Morning News Report; Nov. 8, 2010


N.C. House Rep. Van Braxton, D-Lenoir, is accused of assaulting a man – 50-year-old Ray Wiley – when Braxton and another man went to the man’s residence to get a campaign sign on Thursday, two days after Braxton lost in his re-election bid against Stephen LaRoque.

The sign allegedly had a circle with a line drawn through it; Braxton’s wife had gone to Wiley’s house to collect the sign Tuesday, but she said she was shooed off Wiley’s property by Wiley.

Braxton has not been formally charged with assault although the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating the case.

This is a breaking story; David Anderson and Wesley Brown are all over it and will be providing updates all day long. Be sure to refresh often and stuff.

My take: Wowzer … this isn’t cool. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions on any of this until we know all the facts.

I will say this, though: I was responsible for writing this election story about the LaRoque-Braxton race Tuesday night. As part of our normal protocol, I called Braxton and left a message on his voicemail that I needed to talk to him when results rolled in later that night.

I then called LaRoque, and — as always — immediately got him on the phone and told him the same thing. I tried calling Braxton five more times on Tuesday — at his home, on his cell and via a third party — and never got up with him. He also didn’t call me on Wednesday … and I’m yet to hear from him.

I’m hoping we hear from him about this, because I’d like his side of the story to emerge. We’ll see. Stay tuned.


The Florida State women’s soccer coach was suspended for a game and the program has to pay $40,000 in fines after the coach elected not to bring his starters to the ACC Tournament last week in Cary.

The Seminoles were the fourth seed but the coach decided to rest his starters for an anticipated trip to the NCAA Tournament; the 13-4-1 FSU team will see if it gets a bid tonight.

My take: The coach is suspended for only one game? I would’ve suspended him for the entire NCAA Tournament and maybe even some games next season.

It does remind me of Roy Williams’ early days in the ACC men’s basketball tournament, though — remember when he stated he’d rather his team focus on the upcoming NCAA Tournament? While that’s not a bad idea — hell, I’d rather have an NCAA title than an ACC title — you can’t keep your starters at home.


MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely after it was determined he made unethical campaign contributions to Democrats.

His “indefinite” suspension will end tomorrow.

My take: It’s well-known in my industry that — if you work for a reputable news organization — you can’t make campaign contributions. I was actually impressed with NBC when it made the decision to suspend Olbermann, who has never hidden his left leanings.

But what a joke. It’s almost worse that he was only suspended for as little a time as he was. Two days? He basically got a four-day weekend.

TV people …

The iPod shuffle

It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me — Billy Joel

Let Me Take You Home Tonight — Boston

Get Ur Freak On — Missy Elliott

Just Like A Woman — Bob Dylan

Undercover (Of The Night) — The Rolling Stones

Morning News Report; Nov. 5, 2010


Not long after President Obama sent a message to the new Republican majority in the U.S. House to visit the White House to talk, the GOP’s Senate leader said his party’s main goal is getting the president voted out in 2012.

My take: Is that particularly news? Not really — everyone (on both sides of the aisle) try their best to oust the other party from power.

But was that the best place to make that pronouncement? It’s going to certainly be a contentious two years until November 2012 … that much is certain.

And for the record, Obama will be re-elected in two years. Go ahead and mark it down now. Unless the GOP comes up with someone better than Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich, O’s savvy is going to be too much.

Need historical precedent? How about 1996, two years after the Republican Revolution of 1994, when President Clinton rolled to his re-election win. As good a campaigner as Clinton was, Obama is twice as good.


In arguably the most interesting headline of the day, hip-hop artist Kanye West admits he was too quick to pull the race card in his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” line following Hurricane Katrina.

West: “But nonetheless, you know, I think we’re all quick to pull a race card in America.”

My take: Wow. A good admission, even if it is five years too late.


The restaurant that now-Tennessee Titans wide receiver Randy Moss insulted (and some are saying led to his ouster from Minnesota) is offering a free meal to Vikings fans who turn in their Moss No. 84 jerseys today.

The jerseys will then be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in Nashville.

My take: Hilarious — and a good thing, too. However, if you’re a Titans fan, do you really want a Minnesota Moss jersey?

