A person armed with a baseball bat attacked two congressional staff members at a district office in Representative Gerald E. Connolly, the congressman said in a statement.
Mr. Connolly, a Democrat, said the individual committed “an act of violence” at his Fairfax, Va., office against two members of his staff, who were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Sgt. Lisa Gardner, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax City Police, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon that the assailant, a man who is believed to be a constituent of Mr. Connolly’s, walked into the office around 10:30 a.m. with what appeared to be a metal baseball bat and struck two staff members in the upper body.
Sergeant Gardner said that a motive was not immediately known, and that charges against the suspect, whose name was not immediately released, would be forthcoming.
Both staff members were conscious when the police arrived about five minutes after a 911 call, she said.
“You could absolutely tell that the people inside were scared, they were hiding,” she said.
“It’s quite frankly scary that someone can walk up to an office with a baseball bat and just start swinging at innocent victims,” she added.
Mr. Connolly represents a swath of the Northern Virginia suburbs west of Washington, D.C. He was first elected to Congress in 2008. In a statement after the attack, he said he has “the best team in Congress.”
“My district office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day,” Mr. Connolly said in the statement. “The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”
The attack comes amid a rise in threats and violent political speech against members of Congress in recent years. In October, an intruder bludgeoned Representative Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, inside their San Francisco home after he shouted “Where is Nancy?”
Monday, May 15, 2023
A man showed up at the Fairfax, Virginia office of Democratic Rep. Jerry Connolly and when the office staff told him Connolly wasn't there, the man proceeded to beat the tar out of two staffers with a baseball bat, putting both of them in the hospital.
The most-watched network in America regularly calls Democrats frauds, crooks, and much worse on a regular basis, and the last guy in the Oval Office continues to do much the same and has for years. Somebody once again took up the right-wing stochastic terrorism noise machine on their call to cause violence to Democrats.
The violence will continue and only get worse, and the main thought I have is "If the suspect had brought an AR-15 instead of a baseball bat, we'd be having a far different conversation right now."
It's 2023 now, and as predicted, after millions of us got remote jobs and work from home shifts over the last three years, the great Return To Office isn't much of a return.
The so-called “return to the office” has been underway for a while now, and it’s a bit of a mess. Sure, more people are going to the office more often than they were a year ago, but we’re still eons away from where we were before the pandemic. And despite the gains in office attendance, many office buildings themselves are in big trouble — some of which goes beyond remote work and started long before the pandemic.
So despite what you’re hearing from some bosses, things will likely never go back to the way they were.
First off, the push to return to the office is not that robust. For every high-profile company forcing workers to return to the office, another lets them work where they wish. Companies that have instituted return-to-office policies have backpedaled or failed to enforce them. Even New York City’s mayor, who’s been bullish on the return to the office and who mandated a five-day-a-week return-to-office policy last June, is reconsidering as the city struggles to fill empty jobs.
The pain this is causing in the commercial real estate world is already visible. As office owners struggle to lease space or fail to secure more financing, delinquency rates for office loans are at their highest rate — 2.8 percent — since the pandemic began, according to data from finance analytics firm Trepp. That’s partly due to rising interest rates and trouble at regional banks, which account for most commercial real estate lending. Some fear that the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic could spread to other regional banks and further hurt the office market. Converting offices to other uses is expensive, and the credit to do so is hard to come by. So as more office leases come up for renewal or more loans need refinancing, the number of delinquencies will continue to jump.
And that pain will not be isolated to office building owners. Big cities like New York are heavily reliant on property taxes, which fund a huge chunk of the city’s budget, so losses there affect everyone in the city. Then there are the many businesses and people who were reliant on daily traffic to and from offices for their own livelihoods. Some have predicted an “urban doom loop” in which fewer people and less money coming in means fewer amenities and poorer quality of life, which leads to even fewer people and less money and so on and so forth.
Some people will certainly still go into offices in the future. It just won’t be as many people or as often, which means the amount of office space needed will go down. And the office space they go to will generally need to be nicer. The continued availability of open office space as office owners struggle to rent it out makes it a tenants’ market, where companies in a “flight to quality” are able to be choosier about the offices they pick.
