Good morning. Here’s what you missed over the weekend.

1. A rash of pipe bombings in New York and New Jersey.

First, a pipe bomb planted in a dumpster injured 29 people in Manhattan. From the New York Times:

A bomb that injured 29 people on Saturday in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, and another that failed to detonate, were filled with shrapnel and made with pressure cookers, flip phones and Christmas lights that set off a powerful explosive compound, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.

Both bombs appeared designed to create maximum chaos and fatalities. They also provided a trove of clues even as any suspects remained unnervingly at large.

A top law enforcement official said that pressure cookers were filled with “fragmentation materials.” The bomb that exploded, at 23rd Street, was filled with small bearings or metal BBs. A second device on 27th Street that did not explode appeared to be filled with the same material, the official said.

On Sunday night, the FBI announced it had pulled over a car in Brooklyn and questioned the five people inside of it.

Another bombing also took place in Seaside Park, New Jersey; no one was injured in that attack. Then, earlier this morning, a police robot in Elizabeth, New Jersey accidentally set off a pipe bomb that was planted in a garbage can. There were five devices planted in total, but the other four were safely removed and one was hurt. Here’s a video.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, a stabbing attack at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota left nine injured before the attacker was shot and killed by an off-duty cop. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

In a media briefing after midnight Sunday, St. Cloud Police Chief William Anderson said an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction confronted and shot the suspect Saturday night inside Crossroads Center mall. He said the man — dressed in a private security uniform — reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them, and referred to Allah ­during the attacks.

“We are currently investigating this as a potential act of terrorism,” said the FBI’s Richard Thornton, speaking at a news conference at police headquarters early Sunday afternoon. Thornton did not link the attack to a specific terror group.

Roughly 12 hours after the stabbings, a news agency said to speak for ISIL went to Twitter to claim credit for the mall violence. “The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” the posting by the AMAQ news agency read.

2. Pat McCrory lies, is owned mercilessly by the Charlotte Observer.

On Friday, we learned, in an unbelievably shitty gotta-hear-both-sides statement from the North Carolina Restaurant Association, that North Carolina Republicans were offering a deal to repeal HB 2 — if, of course, Charlotte repealed the ordinance that expanded civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in the first place. We’re still waiting to hear how that’s going to shake out, but as of right now, the item isn’t on the Charlotte City Council’s zoning meeting agenda for tonight.

On Saturday, Charlotte Observer editorial page editor Taylor Batten dropped the hammer on the Governor, with this doozy of a story about McCrory, incredibly, planting questions during a Thursday event and saying they were actually from the Observer. Here it is, complete with a typically nonsensical quote from Ricky Diaz.

Speakers at Hood Hargett Breakfast Club events routinely take questions from the floor. McCrory required that all questions be submitted in advance in writing.

When the moderator asked how to get started, McCrory said, “Anything you like. No filter here.” Sure, who needs a filter when you posed the questions yourself?

When I tried to ask McCrory a question, the filter went up. “We’ve got three Observer questions answered already. I think you guys dominate the news enough.”

Of course, those weren’t Observer questions. They were softballs from his staff about what he wanted to do with his next term; how he wanted to reduce the state’s rape kit backlog; and how the state crime lab performed under McCrory’s opponent, Roy Cooper.


Ricky Diaz, a campaign spokesman, on Friday acknowledged the campaign provided questions for the governor, but said “we were asked to in order to keep the conversation format going.”

To McCrory’s credit, it was probably a good move to plant the questions, considering he seems physically incapable of defending his decisions as governor without exposing himself to be the feckless doofus he really is.

And good on the Charlotte Observer for calling this out. The paper’s editorial board came came out against a potential “compromise” as well.

As with a similar compromise offer back in May, council members are being asked to trust the legislature to follow through on its end of the deal. Here’s a hint about how that might go: In a condescending statement Saturday, House Speaker Tim Moore said that if Charlotte “fully and unconditionally” repealed its ordinance, “then I believe we have something to discuss.”

It’s a dismissive tone that overlooks an important bit of history:

In passing its non-discrimination ordinance in February, Charlotte followed the lead of at least 200 U.S. cities and counties. Charlotte’s ordinance, which included a provision addressing gender identity and bathrooms in public accommodations, was not groundbreaking. It’s what progressive cities do to protect their residents.

In passing HB2, which was a response to Charlotte’s ordinance, N.C. lawmakers did what no other state has done. The legislature removed LGBT protections already in place in Charlotte, and it told cities and towns they could not draft non-discrimination ordinances at any point.

And earlier this morning, WRAL came out with an editorial of its own. They even kept the caps lock button on for a couple of words.

“The proposal being considered provides for the city to take action Monday night to effectively repeal their ordinance contingent on the legislature then being called into special session by the governor and taking the actions necessary to repeal the law by the end of the week,” wrote Curran, who also serves as chairman of the State Board of Transportation for the McCrory administration.

“No one has to concede any ground on their beliefs or motives,” Curran added. By repealing the law, all sides get to recalibrate their approach to the issues.”

We disagree with Mr. Curran. STRONGLY. There is no question that HB2 should be repealed. But there is nothing that the city of Charlotte has to rescind or “recalibrate.” They should stand firm behind their ordinance.

For months McCrory, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, the state GOP and the legislative leadership, have been pinning the blame for the HB2 fallout, wrongly and irresponsibly, on Charlotte’s city council. The city council did nothing wrong. IT PASSED AN ORDINANCE SIMILAR TO LAWS AND ORDINANCES PASSED IN 200 OTHER COMMUNITIES AROUND THE NATION. The ordinances have been workable and responsible.

Read the whole thing. Thank Christ local N.C. media is stepping up and calling this what it is. The national media could stand to learn a thing or two about false equivalency.

3. Four Wake County Republican legislators are quiet on HB 2.

Three Wake Republicans — Sens. Tamara Barringer and John Alexander, both of whom voted for HB 2,and Rep. Gary Pendleton, who didn’t vote — have called for a repeal of HB 2, but most Wake Republicans are ducking questions about it. From the N&O:

After the NCAA and ACC announcements, three incumbents sought to distance themselves from the law they’d previously supported. Sen. John Alexander and Sen. Tamara Barringer and Rep. Gary Pendleton all said they want to see it repealed or substantially changed. They were joined by Sen. Rick Gunn of Burlington and Sen. Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County.

But Wake’s four other Republican lawmakers up for re-election were silent this week. Sen. Chad Barefoot, Rep. Marilyn Avila, Rep. Chris Malone and Rep. Nelson Dollar did not return multiple phone calls and emails from The News & Observer.

Avila hasn’t returned our calls, either. It’s especially interesting that Sen. Chad Barefoot has remained silent about the law, considering his mother-in-law is Tami Fitzgerald, the leader of the pro-HB 2 group N.C. Values Coalition. That’s gotta make for awkward dinner conversation.

All seven of the candidates are facing stiff competition for re-election. Along with Mecklenburg, Wake is best opportunity for Democratic pickups in November.

4. Please vote.

As if those last couple of stories weren’t depressing enough, Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has narrowed in recent days. FiveThirtyEight now projects Trump as the leader in North Carolina polls, and Trump is narrowly leading polls in Ohio and Florida.


Donald Trump said Friday evening that the bodyguards assigned to his rival Hillary Clinton should “disarm immediately” and “see what happens.”

“She goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm. Right? Right?” Trump said during a campaign rally here as the crowd cheered the idea. “I think they should disarm immediately. What do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. … Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, okay? It would be very dangerous.”

Cool. Everything is fine. For sure.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.