“I think Donald Trump’s lack of civility is hurting the political process,” California state assembly Republican Rocky Chavez, a 2016 US Senate candidate, told AFP.

“We have serious issues that need to be discussed,” he added. “To lower the bar to calling people names is not beneficial.”

The amount of smack talk has surprised some observers.

“What’s interesting about this election: there’s never been somebody like Donald Trump who is so flagrantly uncaring about civility,” said Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University.

It is politics as reality TV, Kirk said, fueled by Trump’s “swashbuckling, my-way-or-the-highway persona” that he cultivated on the wildly successful NBC show “The Apprentice.”

The Republican National Committee, worried about how trashing fellow GOP candidates and popular female and Hispanic TV personalities might hurt efforts to broaden party appeal, warned in July that the name-calling “needs to stop.”

“It only worsened,” writes

Today’s Question: Is this campaign season less civil than previous ones?

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“The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets,” writes Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima.

The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue these sanctions, but a final call is expected soon — perhaps even within the next two weeks, according to several administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Issuing sanctions would represent a significant expansion in the administration’s public response to the rising wave of ­cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers, who officials say have stolen everything from nuclear power plant designs to search engine source code to confidential negotiating positions of energy companies.

Today’s Question: Are sanctions a good way to fight cybercrime?

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“The City Council of Warren, a suburb of Detroit, is debating an ordinance that would ban the assembly, storage and use of — flamethrowers?” writes CNN’s Chandler Friedman.

Yep, flamethrowers.

Resident Chris Byars figured people had seen flamethrowers in movies and video games, and maybe they’d want one of their own. So he designed a commercially available flamethrower for public purchase, and raised nearly four times his goal on a crowdfunding site.

Today’s Question: Does the Second Amendment guarantee a right to own flamethrowers?

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“Minnesota’s lobbying disclosure laws have earned a middle-of-the pack grade of “C” from a national, nonprofit government watchdog group,” writes MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire. The Sunlight Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., released an update today of its state lobbying disclosure report card. The group evaluates the disclosure of lobbyist activity and compensation, expenditure transparency, Read more