The U.S. Air Force turns 66 today, so here are some amazing photos from its Flickr account.Staff Sgt. Matthew Hanlon, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron air advisor and aerial gunner, scans terrain for possible threats over Logar Province, Afghanistan, during a coalition mission July 29, 2013. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Ben Bloker)
Members of the 191st Air Refueling Squadron conduct air refueling operations with a C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sept. 9, 2013. The 191st ARS routinely supports air operations across the western United States from their home station in Salt Lake City, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Tim Chacon/Released)
Pararescueman Senior Airman Jason Fischman hoists an Army tactical explosive detection dog into a HH-60G Pave Hawk during a joint rescue training scenario June 21, 2013, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. This training was a first for both branches and prepared them for future rescue missions. Fischman is deployed to 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
A U.S. Air Force Airman from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron jumps out of the back of a MH-47 Chinook helicopter at Wynnehaven Beach, Fla., April 9, 2013. The 23rd STS partnered with 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) to conduct personnel recovery training using alternate infiltration and exfiltration techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Callaway)
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — An Air Force C-17 airdrops about 60 Army paratroopers into JBER’s Malemute Drop Zone on April 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Justin Connaher)
Several MC-130E Combat Talon I’s roll down the taxiway for their final sorties on April 15 at Duke Field, Fla. The last five Combat Talons in the Air Force belong to the 919th Special Operations Wing and were retired from service during a ceremony on April 25. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel King Jr.)
Tech. Sgt. Andrew Gravett walks along the top of a C-17 Globemaster III while wearing a safety harness as he does a routine maintenance check of the aircraft June 4, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The first C-17 to enter the Air Force’s inventory arrived at Charleston Air Force Base in June 1993. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. Gravett is a crew chief assigned to the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Sloan)
A U.S. Army UH-60L Blackhawk takes off at Fairfield, Utah, June 20, 2012. The Soldiers are conducting practice jumps in order to prepare for a future exercise. The helicopter is flown by Soldiers of Det. 2, Company C, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Allen Stokes)
Maj. Aaron Lawson jumps from a C-17 Globemaster III Feb. 26, 2013, near Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-Hawaii. The jump was filmed by veteran free-fall cameraman and skydiver cinematographer, Tom Sanders, and will be used in a scene on an upcoming episode of the television show “Hawaii Five-0.” Lawson was given the opportunity to serve as a stunt double for actor Alex O’Loughlin who plays Steve McGarrett on the show and will be featured alongside Marine Corps Staff Sgt. John Phillips, SOCPAC jumper and parachute rigger, performing the free-fall jump. This episode will air April 15 on CBS at 10PM EST. Lawson is a Special Operations Command, Pacific jumper and special tactics officer. (Photo/Tom Sanders)
1st Lt. Drew Parks communicates with a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet supporting Operation Spartan Shield Sept. 11, 2012, in Southwest Asia. Joint terminal attack controllers establish and maintain command and control communications, control air traffic, naval gun fire and provide precision terminal attack guidance of U.S. and coalition close air support. Parks is a joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 82nd Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)
1920s — Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter, made the first mid-air refueling, June 1923, at Rockwell Field. (U.S. Air Force archive photo)
1970s — A U.S. Marine and a U.S. Air Force pararescueman from the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (in wet suit) run for a U.S. Air Force helicopter during an assault on Koh Tang Island to rescue the U.S. Merchant ship Mayaguez and its crew May 15, 1975. (U.S. Air Force archive photo)
Parachutists with the U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Competition Team attempt to set a three-point, 32-way college record during a jump competition Dec. 28, 2011, through Jan. 2, 2012, over Eloy, Ariz. Wings of Blue teams won multiple medals at the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Mike Love)
An Alaska Air National Guard pararescueman performs a high-altitude jump from a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules during a training mission June 23, 2011, above Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jack Sanders)
A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan, on Dec. 22, 2012. The F-16 Fighting Falcon deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., received fuel to conduct missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The KC-135 Stratotanker is from the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. (US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Reed)
Staff Sgt. Ashley Davin low crawls through the mud in Amesbury, Mass., Aug. 11, 2012. Davin was participating in the Spartan Race, testing her strength, endurance and resilience against a course of challenging obstacles. Davin is assigned to the 102nd Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jeremy Bowcock)
Master Sgt. Michael Atkins of the 48th Rescue Squadron is lowered to the water by Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Price, 563rd Rescue Group superintendent, to rescue an injured survivor during Exercise Resolute Angel. The exercise, hosted by Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, was conducted in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Heather Cabral)
U.S. Air Force Academy cadets with the Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Competition Team perform at the U.S. Parachuting Association’s national championships Nov. 3, 2011, in Eloy, Ariz. The “Air Force Intrepid” competition team took first place in the four-person intermediate free-flying event. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."