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Morning News Report; Dec. 1, 2011

SYRACUSE SEX STORY TAKES ANOTHER WEIRD TWIST

With all the disturbing news coming out of Syracuse about former Orangemen assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine and his alleged sexual abuse of former ballboys, here’s another weird twist — allegedly, his wife was having sex (not just with one of her husband’s accusers) but with SU players.

My take: And just when you think this can’t get any worse or tasteless, this happens. Good grief.

IS YOUR CELL PHONE SPYING ON YOU?

If it’s a Nokia, HTC or Blackberry smartphone, then it probably is.

My take: Never doubt that Big Brother is checking up on you … and more often than you think.

GAY SOFTBALL LEAGUE SETTLES WITH BISEXUAL PLAYERS

A gay softball league in Seattle has settled a lawsuit with players it perceived to be straight ringers.

My take: Can you imagine the questioning these three dudes had to go through? Uh, me neither.

And who — besides, Jon Dawson, of course — knew there was such a thing as the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance? NTTAWWT.

My favorite quote in the report: “This is not a bisexual World Series. This is a gay World Series.”

The iPod shuffle

Waiting On A Friend — The Rolling Stones

Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’ Connor

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Too Bad — Nickelback

Dreams — Fleetwood Mac

P.S.: Don’t forget to check out the Free Press High School Football Podcast for this week; we have Nick Anderson, Nick Stevens, Paul Cornwell, Chris Hughes and John Davis joining us this week for the state championship edition of the show.

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!

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE COLUMN REDUX

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 emailsand 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?

ANONYMITY IS OVER AT KINSTON.COM

After years of allowing anonymous comments on our stories at Kinston.com, 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.

N.C. DEMOCRATS TO RENAME FUNDRAISER

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, PITT TO THE ACC; WHO’S NEXT?

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.

UNC ATTEMPTS TO HOLD OFF NCAA POSSE

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.

RIVERA SETS MLB SAVES RECORD

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

Morning News Report; Sept. 13, 2011

JWADE REDUX

Here is Ryan Herman’s story on Kinston High School baseball coach Jason Wade’s firing.

My take: I feel much the same way as I did yesterday when I broke this on the blog – this is a stupid move and one that will set KHS baseball back at least five years. I’ve since talked to several parents of current players and I know this much: some of these players will be transferring to other schools because of this decision.

It is kind of crappy that she decided to do this AFTER school started in an attempt to keep kids from transferring. If she had made this move before school started (and she had the opportunity to do so), it would’ve been easier for them to do so.

And I am perplexed this decision was made without conferring with the athletics director.

Regardless, keep your head up, JWade — you’re a faithful man and I know God has other things for you out there. Maybe next time you’ll go somewhere you’re appreciated.

I’ve already talked to about a dozen coaches, teachers, parents and athletes at KHS — and not one of them is happy with this decision. I know this much: Ms. Bryant stirred up a whole pot o’ stuff with this move (and other decisions she’s made); I’ll have more here later.

SAME-SEX CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT CLEARS N.C. HOUSE

A gay marriage ban and potential amendment to the N.C. Constitution passed the state House last night, 75-42. The bill — which would put the potential amendment on the May 2012 primary ballot — now moves to the N.C. Senate.

My take: Seriously? With no money for teachers, our state budget hemorrhaging money and all the other problems our state has … we’re going to waste time and money on keeping dudes or lesbians from marrying? Seriously?

I’ve been pretty straight-forward from the jump on gay rights — I think homosexuals have as much right to be miserable as straight folks. If they want to marry, by golly, let them. It’s been proven time and again, you don’t choose to be gay, so why punish them? And that’s what you’re doing when you deny homosexuals basic rights.

North Carolina prides itself on not being the back-woods type of state like our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. You enact this type of bill and our state won’t be getting the kind of progressive companies such as Google to relocate here. But it’s all right … we have tobacco and textiles to fall back on.

Oops.

NORTHERN GUILFORD SUING NCHSAA FOR TITLE IT CHEATED FOR

Remember that Northern Guilford team that cheated to win a 3Astate title in 2009 (the one that beat Kinston in the Eastern Regional finals that year)? Well, now some parents and coaches from that dishonored squad are trying to win the title back in court after the NCHSAA stripped them of it following a school board investigation in Guilford County.

My take: Another idiotic move from a program that continues to make idiotic moves. This has NO CHANCE (yes, in all caps so maybe it’ll be read in Guilford County) of being successful. In fact, if the NCHSAA is forced to restore NG’s 2009 championship, I’ll paint the school’s mascot on my chest and perform a dance on The Free Press’ front yard.