As of now, the data shows that a majority of workers who were able to work from home still do some (46 percent) or all (19 percent) of the time, according to the latest data from WFH Research. Before the pandemic, these numbers were in the single digits. Stanford economics professor Nick Bloom, who helps run the project, thinks the number of workers in hybrid situations might actually climb to around 60 percent, with most of the gains coming at the expense of people currently in the office full time. That outcome is already showing up in survey data, as companies who said their workers would be fully on-site last year are now switching to hybrid work.
The weak return-to-office movement means that a lot of office space is being left empty. In North America, office utilization — the number of spaces that are used as a percentage of all spaces available — is currently at about 21 percent, less than half what it was pre-pandemic, according to XY Sense, a company that uses sensors to track office occupancy. That’s consistent with data from key card swipe company Kastle, which shows US office occupancy levels to be at 50 percent of its pre-pandemic levels.
Now, that's not stopping business media from publishing scare stories about how if you don't return to the office now, you'll lose that promotion, or lose your job to AI or get fired for using at home and sure, some of that may happen, but at this point there's a permanent shift to a much larger percentage of workers working in remote work than before the pandemic.
More and more Americans want remote positions, and they are getting them.
Turns out part of those Discord leaks from last month where an Air Force reservist allegedly blabbed US military documents on Ukraine to his right-wing gaming buddies included information on PMC outfit Wagner Group offering to help Ukrainian forces because the Russians left the Wagner mercs they bought high and dry to die in Bakhmut.
In late January, with his mercenary forces dying by the thousands in a fight for the ruined city of Bakhmut, Wagner Group owner Yevgeniy Prigozhin made Ukraine an extraordinary offer.
Prigozhin said that if Ukraine’s commanders withdrew their soldiers from the area around Bakhmut, he would give Kyiv information on Russian troop positions, which Ukraine could use to attack them. Prigozhin conveyed the proposal to his contacts in Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, with whom he has maintained secret communications during the course of the war, according to previously unreported U.S. intelligence documents leaked on the group-chat platform Discord.
Prigozhin has publicly feuded with Russian military commanders, who he furiously claims have failed to equip and resupply his forces, which have provided vital support to Moscow’s war effort. But he is also an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who might well regard Prigozhin’s offer to trade the lives of Wagner fighters for Russian soldiers as a treasonous betrayal.
The leaked document does not make clear which Russian troop positions Prigozhin offered to disclose.
Two Ukrainian officials confirmed that Prigozhin has spoken several times to the Ukrainian intelligence directorate, known as HUR. One official said that Prigozhin extended the offer regarding Bakhmut more than once, but that Kyiv rejected it because officials don’t trust Prigozhin and thought his proposals could have been disingenuous.
A U.S. official also cautioned that there are similar doubts in Washington about Prigozhin’s intentions. The Ukrainian and U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.
In an interview with The Washington Post this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would not confirm the contacts with Prigozhin. “This is a matter of [military] intelligence,” he said. The Ukrainian leader also objected to airing classified information publicly and said he believed that the leaks had benefited Russia.
But there is no debating Prigozhin’s bitter frustration with the grinding fight in Bakhmut. He has complained, publicly and privately, that the Russian Defense Ministry has not given his fighters the ammunition and other resources they need to succeed. Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, has seen some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. Over the past few months, in a grinding back and forth measured by city blocks, Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken steep casualties.
Prigozhin, who promised to take control of the city by May 9, in time for Russia’s Victory Day celebrations, has recently threatened publicly to pull his forces out of the fight.
Other leaked documents reveal Russian Defense Ministry officials privately wondering how to respond to Prigozhin’s criticism of the military’s performance and his demands for more resources, which they apparently conceded were not illegitimate grievances. The documents also speak to a power struggle between Prigozhin and top officials, including Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Against that tense backdrop, Prigohzin has carried on a secret relationship with Ukrainian intelligence that, in addition to phone calls, includes in-person meetings with HUR officers in an unspecified country in Africa, one document states. Wagner forces provide security to several governments on the continent.
The leaked U.S. intelligence shows Prigozhin bemoaning the heavy toll that fighting has taken on his own forces and urging Ukraine to strike harder against Russian troops.
Now, don't get me wrong, using mercenary groups composed of veterans in wars to bolster troops is a military strategy as old as human warfare itself. But so is turning on your employer when you leave the mercs in a hole to sacrifice themselves to save your own men.
War, war never changes, as the man once said.