Wait…Only Gay Men Take Care of Their Children?

The recent Senate rule change to allow babies on the Senate floor, prompted by the recent birth of Senator Tammy Duckworth’s second child, has caused a minor stir. Duckworth herself pushed for the proposed rule change.  Wednesday night, the Senate voted unanimously to implement it.

“By ensuring that no Senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child, the Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies,” Duckworth said in a statement after the vote.

The Daily Dot took the opportunity to bash Republican men for their reaction to the news. (This despite the fact that Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar worked with Republican Senator (and Rules Committee Chair) Roy Blunt to get the proposal to the floor. And, as noted above, the rule passed unanimously.)

The Dot took issue with Senator Orrin Hatch’s initial response, which reportedly was, “But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?” Senator Hatch’s office later tweeted:

And later:

But this portion of the Daily Dot’s coverage stood out to me as…a bit odd:

In better news, Duckworth also worded the proposal with gender-neutral terminology. That means gay male senators have room to take care of their children in the Senate chamber as well, assuring LGBTQ families aren’t left out from the change.

No — it isn’t odd to me that gay male Senators might wish to care for their young children in the Senate chamber. I think that’s fine — just as I applaud the rule change itself — and congratulate Senator Duckworth on the new addition to her family. What’s odd to me is that the observation implies that only gay male Senators might wish to do so. Straight male Senators wouldn’t want to care for their kids, too?  Only women and gay men take care of their children? That seems rather sexist. And heterophobic.



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More Bad News for Missouri’s Governor Greitens – Another Potential Felony Investigation?

As if a pending trial for felony invasion of privacy weren’t enough, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has another reason to be concerned:  The State’s Attorney General has just announced that his office has found additional evidence of potential criminal behavior on the part of Greitens in connection with his campaign.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Hawley announced:

(T)hat during the course of an investigation into the charity Greitens founded, his office found evidence that Greitens allegedly obtained and transmitted the charity’s donor list for political fundraising.

 “And he did all of this without permission of the Mission Continues,” Hawley said Tuesday.

“This is known as computer tampering. And given the value of the list in question it is a felony.”

The investigation into the potential misuse of the donor list was launched in February.  Hawley has indicated he will be turning his findings over to the Circuit Attorney’s office to determine if a prosecution is warranted, as his office lacks jurisdiction.

This would be the same Circuit Attorney (Kim Gardner) who is currently prosecuting Greitens for allegedly photographing his then-mistress in a state of undress and transmitting it in some fashion and threatening to disseminate it if she ever disclosed their affair. (Greitens has acknowledged the affair, which occurred prior to his election, but continues to deny the allegations regarding the photograph and threat.)  As we noted yesterday, the Judge in that case is set to rule Thursday on the defense’s Motion for Sanctions/to Dismiss for the prosecution’s failure to produce certain evidence. Looks like even if the dismissal is granted, it may be a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Also of note in this morning’s press conference, in response to a question as to whether this latest push on the Greitens matter was prompted by his U.S. Senate candidacy, Hawley responded:

“I’m doing my job, and my job is to enforce the laws of Missouri; to protect the people of Missouri and that’s exactly what I’m doing, and I’m going to go on doing it no matter who criticized me or tries to intimidate me. This office will not be intimidated and we will not be deterred. We will go on doing our job for the people of Missouri.”

This comes on the heels of this tweet (yesterday) from his anticipated opponent for Missouri’s Senate race this fall, Claire McCaskill (D-Mo):

Following the press conference, Governor Greitens released the following statement:

“Fortunately for Josh, he’s better at press conferences than the law. Anyone who has set foot in a Missouri courtroom knows these allegations are ridiculous. Josh has turned the “evidence” he claims to have over to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner— a liberal prosecutor funded by George Soros who allegedly suborned perjury, falsified documents, and withheld evidence. We will dispense with these false allegations.”

