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):
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.
[Editors’ notes: If any other school board out there has an entertaining story, please send your entries to the patented Rocky Top Tip Line (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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….]
Back in ancient times, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and print newspapers were a profitable enterprise, one of the favorite ways for editors to impose their personal biases on the public was to “spike” stories that did not align with the editors’ ideological prejudices. The MSM still practices selective story selection of course, but it an age of the Internet and alternative news sources (such as RTP), it has been increasingly difficult to hide bad news, especially when they are big stories.
The Vanderbilt study that stomped on Common Core and the governor’s agenda was one such story. It was too big to ignore for the Tennessean, but that did not keep others who have financial and political interests in Common Core from making a lame attempt to paper over the 5,000 lb. teacher’s survey sitting in the corner of the room.
[Editor’s note: We are pretty sure it is one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse when a conservative outfit like RTP can’t get accurate reporting of a news story from Republican leadership and has to turn to the Tennessean to get the whole story.]
First up was Speaker Beth Harwell’s daily news feed that she sends out to legislators and others. Her office dutifully reported the article about the governor’s spin on “vetting Common Core” but somehow completely missed the article about the Vandy study. Misinforming (or more accurately, “not informing”) her GOP caucus members about the biggest state political news story of the day is inexcusable. What else is she not telling her members?
SCORE’s sins of omission were even more odious. As of this morning, their website still had no reference of the Vanderbilt study, even though the very reason for SCORE’s existence is to defend , promote and pimp for Common Core.
Pitiful. Just pitiful.
“To the lifeboats!” says Capt. Bill
Common Core is taking on water. What could ultimately prove to be a fatal blow Gov. Bill Haslam’s education agenda came from a most unusual source: Vanderbilt University.
Normally a bastion of political correctness and leftwing thought, Vanderbilt released a massive survey of 27,000 Tennessee teachers and the result showed a hemorrhaging of support for Common Core across the state. The ObamaCare-level disapproval numbers showed support of the governor’s landmark legislation had collapsed from 60% a year ago to just 39% today. Less than1 in 3 teachers do not want to continue the Common Core program. To say the governor’s office, education commissioner and legislative leadership were in full panic mode would be a gross understatement.
Even the reliably liberal Tennessean could not ignore the numbers and published an additional story on how the wheels were falling off the hated Common Core and how Haslam is now hedging his bets, his words and his legacy before he even enters his second term. Haslam said he was “seeking a full vetting of Common Core.” Yeah, right. If you believe that, you’ll believe he’s also seeking a weekly proctology exam. Gee, Bill wouldnt the time to seek a “full vetting” have been before you, Huffman and Woodson spent millions forcing Common Core on the taxpayers? Enjoy your proctology exams.
The fallout is likely to first affect education commissioner Kevin “I voted for Obama” Huffman, who has relentlessly pushed the Common Core agenda while alienating huge numbers of teachers who have found his communication skills lacking, not to’ mention his arrogant attitude.
So what a come-uppance it was to see IVFO Huffman resort to a completely inane response to such devastating numbers:
Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, a supporter of the standards, called the survey results a “replay of the discussion” from the last legislative session in the spring, when the survey was conducted
“You have a contingent of people saying ‘stay the course,’ a contingent of people saying ‘slow down’ and a contingent of people saying ‘stop,’ which is not dissimilar to the discussion that was happening then. And the place where we wound up was a ‘slow down’ place.”
We ask: Does anyone have any idea what the hell this fool is talking about? Does he? That’s the best he could come up with? RTP offers another “replay of the discussion” that Huffman should also remember:
You have a contingent of teachers who think Common Core is a bad idea, a small contingent of teachers who think it’s a good idea, and a large contingent of teachers who think Huffman is an arrogant, elitist prick. That’s “not dissimilar to the discussion” that was taking place on the floor of the House last March 13th. And the place where we wound up is a revolt against Common Core taking place among teachers
Nice try, Kev. There is just no good way to put lipstick on this pig. It is a debacle.
So is that it for Haslam, Huffman and Common Core? Not quite. The same stubborn bullheaded, elitist attitude that got the Guv into this mess is likely to keep him going, at least through the next legislative session. The word from McMinn County is that Haslam’s minions have circled the wagons and are trying to hijack conservative legislation that seeks to establish real Tennessee Standards (not the fake ones where they just tweak Common Core, slap a new name on the same old garbage and claim it “made in Tennessee”). We’ll see if the GOP caucus members will fall for it. But like all good politicians, they can read poll numbers.
And this poll was a disaster.
Roy Herron has left the building. And on his way out he blew $300,000 to help guarantee a Republican Attorney General!
Atta boy, Roy.
Herron announced he would not seek re-election as Democratic Party chairman . Smart move — he probably could not have been re-elected. A whole slew of left-wingnuts were elected to the party’s state executive committee in the August election, and Roy learned how to count votes back during his days in the legislature. He was a dead man walking.
Now the Democratic Party can return to its roots: with environmentalist wackos, union subsidiaries like the T.E.A. and the odd assortment of oddballs like Chip Forrester, things can get back to normal around here.
