Morning News Report; Jan. 31, 2012

MCCRORY SET TO ANNOUNCE RUN

Republican Pat McCrory, who narrowly lost the race for governor four years ago, formally announces his run for the same office today.

My take: It’s this simple — this McCrory’s race to lose. His appeal was so strong it forced Gov. Bev Perdue out of the race and there’s not a Democrat in the state outside of Jim Hunt who can come within 7 percentage points of him in November.

Unless McCrory does something really, really stupid — and he’s as polished as a new Lamborghini, so I don’t see that happening — he’ll be our governor-elect on Election Day.

THERE ARE DUNKS AND THEN THERE’S BLAKE GRIFFIN

Sure, the L.A. Clippers defeated Oklahoma City last night — but that’s not what the entire sports world is talking about this morning.

What they are raving about — according to Steve Czaban, ESPN SportsCenter showed it 56 times in one hour this morning! — is this emasculating dunk by Blake Griffin over Kendrick Perkins last night:

My take: Uh, yeah. That’s a pretty sweet dunk.

You think Perkins had trouble going to sleep last night?

FERRIS DRIVES A HONDA?

As it turns out, the Ferris Bueller Matthew Broderick Super Bowl commercial we looked at last week is for Honda. Yes, Honda. Here you go:

My take: Honda.

Could’ve been for Ferrari, a Corvette or even a Mustang … but Honda? C’mon, Ferris, you can do better than that!

However, the commercial was pretty sweet. If anything, film studios should look at the buzz this thing created and realize — THERE NEEDS TO BE A FERRIS BUELLER SEQUEL. The world is demanding it!

The iPod shuffle

Tennessee — Arrested Development

Mad World — Michael Andrews & Gary Jules

Hey Ya! — Outkast

Shadows And Tall Trees — U2

Blood Roses — Tori Amos

P.S.: I haven’t forgotten about our final standings for the blog pick ‘em — my goal is to get that up by tomorrow.

On Coach Hines, Coach Eason, Joshua Lovick and polls

Some nuggets for your perusal tonight:

  • Really enjoyed putting together this story on Shonda Hines, the head girls’ basketball coach at Rochelle Middle School. Not only is she a successful coach at RMS, she also helps Hubert Quinerly with the varsity team at Kinston HS and is the mother of three great young men in Curtis “Nootsie” Hines, Dory Hines and Reggie “Tigger” Clark Jr. It was truly an honor to write that story — she’s a great mother who deserves a lot of praise.
  • One of the good guys in our area — and arguably, one of the most humble — was honored last week when South Lenoir thanked its retiring baseball coach, Troy Eason, for his 28 years of service to the program. I could do an entire post on Coach Eason (and probably should), but the ol’ ball coach wouldn’t want that. I’ll say this about the coach — I’m not sure I’ve ever been around a coach who truly didn’t want any acclaim than Coach Eason. He truly wanted to have all attention on his kids, not on him. Good luck in retirement, Coach!
  • David Hall did a fantastic job catching us up on the progress of ECU/former Kinston star Joshua Lovick in a Sunday article. Josh might be one of the smartest and — like Coach Eason — one of the most humble young men I’ve ever covered. Hope he gets a chance to show his stuff this year, but even if he doesn’t, it’s coming for him. Heck of a kid, heck of a family.
  • With their loss at North Pitt last week, Kinston’s boys fell in this week’s NCPreps.com 2A poll. The Vikings were No. 1 the previous two weeks, but fell to fourth behind East Rutherford, Waxhaw Cuthbertson and undefeated Croatan. The Kinston girls remained eighth in their poll, while the Jones Senior girls stayed at No. 7 in the 1A poll.

Congratulations to B.J. and Jessica Murphy!

That’s right — Kinston Mayor (and FOB) B.J. Murphy and his wife Jessica have brought a new baby into the world!

Kathryn Lane Murphy was born at 12:16 p.m., weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 20 and 1/4 inch long. Here’s a photo from the proud daddy:

(Click on the photo for a better look at the bundle o’ joy)

Congratulations to the mayor and his wife!

Scott Wood wants to know if your wife is faithful

Following last night’s debacle at Chapel Hill, N.C. State’s Scott Wood answered a question from a reporter in an … interesting manner.

Check it out (it’s only about 10 seconds into this video):

My take: Whoa. And he also refers to “beating his sister” later in the interview.

Justin “The Kid” Hill made a great point: if Wood just came up with that on the fly, it’s a heck of a response. However, if he had planned to respond that way to that question (and HE KNEW it was coming), Justin thinks it’s different … but I think it’s pretty classless.

Was it the best question from a reporter? Nah, but Wood’s heard worse questions. I don’t know who the reporter was, but my gut tells me it’s some poor dude who gets to cover two or three ACC games a year from the County News-Enterprise and was humilated by an athlete who had just been embarrassed on the court at Carolina. Wood wouldn’t have done that to Jeff Gravely from WRAL or the N&O’s beat writer.

