Morning News Report; March 19, 2012


Mine’s not too shabby, as I have 10 of the Sweet 16; I still have seven of the Elite Eight and three of the Final Four (my decision to have Murray State as a surprise Final Four participant has blown up in my face).

Lots of intriguing storylines from the first two rounds (I refuse to call the First Four games the first round — yes, I’m a rebel that way), including the unfortunate breaking of Kendall Marshall’s wrist, Duke’s early exit and N.C. State’s first Sweet 16 appearance in a decade.

My takes: For all those who thought Tyler Zeller, John Henson or Harrison Barnes was UNC’s most important player and worthy of first-team All-ACC status over Marshall … now you’re going to find out. I think the Tar Heels will have enough to get past Ohio, but that Kansas game is a hell of a lot tougher without Marshall.

Like many of you, I was frankly shocked by Duke’s performance on Friday. I didn’t have any allusions of the Blue Devils going to the Final Four, but I thought they could make it past Lehigh. What this tells me is that Mike Krzyzewski did a hell of a job coaching this team. What this also tells me is that he needs to recruit a little better or Duke is truly falling behind.

And congrats, Wuffies — you’re at least one and maybe two years ahead of schedule. With one of the top recruiting classes coming in next year, it’s not inconceivable to think State could make a run at the Final Four next year.


As announced here last week, South Lenoir football coach Kevin Wilson formally announced his retirement from coaching last week. His decision was family-based and he’ll remain on staff as a teacher.

My take: Yes, it’s a true familial-based decision, but there might not have been a better time for Wilson — a man I truly respect and admire — to get out. There was so much infighting and bitterness in Deep Run this past season, I don’t know how anyone could’ve put up with it.

My unsolicited advice to Lisa Smith, Steve Saint Amand and the Blue Devils — make a decision and make it soon. This does not need to linger over several months. You have the best fan base and financial support in Lenoir County and that fan base expects some results.


My Sunday column was on Lenoir County being approved for Sunday voting during the primary — and the fact that folks shouldn’t be afraid of it.

My take: I love how people in hushed tones — and looking around to see if anyone is listening to them — say things like, “You know THOSE churches encourage their people to vote a certain way.” Replace THOSE with any adjective you’d like — black, urban, country or white — and that’s what is implied.

Good grief — go vote. Anything that gets more folks into a voting booth is a good thing.

And I meant what I said in the column: if you have proof that your minister, preacher, priest or rabbi is encouraging you to vote in a certain way, please let me know.

The iPod shuffle

Just Like A Woman — Bob Dylan

Touch Me — The Doors

Crazy Train — Ozzy Osbourne

Johnny Ryall — The Beastie Boys

Let It Rock — Bon Jovi

Morning News Report; Nov. 7, 2011


In what is quite possibly the most disturbing story that you’ll hear or read about this week, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young boys while he was in Happy Valley. The PSU AD and the school’s VP resigned overnight and will be charged with perjury and failure to report the alleged child abuse because of the controversy.

Sandusky almost had two head-coaching jobs in the ACC, too: at Maryland … and at my University of Virginia.

My take:I’m thankful he didn’t turn up in Charlottesville … but what an awful story.

Several questions, though:

  • Why didn’t PSU get rid of this cretin when he was caught sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in the shower — AT PENN STATE — in 2002?
  • How does Joe Paterno emerge from this — will this speed up his resignation/retirement?
  • How can this story lead every news source in America — CNN, Fox News and the Big 3 — but ESPN buries it until halfway through SportsCenter all weekend?

An awful and disturbing story, to be sure.


And now … to a better story: America’s evangelist, North Carolina’s own Billy Graham, celebrates his 93rd birthday today.

My take: Doesn’t matter if you’re a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Buddhist, you have to love Billy Graham. He’s a man of strong faith who many — including U.S. presidents for decades — have sought for his wise advice. Hope we get to write of many more birthdays for him!

