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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

Because I am an inveterate optimist who likes to think the best of other folks, I’m going to assume for the sake of the following argument that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and former governors Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Bev Perdue sometimes sign documents they’ve not closely read. Read more

Various top rankings for North Carolina’s business climates have predictably — and once again — been the cause of partisan tug-of-wars in our state. When the state scores highly under one party’s control, the ruling crowd trumpets vindication and the out-party waxes dismissive. But the truth is that North Carolina typically does well in these rankings, and neither party is being entirely honest when they marshal our success as a talking point. Read more

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State AP Stories

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.

North Carolina Democrats have asked a state court to overturn an elections board vote granting the Green Party official recognition despite allegations of fraud. Democrats have been accused by the Green Party of meddling in its petitioning process to qualify candidates for the November ballot. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court, precedes the first hearing next Monday in a Green Party lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, when the newly certified party will fight for an extension to a statutory deadline preventing its candidates from appearing on the ballot.

National & World AP Stories

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A veteran U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has quietly returned to work in Mississippi more than a year after he was charged with murder in the shooting death of his mentally ill neighbor. But records obtained by The Associated Press raise new questions about how Agent Harold Duane Poole avoided trial and whether DEA brass overreached to protect one of their own amid a flurry of misconduct cases. Poole says he fired after his neighbor threatened to kill him with a rock. But the agent said in an earlier call for help that the man was already leaving and no rock was ever found.

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Donald Trump says he invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the long-running New York civil investigation into his business dealings. Trump arrived at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ offices Wednesday morning, but sent out a statement more than an hour later saying he declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” Anything he said during the deposition could have been used against him in a criminal case, if one ensues. While James’ investigation is civil in nature, the Manhattan district attorney is running a parallel criminal probe.

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Kobe Bryant’s widow is taking her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments to a federal jury, seeking compensation for photos deputies shared of the remains of the NBA star, his daughter and seven others killed in a helicopter crash in 2020. A jury was seated in U.S. District Court on Wednesday in the invasion of privacy case, and opening statements are set to begin later in the day. The county has argued that the photos, which were ordered deleted, have never been in the media, on the internet or otherwise publicly disseminated. Bryant is seeking unspecified millions because she fears the photos may eventually surface.

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Indian actor Aamir Khan enjoyed “Forrest Gump” so much that he’s starring in a Hindi remake of the iconic film. Nearly 30 years after the original's release, Khan is taking on the role of the titular character “Laal Singh Chaddha.” Khan says he's been a longtime fan of ”Forrest Gump." It took a decade for him to get the movie rights, and big changes were made to root “Laal Singh Chaddha” in Indian history and culture. “Forrest Gump″ was released in 1994 and went on to sweep the Oscars, taking six trophies including best picture and best actor for Tom Hanks.