Not to miss out on the fun, Claire McCaskill’s Communications Director issued one, as well:

“We’re glad that Hawley has come out of hiding to acknowledge the existing evidence of criminal behavior of the Governor. However, the sad truth is that this shows gross incompetence on the part of the Attorney General. The evidence in this case has been publicly available since October 2016 — what excuse could Josh Hawley possibly have for failing to pursue an investigation and allowing this evidence to languish for over a year? The only reason the statute of limitations is now a problem in this case is because Hawley was trying to protect his friend and large donor for as long as possible.”

Seems as though the long winter is just about over and things are really starting to heat up in the State of Missouri.


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Missouri Governor Greitens Pushes Back, Issues Another Statement

Following the release late yesterday afternoon of the Missouri House’s Committee on Oversight’s report, there’s been a great deal of focus on what the future holds for Missouri’s embattled Governor, Eric Greitens.

As noted this morning, there have been calls — from Democrat and Republican quarters — for him to step down, or for impeachment proceedings to be brought.  There is some disagreement as to whether his alleged actions prior to his becoming Governor — no matter how distasteful one might consider them — constitute proper grounds for impeachment. Article VII, Section 1 of the Missouri Constitution provides:

Impeachment–officers liable–grounds.

Section 1. All elective executive officials of the state, and judges of the supreme court, courts of appeals and circuit courts shall be liable to impeachment for crimes, misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office.

The Governor, however, is pushing back. This morning, his legal team filed a Motion with the Trial Court in the ongoing criminal proceeding (for Felony Invasion of Privacy), alleging misconduct on the part of the prosecution:

Attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens are asking a judge to dismiss a criminal indictment against him while accusing prosecutors of misconduct for withholding a videotaped interview of a woman with whom he had an affair.

In court Thursday, Greitens’ attorneys said prosecutors who initially claimed the recorder had malfunctioned finally shared a copy of the recording Wednesday night. They said that occurred only after a House investigatory committee had released separate testimony from the woman saying that Greitens had initiated an aggressive, unwanted sexual encounter in 2015.

Greitens attorneys say the woman’s videotaped interview from March backs up Greitens’ claim that the encounter was consensual.

A judge says he’s considering what he described as serious allegations of perjury and dishonesty against the prosecutors. He made no immediate ruling.

This afternoon, Governor Greitens released the following statement:

We told you yesterday afternoon that the House report would be incomplete. It was.

We told people that they needed to see all the evidence. And now, we have proof that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her team hid evidence from the people of Missouri and from the Missouri House of Representatives—evidence that undermined the narrative pushed in the House report.

Kim Gardner hid a video that she knew directly contradicted allegations in the House report, and she allowed her lead investigator to lie about it, under oath.

Just last night—as false stories were being pushed to press—the prosecutor turned over a videotape of her interview with the woman. This was evidence that the prosecutor was legally required to turn over months ago. She purposefully kept it hidden until one hour after the false report was released.

The House report contained explosive, hurtful allegations of coercion, violence, and assault. They are false. Those allegations can be refuted with facts. Despite the Circuit Attorney’s attempts to keep it from the people of Missouri, we have video evidence that contains some of those facts.

In the video, the woman talks for almost two hours, and never once mentions any coercion. In the House report, there is a false allegation that I slapped the woman. That allegation had been made once before, and it was disproven. The story changed, so I will say again: it did not happen. On this new video, she says that when this story broke in the media, she asked her two friends if they ever remembered her talking about a slap, and they both said “No.” The witness claimed to the House that she was coerced into sexual activity on the morning of March 21st. This is inconsistent with her statements in the video interview with the Circuit Attorney.

The report that was put out last night did not contain this evidence, and the allegations in that report will refuted by facts, including this video, depositions, discovery, and other evidence that will be subjected to the rigors of a courtroom analysis. In 32 days, a court of law and a jury of my peers will let every person in Missouri know the truth and prove my innocence.

We’ll continue to follow this story and update with developments.

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Why the Reboot of Roseanne Resonates (It Isn’t Because She’s a Trump Voter)

I rarely watch sitcoms anymore. And I can’t tell you the last time I made a point to catch the premiere of one. But when I saw that Roseanne was returning to primetime, I was intrigued — eager, even, to catch up with the Conners after all these years.

