Monthly Archives: June 2016

What Matters for Thursday, June 30, 2016

We kick off the show talking about education with BEST NC President & CEO, Brenda Berg. She shares her thoughts on the good, bad and ugly of the education portion of the soon to be passed state budget. She says she likes the raises for teachers, especially with the Senate-proposed merit/step raise system remaining in place. Mark mentions that principals are also getting raises. Ms. Berg says we are currently 50th in the nation in terms of what we pay our principals and we have to do better. She says this should involve holding school leaders and teachers accountable for low performing schools because a balance of achievement and academic growth are the key factors in improving education in the state. She also points out a statistic we rarely hear. North Carolina gets an “A” on the Return on Investment it gets from the amount of money spent per pupil. Ms. Berg says the state also needs to continue to focus on elevating educators by providing opportunities for principals and teachers. This is a great interview from which you will learn a lot about how lawmakers are using your tax dollars to better our state’s educational needs.

Next, WBTV Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner joins Mark. He says revisions to HB2 legislation may not be considered in either the House or the Senate even after a visit by the Governor. Nick says Democratic House members have told him not much was said in their meeting with Governor McCrory. Nick tells Mark about an investigation he’s been doing on coal ash ponds and the safety of the water going to surrounding homes. He explains they started their investigation because the whole neighborhood had concerns about the levels of hexavalent chromium – a toxic contaminant – in their water. Nick says the real rub is that Duke Energy says no wells are affected by the coal ash ponds. He adds that chemists with the Southern Environmental Law Center have shown errors in the way Duke conducted its tests. Nick says the Department of Environmental Quality has some wiggle room in legislation to require Duke continue to provide bottled water to all homes within a certain radius of the coal ash ponds. Mark asks how the people whose water tested in dangerous levels felt about the results. Nick says they were pretty upset. We should all be.

In the second hour, Civitas Executive Vice President Brian Balfour shares the three numbers you won’t hear about in the soon to be passed state budget. The first is $5.5 billion. Brian explains this is the amount of the budget just three decades ago. He says even taking into consideration increases in population, going from $5.5 to $22.3 billion is substantial and should be a concern. The second is 42%. That’s how much of each North Carolinian’s tax dollars are spent to meet budget needs. And the final number is 66% or $14.5 billion which goes to pay state workers and their benefits. Those are three pretty large numbers.

Finally, House Speaker Tim Moore shares his thoughts on the budget. Speaker Moore says he is quite happy with the raises they were able to give to teachers and state employees while still being able to provide a bonus to state retirees. Mark asks how lawmakers hopes to balance growing needs of state employee pensions. Speaker Moore says this is something that will have to be addressed just like funding the state healthcare plan. He says when you see a problem, you have to deal with it instead of continuing to kick the can down the road or you end up in a situation like Detroit. Mark asks what he’s most pleased with in the budget. Speaker Moore says the tax cuts that were passed because they help everyone.

USO-NC President & COO Lt. Col. John Falkenbury, Time Warner Cable News Anchor Tim Boyum and “The Federalist” Senior Editor David Harsanyi join us tomorrow.

What Matters for Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How do North Carolinians feel about the big issues and the candidates up for election this fall? Civitas President Francis De Luca shares some of the results from the latest poll. He says generally voters they spoke to were leaning toward Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and Treasurer candidate Dan Blue, III as their preference over their competitors. And that’s just a taste of what the poll results show. Francis says it’s all up in the air right now when it comes to the election, both nationally and locally, but what could make a big difference is how many young voters turn up at the polls.

Next, Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser joins Mark to discuss all the news that’s worth a link. They delve into the latest on HB2, the indictment of Senator Fletcher Hartsell, the end of an era at Belk Department Stores and so much more. You’ll have to listen to find out all the latest.

In the second hour, Associate Director of Concerned Women for America – North Carolina, Mary Frances Forrester, joins Mark. Ms. Forrester will be a delegate at the upcoming Republican National Convention. She tells Mark, she’s currently a committed delegate to Senator Ted Cruz who has not released his delegates to Mr. Trump, so her first vote will have to be for Senator Ted Cruz. She says after that, who knows what will happen. She tells Mark she will still need some convincing to throw her support behind Mr. Trump. She stresses the most important issue for her is the choice of Judges – both on the Supreme Court and across our state – because they make the ultimate decisions on major issues that have an impact on all our lives for years. She says though she has supported some candidates she thought would be good for the nation that were not and did not support some that ended up being superb leaders. Mark asks her thoughts on what is leading to the decline in Christianity in the nation. Ms. Forrester says cafeteria-style churches that allow you to pick and choose what you want to believe and what you don’t instead of following the Bible. She adds what is even more disturbing is what is happening to the electorate. She tells Mark she asked a group of school children the meaning of the word patriotism and they told her it meant “being involved in social change.” She says this is all part of dumbing down the electorate. This is a great interview you will thoroughly enjoy.

Finally, Lead Counsel for the Civitas Center for Law and Freedom, Elliot Engstrom, joins Mark. They delve into the ramifications to North Carolina of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding abortion in Texas. He says our law would have to be compared to Texas’ law to determine if the breadth is the same or similar for it to effect it. Mark asks how the Supreme Court determines which cases it will hear. He says it’s argued before a lower court and approximately 90% of cases do not make it to the Supreme Court. Elliot then shares that he is leaving Civitas to join the faculty at Elon. All of us at the Freedom Action Network will miss Elliot and appreciate the contributions he has made, both as a guest and a host of his own show. We wish him well and are certain we will hear from him again.

