05 Aug 2016

What Matters for Friday, August 5, 2016

Mark speaks with George Leef, Director of Research for the John Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s higher education policy. While Trump has not said a whole lot about his plan for higher education Leef tells Mark about what we do know so far and the possibility that Trump would support a plan to make sure that colleges and universities have some skin in the game when it comes to student loans. Listen to find out more…

Mark speaks with Rob Henneke, general counsel and litigation director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for the American Future, about short-term rental ordinances effecting AirBnb and his recent piece in Forbes Magazine about Austin’s recent ordinances. Here in Raleigh many of the same issues are being discussed as have been regulated in Austin. Rob says, under city of Austin ordinances it is illegal to be out in your yard after 10 p.m. at a short-term rental property, also you cannot have more than six unrelated adults in a short-term rental property in Austin under their ordinances affecting short-term lease properties. The ordinances also give the city the right to come in and inspect the rental properties at any time, seemingly in violation of constitutional property rights.

Mark speaks with Napier Fuller, who filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Chris Sgro with the State Ethics Commission over his not resigning his position as the executive director of Equality NC, while serving in office. Sgro was appointed to serve out the remainder of  Rep. Ralph Johnson’s term after his unexpected death over the summer. Sgro did not file to run for Johnson’s seat in November. Napier filed a public records request for Sgro’s communications with Equality NC, but that request has gone unanswered. Napier said that he will be pursuing legal action against Sgro for dragging his feet on his public records request.

Mark speaks with Tim Boyum, anchor for Capital News Tonight on Time Warner Cable News, about his views on both Trump and Hillary’s running mates. Tim says that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a red-blooded Republican and will back the party line and may be able to win votes from conservative Republicans that Trump wants. Tim discusses the specter of an intervention for Trump to get him off of Twitter. Tim says that the first poll after Labor Day will be very telling about what to expect going forward. Tim with Mark about the court proceedings on HB 2 and the vast number of questions the sitting judge asked about the legislation that requires men and women to use the bathroom facility that matches their birth certificate. Tim also says that Republicans may be in trouble when it comes to the November in terms of keeping their super majority.

Mark speaks with Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, about the latest in the battle for HB 2 which went before a judge recently. Tami said that the hearing was more than three hours long and that the judge seemed to be most concerned about the privacy issue. Tami said that she hopes that the court will take the Supreme Court stay on a similar case in Virginia into account when deciding whether to keep HB 2 in place until the case is decided. Tami also speaks about the personal attacks and hate mail that she has received from opponents of HB 2.

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04 Aug 2016

What Matters for August 4, 2016

Mark speaks with Civitas Institute Communications Coordinator Demi Dowdy about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Town Hall event in Raleigh Thursday. Demi says that she saw a lot of young people there fired up about Trump, and Pence, and that Pence seems to even out Trump’s persona very well. Demi caught up with a couple of 15-year-olds who were excited about Trump, and came out in full Trump regalia and has that interview for What Matters.

Mark speaks with former lead attorney for the Civitas Institute Center for Law and Freedom, Elliot Engstrom, about a public records case with the town of Belmont, NC over a report that the town claimed was confidential as a personnel matter but a judge ruled that the report is a mix of public records and personnel records and will be redacted and released. Elliot also talks with Mark about legal issues going on in the state from HB 2 to voter ID and other cases being heard in the state. Elliot said that when it comes to the court decision to throw out the voter ID law in full he sees how fans of the law see the decision as judicial activism and opponents see the decision as protecting the right to vote but in his own opinion as an attorney he falls somewhere in the middle.

Mark speaks with Brian Anderson, a political intern with the News & Observer, who recently interviewed Donald Trump in Winston-Salem about his opinions of Trump after meeting him in person. Brian said that while Trump does not come off as a regular guy in person he did seem calm, except maybe when circling around to a dodged question for an answer. Brian says that one issue for him was how is Trump going to collect former Bernie Sanders supporters who won’t get behind Hillary Clinton. To hear the answer listen in…

Mark speaks with Kelsey Harkness, senior news producer as the Daily Signal, about her article “Judge Considers Temporary Halt to Implementation of NC Bathroom Law”, published August 1. Kelsey says that lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice and the ACLU are arguing that HB 2 should be stayed during the case due to harm coming from the law. She says that if that were to happen that parents would be extremely concerned about the possible repercussions of the change. She says that the bathroom issue doesn’t concern most parents as much as the issue of having kids of opposite genders in locker rooms where girls or boys are undressing, as opposed to restrooms where people are generally not changing clothes. In a similar case in Virginia a court ruled that a school can continue to keep its bathrooms and gender specific facilities segregated by gender until the closure of the case. Kelsey says that the case will almost certainly get a ruling from the Supreme Court eventually and that people who care about this issue have a lot riding on the next presidential election.

