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For those utterly sick of the shutdown and the absurd Tea Party hostage drama, today’s Lunch Links will provide a brief respite from that particular bit of madness. That’s not to say, however, that there isn’t other madness out there to highlight.

Take, for instance, the misguided folks at Eastern Wayne Middle School in Goldsboro who somehow got the bright idea to lead students to believe that an armed and masked robber was on the campus as part of a “safety exercise.” WTVD in Raleigh has the story.

And speaking of robbery, here’s a more encouraging story about how to respond to it: Yesterday, advocates in Albany, New York publicly smashed a slot machine to symbolize their opposition to a state ballot initiative that would allow private casinos in the state. The demonstration was a reenactment of famous New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s similar act back in 1934 which you can watch here:

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CasinosRaleigh’s News & Observer reports this morning that the Catawba Indian tribe has filed papers designed to jumpstart efforts to build a new gambling casino in Cleveland County.

As noted here previously, this would be an unmitigated disaster – especially for the thousands of people from whom casino corporations would extract millions upon millions of dollars. The mere fact that the casino would be gussied up via an affiliation with a Native American tribe is ultimately of no value in alleviateing this situtation.

The good folks at the national group Stop Predatory Gambling  put it this way is a special and informative web page devoted to the dangers of Native American casinos: Read More

Video pokerIt’s not often that the North Carolina Family Policy Council gets an important issue right, but here is one on which its leaders are correct and deserving of an “attagirl/attaboy”: the madness of bringing a new gambling casino to North Carolina. 

As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported last week, the McCrory administration has been exploring the possibility of a deal with the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Tribe to locate a casino just over the border in western North Carolina. The reaction of a lot of folks of different stripes to the proposal has been decidedly negative so let’s hope the Guv is already consigning the idea to the circular file.

But still, Family Policy Council director John Rustin deserves credit for taking a strong stand earlier this week and saying the following: Read More

videopoker2-08Will the new State Board of Elections be a genuine watchdog or a rubber stamp for political powers that be? Today’s initial meeting of the new group appointed by Governor McCrory should provide some interesting signals.

As Mark Binker reported earlier this week at WRAL.com:

“Aside from appointing new leaders, one of the first decisions facing the newly appointed board will be whether to proceed with an investigation into campaign donations from owners of electronic sweepstakes companies. Those companies are pushing for legislation that would legalize the gambling-like games.

Current board members have said they were ready to direct the staff to pursue an investigation of whether top leaders such as McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger received corporate contributions from a sweepstakes software provider. ”

Here is a link to a summary of the complaint filed by Democracy NC about the very troubling sweepstakes issue, which among other things, involves Gov. McCrory’s former employer (a law/lobbying firm) and bundled checks to the Governor’s campaign.

Stay tuned.

In case you missed it, the Fayetteville Observer had this to say over the weekend about the issue of recent campaign contributions from corrupt gambling interests to Gov. McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Berger, Speaker Tillis and others:

“It’s clear that campaign-finance reforms haven’t gone far enough. The laws may be better, but enforcement is weak.

The Board of Elections needs to conduct a full, unbiased and public investigation that follows the money wherever it goes.

And the General Assembly needs to follow up by giving state regulators the tools they need to spot illegal campaign contributions quickly.”

Read the entire editorial by clicking here.