The iPod shuffle

All Apologies — Nirvana

This Is A Call — Foo Fighters

Fortunate Son — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Zoo Station — U2

Surfin’ U.S.A. — The Beach Boys

P.S.: This picture comes courtesy of our good friend Jon Dawson — he calls it “Election Results 2010″:


And to make my friends on the left-hand side of the aisle happy (courtesy of Richard Clark):


Morning News Report; Nov. 4, 2010


Lost in the shuffle of Tuesday’s night’s Republican takeover in the U.S. House (and significant gains in the Senate) was the fact that at least 19 previously state legislatures (including the Senate and House in North Carolina) went red.

Why is that important? With the census being finished, the previously-gerrymandered districts (including the ridiculous N.C. House 12 seat that William Wainwright occupies) can be re-drawn.

My take: As I have stated many previous times, I don’t have a preference between the GOP and the Democrats — I just want to see fairness in districting and the political system. It’s pretty evident that when you have a barbell-looking district in our own backyard — and some more ridiculous-looking districts in N.C. — the Dems twisted the districts to fit their needs.

No, I’m not suggesting the GOP do the same thing; I am suggesting districts be drawn that reflects the people that live in them.

Still, this is a significant development that a lot of the mainstream media are not reporting yet; but it’s coming.


In NFL news that affects nearly all my fantasy football teams, the Tennessee Titans were the only team to claim Randy Moss off the waiver wire and San Diego Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates has a more-serious foot injury than experts thought he might have.

My takes: At least someone picked Moss up — and I thought there might be a team that wouldn’t claim him. The bad news is that he has a bye week, so he’s not available until next week; even then, I think his value takes a serious hit — I’m not sure he’s a sure start every week (and he sure as hell isn’t worth the first-round pick I wasted on him in my big money league).

And yes, I have Gates in two leagues, so I spent this morning scouring the waiver wire for a replacement. Go Jacob Tamme!


The Gateway International Raceway, outside of St. Louis, announced it is closing and will no longer host NASCAR events.

My take: Excuse me while I clear my throat …


I hate to see anyone go out of business in this putrid economy, but this couldn’t happen to a better industry. At least North Wilkesboro Speedway is making a comeback — but it warms the deep, dark cockles of my heart that these super-tracks that took NASCAR away from its roots are failing en masse.

Awesome. Now, bring a Nationwide race back to North Wilkesboro — the cradle of the sport.

The iPod shuffle

Dirty Day — U2

Roadhouse Blues — The Doors

Can’t Stop Lovin’ You — Van Halen

Bullet The Blue Sky — U2 (“The God I believe in isn’t short on cash, mister!”)

Break Ya Neck — Busta Rhymes

Morning News Report; Nov. 3, 2010


Stephen LaRoque handily defeated incumbent Van Braxton in the N.C. House District 10 race to help lead a Republican renewal in Lenoir County. Combined with LaRoque’s victory, Eric Rouse and unaffiliated (but registered Republican) J. Mac Daughety won county commissioner seats, while GOPers David Fillippeli and Giles Stroud won seats on the school board.

Additionally, Brent Jackson defeated Dewey Hudson in the N.C. Senate D-10 race, helping the GOP to control of the Senate and N.C. House for the first time in a century.

My take: And it’s a simple take — Republicans, you’ve bitched and whined for two years, now it’s your turn to take control of the ship, locally and statewide. Get in and govern, be conservative and don’t spend the next two years blaming the Democrats for everything (the way President Obama and the Dems have blamed Bush and the GOP the last two years).

It’s your ballgame now — do something with it.


By 4 p.m. today, someone will take a chance on disgruntled WR Randy Moss; it appears the Seattle Seahawks might be the clubhouse leader.

My take: Like I said yesterday, I’m not opposed to my Redskins picking him up. It’s not like we don’t already have enough drama in D.C. — what’s a prima donna wide receiver going to hurt? And it’s Washington’s bye week, so they could work him into the rotation.

The iPod shuffle

A Day Without Me — U2

Rock Star — Nickelback (aka, the song that almost got Steve Lovick and James Herring in a fight with a fan at a KHS baseball game!)

Jamie’s Cryin’ — Van Halen

Let’s Get It On — Marvin Gaye

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye — Steam

Morning News Report; Nov. 2, 2010


This is what you political junkies have been waiting for all year – Election Day. Get out there and vote.

