Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Same Old T.E.A. in a brand New Bottle?

It was with bemusement that the gang at RTP read Tom Humphrey’s latest attempt to journalistically gratify yet another dubious political operative. sexAfter the glowing review, we felt Humphrey should have turned to Jim Wrye and asked one last question:  “Cigarette?”

For the uninitiated and low-information voters, Jim Wrye is the lobbyist for the Tennessee Education Association. Republican legislators should be very familiar with the TEA. After all they have spent literally millions over the last decade trying to keep the Republicans out of the majority — the same Republicans with who they now claim to have figured out a way to “work together.” Yeah, right.

Humphrey was gushing like a school girl as he described Wrye as someone who “came from Alabama without a banjo on his knee but with a gift of gab and experience in dealing with a solidly GOP Legislature.”

Really, Tom? Where you and Jim going on your second date?

But Wrye is a special case, but not in the way portrayed by Humphrey. It was one thing to give all their PAC money almost exclusive to Democrats for about 40 years, but with the addition of Wrye, the TEA went a big partisan step further.

Thanks to yet another RTP tipster, the RTP presents the background on Jim Wrye for your reading pleasure  at the bottom of this page.  As you can see, Jim Wrye is not just a Democrat. He is a Democrat’s Democrat. From field director to political director to the State Chairman of the Democratic freaking party, Wrye has made it abundantly clear what he thinks of the GOP, spending the majority of his career specifically targeting Republicans for defeat and raising money to accomplish his goal. The Tuscaloosa News called Wrye an “all-around cheerleader for the state Democratic Party.”   And now he is pretending to “make nice” with the Republicans in Tennessee?  Sheesh.

Humphrey was right about one thing. Wrye does have “experience in dealing with a solidly GOP legislature.” Wrye played a key role in making Alabama solidly Republican through his leadership and actions as the chairman of the Alabama Democratic party. So Republicans there do owe Jim Wrye a “thank you.” But not the kind of thank you that Wrye would appreciate.

Wow. Alabama’s Chip Forrester is now a lobbyist for the TEA. Our very own Democratic wolf in sheep’s clothing!

It appears not even the garrulous Wrye could justify continuing to draw a paycheck after the Alabama Dems lost so many seats to the GOP under his tenure. So now Wrye is trying to re-invent himself as just another good ol’ boy from the country (albeit from Massachusetts country) and no one should pay the least bit of attention to all those years of Republican hating and GOP bashing.

RTP’s advice to Wrye: Move along. You are certainly going in the right direction – North. By the time you reach your hometown of Newton, Massachusetts, you should be able to find a high enough concentration of Democrats to give you another job. Now that the Republicans know your full (Democrat) story they are unlikely to give you much benefit of the doubt.  And you can’t hire enough contract lobbyists to cover your ass donkey.

If you are a hard-working teacher who is a member of the TEA (the majority of active professional teachers in Tennessee are NOT members of the TEA, by the way), you need to know what your dues are being spent on. If TEA thinks having a partisan political hack like Wrye represent teachers in front of a Republican legislature is a good idea, then we feel certain the NEA will want to hire Newt Gingrich to be their lobbyist with the Obama Administration.

If you are a Republican legislator and did not know about Wrye’s over-the-top partisan political past, consider yourself informed. If you are a Republican who did know, but thought nothing of it – consider yourself embarrassed.

In the weeks ahead, RTP will further delve into the TEA to see if they are really “new & improved” or just the same old TEA in a brand new bottle.

Stay tuned and stay educated.
[Editor’s Note: RTP is now officialy intrigued. What other ne’er-do-wells is the TEA hiding out over on 2nd Ave.? Who are these “contract lobbyists” hired by TEA? Inquiring minds want to know!]

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Bartender! Depositions for everyone in the house (and senate)

Wow.  That didn’t take long.  According to TNReport, not one day after we posted “Let’s Get Fiscal” (below). the Tennessee Firearms Association filed a records request demanding how/who generated some highly dubious fiscal notes on a couple of their bills in order to get them killed.

