Good morning.

1. Rachel Dolezal to participate in Cary’s Martin Luther King Dreamfest celebration.

Disgraced former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal, who is white, is speaking on a panel during the town’s Martin Luther King Day celebration. From the Cary News:

Cohen said he believes the keynote speaker will encourage a conversation about the healing of race relations and the role people can play to bring about racial healing.

He anticipates Dolezal will help bring about similar discussions. She is expected to participate in a structured conversation with representatives of the NAACP and African-American Studies professors from area universities to “allow a fuller understanding of how she has come to view racial identity and what we might learn from her perspective,” according to Jireh Management.


“We are not trying to win everybody, but we are trying to remind everyone what the true values are in life,” he said. “When we talk about MLK, we talk about a man that sacrificed his life to make sure that equality was experienced for all man and that justice was given and forgiveness.”

Dolezal is not black. There’s little she can add to a conversation about the black experience during an event that’s ostensibly supposed to celebrate it. And while her case is certainly interesting, the idea that giving her a platform keeps with the true spirit of what MLK was fighting for is horribly missing the point.

There’s also this tidbit:

Dolezal, who was born to white parents, drew national attention last year after resigning as president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., following allegations that she lied about her racial identity.

I know we’re living in a post-Gawker world, but those weren’t allegations, those were facts. That actually happened.

The MLK Dreamfest is in January, so we’ll see keep you posted on updates.

2. Hurricane Matthew turns eastward and could miss us.

Looks like we might be looking at another false alarm. From the N&O:

Hurricane Matthew continued to confound forecasters Wednesday, as the storm’s movement slowed and its expected track shifted to the east, away from North Carolina’s coast.


The forecast changed in part when Matthew slowed down over the Caribbean, reducing the influence of an upper-level trough of low pressure that had been expected to steer the storm northward into the Carolinas, said Ryan Ellis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Raleigh. There’s still some uncertainty in the models, Ellis said, as well as factors, such as its interaction with land along the coast, that could change the storm’s strength and trajectory.

“This has been one of the hardest ones to predict that I can remember,” Ellis said.

So yeah, keep an eye on it.

3. ECU cracks down on its marching band for protesting during the Star-Spangled Banner.

A day after an ESPN affiliate announced it wouldn’t carry this weekend’s ECU game, ECU officials announced that the protest would “not be tolerated.”

“College is about learning, and it is our expectation that the members of the Marching Pirates will learn from this experience and fulfill their responsibilities. While we affirm the right of all our students to express their opinions, protests of this nature by the Marching Pirates will not be tolerated moving forward.”

When even the father of Georgia’s voter ID laws thinks you’re undermining freedom of speech, you should probably take a step back and reassess the situation. And given that ECU is a public institution, you can conceivably make a case that First Amendment rights are being violated.

4. Republicans are worried that Trump might deliver the Senate to the Democrats.

From the New York Times:

Republicans worry that Mr. Trump’s difficulties in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, where Republican incumbents are caught between their own base and moderate voters appalled by the party’s nominee, could hand Democrats those decisive seats. Senator Kelly Ayotte, the Republican up for re-election in New Hampshire, demonstrated the vise she is in this week when she said at a debate that Mr. Trump would represent a good role model for children, only to recant a few hours later.

North Carolina’s own flailing Senator Richard Burr gets a shout-out, too.

Compounding their difficulties, Republicans are also fending off a challenge to Senator Richard M. Burr in North Carolina, a state Mrs. Clinton is determined to win, and have also become just as worried about Senator Roy Blunt’s prospects in Missouri. Strategists in both parties who have seen internal polling say Mr. Blunt, whose seat initially seemed safe, is now trailing his Democratic challenger, Jason Kander, a deft campaigner who has been helped by Mrs. Clinton’s narrowing deficit in the state.

Right now, Democrats are in the driver’s seat to take back a slim majority of the Senate, as they’re expected to pick up seats in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, and Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire hold slim polling leads against Republican incumbents there.

A bad month by Trump, though, could mean the difference not just in North Carolina, but (as the Times notes) Nevada and Missouri, as well. Even if the Democrats get the best possible scenario of an eight-seat swing in the Senate to give them fifty-four seats, they’ll still be six seats shy of a filibuster-proof majority; given how bleak 2018 looks for liberals, however, they’re going to need all the help that they can get.

5. Cam Newton might not play next Monday against the Buccaneers.
Newton’s still in the NFL’s concussion protocol, so the Panthers may have to trot out Derek Anderson, who’s luckily one of the better backups in the league. From the Charlotte Observer:

But Newton’s offensive teammates all repeated Rivera’s “next man up” mantra and expressed their faith in Anderson. The 11-year veteran has made only two starts in six seasons with Carolina: He beat Tampa Bay twice in 2014 when Newton was sidelined with injuries.

“Me and D.A. were just joking the other day how ironic it is he’s always playing against Tampa Bay whenever Cam gets injured or something,” Webb said. “Just going to go out there and have fun.

As you may be aware, the Panthers have sucked this year.

Sunday’s 48-33 loss to the Falcons dropped the Panthers to 1-3 and gave them two more losses than they had all of last season.

Of the seven teams that have gone 15-1 or better, none has started as poorly as the Panthers the following season.

Since the NFL went to the current, 12-team playoff format in 1990, 27 teams that were 1-3 or 0-4 through four games made the playoffs. But only one reached the Super Bowl – the 2001 Patriots, who won it.

The Buccaneers are 1-3 too, so this is as good of a time as any to stop sucking.

That’s all for today. Go forth and be merry.