NCSU 13, UNC 0

N.C. State won its fifth straight football game against archrival UNC on Saturday, 13-0.

My take: The Wuffies were having a bad season to that point, but the victory helps them to a winning record, at least for a week.

The more important question is this — does the win help Tom O’Brien hang onto his job for another year?

It goes without saying the loss helps speed up the exit of UNC interim coach Curtis Everett Withers … right, Heels fans?

(By the way, thanks for the corrections, bloggees; Curtis Withers was a UNCC/West Charlotte High School basketball star back in the day and I got my Withers’ mixed up!)


While the military was being honored at halftime of ECU’s ugly loss to Southern Miss at Dowdy-Ficklen on Saturday, an idiot disrobed and strutted his stuff across the field in grand streaking fashion.

My takes: The link above takes you to WITN, where they have a slideshow of the antics. Seriously, a slideshow.

Would we have done the same thing on, if we would’ve had a photographer at the game? I’d like to think we wouldn’t have, but that decision would’ve likely been made above my head.

However, I’ll say this — for all those page-view-hungry executives out there, the WITN story and photo “gallery” has been a boon for clicks. As of 9:45 a.m., the story already had 312 comments and countless tens of thousands of PVs.

Last thought: Saturday’s action makes this Allstate commercial THAT much funnier to me:

And by the by, these Allstate Mayhem commercials are AWESOME.

The iPod shuffle

About A Girl — Nirvana

Wonderful Tonight — Eric Clapton

The Show (Live) — Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Family Man — Daryl Hall & John Oates

Nightly News Report; Oct. 11, 2011


Republican presidential Mitt Romney, a Mormon, has asked fellow GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry to disavow comments from a minister who introduced Perry last week and implied the LDS Church is a cult.

My take: There is absolutely NO PLACE in politics for this. I’ll say this much — if Perry doesn’t repudiate these comments, I cannot consider him as a presidential candidate.

Why? If you’re going to spend your time hating others because of their religion (or race or sex), or supporting those you spend their time hating others because of their religion, you’re not worthy of being a leader of our melting pot country.


The Detroit Lions are now 5-0 after whipping Chicago last night.

My take: I don’t know about y’all, but I’m getting my affairs in order. With Buffalo at 4-1 and the Lions beating all comers, the Apocalypse might certainly be upon us!

Seriously, though, congrats to my favorite Lions fan (Katie Marshall) and Bills fan (Charlie Kraebel) — both former Free Pressers who are in football heaven right now.


After defeating two-time defending 2A champ Tarboro in overtime last week, the Kinston High School football team jumped from 10th to No. 6 in this week’s Associated Press 2A poll. Tarboro fell from fourth to ninth.

The only other local team in the AP poll is Ayden-Grifton, which remained No. 6 after its huge win at Spring Creek.

The Vikings are also 12th in the 2A poll, while Ayden-Grifton is No. 7 in the 1A poll.

My take: Congrats to the Vikings and Chargers for their statewide recognition. It’s good to finally see Kinston getting some football love around North Carolina, though.

The iPod shuffle

Stories For Boys — U2

Duke Of Earl — Gene Chandler

In Your Eyes — Peter Gabriel

Paul Revere — Beastie Boys

Life Goes On — Poison

P.S.: A very special happy birthday to Keith Spence, one of the true “good guys” in Eastern North Carolina. He has made me feel like a native since the minute I got here almost nine years ago. Keith is a hell of a sportswriter and The Free Press has been lucky to have his byline since the 1980s. He’s also a great dad and one of the most trustworthy dudes I know. Simply put, he’s a great guy. Happy birthday, dude!

Morning News Report; Sept. 20, 2011

Sorry about missing yesterday’s MNR — buried with “real” work at the ol’ TFP. This way, though, you get a super-sized MNR today!


My Sunday column was about the — in my opinion — ridiculous attention North Carolina legislators are paying to trampling the rights of gay folks in our state.