Civitas Executive Vice President Brian Balfour, WBTV Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner, House Speaker Tim Moore and BEST NC President and CEO Brenda Berg join us tomorrow.

What Matters for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

There’s four months until the election, but all eyes are on the two presumptive nominees – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But, as “The Week” Editor, Peter Weber tells Mark, Trump’s campaign is going through a transformation as he “becomes a more palatable candidate.” Mr. Weber says, there are similarities in ideology to the U.K.’s Independence Party which led the way to the success of last week’s Brexit vote when it comes to immigration. Mark asks if Trump will be able to overcome his negatives. Mr. Weber says both candidates have a lot of negatives, but he can definitely overcome them – especially if he selects the right running mate. He adds the frustration Americans are feeling is being expressed through their choices as candidates. He tells Mark the Republican Convention is going to be a good show. This is a fascinating, highly informative interview.

Next, Irish Documentary Filmmaker Phelim McAleer tells Mark about his new project which uses real actors to show the details of the depositions about Hillary Clinton’s emails and the use of her server. He shares that in just one of the films show that Cheryl Mills said “I don’t remember” at least 189 times during her seven hours of testimony and her attorney objected more than 200 times. He explains this is a crowdfunded project. Mark asks why they chose this topic. Mr. McAleer says because a judge wouldn’t allow the public to see the testimonies because he felt they might affect the election and “being Irish, I say the hell with that.” McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney are also the makers of Gosnell and Frack Nation. He tells Mark they have received enough donations to complete about half the film. If you want to see a small sample of what the film will be like upon its completion, go to

In the second hour, AFP Communications Director Joseph Kyzer joins Mark. They break down the positives and negatives of the budget including salary hikes for teachers.

Finally, UNC-Chapel Hill is discouraging its staff from using terms like husband/boyfriend, golf outing or Christmas party because these are micro aggressions. And, don’t say you like someone’s shoes because they may think you don’t value their intellect. What?

Civitas President Francis De Luca, Carolina Plott Hound’s Paul Chesser, Concerned women for America of North Carolina State Director Mary Frances Forrester, Rep. Nelson Dollar and Center for Law and Freedom Lead Counsel Elliot Engstrom join us tomorrow.

What Matters for Monday, June 27, 2016

The EPA is changing rules in the middle of the game after energy companies have already made close to a billion dollars in modifications to clean up power plants. “This is simply another example of government overreach,” explains Kathleen Hartnett-White, Senior Fellow-in-Residence and Director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Institute and author of FUELING FREEDOM: Exposing the Mad War on Energy. She says the EPA is so far beyond its authority in these regulations, as a matter of law, it will be hard to undo what they have done. Mark says the average person probably doesn’t think about the clean power plan or the EPA so they wake up to a much higher energy bill. Ms. White says there are two examples that show what happens from the elimination of fossil fuels to green energy – Germany and England – where energy prices have doubled or tripled. She explains it’s gotten so bad there is talk of taking electric tea kettles, hair dryers, wireless routers and even iPhones because of the amount of energy they consume. Say what?

Next, Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden joins us. He tells Mark it’s a beautiful, sunny day at the beach. Mark asks if they are expecting a large crowd this weekend. He says they are seeing an upswing in the number of tourists coming to the area this year and hope it continues. Mark asks if his ancestors had anything to do with the founding of the town. Mayor Holden says his ancestors bought the “piece of sand” straight from the King of England. His family has lived there ever since. When it comes to legislation the town is watching, Mayor Holden says changes to sales tax distribution could affect the town. He was very pleased with changes being made to allow hardening of the waterfront. He explains the state did not allow this for a long time, but now they are allowing permits to be applied for and the town has done so to get a terminal groin on of the east side of the beach. Mayor Holden explains there is a lot of confusion over jetties and terminal groins. He says it’s been a longtime goal to have this accomplished. Mark asks what makes Holden more attractive than others. He says there are mostly signal family homes, they have height restrictions, they are less than ten miles off Highway 17 and they are family-friendly.

In the second hour, Civitas President Francis De Luca joins Mark. They discuss what could be in the House and Senate’s joint budget expected to be released this week. Francis points out some of the amendments that are being discussed including tax rate changes and alterations to how the state can use eminent domain. He gives an example of a heritage furniture store in downtown Raleigh that the state decided it wanted to turn into Marbles Kid’s Museum. The 80-year-old woman who owned it, instead of trying to fight the state in an eminent domain case, accepted the offer instead of fighting the case out in court. They also delve into Private Letter rulings, achievement school districts and other bills that remain to be discussed before the General Assembly looks like it can adjourn for this session. This is an interesting segment that covers a lot of ground.

Finally, Former IMF official and American Enterprise Institute Economist, Desmond Lachman, joins Mark. He delves into the ramifications of the Brexit decision on the financial market. He says Moody’s has already lowered England’s credit rating as the value of the pound sterling has plummeted. He explains the extreme movement to leave the EU is spreading as other countries watch what happens in England during the next few months before they make a decision or push to pull out of EU as well. He explains there has been little growth over the last eight years in most of Europe with double-digit unemployment which has caused the dissatisfaction across the region. If you want to know the details of this situation and how it might affect the U.S., you’ll want to hear this interview.

AFP State Director Donald Bryson, Irish Documentary Filmmaker Phelim McAleer and Rep. Nelson Dollar join us tomorrow.