Word is the Republicans are running out of districts to take away from the Dems, but RTP believes there is no truth to the rumor that Ron Ramsey is looking to increase the number of Senate seats to 50 just so he will have something to do during elections. Beth Harwell, on the other hand would like to eliminate a couple of dozen House seats as well as eliminate the Republicans who currently hold them.
In advance of that effort, we hear the Speaker is already denying she talked over the strategy with Mark Cate. She also claims she has never heard of Advance Tennessee, Scott Niswonger, the Claytons, Jamie Woodson or Jimmy Haslam. One can never be too cautious, ya know…..
As for Herron, we can’t help but laugh at his admission he spent $300,000 of money the Democrats can ill-afford to spend, just to have his efforts wind up electing Herbert Slatery XVI as the first Republican AG since Andrew Johnson was in the White House. Roy says he was double crossed by one of the Supremes.
The less charitable might say he was just naive and stupid.
And now he’s gone.
No sooner than RTP had sounded the alarm about the governor’s “Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight” and their next foolish adventure into electoral politics, we came across a recent column that attempted to distort and explain away the defeat in the August election of one of the governor’s most loyal supporters. It is apparent the Advance TN gang are not willing to admit their last effort was a failure. While they were busily trying to knock off Republicans who disagree with the governor, they neglected the home front. Even though two of the governor’s antagonists targeted by Advance TN were defeated, the governor failed to protect two of his most ardent supporters (meaning there was a net gain of zero votes for his legislative agenda).
Here is the story of the defeat of one of those Friends of Bill and a rather sad and inept attempt to re-write history:
$500,000 spent to defeat Rep. Roach?
So says Rep. “Coach” Roach and his defender, Betty Bean of the Halls Shopper (before you folks in middle and western parts of the state start to laugh, the Shopper is a “must read” for politicos in the Knoxville area).
Bean kicks off her defense by saying the opposition attacked Coach Roach for “ghost voting,” a practice of letting your seatmate in the legislature cast votes while you were absent from the floor. Bean dismisses ghost voting as nothing more than “innocuous” frat-house pranks among the good ol’ boys in the legislature.
No, Betty, having someone else vote for you is deceitful and a dishonest abuse of what the taxpayers expect of their elected officials. At a bare minimum, they expect you to show up and cast your own vote. If it wasn’t a big deal, why is it now banned? Here’s an idea – maybe Betty will find a neighbor or friend to use her name to vote in the next election. She could then just explain to the DA it was just a harmless, “innocuous” prank. Yeah, that should work.
Bean went on to claim outside groups spent a half million dollars to defeat Roach — a ludicrous and easily proven load of manure. Those numbers are such wild, over the top exaggerations they invite derision if not outright laughter.
If indeed “outsiders” spent $500,000 on a GOP primary in rural East Tennessee, it would have resulted in 1 million pieces of mail for 8,300 primary voters or approximately 15,000 radio ads (which would buy about 28 straight days of every available drive-time commercial slot on the local radio stations!
Heck, the total amount claimed spent against the Coach grew from $400,000 (his number) to $500,000 (Betty’s number) just within the same article. You need to get your stories straight before you take your claims out for a walk in public.
The Coach says the vote against him in Union County “hurt.” We bet it did. After millions being spent on the Virtual School with horrendous results, the Coach’s solution was to throw more money at the problem — a classic example of tossing good tax money after bad. Could it be that voters were as upset with such pork-barreling tactics as they were that the county school budget was about to lose its riverboat gamble with the K12 corporation?
Coach was and is a good guy on a personal level. He just forgot his principles long enough to get himself beat. And all the Grainger County tomatoes in the world and all the wild revisionist history by Betty Bean and the Coach won’t change that fact.
Former Knoxville News Sentinel editor and current political columnist for MetroPulse, Frank Cagle, offered up his predictions for the Haslam agenda in the next legislative session. RTP will not dissect Frank’s prognostications other than to say we think he is dead-on and to remind him and our readers that RTP has been making essentially the same predictions for weeks now.
But it’s nice to have company.
You can also read the whole thing at MetroPulse:
Oh, wow. Someone just mentioned YES! Preparatory Academy and Chris Barbic. Failed to mention that Barbic and Huffman are being sued for $10 million for allegedly trying to rig contracts to Yes! Prep — a school founded by Barbic.
This guy is talking about Yes! again. You can recognize Barbic at the “summit” by the photo to the right, but it is hard to assess his reaction since he is wearing a paper bag over his head. And they sat him in the corner without a mic. Guess his defense lawyer told him not to talk.
Wait, the Governor is saying something. YES! It’s over. Thank God.
The net benefit from this last-minute, poorly organized, PR stunt? Nothing. Not a damn thing.
I will get the guys back for making come here.
Wait a minute. Wasn’t Vanderbilt the ones who spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to send Tennessee teachers to Communist China to learn how to education our kids? Wonder if anyone will ask Dr. Zimmer about THAT?
Please, shoot me now. Will this hell never end?
I see Claude Presnell on the second row. Claude gives prissy, effete, intellectual snobs a bad name….
Ah, Vanderbilt makes an appearance. Z-z-z-z-z-z.
Quote from Dr. Zimmer presentation “We need more studies.” Wow, what a surprise. I bet he expects taxpayers to pay people like him for more studies. Oink, oink.