Both while Hank (Dean Norris) was still in the rehab facility (above) and since he's been home, Marie (Betsy Brandt) has been going the extra mile to try to boost his morale. (Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a photo of Hank's dearly beloved rocks -- er, "minerals.")
"I believe gelato is meant to be treated as medicine and taken daily as a prescription."
-- Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader)
As I've mentioned, AMC puts out a steady stream of cool features related to its shows, and today I dived eagerly into an interview with Betsy Brandt, who plays Walter's slightly kleptomaniacal sister-in-law Marie, who this season is coping with husband Hank's physical debilitation from the attempt on his life -- and his if anything more disturbed mental condition.
For a while I was annoyed that the interview contained information that I haven't seen yet on air, until I realized that an episode aired last night which I haven't watched yet. (It's presumably safely recorded on the DVR.) Oh well! Apparently, though, we still haven't found out what the deal is with Hank and his rocks -- excuse me, "minerals." With all the rocks (excuse me, "minerals") Hank is ordering online, can it be long before there's no room in the house for Hank and Marie?
I don't think I'm risking spoiling anything for anyone by quoting this exchange from the Betsy Brandt interview.
Q: If you had to pretend to be someone else, what back story would you make up for yourself?
A: Someone without kids [Laughs]. I'd probably live in Italy comfortably in the north. And drink wine and coffee. They always serve a piece of dark chocolate with espresso. I believe in that. I believe in gelato. I believe gelato is meant to be treated as medicine and taken daily as a prescription.
David Dayen, writing in The American Prospect, has a nice look-back at what Obama did, and what he could have done differently to bring us to a different place.
(Note that this assumes the frame that Obama wants to bring us to a different place. Not that I disagree, but I want to make the frame explicit and not covert: i.e., a given.)
The debt-ceiling fight did not have to go down like this. Along the way, any number of political actors, from the president to congressional Democrats, had the ability to defuse the bomb with which Republicans held the nation?s creditworthiness hostage. Here are five missed chances to change the dynamic.I'll list the five chances; the article makes interesting reading on all counts:
? Obama and Democrats could have fixed the economy.As Dayen says, none of these would have guaranteed a different outcome, but you never know until you try. His point, and I agree, is that Obama didn't try, at least in these ways.
? They could have included the debt limit in the 2010 tax deal.
? They could have refused to agree with the premise [that America has a massive debt crisis that will burden our children and crush us].
? They could have made credible threats.
? They could have involved the public earlier.
Click here to view this media
So it looks like the debt ceiling kabuki is over. The only good news I see is that Gabby Giffords returned to Congress today and voted.
The House of Representatives on Monday passed the landmark compromise to raise the debt ceiling and sharply cut spending, drawing a solid majority of the Republicans, along with a about half of the Democrats, to push through a package that was ultimately described by many as an unpalatable necessity.
Passage came after weeks of brinksmanship and backroom dealing that left few satisfied in the more liberal or conservative wings of the House, but drew just enough from each party to put a compromise over the top in time, assuming the Senate goes along, to avert what might have become a calamitous default on the nation?s debt.
The tally, which had mounted excruciatingly slowly until the final seconds, was 269-161. Then, to growing applause, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, who was recovering from an attack several months ago, cast her vote, and as if a dam had burst the votes poured in...read on
Wouldn't it be inspiring if the politicians took all the energy they put into fighting over how much of our programs they can cut and put it to something more useful -- like climate change? Yes, I know, it's just not going to happen. After all, the latest GOP talking point is that environmental regulations are the reason we don't have jobs. (And won't it be fun when we give away the store on that one!) Not to mention, the old pillhead Limbaugh insists it's not really that hot, it's just a government plot to make people think it's that hot. Uh huh.
It's official: July was a scorcher. High temperatures in communities across the USA broke or tied records 2,676 times, almost double the number (1,444) of a year ago, the National Weather Service reports.
