Kinston to face Greensboro Dudley in 3A Eastern Regional

The defending 3A state champion Kinston Vikings (26-3) will face perennial powerhouse Greensboro Dudley (26-3) at 8:30 p.m. on Friday at ECU’s Minges Coliseum. The Kinston-Dudley winner will face the winner of the 7 p.m. Northern Guilford-Bertie game.

My take: It doesn’t get much better than Kinston-Dudley, although Wells Gulledge has gotten the better of Dudley lately. The Vikings have won the previous two matchups in 2007 and 2008, and Coach Gulledge is 3-0 all-time against Dudley, all in the Eastern Regionals.

I won’t make a prediction yet, but I’ll have one later in the week. Be sure to read Ryan Herman’s story in Sunday’s Free Press and check out his presser story that’ll be in Tuesday’s FP.

Cassel traded from Patriots to Chiefs

The New England Patriots have traded QB Matt Cassel to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round draft pick.

My take: Really? This shocks me — how do the Patriots know Tom Brady is going to have his legs back? I mean, he married Giselle and everything, so he might not even BE READY yet, you know?

Still, this means the Pats have to find a suitable back-up to Brady, even if he’s ready.

And did New England really get enough? They not only traded a nearly-4,000-yard QB, they also gave KC stud LB Mike Vrabel.

But who’s going to question Bill Belichick? Not me.

My Sunday column on gun control

A sneak peek for the faithful bloggees on my Sunday column … about gun control:

GUN CONTROL IS NOT THE ANSWER

While the putrid economy, the war in Iraq and President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office continue to dominate the news cycle, one story slipped in under the radar this week.

Arguably, it was to me — as it should be to you — the most important story of the week.

The Obama administration is hoping to reinstate the assault weapons ban that was started in President Clinton’s term and that expired in 2004, during the previous administration.

While, on the surface, it seems reasonable — who wouldn’t want to keep “assault weapons” out of the hands of the general public? — when you dig just a bit deeper, the truth starts to come out.

For instance, what qualifies a firearm as an assault weapon? Is it a firearm that is fully automatic or semi-automatic? Is it a weapon or magazine that holds 10, 20 or 30 rounds?

Or is an “assault weapon” anything the government wants it to be?

The second amendment to our Constitution states that “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Some left-leaning members of our government have tried to belittle the Second Amendment, stating that when the Constitution was written well over two centuries ago, the world was a different place.

Besides, they argue, the amendment was written to arm militias, not common citizens.

And that’s where those left-wingers are wrong. The first 10 amendments to our Constitution — the Bill of Rights — were written to protect individuals’ rights, not group (or militia, in this case) rights.

That’s why this slippery slope — a so-called assault weapons ban — needs to be avoided like the plague. We’re already on the cusp of becoming a socialist state, complete with nationalized banks and the government-financed automotive industry. We simply cannot let the government put more restrictions on our gun ownership.

Ultimately, the government has no place telling us whether or not law-abiding, tax-paying citizens can own and protect their home and families with a gun.

It’s one of my favorite bumper stickers, but no greater truth on this matter exists than this: “Fear the government that fears your gun.”

    Bryan C. Hanks’ column appears every Sunday in The Free Press. Bryan can be reached at (252) 559-1074 or at bhanks@freedomenc.com. Check out his blog at http://bhanks.encblogs.com.

    Obama speech reax

    Use the comments area here to let everyone know how you feel about President Obama’s speech. Here are some of my thoughts as I watched it here

    • Obama said combat in Iraq ends on Aug. 31, 2010. Think our enemies have that date circled now?
    • He’s not a bad speaker — as has been proven hundreds of times — but he struggles when he looks away from his Teleprompter, doesn’t he?
    • He was very, very well-received by the Marines. But, for the most part, it wasn’t the Marines who were giving him the raucous applause he received (except for the pay raise comment) — it was people in the gallery.
    • I hope Obama is doing the right thing with the announcement of the troop removal. I’ve often thought we needed to focus more on Afghanistan and finding Osama bin Laden. I hope that is the case now
    • Thanks to the White House, here’s the complete text of Obama’s speech.
    • In other news, a Chicago man has been charged with sending HIV-infected blood letters to Obama.

    ECU ticket winners — and schedule update

    An update on this weekend’s LeClair Classic baseball tournament at ECU:

    • Because of the possibility of inclement weather, today’s games will be combined with tomorrow’s games (College of Charleston vs. Oklahoma State, 9 a.m.; St. John’s vs. ECU, 12:30 p.m.; Oklahoma State vs. ECU, 4 p.m.; St. John’s vs. College of Charleston, 7:30 p.m.)
    • Sunday’s schedule remains intact … for now.

