A tortured man.

The TV season is winding down, and before it does, I want to throw a little love at “Breaking Bad,” the other show airing at 10 p.m. Sunday. I’m working then, but that’s why God made DVRs. Like “Treme,” “Breaking Bad” rewards second and third viewings, although it’s not what you’d call nuanced or subtle. The story of a 50-year-old high-school chemistry teacher who decides to take up methamphetamine production could easily become a cartoon, but in its third season seems to have hit its stride as a sort of waking nightmare of evil’s effects on those who choose it.

Walter White tells himself he got into meth-making as a way to leave his family financially staked for life without him — he’s diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in the pilot episode — but as his condition improved and the cancer went into remission, which it had to do if the show was to have more than one or two seasons, the tone shifted and Walt began to grasp the dimensions of the monster he’d loosed into the world. Bodies began to fall. His partner, a hapless man-child aptly named Jesse Pinkman, fell victim to all manner of misery, from heroin addiction to the O.D. death of his girlfriend. The climax of last season was the mid-air collision, a mile or two above Walt’s house, of two commercial aircraft, an accident caused by a distracted air-traffic controller. Who was? The father of Jesse’s dead girlfriend. His attention wandered when a bit of radio traffic used her name in a transmission: Tango Delta Jane two oh three…

This season, the stain is spreading, and reaching closer to Walt’s immediate family. His wife, Skyler, now knows where the money came from, but she’s unmoved by his motivation, and has left him, along with their teenage son and newborn daughter. The latest victim is his brother-in-law Hank, a DEA agent who fell victim to a pair of identical-twin Mexican assassins gunning for Hank, and…

This is sounding ridiculous, I know, but it isn’t. Or rather, it uses its made-for-TV improbabilities well enough that you don’t find yourself rolling your eyes. If I have one criticism of the narrative as it’s unfolded, it’s the abandonment of one of the most interesting themes of season one — the crumminess of a certain middle-class American life, and how one living it can be so easily seduced by money, i.e., a way out of it. Walt’s very survival is threatened because his health insurance doesn’t cover the good chemo drugs. He and his wife attend a birthday party for a college friend of Walt’s, also a chemist, whose path took a different turn, and who lives in lavish splendor. The friend offers Walt a job at his company (with much better health insurance) out of pity, concealing it well, but Walt figures it out. The shame and humiliation such a gesture inspires in the one it’s bestowed upon is a difficult emotion for an actor to summon. But Bryan Cranston does.

The producers are starting to circle around back to it, a little bit. Now that Skyler knows there’s almost a million dollars in cash in a duffel bag in her crawl space, she’s starting to think about its implications. The scene where she walks into her lover’s bathroom and glories in the radiant floor heating was priceless. The things money can buy! (Although if I were her, I’d start with a kitchen reno. Her kitchen is almost gloriously ugly. But at this point, she might as well just buy a new house. Torch the kitchen. Remove the duffel bag from the premises first.)

I hope they continue in this vein. Identical-twin Mexican assassins can only take you so far. Although, sooner or later, the violence and misery has to reach Walt himself. He’s dodged so many bullets, many of them literal, that delaying it will soon be counterproductive. He made a big decision early on that sets everything in motion, and another one this season to keep it that way. But until he loses a finger or a child, it hasn’t cost him enough.

One final thing: I’m struck, watching this show, by its depiction of masculinity. I mentioned Jesse was a man-child, although he’s becoming more of a man. (He’s shed the overgrown baby clothes favored by so many young men these days, anyway. And the loss of the child isn’t doing him any favors.) Walt’s sense of himself as a failed father, husband and provider — especially the latter — is what made him start down this tragic path. Hank, the DEA agent, is a macho cartoon. So far, the most fully integrated man is Gustavo Fring, the kingpin mastermind played by Giancarlo Esposito. Calm, cool, ruthless — just a little more seductiveness and he’d be the devil himself.

We’ll see what happens to Walt & Co. before the month is up. (I think.) Please, no more plane crashes.

And now I must skedaddle. Although I’m sure the Hoosiers among you would rather talk about MARK SOUDER’S RESIGNATION?!??? A SEX scandal? Someone wanted to SLEEP with him? I have just fainted.

Posted at 9:55 am in Current events, Television |
 

69 responses to “A tortured man.”

