EXCLUSIVE: DAs tell Governor to stick it.

where the sun dont shineOn or about October 14th (last week) Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and the new Attorney General Herbert Slatery went before the District Attorneys’ conference. The agenda: to secure the DAs’ endorsement of Amendment #2 (smells like its number…)

The DAs took a vote and refused to endorse. According to RTP’s sources Gibbons was absolutely livid. But Gibbons went a step further and pointedly asked if they knew just how “invested” the governor was in the passage of Amendment #2. The DAs were not persuaded.  Most of the DAs took it as a veiled threat (which, of course, it was), but they stood their ground.

Note to Gibbons and Slatery: Increasingly the governor is falling into the same category has Kevin Huffman’s idol, Barack Obama. His ineptitude is becoming more apparent and the level of respect is plummeting, even among many of his supporters. More ominous for the guv is the fact that no one seems to fear him any more.  That’s what four years of indecision, liberal policies and attacking your fellow Republicans will do for a man’s reputation.

It’s going to be a long, lame duck four years and the most recent people to notice that are the DAs.

Good for them.


In RTP’s previous story we said Gov. Haslam went to Denver to help out his buddy, Liberal Democrat John Hickenlooper.

We were wrong.  It’s worse.

Haslam actually invited Hickenlooper to Nashville to give him an “attaboy” in the middle of Hickenloopers tight race for re-election.

RTP regrets its error almost as much as we regret having to put up with Haslam’s weird misplaced political loyalties.

One toke over the line, Governor.

Below are two governors. The one on the left legalized pot. The one on the right is apparently smoking it.



Gov.Bill Haslam is known for making insipid statements, which RTP has dutifully recorded from time to time. But even we were surprised when he coughed up this gem:

“For me, it shouldn’t be about the name and what we call it, the battle should be about: Are we going to have high standards or not…”

Put aside the fact for a moment that Haslam was in Denver providing a PR plug for Hickenlooper, a very liberal Democrat, who is in a very close race for re-election in two weeks (He couldn’t drive 20 minutes to help Rep. Courtney Rogers, but he could fly across the country to help a Democrat?  And you wonder why conservatives are suspicious of this guy?)

But back to our meme:

Really? You think by just changing the name of Common Core that will somehow kiss the boo-boo and make it go away? What an insult to the intelligence of the people of Tennessee and to the legislature.

Okay, let’s go over this one more time, governor, because you apparently did not understand it the first umpteen times you were told:

  1. It’s not about higher standards — everyone wants higher standards, Bill. But what Tennesseans do not want are standards that were created in Washington by left-wing activists with liberal agendas.  To say you are for higher standards is akin to going to Neyland Stadium on game day and standing up and shouting “I’m for Tennessee and I’m not ashamed to admit it!”
  2. You can create all the standards you want, but if you allow Pearson and their ilk to create and administer the expensive Common Core tests, then teachers will naturally “teach to the test” and will teach Washington‘s version of standards and not Tennessee’s. You KNOW that is true, governor, but you are either too stubborn or too dishonest to admit it.
  3. You have spent millions of our tax dollars pursuing an agenda that teachers, students and parents have overwhelmingly resisted and condemned, yet you persist in seeking to spend even more.   You say you like Vanderbilt studies, governor.  Well why don’t you acknowledge this one?
  4. You have treated the legislature like fools, while politically and personally attacking those legislators who disagree with you. You weren’t even man enough to say it yourself – but sent your surrogates and your consultants to do your dirty work for you. You think those legislators — even those who generally support you – didn’t see through rank cowardice? You taught legislators a lesson with your attacks — but it was the wrong lesson. You violated the trust of your own party and the GOP caucus. Don’t think they won’t remember that.
  5. Kevin “I Voted for Obama” Huffman is still your Education Commissioner. Huffman is a self-serving, self-dealing opportunist, who is not from Tennessee, who has been documented doing multi-million no-bid deals with his old employers with our tax money, who couldn’t even get the TCAP score reported on time and who likely manipulated the scores to save your sorry education agenda. And yet he is still on the job. That speaks — no screams – volumes about your judgment and your competence as a leader.

