NRA spends $4.5 million to keep Burr in DC

And now we know why Burr resisted the "No Fly, No Buy" effort:

As of Tuesday, the NRA had poured $36.3 million into the 2016 election, breaking its own record of $31.7 million from just two years before, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The blitz cements the NRA’s status as a key cog in Republican electoral efforts.

The NRA has portrayed Clinton as an existential threat to gun rights. The group argues she would nominate Supreme Court justices “who will overturn” the Second Amendment. In down-ballot races, the group has spent $4.5 million on the North Carolina Senate race, about 90 percent of that attacking Democrat Deborah Ross, who is in a tight contest with incumbent Republican Richard Burr.

Apparently being an obstructionist makes you a lot of powerful friends. Unfortunately, many in the "law and order" crowd aren't smart enough to connect the dots between Burr's blocking of judges and justices and his blocking of laws designed to protect us, with that crazy dangerous world they are so afraid of. A Congress that is deadlocked thanks to people like Richard Burr simply can't adapt to developing threats. Which is exactly what the NRA wants, because the fear and uncertainty that results from inaction is great for gun sales.

NPR debate transcript and fact-check

ISIS comes to the rescue of serial sexual abuser:

I don't think you understood what was said. This was locker room talk. I'm not proud of it. I apologized to my family. I apologized to the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it, but this is locker room talk. You know when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have men frankly drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sites all over where you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times, we haven't seen anything like this -- the carnage all over the world -- and they look and they see. Can you imagine the people that are frankly doing so well against us with ISIS and they look at our country and they see what's going on. Yes, I'm very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk and it's one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS, we’re going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment and I will tell you I will take care of ISIS.

The part in italics is Trump trying to not-answer the question about kissing women whenever he feels like it and grabbing them by the pu$$y. The rest is pure fear-mongering deflection. But the combination of the two is the equivalent of Trump saying, "The Roman Centurions who went out and slew the barbarians before they could attack the city had their pick of women when they returned home." In other words, it's only sexual assault if you're a loser. More mind-numbing Trumpism:

Using Legislative "Privilege" to obscure racial gerrymandering


Trudy Wade & Company defy judges order:

Webster gave the legislators 30 days to create a list of documents they want to keep private — and to describe the documents and explain why they should be withheld. He said he would look at the privilege log privately, then decide whether to make legislators comply with the subpoenas.

But creating such a list — even for a judge’s eyes only — would create a “chilling effect” on confidential communication between lawmakers and staff members, attorneys for the legislators said in Thursday’s filing.

If those communications had any impact on how legislation would be written or implemented, it should not be confidential. It's called "public policy" for a reason. And since this particular piece of legislation deals directly with the voting process, the need for transparency is doubled. And it's the height of arrogance the GOP thinks this is a sound argument:

School privatization "boosts" real estate market

May not be good for (all) the kids, but home values apparently soar:

Once we realize that assigning children to schools results in concentrating poverty, we can begin to imagine the social benefits of systems that avoid assignments.

Research recently published in the Journal of Housing Research shows homes are worth more in the places that use this scholarship system instead of the more rigid assignment system. Homes are worth significantly more in tuitioning districts than in districts with weak assigned schools. The more school options that were available, the larger the price premium. Studies on similar systems in Paris, France, and San Antonio, Texas, find similar results.

I have developed a (maybe bad) habit of scrolling to the bottom of an Op-Ed to get an idea of who a writer is, and where that writer is coming from, before I digest the information being put forward. Usually it's pretty straightforward, but sometimes there's a weird confluence. In this case, it's an associate professor of finance and real estate talking about education. Like I said, weird. But this guy's approach to the subject is even weirder, talking about areas that don't even resemble North Carolina's school districts:

Van der Vaart continues his political gamesmanship

Attacking the Federal government and Roy Cooper whenever he's given the opportunity:

The U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step this year of halting the Obama administration’s attempt to take over the nation’s electricity system. The federal scheme, supported by North Carolina’s attorney general, would punish lower- and middle-class families by increasing energy bills more than $400 a year.

NC GOP caught in (another) lie

And the newspaper caught in the crosshairs is having none of it:

You may have recently received several pieces in the mail paid for by the state Republican Party that criticize Democrat Brownie Futrell, who is challenging Republican Bill Cook in the District 1 Senate race. Those pieces include the statement: “But State Senate Candidate Brownie Futrell supports Hillary Clinton’s plan to give single, able-bodied young men who won’t work ‘free’ healthcare funded by taxpayers.” Next to those words is a footnote that cites “The Outer Banks Sentinel 12/16/2015” as the source for that assertion.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Stith's refusal to testify begs the question


What is he trying to hide?

Stith declined, on advice of attorney, to answer questions about coal ash pollution, the interaction between Duke Energy and state government, or about enforcement efforts against the utility. But he agreed to answer questions about his comments on Rudo.


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