My take: However — make an educated vote. The Kid (Justin Hill), who runs the point for the Jones Post, wrote an excellent column for the Post a few weeks ago about how he’d rather folks who don’t know about candidates shouldn’t vote.

And I agree with him 100 percent. I’d rather have a 30 percent turnout with folks KNOWING who they are voting for than to have 60 percent turnout with idiots mindlessly voting straight ticket or voting because that’s how their mama and daddy always voted.

To that end — The Free Press has provided stories on all candidates over the past three weeks, given you forums and debates to get to know the candidates and published letters and advertisements about and from the candidates. You have NO EXCUSE not to make an educated vote.

So do your research and get out there and vote.


Behind possibly the most improbable MVP in MLB history, Edgar Renteria and the San Francisco Giants closed out the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the World Series last night, 3-1, to win the franchise’s first title since moving to the West Coast.

My take: Congrats to the Giants fans — all five of you.

The best part of this to me? Somewhere Barry Bonds is weeping big ol’ HGH and steroid-tainted tears.


After only four weeks on their roster — and trading a third-round pick to New England to acquire him — Tim Knobeloch’s Minnesota Vikings have announced their plans to waive malcontent wide receiver Randy Moss. Teams showing an interest in acquiring him include my Redskins, although whoever picks him up has to pay the remainder of his almost $7 million base salary.

My take: This was a shocking move to me — especially when you consider that Vikings coach Brad Childress didn’t even tell ownership he was going to do hit (which, understandably, pissed them off). As bad as the Vikings have become, I think you can pretty much say “good-bye” to Childress after this season — if not before the end of the season.

Would I like Moss on my Redskins? Hell yeah — I really feel like McNabb could keep him in line … if McNabb stays the starter.

All this Moss drama certainly hurts my big-money fantasy team, though; I drafted Moss in the first round of a point-per-reception league … and yes, this hurts.

The only positive from this mess? It pretty much guarantees that Betty Fav-ruh is going to go out a loser … which he’s been for more than a decade. Warms the deep cockles of my heart. 

The iPod shuffle

Beautiful Day (Quincey & Sonance Remix) — U2

Oh Sheila — Ready For The World

I Ain’t Going Out Like That — Cypress Hill

Is There Something I Should Know? — Duran Duran

Drive Slow — Kanye West featuring Paul Wall & GLC

Morning News Report; Oct. 28, 2010


Debates between N.C. Senate D-10 candidates Dewey Hudson/Brent Jackson and N.C. House D-10 candidates Van Braxton/Stephen LaRoque took place last night at the TACC-9 studios in downtown Kinston. The debates were sponsored by The Free Press, TACC-9 and Lenoir Community College.

My take: It got testy at times between all four candidates, but overall, it was a good time for voters to hear the real issues — and cut through all the rhetoric and negative campaign ads.

I’m not going to declare winners and losers — heck, we were happy to have all four in one place (and that was pretty hard to do!) — but I don’t think anyone hurt themselves at all. It did get contentious a few times, especially when Hudson and Jackson went back and forth about their ads and when Braxton and LaRoque essentially called each other liars at one point. Good show — and it’s going to be replayed several times between now and Election Day on TACC-9, so make some time to watch it.

Speaking of TACC-9, time for a shameless plug — check out my appearance this week on the Reece Gardner Show where Reece and I talk for about 30 minutes about the election. We really delve into the meat of the election and I think it’s one of my best appearances on his excellent program.


Democrat Tate Johnson, who is running against Eric Rouse for the Lenoir County board of commissioners District 2 seat, has been mentioned in the ongoing investigation into Gov. Bev Perdue’s alleged illegal campaign flights in 2008.

My take: Not going to go into all the details — such as they are — so just go to David Anderson’s story in the link.

But when you cut to the chase, it appears there’s not a lot of substance to the original Carolina Journal report other than one receipt that allegedly has Johnson’s signature on it — one that he denies.


Arendell Parrott Academy football coach Bert Bright has been named the 2010 Carolina Colonial Conference coach of the year.

My take: He has turned around a program that had dropped a bit over the past couple of seasons and finds itself back in the playoffs with a 6-3 record. And he’s done it in a way APA football fans haven’t seen — through the air. No disrespect to any of the public school teams in our area, but I think Matt Hinson and Todd Bailey are, without question, the best QB-WR combination in The Free Press area.