Though my viewing of it tailed off in the later years (I’d forgotten there was a Jerry, or that Dan “died”), I loved the original. I have a vivid recollection of being in college, watching an episode where either Darlene or Becky — or perhaps both — were being particularly snarly toward their mother, and picking up the phone to call my own mom and apologize for having been such a snot to her in my middle teens. (A glimmer of hope to which I presently cling as the mother of a sixteen-year-old.) Roseanne had a way of connecting with middle-America; of portraying working class people realistically — and humorously — without being patronizing.

I’d seen some of the previews and was aware that the reboot would incorporate some of today’s polarizing politics into the storyline, but that didn’t put me off. Something told me Roseanne would find a way to handle it in playful, not preachy, fashion.

Tuesday night’s episodes did not disappoint. The characters have aged, but the set hasn’t changed much. The Conner family room still features the cluttered hint of Cheeto remnants, and familiar crocheted blanket draped over the dated couch. I watched and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

I wasn’t alone in that. As has been widely reported, the premiere racked up huge ratings:

The return delivered an incredible 18.2 million viewers along with an equally impressive 5.1 rating among adults 18-49.

And while it played best in “flyover country,” — places like Tulsa, Kansas City, Cincinnati — it struck a chord with liberals and conservatives alike.

Not everyone was enthralled, though. The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro cautioned yesterday that the show is problematic for conservatives:

Conservatives are celebrating because they believe that Roseanne is helping to cure the culture by depicting a Trump supporter as something other than a rube or an idiot. There’s some truth to this: Roseanne’s character is whip-smart and unwilling to take crap from anyone — she’s sort of a female mini-Trump in terms of personality.

But there’s something else going on in Roseanne that should disturb conservatives: the redefinition of Trump supporters as blue collar leftists rather than conservatives. Roseanne’s character is pro-gay-marriage, pro-abortion, feminist, and pro-transgenderism — and the implication is that she is a good person because of these views. The real difference between Trump voters and Hillary voters are economic in nature, not cultural.

I’m a fan of Ben’s — have been for years. I think he’s brilliant and I respect immensely his fearless defense of the First Amendment. But I believe he’s missing the point here. Many Trump voters were blue collar “leftists” — or, at least, people who aren’t social conservatives. And attempting to equate “Trump” with “conservative values” is misguided at best.

Yes, conservatives are celebrating the show’s depiction of Trump voters who aren’t knuckle-dragging mouthbreathers; who don’t have horns and aren’t made the butt of every joke.  Even those of us who weren’t Trump voters appreciate the textured approach. They’re depicted as “real” people with financial concerns, age-related ailments, family dysfunction, and everyday worries that many of us have or can relate to, regardless of our politics.

But it’s more than that. Millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Millions voted for Hillary Clinton. Some even voted for Jill Stein. Or Evan McMullin. Those votes don’t define us. They don’t even begin to tell the whole story — of any of us. We don’t fit neatly into little labeled boxes. We may be “conservative” in most respects, but have family and friends who live “non-traditional” lifestyles, or are non-binary, or are life coaches who sport p-hats. And we love them anyway. We may be  “liberal” in many respects, but have family and friends who are pro-life, or pro-traditional marriage, or card-carrying NRA members. And we love them anyway. We are so much more than who we voted for. And life is so much more than politics.

Conservatives — and liberals, and moderates, and people who aren’t particularly political — are celebrating because the show depicts “normal” (albeit quirky) people who may disagree with their loved ones on politics or political candidates but who love them nonetheless.  As a somewhat liberal friend of mine observed yesterday, “Real families argue and ridicule each other while still loving everyone.” Roseanne captures that well. And equally important — it’s funny.

In its premiere episode(s), Roseanne does a nice job of poking gentle, loving fun at both/all sides of the spectrum. It serves as a welcome reminder not to take ourselves so dang seriously all the time. It’s a breath of fresh air. And Cheeto dust.


