This post contains spoilers through the third episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad.
One of the things I’ve found interesting about Breaking Bad, and one reason I don’t always like the characters, though I think they’re realistic, is that I think some of the key players in the story aren’t very good at thinking things through.
Take Skylar and Walt this week. Walt is shocked and annoyed to find out that Gus has had security cameras installed in the lab, and then doubly irritated when Jesse is entirely matter-of-fact about the new development, telling Walt he always assumed the place was bugged. His nonchalance leaves Walt sputtering, “I don’t like it. Violation of the workspace,” even though it’s fairly logical that if you’re running a large criminal enterprise and the man you’ve hired to run it is very good at fabricating explosives and chemical poisons, and he’s discussed killing you with one of your other employees, you might want to keep an eye on him. Similarly, Skylar panics when Walt buys a $320 bottle of champagne to celebrate them wresting the car wash where Walt was once so humiliated away from its former owner, worrying that the splurge will reveal that they have an income source other than the one they’re supposed to have. “I’m not asking you to apologize. I’m asking you be smart,” she tells him. “I mean, look at Watergate.” But of course, the thing that’s going to look obvious and weird to their neighbors isn’t the $320 bottle of champagne: it’s the $800,000 small business, unless they can keep their ownership of it awfully quiet.
Similarly, Hank and Marie are tearing themselves apart over little things. Hank, it seems, can’t resist tearing Marie apart whenever she tries to do something considerate for him, ripping her for bringing him Fritos instead of Cheetos and complaining that the magazine she’s brought him on the football draft is useless, since it’s two months away. Then, when she’s caught shoplifting from houses on the market she’s cased by pretending to be someone, anyone else, a new divorcee with a pre-school aged son, a wife of a high-powered man on the verge of retirement, a woman with a brother in the Peace Corps, Hank wants to know why she’s doing this to him, unable to see or acknowledge how vicious he’s been to her, that maybe she’s doing this to herself, to have some control of her own pain.
Only Jesse seems to have a sense of what’s going on around him, and the extent to which he’s directly responsible for it. As his house party descends further and further into chaos, bloody scratches on a man’s back, insane paintings on the wall, twitchy rantings from the guests, Jesse’s running an uncontrolled experiment exploring how far you can create hell on earth. When he throws a stack of money in the air and sits down to smoke a cigarette and watch his guests degenerate further, there’s a real sense of moral reckoning. Jesse’s been incredibly quiet this season, doling out words like the have the value that money has clearly ceased to have for him. And I think that’s why I like him. Unlike Walt and Skylar who are trying to build a paradise in a madhouse so they don’t have to see it for what it is, Jesse knows their whole enterprise is insane. What form that reckoning takes, whether it’s Gus’s boxcutter, guns in the hands of children, someone like Tuco’s fists, or simply the inevitability of the law if Hank finds his way back to himself by catching Walt, the end is nigh.
A long and wild week in Congress last week, with the House actually spending the bulk of its time on amendments to the Interior appropriations bill, and the "North American-Made Energy Security Act," essentially expediting the regulatory processes for construction of a trans-American oil pipeline. But all the attention went to the debt ceiling crisis?first to Speaker Boehner's successful attempt in the House to pass his own package, which ultimately failed in the Senate, and later to continuing negotiations that appear to be leading to approval of a "deal" later this week.
The Senate likewise spent the bulk of its week on the debt ceiling issue, mostly just keeping the floor occupied with placeholder legislation while negotiating in the background and waiting for The Deal to arrive. With no deal ready for presentation to Congress in time for a scheduled 1pm cloture vote on Sunday, the Senate was in no position to invoke cloture, and rejected it, leaving S. 627 still pending on the floor and at least technically still under debate.
The House returns from a very short weekend break to await the legislative language embodying The Deal, occupying itself with a few noncontroversial suspension bills for the time being. Noting that the House schedule anticipates some possible action on the debt ceiling deal today, and knowing that Speaker Boehner has presented the outlines of the plan to his House Republican Conference, we should expect the House to move first, then send the resulting legislation on to the Senate.
The Senate continues its holding pattern, using the still-unsettled S. 627 to keep it busy until word arrives from the House on the latest deal. Having failed to invoke cloture on S. 627, that bill remains available for debate on the floor. The fastest way for The Deal to get passed is probably for it to be proposed as an amendment to the pending Reid amendment to S. 627, and for the Senate to then move to reconsider the cloture vote that failed yesterday, invoke cloture, and then vote to amend S. 627 with the text of the deal and send that to the House for its approval. But if the House insists on moving first, or procedural technicalities frustrate the Senate's ability to use S. 627 as a vehicle for the newest deal, then the House's product (whether a new bill or another Senate-passed bill that gets hollowed out) will have to be sent to the Senate and run the same cloture gauntlet, complete with the "ripening" waiting period, unless unanimous consent can be secured to move to a vote more quickly. If not, the earliest the Senate could finalize the deal would be in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, August 3rd.
And finally, after the debt ceiling is taken care of, the Congress is expected to break for its month-long August recess.
Full floor and committee schedules are below the fold.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but let us know what you?re checking out too.
- Did President Obama show his support for marriage equality via a Facebook campaign ad?
- When the California Supreme Court considers the question of standing in the Proposition 8 case next month, it will be televised.
- Listen to Wanda Sykes talk about ex-gay therapy at last week’s NAACP town hall on LGBT issues.
