On the NC GOP's failed effort to replace a judge

They don't come any sleazier than Robin Hayes:

Democrat Roy Cooper would become governor in several weeks and Robin Hayes, the former U.S. congressman on the other end of the line, wanted McCullough to consider resigning early from his elected seat so Republican Pat McCrory could appoint a replacement in the waning days of his administration. The Republicans not only had lost the governor’s office with Cooper’s victory. They also had lost a majority on the state Supreme Court in the November elections.

That phone call from North Carolina’s Republican Party chairman over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend last year illustrates how the political focus on North Carolina’s courts has sharpened in recent years and shows no signs of easing anytime soon.

I have even more respect for Judge McCullough after reading this than I did earlier in the year, and that's saying a lot. If we had more Republicans with his level of integrity and backbone, I have a feeling things would be a lot different than they are:

Tuesday News: Gerrymandering lives on

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REPUBLICAN-DRAWN DISTRICT MAPS DESIGNED TO KEEP THEM IN POWER: Meredith College political science professor David McLennan looked at the new maps Monday and gave Democrats a good chance of breaking that veto-proof majority with seats to spare. He leaned heavily on recent polling data that gives Democrats a big boost on generic ballots, as well as a long-standing feature of mid-term elections: The president's party usually fares poorly. Bob Phillips, whose group, Common Cause, has pushed unsuccessfully for redistricting reforms in North Carolina, saw little hope for Democrats in Monday's data dump, which uses past election results and new district lines to show which way a district leans and, thus, whether it's more likely to elect a Democrat or a Republican next year. "In our quick analysis, it would appear that the maps guarantee the majority party super-majorities in both chambers," Phillips wrote via email.
http://www.wral.com/new-legislative-maps-crack-door-for-democrats-or-do-they-/16895968/

New NC Senate map double-bunks 8 incumbents

And seven of those are Republicans:

Republicans John Alexander and Chad Barefoot are both in Senate 18, which covers northern Wake County and all of Franklin County. Barefoot on Sunday announced he would not seek re-election.

Republicans Deanna Ballard and Shirley Randleman will both be running in Senate 45, which covers Wilkes, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties and part of Surry County.

Republicans Joyce Krawiec and Dan Barrett will run in Senate 31, which covers part of Forsyth County and all of Davie County.

Republican Bill Cook and Democrat Erica Smith-Ingram will both be running in Senate 3, which covers Vance, Warren, Northampton, Bertie, Martin and Beaufort counties.

It will be interesting to see which Republicans are found to run in the four (new) Districts with no current incumbents. Chances are they've already been found, before the lines were even drawn. Also: Bill Cook! That's a race that really needs to be won, and not just to protect Erica's seat. I was going to make some comment about the "winds of change," but the coffee really hasn't kicked in yet, so my humor is not quite as sharp as it needs to be for that reference.

Monday News: Here we go again

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TRUMP TO REVEAL HIS STRATEGY ON AFGHANISTAN WAR: President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost. The speech Monday night will also give Trump a chance for a reset after one of the most difficult weeks of his short presidency. Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president offered no clues about whether he would send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war.
http://www.wral.com/trump-to-outline-afghan-strategy-in-national-tv-address/16894347/

On the need for Dem candidates in every district

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I had the privilege to chat with Carolyn Hunt for a little while during the Sanford-Hunt-Frye breakfast yesterday, and one of the main topics we discussed was recruiting candidates for the upcoming 2018 Legislative races. I also mentioned our previous efforts to keep track of the filing process, with an eye towards challenging as many R incumbents as we could. Understand folks: Filing season is coming up quickly, and finding the right person to run needs to start right now. By "right person" I don't necessarily mean somebody whose conservative leanings fit better in an R-leaning district, I mean somebody who has the smarts, the dedication, the motivation, and the pure energy it takes to swim against the current. Follow me below the fold and I'll tell you why I think this is so important:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

DON'T PERMIT NC TO BECOME A SAFE-ZONE FOR BIGOTRY: The pictures of a torch light procession, with marchers on the University of Virginia campus chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans were all too reflective of horrific images out of fascist nations 70 years ago. Legislators should review recently passed laws, such as the so-called “Campus Free Speech Act" to be sure they haven’t inadvertently turned University of North Carolina campuses into safe zones for bigotry and potential violence. Freedom of expression is particularly integral to the learning mission of our universities and the appropriate presentation and discussion of controversial and unpopular ideas is critical to a good education. However, unfettered access to campuses by violent radicals while simultaneously institutionalizing punishments for those who challenge hateful acts is not what is intended in the law. It must be reviewed before it is too late.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-no-moral-relativism-in-the-face-of-bigotry/16888325/

Saturday News: Prodigal scum returns

STEVE BANNON BACK AT BREITBART AFTER OUSTER FROM WHITE HOUSE: Chief political strategist Steve Bannon is out from President Donald Trump’s White House and back at the far-right news website that launched him to political prominence. Trump told two senior aides that he decided to let go Bannon, according to The New York Times. The chief strategist insists that he resigned Aug. 7, but his departure was delayed because of the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia. A White House official told CNN that Bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago along with former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — but that Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, asked Trump to keep him.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article167968777.html

Possible Ku Klux Klan march in Durham today

What was that about Antifa being the aggressors? Right, shut the hell up:

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for a possible march by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan marching in Durham today. “The Sheriff’s Office is thoroughly researching the potential of several groups with opposing viewpoints holding demonstrations in Durham,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement.

City Manager Tom Bonfield said he is unaware of any permit being obtained for a march. Mayor Bill Bell said he was heading to City Hall to get more information.

I hesitated posting this, because I don't want myself or the website to increase the possibility of a violent confrontation. But we're also not in the business of "deciding" what information is healthy for you or not, or in any other way treating our readers like impressionable children who need managing. That being said, *please* be careful, and keep your distance. Some people simply can't be reasoned with.

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