Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Topics: Politics News
If this were an ordinary moment, Massachusetts could just wait around for a new senator the regular way. Currently, the law calls for a special election in the event of a vacancy. The legislature had changed the rule earlier this decade, removing then-Gov. Mitt Romney’s power to appoint a replacement (and overriding his veto), in anticipation of the possibility that Sen. John Kerry would be elected president. But now the state’s other Senate seat — the one that had been held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — is open instead, and there’s a Democrat, Gov. Deval Patrick, in the State House. Worse, the Bay State lost its senior senator at the peak of the legislative battle that will likely define President Obama’s first term.
It’s been said a number of times that Kennedy’s absence has been felt throughout the healthcare fight. This is probably true, but with the vote counts looking the way they do, the Democrats need someone — almost anyone — in that seat almost as badly as they wish they still had Kennedy. Before he died, Kennedy asked the legislature to change the law back to its pre-2004 form, to allow Gov. Patrick to appoint his replacement. The governor and legislative leaders have blessed the idea, so it seems likely to happen, though state Republicans are already talking about a court challenge.
There hasn’t been an open Senate seat in the Democrat-packed state since 1984, so a small mob of ambitious office-holders is jockeying for position. If he gets to make an appointment, Patrick, already struggling, won’t want to bring more trouble on his head by choosing among the many would-be career senators. That means that there are probably two separate sets of contenders for the seat. There are the ones who might be appointed, and the ones who might run for the job come election time. Expect Patrick to try to make sure that no one from group two sneaks into group one.
Possible interim appointees
Possible candidates for a full term
If this were 2004 and John Kerry had just been elected president, we’d be talking about Representatives Ed Markey, Marty Meehan and Barney Frank as the three leading candidates. All three had been waiting for the opening for years, and stockpiling cash. They still have their war chests, and any could still run. But since 2004, Markey and Frank have moved up to powerful positions in the House majority, and Meehan has taken a job as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. (Frank has said he won’t run.) So, for the moment, we’ll count the three of them out. That leaves just about everyone else in the state’s congressional delegation.
You may have noticed that Republicans haven’t made the list. It’s pretty difficult to imagine this most Democratic of states reacting to the death of a beloved, iconic Democrat by voting to replace him with a GOP vote. Compounding the state’s basic hostility to their party in federal elections is the far more attractive prospect for Republicans of challenging the weakened Gov. Patrick in 2010. Still, a few candidates have been mentioned.
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.