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January 30, 2014 | By David Horsey
When John McCain gets censured by members of his own party - McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate - it is clear that the biggest problem facing Republicans is the looniness in their own ranks. Largely a rural, Southern, aging white people's party, the GOP faces a big demographic challenge down the road, but this year the party has a clear shot at winning control of the Senate by gaining at least six seats. The liveliest Senate races are expected to be in South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, North Carolina, Iowa, Georgia and Kentucky.
January 16, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Before President Obama unveiled a manufacturing initiative here Wednesday, he delivered his customary shout-out to local officials, including the Republican governor sitting in the front row, and thanked Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan "for the great work she's doing. " But Hagan wasn't there to hear his kudos, which Obama noted and which was already well-known by her Republican opponents. The senator, who is facing a tough battle for reelection, had been taking heat for days over whether she would attend, highlighting a quandary vulnerable Democrats will face until election day: how to welcome Air Force One to their state without carrying off its passenger's baggage.
January 11, 2014 | By Matt Wilhalme
P.J. Hairston could have been North Carolina's biggest offensive weapon this season, instead he'll probably see his first action on the court this year in the NBA Development League. "I am pursing an opportunity to play basketball in the NBA's Developmental League, and submitted my paperwork this afternoon," Hairston said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. Hairston, a 6-foot-6 guard who led North Carolina in scoring as a sophomore, had not appeared in a game for the Tar Heels this season while the school investigated possible NCAA violations.
January 2, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 Orange Lutheran and Aliso Niguel will represent Southern California at the 16-team USA Baseball National High School Invitational Tournament March 26-29 in Cary, N.C. It's the same tournament Mater Dei and Harvard-Westlake have dominated the last two seasons. Orange Lutheran is led by shortstop Josh Morgan, a UCLA signee. Aliso Niguel has junior pitcher Kyle Molnar, a UCLA commit.  
December 30, 2013 | By Saba Hamedy
When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor - who will lead the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration Tuesday - touches off New York City's ball drop, the illuminated orb won't be the only thing falling around the country at midnight. These days, cities are dropping an array of creative items to cheering crowds as locals mimic the massive Times Square countdown event that has come to symbolize the nation's New Year's moment. Starting in Eastern Standard Time, there is a possum drop in North Carolina and a Peep drop in Pennsylvania (the marshmallow candy's home state)
December 27, 2013 | By Saba Hamedy
It starts with capturing a possum.  Next, on New Year's Eve, the possum is slowly lowered in a plastic cage, as spectators watch and count down the seconds to midnight.  Then the possum is set free.  Happy New Year! This is the “possum drop,” an annual Brasstown, N.C., tradition that locals liken to the Times Square ball drop in New York City. It's so popular in the North Carolina mountain town that a 30-minute documentary about it, “The Possum Drop,” was released over the summer.  But in 2011, the possum drop got the attention of the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
December 19, 2013
Steve Alford opened his first news conference as UCLA basketball coach by saying taking the job was easy. "It goes back to four letters, U-C-L-A," Alford said. "I think if it is anywhere else, this is not a decision that would have been made. " Yet, what those four letters mean is open for interpretation as the NCAA championship banners in the Pauley Pavilion rafters continue to fade with age. UCLA was once prime real estate in the college basketball world. The Bruins have 11 national titles, 10 won by Coach John Wooden between 1964 and 1975.
December 17, 2013 | By Saba Hamedy
Thirteen passengers were injured Tuesday morning after a North Carolina ferry hit a sandbar and ran aground, officials said. Shortly after 9 a.m., the Adventure hit a sandbar near Battery Island as it was heading toward Bald Head Island from Southport, Joyce Fulton, director of communication for Bald Head Island Limited, told the Los Angeles Times. At the time of the accident, the 64-foot ferry was carrying 53 passengers and three crew members. None of the passengers' injuries were "life-threatening," she said.
November 28, 2013 | Sam Farmer
Tyrann Mathieu was a third-round gamble. Nobody wanted Vontaze Burfict. Josh McCown's career as a journeyman NFL quarterback was ostensibly over, and he was coaching high school football in North Carolina. And Danny Woodhead? He's been overlooked forever. They are the unlikely reliables, under-the-radar overachievers who are helping keep playoff dreams alive for their teams. The household names will always be key, but for clubs that reach the postseason, it's often the unexpected players who bubble to the surface with major contributions.
November 18, 2013 | By Chuck Schilken
Miley Cyrus must be proud. The former Disney Channel child star who makes attempting to shock the world a part of her daily routine played an indirect role -- OK, an extremely indirect role -- in Belmont's stunning 83-80 upset of No. 12 North Carolina in men's basketball on Sunday. Midway through the first half as the Tar Heels' James McAdoo was taking a foul shot, a clever and/or narcissistic and/or inebriated Bruins fan started singing Cyrus' hit song "Wrecking Ball" at the top of his lungs.
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