DETROIT – There was hope that it would finally be a homecoming Christmas for Paul Whelan of Novi. He’s been in a Russian prison for nearly four years now -- and when word broke that a prisoner swap was going to bring WNBA star Britney Griner home, well, like many others, I assumed Paul would be a part of the deal and finally on his way back home. It was not to be.
It did seem an uneven swap as social media was quick to note -- we traded a Russian arms dealer nicknamed the merchant of death for someone who got caught with a vape pen. Of course, it was also hard to miss that the more famous American was the one included in the trade. So where does that leave Whelan? We’ve talked before on the program with his brother David - and David Whelan joined Flashpoint to talk about where the family’s hopes rest now.
And then we’re going to set the stage for the arrival of the Michigan legislature 2023. As lame duck sessions go, this one was, well, I guess lame seems to be the best way of putting it. It did include a farewell speech from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey whose remarks many found baffling -- it included everything from an unexplained reference to child sacrifice to a strange story about putting his hand into a capitol toilet.
Shirkey is among those leaving Lansing due to term limits, meaning a lot of new blood. But new blood also means not all that experienced in the ways of lawmaking. That against the backdrop of the first democratically controlled capitol in 40 years. What should we expect?
You can view the December 11, 2022, episode of Flashpoint in the video player above.