I’ve been asked — how would’ve I responded? Honestly, I don’t know. Since I’m not married, I would’ve probably flippantly responded right back, but I really don’t know.

Wondering if there’s going to be any response from N.C. State coach Matt Gottfried.

Morning News Report; Jan. 27, 2012

LEFTY MAD BECAUSE OF ‘GARY WILLIAMS COURT’

Former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell is angry because the University of Maryland named its basketball court at the Comcast Center after Gary Williams, who retired following last season.

My take: While I can see why Lefty might be a little upset — he does have the all-time winningest percentage of Terps coaches — I think he’s just jealous. Williams won the school’s only basketball national championship and helped restore the program back to national prominence … after Lefty pretty much buried it following the Len Bias tragedy.

So, Lefty … get over it. You have your great memories and wins — and guilty conscience over how you essentially destroyed a program you helped build.

FERRIS BUELLER TO RETURN!

Matthew Broderick is set to reprise his famous “Ferris Bueller” role in a Super Bowl commercial next weekend. Here’s the video teaser:

My take: It’s not been revealed what the product is (my money is it’s Pepsi; the font of the date gives it away).

In the interest of full disclosure: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is arguably my favorite movie OF ALL TIME (up there with “Pulp Fiction,” “Anchorman,” “For Love Of The Game” and “The Breakfast Club”). They’ve teased for years there might be a Ferris sequel … and if this is the first indicator it’s going to happen — I’M ALL IN.

NO. 1 KINSTON LOSES AT NORTH PITT

Kinston, the No. 1-ranked team in this week’s NCPreps.com 2A poll, lost at North Pitt last night, 64-53.

My take: I still think Kinston is the best 2A team in the state; maybe the Vikings needed this wake-up call — just as they did on Reggie Bullock’s Senior Night two years ago when they lost to Farmville Central.

Speaking of FC — that’s who visits Viking Gym tonight.

The iPod shuffle

On The Road Again — Canned Heat

I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks — The Bloodhound Gang

Summer Love / Set The Mood Prelude — Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

New Kid In Town — The Eagles

Perfection — Run-D.M.C.

Walter Dalton announces run for governor

Fresh off the email from N.C. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton:

“I believe that our future economy and better jobs depend on our historic commitment to education. After all, education is in North Carolina’s DNA – it’s what sets us apart and it’s what will determine our future. However, you can’t make progress if you are pointed in the wrong direction. Pat McCrory and the Republican leadership are facing the wrong way by cutting teachers, reducing scholarships and abandoning economic development. They are doing lasting damage to our state. I’ve dedicated my career to improving education at all levels and making North Carolina a great place to do business.

“Today, I’m announcing that I am running for Governor. Lucille and I love this state and we understand tough political races. I am the only candidate who has run and won statewide and I look forward to waging an aggressive campaign. Elections are about choices. As a state we must decide the direction in which we will turn. With this campaign, I choose to look ahead to a brighter future.  I choose progress.  I choose a future where public education is the foundation of our economy.”

My take: Well … THAT didn’t take long! So who else joins the fray?

My second take: With 10 minutes of reflection, let me say this — I think he’s making a grave mistake announcing this, this soon after Perdue’s announcement. Why? It’s going to be buried in EVERY newspaper in North Carolina tomorrow AND under every Perdue headline online today and tomorrow.

If he’d waited until tomorrow to do this, he’d had the headlines all to himself. Now, however, he’s going to be buried deep under all the Perdue headlines.

Not a very smart first move for his campaign.

ECU releases football schedule

OK, Pirate Nation — your basketball team stinks, your baseball coach has been suspended … but at least you have football to look forward to! Here’s the 2012 ECU football schedule, hot off the press:

Sept. 1 – Appalachian State

Sept. 8 – at South Carolina

Sept. 15 – at Southern Miss*

Sept. 22 – at UNC

Sept. 29 – UTEP*

Oct. 6 – at Central Florida*

Oct. 13 – Memphis*

Oct. 20 – at UAB*

Oct. 27 – Navy

Nov. 3 – Houston*

Nov. 17 – at Tulane*

Nov. 24 – Marshall*

My take: All us/you ACC fans can say what we want, but ECU doesn’t back down from anyone when it comes to its football scheduling. Instead of putting LCC or a D-2 team on its schedule, the Pirates get the best FCS team (Appalachian State) in the country, along with games at South Carolina and Chapel Hill, and include a home contest against an up-and-coming Navy squad.

Not too shabby. Now, if C-USA were a legit conference …

Report: Bev Perdue won’t seek reelection

Of course, I finish my first MNR in a month … and THIS breaks — N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue will not seek reelection this year, according to the Washington Post.