  1. Jen said on May 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    One of the first things my sister-in-law said when we were texting about Souder was, “I want to know who would sleep with him! Ewww!”

    My brother-in-law’s words of wisdom – “Life is so much easier if you keep your pants on.”

    I heard about Souder while I was driving, and I almost ran off the road laughing. What a skeezball!

  2. Julie Robinson said on May 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

    You are so right about that, Nance. I rejoice to see him go but am so, so sad that once again a Christian has been shown to be a big fat hypocritical liar. The quiet ones doing good rarely get much press.

  3. John Brown said on May 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    i will miss Souder’s election year visits to Grabill where he would film those quaint corny campaign commercials. Preaching about small town values.

    OK, maybe not.

    I bet his challengers in the recent primary wish he had gotten religion a little earlier in the month.

  4. alex said on May 18, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Wonder who the party will appoint to run in his place.

  5. prospero said on May 18, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Odious Republican bullshit

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2010/05/18/romney_liberals_destroyed_my_house/

    from a Utah carpetbagger. How would a geneticist explain production of this hypocritical fungus from the genes of a genuine old-time Republican good guy.

    Crack your checkbook you unprincipled whiner. Apparently, there’s another Romney manse in Bloomfield Hills that’s also a blight on its neighborhood. Damn liberals, Bloomfield Hills is just crawling with radicals.

  6. mark said on May 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

    It’s more complicated than that. Indiana law requires a special election to fill the seat. The candidates, and the winner, could be different than the candidates for the fall election. In the special election, anybody passed over by the party copuld try running as an independent, which could work for anyone with name recognition and funding.

  7. Carolyn said on May 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Can’t get enough of the Souder whopper.
    Remembering that when he was elected in 94, was it?, he pledged that he would serve just six years.
    He should have kept that promise.

  8. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 11:17 am

    If you want to see the woman who found Mark Souder attractive enough to bed, check out http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com. Her name is Tracy Jackson and she posed as an interviewer for one of those bogus “congressional update” videos, asking the good, family-values man about his views on immigration and intelligent design.

    Is it true that all Republicans are now required to have a sex scandal after they take office? Or is that requirement limited to those who talk the loudest about family values, the evils of gay marriage, the joys of abstinence education and their oh-so-close relationship with their God and savior?

  9. Deborah said on May 18, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I can’t wait till Brian Stouder weighs in here on Souder.

  10. Dorothy said on May 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Me thinks we need to collectively fan the air in the direction of Fort Wayne to revived the fainted personage of our Brian Stouder.

  11. Joe Kobiela said on May 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Breaking bad to me is flat out the best show on. Nancy forgot to mention Sal the lawyer who is trying to help launder the meth money, great character. As far as souder goes, puts him right up there with John edwards Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. Guess he is now qualified to run for President.
    Pilot Joe

  12. brian stouder said on May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Dorothy and Deborah – I’m still saying “wow”!

    The guy is such an enigma, or better – contradiction.

    During the campaign, the self-funded car dealer guy ran an ad quoting from Brian Howey’s political blog, wherein Souder somewhat wistfully talks about wanting to retire after this next term anyway; in hindsight this makes a bit more sense…but look at that ego that demands that, first, we must smite the self-funded guy in the primary, and vigorously deny what we (plainly) said to Howey, and THEN we’ll throw the general election into turmoil (on our own terms?), because…because…why?

    This story surely has a few more turns in it, aside from all the fun Olbermann is going to have tonight, with that hysterically funny video about abstinence that Jeff linked!

    Wow.

    Wow!

    This news genuinely gobsmacked me; and Alex – don’t celebrate yet. Friend of NN.c Mark the Shark once said that Allen County Republicans would elect a giraffe if it were on the ticket, and I think he was right…but we will soon see (after they name their giraffe)

    Wow

  13. Kim said on May 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I have spent years trying to vote him out of office. I need to find something to fill that void.

  14. LAMary said on May 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/05/jefferson_county_geometry_teac.html

    More brilliance from Alabama.

    • nancy said on May 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

      I just posted this on Facebook. The odds this guy is also “pro-life” are so short it’s not even worth wagering on.

