The Final Frontier

The universe is saying goodbye to Leonard Nimoy.

***

Congress averted a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by passing a one-week funding extension, which the President signed shortly before the midnight deadline.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Friday’s initial rejection of even a three-week temporary funding measure “was exactly what Speaker John Boehner had promised would not happen with a Congress completely under GOP control.”

Chris Cillizza at The Fix explains why Congressional Republicans are their own worst enemies.

From the collapse of the “Plan B” proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff to the Farm Bill failure to Friday’s vote, the story is always the same: Boehner proposes legislation to prevent Republicans from taking the lion’s share of blame in whatever the latest moment of brinkmanship is between Congress and the White House. Conservatives refuse to sign on. Republicans are eventually forced to accept something that is less advantageous for their side than the Boehner proposal. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Meanwhile, as CPAC wraps up, The Guardian‘s Jeb Lund writes that the message is simple: You’re in terrible danger.

“But that doesn’t mean you’re in terrible danger right now. Right now, there are seminars. About the danger.”

***

* WORLD * Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, a leading critic of war in Ukraine, was shot dead near the Kremlin late on Friday. The killing came after Nemtsov had appealed for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war. His lawyer told the BBC that he had been receiving death threats on social media.

The Washington Post calls the murder “another dark sign for Russia.” Joshua Yaffa in the New Yorker looks at why Nemtsov was assassinated.

Leonid Bershidsky, who first met the Former Deputy Prime Minister in 1992, writes at Bloomberg on the Russia that died with Nemtsov.

“I seriously doubt that Nemtsov’s death will invigorate the anti-Putin protest movement. It is too weak to present a threat. Convincing others of the regime’s criminality is a weapon that’s too heavy for Russian liberals to heft these days. Still, I cannot help but wonder now what my country would have been like had [Boris] Yeltsin made a different choice back in 1999.”

In a piece in Thursday’s Financial Times, Nemtsov was quoted thus: “Three years ago, we were an opposition. Now we are no more than dissidents. The task is to organise a real opposition again.”

A Kremlin spokesperson said President Putin is “taking personal control of the investigation into Nemtsov’s murder.” 

Meanwhile, the former head of MI6 told the BBC that Russia “poses a state-to-state threat” and urged “increased dialogue” – as well as increased defense spending.

Diplomats from the US and Cuba made progress in their latest round of talks on normalizing relations, but are still “at odds” over whether Cuba should be taken off the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

* CULTURE * If you lost contact with your childhood best friend, how would you go about finding him? And would you be prepared for what you discovered? Tampa Bay Times writer Andrew Meacham documents his search in Finding Fletcher. (h/t @mudlarklives).

Finally, we weren’t aware that VP Joe Biden was a fan of Dermot Morgan.

Who isn’t, though?

 

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