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Another Big Name Accused of Sexual Misconduct: Steve Wynn Is the Latest Alleged Letch

Casino mogul Steve Wynn is the latest well-known figure to be accused of sexual harassment. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wynn paid a hefty sum to settle claims by a former resort manicurist for pressuring her to have sex with him.

LAS VEGAS—Not long after the billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn opened his flagship Wynn Las Vegas in 2005, a manicurist who worked there arrived at the on-site salon visibly distressed following an appointment in Mr. Wynn’s office.

Sobbing, she told a colleague Mr. Wynn had forced her to have sex, and she repeated that to others later.

After she gave Mr. Wynn a manicure, she said, he pressured her to take her clothes off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite, according to people she gave the account to. The manicurist said she told Mr. Wynn she didn’t want to have sex and was married, but he persisted in his demands that she do so, and ultimately she did disrobe and they had sex, the people remember her saying.

Per the Journal story, Wynn later paid $7.5 million to settle the woman’s claims.

After the news broke, Wynn, who also serves as the Finance Chair for the Republican National Committee denied the allegations, though there are multiple allegations outlining a pattern of such abuse:

Beyond this incident, dozens of people The Wall Street Journal interviewed who have worked at Mr. Wynn’s casinos told of behavior that cumulatively would amount to a decadeslong pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Wynn. Some described him pressuring employees to perform sex acts.

Following the story, shares in Wynn Resorts, Ltd. dropped by 9%.

Wynn Resorts were down 9% at $182.57 shortly before 11 a.m. Pacific time. It was the stock’s biggest drop since July 2017.

In response to the allegations, the company pointed to Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, accusing her of running a smear campaign.

“Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife has sought to use a negative public relations campaign to achieve what she has been unable to do in the courtroom: tarnish the reputation of Mr. Wynn in an attempt to pressure a revised divorce settlement from him,” it said in a statement.

The legal settlement detailed by the Journal in Friday’s report has become a major focus of a lawsuit between Steve Wynn and Elaine Wynn, who is seeking to gain control of her 9% stake in the casino giant. Steve Wynn has long sought to maintain his hold over the company because he lost his previous business, Mirage Resorts, to an unsolicited bid from mogul Kirk Kerkorian.

Smear campaign or no, this revelation has undoubtedly cost Wynn a pretty penny.

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Double Take: This Missouri Senate Candidate’s Take on Women’s Rights Raises Eyebrows

I must confess, I’ve not paid a great deal of attention to Missouri Senate candidate Courtland Sykes since he brashly announced his entry into the GOP fray last fall. Fair or no, my initial read on his candidacy was that it was a publicity stunt of some sort. I’ve never heard of the guy before and what little I did hear upon his announcement persuaded me that he’ll not be getting my vote come the primary in August, though I eagerly look forward to Claire McCaskill getting a run for her money in the general.

Turns out there’s a reason I’d never heard of him before. He’s not from Missouri, having only just moved here last fall. And his political experience appears to consist of working as a staffer for a U.S. Representative from Arkansas, Bruce Westerman — another name unfamiliar to me.

In fairness, the fault could lie squarely with me for being woefully uninformed. Be that as it may, I’ve paid little mind to Sykes up until today. Which may actually go a long way toward explaining this:

Hold the phone, there, fella. I may not be inclined to sport a vagina hat, and I happen to adore men, but this doesn’t sit well with this female Missouri voter. I suspect that’s the point, though. Sykes’ “statement” strikes me as rhetoric purposefully designed to ruffle feathers and get folks talking about him. (Hey, look – it worked!) It’s certainly not designed to endear him to moderate or independent women. And I’m not all that certain it will appeal much to even those who lean harder right. Particularly not when there are other more palatable — and viable — candidates from whom to choose.

I don’t get the impression that matters all that much to Sykes. Coverage from the time of his announcement sheds a bit more light on what’s going on here:

Sykes described himself as an admirer of former White House Strategist Steve Bannon, whom he met at an Eagle Forum event in St. Louis this past weekend. Bannon, who runs the website Breitbart, has made similar attacks on globalism.


