I’m willing to believe that Putin is a supreme gangster who is capable of anything. But this story implies that the FBI, a U.S. Attorney, and the Department of Justice are involved in a cover-up for reasons yet unknown. This is quite the stretch.

Some American officials now fear the threat has hit home. Lesin’s death raised “concerns” that the Kremlin would start “doing here what they do with some regularity in London,” said a former high-level national security official who recently left government. Altogether, 18 current and former intelligence, law enforcement, and other federal officials told BuzzFeed News that they question the official story of how Lesin died. The FBI, which assisted with the investigation, and the Department of Justice declined to comment. The US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said it had nothing to add beyond its statement last year calling Lesin’s death an accident. The DC medical examiner’s office said it is barred by law from releasing details of the autopsy so would not comment beyond the US Attorney’s statement and a brief summary of its own findings that it released in March. A spokesperson for the DC Metropolitan Police — which led the investigation, deploying homicide detectives — told BuzzFeed News that “we have no evidence to suggest this death involved foul play. However, we will certainly reinvestigate should additional evidence be brought to light.”

I’m trying to find a grassy knoll where I can sit down and think about all of this.


Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Buy Me Some Juice” (Blu Lu Barker): Yeah, I still pretty much love New Orleans.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here’s the Senate during a 125-hour filibuster in 1960. The star is Gale McGee, Democrat of Wyoming. That same year, McGee would whip the four votes out of the Wyoming delegation that put John F. Kennedy over the top for that year’s Democratic presidential nomination. One of McGee’s lasting contributions is that he led the fight for the annual August recess in the Senate, on which the present Senate is about to embark. History is so cool.


Apparently, there were sad faces all around on Friday morning, as the House Republicans tried to cope with the knowledge that their Senate colleagues were not quite as inclined as they were to commit ritual political suicide. (Gerrymandering, after all, is the House member’s amigo.) Nobody was more downcast than Speaker Paul Ryan, as Tiger Beat On The Potomac reports.

At a closed-door conference meeting with House Republicans hours after Sen. John McCain scuttled perhaps the last best hope of repealing Obamacare, Ryan read an excerpt from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a song about sailors drowning in a 1975 shipwreck. He likened the tune to what he deemed the Senate’s tragic failure to repeal Obamacare.

Well, that’s as maudlin as it gets. (I, for one, easily see the parallels between a shipwreck that killed 29 men and the defeat of a ghastly bill that would’ve killed countless more.) Why don’t we just move on now to the cannibal feast?

House Republicans — the infamously fractious group that drove out their former speaker — are now the most functional part of government, the speaker told his members.

Please don’t fire me until Foxconn begins to build that factory in my district.

“The House did its job… The Senate needs to deliver,” said Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), on his way into the morning meeting. “We’re all on this plane, and if it crashes, we all go down together.”… Members couldn’t help but think, however, that most of those measures are stuck in the Senate. “The House time and time again has passed strong legislation and the Senate isn’t able to get anything to the finish line,” said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) a top deputy whip for GOP leaders. “We want to see them get off the dime and get moving. This is a disappointment. It’s a failure for the American people — and this is on the Senate.” Asked how she would deal with any of the blowback from constituents over for the failure to replace Obamacare, she added: “I’m going to talk about the 270 pieces of legislation we passed and advanced through the House — 226 of which are sitting over in the Senate waiting to be sent to the president’s desk.”

All Rep. Joe Barton could manage to say say was, “I am very sad.” His fellow Texas Republican Mike Conaway insisted the Senate “needs to pass something.”nArch-conservative Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), meanwhile, called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to step down. “We need new leadership in the United State Senate,” said Brooks, who is running for an open Alabama Senate seat. “If Mitch McConnell cannot get the job done, then those 52 senators need to get together and try to figure out who amongst them has the leadership capability to get the job done.”

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But, wait, isn’t there someone else to blame?

Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican who voted against the House repeal bill, said the GOP’s health effort was doomed from the start because the president “never really laid out core principals and didn’t sell them to the American people.” “Usually the executive has to provide a plan and go out and sell it… It was never really sold,” he said, arguing that now is the time to turn to bipartisanship.

Buck up, little cowboys.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, USA Today? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!

Many dinosaur species had long, slender necks and stomped about on two legs, as did this one, officially known as Corythoraptor jacobsi. And many dinosaurs sported bizarre bony skullcaps. But Corythoraptor’s tall, narrow crest, tipped rakishly forward above the eyes, makes it a dead ringer for the cassowary, a modern-day bird native to Australia and New Guinea. Scientists describe the ancient reptile in the current issue of Scientific Reports. No other dinosaur so strongly resembles a particular living bird, says study co-author Junchang Lü of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.

Corythoraptor lived roughly 65 to 100 million years ago, during the final reign of the dinosaurs. The specimen in the new study died before it had finished growing. Even so, it had a headdress for sending sexual signals, hinting that the animals reproduced before they reached full size, the study says.

I’m sure there were a lot of dinosaur pundits back then decrying the failure of the culture in this regard.

The Committee had a feeling that the outburst from Congressman Buddy (Snatch A Knot In Yer Ass) Carter, along with the challenge extended to Lisa Murkowski by Rep. Blake (Footies) Farenthold, was going to bring us this week’s winner, and Top Commenter Bob Brault did not disappoint.

Mebbe Rep. Buddy and Rep. Blake can get together with their knots and dueling pistols and play the Russian Roulette version of rock, paper, scissors…

I spent an hour trying to imagine this and finally gave up when the image emerged of Farenthold driving a pair of scissors through his hand with a rock.

I’ll be back on Monday, home from the very strangest place on earth. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line. The air’s pretty fresh up there.

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