The Morning Roundup: Please Jesus Just End This Election Already
by Paul Blest
on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM
Good morning. Here's what happened this weekend.
1. The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew ripped through coastal NC on Saturday, and flooded some areas of the Triangle. At least nine people have been killed in North Carolina. From the N&O:
Matthew was blamed for at least nine deaths after as much as 16 inches of rain fell in parts of the state throughout Saturday. The death toll is expected to climb, McCrory said. Five people were missing, four in Cumberland and one in Harnett.
Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses remain without electricity as the combination of sodden ground and gusty winds brought down countless trees.
The Sandhills, which was still recovering from flooding rains from a week earlier, was among the hardest hit areas of the state. Nearly 15 inches of rain fell at Fayetteville Regional Airport, and numerous roads remain blocked by water or fallen trees.
As of Sunday afternoon, there had been more than 1,000 water rescues in the state – 700 in Cumberland County alone, McCrory said.
For some eastern N.C. communities, it's not over yet:
Smaller creeks and rivers, including Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, have crested, but larger rivers are still rising downstream. The Neuse River is expected to hit record levels at Smithfield and Goldsboro sometime Monday, and the North East Cape Fear River isn’t expected to crest near Chinquapin until Wednesday.
“This is going to be a prolonged event,” McCrory said. “Rocky Mount, Goldsboro, Kinston, Greenville – every town in between. We will have very serious issues.”
There are a lot of photos floating around, but watch this video of someone kayaking in Fayetteville during the storm. Pretty insane.
2. Donald Trump, hoo boy.
In case you lost power or haven't been paying attention to the news over the past forty-eight hours, a video of a conversation where Donald Trump advocates for sexual assault was released via the Washington Post.
“Your girl’s hot as s—-, in the purple,” says [Billy] Bush, who’s now a co-host of NBC’s “Today” show.
“Whoa!” Trump says. “Whoa!”
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.
“Grab them by the p—-y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
[CNN anchor Erin] Burnett’s friend said she recognized that detail. “The Tic Tacs,” Burnett said, quoting her friend. “That’s exactly what Trump did to me. Trump took Tic Tacs, suggested that I take them also. He then leaned in ... catching me off guard and kissed me almost on the lips. I was really freaked out.”
The woman told Burnett that after kissing her without her consent, “Trump asked me to come into his office alone. I figured I could handle myself. Anyway, once in his office he kept telling me how special I am and gave me his cell phone and asked me to call him. I ran the hell out of there.”
The story Burnett reported is not the first time Donald Trump has been accused of doing exactly what he brags about in the video: kissing women without their consent. In May, as part of a story reporting on Trump’s long history of inappropriate behavior toward women, The New York Times reported that in 1997 Trump kissed Temple Taggart, then the 21-year-old Miss Utah, on the lips without asking. “He kissed me directly on the lips,” she told the NYT. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, gross.’” Taggart added that she thought “there were a few other girls that he kissed on the mouth. I was like ‘Wow, that’s inappropriate.’”
A lot of Republicans across the country used the video as an excuse to finally cut ties with Trump, which we're sure doesn't have anything to do with his rapidly falling poll numbers. Our own Ken Fine rounded some up over the weekend, take a look.
All in all, this was probably the nail in the coffin for Trump's campaign. Which is why...
3. He devoted the debate to not putting himself in a position to win, but rather humiliating Hillary Clinton.
A ninety-minute documentary about why we should repeal the Twenty-Second Amendment aired last night, and boy was it ugly.
First, Trump trotted out four alleged sexual assault victims of Bill Clinton in a press conference, in what has to be one of the most exploitive things this craven dipshit has done this year. Deadspin sums up the whole thing rather nicely:
Under the guise of showing off the last minutes of his debate prepDonald Trump just held a bizarre, three-minute press conference in which four women who have prominently accused the Clintons of wrongdoing related to sexual violence flanked him, two on either side. Each woman was then allowed one sentence before Trump ushered them out of the room.