Okay, got it now? Keep hanging out with your left-wing Democrat pals like Hickenlooper and you will be duly rewarded in time. We hear he’s got a dime bag with your name on it.


Fitzhugh’s Got A Point

Far be it for RTP to agree with with the Chief of the Largely Irrelevant Tribe (aka House Dems), but Craig Fitzhugh is the latest to notice the governor has no clothes.

Haslam seems hell-bent on trying to jam through major policy changes (such as Common Core, Medicare expansion, etc.) that he knows he could never get through the Republican legislature, but if he thought he could count on Democrat votes to support his liberal social policies, he may be severely disappointed.

First Haslam said he was waiting on a report from Vanderbilt as to whether years of billions of dollars spent on Pre-K programs had made a dimes worth of difference in the education of Tennessee kids (short answer: No.).  But it seems the study will be just a tad late — about 5 years late.  But after repeatedly insisting he need the study to make a decision, Haslam wasted no time swinging into action and doing what he does best — begging the Obama Administration to spend more tax dollars.

The governor wants to take the Fed’s money but only apply it to Shelby and Davidson counties.  This is to be acknowledged for what it is:  get the other 93 counties to notice that they are not getting anything, then they will start demanding their legislators support an even larger expansion.  But Fitzhugh noticed just one teeny problem with that strategy.

It’s probably illegal.

Will someone please tell this governor that if he wants to spend tax dollars like a drunken Democrat why doesn’t he just go ahead and join the other party?  Or at least try to do so without breaking the law?  Or maybe he could spend a bunch of money trying to defeat Republicans in the legislature who disagree with him.

Oh, wait, he’s already tried that.emporer

Advance Tennessee Debacle Double Down.

Governor’s “friends” PAC Spent nearly $250,000 dollars to defeat one (count ‘em, 1) GOP legislator.

Rep. Shipley  The Quarter Million Dollar Man.

Rep. Shipley
The Quarter Million Dollar Man.

Election reports released over the weekend should that the Haslam & Cate concocted Advance Tennessee PAC spent considerably more than the $135,000 they reported right before the primary – try nearly double that amount.

In what is now considered one of the most classic bone-headed, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot, counter-productive political debacles in recent history, “friends” of Gov. Haslam (meaning all evidence points towards Haslam asking his “friends” to do it) targeted eight incumbent legislators of the governor’s own party for defeat. Haslam nearly wet himself dissembling when reporters Andrea Zelinski asked him about his involvement in the fiasco. The guv’s chief of staff Mark Cate was directly involved, but as yet hasn’t been man enough to come forward and admit it. (Now don’t ket all huffy Mark, and fly off the handle.  Your contrived temper tantrums are old news around the LP and people are starting to laugh about your feeble attempts at intimidation).

The net result: The Advance Tennessee money resulted in the just one targeted legislator losing – Rep. Tony Shipley. RTP does not count the Stacy Campfield race – by the time Advance TN spent a paltry last-minute sum on that race, Campfield was already long gone under the onslaught of Dr. Briggs’ $350,000 expenditure.

The new report shows that unregistered lobbyist Brian Kaegi was paid even more money than originally thought. His firm received nearly $75,000 (is it too late for Scott Niswonger to get his money back for non-performance?).

Great job, guys.

What happens if Harwell is indicted?

Has Hooker Finally Hooked Something?

Ever since the curious turn of events regarding the decision of a recent grand jury to not indict Speakers Ron Ramsey and Beth Harwell, there has been speculation on what happens next.

The controversy stemmed from their alleged violation of state law regarding the appointment of members to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. John Jay Hooker (the Patron Saint of Failed Legal Filings), on his umpteenth Don Quixote legal quest, apparently had finally found a legal challenge of some merit.

Despite claiming they had more than sufficient evidence, the grand jury did not indict. Only after the jury was dissolved did members come forward to say they did not realize that they, as a jury could indict. If they had known that, they said, they would have done so.

