Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The Democratic National Committee is trying again to get federal election authorities to look into whether John McCain is breaking campaign finance laws.
Last fall, his campaign nearly bankrupt, McCain took out a $4 million loan that was secured in part by a promise to take federal matching funds if necessary to help pay it off. Under the terms of the loan, failing to win upcoming primaries might have triggered that clause. He had been declared eligible for the matching funds, which would have limited his spending before the Sept. 1 Republican National Convention to $51 million. But McCain won contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, putting him on the path to the Republican nomination and — more important, from his bank’s point of view — bringing in millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Before the Federal Election Commission actually gave any cash to McCain, his lawyers told the feds he wasn’t going to take the match after all.
But the FEC doesn’t have a quorum right now, and the commission never officially responded to McCain’s notice. Democrats say he can’t withdraw from the matching program unless the FEC agrees to let him out; election lawyers (both Republicans and Democrats) have told me the law is actually a little murky on that question. Since he’s now spent more than $72 million, McCain would be breaking the law if the DNC is right.
Unfortunately for Howard Dean & Co., the formal complaint the DNC filed against McCain is caught in the same limbo as McCain’s request to get out of the public financing system: With no quorum, the FEC can’t act on it. Democrats sued the FEC in April, trying to get a court to order the commission to investigate McCain’s situation anyway. But a U.S. District Court judge threw the suit out, saying the DNC had to wait 120 days before the FEC could conceivably be ordered to do anything with the complaint.
Now that time has run, and the DNC says it’ll file another suit on June 24, the 120th day. “John McCain is breaking the law and doesn’t seem to care,” Dean said in a press release.
But it’s not clear that the Democrats would win even with a quorum — the bipartisan FEC is notorious for dragging its feet on complaints. Chances are the election will have come and gone before the commission does anything about this one.
But that isn’t really the point of the DNC’s complaint, or the lawsuit. John McCain’s name, after all, is on the campaign finance laws he’s being accused of breaking — this whole thing is about chipping away at his “Straight Talk”-ing, reformer image. So even if the judge throws out this lawsuit again, the DNC might still win.
Update: The Republican National Committee thinks this is about politics, too. “Having been thrown out of court just one month ago, the DNC now announces that it will once more file the same meritless lawsuit, again wasting judicial resources for its own political agenda,” RNC counsel Sean Cairncross said in a press release. The GOP will try to have this lawsuit thrown out, as well.
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.