    Just drew for the East Carolina University ticket winners:

    • Today’s LeClair Classic all-day baseball passes: Four to Mike Goff
    • Saturday’s two basketball tickets: Lesli Casey; check out her blog by clicking on her name
    • Sunday’s all-day baseball passes: Two to Jim and Robyn Godfrey; Two to Will Jarman

    Winners — you need to come by The Free Press by 5:30 p.m. today to pick up your tickets, unless you’re coming to the Kinston-Nash Central playoff basketball game, then you can get them from me at the scorer’s table. Just let me know.

    Thanks to everyone that entered! We had about a dozen entrants altogether. Don’t forget I have four tickets to every ECU baseball game and, when the Kinston Indians season begins, I’ll have tix for those games, too.

    Morning News Report; Feb. 27, 2009

    TROOP REDUCTION IN IRAQ TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY BY OBAMA ABOARD CAMP LEJEUNE

    Barack Obama, in his first visit to Eastern North Carolina as president, will announce a troop cutdown in Iraq this morning at Camp Lejeune. According to plans released to the media, only 35,000 to 50,000 of the current 142,000 troops will be in place by the end of 2010.

    You can watch streaming video of Obama’s visit by going here. The good folks at The Daily News of Jacksonville are helping us with it; it’s up and going, so check it out.

    My take: While I don’t like our initial reason for being in Iraq, I also think it’s pretty unwise to tell our enemies when we’re leaving. That means all they have to do is wait, re-arm, train and then take over when we leave.

    But this seems to be what the majority of Americans want us to do, so … whatever.

    TOM BRADY MARRIES GISELLE

    At around 6 p.m. last night, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady finally made supermodel Giselle Bundchen an honest woman, marrying her in California.

    My take: Good for them. Now, they can finally consummate their relationship.

    MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

    In the early morning hours today, Albert Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with America’s Team (the Washington Redskins). Up to $41 million of the contract — which could swell to $115 million — is guaranteed.

    The Skins also re-signed shutdown corner Deangelo Hall to a six-year, $54 million contract that guarantees $22.5 million in salary

    Also, for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom, Manny Ramirez turned down a one-year, $25 million contract from the L.A. Dodgers.

    My take: Do pro franchises not know there’s an economic recession out there? Good grief.

    But good for my (yes, Ryan, I said MY) Redskins. He may not always make the best decisions, but Redskins owner Dan Snyder has never been afraid to break out the checkbook. There are not a lot of owners out there who can say that.

    And Manny? Good grief. It wouldn’t break my heart one iota to see him on a sideline all season.

    The iPod shuffle

    Let It Be — The Beatles

    Rapture — Blondie

    Miss Sarajevo — U2

    Brain Damage — Eminem

    Don’t Treat Me Bad — Firehouse

    The other stall…

    Thanks to our good friend, Bonnie Whitfield, for this funny one: 

    The Other Stall

    I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying:  “Hi, how are you?”

    I’m not the type to start a conversation in the restroom. I don’t know what got into me, but I answered, somewhat embarrassed, “Doing just fine!”

    And the other person says: “So what are you up to?”

    What kind of question is that? At that point, I’m thinking this is too bizarre so I say: “Uhhh, I’m like you, just sitting here.”

    At this point I am just trying to get out as fast as I can when I hear another question: “Can I come over?”

    OK, this question is just too weird for me. I figured I could politely end the conversation. I say: “No … I’m a little busy right now!”

    Then I hear the person say, nervously: “Listen, I’ll have to call you back. There’s an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!”

    Gun control rearing its (ugly) head

    Thanks to our good friend Pantherfan for calling this to our attention: The Obama administration is seeking to reinstall the assault weapons ban the Clinton administration had in place before the Bush administration allowed it to expire in 2004.

    My take: I consider the right to keep and bear arms as one of THE primary rights we have as Americans. To me, it is not even up for discussion or interpretation — our Constitution has granted us the right to own guns and that’s what helps keep our government in check.

    So, any sort of movement towards gun control raises my concerns.

    I’m also a realist — I don’t think EVERYONE should own a gun; I don’t want certain heavily-medicated ex-girlfriends to have that accessibility to firearms, for example. And should Jon Dawson own a gun? I think not.

    Seriously, I think there should be firearm safety courses everyone has to take to own a gun — sort of like getting a driver’s license. But everyone — unless you’re a convicted felon, crazy or Jon Dawson — should have the right to protect their families, their property and (ultimately) their freedom with firearms of their choosing.

    Today’s ECU ticket winner: Mike Goff

    Congratulations to Mike Goff, who won four tickets to today’s East Carolina-Oklahoma State baseball game.

    Don’t forget: you can enter for four LeClair Classic day passes for tomorrow (Friday), Saturday and Sunday, along with two tickets to Saturday’s UAB-ECU hoops game.

    Either leave your name here in the comments or e-mail me at bhanks@freedomenc.com and let me know how many tickets you want (in sets of 2 or 4). I will draw for all the remaining winners at 10 a.m. tomorrow, so get your request in sooner rather than later.

    Again, congrats, Mike!