This is the second warning this week (RTP being the first) that House leadership has received about their notorius abuse of  fiscal notes to squelch legislation (i.e., conservative legislation) they don’t agree with.  Don’t think for a minute that your caucus rank-and-file is not pissed about this.  Don’t be surprised if they take it out on you.

RTP played Hooky.

Actually one of the RTP contributor’s home was right in the path of Tuesday’s storms. Fortunately, the storms passed him by. But the day wasn’t a total waste. In between weather reports, we re-convened at Tootsie to drink, ride out the storm and follow the exploits of our friends at the Tea Party Express:

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http://www.tpnn.com/2014/04/27/on-the-line-with-the-tea-party-express-fighting-for-liberty-tour/

Word is they are coming back to Nashville soon.  Should be fun.

Let’s Get Fiscal

Okay, so Stacy Campfeld is not what you would call a conventional, mainstream public official (to put it mildly). But he does have his more lucid moments.campfield

One of those moments came just recently, when Campfield outlined a pretty good rationale for why the fiscal note scam as it is practiced in the House needs to be eliminated.

We excerpt some of his more salient points here:

 

We all read about the funny business with [a] fiscal note that looked like a move to kill [a] bill for cost in budget sub, but really, in the end, this one sub committee killed the bill because they (and leadership) didn’t like the concept. Not the cost.

The black hole lives.

In the house, unlike the senate, any bill that starts with a fiscal note must go through budget sub even if the fiscal note is removed before the bill goes to the first committee.

Why?

This is a house leadership-made bottleneck that allows this one sub committee to kill off any and almost all controversial bills, that would probably pass on the full house floor if it they ever made it there. It subverts the will of the body. Now, any bill that even looks close to controversial gets some fiscal note slapped on it at the beginning of the year just to assure it goes through this one sub committee.

If you look back, almost every big bill went through this one committee and didn’t get out unless house leadership wanted it to and even then it was a long drawn out process.

When the rules are set at the beginning of the year, the house should move to change this and say that any bill that does not have a fiscal note, or has the fiscal note removed during the year, does not have to go to house budget committee.

Then things would really flow (or not) as the committees and the body intended them to do and the committees would have to actually be responsible for their votes and do some work to fix or kill bad bills on their own. Budget notes would be more realistic and not just contrived tools to kill controversial bills.

Who knows, it could even be an issue in a leadership race.

Beth, Gerald, Glen — are you paying attention?  Old Naifeh habits are hard to give up, aren’t they?

The fiscal note system is a gross perversion of the process and you know it.  Your rationale for this perversion undoubtedly stems from your desire to maintain control over the legislative process.  Look for more days like March 13th in the future if leadership persists in this disgrace.

You may have been glad to rid yourself of Campfield when he moved to the Senate, but he is dead-on about the fiscal note rules being a big issues in the next leadership elections.  And you don’t have to wear a Mexican wrestling mask in Neyland Stadium to figure that out.

Coming Next On This Issue:

  • Let’s Play “Hide the Fiscal Note!”  And other acts of legislative legerdemain.

Bill Gates owns the Jackson Sun? Who knew?

Well, well, well.  RTP uncovers another one, thanks again to our intrepid and growing band of merry tipsters.

When the Jackson Sun issued it’s opinion that Gov. Haslam should veto the compromise delay of the controverial PARCC test, passed by the state legislature, we thought it was just a typical, disconnected elitist, knee-jerk, run-of-the-mill left wing editorial.  Here is an excerpt from their snippy pontifications(with helpful editorial comment from RTP):

sun

The actions of the General Assembly on this issue have nothing to do with education. [Really?  We thought Common Core was all about “education.”  Apparently legislators were mistaken].  They are completely politically motivated. [Translation: They are “political” because you disagree with the elected representives of the General Assembly.  By the way, who exactly elected the Jackson Sun?] The vast majority of lawmakers know little about Common Core or PARCC testing. [That was true until recently.  But  legislators learned fast about the shortcomings of Common Core, which is why 81 of 99 of them voted to delay PARCC in the House] That they should pass legislation to sidetrack three years of effort and expense  is inexcusable and grossly irresponsible. [Yeah, the ingrates.   Bill Frist dished out a lot of money to cram it down taxpayers throats]

