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August 5, 2014

There are college football fans, and then there are SEC fans.

Barry Wilmore is the latter — and he also happens to be an astronaut headed for a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station starting this fall. Right in the middle of football season. What's an avid Tennessee Tech fan to do?

The Navy captain, who has logged more than 259 hours in space since joining NASA in 2000, had NASA "arrange to provide the new SEC Network in the space station," reports The Tennessean. Wilmore will watch his beloved conference matchups on the internet.

"I don't watch a lot of sports — my wife might not agree with that — but I do like to watch football, the SEC Game of the Week," Wilmore explained. "I try to catch Tech every chance I get."

Wilmore, 51, walked on as a linebacker at Tennessee Tech, but he recorded a senior season with 143 total tackles — good for an induction into the university's sports hall of fame in 2003. So it's understandable that he might want to keep up with how his Golden Eagles are doing, even if he's stuck watching on a laptop as opposed to a big-screen TV.

The real news, of course, is that Tim Tebow's pre-game coverage could be headed for space. Godspeed, astronauts aboard the ISS. Sarah Eberspacher

5:24 p.m. ET
U.S. Marshals via Getty Images

Esteban Santiago, the man charged in the Jan. 6 shooting at Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, claims he was inspired by the Islamic State, an FBI agent testified Tuesday at Santiago's bond hearing. The 26-year-old Iraq war veteran also told investigators he "chatted online with Islamic extremists" ahead of the shooting, which killed five people in the baggage claim area of the airport's Terminal 2, Reuters reported. It was not immediately clear whether Santiago was inspired by the terrorist group, or if he had connections to it; CNN noted ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Santiago has been charged on three counts connected to the shooting, two of which carry the death penalty. Authorities said Santiago has "admitted to all of the facts with respect to the terrible and tragic events of Jan. 6."

Santiago is being held without bond. His next court appearance is slated for Jan. 30. Becca Stanek

4:39 p.m. ET
U.S. Army via AP, File

On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified military documents and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. After nearly seven years in jail, Manning will be released in May 2017, long before her initial release date of May 2045; she was originally sentenced to 35 years, which The New York Times reported marked "the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction."

Many, including NSA leaker Edward Snowden, have urged Obama to commute Manning, who has twice tried to commit suicide and gone on a hunger strike to fight for gender reassignment surgery. At a press conference Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that while Manning's leaks were "damaging to national security," they were not as "serious" and "dangerous" as those by Snowden, who has also applied for clemency. "Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing," Earnest said. "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange indicated last week that he would agree to be extradited to the U.S. if Obama granted Manning clemency. Assange, who has been hiding out in London at the Ecuadorian embassy, could face the death penalty in the U.S. because of WikiLeaks' role in releasing numerous classified documents. Becca Stanek

4:13 p.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans' timing couldn't be worse when it comes to repealing ObamaCare, at least according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday. The survey found that right now, just as Republicans have passed the first hurdle toward repeal, Obama's signature health care plan is more popular than ever among Americans.

Forty-five percent of Americans now say the Affordable Care Act is "a good idea," which NBC News noted is "the highest percentage here since the NBC/WSJ poll began asking the question in April 2009." Conversely, 41 percent of Americans say the health care law is "a bad idea."

Even though that's still a large swath of Americans doubting the merits of the ACA, Americans aren't particularly optimistic that Republicans will be able to solve the problem either. Just 26 percent of Americans said they have a "great deal" or "quite a bit of confidence" in congressional Republicans finding a suitable replacement. Fifty percent said they had "very little" or no confidence that the GOP would come up with a viable replacement plan.

The poll was taken from Jan. 12-15 among 1,000 adults. Its overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Becca Stanek

3:38 p.m. ET

Despite the fact that Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of the interior is expected to glide through the confirmation process in the Senate relatively unscathed, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did not hold back on grilling Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) on Tuesday.

To begin, Sanders pressed Zinke on the issue of climate change; Zinke has historically wobbled on the topic, having both signed onto a letter asking President Obama for climate change legislation but also having claimed climate change is manmade. To Sanders, he stated that "the climate is changing" and "man is an influence," and distanced himself from Trump by adding firmly, "I don't believe it's a hoax."

But the extent to which man is affecting climate change is up for debate, Zinke added, pleading a lack of expertise because "I'm not a climate scientist," and claiming the issue is still up for debate in the scientific community.

Sanders wasn't having it. While he admitted there might be debate in the Senate committee room, Sanders said, "there's not a debate among scientists." Jeva Lange

3:07 p.m. ET

A poem in honor of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration has been published, and boy is it something. Titled "Pibroch of the Domhnall," the piece is inspired by Trump's Scottish ancestry ("Domhnall," the Scottish form of the name Donald, is pronounced like "TONE-all," the author notes). It was written by Joseph Charles MacKenzie, who is apparently an actual poet, though one who is not reportedly affiliated in any way with Trump's inauguration or transition.

You would be forgiven to mistake him for a satirist, though. Here is an actual stanza from the poem:

But for all his great wisdom, the braw gallant man
Is matched by his children, the handsome Trump clan,
And the flower of Europe, Melania the fair,
Adds a luster and grace with her long flowing hair.
May they flourish and prosper to form a great crowd
Around the good Domhnall, the best of MacLeod! [Classical Poets]

MacKenzie adds in his notes that "the refrains at the end of each stanza are to be recited by the Inaugural crowd," like some sort of medieval "long live the king!" "MacLeod" is a reference to Trump's mother, Mary Anne MacLeod. And while a Scottish lyric poem might seem strange to inaugurate an American president, Trump declared in 2008, after visiting the cottage where his mother grew up, that "I feel Scottish."

The poem also blasts President Obama as a "tyrant" that Trump has come down from his "tower" to defeat:

Come out for the Domhnall, ye brave men and proud,
The scion of Torquil and best of MacLeod!
With purpose and strength he came down from his tower
To snatch from a tyrant his ill-gotten power.
Now the cry has gone up with a cheer from the crowd:
"Come out for the Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!" [Classical Poets]

To read the poem, or print the text for a dramatic reading, go here.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article mischaracterized the purpose of the poem. It has since been corrected. We regret the error. Jeva Lange

1:09 p.m. ET

As America ushers in a new president this week, it is also ushering in a new era … of children's literature:

Let's take a closer look at that page for Donald Trump in U.S. Presidents: The Oval Office All-Stars:

When I was nominated, the Republican establishment went nuts. They thought the megawatt Trump name — though it glistens from casinos, luxury towers, and golf courses worldwide — would spell lights out on an election ballot. Bad call, wimps! I'm the Deal Maker Supreme, and my election was my big, big deal with history and the American people. I said what I thought and they liked it. The Donald became The President.

Now I'm in the Oval Office, working my comeback magic on the American economy. In the 1990s, my net worth took a major hit. For a while, I had to sell assets (my yacht!), live on a budget, and negotiate with creditors. But thanks to my signature swagger, I got mega rich again in just a few years! American debt, prepare to go bye bye! [U.S. Presidents: The Oval Office All-Stars]

The page for the 45th president additionally boasts fun facts such as Trump being "the only president to appear on WrestleMania" and "the only president to have been married three times."

Have fun explaining that to your fourth grader. Jeva Lange

12:51 p.m. ET

The Obamas to Washington: Bye!

The soon-to-be former first family plans to jet to Palm Springs, California, after vacating the White House following Trump's inauguration Friday. The Obamas picked Palm Springs because they wanted to go somewhere warmer than D.C., White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday at his final press briefing.

It was a nice thought, anyway. Jeva Lange

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