- The trial of Brandon McInerney for the shooting of classmate Lawrence King has led to some emotional clashes between the families.
- Utah State University is conducting a study on LGBT Mormons.
- A new poll shows that a majority of Montana voters support allowing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
- Miley Cyrus has gotten a new tattoo of an equals sign on her ring finger to show her support for marriage equality.
- If you are a member of the LGBT community in Georgia, please take a few moments to help Georgia Equality by filling out a survey.
- Last Friday, the New York Times looked at the unique challenges transgender actors face getting roles.
- Over the weekend, 24 same-sex couples got married in “pop-up chapels” in New York City’s Central Park. Check out the full photo album.
Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice?s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice.
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy?s morning link roundup. This is what we?re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
? Interview Al-Jazeera English comes to New York City.
? Spending cuts will likely hurt short-term growth.
? Chait’s take.
? Drum’s take.
? The political roots of the Somali famine.
? Syrian government slaughtering anti-government activists.
? Euro situation continues to go down the tubes.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
Heckuva Job, Tea Party Leaders---Everybody Thinks You Suck
Majorities of people in the red states and the blue states think you suck. Because they see what you're doing---pouring sugar into America's economic gas tank and forcing us all to take the jalopy out for a spin---and they can't believe how foolishly you're acting.
Retirement savers think you suck. They got screwed by the banksters in 2008, watching helplessly as their 401(k)s turned to dust. And now, because Grover Norquist ordered you to bow at the altar of Ayn Rand, you risked, willy-nilly, a similar and 100 percent preventable calamity less than three years later. Your retirement savings would've taken a huge hit too, of course, which is all the proof anyone needs to justify calling you a fiscal suicide squad.
Our troops think you suck. Because they didn?t know if they'd be getting paid or not, making life even tougher for them both at home and in the field. You're fucking with their morale and their money during wartime, and their scorn toward you is entirely justified.
Small businesses think you suck. Because, deal or no deal, their balance sheets could go haywire at any moment thanks to you, and they're downing antacids like candy and rightfully blaming you.
The unemployed think you suck. The time you've forced the government to waste on things other than "jobs, jobs, jobs" means more stagnation, more people running out of unemployment benefits, fewer jobs, less consumer spending and a weaker economy.
Our seniors think you suck. Because you're willing to mess big-time with their Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They have no plans to throw their walkers at your heads?but lord knows they'd like to.
The world thinks you suck. Because you're saying to them, "Eh, maybe America honors its debts, and maybe America doesn't. Don?t call us, we'll call you." And you claim to be the grown-ups in the room?
Children think you suck. They see the toll that this ginned-up-entirely-by-YOU debt-ceiling disaster is taking on their parents---the fear, the uncertainty, the quicksand-like world they feel they're living in. And they don?t understand why you're doing this to Mom and Dad. Seriously?why? What did they ever do to you?
So congratulations, you Republican Tea Party fools. By throwing buckets of sand into the gears of our government for your own fringe ends and looney delusions of austerity, everybody thinks you suck. And for damned good reason.
By the way, with great maniacal power grabs comes great responsibility. This is your economy now, morans. To quote Quint in Jaws: "The head. The tail. The whole damn thing." It's the tea party economy, aka the Raw Deal. Gee, I bet nobody can predict how that's gonna turn out.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
No Revenue = No Sacrifice Now a decade plus added to the decades previous since Korea and especially us Vietnam Veterans, by ignoring what we were saying, PTS, TBI's, Agent Orange, Suicides, more, to the first Gulf War Veterans, Gulf War Syndrome, more,[...]
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Providence Daily Dose has an update on the parking situation in our lovely city, where you may still see barns and hitching posts, but dare not leave your car on the street overnight.
Does anyone else remember the Cianci decades, when police could never retrieve a stolen car, but always managed to ticket them, including one that had a dead guy in it?
Our intrepid officers have better things to do at 2am than write tickets–that’s when the bars let out after all.
I went to a community meeting where people were opposed to overnight parking. Some worried about students crammed into overcrowded apartments. I don’t see the connection, especially since permits would be limited to the legal number of occupants, and illegal parkers would be in the same situation they are now. I heard people say they don’t want the neighborhood cluttered with cars, but my neighborhood has paved its little front yards to make parking lots– and demolished nice old houses to replace them with first floor garage units.
We all wish the cars would go away, except for our own, but that’s a different problem to solve. Meanwhile, we are smaller than Boston, have wider streets than Pawtucket. Providence pre-dates the age of autos, and hopefully will outlast it. Resident permit parking is a fair and rational way to deal with our cars today.
We could pretend, or we could tell the truth. (Or we could tell the other truth, that it's entirely possible that Obama is getting just what he wants, like he usually does.)
Paul Krugman this morning:
[T]he deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America?s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.But wait, there's more:
[T]hen there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction ? and if these recommendations aren?t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.Krugman then talks about all the options Obama had, which he didn't take. Why not? Krugman nicely doesn't answer. (But pick me...I know. He does it because he wants to, says my inner Occam's Switchblade.)
Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn?t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders[.] ... [And] [w]hat Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation?s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can?t.A clean sweep. The death of the Dem party, should the over-under in next year's headline unemployment be, say, 12% or so; and the death of the Republic (though the jury is out whether Republicans would see that as a loss).