While there has been some intelligent discourse in the comments — thanks, Aaron Taylor! — there has also been some pretty vile statements, too. Additionally, I have received some pretty nasty emails and messages from those opposed to what I believe.

As someone wrote on either my Facebook or the story (I really can’t remember which), this is not a theocracy. This is a country founded on the principle of freedom of religion — not the principle that you have to believe what I believe (or what Rick Perry, Sarah Palin or Barack Obama believes).

Am I a homosexual? Nope — never been interested in playing for that team, NTTAWWT. But I believe that, regardless of your sexual orientation, you should have the opportunity to marry the person you love, whether they’re of your same sex. To deny that right is very un-American to me.

But you know what? I respect Heelatious and anyone else’s right to disagree with me — and I won’t call them names … unless they’re from South Carolina. You know how those South Carolina people are, right Randy Capps?


After years of allowing anonymous comments on our stories at, we will be switching to a Facebook-based commenting tool around 5 p.m. today on the site.

My take: To which I say — about time.

For years, I was the advocate for the anonymous commenter at TFP; in my Libertarian mindset, I felt anonymity was a good checks-and-balances tool of the article the comments appeared alongside it.

However, after years of blatant and tasteless attacks by those who think they’re anonymous (they’re really not), we’re moving to this option, which I’m very excited about.

There will be whiners. But in three months, when everything is going smoothly, I feel like we’ll be wondering why we didn’t do this earlier.


The N.C. Democrats are taking the name of a Confederate hero and a white supremacist off their annual fundraising event.

My take: I had heard of the Vance-Aycock dinner but had NO IDEA it was named after those two. Interesting that North Carolina’s “progressive” party has had this in its back pocket this long…


Syracuse and Pittsburgh formally joined the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday, although they won’t be able to participate in the league until June 2014. Speculation is rampant about whether the ACC will now go to 16 members and if so, who the new members will be.

My take: No disrespect to our good friends in Greenville, but it probably won’t be ECU. As I mentioned when ECU made a press release yesterday about conference expansion (here’s David Hall’s story on it), the best-case scenario I see for the Pirates is the Big East — although I’m yet to see a mention of the possibility in the national press.

But would the Pirates want to go to a watered-down Big East that might not even have a BCS bid after all the shuffling is finished? C’mon, Pirate Nation, let me know.


The UNC football program is vacating 16 of its wins from the 2008-09 seasons, reduced scholarships and put itself on two years probation in an attempt to pacify the NCAA, which released its notice of allegations against the Tar Heels program.

My take: Not sure it’ll be enough for the NCAA, but we’ll see. Getting rid of Butch was a big deal, though.


N.Y. Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera set the Major League Baseball saves record when he retired Minnesota 1-2-3 in a 6-4 win yesterday afternoon. It was his 602nd career save.

My take: Hard not to like Mo even though I abhor the Yankees. And this is going to be a hard record to break; if someone started attempting to do it today, they’d need to have 40 saves a season for the next 15 seasons.

The iPod shuffle

Evil Woman — Electric Light Orchestra

Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away — Chicago

How To Save A Life — The Fray

Rough Boy — ZZ Top

I Gotta Feeling — Black Eyed Peas

Afternoon News Report; Sept. 16, 2011


The Wall that Heals, the traveling 1/2-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is now at Emma Webb Park from now through Sunday.

Here is the list of servicemen from Lenoir, Greene and Jones counties who lost their lives in Vietnam and whose names are on the wall.

My take: I visited it for the first time last night after the K-Tribe game … and came away very, very impressed. I’ve visited the original in D.C. and this is an amazing display. I was lucky enough to be by myself when I walked through (it was right after a downpour) and here’s a photo I took at around 11 p.m. yesterday:

Click on the image for a better view…

There’s a nice information center tent and a built-in display in the back end of a tractor trailer. Do yourself a favor: give yourself 30 minutes to go check out The Wall that Heals — it’s pretty awesome.