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03 Aug 2016

What Matters for Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mark Shiver speaks with Gregory Wallace, a law professor with Campbell University about the recent federal appeals court decision to throw out North Carolina’s voter ID law. Gregory said that had the panel of judges from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Clinton email case, using the same yardstick, they would surely have found Clinton to be in hot water. Gregory said that when Democrats controlled the Legislature they passed a whole host of laws to make it easier for African Americans to vote, because African Americans tend to support the Democratic Party. Gregory says it is odd that the court found a problem with rolling back the voter ID provisions to a point where the Democrats had written the law to help their party in elections. Gregory says that the composition of the courts nationwide has changed dramatically over the presidency of President Barack Obama making it unlikely that an appeal to the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals would result in a favorable ruling for the state, as well as an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gregory speaks with Mark about the court proceedings on HB 2 and the challenge against the law. Gregory says that the attorneys for the state are being questioned on the harm that HB 2 was correcting and he says that the harm was in the Charlotte ordinance set to become active in April of this year. He says that it also restored the status quo allowing private companies to make their own decisions regarding what to do in their own bathrooms. Gregory says that no matter what, it seems HB 2 will be headed to the 4th Circuit and maybe on to the Supreme Court.

Mark speaks with Gregg Stebben, who is an author and a longtime political observer, about the presidential race and how it compares to previous races. Gregg tells Mark about the differences between the conventions and gives us some insight into how the convention differed in the way of media presence. Gregg says that from the 2012 convention to the 2016 convention the traditional “radio row” shrank and new media methods of sharing news had taken over. From the Democratic Convention Gregg said he saw a very strongly opposed group of Democrats that were completely obstinate to voting for Clinton. Gregg said that the time to watch is actually after the convention when the cameras will be pointed wherever and not just at the convention. Gregg, who wrote the book “White House Confidential, the Little Book of Weird Presidential History”, tells Mark about the on again, off again friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Gregg teases some upcoming book ideas like telling the secrets of the Internal Revenue Service.

Mark speaks with Melody Wood, a research assistant with the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society and the Heritage Foundation, about her article in the Daily Signal about the NBA’s decision to not hold the All Star game in Charlotte after the passage of HB 2. Melody says that if the NBA is willing to pull the All Star game from Charlotte over HB 2 then will they allow biological men to enter the WNBA. Melody says that it is unfair to women to have biological males competing in sports with them where biological males have an advantage. She says while it may seem farfetched that in Alaska a biologically male student ran in, and won, a girl’s track race.

Mark speaks with Demi Dowdy, communications coordinator with the Civitas Institute, about the recent flash poll that the Civitas Institute conducted about the upcoming presidential election finding that 46 percent of likely voters said they would support Donald Trump while only 42 percent said they would back Hillary Clinton. Gary Johnson took six percent and 7 percent were still undecided. When asked which candidate would be better for creating jobs 51 percent said Trump and 41 said Hillary Clinton.

Mark speaks with Curtis Elllis, executive director of the American Jobs Alliance, about the Trans Pacific Partnership and the dangers that the agreement would bring to national sovereignty through giving up control over trade regulations inside the country. Curtis says that the commission would write rules on everything from food and trade to immigration. Curtis says that the agreement is absurd and that President Obama is trying to push this agreement through in a lame duck session when he and many other politicians will have nothing on the line. Curtis says that the rules favored in the agreement will help large corporations while hurting small businesses. He says that the goal is to create an economic zone in which money, people and products flow freely. Curtis said that the agreement will give foreign nations the ability to challenge U.S., state and local business regulations in international tribunals. Curtis says that the agreement will affect almost every aspect of our lives. And the danger would not stop when the agreement passed but would by its language be treated as a living document that can affect the lives of Americans in new ways that America can’t control.

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03 Aug 2016

What Matters for Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mark speaks with Lt. Gov. Dan Forest about both the Republican and Democratic conventions and how they are always a circus show. Dan says that the conventions serve to give the party holding the convention a bump in the polls from the exposure but not much else is accomplished. As far as the NBA’s decision to pull the All Star game from Charlotte, Dan says that they should be ashamed of themselves for pulling the contract after agreeing to have the game there before Charlotte made its ordinance change sparking the need for HB 2. Mark also speaks with Dan about the recent 4th Circuit ruling that struck down the state’s voter ID law, the same court that struck down the state’s Constitutional amendment identifying marriage as being between a man and a woman. He said that the ID law was a common sense measure that activist judges struck down for political reasons and not legal ones.

