So North Carolina and South Carolina kick off in a little over five hours, and I’ve stupidly made a business appointment for 3:30 PDT. Suppose I can sneak a look at WatchESPN now and then.

Here are some less sporty midday news/views treats:

* Sarah Posner argues the only “religion” question presidential candidates should be asked is about extent to which someone’s understanding of “God’s law” should be allowed to trump civil law, and under what circumstances.

* New national poll from Monmouth has Trump w/ 30%, Carson w/ 18%, nobody else in double digits. Trump also leads every candidate other than Carson in head-to-head match-ups.

* Axelrod joins CNN as senior political commentator.

* At TNR, Laura Reston points to research showing that undocumented immigrants contribute more to the welfare system than they take away.

* At the Plum Line, Paul Waldman argues the loyalty pledge Trump is signing today is meaningless because he’d violate it instantly if it was in his interest.

And in non-political news:

* Federal judge voids Tom Brady’s Deflate-Gate suspension.

As we break for lunch, here’s some more classic Freddie King, with “Boogie Funk.”

YouTube video

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.