I wouldn’t get the ol’ camcorder fired up, though, ’cause it isn’t going to happen.

By the by, here’s a good column from FOB and highschoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens on the matter. And he’s right.

MANNY BEING MANNY MEANS SPOUSAL ABUSE?

Baseball’s former bad boy, Manny Ramirez, was arrested for a domestic violence incident yesterday.

My take: First, he retires instead of sitting out a 100-game steroid suspension and now this? He certainly wasn’t going to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player … now, he’s probably NEVER going to make it to Cooperstown.

TRAGIC BURLINGTON STORY WITH A LIFE LESSON FOR YOUTH

I didn’t post it here last month but I’m sure most of you heard about the Burlington Williams quarterback who died two days after leading his team to a season-opening victory.

Investigators now know why the young man passed away — Harry Cohen took his grandmother’s pain medication and it caused him to have a heart attack.

My take: A tremendously sad story but one that kids all over the state can learn from — DO NOT take medication unless it is prescribed to you. This young man was in the best shape of his life and he couldn’t handle his grandmother’s medication. Just because you feel like you’re Superman or Superwoman doesn’t mean that you are.

Also, please take a moment and read the story — it is extremely well-written by Freedom Communications’ Roselee Papandrea.

The iPod shuffle

Sassafras Root — Green Day

Mama Said — The Shirelles

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones

P.S.: I can eat crow with the best of ‘em, so here goes … congrats to Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark, who whipped my candy ass in our HBFL Live opening game this week, 108-97. What makes this sting more is this was Richard’s inaugural game in fantasy football while this is the start of my 17th year playing. Damn. While I’m at it, congrats to two-time defending HBFL Online champ Brent Pelletier for beating me, 87-79, in Week 1 of that league. Sheesh.

P.P.S.S.: And we’ll close today’s MNR on a somber note — a great man passed away on Sunday in the person of the Honorable Rodney R. Goodman, a longtime Kinston judge. I got to know Judge Goodman while I was dating his niece and he was certainly a funny, smart and wise man. Please join me in throwing some prayers up there for Judge Goodman’s family.

Morning News Report; Aug. 12, 2011

BERT AND ERNIE WON’T GET MARRIED

In news that’s going to make Jon Dawson very, very sad, Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street” won’t get married. Show producers said, “… remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.”

My take: One of the most ridiculous petitions on the interwebs ends in failure. Good. NTTAWTT.

However, the above link at our boy Drew Loftis’ New York Post had this headline: “Gay it ain’t so.” Awesome.

COPLES: ‘I DID EVERYTHING THE RIGHT WAY’

UNC and former Kinston star Quinton Coples talked to the media for the first time yesterday since the NCAA chatted with him about his post-NFL Draft partying with Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn. He said — rightfully — he did nothing wrong, signing out with UNC officials the way he was supposed to.

The only mistake he made, he said, was not letting Tar Heel officials know he was going to the Austin-Quinn party.

The UNC interim head coach wouldn’t commit to whether or not Q will be punished.

My take: I can understand the NCAA being up in arms, especially with all the other BS that went on in Chapel Hill last year. But there was nothing here — and it’s time this nugget disappears from the radar so Q can solidify that No. 2 draft pick status next year.

CHRIS JOHNSON SET TO BECOME NFL’S TOP-PAID RB

The Tennessee Titans say they are ready to make former ECU star Chris Johnson the NFL’s all-time highest-paid running back in history. Johnson says he wants to see the deal – ’cause he hasn’t seen it yet.

My take: This is news that’s going to make a lot of fantasy football fans breathe easier, since CJ is going anywhere from 2 to 7 in all the drafts but hasn’t shown up to camp yet. Now … let’s just hope he doesn’t get hurt…

FSU, TEXAS A&M TO THE SEC?

The interwebs were alive last night with the potential of Florida State and Texas A&M shifting to the Southeastern Conference. Even new N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried tweeted about it.

My take: Don’t be surprised if this happens — there’s too much smoke here for there not to be some fire.

So who would be the new ACC team(s)? Is this when ECU finally makes a successful push to join the league? Do you let Richmond, Old Dominionor even my God-fearing 49ers of UNC Charlotte … errr, Charlotte in? You do know we’re going to have football soon at the University of Highway 49. Does South Carolina come back to the ACC? Or do you get away from the ACC area and bring in Boise State(you know, like the Big East admitting Texas Christian)?

Discuss among yourselves.