My take: Wha-wha-what? The Democrats in North Carolina had already pretty much resigned themselves to Perdue running — so who will feel that void now?

So why is she getting out? Are there new allegations coming against her? Did she realize she had no chance against Pat McCrory? Is it not for nefarious reasons but simply because she was tired of the game?

And why is the Washington Post reporting this and not the Raleigh News and Observer, the Charlotte Observer or another NORTH CAROLINA media entity?

Wow. Huge news. I’ll add updates here throughout the day.

UPDATE 10 A.M.: I’ve seen Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx’s name emerge as a possible candidate (and he’d be solid), along with Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. Any other names out there?

UPDATE 12:55 P.M.: Here’s an official statement from Gov. Perdue –

Like the rest of the nation, North Carolina has been facing difficult economic times — demanding many difficult decisions.  I have had to make painful budget cuts in important areas of government.  But I believe I have approached this challenge in a way that is consistent with my values and the values that have made our state a wonderful place to live and raise a family.  I have spent my tenure in office – and, in fact, my adult lifetime – fighting for things that I care deeply about.  And as anyone who knows me will tell you, I do not back down from tough fights.

But I understand this:  We live in highly partisan times, where some people seem more worried about scoring political points than working together to address the real challenges our state faces.  And it is clear to me that my race for re-election will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools.   A re-election campaign in this already divisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.

The thing I care about most right now is making sure that our schools and schoolchildren do not continue to be the victims of shortsighted legislative actions and severe budget cuts inflicted by a legislative majority with the wrong priorities. Therefore, I am announcing today that I have decided not to seek re-election.  I hope this decision will open the door to an honest and bipartisan effort to help our schools.

To those of you who have supported me throughout my years of public service, I will always be grateful for the confidence you have placed in me. In my remaining months in office, I look forward to continuing to fight for the priorities we share, by putting North Carolinians back to work and investing in our children’s future. To my children and grandchildren, and especially to my husband Bob, thank you for always being there for me – especially as I’ve weighed this difficult decision.

Thank you all, and God bless North Carolina.

My take: Nice sentiments … hard to believe, but nice sentiments.

I’ve met and interacted personally with Gov. Perdue a few times and I’ve always found her to be a very pleasant and professional person. She and our publisher, Patrick Holmes, have known each other for decades and that’s always been an aid to talking to her.

But if she was sincere about helping the education system, why not run for reelection and battle it out as the governor for four more years (if she won)? How does being a lame-duck governor help her cause to help kids? It doesn’t.

I feel pretty much the same way about this situation that I did about Sarah Palin stepping down as Alaska’s governor so her administration could continue “with great administrative and legislative success.” Palin did it to sell books and become a multi-millionaire; her reason wasn’t for the best interest of Alaska.

The same goes for Perdue — she’s doing this for one of a few reasons:

  • She knew she couldn’t win
  • She knows something’s about to come down the line in indictments
  • She’s just tired of the bickering, the fussing and the fighting

It’s one of those reasons — not for her written reason. We’ll see.

Morning News Report; Jan. 26, 2012

Ahhh … the ol’ MNR. Here you go:

PRESIDENT GETS LECTURED?

It sure looks like it in a photo that has, no doubt, circled the globe a few times since it was taken yesterday; in it, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appears to be wearing out President Obama about SOMETHING:

(Photo courtesy: Associated Press; click for better view)

My take: According to both, it’s not as bad as it appeared. I’ll say this: President Obama is not perfect … but he’s still the president. If this type of exchange is going to take place, it sure as hell doesn’t need to take place out in public in front of cameras. Walk with him inside and talk to him.

Something like this does nothing but hurt America’s image in front of the world. It’s this simple — even if you don’t like Obama, respect his office. It’s too bad she can’t be punished for what appears to be an overt lack of disrespect.

DEATH ROW IS ‘LEISURE’ TO CON

A Gastonia man on death row rips the penal system while (literally) laughing at citizens and challenging them to go ahead and kill him in a letter to the Gaston Gazette.

My take: If you read this and it doesn’t anger you … you’re either a pacifist to the nth degree or mentally unstable.

This man ADMITTED to killing three women, then thumbs his nose at all of us. If there was ever — as comedian Ron White says of Texas — a death row express lane, this douche deserves it.

FACEBOOK CHANGING … AGAIN

So … you’re just getting used to Facebook? Guess what? The powers-that-be are changing the way your profile looks AGAIN.

My take: Congrats, Facebook — you’re yet another step closer to becoming MySpace. I know things change every day and you feel compelled to keep up with the “kids,” but you’re also starting to drive away users … like myself. Again, congratulations.

The iPod shuffle

Breakfast In America — Supertramp

Change Your Mind — The All-American Rejects

Dirty Day — U2

Cold As Ice — Foreigner

Darlington County — Bruce Springsteen