Sykes’ candidacy announcement coincided with hardline conservative Judge Roy Moore’s victory in the Alabama Republican primary for Senate on Tuesday and comes at a time when Missouri’s GOP frontrunner for Senate, Attorney General Josh Hawley, has faced questions about whether he supports Trump’s agenda.

An admirer of who?  Coincided with who? Given the recent trajectories of his purported kindred spirits, it appears that Sykes’ candidacy might need a bit of a shot in the arm. And this statement appears designed to assist in that regard.

I doubt he’ll be interested in my advice but on the off chance he is, I’ll start by suggesting he retain a copy editor.  “Hell-bent feminist she devils who shriek from the tops of a thousand tall buildings they are [sic] think they could have leaped over in a single bound — had men not [sic] “suppressing them…” needs a little work.

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Move Over, “Sloppy Steve,” There’s a New Nickname in Town

Trumpskeptic™ or no, I have to hand it to the President — he does know branding. During the campaign (which seems like a decade ago now), we were treated to “Low Energy Jeb,” “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted.”  And, of course, “Crooked Hillary.”

He’s continued this practice as President, referring to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man,” Chuck Schumer as “Cryin’ Chuck,” Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” (utterly stomping all over the actual humor behind “Fauxcahontas”), and more recently — much to the delight of even some who are not big Trump fans — “Sloppy Steve” Bannon.

Look, it’s utterly juvenile. But, in a weird way, it works.  Or works for him, anyway. Trump is unique. (One can hope.)

Anyway, he’s got a new one for someone who’s been a regular thorn in his side:

That’s right — CNN’s Acosta has now earned himself a nickname.  “Crazy Jim” shouldn’t feel bad, though. He is in good company.  Other previously pronounced “Crazy” folk include Megyn Kelly and Bernie Sanders.

Dilly dilly, Donald.

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On Shoes

A reboot (pardon the pun) from one year ago:

Shoes. They’re a favorite topic of conversation — even a favorite pastime — for many.  They’re not just apparel or accessory; they’re a statement, an expression, a source of bonding.

Funny aside from long ago: My daughter was turning 3, and I took her to the Sears Portrait Studio to have some pictures taken because that was when I was still a good mom and did those sorts of things. While we waited in line, another little girl, who appeared even younger, came in holding her mother’s hand.  She and my daughter eyed one another up and down, as girls so often do, and then she cooed to my daughter, “I like your shoes!” It was such a quintessentially girl thing to do, I couldn’t help but laugh. Even by early toddlerhood, we’ve learned to relate to one another over…shoes!

Though I’ve never been all that big on shopping (unless we’re talking hardware or office supplies — or Target!), shoe shopping with my sisters or friends has most always been a fun occasion.  And what mom doesn’t smile (and maybe feel a slight bittersweet twinge) the first time her daughter borrows a pair of her shoes because they fit — both size and looks-wise?

It isn’t just women who love their shoes — men get in on the act, too.  I’ve certainly spent some time in the Cole Haan store in Chicago with my beau while he’s ogled their stylish selection.  (Note to self: Leave some time for Cole Haan while in Chicago next month!)

And when we wish to encourage empathy, we remind one another to “walk a mile in so-and-so’s shoes.” It sounds a bit trite, but really, there’s both wisdom and compassion packed into just those few words.

It occurred to me yesterday, as I watched my diverse group of friends express an exceedingly polarized array of opinions on social media, that we seem to have forgotten how to do that anymore.  Instead, we all too often seem primed and poised to hurl our Franco Sarto’s at one another rather than stopping to consider what a stroll in that guy or gal’s loafers might be like.

And when this troubling development is raised, the instinctive response is to point a finger at someone else as the primary cause.  “They started it!” “It’s his fault!” “Welcome to fill-in-the-blank’s America!” I think there’s plenty of blame to go around, including a heaping spoonful compliments of our 24/7 news cycle and social media, which have formed a somewhat sick-and-twisted co-dependent feedback loop in an increasingly frenzied effort to garner the most clicks, likes or views.  Viral, indeed.