Mark speaks with Rhonda Allen, state leader for The Well-Armed Woman, a national organization of women teaching women about personal safety. The Well-Armed Woman group seeks to get women, who are the largest growing group of new shooters, to learn to use their firearms and feel comfortable with their firearms. Rhonda said that traditionally the firearms community does not seem like a welcoming place for a woman, but The Well-Armed Woman caters only to women. The goal is to get women to commit to learn to use their firearm and train with them as opposed to putting them up in a drawer and forgetting about them. Rhonda tells Mark that the Second Amendment is under attack in the country and it comes from a place of fear and a lack of knowledge about firearms. Rhonda’s training academy is located in Wendell and she runs the business with her husband. She is a National Rifle Association certified instructor and offers several classes on handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Mark sits down with Americans for Prosperity of North Carolina Communications Director Joseph Kyzer to talk about AFP’s elections efforts in the state now that the session has ended and election season is in full swing. AFP’s ground teams are going door to door during the week and three Saturdays a month to get the word out before Election Day. Joseph said that the tax cuts coming from the Republican-led Legislature has served the state well and that they have been thanking legislators for their part in pushing the tax cuts. Mark speaks with Joseph about AFP’s decisions not to back Republican candidate Donald Trump in November and instead focusing on more local state races. Joseph said that AFP’s focus is on the issues and not getting swept up in every presidential election cycle. Joseph said that AFP is not built for pushing national campaigns but for providing a final push to move the football across the goal line as the election comes to a close. Joseph said that one of AFP’s current priorities is getting people informed about the Clean Power Plan, which he says may increase power bills by about $400 a year. Joseph tells Mark about the Defending the American Dream conference being held in Florida Labor Day Weekend. Joseph said that Gov. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio and others will be at the conference.

Mark speaks with Hans von Spakovsky, of the Heritage Foundation, about the recent decision to strike down the state’s elections reform law, the Voter Identification and Verification Act. Hans says that the court’s judgement that VIVA was discriminatory is absurd and that all of the practices represented in VIVA are present in other states, showing the bias in their ruling. Hans says that the ruling, by a panel of liberal judges who are either Clinton or Obama appointees, is clearly not based on the facts but on a different measuring stick. Hans said the proof of that is in the pudding when looking at the growth of participation in voting by African Americans in the state. Hans said that it’s not just North Carolina going through this but also Texas as well. Hans said that it is clear that it was a biased, partisan decision and not one based in law.

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01 Aug 2016

What Matters for Monday, August 1, 2016

Mark sits down with Civitas Institute President Col. Francis X. De Luca (USMCR) to discuss the recent U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to throw out the 2013 election reform law entitled the Voter Identification and Verification Act, referred to as the Voter ID Law. Francis says that all of the individual elements in the voter ID law have been affirmed in other court cases, but with a 4-4 split on the Supreme Court following the unexpected death on Justice Antonin Scalia lower courts are able to make decisions without the Supreme Court stepping in. Francis also says that local boards have been given the power to reform their one-stop voting plans with a lot of freedom that was not given to them under the structure of VIVA. Francis also speaks with Mark about his views on the upcoming presidential race now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the official nominees. Francis says that if Trump can avoid talking himself into a situation he can’t get out of, he can win. Trump’s assertion that he will be the voice of the people of America gives him an edge over Clinton, who has been a longtime Washington insider.

Mark speaks with Mayor Jimmy Harris, mayor of the town of Brevard in western North Carolina, about his mountain town, the more than 300 waterfalls that are in his county and the downtown renaissance that is happening in his town. Jimmy tells Mark about what inspired him to run as mayor 17 years ago. Jimmy was a leader in business in Brevard and ran for mayor to get a platform to discuss business issues and bring more attention to growing Brevard business, the right way. As luck would have it he won the race, by 90 votes, toppling the incumbent and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mark speaks with Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, about his new book “The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran” and the situation on the ground in Iran for Islamic terrorists supported by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. Robert discusses the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and how they hate each other but hate outsiders more, specifically the U.S. Robert says the Iran’s funding of Hamas shows the coalition against the West between warring Islamic factions. Robert also discusses why Islamic extremists despise the West, saying that they want to spread Islamic rule across the world and the West is the greatest obstacle to that goal. Marks speaks with Robert about what our military could do in relation to Iran to stop the flow of support to terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Robert said that military action may not be needed if there are tougher policy shifts regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

Mark speaks with Robert Strang, CEO of the Investigative Management Group, one of the leading investigative firms in the world, to discuss security issues with both presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Robert said that his background with the FBI and DEA has given him the viewpoint that the system is very established by civil servants on lower levels so political changes at the tip have a limited effect on overall security and safety. Overall Robert said that the U.S. has a strong track record on preventing terrorist attacks in the country but there are three legs to preventing these attacks, intelligence, enforcement and security. He says that when all three forces are acting in concert to digest the intelligence, the armed forces are going the perpetrators over in the Middle East and our security framework is strong on the whole we as a nation are successful. Robert says that one of the largest difficulties is catching lone wolf attackers because there is not the same intelligence changing hands in lone wolf attacks.

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