Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
I thought Biden won last night’s debate because he came off as genuine, passionate, and brimming with conviction. Ryan, by contrast, seemed like a wooden marionette, a kid out of his depth relative to someone who not only knew the facts but lived them.
On taxes, Ryan couldn’t come up with any details about what loopholes he and Romney would close or how their magic arithmetic (giant tax cut for the wealthy plus $2 trillion more for the military than the Joint Chiefs of Staff want) can possibly be paid for without socking it to the middle class.
By contrast, Biden made the case for average working people whose wages have barely risen in 30 years but who are bearing a higher total tax burden (payroll, sales, property, income) on a higher percent of their income than high rollers like Romney — and why the well-off should do more.
On Medicare, Ryan couldn’t explain why his plan wasn’t a voucher program that “saved” money only by shifting the costs on to seniors, who would end up holding the bag as medical costs rose. Biden effectively defended the president’s plan to save Medicare by cutting excessive payments to providers.
Biden also pointed out that Ryan and his allies had tried to privatize Social Security. Score another one for Joe.
On abortion, Ryan had to admit he and Romney would work to prevent women from having the right to choose an abortion if they needed and wanted one. Biden made it clear his religious beliefs about when life began should not, in his view, force anyone who didn’t share them to follow them.
I thought Biden’s closing could have been tougher, drawing a sharper contrast between the Romney-Ryan “you’re on your own” worldview and the “we’re in it all together” belief that has built America — and which Obama and Biden represent.
But overall it was Biden’s night. He not only trounced Ryan but also, in the process, trounced Romney. Joe Biden is an average Joe solidly grounded in America’s working middle class — nothing pretentious or devious about him — in contrast to the plutocrat who heads the Republican ticket and the billionaires who are backing him.
Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His new movie "Inequality for All" is in Theaters. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.More Robert Reich.
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.