Evangelist and former presidential candidate Pat Robertson has shocked the religious community by saying he’d have no problem with someone divorcing their husband or wife because they have Alzheimer’s.

My take: I’d thought this money-grubbing bozo of a false prophet had hit rock bottom with some of his other outrageous statements — but this is the worst. What part of “Til Death Do We Part” does he not understand?

To leave your mate in the time they absolutely need you most is despicable, simply despicable. I seriously can’t see a defense to this nonsense AT ALL.


The Frederick Keys overcame a 2-0 deficit to blow past Kinston, 7-3, last night to take control of their best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series against the Indians. Tonight’s Game 4 could be the final for the K-Tribe at Grainger Stadium if they lose tonight.

My take: Unfortunately, I won’t be there as I’ll be in Clayton covering the North Lenoir-Cleveland football game — but I’ll be sending good voodoo to Grainger Stadium. Would love to see them win a dramatic Game 5 to win the whole thing.

The iPod shuffle

Pull Over — Trina

Good Morning Good Morning — The Beatles

Hand On The Glock — Cypress Hill

Down And Out — Tantric

Alright — Janet Jackson

Dan Perry’s post-Christmas piece

I was out of the office when this piece ran in the paper and somehow, it didn’t make it online … so here it is: the transcript of Dan E. Perry’s post-Christmas column that ran in our editorial section of TFP on Dec. 26. This is the piece Mrs. Pearl Schecter was referring to in her guest column that appeared in Wednesday’s Free Press.

Church and state

Modern secularists misinterpret history in taking notion of separation to extremes in America

One of the most eye-opening statements ever uttered by Jesus was, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). In that statement Christ recognized the distinction between political and spiritual responsibilities. He was letting it be known that Caesar shall be given taxes and all rightful political obedience. At the same time, God should be given worship, obedience, service, and the dedication of one’s whole life. Our allegiance to government should be separate from our allegiance to God.

Background to the controversy

It was the quest for political and religious freedom that drove the first European settlers to the new land called America. Here they found the opportunity to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. When the First Amendment to our Constitution was written, it established this right to every American citizen. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Our Founders were well aware of the problems created by the Mother Country with the establishment of the Church of England as the official religion of the British Empire. We wanted to guard against the establishment of a particular religion in America. At the same time we wanted to guarantee that every citizen in this young land was given the freedom to practice whatever religion preference he desired. The fact that we were overwhelmingly a Christian nation from our very founding did not preclude us from recognizing other beliefs.

Were our founders Christian?

Most far left liberals surmise that we were a secular nation and not Christian at our conception, but they have not looked at the historical facts and what the records show. By way of example, in his sermon entitled, “Dawn’s Early Light,” James Kennedy tells of his appearing many years ago on the Merv Griffin television show. He said he followed just after Sam Donaldson who had moved over on the couch and Kennedy then sat next to Merv. He said they were talking about the matter of religious liberty and the Christian foundation of America. Sam kept “jabbing me in the back with his two cents worth.” Finally, he said, “Well, maybe there were a few Christians around when the Constitution was passed, but one thing is for certain, they gave us a secular government.”

“A few Christians around?” Kennedy had done his research and determined that of the 55 men who met in Philadelphia in the Constitutional Convention to write our Constitution, 50 were avowed biblical followers of Jesus, and possibly 52. We don’t know too much about the other three. Furthermore, the constituency of this country in 1776 reveals that, “At the time, ninety-eight percent of Americans were Protestant Christians; 1.8 percent were Catholic Christians; 0.2 percent, or two-tenths of one percent were Jewish. Therefore 99.8 percent of the people in America in 1776 claimed to be Christians. TV’s Sam Donald-son was making only a wild, uneducated guess — and he was way off the mark!

A secular government?

