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    North Carolina Tag

    At least 50 LGBT activists staged a protest outside the Hbeish police station in Beirut, Lebanon, to protest anti-homosexual law. The activists from the Helem Association demanded the government repeal article 534 of the penal code and release four transgender women. From The Jewish Press:
    Helem leader Genwa Samhat told AFP that the sit-in, which took place two days before the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, “calls for the abolition of this section of law dating from the (1920-1943) French mandate in Lebanon.” She added: “Most people arrested under this law aren’t detained in the act but in the street because of their appearance.” Also, she said, people “continue to be fired if their boss finds out they’re gay. They’re made to say they quit voluntarily for fear of being outed.” According to Naharnet, Lebanese police are known to raid nightclubs serving homosexual patrons, and homosexuality is a frequent subject of ridicule on television.

    Last month, the city council in Charlotte, North Carolina passed an ordinance that included allowing transgendered persons to use bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, etc. for the gender with which they identify. This did not sit well with North Carolinians, nor with their state legislature, and in a special session, the state passed a bill that would make it state law--thus over-turning the Charlotte ordinance--that people can use such facilities only for the gender with which they were born, not the one they identify with or claim to be.  North Carolina governor (and former mayor of Charlotte) Pat McCrory signed the bill into law late Wednesday. Watch the report:

    Democrats have used a lot of gimmicks over the years to gain support and votes for their candidates, but their latest efforts to use sex to sell their decidedly unsexy candidates might just win the award for Most Ridiculous Millennial Outreach Gimmick of 2014. Students at North Carolina State University won a contest with Cosmopolitan magazine to have "party bus" filled with models transport students to and from the polls on Election Day. Yes, really. From the Washington Post:
    “On Election Day, a bus decked out with snacks, swag, and models (hi, this is Cosmo) will roll up to North Carolina State University, the winner of’s first-ever party bus contest,” the magazine said. “The bus will shuttle students back and forth to a nearby polling location so students can vote.” The university was entered into the contest by sophomore Camden Willeford, Cosmo said. “This election is not a light matter here in NC,” he said. “The weight is on the students of North Carolina State University.”

    First, some context about this post: I live in Upstate South Carolina, less than 20 miles from downtown Charlotte, NC. I'm also an avid Jeopardy watcher. Why is this important you ask? Well, ever since NC House Speaker Thom Tillis won the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate race in June, there have been non-stop television ads... on behalf of his opponent, incumbent Kay Hagan. If you think Alex Trebek can be annoying, combine that with wall-to-wall negative ads paid for by Harry Reid's SuperPAC designed to "Romney" (verb) Thom Tillis. My conventional wisdom and experience by the end of June told me that Harry Reid didn't really need to win North Carolina anyway for him to stay Senate Majority Leader. I figured the post-June Hagan TV blitz in the relatively expensive Charlotte TV market was a test. I figured Hagan was doing well and Reid, along with other liberal groups, would have to move money out of NC to other places. I figured Kay Hagan was a "buffer" but when push came to shove the North Carolina seat was expendable for Reid and Democrats. And finally, I had convinced myself that the Romney-ing of Tillis had worked. Hagan's numbers were climbing and I thought that Tillis had lost the summer and perhaps the whole election. Boy, did I figure wrong.
    In its biggest expenditure this election cycle, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Wednesday launched a $9.1 million TV blitz in North Carolina attacking Republican Thom Tillis. The ad buy, the largest so far in North Carolina, would be paid out through the end of the campaign. It reflects both the outside interest in a race that will help decide control of the Senate and, some say, concern about Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. “It tells me a couple things,” said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Washington-based Cook Political Report. “One, that she really is in trouble. They’re not going to spend that kind of money defending an incumbent who’s in reasonably good shape. “Two, they’re going to do the negative ads because I don’t think her approval ratings can take any more hits.”
    Four polls on the Senate race have come out in the past month and it seems Tillis survived the summer after all. The Real Clear Politics average has Tillis up slightly, but more importantly, Hagan is under 45% re-elect in all but one of the surveys.

    I posted a few weeks ago about the status of redistricting in various states, and how Republicans at the state level were using their power wisely to solidify the current hold on power in the House by creating a greater number of safe seats rather than...