We urge Haslam to veto this legislation and to do it in a manner that would leave the General Assembly no opportunity to override his actions. [God forbid we allow the unwashed rabble in the legislature to excercise their state constitutional right to tell the governor to “shove it.”] Too much time, effort and money have gone into Common Core. [Yeah, like Chuck Cagle’s lobbying fees from Pearson] to let a cadre of uninformed politicians [Unlike the haughty, better-educated, superior, smarter, better-smelling “cadre” of arrogant pricks at the Jackson Sun] interfere with its completion.

As it turns  out there is more to the story than just the editorial.

It seems that until very recently, the education reporter of the Jackson Sun was one Tajuana Chesier, who had worked at the newspaper until just a few weeks ago.  Ms. Chesier Tweeted on December 27 of last year that that was her last day at the Jackson Sun.  But archives show she was still getting bylines at the Jackson Sun as late as January 17th of this year, nearly one month later and weeks after she started her new job.

Ms. Chesier had been an employee of the Jackson Sun for nearly 14 years.  So where does she work now?  She now writes for an education rag called “ChalkBeat TN” in Memphis (the Sun just kinda, sorta, forgot about letting its readers in on that little conflict of interest).  Chalkbeat was created and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, expressly to keep a steady stream of Common Core propaganda churning out.  S.C.O.R.E., for example, just luvs Chalkbeat and quotes ftom it all the time.

It raises a rather obvious question: was the Jackson Sun editorial actually written by Jackson Sun editors, or did they just let Tajuana ghostwrite it?  Maybe she just did an outline, or maybe phoned in her prejudices on the subject matter.  Who knows?  Maybe Tajuana was channeling Kevin “IVFO*”Huffman.  Regardless, the juxtaposition is unseemly, at best.

So the lesson here, class, is that billionaire Bill Frist is funding S.C.O.R.E. and super-billionaire Bill Gates is funding ChalkBeat TN.  Jamie Woodson and David Mansour run S.C.O.R.E.   And what is the grand sum total between all of them having their own children attend public schoo[?

Answer:  Zero.  (Okay, so Bill Gates and Woodson don’t have children, but you get the point:  “Do as we say, peasants.  Not as we do.”).

The other lesson is never line your birdcage with the Jackson Sun.  You may find it makes the birds too stupid to “think critically” and objectively.

 

*I Voted For Obama

“To be — or not to be — Governor.”

That is the question….

Gov. Bill Hamlet has done it again.  RTP would like to get back to bashing Chuck Cagle’s monumental conflicts of interest, but the Guv keeps pitching it slow and over the middle, so we keep swinging.

This time it was the death penalty.  When appearing before a religious group this week,  Haslam demurred on whether or not he would ever allow anyone to be executed while he is governor.  To make it worse, he delivered this Hamlet soliloquy in public (Remember Bill, there are “inside” words and “outside” words.  Learn the difference).  hamletHe even suggested putting together a panel of mental health experts for each case to help him make a decision.  First task:  finding any “mental health experts” who are in favor of the death penalty.

Whether it is setting up a state ObamaCare state health exchange (Gov. Hamlet was still musing about whether he had made the right decision, even while the federal website was imploding ), or whether or not to expand the expensive Medicare program (dithering even after the state legislature took away his ability to make that decision on his own), the governor continues to amaze with his Shakespearean inability to take a firm stand on important issues.

It shouldn’t be that hard.  During the last campaign, the governor said he was in favor of the death penalty.  Of course, in one of his numerous touchy-feely campaign ads Haslam  also informed the voters that among his many attributes was the fact he “liked chocolate pie.”

You still like pie, governor? Or are you undecided about that now too?pie2

 

 

 

Go Ahead, Governor. Make Our Day.

eastwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a particulalry odious editorial, the Jackson Sun has called on Gov. Bill Haslam to veto the one-year delay in PARCC testing that passed the legislature just last week.

