First, if you win, you won’t get more than a billion dollars.  You’re dunned for taxes on the prize.  The government wins twice.  Ticket sales, and then some of the money back by reaching into the pockets of the winner.  If you take a lump sum versus an annuity, you also get considerably less.  If you’re 25, an annuity makes sense.  If you’re 75, take the lump payment!

The Computer was Down

Of course, the odds of winning are astronomical.  You also can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket.  Which many people In Idaho couldn’t do before Tuesday’s drawing.  For a time Tuesday, the state’s lottery division was out of order.  More precisely, the system was down.  Maybe it was remedied if you came back later, but it was inconvenient for most.  Considering the odds, you’re probably better off saving your time and money.

Still, in an era when the government increasingly can’t fulfill its promises, this doesn’t help the image.

Many years ago, a good friend took a new job in another city.  We had a nice going away party.  This was during the days of film cameras.  The next day, I took the film to a store that promised one hour to get your prints.  We had his moving van packed and grabbed some lunch.  When we went back 90 minutes later, the pictures weren’t ready.  A clerk said they were really busy and that it would be several more hours, by which time he would’ve been long down the Interstate.

I wanted him to have his photos before he left.  I asked for a manager and explained the sign outside didn’t say, “One Hour Unless We’re Busy”.  The clerk didn’t like it, but we got the prints.

If You Make a Promise, Then Follow Through

When I worked in TV news, a consultant said that if we promoted being first, then we couldn’t say we were first and use the excuse we missed stories because someone called in sick.

Lottery marketing often promises that you’ll be able to buy something like the Denver Broncos and fire Coach Sean Payton.  No reasonable prize would allow that.  That kind of commercial is meant to be funny.  A lot of people weren’t laughing during lunch hour Tuesday.

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The 20 Most Violent Cities in America

The World Population Review released its list of the most violent cities in the United States, and while some of the names may not be surprising, some are. Here's a look at the 20 Most Violent Cities in America, based on reported instances of violent crime per 100,000 people, as we count down to the most violent city in the nation.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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