The iPod shuffle

Rock And Roll All Nite — Poison

Your Blue Room — U2

Devil Inside — INXS

Take The Long Way Home — The Bloodhound Gang

Respect — Aretha Franklin

Afternoon News Report; May 16, 2011

TRUMP, HUCKABEE WITHDRAW FROM 2012 RACE

This morning, Donald Trump withdrew while Mike Huckabee did the same over the weekend from the 2012 presidential race.

My take: I can understand Trump dropping out; he didn’t really have a chance as much as he probably thought he did.

But Huckabee creates more of a problem for the GOP — I would’ve considered him a front-runner for the Republican bid.

SUNS PRESIDENT COMES OUT OF CLOSET

The president and CEO of the Phoenix Suns revealed he is gay.

My take: And so what? Rick Weltsdid a great job helping run the NBA for years before joining the Suns.

I’m really looking forward to the day — much like NBA Commissioner David Stern said in the linked story– when news like this is unremarkable.

MY COLUMN ON THE MESS IN MAYSVILLE

Here is my Sunday column on the way the town of Maysville raped the open government law last week.

My take: I’ll admit I’m not one who understands politics — but I do know this: the way the Maysville mayor and his town council treated our reporter and open government last week was unconscionable.

But as I mentioned in the column — Mayor Harper and Maysville get a re-do tonight when they hold another meeting. Let’s see how they do. Hopefully, they won’t have a repeat of last week’s debacle.

The iPod shuffle

While My Guitar Gently Weeps — The Beatles

Speak To Me/Breathe — Pink Floyd

Hotel California — The Eagles

Closer — Nine Inch Nails

Cinderella Man — Eminem

Afternoon News Report; Jan. 7, 2011

GOLDEN-VOICED FELON?

Actually, yes. The homeless man who has been an overnight sensation has quite the criminal record, according to The Smoking Gun.

My take: Does this mean he shouldn’t have a second chance (or fifth, sixth or seventh)? No. It just means that with his new-found wealth and notoriety that he should use it to pay his debts, take care of his children and other responsibilities.

I stand by what I said yesterday about this — only in America can someone be homeless one day and a multi-media sensation the next. Let’s just hope he stays on the straight and narrow and doesn’t revert to his old ways.

As a postscript: check out the comments on the linked story– some are pretty harsh!

LAETTNER, DAVIS IN A BUTTLOAD OF LEGAL TROUBLE

Former Duke basketball stars — and close, close friends — Christian Laettner and Brian Davis are being sued left and right for millions of dollars for their real estate dealings.

My take: Laettner and Davis have been involved in rumors about their close, close friendship for nearly 20 years, not that it has any bearing on this lawsuit story.

But it seems to me the couple have fallen victim to the same real estate woes many others did in the last decade — spending more money than they had.

JAIME PRESSLY ARRESTED FOR DUI

Kinston’s Jaime Pressly was arrested for suspicion of DUI Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. She was released yesterday after posting a $15,000 bond.

Her mugshot:

My take: While it is certainly irresponsible to be convicted of a DUI, there are far worse things out there. But isn’t a $15,000 bond for DUI pretty high?

I’m a pretty big fan of Jaime’s — and this is how I prefer to remember her:

Click on the photo for a better view and stuff.

The iPod shuffle

Ooh Ahh — Grits feat. tobyMac

I Heard It Through The Grapevine — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Little Earthquakes — Tori Amos

Barbara Ann — The Beach Boys

We Will Rock You — Queen

Afternoon News Report; Dec. 22, 2010

DON’T ASK DON’T TELL KILLED BY OBAMA

Today, President Obama signed a repeal of the controversial “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy enacted under President Clinton.

My take: And it’s about time. I am grateful for all young people — gay, straight, black, white, whatever — who want to defend this great country. It’s awesome that this archaic policy was finally repealed.

UCONN WOMEN WIN 89TH STRAIGHT

The top-ranked University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won its 89th straight game last night, defeating No. 20 Florida State by 31 points.

My take: I guess congratulations are in order?

But anyone who wants to compare Geno Auriemma to John Wooden (or Dean Smith, Bobby Knight or Mike Krzyzewski, for that matter) has no grounds.

Auriemma is the best women’s college basketball coach of all time. Period. UConn is the best women’s college basketball program of all time. Period. But there’s a reason Auriemma is a women’s college basketball coach and not a men’s basketball coach — you can believe that.

It’s this simple: the Kinston boys’ basketball team, even coming off a tough loss to Greensboro Dudley last night, would beat this UConn women’s basketball team by 20 points — if not worse.

LARRY BROWN RESIGNS FROM BOBCATS

Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown has resigned his post.