To this, RTP has but one request of the governor:

Oh, please do it. Please, please, PUHleeeeze veto that bill. We mean it.

For if you veto the delay:

  • It will create open warfare between the conservative majority in the GOP caucus vs. you and legislative leadership and help guarantee the conservative takeover of the House caucus will be swift and complete.
  • If you veto that bill, you will effectively cut the throats of ever person in leadership — Harwell, McCormick, Brooks, Casada, even Ramsey – who pulled your Common Core bacon out of the fire with their watered-down compromise.
  • Your last four years as governor will be miserable for you and your agenda, particularly if there is a new Speaker and/or Majority Leader to deal with.
  • You will take a giant leap towards killing Common Core completely.

The crew at RTP is unanimous in our hope that you will veto the PARCC testing delay. But we are realistic enough to realize that when it comes right down to it, you likely don’t have the guts to pull out your pen and sign such a veto.

But we can hope……veto

President Blackburn?

marshaYou have all probably read about the boomlet (or is it boomlette?) about Cong. Marsha Blackburn’s name being bandied about for president.  Don’t get us wrong:  The crew at RTP just LOVES Marsha, but her running for president is not serious.

But even less serious is the mention of Bill “Mr. Rogers” Haslam as a credible presidential candidate.  “But”, you say, “Bill has a bunch of personal wealth he could spend on a race.  Wouldn’t that make him credible?”  All that money really worked for “President” Romney, didn’t it?haslam

Also the governor is not exactly known for his — ahem — decisiveness.  But ya gotta give Mr. Rogers credit:  He kept the UAW out of Chattanooga, and for that RTP says “Thank you.”

 

Bad Breath Is Better Than No Breath At All

humphrey

 

 

RTP wants to give a shout-out to Tom Humphrey for the favorable mention of Rocky Top Politics. While we aren’t looking for the MSM’s approval, we are appreciative of the attention. Thanks, Dean.

Also, in the very same article, Humphrey once again became a trailblazer for the Tennessee press corps by becoming the very first MSM outlet to reveal in print that the person in charge of educating Tennessee’s children is an unabashed supporter of Barack Obama. Sure, the info was three years late in its reporting, but we suppose better late than never?

RTP revealed several weeks ago Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman publicly declared in a guest column in U.S. News & World Report that he had voted for Obama. Huffman also opined that the only supporters of same sex marriage were “the old” and “self-identifying Republicans”. This came just weeks before he was named commissioner by Gov.Bill Haslam.Kevin and Obama edit 2

We wonder if Haslam could have gotten away with naming Huffman if the press (and the legislature) had been doing its job and vetting this guy first — or at least reporting the facts of his left-wing political proclivities.

Of course, now the question is whether the GOP legislature is going to demand Huffman resign or be fired. Humphrey’s belated revelation puts those legislators squarely on notice that the Huffman issue is likely to intensify in the weeks ahead.

 

brooksRTP can’t wait to see Harry Brooks try to defend Huffman AND keep his job as Education Chairman at the same time.

Does Ingram Have To Pay To Get In?

pig

 

 

 

“Even a blind, socialist hog can find an acorn every now and then.”

That was the case for our “friends” (and we use that term maliciously) over at the Nashville Scene. The Governor’s office tried to shake down the MSM state press corps to pay a $775 registration fee to the hosting organization if they wanted to cover the governor’s speech. To rub salt in the wound, the speech will be delivered at the War Memorial Auditorium – a state property.

As expected, the media mavens worked themselves into a full-blown snit and who can blame them? After all, the governor’s “hide from the press/avoid tough questions” policy is undoubtedly the handiwork of Tom Ingram. Maybe the press corps should think about that the next time Ingram offers to buy them a steak and a drink at Jimmy Kelly’s.Ingram's table

We so look forward to the news media’s comparable outrage the next time taxpayers are dinged for some tax they think is unfair, just like the press got dinged for a registration fee they think is unfair.

Yeah, right.