Congratulations to Coach Bright and the Patriots coaching staff for this honor — it’s certainly deserved.


It didn’t take San Francisco to take control of the 2010 World Series, as the Giants rolled over the Texas Rangers, 11-7, in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.

My take: Yep, my awesome MLB prognostication “skills” reared their ugly head again. But honestly — who expects a slugfest when Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum are on the mound?

The iPod shuffle

Hit It Run — Run-D.M.C.

Break ‘Em Off Some — Cypress Hill

Lady — Kenny Rogers

I’ll Stick Around — Foo Fighters

Sledgehammer — Peter Gabriel

Morning News Report; Oct. 27, 2010

Man, I’ve missed you guys…


Last night’s forum featuring candidates for Lenoir County Clerk of Court, the school board and board of commissioners, along with N.C. Senate D-12 was a pretty big success, with all but two candidates (clerk candidate Kim Allison and Senate candidate William Wainwright) showing up at TACC-9 studios.

The main event is tonight as N.C. Senate D-10 candidates Brent Jackson and Dewey Hudson face off in a debate at 7:30 p.m., followed by N.C. House D-10 candidates Van Braxton and Stephen LaRoque battle at 8:30. The debates will be aired by TACC-9; my boss, Patrick Holmes, is moderating Jackson-Hudson, while I am handling the duties for Braxton-LaRoque.

My take: As well as last night went — and it was pretty crisp and moved along pretty well (I thought) — tonight’s going to be even better.

The candidates are going to be behind lecterns and the format of the event is an old-school debate style — opening statements, questions back and forth and closing statements.

I really think it’s going to be an opportunity to see these candidates live — away from the negative commercials that have dominated these races. Should be a lot of fun and I hope to see a lot of you out there. If not, please tune in to TACC-9 at 7:30 for the festivities.


The 2010-11 NBA season tipped off last night with the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Miami LeBrons, 88-80.

My take: Yeah, yeah … I know it’s only one game, but it does my heart good to know everyone is not going to roll over for the LeBrons. I did like the “Siiiiiiiiiiide-kick” chant for LeBron, though!

It did bother me, though, how the ESPN talking heads tried to gaffe it off as “Well, they only played together for 3 minutes in the preseason.” Whatever. ESPN helped create this “monster,” now it’s trying to make excuses for them, headed by Rachel Nichols, the ugliest “pretty girl” the four-letter network tries to shove down our throats:


Evidently, there’s another, MUCH hotter Rachel Nichols out there on the interwebs, who is going to be in a new “Conan the Barbarian” movie:


ESPN needs to hire HER. Can I get an amen?


The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants start the 2010 World Series tonight with Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum facing off in what could be one of the all-time pitching match-ups in Series history.

My take: My MLB postseason prognosticating skills have been AWFUL this year (I had the Phillies and Yankees in the Series), but I’ll go with the Rangers in 6 for what it’s worth.

The iPod shuffle

Ho — Ludacris

Man Of Steel — Hank Williams Jr.

Air Force Ones — Nelly

Tho Dem Wrappas — Nelly

Lust For Life — Iggy Pop

P.S.: Check out Flagan’s latest guest column – again, great work, my friend!

P.P.S.S.: Doing my damndest to post pick ‘em standings and the picks — will get both up shortly. Thanks for all the e-mails and concern, seriously! Good to know you guys and gals care.

Morning News Report; Oct. 21, 2010


The battle for the N.C. House District 10 seat currently held by Democrat Van Braxton and contested for by former seat-holder and Republican Stephen LaRoque is featured as one of the state’s most important at The site considers the race a toss-up.

The M2M site is maintained by FOB Barry Smith, who keeps his finger on the pulse of politics all over the state.

My take: I’ve heard from both camps that they’re confident of victory, but I tend to agree with Barry that this race is still a toss-up.

Don’t forget — you’ll get to see these guys go head-to-head (along with Brent Jackson and Dewey Hudson in the N.C. Senate D-10 race) on Wednesday on TACC-9. Going to be a lot of fun.


Former SW Onslow star and UNC senior Kendric Burney, who had completed his NCAA-mandated suspension, will not play Saturday against Miami. Evidently, his NCAA case has not been resolved, according to UNC officials.

