Monthly Archives: April 2016

What Matters for Friday, April 29, 2016

School bathrooms and HB2. Mark kicks the show discussing the decision by Durham City’s school board about bathroom and locker room policy for girls and boys with NC Values Coalition Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald. Tami tells Mark she stood up in the meeting and pointed out how the policy went against the Public Facility Privacy and Security Act (HB2). Mark also discusses Target’s stand on the issue and how the law applies to the corporation.

Next, American Enterprise Institute Director of Education Policy Studies Rick Hess joins Mark to discuss his recent article on Real Clear Politics titled, “School Reformers Must Stop Giving Parents a Pass.” Mark asks if Mississippi’s Governor’s proposal for a bill asking schools to grade a parent’s involvement in their child’s education is a good idea. Rick explains we’ve gone from blaming parents for the decline in educational performance of students to the opposite extreme of a careful-not-to-offend tolerance of the kind of parental behavior that would once have been roundly condemned. This is a great discussion you’ll want to hear more than once.

In the second hour, Time Warner Cable News Capitol Tonight Anchor Tim Boyum joins Mark. They discuss the first week back at the General Assembly, how he feels as a journalist about making body camera footage available to the public, and all the news that’s worth talking about. It’s always fun when Tim is on.

Finally, Anson and Union County Rep. Mark Brody joins us. He is running for Republican Party Committeeman. Mark asks Rep. Brody why he wants the job. Rep. Brody says he has the time to fulfill the obligations and he has the political experience to do the job. Rep. Brody tells Mark it’s important to keep education in community colleges up-to-date, especially in agriculture. He says agriculture is such a huge part of economy, it’s crucial to make sure the state continues to provide opportunities for students to get the education they need to continue this proud tradition.

Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger, Montreat Mayor Tim Helms, Civitas President Francis De Luca, and American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Derek Scissors join us Monday.

What Matters for Thursday, April 28, 2016

Knowing how to read or not. That is the question. Mark kicks off the show with Writer and Editor at the John William Pope center for Higher Education Policy, Jesse Saffron. They discuss his article, “Will the UNC System Rise Above Higher Education’s Status Quo.” Jesse tells Mark one of new UNC System President Margaret Spellings goals is to improve the general education curricula by insuring all incoming students have basic math and reading skills before they enter high school, much less try to apply for college (whether community or university). Mark is amazed anyone could make it past 1st or 2nd grade without knowing how to read. Jesse says Spellings has also suggested better student assessments of professors so leaders in education can improve course content and make adjustments where needed. Mark says this really could help create a graduate who is more fully prepared to enter the workforce.

Then, WBTV Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner joins Mark. Mark asks if the Queen City is getting behind the Charlotte Hornets as they move forward in the NBA finals. Nick says it’s not the fervor the Panthers received, but there is excitement. They segue to HB2. Nick says interestingly, the bill seems to be affecting not only business in the Charlotte, but the Mayor who got the ordinance passed that caused the bill to ever be passed into law. Mark asks if it’s a negative effect. Nick says that has yet to be seen, but he knows she’s not well-liked in Raleigh. Mark asks why Rep. Schaeffer resigned so suddenly. Nick says he thinks the long session has a lot to do with it since she cited work as a reason for her resignation. Mark asks the latest on House Speaker Moore. Nick says he has a new story coming out tomorrow at 6 on WBTV regarding some financing questions.

In the second hour, Civitas Education Policy Analyst Dr. Bob Luebke joins Mark. They discuss the recent request by UNC and NCSU for $500 million in bonds that would be paid back over 100 years that would go toward building or repairing existing brick and mortar structures on campus. Bob explains from a taxpayer perspective, taking out a bond for this amount time doesn’t make financial sense. He says in order for the Board of Governors to approve this, the GA would have to change a law because the current maximum length of time a bond can be financed is 30 years. Mark asks why more buildings are needed when there are articles about how many are being underutilized. Bob says that’s a good question and one which lawmakers should consider if this issue indeed gets that far. They also delve into the issue of teacher pay that will keep you riveted.

Finally, Facebook will allow you to identify up to 58 genders, but it won’t let one woman post pictures of herself dressed as a man questioning whether this makes it acceptable for a man dressed as a woman go into a restroom that doesn’t match their sex. Kristi Merritt says Facebook notified her about some of her pictures being inappropriate because of nudity. She explains one was taken at the Republican Convention and another was of a mug. Mark asks if the mug was clothed. Kristi says they finally banned her from FB for seven days. She says Washington is looking at similar legislation. Her post has been shared more than 120,000 times. That’s what you call viral.

