Don’t forget — Robin Rogers in Kinston tonight

OK, it can’t be said I didn’t let you know: the ultra-talented Robin Rogers will be playing at Festival on the Neuse beginning at 6 p.m. today at Neuseway Park in Kinston.

I have the honor of introducing her tonight on stage.

The concert is free and the weather is going to be awesome. Come out and listen to one of the best voices you’ll ever hear live. Thank me later.

Morning News Report; April 30, 2009

Before we get started today, check out Jon Dawson’s blog for a cool contest he is running today… 

CITY COUNCILMAN, COUNTY COMMISSIONER BEHIND ON TAXES

City Councilman Robbie Swinson Jr. and County Commissioner Jackie Brown (not the Quentin Tarantino movie) have been tardy in paying their taxes.

In fact, Ms. Brown had her taxes voluntarily garnished.

My take: Hey, it happens to all of us — myself included. I have a bad habit of waiting to pay my auto taxes until my tag is due and knocking it all out in the same day.

The difference, though, is that I’m not an elected official.

To Robbie’s credit, when he was informed about it, he immediately took care of it. Ms. Brown, though, has had — like the rest of us in these tough economic times — a hard run at it lately. She’s a widow and she told us that she was recently laid off from her job, making it tougher for her to pay her taxes. She’s just like the rest of us.

A great job by ace reporter Chris Lavender on this project — he researched this story for a week before we put it in the paper.

A-ROD USED STEROIDS WITH YANKEES, AS A TEEN?

A book to be released on May 12 alleges that Alex Rodriguez took steroids as a New York Yankee and when he was a teenager before he was drafted.

My take: Nothing about A-Roid surprises me any longer. Every record he has — or will have — should be stricken or have an asterisk placed next to it.

Read the article — there are some funny nuggets in it, including his nickname (which I can’t list here, since this is a PG-13 blog).

CHRYSLER TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY

The Obama administration is forcing Chrysler, the No. 3 U.S. automaker, into bankruptcy today at noon. According to the linked story, Chrysler will still stay in business … for now.

My take: So, what was the point of all those billions of dollars of bailout money if Chrysler was just going under anyway?

Jeesh.

The iPod shuffle: The Robin Rogers Edition

(Note: with Robin Rogers coming to Kinston tonight, here are my top 5 favorite Robin Rogers songs. Want to hear more? Visit www.robinrogers.com)

Come Together — Robin Rogers 

Guilty — Robin Rogers

Long John Blues — Robin Rogers

Color Blind Angel — Robin Rogers

Treat Me Right — Robin Rogers

Honoring David Poole

As I sadly mentioned here yesterday, one of the giants in the sportswriting and NASCAR fields died yesterday when David Poole of the Charlotte Observer passed away at the young age of 50.

Today, there are many tributes to Poole — in fact, Google News has 159(!) entries. Here are some of the best:

I really can’t add much more than what some of these guys have written other than this: there won’t ever be another David Poole.

Robin Rogers is coming to Kinston!

OK, you’ve heard me rave about her for several years – now you get to see her for yourself!

Robin Rogers and her Hot Band is coming to Kinston for tomorrow night’s Festival on the Neuse festivities at Neuseway Park. It’s a free concert that will begin at 6 p.m. and go until 8.

I can’t strongly encourage you enough to get out and see one of the most talented singers I’ve ever had the honor to hear. She has the most amazing voice and you are going to be blown away by her talent.

See you out there tomorrow night!

Morning News Report; April 29, 2009

SCHOOL SYSTEM WON’T REVEAL WHY JWADE SUSPENDED

All the Lenoir County School system will let us know is that Kinston High School baseball coach (and 3-time blog pick ‘em champion) Jason Wade has been suspended for an “altercation with an umpire”.

But what Sports Editor Ryan Herman reports in today’s story is that JWade got into it with the umpire following the April 21 home game against South Lenoir and angrily called the umpire — who is an African-American — “Obama”.

My take: I’ve had a week to digest this and I’m still not sure what I think.

Everyone on this blog knows that I think the world of JWade — he’s an all-timer on this blog and (contrary to what some might say) he’s on the verge of turning around a Vikings baseball team that had sunk to a Goldsboro-type level.

But what did he mean by “Obama”? Was he complimenting the umpire for his similar appearance to the president? Was JWade confirming he was changing parties, a la Arlen Specter, to the Democratic Party?

Or was it more sinister — was JWade using “Obama” as a racial slur?

