Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
An enormous quantity of pixels has been wasted in the wake of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Thursday announcement that he is abandoning negotiations on a debt ceiling deal with the White House. Cantor’s explanation that he is frustrated at Democratic insistence that “tax hikes” be part of any long-term deficit reduction deal has inspired an impressive outburst of blogospheric game theorizing.
One popular analysis: There’s a split in the Republican camp! Speaker of the House John Boehner knows that revenue increases have to be included in any deal, and Cantor wants to avoid any taint of any such heresy. And then, once the deal is done, Cantor will lead a coup to depose the apostate.
Or maybe, by leaving, Cantor is giving cover to Boehner to do just such a deal! By withdrawing now, he and the other GOP hard-liners who will refuse to vote for lifting the debt ceiling under any circumstances will maintain their purity while Boehner cobbles together enough votes from Democrats and relatively sane Republicans to get a deal passed.
Well, political bloggers have to write about something, and the debt ceiling is the biggest game in town, but really, among all the the posturing and finger-pointing and blame-game spin and counterspin, what have we learned today that we didn’t already know? Democrats want revenue increases as part of any long-term deficit-reduction deal, and Republicans refuse to consider any such thing, no how, no way, not even if hell freezes over with every GOP representative and senator stuck neck-deep in the ice with brimstone down on their heads.
Isn’t this where we started? Hasn’t Republican intransigence on revenue increases been assumed from the beginning? Hasn’t the Democratic side, led by Vice President Joe Biden, consistently held firm on the totally understandable position that a deal requires concessions by both sides?
My takeaway from today’s news is that Democrats are sticking to their position — let’s make a deal – while Republicans are remaining firm on theirs: give us everything we want or we kill the hostage.
If Democrats maintain their resolve, the Republican position is not sustainable. This hostage can’t be killed. Wall Street and the business community are a lot less worried about revenue increases than they are about the consequences of a debt default. The closer the deadline for a deal comes, the more nervous they are going to get. Eric Cantor can throw all the hissy fits he wants, but he’s not going to change that calculus.
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.