  15. LAMary said on May 18, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Here’s more student fun news from Ohio:

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0517101prom1.html?link=rssfeed

  16. Sue said on May 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    LAMary, I thought all teachers were (union) card-carrying Obots, like that horrible grade school teacher in Maine who deserved to have his classroom trashed.
    Here’s what’s going on in Texas:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/17/texas-latino-immigration/

  17. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Clearly, I need to rethink my political orientation. If turn Republican/conservative, I can preach family values but log three marriages (Newt Gingrich); demand that drug users be prosecuted and jailed while snorting Oxycontin (Rush Limbaugh); spout Biblical phrases at political events while banging an Argentinian hottie behind the backs of my wife and four children (Mark Sanford); label myself a protector of American youth while preying on underage pages (Mark Foley); proclaim gay marriage as a terrible threat to the nation while trying to pick up males in an airport bathroom (Larry Craig); earn $120,000 from the state of Florida to testify against gay couples being allowed to adopt,then enjoy 10 days in Europe with a rentboy who is 40 years younger (George Rekers); screw my top aide’s wife, have my parents pay them almost $100K and still claim to be a defender of traditional values (John Ensign).

    Yeah, baby. Being a conservative Republican is better than joining a swinger’s club.

    It’s not that these amoebas aren’t sinners. Ain’t we all? It’s the hypocrisy with a capital H that is so absolutely stunning.

  18. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    UPDATE ON SOUDER

    Fox News, which is, of course, fair and balanced, is reporting Ms. Jackson is married. So the creepy Mr. Souder can claim to have damaged or destroyed two traditional marriages. But thank God the homos can’t marry!!!

  19. judybusy said on May 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Jeff, thanks for the nice recap! I would add Ted Haggard. If my brain’s working, I believe he had some great scenes in the movie Jesus Camp, proclaiming he has a “fabulous life.” I saw this when his drug- and male prostitute-using story was breaking and the entire theater burst out in jeers.

  20. derwood said on May 18, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Love Breaking Bad although I missed this past episode as the power outage rendered our dvr useless.

    My sister went to high school with Souder and she has always thought he was creepy and gross. I sent her a text this morning when I saw the news and she called me back laughing so hard she could hardly talk.

    So, I have heard conflicting reports on what happens next. Will they hold a special election or will they just choose who will be on the ballot in November? Or both?

    -daron “stuck with Dan Burton as my rep” aldrich

  21. brian stouder said on May 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    derwood – both!

    Since the seat will be vacant more than 30 days before the election, the governor will call a special election, and then candiaes jump in, for the chance to win the seat and go into November as the incumbent….which may or may not be a good thing!

    Mitch Harper has a nice recap of the process

    http://indiana.typepad.com/

  22. prospero said on May 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    derwood,

    Set DVR for

    # ThursdayMay 20, 2010
    # 2:00 am
    Breaking BadSkyler hatches a plan; Walt and Gus come to an understanding; Jesse pursues a new opportunity.

  23. Rayl said on May 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Hey Jeff, don’t you also want to have your diapers change once in a while by your playmate?

  24. Colleen said on May 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I just cannot understand human nature. If part of my shtick is standing there espousing “traditional values”, and, let’s say one of those values is eating Snickers bars, you can be damn sure I’m not gonna be caught with a Zagnut in my lunch pail, yanno? Why does sex bring so many down? So many who try to be above all that and act all holier than thou.

    Though many of us familiar with small town Indiana know that fooling around practically IS a “traditional small town value”.

    I was never a Souder fan. So I look forward to his replacement.

  25. Steph said on May 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Breaking Bad is the only show on TV I really look forward to right now (don’t have HBO so can’t watch Treme). Loved reading your analysis of why it’s great.

  26. Sue said on May 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I wish Ashley Morris were here to respond to this:
    http://blogs.tampabay.com/twocents/2010/05/chris-myers-take-shot-at-hurricane-katrina-victims.html

  27. paddyo' said on May 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    “BB” is the bomb, as Jesse Pinkman would say . . .

    And Nance, there WAS more fresh evidence of the middle-class reality in the latest episode: Hank’s insurance plan won’t pay for the kind of top-notch physical therapy he needs. That has led to Skyler’s offer to pay for it with (plot spoiler alert for you who haven’t seen it yet) Walter’s, um, “gambling” winnings. Talk about your money laundering . . .