My take: No news on who will replace him — although my gut says it’ll be Michael Jordan. And THAT will be interesting.

The iPod shuffle

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — The Beatles

Always Something There To Remind Me — Naked Eyes

Ante Up Remix — M.O.P. featuring Busta Rhymes, Remy Martin & Teflon

Everything I Do (I Do It For You) — Bryan Adams

Pride And Joy — Stevie Ray Vaughan

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:

JOEY BRYAN WITHDRAWS BID FOR REELECTION TO SCHOOL BOARD

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.

MILITARY SERVICE OPEN TO GAYS AND LESBIANS

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 DEAD AT 83

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.

QUICK HITS

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:

102010-j-dizzle-in-all-his-glory.jpg 

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.

Morning News Report; Oct. 15, 2010

BUTCH DAVIS BANS CAROLINA FOOTBALL PLAYERS FROM TWEETING

Embattled UNC football coach Butch Davis has banned his players from using Twitter. According to the linked report, Kinston’s Quinton Coples used an alleged homophobic slur (“stop the gayness“); he pulled it after being asked to do so by the UNC staff.

My take: It keeps spiraling out of control for Davis; for someone who has no control over his team, stopping them from tweeting is a good start, I guess? What’s next — taking away their cell phones and laptops? As has been mentioned here before, it’s time for Butch to GO. But only after UVa whips that fanny this weekend in Charlottesville … again.

And I don’t have a problem with what Q tweeted; I know him pretty well and I know he’s not a homophobe.

HUDSON-JACKSON RACE NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART

As most races seem to do, the Dewey Hudson-Brent Jackson N.C. Senate D-10 race has devolved into a mud-slinging event. Ace reporter Wesley Brown breaks down the race – and the specifics of the slingin’ – in today’s FP.

My take: It’s pretty sad that an election — ANY election — can’t simply be decided on the merits of the candidates but it has to fall to this level. Sad.

‘TOP GUN 2′ COMING TO THEATERS

It appears there will be a “Top Gun 2″ – a sequel to the 1986 movie that helped make Tom Cruise a superstar. Cruise will not be the primary star of the movie — if he’s even in it at all.

My take: I’m an unapologetic Cruise fan, despite his craziness. I wish he’d come fully on board with it, because it’d be cool to see what happened to Maverick in the last 25 years.

But have you seen Kelly McGillis (“Charlie”) lately? She looked like this in 1986:

101510-kelly-mcgillis-top-gun.jpg 

And THIS is what she looks like today …

101510-kelly-mcgillis-today.jpg

Oh, and now she’s a lesbian.

Maverick is probably going to trade in for a newer (and heterosexual) edition, you think?

The iPod shuffle

The Boys Of Summer — Don Henley

Lodi — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Time For Myself — Robin Rogers

Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) — Digable Planets

Doo Wop (That Thing) — Lauryn Hill

P.S.: You have less than three hours to get your name in the pot for the N.C. State-ECU football tickets.

Morning News Report; Aug. 17, 2010

CALIFORNIA GAYS MUST WAIT TO WED DURING APPEAL

In news that is certainly going to delay Jon Dawson’s upcoming vacation to San Francisco, a federal appeals court has delayed homosexuals’ the right to wed, which was going to start tomorrow.

Of course, gays can still get married in Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.

My take: In all seriousness — and this is something I’ve said in this forum before — I have no problem whatsoever with the gays getting married. Good for them — let them be as miserable as married straight folks.

EAT AT BURGER KING IN SILER CITY? BETTER GET A SHOT

In some pretty scary news from WRAL.com, health officials are encouraging folks who ate at a Burger King in Siler City on Aug. 2 or 3 to go get a Hepatitis A vaccination after an employee at the restaurant tested positive with the virus.

My take: As mentioned above, pretty scary — and if you were in Siler City and ate at that BK on that Monday and Tuesday, go get your vaccination.

On a sidenote … I think if we knew everything that is done in prep areas at fast food restaurants, we’d probably NEVER eat at another one. I worked at McDonald’s in the mid-1980s and I know some of the stupid stuff we did. And of course you know kids are MUCH more stupid than we were then … right?

HARPER SIGNS WITH NATIONALS

Overall No. 1 pick Bryce Harper signed a five-year, $9.9 million contract with the Washington Nationals last night.

My take: That’s going to be a hell of a team in a few years, especially if the Nats aren’t afraid to spend some money.

The iPod shuffle

High Plains Drifter — Beastie Boys

It’s My Life — Talk Talk

Waterfalls — TLC

Love Don’t Cost A Thing — Jennifer Lopez

Under Pressure — David Bowie & Queen