Yesterday the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for the month of June.
June marks the end of Fiscal Year 2018 for the Lottery. According to the report, the Lottery took in nearly $37.7 million last month, but paid out less than $13.4 million for scholarships.
However, more than half the money the Lottery paid to scholarships actually came from the Lottery’s pool of unclaimed prize money. If this unclaimed prize money had not been available, $6.3 million — less than 17% of its revenue — would have been all that Arkansas’ college students would have received in June.
Altogether, the Arkansas Lottery’s gross revenue for Fiscal Year 2018 was the highest in its history. But only 18.4 cents of every dollar the Lottery made in FY18 went to scholarships. The rest went to salaries, overhead, marketing, prizes, contract fees, and other expenses.
For perspective, the typical lottery pays at least 30% of its revenue to education.
Since Day One, the Arkansas Lottery has been a major failure. It has rolled out more gambling more quickly than any other lottery we know, and the funding it allocates for education is among the worst in the nation.
Below is a breakdown of Lottery revenue for Fiscal Year 2018.
|Month||Gross Lottery Revenue||Paid to Scholarships||% Gross Revenue|
Photo Credit: Roman Oleinik [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview released a commentary today highlighting the intense persecution Christians face in Nigeria and calling on America to condemn the atrocities committed against thousands of innocent civilians in that country.
John Stonestreet writes,
By most estimates, the population of Nigeria is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. That religious split largely follows geographic lines: The northern part of the country is predominantly Muslim, the eastern and southern parts of the country heavily Christian. The middle, sometimes called the “Middle Belt,” is ethnically and religiously diverse.
Not surprisingly, what makes Nigeria so dangerous for Christians originates in the Islamic north. There, Christians have been on the receiving end of a campaign Open Doors calls “religious cleansing,” that is, an attempt “to eradicate Christianity” from the region. . . .
In a statement released in late June, Christian leaders claimed that “over 6,000 persons—mostly children, women and the aged—have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen.”
The Fulani are an ethnic group who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and their raids are not always at night. . . .
The language used by Christian leaders in Nigeria in their statement to describe what is happening, “pure genocide,” is hard to disagree with. As was the call, directed toward the national government to “stop this senseless … blood shedding… and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.” . . .
So, what can we do about this? First, we must pray, continually, for our brothers and sisters there. Second, we have to encourage the White House to continue pressing Nigeria about what’s happening in its Middle Belt, as it did during an April meeting with the Nigerian president.
Last night President Trump announced the nomination of federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2003. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006, and has served as a federal judge for the past 12 years.
As a judicial nominee, Judge Kavanaugh called the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision “binding precedent” that he would follow “faithfully and fully.”
However, as a federal judge, Kavanaugh has opined that the Office of Refugee Resettlement is not obligated to help minors in its custody obtain abortions.
Last night our friends at Family Research Council issued a statement praising Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying,
“Judge Kavanaugh has a long and praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist, and we look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court.”
At the same time, our friends at American Family Association issued a statement calling on the U.S. Senate to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the court, saying that while Judge Kavanaugh has issued some good opinions, his reasoning behind those opinions is flawed. They write,
Although Judge Kavanaugh decided correctly in court case Priests for Life v. U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Services, he wrote a moderate opinion disagreeing with the Priests on a foundational constitutional religious liberty principle.
So what should we make of two leading, conservative organizations disagreeing over Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment? Here are two thoughts to keep in mind:
- U.S. Supreme Court nominees are unpredictable. Many people pegged Justice Souter as a top-notch conservative when President George H. W. Bush appointed him to the court in 1990, but he proved to be anything but over the following 29 years. Excellent federal judges sometimes make poor U.S. Supreme Court justices — and vice versa. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know how any Supreme Court pick will pan out until he or she has been on the bench a little while.
- Any potential nominee from President Trump’s short list of Supreme Court candidates likely will be more conservative than Justice Kennedy. As a swing vote, Justice Kennedy has been unpredictable. He sided with the liberal justices in decisions like Planned Parenthood v. Casey and the court’s Obergefell v. Hodges opinion striking down state marriage laws nationwide. On the other hand, Justice Kennedy helped the court rule in favor of California’s pregnancy resource centers just this summer. Justice Kennedy’s opinions have been mixed, at best, and it’s likely any nominee President Trump picks to replace Justice Kennedy will be more consistent and more conservative.
Updated 7/11/2018: American Family Association has released a follow-up statement indicating that upon further consideration it has decided it will not actively oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment for the time being.