Temperatures in Newark, N.J., set an all-time record of 108. Highs in Atlantic City, N.J., topped 105 for two straight days. Washington endured its hottest July since 1871. In Oklahoma City, temps topped 100 for 27 of the last 30 days of July. Dallas/Fort Worth is enduring its second longest stretch of consecutive 100-plus days at 30, closing in on the record of 42 in 1980, says Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service.
August is unlikely to offer much relief, forecasters say. The heat wave anchored over the Central and Southern Plains states, including drought-stricken Texas, is capped by a colossal vault of high pressure that has locked out cooler air currents from Canada.
Vaccaro says the heat wave "has affected, at some point, nearly all of the eastern two-thirds of the United States. It has been relentless, with triple-digit heat for weeks, hitting areas that are not accustomed to high heat. Portland, Maine, hit 102 degrees a couple of weeks ago. We had temperatures in the hundreds in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas."
At its worst, July's heat wave extended through 32 states. Eighteen states have heat advisories, from North Dakota to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
"We're looking at another heat wave in the week ahead," Vaccaro says. "We'll see heat creep into the upper Midwest, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa."
This week, Northern states may get a reprieve but not Georgia and the Carolinas, where temps may top 100, says Mark Ressler, meteorologist at the Weather Channel. High humidity and lofty nighttime temperatures have made matters worse, Ressler says.
"We not only have record highs, but also record high overnight lows, with temperatures staying way up in the 80s overnight," he says. "That has added to how oppressive this air mass has been, especially where people don't have access to air conditioning. There's no relief."
In the end, it wasn't even close. If you were watching on C-SPAN, you saw that barely a couple dozen Democrats voted for the "compromise" debt ceiling bill at first, but once passage became inevitable, the rest flooded in. That meant a final roll call of 269 in favor to 161 against. On the GOP side, it was 174 aye to 66 nay, with the "no" votes coming from the party's dystopian teabagger wing, full of dead-enders ready to shoot hostages.
Strange bedfellows indeed: The Democrats who voted "no" are predominantly on the liberal end of the spectrum, while you'll find the more establishment types and what remains of the Blue Dogs in the "yes" column. And Team Blue, such as it is, could not have been more perfectly divided?it's almost like the headlines write themselves?with exactly 95 in favor and 95 against. (Three Dems did not vote.)
Guess who owns that Satan sandwich now?
A full chart of how each member voted, broken down by party, is below the fold.
Here's the result of negotiating with hostage-takers:
This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) confirmed [...] that Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage in the future, saying, this debate ?set the template for the future?:That just confirms what the Republicans' messiah, Grover Norquist, said about the deal earlier in the day.MCCONNELL: It set the template for the future. In the future, Neil, no president?in the near future, maybe in the distant future?is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending and get America headed in the right direction. I expect the next president, whoever that is, is going to be asking us to raise the debt ceiling again in 2013, so we?ll be doing it all over.
So, yeah, they changed Washington. Here's the precedent for every (Democratic) president in the nation's future.
Now that it's passed the House, the Senate will be voting tomorrow on the debt ceiling bill. No filibuster expected, and it's expected to pass. The vote is currently scheduled for 12:00 noon ET.
In other news:Well, alrighty then.
Oregon Rep. David Wu (D) filmed a video on Monday evening in which he announces a timeline for his resignation over the allegation he had an unwanted sexual encounter with the young daughter of a campaign contributor, a spokesman told TPM.
The video, a spokesman told TPM, was filmed around 6 p.m. In it, Wu reflects on his time in Congress. Wu has said he'd resign after the debt ceiling crisis was resolved, but hasn't yet said how he'll vote on the deal up for a vote in the House this evening.
A spokesman declined to say when exactly Wu planned to resign, whether it would be after Monday's House vote or after President Obama signs the deal.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords makes first return to House since Jan. 8th shooting to cast vote in favor of debt deal.Office press release after the jump ...U.S. REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS CASTS FIRST HOUSE VOTE SINCE JAN. 8 SHOOTINGCongresswoman travels to[...]
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Debt bill passes House, Dems split down the middle. Details here. [...]
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