REPUBLICAN MAJORITY ON (FULL) COURT OF APPEALS HEARTS GERRYMANDERING: As with most cases at the 15-member Court of Appeals, the case was originally heard by a panel of three judges. They voted Monday morning to delay filing for elections just for U.S. House, state Senate and state House seats — as federal, state and local candidates across North Carolina were set to declare their intentions to run starting at noon Monday. But then Monday evening, the full court voted and overruled the original panel, allowing candidate filing to begin after all for candidates in those races. A majority of the 15 judges said they want to all hear the case together — what’s known as “en banc” — instead of leaving it to a panel. That will happen soon, they said, but did not set a date. Did you say, "In the bank"? Yes, you did.
SLEEP WITH THE RATTLESNAKES, YOU GET BIT: The North Carolina GOP is reviewing allegations that Michele Woodhouse, a GOP chapter chair and candidate for the newly-drawn 14th Congressional district, used her position to hinder the campaigns of other Republican candidates. Jeff Moore, the communications director for the NC GOP, confirmed that the organization was looking into the complaints, but declined to provide further comment. Two Republican candidates in NC-14, Bruce O’Connell and Wendy Nevarez, have said Woodhouse either discouraged their candidacy outright or denied them equal footing with U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn — who has since switched to run in the 13th Congressional District. Now, Woodhouse is running for Congress herself in the very district where some Republican challengers are saying they were hampered from mounting campaigns against Cawthorn. Woodhouse denies those accusations. Before you ask, no, I'm pretty sure she isn't related to Dallas.
MARK ROBINSON'S HEAD JUST MIGHT EXPLODE THANKS TO PONYSAURUS CRAFT BEER: A Durham brewery has launched a fundraiser for the LGBTQ community in response to comments made earlier this year by Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. Ponysaurus Brewing Company has launched "The Lieutenant Governor Fund for the Fabulous," with a portion of profits from each pint of its "Don't Be Mean to People" beer being donated to the the LGBTQ community. Robinson, a Republican who's likely to run for governor in three years, has come under fire for comments he's made at churches and conservative gatherings, such as calling homosexuality and transgenderism "filth" and "garbage." "The Lt. Governor said some not very nice things. But Don’t Be Mean to People believes in the goodness of everyone. So we know in his heart he doesn't believe other North Carolinians are 'filth.' We’re so sure of it, we’re helping to fund the good work that could be his greatest act in public office," a message reads on the Ponysaurus website. "That’s right — a portion of profits from every pint of Don't Be Mean To People will go to help the LGBTQ community grow, thrive, and find acceptance. All in the name of his illustrious title." I frickin' love this, and hope they bring in a ton of money.
THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A DEBT CEILING, APPARENTLY: Top Democrats and Republicans signaled Tuesday they had clinched a deal to raise the country’s debt ceiling, settling on a complicated legislative maneuver to help them stave off another high-stakes battle and prevent the U.S. government from experiencing a catastrophic default. The apparent compromise arrived eight days before a critical fiscal deadline, averting what would have been another political and economic crisis. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) each expressed a measure of confidence that they had the votes to proceed with their plans, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) put the House on track to adopt the measure Tuesday evening. The deal itself does not directly raise the debt ceiling but rather sets up a smoother process that allows Democrats in the narrowly divided Senate to accomplish the task without GOP support. The two sides had been at loggerheads over the issue for months, with Republicans refusing to lend their must-have votes to raise the borrowing cap, in protest of President Biden’s economic agenda. I don't entirely understand, but make it so, Giordi.
RUSSIA MAY (OR MAY NOT) BE PLANNING TO INVADE UKRAINE: President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a video call Tuesday morning focused on growing tensions over Ukraine as Russia masses troops along the border, prompting fears of a Russian invasion of the Eastern European nation. The call began with the two leaders exchanging brief pleasantries. “Welcome, Mr. President,” Putin said. “Good to see you again,” Biden replied. “Last time we did not get to see each other at the G-20. I hope next time we can meet in person,” he said, referring to the recent Group of 20 summit. The Kremlin has made clear that it wants the United States to promise not to allow Ukraine to join NATO, as well as guarantees that NATO will not expand east in terms of certain military activities around Ukraine — a message Putin was expected to reiterate on Tuesday’s call. Speaking to reporters Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated that Biden’s objective on the call remained the same as it has been since he took office: not to escalate tensions with Russia but “to move to a more stable footing in the relationship.” She also stressed that it remains unclear whether Putin has yet made a final decision about invading Ukraine. U.S. intelligence, however, believes that Moscow may be planning a multi-front offensive into Ukraine as early as next year involving as many 175,000 troops, according to U.S. officials and an intelligence document obtained by The Washington Post. NATO has outlived whatever purpose it served during the Cold War. There, I said it. Trying to get Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary, Bulgaria (and the list goes on) to be part of NATO has pushed Putin against a wall, and whatever happens in the Ukraine is partially our fault for continuing down the path we've been on for decades. Let it go.