Monthly Archives: June, 2014

BREAKING: Legislators increase pressure on Huffman/Haslam

RTP has learned that a group of 15 legislators have just sent a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam, demanding the resignation of his Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman.

There has been ample grousing about the arrogance and competence of Huffman (who, if you have not yet heard, publicly bragged about voting for Barack Obama shortly before Haslam appointed him head of the DOE).  To date only one legislator — Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rutherford) — had publicly called for Huffman’s ouster.  Womick is believed to be one of the letter’s signatories.
Details to follow shortly.

Cause & Effect?

On Tuesday, it was announced that former legislator and party hacktivist, Randy Stamps would be the new lobbyist for state bureaucrats (i.e., the State Emplyees Association).

On Wednesday, the state announced it was firing over 120 state employees.

Have you signed your contract yet, Randy?  You might want to take care of that before you pick out the drapes for your new office.randy-stamps

Growing Storm: Huffman under fire

stormRTP sources are hearing rumblings of a significant development concerning the future of Kevin “I Voted for Obama” Huffman as the state commissioner of education. Those events could occur within the next 24 hours and will focus directly on Huffman’s tenure as commissioner.

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Politics for further news….

Maybe he’s stopping by Switzerland to review his tax returns

With absurd secrecy, Gov. Bill Haslam is traveling to Asia with undisclosed companions on an undisclosed business development mission.  He’s be following a tight, undisclosed schedule that will cost Tennessee taxpayers an undisclosed sum of money.   Critics on the left and the right are sneering at the Guv’s penchant for looking positively paranoid when it comes to transparency in his administration.  They are also — rightfully — concerned that the governor is promising taxpayer-funded giveaways in the process.  Read the story here.

We cannot confirm it, but there is a rumor Haslam took along a video tape on how to bow and grovel when dealing with foreign leaders, business or otherwise..  Here is an exclusive photo from that video:


And who is that scraping the floor with his nose?  Why, yes, observant readers that is none other then the guy who Kevin Huffman voted for for president.

Let’s all sing together now: “It’s a small world, after all…..” small world



DOE stonewalling on TCAP scores?

rotten appleThe few TCAP results starting to trickle out have only added fuel to the suspicion that something is very rotten at the DOE.

With absolutely no fanfare, the DOE quietly released only the TVAAS scores online earlier this week, but did not release the achievement scores and proficiency rates at the same time. One school administrator said that without the entire set, the numbers “are meaningless.”

Another educator said it leads one to believe the overall numbers are either really bad or that DOE has been frantically trying to manipulate the results to avoid a huge embarrassment that could bring down the administration’s Common Core agenda. “Handling it this way certainly does not build confidence,” she said.

The problems stem from the sheer complexity of the grading process and the lack of consistency with how the results are determined and reported. Many educators say the process is so convoluted that the opportunity for corruption and/or manipulation of the results is a very real concern.

RTP agrees.  After the TCAP fiasco last month, several opinion leaders and newspapers called for Commissionre Kevin Huffman’s resignation. Could Haslam finally be getting the message that his selection of a liberal Democrat for education commissioner was horrible and that the results of Huffman’s leadership has been a disaster for students and teachers alike?

Probably not.

BREAKING: AFP to add muscle to anti-Common Core efforts

Up until now, the citizens and legislators trying to repeal, delay or alter the Common Core juggernaut have been a rag-tag group of individuals.

Even in the face of the millions of dollars from Bill Frist and Bill Gates to shove Common Core down Tennessee taxpayers’ throats, the stop Common Core activists have had some success, not the least of which was a one-year delay in Common Core testing.

But now the game is really about to heat up.  RTP has learned that Americans for Prosperity (AFP) will launch a major radio campaign to, among other things, help stop Common core.  Our loyal Rocky Top Tip line participants ( have sent us the script of the first AFP ad, which will run as soon as tomorrow.

Here is the script:

Hi this is Andy Ogles, Tennessee Director of Americans for Prosperity.  AFP is committed to stopping Common Core.

This year AFP passed the Stop Obamacare Act; delayed implementation of Common Core and stopped a bus lane boondoggle in Nashville that would have cost taxpayers over $175 million dollars!

But we still have work to do — like insuring that Tennessee ends the Hall INCOME TAX and is committed to stopping the leftist education agenda that is Common Core.

To join AFP and our efforts for limited government, lower taxes and more freedom, go to  That’s

Paid for by Americans for Prosperity


Cat got your tongues?

imagesIt’s been a week since the Gates Foundation blew a large hole in the USS Haslam and it’s sister ship, the SS S.C.O.R.E with their recommendation for a two-year delay in using Common Core testing to evaluate teachers and students.  The Gates Foundation has been one of the prime financial backers of promoting Common Core in Tennessee.

To quote Joe Biden: “This is a big f**king deal.”