Mostly, though, I blame us. That’s right — you and me.  Because ultimately, we are the ones who decide to click that mouse or flip that channel.  We are the ones who choose to hastily type and post that snarky response designed to verbally slap the smile off other’s faces while eliciting backpats from our like-minded posse.  We are the ones who, like Eddie Murphy’s mother in Delirious (WARNING: Language), whip our pumps boomerang-like through our monitors (and occasionally face-to-face) at one another — only it’s neither funny nor effective — unless your aim is discord.  And if, as you’re reading this, you’re thinking of a certain newly-inaugurated and questionably coiffed Twitter hound, stop and ask yourself this: Are you guilty of doing the very thing you condemn him for doing?  (Note: If your answer to this is, “He’s way worse,” your reflector might not be functioning properly. Poor form isn’t subject to the theory of relativity.)

That’s just it, though — we don’t stop, think, reflect anymore.  We react.  Faster and faster with each technological “advancement”.  And we sure as hell don’t contemplate 5,280 feet in someone else’s footwear.  (That’s feet, as in distance, not appendages, by the way.)  Shoot, at this point, we’re loathe to acknowledge others’ right to march to their own drummer. If they’re not in sync with us, then they’re enemies, evil, worthy of our scorn, not our friendship, our compassion, or even common courtesy.

So, for instance, today, I have many friends who are marching in D.C. and other cities across the country — including my own.  Their stated reasons vary, but politically align primarily on the leftward side of the spectrum.  And I have other friends clucking at this, sneering, expressing their disgust with these marchers because of their beliefs.  Next Friday, I’ll have many friends marching in D.C. and other cities across the country — including my own.  Their reasons will vary a bit less, as it’s a singularly focused event, but politically align primarily on the rightward side of the spectrum.  And I’ll have some of the very friends who are marching today, clucking, sneering and expressing disgust at these “others.”

These are women (and some men, but primarily women) who, in recent times, might have happily gotten together for a night of wine Bunco; who’d have shared over the phone their concerns about their significant others, their parents, their children; who’d have kvetched about their jobs; who’d have gladly spent an afternoon traipsing through DSW, Macy’s and Dillard’s trying on shoes; who’d have stood in line or at a party and broken the ice by exclaiming, “Ooh, I love those shoes!”  But now?  No.  She’s either on board with your point of view, or she’s dead to you. We may have laced up our tennies to march with purpose and pride, but we’ve apparently lost our way.

And, no, I don’t believe it’s always been like this.  While my immediate family was on the same page politically as I was growing up, my parents’ best friends (and my godparents) were in different books. My beloved Grandmother was a staunch Republican, while my parents were diehard Democrats, and there was never so much as a thrown fork or slammed door.  One of my best friends in law school was as conservative as the day is long and we fought all the time over politics and such — but in friendly fashion. It was the Euchre matches among our group that got truly heated — but even those didn’t touch what now passes for “discourse”.  And most importantly, my views have evolved over the years from quite liberal to moderately conservative/libertarianish while the same people appear to have liked and loved me just the same.  Recently, though, I’ve felt increasingly as if some of those relationships were on rather thin ice — like the wrong comment or shared article on social media might suffice to sever a years-long bond.

Ironically, it was the words of our previous President  — someone with whom I’ve rarely agreed — which were then called to mind:

If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, each one of us must try to heed the advice of one of the great characters in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Okay – so that referenced skin, not shoes, but the point is the same.  We’re so afraid to do that anymore — or worse, it doesn’t even occur to us, like it’s beneath us to extend that sort of consideration to one another.  As someone who’s spent much of my life being “wrongheaded” in the eyes of many people I know, respect and love, I call hogwash.  Your ears aren’t going to fall off and you’re not going to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West if you hear or read a viewpoint that doesn’t match your own.  You may not ever agree with it.  You may even find it uncomfortable or even repugnant. But you will live. And maybe, just maybe, gain a smidge of understanding as to where that other person is coming from.  Which isn’t a horrible thing. In fact, when you realize that, viewpoints aside, they lace their shoes up just like you, the world starts to look a little less angry and bleak.

