Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No Lottery in North Carolina

It's official: there'll be no state lottery in North Carolina, at least not this year.

The showdown came in the state Senate, where all the Republicans and five liberal Democrats dealt the Guv a "stunning setback" -- the Republicans out of a sense of superior morality, the liberal Democrats out of a sense of social justice. Whatever. The lottery's gone, and we're relieved. It's bad public policy that pegs the education of all our children on gambling by the uneducated. Especially while the richest among us are given tax cuts.

The final drama over the lottery involved our own Republican Senator John Garwood, who was targeted by the Guv as a possible flip-flopper (along with a handful of other "soft" Republicans). Garwood was said at one point to be wavering, and the pressure from both sides may have led to his near collapse in the Senate. He was taken to the hospital suffering from "the shakes." Garwood is a diabetic, and it sounds like his blood sugar got dangerously low. The sweet-talking by the Guv didn't help.

North Carolina's distinction now: We're the only state on the Eastern seaboard without state-mandated public gambling, a badge of backwardness I'm willing to wear with pride.

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