You can't make this up . . .

How could this be? Cheating and cover-up going on at our squeaky clean lottery? The N&O covers the story.

With a bit of drama Tuesday, lottery chief Tom Shaheen whipped away a towel and revealed a new logo for the state's $1 billion-a-year lottery.

:: snip ::

The commission had just agreed to hire a full-service ad agency for the lottery, but Shaheen said his staff designed the logo. He liked it.

His staff said it depicted an exciting explosion of fireworks against what might be a blue sky.

But by the end of the day, the lottery had scrapped the logo, and officials wouldn't release any image of it, despite protests by lawyers for The News & Observer that it is a public record under state law.

Cherokee Nat. Forest On the Chopping Block

More on Bush's plan to sell National Forests to fund education (would this even be necessary if he'd planned to provide schools with the funds for NCLB?): 3,000 acres of Cherokee National Forest, just over the border in Tennessee, are on the "Every Acre Must Go!" list. NC's national forests are on the potential sale list, but they haven't been made part of a particular proposal yet. Our National Forest closest to Cherokee is Nantahala.

Have you contacted your representative yet? The message is "Not For Sale!" The photo of a Occoee River sunrise below is used with the permission of the photographer, Jessica (and you can click the picture to see it on Flickr and leave a comment for the photographer).

Hood winked

Carolina Journal is in rare form today. First they lead with a story that feeds their homophobic agenda about a gay teacher being investigated for contaminating young minds. Heaven forbid kids in schools should understand anything about homosexuality.

And then this gem from Mr. Hood, whining about "theocratic tyrants." Of course, he's all in favor of our own White House Tyrant in Chief . . . it's just those brown people in the Middle East he has a problem with.

The biggest outrage of all is theocratic tyrants with much innocent blood on their hands lecturing the Danes about anything.

Where does the money go?

I've been looking through the state's Education budget.

Does anyone know anything about:
God's Vision Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 428, Louisburg, NC, 27549

No? Well your taxes are paying them $18,000 for something to do with education. I couldn't even find a link online.

Likewise, $25,000 to the Durham Nativity School, which sounds like a great idea, but is also a religious institute.
The Judy Memorial Family Center is also without a website, but they get $10,000. WNC Communities gets $50,000, nearly all of which could be accounted for by "awards" they give to other organizations like BIG COVE with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, BIG IVY in Buncombe County, CENTER in Madison County, and REVERE - RICE COVE in Madison County. What these groups have to do with education is not immediately apparent.

Local Sheriff Race and Republican Infighting

Watuaga Watch has it all here:

There's no more popular Republican office-holder in Watauga County than Sheriff Mark Shook. He's received nationwide attention for cleaning up an epidemic of meth labs. He's young and graced with all the benefits and some of the problems of youth.

So naturally the local Republican Party power-structure wants to destroy him. Led by ex-Sheriff Red Lyons, the party has recruited Joe Moody to bring down Shook in a primary. In a profile article in today's

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