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Raleigh’s News & Observer joins the growing list of voices to condemn the state House’s decision to attempt squeeze more money out of the vulnerable by increasing lottery advertising efforts to raise teacher pay:

“What’s next for Republican leaders of the state House? It’s a tantalizing question because their ideas, or perhaps that should be notions, about what to do to raise teacher pay are truly strange.

Sorry, but it’s hard to take seriously the House’s pay hike plan for teachers. The House’s proposed budget would give teachers about 5 percent more by boosting advertising for the state lottery. The idea is that more advertising will lure more people into the games, and their losses will become the teachers’ gain.

How is Speaker Thom Tillis going to address other revenue shortfalls? A rabbit out of the hat maybe? Or perhaps he’ll charge for a traveling stage show wherein he saws Gov. Pat McCrory in half.

A good many Republicans and Democrats seemed to be doing a double-take when it came out that the lower chamber’s budget figured to bump lottery advertising to 2 percent of sales instead of 1 percent. With more marketing, officials figure, the lottery would bring in substantially more money. The last fiscal year figure for net proceeds was about $480 million.”

Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

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.