Case close, right? Not so fast.

RTP has learned that a new grand jury has been impaneled and that the foreman of that grand jury has been briefed on the findings of the previous jury. The speculation is the new grand jury will indict one or both Speakers. We’ll see.

But the threat of an indictment has raised questions among many, especially many state legislators, as to what an indictment of a sitting Speaker would mean. That is especially true as it regards Speaker Harwell. Harwell set a precedent in the Curry Todd case that she may have to adhere to when it comes to her own position. Harwell forced Todd to resign his chairmanship after he was merely arrested for drinking & driving & packing a gun and before his case was adjudicated.

It would be reasonable to expect the same standards would be applied to Harwell if she was indicted in connection to the JPEC appointments, especially since it involved her official duties as speaker. If Harwell is indicted before the leadership elections in December, it would be difficult to convince members of the GOP caucus that she could continue as Speaker and not be distracted from he job, not to mention the embarrassment of having a Speaker go on trial while sitting in office.

If Harwell’s indictment comes after the leadership elections, it is hard to see how she could continue in that office without at least taking a “leave of absence” from her duties as speaker. In that case, her duties would likely fall to Speaker Pro-Tem Curtis Johnson of Clarksville.

Oh, my, John Jay. What hath you wrought?

Haslam: “Failure to communicate?”


Haslam explaining how to handle an anti-Common Core legislator:


In a recent TNReport article, “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam breezily dismissed concerns about Common Core:

Haslam said he still supports the controversial nationally focused education-standards system, which appears to be growing in unpopularity among Tennessee teachers. There’s also a sizable contingent of Republican lawmakers in the state’s General Assembly who’ve committed themselves to thwarting it.

“There is some disagreement about where they came from and how they originated; I think there are some misconceptions, and I also think it is a little irrelevant.”

“Appropriate Vehicle?”

Haslam went on to offer a vague promise to establish a policy-discussion forum on Common Core that provides “everybody a chance to have some comment on it.”

“We are trying to figure out the appropriate vehicle to do that, and we will come back to you soon with how we propose to do that across the state,” said Haslam.

Would this be the same secret closed-door meetings Haslam held around the state back in July?  Meetings set up in coordination with TOSS, whose lobbyist is also the lobbyist for Pearson?  Surely not.

Rocky Top has a suggestion for the Guv on what would be an “appropriate vehicle.”  It too was announced with great fanfare and publicity and Common Core seems headed for the same results:




Chris Barbic to Replace Huffman?

The rumor mill is a-buzzin’ with the prediction that Kevin “I Voted for Obama” Huffman will be replaced soon by his close buddy and non-Tennessean, Chris Barbic – the highly paid Achievement School District superintendent.

Chris Barbic

Chris Barbic

Of course, there’s the little problem of not one, but two multi-million dollar lawsuits against Huffman and Barbic. One of the lawsuits sued Barbic personally as well as in his official capacity. Should make for interesting discussion during hearings at the LP next session.

If Barbic’s appointment happens, that would beg the whole question of why, out of 95,000+ Tennessee educators, 9 public universities and a population of 6,500,000 people Haslam seems incapable of finding just one person to head up the education of Tennessee’s children.

Guess there’s not that many Democrats left in the state for him to choose from.

Stayed tuned in to Rocky Top for more revelations about Chris Barbic, regardless of whether or not he gets the top job.

Dust on the Buttle*

Gregory Butts Out.

Butt, no-o-o. Gregory Gets Spanked.

Hullett to stop “Bringing up the Rear?”

Williamson County Chairman Search Starts From The Bottom.

Gregory’s Reign Comes to a Big Fat End.

Oh, RTP could go on indefinitely with this sophomoric prattle, butt the headlines just write themselves, don’t they?

Less than 72 hours after RTP posted our story on ButtleGate, Chairman Mark Gregory finally saw the handwriting that had been blasted on the wall and resigned as chairman. Seems everyone had had enough from both the embarrassment that was the Buttle Opener as well as the ego-driven, sour grapes embarrassment that is Belly-aching Bob Hullet.

