Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
A new report from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) looks at the pervasiveness of former lobbyists now working in congressional staff positions. The number of former lobbyists in Congress has more than doubled between the last Congress and the current one, with a significant partisan skew. In the current 112th Congress, 79 former lobbyists work for Republicans while 48 for Democrats; during the Democratic-led 111th Congress (which ran from 2009-2010), 33 worked for Democrats, while 27 worked for Republicans.
The report, titled “From Hired Guns to Hired Hands: ‘Reverse Revolvers’ in the 111th and 112th Congresses,” is available in full here and has a number of noteworthy takeaways:
What does this all mean? As CRP is careful to note, there are numerous reasons why lobbyists might take congressional staffer jobs. “For some people,” the report states, “working in government is exciting, fulfilling work, where the psychic rewards make up for the smaller paycheck. In other cases, people may have lost lobbying jobs due to the poor economy and find the Hill to be a place where their expertise and skills are highly valued.” However, the K Street/Congress revolving door could well spin into concerning territory, as the report concludes:
It may, plausibly, be the case that these individuals are able to keep the wishes of their former clients separate from the wishes of the constituents their bosses represent. But it may also be the case that these former lobbyists are now in the position to exercise considerable sway over everything from policy outcomes to government contract decisions and anti-trust decisions. Particularly where the issues are complicated and do not drive significant constituent interest, former clients of ex-lobbyists now working in Congress could be well placed to reap the rewards of enhanced access and deeper connections into government’s legislative branch.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.