The whole affair was a shameless, despicable indicator of what we’re likely about to see a whole lot more of in tonight’s debate: Donald Trump parading around alleged sexual-abuse victims as his own personal shield.
In a highly unusual breach of protocol—if not a great shock—Trump and Clinton did not shake hands at the start of the debate, and the mood only got more acrimonious from there. The first question to the candidates, from a teacher, was about whether the candidates were setting an example they would want American schoolchildren to emulate. Clinton, starting off, answered the question with an anodyne statement of positivity. She did not bring up the recently released video of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. Trump, answering second, offered a quick litany of ills he said were plaguing the nation.
Several questions later, Trump took the opportunity to prove Clinton’s point about Muslims. When a Muslim woman stood up and asked the candidates what they would do about Islamophobia, Trump promptly turned the question around, blaming American Muslims for not informing law enforcement about potential terrorist activity in their midst. In other words, asked about Islamophobia, Trump blamed Muslims. Of refugees, he added, “This is going to be the great Trojan horse of all time.” But Trump said he no longer supports a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country, replacing it with a nebulous idea of “extreme vetting.” Trump has not explained how his new vetting would differ from the existing process of screening refugees.
It was a microcosm of the campaign: Clinton is a weak candidate, with a train car’s worth of luggage trailing behind her. But Trump is weaker still, and at every turn, he seems to overshadow her problems with much deeper problems of his own—much louder gaffes, much more serious political errors. That has been a rather depressing spectacle for the nation.
During one particularly bleak moment, Trump threatened to put Clinton in jail because of her emails if he's elected. Because, obviously, the criminalization of political opponents is the hallmark of a good and stable democratic state.
By the way, we livetweeted this shitshow last night. Check it out.
4. Hillary Clinton speeches released by WikiLeaks show she's Hillary Clinton.
If it weren't for Trump's complete and total meltdown, a leak of Hillary Clinton's speeches given to financial institutions pulled from a hack of Clinton advisor John Podesta's emails could have killed her campaign. The transcripts, which were a topic in the primary, are not pretty.
Touching on her view of developing financial regulations, Clinton declared to a crowd of Goldman Sachs bankers that in order to “figure out what works,” the “people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.”
At the Goldman Sachs Builders and Innovators Summit, Clinton responded to a question from chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, who quipped that you “go to Washington” to “make a small fortune.” Clinton agreed with the comment and complained about ethics rules that require officials to divest from certain assets before entering government. “There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives,” Clinton said.
Clinton also told a housing trade group in 2013 that on certain issues, she has “a public and a private position.” “If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least,” said Clinton. “So, you need both a public and a private position.”
Clinton tried to explain away that last one during the debate with a godawful answer about the movie Lincoln. And then, never one to be outdone by a Clinton fumble, Trump picked up the ball and punted it straight back into his own endzone by saying Clinton was "blaming Abraham Lincoln," which drew an audible laugh from the crowd.
Lord only knows what kind of impact all of the nonsense of the past few days is going to have on the actual election, but it's great and cool that, after what seems like several years of this presidential campaign, we narrowed it down to these two people to be the next leader of the free world. Really.
5. The Charlotte Observer is suing Pat McCrory for breaking public records laws again.
The Charlotte Observer has filed a lawsuit against N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory seeking emails related to House Bill 2 that the newspaper first requested in April under the state’s public records law.
The suit filed Friday morning in Wake County Superior Court seeks an order compelling McCrory to disclose the records related to the controversial bill the governor signed into law in March.
On April 5, the Observer requested copies of emails sent or received by McCrory and his staff since Feb. 1 regarding a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance that was passed on Feb. 21 and later overturned by HB2 on March 23, according to the suit.
We requested the administration's emails related to HB 2 in April a couple of weeks after the Charlotte Observer. Here's a copy of the email sent to McCrory communications director Josh Ellis:
click to enlarge
We've made several other public records requests over the past year, all of which have gone unanswered except one - a simple question with an incredibly simple answer, which apparently warranted a two month wait to respond.