Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
In the grand tradition of politicians getting hoodwinked by parody websites, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was tricked by the military’s answer to The Onion, The Duffel Blog.
The Duffell Blog is a fake military news site, with headlines like “Army Spends $100M On Piece of Equipment That Doesn’t Do Anything,” “DoD Announces Casualty In War on Christmas” and “Syria to Host Iraq War Reenactors.”
But, as Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room reports:
On November 14, 2012, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote to Elizabeth King, the Pentagon’s congressional liaison, with a an unusually credulous query. “I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits,” McConnell wrote in a letter acquired by Danger Room. “I would appreciate your review and response to my constituent’s concerns.”
Um, Guantanamo detainees getting GI Bill benefits? Yes, that’s from the Duffel Blog, as McConnell’s constituent clearly states, complete with the reference URL. Said constituent even notes that he or she can’t find any information about the alleged government payouts to suspected insurgents and terrorists.
From the Duffel Blog‘s post:
DoD Spokesman Wesley Manheim said that it was all a matter of fairness.
“The DoD has been doing everything it can to prevent torture from being used against detainees at GTMO. By allowing the detainees to use the Department of Veterans Affairs, we hope to completely crush their souls with bureaucracy, which to be noted, is completely different from torture. I mean hell, the VA does that to our veterans on a daily basis.”
When pressed as to how the detainees would be able to use the money, Manheim stated, “Mostly through online courses. Probably Phoenix College. Don’t worry, it’s not like they’ll be able to get a REAL degree.”
“The very idea that the U.S. government would extend GI Bill benefits to enemy detainees is a patent absurdity,” Army Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, the Pentagon’s Guantanamo spokesman, told Danger Room.
“The senator’s office had a request from a constituent asking us to inquire about an issue,” a McConnell spokesman said. “Our office forwarded the constituent’s question to the Defense Department.”
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Jillian Rayfield.
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.