold (at right) and Richard Loeb — better known as Leopold & Loeb — are sentenced to life in prison for the “thrill-kill” kidnapping and murder of Bobbie Franks, avoiding execution thanks to defense attorney Clarence Darrow. The two college-educated men had tried to ransom Franks for $10,000, but were caught after his partially-buried body was discovered.
1919: Nearly a year after the end of WWI, General John J. Pershing leads a victory parade down New York City’s Fifth Avenue, with some 25,000 soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force’s First Division marched in full combat gear. A week later he led the same troops in a march in Washington.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1976: Mao Tse-tung, the Communist leader and founder of the People’s Republic of China, dies in Beijing at 82. Mao and the Communists took control of the massive nation in 1949 after a long civil war and consolidated their control through the Great Leap Forward, a failed economic initiative in 1958, and the tumultuous Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Mao remains a revered figure.
1971: Prisoners at the overcrowded Attica Correctional Facility in Buffalo, N.Y., seize control of much of the maximum-security prison and take 39 guards and prison workers hostage. Negotiators agree to improved living conditions in the prison, but when the rioters demand amnesty and passage to another country, guards storm the facility, killing 29 inmates and 10 hostages.
1919: A large part of the Boston police force goes on strike over opposition to their attempts at unionization, and the city quickly endures a spike in robbery and rioting. As Mayor Andrew Peters works to break the strike, Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge sends in the state militia to restore order, and his actions help catapult him to national office on the 1920 Republican ticket.
1850: California is admitted as the 31st state two years after the territory became a magnet in the 1848 gold rush, a rush-to-quick-riches ethos that would come to shape the state’s image. Composed of former Mexican territory, the state later trades its excavation reputation for other influential industries, led by the entertainment business in Los Angeles and the high-tech sector in San Francisco.
1966: Star Trek debuts on NBC. The groundbreaking science-fiction series from creator Gene Roddenberry presents an optimistic vision of humanity’s future, exploring many classic sci-fi themes alongside episodes inspired by the Cold War. The show runs for three seasons, making major stars of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and goes on to become a pop-culture institution.
1998: St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire hits his 62nd home run, breaking Roger Maris’s long-standing single-season record and just edging out Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa. McGwire would end the season with 70 home runs, a record that stood for three years. He later faced allegations of using performance-enhancing supplements.
1974: One month after being sworn in as his replacement, President Gerald Ford grants an unconditional pardon to former President Richard Nixon, exempting him from indictment and trial for all federal crimes that he “committed or may have committed or taken part in” in connection with the Watergate scandal. Ford signs the order during an Oval Office press conference.
1941: Advancing German and Finnish forces close the last road into Leningrad, beginning a siege that will last 872 days. More than 650,000 residents would die in 1942 alone from starvation, exposure, and German artillery; the final death toll would grow to an estimated 1.5 million. After resupply lines begin to reach the city, the Red Army breaks the siege in January 1944.
1664: Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrenders the city of New Amsterdam, part of the New Netherland colony on the southern tip of modern-day Manhattan, to an English naval squadron under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls. The city is renamed New York in honor of the Duke of York. In 1686 the city became the first to receive a royal charter.
SEPTEMBER 5, 1972: Eight terrorists with the Palestinian group Black September break into the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, killing two Israeli athletes and taking nine others hostage. The next day five of the terrorists and all the hostages are killed during an attempted rescue operation at the Munich airport; the remaining three are later released and hunted down by Israeli Mossad agents.
1877: Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is killed at Fort Robinson, Neb., in a scuffle with a soldiers, dying just four months after his surrender to U.S. General Crook and after many years battling the federal government over its treatment of the Lakota peoples. A year earlier, Crazy Horse had led a war party to a stunning victory over General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
1836: Sam Houston is elected the first president of the Republic of Texas. After American settlers declared their independence from Mexico, Houston led a force of Texans against General Santa Anna in revenge for the sacking of the Alamo and forced him to relinquish the territory. He later supported annexation by the U.S. but was removed from office when he refused to join the Confederacy.
SEPTEMBER 4, 1886: The legendary Chiricahua Apache warrior Goyathlay — better known as Geronimo — surrenders after a lengthy pursuit by the U.S. Army. Geronimo had battled both Mexican and American forces for more than three decades, and his surrender was the last by a notable Indian warrior. He dies on an Oklahoma reservation in 1909.