    Yeah, the plotlines, all thrown together (Nancy’s synopsis was very good in this regard), sound improbable, even outlandish. But when played through, they all hang together, amazingly. (And the evil-twin-brothers’ elbows-and-knees pilgrim crawl to open season 3 was astounding, jaw-dropping — and brilliant.)
    To me, only one element rings a little tinny, though maybe it’ll morph into an upcoming plotline as mild-mannered druglord Gus’s malevolence emerges like a death’s-head hawkmoth:

    If Gus can outfit a high-tech meth superlab like the one he’s built for Walter, what’s he need Walter around for now, at $1 million a month?

    One more thing: If you’ve not visited the “BB” website, do so at once(http://www.amctv.com/originals/breakingbad/), and enjoy the priceless “Better Call Saul” ambulance-chaser ad, the “Save Walter White” website that Walter Jr. put up when his dad wasn’t in remission, and Hank’s and Marie’s blogs.

  28. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Damn, Rayl! How could I forget David “The Diaperman” Vitter of Looseeanna?? Thanks for the reminder.

    I guess is says something about the enormous number of conservative Republican sex scandals that I cannot even keep track of them all.

    In fairness, Vitter at least PAID for his sex, so we know he is a firm believer in market economics.

  29. LAMary said on May 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Sue, whenever I hear someone comparing some group of people to “hard working tax paying blah blah blah..” my eyes glaze over. I work hard. I pay taxes. I probably disagree with whomever is throwing around those terms to describe the good guys. Lots of people work hard and get paid very little or they get screwed over by insurance companies or lenders or employers or they do some job that most people don’t want. Asses like that sportscaster have suddenly been given more leeway to make racist remarks or assume that if you’re poor you don’t work hard. He’s probably pissed off because his fake tan will be taxed soon.

  30. ROgirl said on May 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    If all the sanctimonious, self-righteous, moralizing, holier than thou, devout Christians and family men were laid end to end…

    Why can’t they keep their dicks in their pants?

  31. paddyo' said on May 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    BTW, not being from the right honorable gentleman from Indiana’s congressional district or state or region, I can’t speak with any authority about how the guy orates, but did anybody read his long-winded, self-serving, draped-in-the-forgiving-Lord-God-Almighty resignation speech? Holy shit:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/05/rep-mark-souder-resignation-st.html?hpid=topnews

    He takes 10 or 11 sentences to get to the apology part (that Swaggart-y “I have sinned” line) and then goes for bonus points by blaming “the poisonous environment of Washington, DC” for making him leave this way. WTF? Yes, brothers and sisters, it is that Gomorrah where “any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process” . . .

    Yeah, Congressman, by all means, let’s not hurt the family.

  32. nancy said on May 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I’m not fond of the phrase, “he cried like a bitch, too,” but having endured that clip of him actually delivering it, well:

    He cried like a bitch, too.

  33. Sue said on May 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    LAMary – worst part? Keith Olbermann is the highest-profile response to this, and all he did was give him the bronze in last night’s worst person contest. No one noticed it.

  34. brian stouder said on May 18, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    He cried like a bitch, too.

    Like a crocodile bitch, I’d say (he looked more reptilian today than normal)

    Brian Howey should get bonus points on this deal

    http://howeypolitics.com/index.asp

    as the media source that captured those somewhat strange, wistful (not to say angst-ridden) comments of the Representative earlier on, which the car guy’s campaign picked up on, (and which Souder vigorously ran away from).

    Howey now reports that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is part of the catalyst of this story? (something happened in a park?)

    This could become funnier yet, if his roll(s) in the hay trampled on protected species (or whatever)

  35. Rana said on May 18, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    My theory on these dudes is that their thought processes go something like this:

    They have these urges, which they see as awful and sinful and immoral, and yet are somehow unable to control themselves when the urge hits. They assume that this is true for everyone, perhaps because admitting that they have a problem particular to themselves is too hard, and it’s easier to blame others (liberals, hippies, the media, the government) for their problems. So they demand laws and moral systems strong enough to control all those urge-filled masses (including themselves), not realizing that many people, even a majority, are capable of keeping it in our pants and doing the right thing. Heck, many of us not only do the right thing, we wonder why a person might find doing the wrong thing so compelling that they’d ruin lives and careers over it.

    So it’s not so much that they are hypocrites (they are, of course) as they assume that we’re all as immoral and unprincipled as they are.

  36. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Man, oh man, is Souder a sleazy –and cheap– little conservative creep. The Washington Post is reporting he and the girlfriend were fond of hooking up in a heavily wooded area near the boat launch on Robinson Lake in Whitley County. The affair began back in 2004 when –wait for it, it’s priceless– Ms. Jackson was hired to guest host for Souder on a Christian radio show. As the Church Lady might intone, “Isn’t that special?”

