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For decades, conservative politicians had a free ride on the abortion issue. They could tell their “pro-life” base that they were doing all they could to ban the procedure — while not scaring the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe v. Wade protected the right to an abortion, the talk about outlawing it was just talk. Read more

Today, I want to talk about Kansas. Not about its corn as high as an elephant’s eye, nor about Dorothy and Toto trying to find their way home, but about Kansas as the geographic and Republican center of America, Kansas as the vintage Norman Rockwell core of America, Kansas as what the Republican Party was before being hijacked by Newt Gingrich and then mugged by a New York real estate con artist. Read more

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State AP Stories

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The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

The North Carolina attorney general’s office is asking a federal court not to restore the state's 20-week abortion ban after the judge suggested his previous injunction “may now be contrary to law.” The attorney general’s office argued in a brief filed late Monday that reinstating restrictions in the aftermath of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would create “significant risk of public confusion” about the availability and legality of abortion services in North Carolina. Staff attorneys in Stein’s office filed the brief without the attorney general’s involvement.

National & World AP Stories

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The Ohio Highway State Patrol says an armed man who tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office was shot and killed by police after he fled the scene, leading to an hourlong standoff. A law enforcement official said federal investigators are examining whether the man, identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, may have had ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys. The official said Shiffer is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and may have been present at the Capitol on the day of the attack. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Police in Las Vegas say former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch was asleep and smelled of alcohol when he was found in his damaged sports car this week and arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Lynch’s attorneys responded Thursday with a statement saying Lynch was in a parked car, not driving, and a DUI charge won't stick. The arresting officer says police found markings suggesting Lynch’s black Shelby GT500 hit sidewalks before stopping in an industrial part of downtown Las Vegas. The 7:30 a.m. Tuesday arrest came after the Seattle Seahawks announced Monday that Lynch had been hired as a team broadcast special correspondent. In 12 NFL seasons, Lynch also played for the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders.

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U.S. gas prices have dipped under $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average is $3.99 for a gallon of regular. That's down 15 cents in just the last week, and 68 cents in the last month. Gasoline peaked at around $5.02 a gallon on June 14. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest. The decline reflects falling prices for crude oil, which have dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.

New Mexico prosecutors are amassing evidence they hope will convince a judge that the Afghan refugee suspected of killing four Muslim men should remain jailed pending his trial. Muhammad Syed is due in court Monday and a state judge will decide if he's enough of a danger to the community to deny him bond. Syed is charged with two killings and authorities say he the primary suspect in the other two. He has denied the allegations. Muslim community leaders say they're working with law enforcement to push for Syed's continued detention. They cite previous accusations of domestic violence against him and a 2020 tire slashing incident outside the local mosque.