Happy Birthday to Elizabeth Banks, 40. I watch all medical sitcoms (but no medical dramas), so I think of her mainly as being from Scrubs. That’s weird, right? Although I do count six movies I've seen her in, plus 30 Rock.

On to business...a new week is so much nicer when there’s good stuff:

1. Henry Farrell passes along new research from Dan Kelemen and Terence Teo on state balanced budget requirements (and what it might mean for Europe). Interesting.

2. “Obama seems to realize this. He too has an unsentimental outlook on the world.” I really like the latest from Fred Kaplan, on the president and what it means to be engaged with the world. I think Kaplan is right about Obama, although there’s certainly the possibility of some wishful thinking.

3. The doc fix fix? Sarah Kliff explains why, and how, Congress may finally solve a long-standing budget problem that caused yearly problems for no good reason at all.

4. Jennifer Bendery, who has been terrific on this issue, reports what’s been happening recently with Republican obstruction of judicial nominations. Remember: this is mostly about Republicans slowing progress on nominees who they support; most of the nominees stacked up waiting for final action will be approved overwhelmingly, many of them unanimously or very close to it.

5. Five things to know about the newest Senator, Montana’s John Walsh (mostly focused on November), from Alex Roarty.

6. Andrew Sullivan on the work ethic and the ACA.

7. And since I’m usually the first to call out Paul Ryan, I suppose I should link to Alec MacGillis arguing that Ryan has been intellectually honest about a couple of recent issues.

To contact the writer of this article: Jbernstein62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Francis Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net.