    Meanwhile, anonymous Republicans on Capitol Hill are telling Fox News, which is, of course, fair and balanced, that Souder has more problems that would have landed him in front of the ethics committee.

    So, being a dirty little hypocrite may be the least of his problems. Good.

    Schadenfreude is a bitch, Mister Souder.

  37. deb said on May 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    off-topic, but nance, i’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the passing of ronnie james dio. i still say you should’ve gotten onstage with him in the fort when you had the chance.

    and, are any other catholics–hell, any other *people*–as outraged as i am by the vatican’s statement that it can’t be held accountable for the way U.S. bishops handled the sex crimes of its priests because the bishops AREN’T VATICAN EMPLOYEES? i freaking ask you.

  38. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Souder’s voting record on issues of great import to him:

    Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
    Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
    Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
    Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
    Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
    Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)

    A lovely man indeed.

  39. Sue said on May 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    deb, about now I think the Higher Power they all serve should step in like a 60’s era Catholic dad who finds his daughter in the back seat of a car with a Protestant. Seriously, it’s smitin’ time.

  40. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Sue and Deb,
    I’ve said for years that if Christ ever returned and saw what was being done in His name, smiting would be the least of our worries. What would the man who lived among the most marginalized of people –indigents, lepers, beggars, prostitutes– think of the immense wealth accrued by those who ostensibly do His work?

  41. paddyo' said on May 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Ostensibly AND ostentatiously, Jeff B . . . it boggles the mind.

  42. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Doesn’t it? I’m not singling out the Catholic Church, either. What about all those charlatans preaching the “prosperity gospel?” I lived in Charlotte when Jim and Tammy Bakker were at their height and they were always going on about how the Lord wanted Christians to have nice things, like the diamond-encrusted Rolex and the flashy pinky rings favored by Jim. I think they’re pikers compared to some of the newer names like Joel Osteen.

  43. deb said on May 18, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    smiting is good. (i’ve always liked that word.) and in my archdiocese there’s a lot of schism talk, too. sign me up.

  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Y’all need to read Philip Gulley’s latest book — can’t find the title right now, can’t search on this computer. Was in an Ohio-Indiana church meeting (Disciples of Christ) and a friend, looking up from his blackberry, smiled over at me and said “God’s justice just smacked Souter.” Had to wait ’til lunch to find out what on earth he was talking about, since I know the guy well enough to know that it couldn’t have been sudden death he’d smile about.

  45. Jolene said on May 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    There are few things I enjoy more than batting around hypocritical members of the religious right, but what about Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut?

    He seems to have been living in some kind of psychological limbo, in which he occasionally drifted into saying things that just weren’t true. I wasn’t terribly impressed w/ what he had to say at his press conference today. And he was supposed to be a “sure thing” for the Dems thnis fall.

  46. Dexter said on May 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for bringing Blumenthal up in this thread, Jolene.
    I have enjoyed immensely all the commentary here on Souder today. I am a devotee of Brian Williams and Nightly News and he didn’t mention it, to my surprise, but he really chastised Blumenthal in a blunt way. Blumenthal said he wouldn’t let a few misspoken words shred his integrity, but as Williams pointed out, the whole nation has seen tape of him saying he did serve in Vietnam. The US does not need a creepy man like Blumenthal to replace Senator Dodd in Connecticut.
    No one can compare Souder’s infidelity to Blumenthal’s baldface phoniness, but Souder is out, done, finished, and Blumenthal is on the ascent and may well overcome his lies and take the nomination in The Nutmeg State. That would be the greater shame. Souder’s folly is a bawdy joke already, Blumenthal’s lies are , as Don Imus would say, “a outrage”.

  47. MichaelG said on May 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Nice call, Rana. And thanks, Mary and Sue. Nice to see some comic relief from other states. What’s happening in CA is way too depressing.

    I’m one of those hated State employees and I work hard and pay lots of taxes. So do illegal immigrants.