American Enterprise Institute Director of Education Policy Studies Rick Hess and Tim Warner Cable News Capital Tonight Anchor Tim Boyum join us tomorrow.

What Matters for Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The constitutionality of proving your identity to cast a ballot is no longer in question. Mark opens the show speaking with Civitas Elections Policy Expert, Susan Myrick, about the decision handed down by Judge Thomas Schroeder this week. Susan explains she was in the courtroom for the first of the VIVA testimony and wondered sometimes if the Judge was grasping all he was hearing, but then he’d ask a quite complex question. She adds his lengthy decision really clarified any remaining questions that should’ve remained over the issue. Mark asks about people voting out of precinct and why this would happen. Susan explains that the primary groups filing suits over voter id and other issues generally want to create chaos in the system; the judge’s ruling makes it more difficult to do so. She says there were always safety nets for people who never had any form of identification and even before requiring id to vote was discussed.

Next, Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser joins Mark. Mark asks Paul about a Campus Christian group at NC State who is suing the school with the help of a national Christian organization. They allege discriminatory practices between what different religious groups are allowed to do on campus when talking about their faith. They also delve into the problem Congressional candidates are facing with no decision on which district they will actually be running in with the June 7th primary rapidly approaching.

In the second hour, Meredith College Professor of Political Science Dr. David McLennon joins Mark. They delve into the results from Tuesday’s primaries in Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. Mark asks if Trump can be stopped now with his overwhelming victories Tuesday. Dr. McLennon says it’s going to be difficult. He is still saying controversial things, but yet still dominates the news cycle. He explains it’s a very complex electorate between veterans frustration over the inability to get an appointment at a VA hospital to college students frustration over establishment candidates. Mark asks about Ted Cruz’s announcement of Carly Fiorina as a running mate. Dr. McLennon says this is unheard of from someone who has not been declared the nominee, and, he doesn’t think it will do him much good in the remaining primaries. Mark asks why Hillary remains on top even with scandal on top of scandal. Dr. McLennon says sociologists call it cognitive dissonance – the ability to disassociate negative acts from the person that does them. What groups will propel the eventual nominees to victory? That will come down to who the nominee is and what happens in the world between now and then.

Finally, Mark shares Senator Buck Newton’s response to the outrage over his comments prior to the beginning of the short session about setting our state “straight.”

WBTV Investigative Report Nick Ochsner and Civitas Education Policy Analyst Dr. Bob Luebke join us tomorrow.

What Matters for Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The bathroom just won’t get off the front page. Mark kicks off the show discussing the demonstrations that took place at the legislature over the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2). Civitas Communications Coordinator Demi Dowdy had gone to the legislative building. She describes the demeanor of the two groups. Mark mentions how the whole issue has been taken out of context. Demi explains how Charlotte’s ordinance contradicted state law by establishing a special protected class. At this time, the transgender community is not part of a protected class. Demi points out the transgender community constitute a small portion of the population yet know how to push an agenda benefitting them forward at a dizzying rate. Mark points out there were no arrests in the group that supports HB2 while those who are in opposition had more than 50 arrested. Demi says she has had the nastiest comments made to and about her since the bill was passed – something she doesn’t see as much of from those on the right. Mark shares a story about something that happened to his son when he was interning at the GA during a Moral Monday protest that will infuriate most parents.

Next, Mark speaks to LadyLibery1885, A.P. Dillon. She describes how before each Moral Monday protest, meetings are held to choose who will be arrested. Mark is surprised by this revelation. She says the volunteers wear a wristband to indicate to others in the group that they’ll be the ones that will take the fall this week. She also tells Mark what the scene was like leading up to the arrests.

In the second hour, AFP Communication Director Joseph Kyzer joins Mark. They discuss what AFP is doing to try to keep energy costs down. Joseph explains AFP is not asking for the elimination or repeal of the President’s clean energy plan. Instead, they’ve called for Congress to freeze the renewable energy portfolio standard mandate and study it. He says this will give lawmakers a chance to see if it is actually beneficial or will hurt Americans. Mark asks him to explain what he means by forcing customers to buy solar or biofuels. Joseph explains that by 2020, current legislation requires energy companies switch to alternative forms of energy production that will raise the cost of power by over $430 a year. And these same companies are already charging $2-3 a month in the form of a REPS charge on their monthly power bill which adds up month by month and year after year. Joseph tells Mark AFP has also released its education plan which includes lifting a growth cap on charter schools and open enrollment in public school districts.

Finally, the NCAA has issued another notice of allegation (NOA) against UNC Chapel Hill’s athletics department. Another? Really?

Civitas Election Policy Analyst Susan Myrick, Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser and Meredith College Political Science Professor Dr. David McLennon join us tomorrow.