How big?  Well. the Haslam administration threw down the gauntlet when conservatives demanded a 2-year delay in testing.  The governor said “Absolutely not.”  Mark Cate was sent out to strong-arm anyone who dared vote for any delay by threatening primary opposition, detours of career advancement and the ceremonial ripping up of a legislator’s Pilot/Flying J rebate card (some of those cards are now worth millions of dollars, according to recent court settlements).  After stamping his feet and holding his breath, the governor was forced to take a one-year delay anyway.

And now the Gates Foundation has pulled the rug out from underneath even that compromise.

The way one can tell  Haslam, Huffman & Woodson are concerned about this development is their absolute silence on last week’s Foundation press release.  The same folks who would run over old ladies and small children in a race to get in front of the TV cameras to announce every word and every dollar coming from Gates have now gone dark.

Naturally, the state media did not carry a single story about the Gates reversal, but rest assured legislators know about it.  Look for a move to extend the testing moratorium next session.


A little “Home-cooking” at the GOP picnic?

According to Tom Ingram, the Democratic campaign consultant who is also running Lamar Alexander’s campaign, Lamar! has his primary victory in the bag.picnic

But you wouldn’t know that if you witnessed the controversy at this weekend’s Davidson County Republican Picnic.  A big part of the picnic is a straw poll for various elective offices.  Everything was going smoothly until Joe Carr showed up.  After a pretty good speech by Carr (Lamar! did not attend the event), they conducted the poll.   Not long after the ballots were collected a couple of Alexander supporters (one wearing an Alexander t-shirt) started counting the votes.  Apparently they did not like what they saw, because they muttered something about ballot box stuffing and then declared the results would not be counted.

Does anyone believe that if Lamar was out-polling Carr, they would not have announced the results?  Does anyone believe Carr did not win the straw poll?  If you are among the “deniers” then you probably believe Lois Lehrner”s computer really did eat her IRS emails and that the TCAP scores were not manipulated and rigged to avoid embarrassing Gov. Haslam and Kevin “IVFO” Huffman.

If you are that naive, you also probably believe Tom Ingram is a Republican.

[Editor’s note: One of the lead writers for Rocky Top Politics was at the picnic, and actually got to shake Beth Harwell’s hand.  Bet she replays the whole day in her mind to try to figure out who it was.  Good luck with that.]


Ingram “drags” in a new client

rockyIt’s official.  Tom Ingram has finally come out of the closet.

For all those who have long suspected Ingram’s, ahem, “proclivities,” all the signs were there:  his discomfort dealing with conservatives, his preference for the halls of Washington instead of Halls, TN.  His tastes run towards brie, not Velveeta.  And then there’s his life long infatuation with John Seigenthaler.

Yep.  Tom has finally come out.  He’s a Democrat.

Late yesterday, in the classic move of trying to bury a story by dropping it on a Friday and hoping no one notices, Ingram announced he was going to run the Nashville mayoral campaign for Democrat Charles Bone.  And Bone is not just any Democrat.  He is one of the single largest contributors to the Democratic Party in the state.  In federal races alone, Bone and his family have contributed over $250,000 exclusively to Democrats over the last few years.

Having Ingram run Bone’s campaign is like having David Axelrod coming to Tennessee to manage Rick Womick’s re-election.  But that would probably never happened — Axelrod is not a prostitute.

RTP observed months ago that Ingram had hired long-time Democrat staffer, Beecher Frasier, which raised eyebrows since the Ingram group is primarily a lobbying outfit and the legislature has Republican super-majorities.  Now we know.  It wasn’t to lobby, it was to open a new department of the Ingram group:  campaign consulting for Democrats.  Of course this is the same Tom Ingram who opened a DC lobbying firm by partnering with Joe Biden’s former chief of staff.biden

Ingram’s sleeping around is bound to affect his other clients like Bill Haslam and Lamar!  Wonder if anyone in the media has even thought about asking them how they feel about Ingram’s “swinging for the other team.”  Nah.  That would mean they would have do their job.



Is the cavalry coming to help Joe Carr?

cavalry_charge_1905Hard to say — but we do smell horses.

Just a couple of days ago the RTP posted its post-Cantor analysis of the Alexander-Carr race for the U.S. Senate.  Joe Carr apparently did not get our memo.  In the 72 hours since House Majority Leader Eric Cantor went down in humiliating defeat, the Carr campaign started showing signs of life.  Carr has appeared on the national Sean Hannity program and got a big write up in Breitbart.  He was also featured on the Laura Ingraham radio show.  That last one could be important, for it was Laura Ingraham who lifted Dave Brat from obscurity to a giant killer by offering him a platform that raised his credibility.

Raising credibility for a candidate who hasn’t raised very much money is important and absolutely critical for Joe Carr.  RTP stands by its assertion that without large sums of outside money, Carr is toast.  But the key to getting such groups to unlock their purses and move money into the state is for a candidate to raise his national profile — and Carr seems to be making a good attempt to pick the lock.

We are beginning to see dust on the horizon.  Stay tuned.