SEPTEMBER 3, 1783: The Treaty of Paris formally ends the conflict between Great Britain and its former colonies, now recognized as the United States of America. During the negotiations Benjamin Franklin pressed to take possession of the province of Quebec and nearly succeeded, but settled instead for fishing rights off the Grand Banks.
1976: NASA’s Viking 2 probe lands in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars, six weeks after its sister-ship touched down, a double triumph for the space agency in the interim between the Apollo and space shuttle programs. Viking 2 would operate on the surface for more than four years, searching for — but never quite verifying — evidence of life on the Red Planet.
1943: The allied invasion of Italy begins with the main landing force hitting the beaches at Salerno as British General Bernard Montgomery drives north from Messina. Italian resistance quickly collapses as allied troops battle German Army forces in what would become a slow and brutal campaign up the peninsula.
SEPTEMBER 2, 1945: Japan formally surrenders onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, bringing a final end to the fighting in World War II. Presiding over the ceremony was General Douglas MacArthur, who was set to lead the invasion of Japan — dubbed “Operation Olympic” — before the nation capitulated after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1944: Navy Lieutenant — and future 41st President of the United States — George H.W. Bush completes a bombing mission over the Pacific island of Chichijima after his Grumman Avenger is hit by antiaircraft fire. Bush and another crewman bail out and are later rescued by the submarine USS Finback.
1666: A small fire at the king’s baker in Pudding Lane near the London Bridge grows into the Great Fire of London, a massive conflagration that destroys a large part of the city over the next three days, including more than 13,000 homes and the original St. Paul’s Cathedral.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1985: Oceanographer Robert Ballard locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic under 13,000 feet of water 400 miles east of Newfoundland, the first time the ill-fated vessel had been seen since since it went down in 1912. Dreams of raising the mighty ship were dashed, however, when she was found to be split in two, confirming eyewitness reports from the night of the sinking.
1983: Soviet jet fighters shoot down a Korean Airlines jet that had strayed into Russian airspace, killing all 269 on board. At a session of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick plays audiotapes of the fighter pilot talking with his controllers, forcing the Soviets to admit their guilt in a major Cold War showdown.
1939: Germany launches a massive invasion of Poland, the first battle in what would grow into World War II. Hitler had secured a non-aggression pact with Russia just days before the invasion, which divided Poland between the two nations. Outgunned, outnumbered, and facing the terrible new blitzkrieg war machine, Poland would surrender in just one month.
1864: General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union army smashes through the defenses of Atlanta, seizing the city and forcing the surrender of Confederate forces. Before setting off on his pivotal March to the Sea in November, Sherman orders Atlanta’s military assets destroyed, and the resulting fire burns large swaths of the city.
People's Climate March
Sep. 22, 2014
Environmental activists in major cities around the world hit the streets this weekend to demand action on global warming ahead of the upcoming United Nations summit. Here’s a look at some of the sights, sounds, signs, celebrities, and other detritus from Sunday’s shindig.
An estimated 300,000 activists took part in the “People’s Climate March” in New York City, prompting organizers to deem it the largest climate-change demonstration in history. Pictured, newly appointed U.N. “Messenger of Peace” and Hollywood celebrity Leonardo di Caprio — in disguise behind the beret and sunglasses — dropped by the lend some 1%-er support.
Later in the march, Leo was still looking for that Academy Award that has so far eluded him.
Avengers actor Mark Ruffalo joined the parade — sans green Hulk paint but with plenty of fanboys in tow. But don’t make an environmentalist angry. You would’t like him when he’s angry.
Aging rocker Sting hit the streets in front of Radio City Music Hall, and was intermittently recognized.
Monkey See, Monkey Do: Gorilla researcher Jane Goodall joins climate-alarmism millionaire Al Gore and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
Kennedy clan member Robert Kennedy Jr. grabbed a microphone from this PJTV correspondent and later advocated the jailing of climate-change deniers.
Many marchers hit the streets in regular attire, but the crowd included more than it's share of colorful costumes. Pictured, we think it’s the sandals that really sell this outfit.
Some marchers seemed either embarassed to be seen or were adopting terrorist chic?
We’re thinking he’s getting some inaccurate surface temperature readings underneath that helmet; might skew the trendline.
Things must be cooling off in Manhattan these days.
Marchers re-charge their karmic batteries and get in tune with Gaia before hitting the streets.
In a day of odd scenes, this one may have been the oddest. Quipped @OrwellForks: “The ScienceTM is settled!”
SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Left-wing marchers always bring out a colorful cast of characters and signage. Here’s a sampling of placards from the march in New York City and a handful from elsewhere around the ever-“warming” world.