Sam Donaldson was absolutely out of bounds when he claimed, “… but one thing is for certain, they gave us a secular government.” Totally unfounded! He was just guessing again, and another wild guess at that. I’ve already given much of the background of the Founding Fathers and their intentions in establishing our Constitution and form of government. But let’s look again at the facts. The first thing George Washington did as our nation’s first President was to take his oath of office unto God, and he did so with his hand on the Bible. The record shows that after taking the oath, he bent over and kissed the page of the Bible. Hardly the kind of conduct for any self-respecting secularist. In fact, secularists observing the occasion would be appalled and horror stricken. Was this a secular nation? Not hardly! The next thing Washington did was to lead the entire Senate and House of Representatives to an Episcopal Church for a two hour worship service. Yes, it was a two hour service of worship and praise and thanksgiving in recognition and honor of the God of Providence who formed our nation. Why, that’s enough to give the ACLU collective apoplexy!

What is a secularist?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a secularist is “one who rejects every form of religious faith and worship and undertakes to live accordingly; also, one who believes that education and other civil matters should be without the religious element.” Though the secularists in America today are doing their very best to rid this country of every vestige of Christianity and religion, there is no doubt that that is not the way it was in the beginning. I understand that at the very time the first Congress was passing the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, that same Congress passed one of what was called the “four most important documents in American history:” The Northwest Ordinance. James Kennedy said he heard the infamous atheist, Madolyn Murray O’Hair, say on television several years before she died that, “We don’t want religion in schools; people ought to get their religion in churches.” The Congress that gave us the First Amendment said in the Northwest Ordinance, which was describing the situation that was to take place in the Northwest Territories: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind shall forever be encouraged. They went on to say it was “schools and the means of education” that was to be encouraged by religion, morality, and knowledge.”

But look what we’ve done!

But we have taken religion out of school by removing the Bible and prayers. We have taken morality out of our schools by removing the Ten Commandments, and now we have gotten rid of knowledge as well. It is common knowledge that after the 1962 decision to remove prayer from the schools, SAT scores went precipitously downward for eighteen straight years. A number of years ago I had heard what Kennedy confirmed, that sixty-five percent of all crimes committed in America are committed by school-age young people; He says what we all know: “As a general rule, those sixty-five percent haven’t been taught morality in the homes nor in the schools; they have no concept of right and wrong. Good or bad. They are doing things today that we find absolutely incredible.” Why? Because, as Kennedy says, we have lost sight of the light that the Founding Fathers tried to shine in that “dawn’s early light” upon the future of this country. We have taken the train off the tracks that were laid down so carefully by our Founders, and we have tried to reject religion and replace it with secularism. In looking back to 1776, the Foundation of this country never heard or thought of anything such as a secular nation. Shortly after our founding we were appalled at what was happening in France. They were making attempts to throw off religion completely, and it ended in disaster. Soon it led to a river of blood and then the tyranny of Napoleon.

Dan Perry is an attorney and lifelong resident of Kinston. This column is excerpted from “God’s Amazing Love Letter … and its impact on America,” Perry’s fifth book.

Morning News Report; Jan. 5, 2011


No, it’s not a boxing or wrestling match — but it’s a solid religious response from one of Kinston’s most-respected city elders (Mrs. Pearl Schecter) to another (Mr. Dan E. Perry).

My take: And THIS is why I love running guest columns. Mrs. Schecter has written two guest columns for us (here’s the other one) and both have been solidly on point.

Mrs. Schecter — as a member of one of the only Jewish families in Kinston — is certainly establishing herself as a moral (and religious) compass for our town.

Listen, I’m as Judeo-Christian as the next guy, but she is absolutely correct: this country was built on religious freedom. As much as I respect Mr. Perry and his family — and the Perry family is certainly one of the most respected in Lenoir County — he is wrong to advocate that this needs to be a purely Christian country. That’s the beauty of America — we’re a mishmosh of all religions, races and backgrounds.


