Thursday News: Gambling with our future


NC GOP LICKING ITS CHOPS OVER SPORTS BETTING LEGISLATION: Senate Bill 688 would allow 10 to 12 licensed sports wagering businesses in the state offering on-site betting at or near sporting facilities, as well as online gambling. They'd pay $500,000 for an initial license and, as the bill is written now, an 8 percent tax on transactions. That tax rate is likely to increase as the bill moves through the legislative process, sponsoring Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, said Wednesday. A key budget writer, Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, promised an amendment that would keep the General Assembly holding those purse strings. Perry's bill initially pushed half of the tax revenue into a fund controlled by the state Department of Commerce and meant to attract major events, like a Super Bowl or a golf tournament. I thought Ralph Hise was a Word Of Faith fundamentalist? Must be the Prosperity Gospel...

ANTI-VAXXERS IN RALEIGH ARE A COUPLE SANDWICHES SHY OF A PICNIC: Speakers at the event’s microphone read from the Bible and claimed that vaccines were unnecessary for Christians. But their comments ranged far from the vaccine discussion. One man in a sombrero, who called himself a former heroin addict and CVS employee, railed against big pharmaceutical companies and detoured into discussing what he called the Federal Reserve’s origins on a Satanic altar on Jekyll Island. He touted his podcast, “Go Within to Get Out,” which identified the sombrero-wearing man as Andrew Girard, and in which he said, “Let’s create our own hospitals.” Hannah Lewis claimed that more of her patients objected to a vaccinated nurse than demanded one. “I just don’t believe in the mandate,” she said. “The evidence just doesn’t suggest this is the treatment.” You are an embarrassment to your profession.

NC DHHS IS FORCED TO BRIBE PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED: Vaccine sites were busier on Wednesday after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced they would be paying people to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shots. WRAL News spoke with several people who came to get their shot a day after the $100 cash card was announced. The cash cards are only available at certain locations during business hours. There's only two sites in Wake County offering the cash, compared to 15 in Durham County. There's no vaccination sites in Johnston and Harnett counties, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. No appointment is needed. Other residents aren't as excited with Gov. Roy Cooper's announcement that first-time vaccine recipients would get money. "I was just doing it for the betterment of the community," said Zack Coble, who lives in Raleigh. "I would have taken that $100 three months ago." He said that he did the responsible thing by getting a coronavirus vaccine as soon as he could. "Now we’re rewarding irresponsibility which doesn’t seem fair at all," he said. Nothing is fair during a pandemic, Zack.

BECAUSE THE DELTA VARIANT IS KICKING BUTT IN NC: The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina has increased by more than 1,000 cases in one day. The state reported 3,413 new cases on Wednesday. That compares to 2,188 North Carolina reported on Tuesday. It's the highest rate the state has reported since Feb. 20. North Carolina also saw over 100 new hospitalizations reported Wednesday. The state reported 1,580 people in the hospital due to COVID-19. That compares to 1,465 on Tuesday. There also were 21 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday. There haven't been that many reported in one day in North Carolina since June 4. So far, 13,700 people have died from COVID-19 in the state. This was totally preventable. Getting the shots was easy, painless, and free of charge. The reason I included that last part was because the vaccine I got before my grandson was born cost me $85 out of pocket (no insurance at the time), but I paid it gladly to protect little Jack. Only about 2.5% of people living in Africa have received the vaccine, while idiotic Americans are letting them expire.

DISGRACED FORMER PRESIDENT FIGHTS TO KEEP HIS TAX RETURNS SECRET: Attorneys for former president Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted a Justice Department ruling that directed the Treasury Department to turn over his tax returns to Congress, formally asking a court to block their release and arguing that records of former presidents as well as presidents should be similarly protected from subpoenas by lawmakers. Trump’s lawyers called last week’s decision by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel the latest effort at partisan retaliation against him by Democrats, and denied that the House Ways and Means Committee sought six years of his tax returns out of a legitimate interest in closing tax loopholes exploited by wealthy Americans. The House in July 2019 sued the Treasury Department to enforce a subpoena for Trump’s returns from 2013 to 2018, saying Trump alone among recent presidents and major party presidential candidates had refused to make his tax returns public, stonewalled Congress and mounted “an extraordinary attack” on oversight of the nation’s voluntary tax system. “Numerous investigative reports have revealed that President Trump, through the complex arrangements of his personal and business finances, has engaged in multiple aggressive tax strategies and decades-long tax avoidance schemes,” the lawsuit stated. “Congress and the Committee, however, have thus far been unable to evaluate the President’s claims about the IRS’s audit process or to assess if and how President Trump has been able to take inappropriate advantage of the tax laws.”



It's long past time...

that we recognized that the stick is more effective than the carrot in getting the reluctant to vaccinate. It's time to institute vaccine requirements for most anything that people want to do: restaurants, indoor events, schools, workplaces, etc. If we had public institutions doing this, it would give more cover for private businesses to do likewise. Produce a state vaccine "passport" and enforce it and you'd have a lot of the hesitant getting in line for their shots toot-sweet without ever actually requiring them to get the vaccine (and thus avoiding the whole "mandate" fight.) You'll never convince nutcases like our sombrero-wearing federal reserve conspiracy theorist no matter what you do, but you can seriously up vaccination rates and keep the nuts like him out of contact with the rest of the citizenry, which will do the job of tamping down the spread of the virus and the production of new variants. Then the rest of us can get back to something like normal life.

I told a bunch of people

I work with about the $100, but that's partly selfishness on my part. We're required to wear masks indoors (warehouse), but the company doesn't require vaccinations yet, so...