The state Senate and House are scheduled Thursday to consider a bill allowing the governor to temporarily fill Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.
The Monitor's language columnist considers how a particular term for measuring time has been hard at work lately.
Democrats dominate in Massachusetts, but a small GOP field, possibly including Andrew Card from the Bush administration, will try for the seat.
A temporary replacement for Kennedy's Senate seat would let Democrats maintain their crucial 60 votes in the Senate. But state Republicans oppose the move.
As Obama calls on Congress to pass reform, the Democrats are still split on the need for a public health insurance option.
With no Kennedy in the running, expect a crowded Democratic field.
In addition to healthcare, there are two wars, Iran, North Korea, and climate change, plus the economy.
Most of the potential Democratic candidates have more than $1 million available. But for those who officially enter the race, more fundraising may be necessary.