Because those trees and flowers are busy consuming carbon dioxide and emitting the air you breathe.
The science (fiction) is settled.
“#NotACult!” (Adam Baldwin, @AdamBaldwin)
“Hula hoop hippie thinks CO2 emitters are raping our mother” (Tom Nelson, @tan123)
Also: Largest provider of the freedom you’re partaking in on a fine Sunday afternoon. (Image via Michelle Malkin, @michellemalkin)
Left-wing politics are never far from the surface. (Image via Linda Sarsour, @lsarsour)
The real "climate" agenda.
"I thought this was about climate" (Kyle Underwood, @wx8)
The Red Menace.
Don’t Burn Gas — Pass Gas. (Image via Angie Normandale, @AngieNormandale)
Sassing Mother Nature?
Got CityBike?
Because you need a hobby?
Progeny of the Guardians of the PC Galaxy
It’s raining men! (Image via Josh Smith, @ThisIsJoshSmith)
Is that a dinosaur or a Transformer?
Another witty admonition. (Image via Paul B. Raushenbush, @raushenbush)
OK, then.
GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT: Concern for the environment didn’t stop some of the marchers from dirtying up the parade route, as some irked Twitter users observed. Noted @chelsea_elisa: “Litter left by the #PeopleClimateMarch. Their love for the earth is so real, they couldn't even use a trash can.”
“Pic of Trash at #climatemarch SMH freydkin: Somehow this doesn't seem too green to me #trashoverload #climatemarch” (VK, @vickikellar)
“The #ClimateMarch is trashing & polluting NYC. Reusable food containers? None” (Climate News, @ClimateNewsCA)
The slaughter of trees to make single-use environmental activist signs continues unabated. (Image via Alexander the Great, @EnblockGarand)
“Climate litter at parade gathering! #peoplesclimatemarch #ClimateHope #mothergaia “ (Dahlhalla, @dahlhalla)
(Image via Oliver Darcy, @oliverdarcy)
(Image via Oliver Darcy, @oliverdarcy)
Don’t worry, we’re not blaming you.
USAF's 65th Aggressor Squadron
Sep. 19, 2014
The Pentagon budget axe is falling on a unique Air Force squadron, one of only three that the flying force uses to train pilots in realistic dogfights simulating enemy aircraft. Here’s a look at the 65th Aggressor Squadron and its F-15 fighters.
The Pentagon has announced it will stand down the 65th Aggressor Squadron (65th AGRS) later this month. Stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, the 65th AGRS is one of only three Aggressor squadrons in the Air Force; the others are the 64th AGRS, also at Nellis, and the 18th AGRS at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
Though the Air Force will retain two operational Aggressor squadrons, the 65th AGRS is the only one that flies the F-15 Eagle; the other units fly mainly F-16 Falcons. Pictured, two 65th AGRS F-15s over the Nellis range. (Photo: Master Sergeant Scott Reed)
Aggressor squadrons specialize in simulating the tactics, tendencies, and performance of enemy aircraft during realistic air-combat training. It’s their job to behave like the real enemy aircraft pilots could face when they deploy. (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
Aggressor pilots can simulate a range of enemy aircraft and different combat scenarios during training, mimicking not only their speed and maneuverability but how they operate individually and in groups during dogfights and other missions. (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
While the Aggressor squadron aircraft are painted in distinctive color schemes, the key to accurately simulating an enemy fighter is the skill of the pilot in knowing how the enemy thinks and behaves and the limits of their aircraft and weapons. (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
As one Aggressor pilot tells the military-news blog Foxtrot Alpha: “Being a really realistic bad guy is an art form not a science.” (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
65th AGRS commander Lieutenant Colonel Greg Wintil, tells the Las Vegas Review Journal: “The tougher the sparring partner you are … the tougher that practice team is, the better the real team is when they go out and fight in combat. It’s an honor to be able to go out and train and get our forces ready for combat because we may be the last guys they see before they go out the door and fight.”
