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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send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war.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.

Friday News: Defending the indefensible

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BERGER WANTS TO KEEP LAW IN PLACE PROTECTING CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS: The North Carolina Senate's top leader is skeptical about scrapping a 2015 law that prohibits permanently removing Confederate monuments from public property, as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper called for earlier this week. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger wrote in a column released Thursday that "an impulsive decision" to pull down monuments wouldn't be wise. Berger says the legislation sought to reduce politics in decisions about monuments on government property. Cooper said Tuesday it was time to stop glorifying a war fought to defend slavery and worried about public safety following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the toppling of a Confederate monument in Durham.
http://www.wral.com/the-latest-confederate-veteran-group-denounces-cooper-push/16887206/

NC's "hit and kill" bill one of many designed to stifle protests

And of course it was started by Big Oil protecting its profits:

State lawmakers in Florida, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas also considered similar measures, which the American Civil Liberties Union nicknamed "hit and kill" bills. The bills were part of a broader package of anti-protest legislation floated in at least 19 states after an upsurge in activism over the last year.

Of the half-dozen states entertaining proposals to shield drivers who hit protesters, North Carolina is the one where it has the best chance of passing. And despite the violence that recently unfolded in Virginia, the bill's sponsors have come to its defense, although its prospects appear to have dimmed.

My reference to Big Oil in the intro has to do with how protesters often use their bodies to block access to pipeline or fracking sites, where contractors have gotten into the habit of just rolling slowly through the crowd, like they're trying to push sheep off the road. But even North Dakota balked at passing such an ill-advised law:

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