    My favorite politician’s response to a scandal was that of State Sen. John Burton who was, at the time, President Pro Tem of the Senate (majority leader). Upon return from a stay at the farm for drug and alcohol problems, his stance before the inevitable news conference was “So the fuck what? It’s nobody’s Goddamn business.” No hypocrite, he, although he was famous for being just a tad colorful in his language. He was reelected in a landslide. Burton was, of course, from San Francisco. He was also an excellent legislator, smart as can be and hard working. He’s quite old, now, and retired. We could use a couple of dozen of him under the dome today.

    Edit: The Burton quote is close. Not word for word but the “fuck” and the “Goddamn” were there. This was years ago before term limits.

  48. alex said on May 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Today the local media reminisced about Mark Souder’s career but somehow forgot one of his most shining moments from his first term in office, when from behind a microphone, in deadpan earnest, he denigrated Kentuckians as people who nonchalantly practice incest. It was a harbinger of many stupid statements to come over the next sixteen years, but at the time no one thought he’d see another term. Of course, no one thought any woman but his wife would ever be willing to fuck him either.

    On edit: Didn’t Ronald Reagan once claim (in a speech written for him by La Noonan) to have been present at the invasion of Normandy? It didn’t cost him one iota of respect among his supporters, so perhaps reports of Blumenthal’s political death are a little premature.

  49. Holly said on May 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I read today that Bristal Palin will be joining the Speakers’ Circuit. She will get between $15.000.00 and $30.000.00 per speech. It will depend on the content and prep work that goes into the speech. What could this kid have to talk about that anyone would want to listen to

  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 18, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    The book title I was trying to remember (just came out) is “If the Church Were Christian” – http://www.philipgulleybooks.com – we overlapped a few years in seminary, and he’s a very good writer not to mention fine Quaker pastor.

  51. alex said on May 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Jtmmo, that was one of the most enticing blurbs I’ve ever read with regard to a book on religion. I should add that it was quite out of character for me, but today I said, upon Souder’s resignation, that my faith in God has been restored. What’s happening to me?

  52. Jeff Borden said on May 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I’m with you, Alex, and tip o’ the Cubs cap to JeffTMMO for suggesting this book. It sounds like this guy is writing what I’ve been saying for a long time.

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Ah, the hound of heaven . . .

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hound_of_Heaven

    (Plus, you’d just enjoy Philip’s book. Or books, I should say.)

  54. Holly said on May 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I raised my 3 kids in the Catholic church. They all went to Catholic school. All 3 of them have turned their back on the Catholic church. They tell me that they believe in God. All 3 are Christians who have no church. They say the church has let them down. I agree. I am looking forward to getting and reading this book. The blurb sounded interesting.

  55. MichaelG said on May 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Send a copy to the Pope.

  56. Jean S said on May 19, 2010 at 12:03 am

    I’ve got a dilemma: Do I quote Borden on FB, or Rana? what to do, what to do….

  57. Tom Wolf said on May 19, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Longtime reader of your column in the local FW paper, reader here for a few years. I finally felt compelled to jump into the discussion now because of Souder. I’m a (God help them understand me here) republican that enjoys the dialogue and discussion on your blog. Lately though, I feel the blog has become more polarized and less tolerant of some of us. Thought Jeff(TMMO) could use a hand. We’re not all gay hating, anti-abortionist, racist KKK members that want to carry guns and deny migrant farmers the right to cross the border. I’m more of a liberal conservative republican (if there is such a thing) but we can discuss that some other time.

    What concerns me more is the fact that most of the media here in the Fort were aware of Souder’s transgressions but ignored it. Even most of the local political blogs were aware of it. Apparently investigative reporting on the local level is dead and that is why print media is dying. The AP for national news is outdated and mostly irrelevant when printed in the local paper. When breaking news is happening nationally we all turn to the tube for live coverage. Local papers should consider returning to their roots and dropping the national AP crap and covering all the local events and doing it well. I still subscribe to your old alumni and much like you I want to cancel it but keep it coming because it’s like an old friend.

    For the record, I never voted for Souder. I always felt he was a smug SOB trying to tell everyone how to live. When the news first broke this morning my first thought was at least he cheated with a woman. Then I was immediately sad that maybe if he’d been doinking a boy (or renting a boy) we could get this whole gay marriage thing approved and move on with fixing the rest of our real problems.