Part of Air Combat Command, the Aggressor squadrons at Nellis put fellow Air Force pilots and visiting pilots from friendly nations through their paces during the massive annual Red Flag exercises. (Photo: Airman First Class Matthew Bruch)
Held at various times each year, Red Flag see dozens of aircraft launch and recover several times each day conducting extended and detailed training over the Nevada desert. (Photo: Airman First Class Matthew Bruch)
When not training other Air Force fighter pilots, Aggressor squadrons work with the Air Force’s Fighter Weapons School testing and evaluating new tactics and weapons systems. The Aggressor squadrons host special air-combat exercises at their home base and also travel to other bases. (Photo: Technical Sergeant Michael R. Holzworth)
The Air Force’s modern Aggressor program was established in 1972 in response to the unexpectedly high air-combat losses suffered by fighter pilots during the Vietnam War and the need to improve realistic fighter pilot training. (Photo: Airman First Class Jonathan Snyder)
EAGLE DRIVERS: The F-15 Eagle flown by the 25th AGRS is a combat-proven air superiority and strike aircraft that first entered service in the mid-1970s and is still protecting American interests from bases all around the world.
F-15s are today flying over Iraq and Afghanistan and in air-police operations over the Baltic nations, among many other deployments. Pictured, two F-15s with the 48th Air Expeditionary Group in the skies over Lithuania. (Photo: Airman First Class Dana J. Butler)
The 65th AGRS currently flies 19 F-15 Eagle fighters. After the stand down, six of the squadron’s F-15s will be temporarily transferred to its sister squadron at Nellis to complete upcoming Red Flag events; other aircraft will be transferred to the Air National Guard. (Photo: Master Sergeant Kevin J. Gruenwald)
The stand down of the 65th AGRS will have an impact on training because the F-15 — noticeably larger and more powerful than the F-16 — is uniquely capable of simulating large enemy fighters such as the Russian Su-27 Flanker (pictured), a capable and lethal potential opponent.
As vital as the training the Aggressor squadrons provide is, it does not come cheap, with fuel and squadron operations during training costing around $40,000 per hour. And with other reductions in the size of the Air Force arsenal, cost was a driving reason for the stand down of the 65th AGRS. (Photo: Airman First Class Jonathan Snyder)
Though flown in important training exercises, the 65th AGRS’s F-15s are also aging aircraft, originally built in the 1970s, and the air service is busy preparing to transition to the new F-35 platform, in addition to flying the F-22 Raptors already in its inventory. (Photo: Master Sergeant Scott Reed)
The ramifications of the stand own of the 25th AGRS for the future of Air Force Aggressor training remain to be seen. Foxtrot Alpha writer Tyler Rogoway, for one, shakes his head at the squadron’s demise: “The enemy will sleep safer knowing that 65th AGRS no longer exists.” (Photo: Staff Sergeant William Coleman)
California's King Fire
Sep. 19, 2014
Firefighters in Northern California are battling to get control over a fast-moving forest fire that has quickly grown into the second largest conflagration of the 2014 fire season. Here’s a look at the primordial landscape of the King Fire.
Overnight on Wednesday the fire grew from 27,930 acres to nearly 80,000 acres, prompting California governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in El Dorado County. As of Thursday fire authorities report the blaze was only 5% contained.
Overnight on Wednesday the fire grew from 27,930 acres to nearly 80,000 acres, prompting California governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in El Dorado County.
The King Fire is burning through an area that has been untouched by major forest fires for two decades, which has has created a dense layer of combustible material to fuel the fire.
Some 3,000 people have been evacuated, and authorities were notifying agencies as far away as Lake Tahoe in Nevada to prepare plans for possible evacuations.
By Thursday more than 4,000 firefighters from numerous state and federal agencies, including area correctional facilities, had been assigned to battle the blaze.
The assault has been joined by numerous aircraft that by mid-week had already dropped 210,000 gallons of fire retardant. Pictured, a DC-10 drops red Foscheck fire retardant over the steep terrain.
A spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection tells the Los Angeles Times that the battle against the King Fire is “setting a world record” for use of retardant drops. Pictured, an air tanker drops fire retardant over Pollock Pines.
A helicopter descends to a lake in Pollock Pines to take in water.
The helicopter hovers over the lake to take in thousands of gallons of water. These helicoopters can draw water from natural lakes or land in buiilt-up areas to be loaded by regular firefighting equipment.
The helicopter drops its water over the high forest canopy.
Firefighters set backfires near Fresh Pond to attempt to gain control of the speed and direction of the King Fire.
Firefighters from an area correctional facility monitor a backfire set to try and contain the spread near along Highway 50.
A weary firefighter takes a break along Highway 50, sections of which have been closed due to the encroaching flames.
Smoke rises into the sky above Fresh Pond, Calif.
Firefighters navigate a surreal nighttime fire-lit landscape.
Firefighters record the progress of their work on cel-phone cameras.
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