I took a moment yesterday afternoon to remark on Facebook on the fact that the presence in my timeline of vastly different takes on the transition from Obama to Trump assured me that I have a diverse group of friends. I love them all, and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I’d gladly walk a mile in their shoes — or, at least, with them in their shoes.  Or better yet, go shoe shopping.


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Missouri Man Faces Terrorism Charges for Attempted Train Hijacking

I don’t know if it’s old age or simply the fact that our present-day news cycle is so chock-full of dramatic developments that our brains overwrite much that, in days gone by, would have qualified as sufficiently disturbing to leave a lasting imprint, but I seriously do not recall this story being reported when it happened back in October.

Apparently, 26-year-old Taylor Michael Wilson, who hails from St. Charles, Missouri, not far up the road from me, stopped an Amtrak train on its way from Sacramento to St. Louis. The incident occurred near Oxford, Nebraska, on a train with 175 people on board. Wilson was armed at the time and broke into a secured area and pulled the emergency brake.

Fortunately, he was subdued by Amtrak personnel until he was taken into custody by the Furnas County Sheriff’s Office, as it seems he had plans to wreak much more serious havoc. Per the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Wilson, who has a Missouri concealed carry permit, had a fully loaded .38 caliber handgun in his waistband and a speed loader full of bullets in his front left pocket, according to the affidavit. A backpack that passengers identified as belonging to Wilson had ammunition, a hammer, a fixed blade knife and a respirator-style mask similar to ones used in construction trades.

Wilson has been charged with violating 18 USC 1992(a)(1) & (b)(1), as set forth in this affidavit.  The title of that code section is “Terrorist Attacks and Other Violence Against Railroad Carriers and Against Mass Transportation Systems on Land, on Water, or Through the Air,” and carries with it the punishment of fines and imprisonment for 20 years under sub-section “a” and life under sub-section “b.”

Dude is in some serious trouble. As well he should be.  Per the Post article:

Wilson had connections to “alt-right Neo Nazi” groups and phone documents that had racist messages or contained instruction manuals that investigators say “are often possessed and utilized by individuals and groups attempting or planning to commit criminal acts or acts of terrorism or violence.”

Investigators found multiple weapons, ammunition and other tactical instruments in Wilson’s home in St. Charles, including a fully automatic assault rifle and a gun that had been converted into a short-barrel rifle, both potentially violating federal gun laws.

He sounds nice….

That he was captured without doing more serious harm is something for which we can be thankful.

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President Trump’s Call With ROK President Moon Jae-In Is Optimistic on the Olympic Front

Recently, rising tensions with North Korea have led to speculation that the United States might find itself having to boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics, set to begin in Pyeongchang next month.  As RedState reported earlier this week, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that if North Korea attended the games, the US would not.

However, President Trump’s recent call with South Korean President Moon Jae-In included a note of optimism that all would be well on the Korean Peninsula for the upcoming games:


Office of the Press Secretary


January 4, 2018

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea to discuss recent developments on the Korean Peninsula.  The two leaders agreed to continue the campaign of maximum pressure against North Korea and to not repeat mistakes of the past.  The United States and the Republic of Korea are committed to a safe and successful 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.  President Trump told President Moon that the United States will send a high-level delegation to the Olympics.  The two leaders agreed to de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises so that United States and Republic of Korea forces can focus on ensuring the security of the Games.

While the call didn’t clearly spell it out, apparently the commitment to “de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises” translates into postponing joint military exercise “Foal Eagle” until after the Games.

Per the Washington Post:

The military exercise, Foal Eagle, often involves more than 30,000 American and 200,000 South Korean troops, as well as air, ground and naval operations.


Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the decision was made “in the spirit of the Olympic Games.” He did not disclose the specific start date of the exercise, saying only that it will be after the Olympics are over.

Obviously, security concerns remain but hopefully, this decision will help de-escalate the tensions enough to allow for the desired “safe and successful 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.”

The post President Trump’s Call With ROK President Moon Jae-In Is Optimistic on the Olympic Front appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State