  58. Denice B. said on May 19, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Nancy, I love Breaking Bad. It’s ‘Must See TV’. Bryan Cranston is outstanding. The scene where Walt faces Gus and tells him he knows he is the one who warned Hank of the assassins. He also informed Gus that he knows his strategy and respects it. Gus, I think, was impressed. You can tell because Gus slightly raised an eyebrow. That guy is a rock. And then Gus negotiated an open ended contract, not just 3 months. The sheer intensity of the show is what keeps me watching. I tease Beb that he’s a chemist, he can cook too!

  59. moe99 said on May 19, 2010 at 1:28 am

    It’s late, so what the heck.

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=130950&catid=8

    You would just know that Terry Schiavo’s wretched family is still profiting from her name–illegally.

  60. Dexter said on May 19, 2010 at 2:31 am

    The Times trashes Blumenthal. Good. When he got five deferments, he was pulling some strings, receiving favor as a privileged man who was certainly too good to go take his chances in Viet Nam. Again, this is fine, it was how it was done. But to then go around for apparent decades bragging of Viet Nam in-country military service is worse than the most vile plagiarism. I can’t stand that.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/19/opinion/19wed4.html?hp

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 19, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Tom, howdy and welcome. I’m a conservative liberal Republican myself . . . 😉

    “Enjoying” the coverage of how Specter lost because it was raining hard in Harrisburg. I do think the Sestak/Toomey race will be much more interesting and indicative than the Florida follies shaping up.

    Pardon me, but I have to spend the day planting surprises and such along my wife’s path (no powered monkey suit on a stand up on campus, but I thought about it). ‘Tis anniversary day (silver edition), and circumstances dictated that we both work today, but I’ll sneak some celebration in through the busyness.

    Oh, and Happy St. Dunstan’s Day to all — patron saint of brewing! So everyone can celebrate along with us, whatever your reason. Slainte . . .

  62. Jeff Borden said on May 19, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Tom,

    Welcome. I am as guilty as anyone and probably guiltier than most at painting Republicans with a broad brush. I, too, have Republican friends and they do not dine on the blood of immigrants, attend lynchings or tattoo Revelations on their biceps. I will also note that I am the son of Republicans and my dad even voted for Barry Goldwater.

    That said, my father came to hate the GOP in his later years for its race-baiting and anti-gay agenda. He longed to see the rise of an Eisenhower again, but died knowing the party was in the hands of stubby-fingered vulgarians like Newt Gingrich.

    I despair the party will find a way beyond its current status of engaging in fear and anger rather than policy and practice. And, yes, that makes me very, very frustrated because we all know our country is in a mess and we need to stop the bullshit, roll up our sleeves and starting fixing it. All I need to see that the Republican Party is not up to the task is to see how they are holding up efforts to raise the damage cap for environmental and economic disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Or how they stopped funding for more and better science education by tying it to a pornography bill. Or how they have played politics with funding for longer term unemployment benefits, depriving millions of the money needed to get through this terrible recession.

    This is not a national political party with a brain. It’s running on pure id. It’s ugly and it drives me nuts.

  63. John said on May 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Congrats to Jeff and his Bride! 25 Big Ones deserve a special day!

  64. brian stouder said on May 19, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Congratulations Jeff and Mrs tmmo!

    and – Cheers!

  65. alex said on May 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

    It just keeps on getting funnier. Praise be to Souder:

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/roddreher/2010/05/in-praise-of-adulterous-christian-mark-souder.html

  66. brian stouder said on May 19, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Alex – wow.

    It may be Jeff’s anniversary, but brother Rod just took the cake!!

    His commenters, at least, mostly called bullshit on that one – so that’s something

  67. nancy said on May 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Dreher does this all the time — sees something that strikes his ADD fancy, throws it up on the blog, moves on and returns to find people who expect actual thought and consideration are miffed. Says, “Jeez, lighten up, OK?,” rinse and repeat. Given that he’s a hang-wringing worrywart much of the time, a good deal of his blog consists of apocalyptic economic soothsayers. Today, it’s Souder.

    BTW, who believes there’s a good chance Diane Souder told her cheatin’ husband to go twist in the wind on his own yesterday, and all that crap about not putting her through it was just that?

    (We should maybe take this to today’s thread, eh?)

  68. LAMary said on May 19, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Alex, Ronald Reagan claimed he was present at the liberation of Auschwitz, I think. He also said, in his book “Where’s the Rest of Me,” that at the end of WW2 he was happy to go home to his family. He spent WW2 in Culver City, CA. making movies for the Army. Culver City is about four miles from Beverly Hills where his home was.