For you die-hards, here is one last shot:

buttle opener

Now maybe everyone can focus on educating kids instead of ogling rear-ends.


*Apologies to David Lee Murphy and his hit song “Dust on the Bottle.”  We could have used another hit of David Lee’s called “Loco.”  That would have worked just as well.

“No Ifs, Ands or Butts”

We have all heard about “Race To The Top.”  Now comes the “Race To The Bottom.”

What did they put in the drinking water down in Williamson County?

If other readers around the state wonder why RTP sometimes writes about Williamson County education issues it’s because two of RTP’s crew members have kids in Williamson County Schools.  That, and we found out about this issue late on Friday while we were sitting in a bar and well into our third beer trying to convince each other UT could beat Georgia.  (Editor’s note:  They didn’t.)

So we get this email, telling us there is a real snit-fit going on between the newly-elected chairman of the Williamson County school board, “Butt-boy” Mark Gregory, and the guy he defeated for chairman, “Bellyaching” Bob Hullet.  We figured what the hell — this calls for some drunk-blogging on our part.

The Tennessean has breathlessly reported that Chairman Gregory is the proud inventor of an essential piece of bar ware called “The Buttle Opener” (see the photo below):

buttle opener

Classy, huh?  We swear to God we are not making this up.  As this embarrassing revelation was roiling the bluebloods of Brentwood, the Tennessean followed up with another article saying Gregory was late in paying some of his taxes (Egads!  Get a rope and let’s hang the bastard!).  No one who knows any overworked reporters  believes the Tennessean dug up all this info on their own.  Nah, someone was feeding them the negative information on “Butt-boy” Gregory.  And many believe the chief leaker was “Bellyaching Bob Hullett.”  It’s a pretty safe guess, since just before the chairman’s vote, Belly-aching Bob circulated photos of the Buttle Opener to fellow board members.  (No word on whether any female members of the board were offended enough to file sexual harassment charges against Hullet, who obviously has some sort of obsession with women’s derrieres.)

For those not familiar, Bob is known around Williamson as a “minor threat for every major position” that opens up on the political scene.  Folks have heard him brag he is going to replace Rep. Charles “Last Term” Sargent in the state legislature.  Does Sargent know about this?  Bob better be careful or ol’ Charlie will sic Mary Kate Brown on him.

Bellyaching Bob sent out a long email a few days ago, whining about Gregory and defending Common Core (bet Bob wishes he had held that email until after the Vandy Teachers Survey results were out).  He took a particularly petty shot at Butt Boy for his over-use of the word “I” in an email that he sent out after being elected Chairman.  What made that funny was if you stayed awake through the entire boring email, down at the bottom Bob offered up his curricula vitae and used the word “I,” “me” or “my” nine times in two short paragraphs.

And now we learn that Bob has called a “concerned parents” rump meeting (synonym gratuitously intended) for Monday night in Brentwood.  Free beer is provided.  However, it will be imported beer (this is Brentwood, after all) so none of the bottles will have twist off caps.  Butt we are confident Bob can come up with a creative solution (see photo above).

Maybe Gregory can clear this all up and come out with a MALE version of the Buttle Opener and use the proceeds to pay his taxes.  Hullet can serve as Gregory’s model for the prototype (bend over, Bob).

The bottom line (or the “butt-line,” if you are still paying attention at this point) is this.  Neither one of these yahoos needs to be school board chairman and the board would be well advised to go back to the drawing board and at least find someone who wasn’t a stripper or a drunk in a previous life.  Considering all the trophy wives and well-stocked bars in Brentwood, that might be a difficult task.

Bottom’s up!


[Editors' notes:  If any other school board out there has an entertaining story, please send your entries to the patented Rocky Top Tip Line (www.rtptipline@gmail.com).  The Buttle Opener is pretty stiff competition, though.  Maybe if you've got photos of  Chuck Cagle wearing a French maid's outfit.  Yeah, that would definitely make the cut....]




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