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North Carolina U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Till joined 43 other Senate Republicans Tuesday in defeating an amendment aimed at reducing the bullying of LGBTQ students in the nation’s public schools.

The amendment offered by Minnesota Senator Al Franken was tacked onto to a bill updating No Child Left Behind legislation.

“You cannot learn if you dread going to school,” reasoned Franken.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander worried the proposal would only spark more costly lawsuits, and Franken’s amendment failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance.

Click below to hear Sen. Franken speak on his amendment. Click here to see how the rest of the Senate voted.

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#ConfirmLoretta2The Charlotte Observer is the latest large media outlet to speak out against the absurd and offensive blockade Attorney General nominee and North Carolina native Loretta Lynch by GOP senators.

The Observer rightfully terms the blockade — which is even opposed by notorious left-wingers like Orrin Hatch, Lindsay Graham and Rudolph Giuliani — a “ridiculous” exercise in toxic politics and political hostage taking.

As this morning’s editorial notes:

“Critics say she’s too much like Holder and the man who’s trying to hire her, Barack Obama, on major issues such as voting rights and immigration. It’s a ridiculous objection. What boss picks an employee to fight his or her goals?

What’s really holding her up is the kind of hyper-partisan D.C. food fight that’s destroying our country.”

Meanwhile, Burr and Tillis are their usual helpful selves:

“Lynch can’t even turn to her two home-state senators for help. A delegation of her N.C. supporters came away disappointed Tuesday after meetings with Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

Burr has said he can’t support her because she seems too friendly to federal lawsuits like the one pending against North Carolina’s tough new voting requirements. Too much like Holder, Tillis has said, adding that he’d be shocked if her views on key issues differed from the president’s.”

Happily, the saving grace in all this is that Holder remains on the job. As Talking Points Memo reported yesterday:


North Carolina’s two U.S. Senators have introduced an amendment to the Keystone XL pipeline bill intended to fast-track the exploration and drilling for natural gas and oil along the Atlantic coast.

Senator Thom Tillis took to the Senate floor Thursday to explain the provision that he says will create thousands of jobs over the next two decades. Click below to hear Tillis’ remarks as carried by C-SPAN:

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Late in the day, Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement praising the forward progress on offshore energy exploration:

“I’d like to thank Senators Burr and Tillis for taking a step in the right direction to help get North Carolina into the energy business. Responsibly exploring oil and gas reserves off our coast has the potential to make North Carolina a leader in energy, move America closer to energy independence, and create jobs.”

McCrory chairs the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition.


Thom TillisWell, this is off to a good start. Senator-elect Thom Tillis is already staking  out a less-than-courageous profile in his new job by essentially parroting the absurd remarks of his new colleague Richard Burr on the CIA torture report and attempting to make it a partisan issue — even though people of both major parties clearly bear responsibility for the atrocities.

Tillis gets a small measure of credit for admitting the torture — what he calls “those practices” — was wrong, but then he makes the illogical assertion that releasing the information will hurt American “credibility.”

Uh, excuse us Senator-elect. but here’s what will enhance American credibility going forward: telling the truth and not torturing people. As this morning’s editorial in the Wilmington Star News correctly notes:

“We pride ourselves on our sense of morality, justice and humanity, and should feel shame that the inhumane tactics described in the report were sanctioned on our behalf.

Moreover, they didn’t work. The report, which was gleaned from more than 6 million pages of information, found that in most cases subjecting enemy combatants to brutality produced no useful information.

That is hardly a revelation. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who spent 51/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has repeatedly denounced torture and other harsh tactics as cruel and ineffective. His observations have been backed up by experienced military interrogators who said that many captives will make up stories or offer bad information just to stop the physical or mental pain….

We cannot profess to be of superior moral fiber if we embrace the same disregard for human life and dignity that compels us to label terrorists as evil.”

Unlike Richard Burr, North Carolina’s new senator has six years to worry about re-election. You’d think he could take a break from partisan demagoguery for at least the first few months of his time in D.C.