We don’t know — but JWade did tell Ryan in the above-linked story that “I regret what happened, and if I had it to do over again, I’d take everything back.”

I don’t think it was the latter of my three possibilities. I think JWade got into the heat of battle, was upset with an umpire who was (as I’ve heard from multiple sources) inconsistent all night long with both teams and erupted, albeit with the absolute wrong choice of words. I don’t know the coach as well as some of you do, but I’ve never heard even an inkling of racism from him.

OBAMA WELCOMES SPECTER TO DEMOCRATIC PARTY

President Obama welcomed the U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, to the Democratic Party this morning.

With Specter’s defection — and the impending win by Al Franken in Minnesota — the Dems would have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

My take: It’s this simple — Democrats have no one to blame but themselves if they don’t turn this mess around by 2012. They are going to be the overwhelming majority in both houses and have the executive branch locked up.

WHITE HOUSE WILL INVESTIGATE NYC FLYOVER

Obama has ordered an investigation into a photo op that included Air Force One flying low over the New York City skyline.

My take: This is how you know Obama really struck out on this one — even Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” was dissing him for it.

Stewart’s funniest line was that the White House could’ve photoshopped the plane — and that makes sense.

Stupid stunt and it cost the taxpayers $328,835 to boot.

The iPod shuffle

Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle of Milk — U2

Gin And Juice — Snoop Dogg & Dat N**** Daz

Precious Things — Tori Amos

Surfin’ USA — The Beach Boys

Respect — Aretha Franklin

Rest in peace, David Poole

Charlotte Observer NASCAR writer and Sirius Satellite radio host David Poole died this morning at the age of 50.

My take: It’s taking every ounce of my being not to break down crying.

David was not only the best NASCAR writer in the field, he was also a friend. When I free-lanced and later worked at the Gaston Gazette, I ran across David many times, mostly at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Between he and Monte Dutton, they were THE authorities on NASCAR.

When Monte had health problems in 2000, I covered his beat for several stops for the Gazette. Even though I was a wet-behind-the-ears, know-it-all, David took the time to introduce me to drivers, let me sit beside him at pressers (listening to all his good questions!) and taught me the ropes about how to be a good reporter.

We’ve e-mailed back and forth through the years and he’s kept up with my stops in Shelby and Kinston. I have several of his e-mails that mean the world to me when I got the Kinston SE and news-side job.

Now, he’s gone. It’s true: the good die young.

Rest in peace, David.

Morning News Report; April 28, 2009

Happy to be back at the office; I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon — here’s hoping I don’t have Swine Flu…

Anyhoo, your MNR:

CHRIS HATCHER PROMOTED TO DOUBLE-A

Former Kinston High School and UNC-Wilmington star Chris Hatcher was called up to Double-A Jacksonville yesterday. Chris was batting .333 with 0 HRs and 2 RBIs in six games at High Single-A Jupiter (Fla.).

Want to see Chris play? Jacksonville will be playing at the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon May 16-20.

My take: I foresee a road trip in my immediate future. Congratulations to a great young man.

Useless trivia — Chris and I share the same birthday: January 12. Of course, he was born the day in 1985 that I received my driver’s license. Yes, I’m old.

SWINE FLU CONTINUES TO SPREAD

More than 40 cases of Swine Flu have been confirmed in the U.S. Locally, there have been no confirmed cases, but health officials are asking those who might have it to stay home.

My take: Sounds like sound advice to me, although I’m back at the office. Have a doctor’s appointment at 1:30 p.m., though, so I’ll let you know!

BEA ARTHUR PASSES AWAY

Comedienne Bea Arthur — a true Golden Girl and the object of Jon Dawson and Charlie Kraebel’s affections — died over the weekend.

My take: She was a true television icon and will be missed.

The iPod shuffle

Free Bird — Lynyrd Skynyrd

Forever — Papa Roach

All I Want Is You — U2

Bang Your Head (Metal Health) — Quiet Riot

What Go Around Come Around, Kid — Cypress Hill

Back from the dead … well, maybe not

I don’t know if it’s Swine Flu, Asian Flu or a severe allergy to Jon Dawson’s hair, but I am — as Jon mentioned below — under the weather today. I will not have a Morning News Report and ECOTD today.

But as Heelatious mentioned, check out Jon’s excellent blog. He has a couple of funny videos up, so … enjoy.

Use the comment area below for all your discussion needs. See you tomorrow.