My take: Too bad for the young man, who has lost nearly all his senior season because of this ongoing investigation. I can’t imagine what he and his family are going through — especially since it appeared he had been cleared to come back this week.


Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione died yesterday of cancer at the age of 79.

My take: As you can read in the link, his empire fell apart when video and Internet porn industry exploded. I think that ultimately, his story will be one of our free-market system and its demands — obviously, pornography was something folks wanted and he filled that need.

The iPod shuffle

Getting Better — The Beatles

Extraordinary Girl — Green Day

Surfin’ USA — The Beach Boys

Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who

Made You Look — NaS

Morning News Report; Oct. 20, 2010

I hate when “real work” gets in the way of the back-and-forth here on the ol’ blog. But thanks for your patience and thanks for coming back here every day. I probably don’t tell you guys this enough — but I appreciate you taking the time to jump over here for a few minutes every day.

I’m in Raleighwood today to help judge the Indiana Better Newspaper Contest, but there was no way I could go THREE days without posting an MNR.

OK, enough of this stuff … on to the MNR:


Current Lenoir County school board member Joey Bryan has been forced to take his name off the ballot for reelection to his position.

My take: I’ll admit — I didn’t know what the Hatch Act was before yesterday … but I do now.

I always found Joey to be a pretty good guy on the board; he was never that lightning rod some others in politics try to be, but he was a decent sort. I always felt like he took the time to look at both sides of an issue and didn’t just vote a party line — and that trait will certainly be missed as there are a couple of members of the board who DON’T think before they vote. No, I’m not going to go there … yet, but eventually I will. When you have folks who can’t spell “education” allegedly representing children’s interests on a board, that’s not good.

Anyhoo, good luck to Joey. I hope he makes his way back to the board — it’s going to be a lesser body without him.


Openly gay or lesbian recruits can now sign up to serve our country in U.S. military. However, recruits and current member gay/lesbian membes are being warned that if they come out now, it could be used against them later if yesterday’s ruling is overturned.

My take: It’s ABOUT FREAKING TIME! As we’ve discussed here many times before, I feel if anyone wants to serve our great country, their sexual orientation should not affect their patriotism. Good for the courts to finally come around to the 21st century.


Tom Bosley, the friendly father on “Happy Days,” passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

My take: And another icon of my childhood is gone. It’s sad, too, because his whole personna reflected that of a gentler, more peaceful time — one that is long gone.


The Yankees are in trouble (woo-hoo, mo-fo’s!), Democrats are starting to play the race card to bring out voters in municipal, statewide and national contests and Mel Gibson will appear in a Mike Tyson-like cameo in “Hangover 2.”

My takes, in order: Woo-hoo again (!), a little surprised and I don’t care … but he was always funny in the “Lethal Weapon” series.

The iPod shuffle

One Of Us — Joan Osborne

Hey You — Pink Floyd

Don’t Stand So Close To Me — The Police

Off That — Jay-Z featuring Drake

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? — Rod Stewart

P.S.: Y’all have a great day, you hear? This photo, from our good friend Jon Dawson’s painful teenaged years, should bring a smile to your collective faces:


Yep, that’s our very own Dawson on the right. Please click on the picture for a better view!

Heh, heh … ol’ J-Dizzle is a good sport.

No MNR/ANR today

With my assistant managing editor on vacation this week and my usual heavy influx of work today, there’ll be no Morning News Report today.

However, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves what a crappy sports weekend it was for the Hanks household (the God-fearing Cavahoos of Virginia losing to UNC; the Redskins dropping a close one to Indianapolis), the Braxton-LaRoque brouhaha (which will feature a face-to-face debate on Wednesday, Oct. 28) and Jon Dawson’s propensity to leave toenail clippings on my computer keyboard.

I will try to post the blog pick ‘em standings (The Kid kicked butt this week) and the blog survivor pool (two more eliminated over the weekend) later today. Here’s a quick iPod shuffle for ya’:

The iPod shuffle

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Mothers Of The Disappeared — U2

My Way — Elvis Presley

Someday — Mariah Carey

How Low — Ludacris

Long John Blues — Robin Rogers

Sleeping Bag — ZZ Top

New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 — R.E.M.

Jungle Love — The Time

Smoke On The Water — Deep Purple