Two winners — in Idaho and Washington — picked the correct numbers and won last night’s Mega Millions and will split the $355 million jackpot.

My take: And there goes my dream of owning the Kinston Indians. Doggone it.


ESPN play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin has been dismissed from the four-letter network after calling a female colleague an  “a**hole.” I won’t go into all the details; just hit the link for the info.

My take: While I don’t condone him calling her “sweet baby” — yes, kids, that can be construed as sexual harrassment — who hasn’t wanted to call a co-worker the other name? Funny and sad all at the same time!

The iPod shuffle

Hit It Run — Run D.M.C.

Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ On Me — The Bloodhound Gang

It Keeps You Runnin’ — The Doobie Brothers

Ghost Riders In The Sky — The Outlaws

Batter Up — Nelly featuring Murphy Lee & Ali

P.S.: Caught up with former Kinston and current UNC football star Quinton Coples last night at the KHS-Tarboro basketball game — and it was good to see him. Yep, I asked him to take it easy on my Cavahoos! And while some others were a bit miffed at my comparison of South Lenoir’s K’Hadree Hooker and himself, Q was his usual classy self. He’s a great kid and I’m pretty certain of this: we’re going to be seeing him on Sunday afternoons in a couple of years in an NFL uniform.

Also talked to another great KHS alum who was at the game – Dorian Edwards, who is kicking butt on the Livingstone College football team. Dorian was an assistant coach to me on my first Fairfield 12-and-under basketball team sevven years ago when he had aged out by a year. He was mature beyond his years then — and he’s still one of the greatest young men in Kinston. The sky is the limit for Dorian and I’m proud to be able to say “I knew him when!”

Morning News Report; Sept. 28, 2010


In a study, it was discovered that atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than those who follow their religions.

My take: Actually, this doesn’t surprise me a bit.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist household, where I was taught that it was heresy to question the Bible or God. But when I got out on my own and realized there were inconsistencies in the Bible — and religion in general – I was able to come to my own realizations and developed my own faith.

Am I saying the Bible, the Judeo-Christian faith or faith is wrong? Not at all — but people should know what they are worshipping instead of blindly following something because their mama and daddy do. And there are A LOT of people who do it for just that reason.


It’s becoming a rite of fall, much like Jon Dawson’s “Plucking of the Nosehairs” — the Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East again with a win in Washington last night. It’s the fourth straight NL East title for the Phils.

My take: Ho-hum … but, really, why wouldn’t they? They have essentially turned themselves into the Yankees of the NL with their payroll. It’ll be fun to watch them crash and burn again in the playoffs — but it’ll probably not happen until the World Series where they’ll lose to the Bronx Bombers.

And THAT is why I can’t get into MLB as much as I can the NFL (or even the NBA): when the MLB season begins, you know there are only three or four teams that have a legit chance of winning the World Series. In the NFL, 26 of 32 teams enter any given season with the possibility of winning the Super Bowl. Until something happens to even the playing field with the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, this is not going to change.


Artie Lange, Howard Stern’s sidekick on Stern’s satellite radio show, appears ready to make a comeback after attempting suicide last year.

My take: I know there aren’t a lot of Stern fans here, but I’ve enjoyed his show for about a decade — and I loved when Artie became a full-timer on it, although — at times — he’s a bit too much of a sycophant to me. But he’s funny as hell and I’m glad it appears he’s getting his stuff together. I hope Stern gets him back on the show soon.

The iPod shuffle

Magna Cum Nada — The Bloodhound Gang

Mrs. Robinson — Simon & Garfunkel

Message In A Bottle — The Police

One — U2

Get On Your Boots — U2

P.S.:Kinston’s Chris Hatcher appeared in his third game as a pro last night, drawing an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter against the Braves in Atlanta. Hatcher’s Florida Marlins continue their series tonight in the ATL.