Monthly Archives: February, 2015

Okay, now Tucker is just lying….

commie core 1Under hard questioning from Rep. Rick Womick, Tucker actually claimed he was not for more central control, yet his writings prove just the opposite.  Now, in response to Rep. Kent Calfee, Tucker says he “can’t remember” the context of his infamous Dear Hillary letter.

What a corrupt individual.

Again, Harry, you should be ashamed for what you are doing here.



Random live notes from the Education Committee Manifesto speech

Brooks: “This isn’t made up.  This is real research.”   Yep.  Real research by the infamous author of the “Dear Hillary” letter.

Tucker just said that “local control” of schools is no longer a a viable option.  Hey, Harry.  Did it ever occur to you that “local control” is the exact opposite of Chinese central planning?

Tucker just compared the U.S. to Finland.  How many black kids live in Finland?  Socialist countries make their under-performing children “disappear” into the subsistence jobs.  Thank God we have a higher standard.  At least we try.

Note to Mark White:  The rest of the state would look great if we could just make Memphis City Schools “disappear” into factory gulags like the Chinese do.  That’s what Tucker is advocating.  That what you want, Mark White?

John DeBerry just said he was impressed with the “old fashioned values” demonstrated by the Chinese style systems.  He complimented them for “getting families involved.”  Uh, John, that would be the same families who are only allowed one child per family.


What the Hell is Harry doing?

RTP team has long had our problems with Rep. Harry Brooks. Known for his slavish support of Common Core and his high-handed arrogance in making sure opposing viewpoints never see the light of day in his committee, Brooks has reached an astonishing new low.

As we write this, our RTP contributor is sitting in the committee hearing room, watching in amazement while Brooks has given the floor to the very founder of Common Core, Marc Tucker. It was just two days ago that RTP stripped away the façade of this unrepentant socialist who served as one of Hillary Clinton’s closest advisors on education policy. That policy included a collectivist – yes, communist – approach to treating students and teachers as commodities, ruled by state bureaucrats, as they dumbed down education outcomes based on the socialist theory that every child who goes through the public education meat grinder comes out the end as smart – and as dumb – as every other kid.  Yeah, the China model produces more engineers.  It also “sorts out” children to not only make new engineers, but to also produce many more slave laborers for the collectivist state.  Oh, and if you disagree with the China/Tucker model, you can be shot.  Yeah, try that approach in Cocke County and see who gets shot.

Brooks’ pimping of Tucker’s book, which holds the communist China model as the model for the future of U.S. education, and providing him a sole platform four spewing his collectivist claptrap is a complete an total outrage.  For a “Republican” to do it is beyond the plae.  What’s next for Harry?  Maybe the next committee meeting he can provide a forum on how best to desecrate the American flag.  Free speech and all that, you know.

Harry Brooks should be ashamed, but he left the very concept of “shame” years ago. He opened his introduction of Tucker by noting he, Brooks, was a graduate from a Baptist school (Carson-Newman). Then he had the gall to say that Tucker had graduated from Brown University which Brooks said was also a Baptist school. Harry must think we are all idiots. Brown is one of the bastions of socialist left-wing thought. To claim it is a “Baptist” school like Carson-Newman is laughable and ridiculous. I bet your pastor would resent the comparison, Harry. Why don’t you ask him?

Wonder what the folks at Carson-Newman (Harry’s alma mater) would think of him fronting for the same Red Chinese that used to regularly murder Baptist missionaries? Harry, you can’t make a big enough contribution to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to save your soul on this one.

You are despicable.

Harry Brooks: Apparatchik.


Apparently, the negative publicity and the voter animosity towards Common Core is completely lost on Education (Admin) Chairman Harry Brooks. How else to explain the in-your-face slap at Core opponents by inviting the “architect of Common Core,” Marc Tucker, to his committee to deliver an unchallenged lecture on the virtues of Common Core.

tuckerOh, but wait. It gets better. Not only is Tucker a renowned advocate of top-down, centralized, federal government-run education systems, but he is also the author of the infamous “Dear Hillary” letter.

The “Dear Hillary” letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), lays out a plan “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.”

Tucker’s plan would change the mission of the schools from teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards.

Tucker’s ambitious plan was implemented in three laws passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1994. These laws establish the following mechanisms to restructure the public schools:

  1. Bypass all elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards.
  2. Use a computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” into which school personnel would scan all information about every schoolchild and his family, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The computerized data would be available to the school, the government, and future employers.
  3. Use “national standards” and “national testing” to cement national control of tests, assessments, school honors and rewards and financial aid.

Source: Eagle Forum

Sure sounds like Common Core to us.

Tucker is also a big fan of China and its “Commie Core” education system. Remember the fiasco of Vanderbilt using our tax money to send Tennessee public school teachers to China to see how the commies teach? Yeah, that’s Tucker’s sweet spot.

Astonishingly, Harry Brooks is using our tax dollars to provide a platform for the left-wing musings of Marc Tucker. Apparently, Harry didn’t get the memo from the governor that Common Core was a “ruined brand.”

With Comrade Harry Brooks the “Chairman” brand isn’t much better.brooks

Ah, yes. The Ol’ “Bait and Switch”






It seemed like only a couple of weeks ago that the lobbyists for Ticket Master were peddling a rather odious, one-sided piece of legislation that would benefit their clients at the expense of StubHub/EBay. But after a quick round-robin through the halls of LP, it seemed that what they were selling wasn’t exactly being greeted with enthusiasm among the pols. They couldn’t even get their previous House sponsor, Ryan Haynes, to go along with their latest incarnation.

Fast forward to the present day. Now the TicketMaster/Live Nation folks got their lobbyists to introduce a sort of watered down caption bill that didn’t look anything like their earlier effort. Of course, there is nothing to keep them from doing the old switcheroo once into committee that could revive their first effort. All this after the butt-whippin’ they received two years ago in a similar effort.

[Editor’s note: It ain’t like the ticket scalpers on either side have completely clean hands, but the efforts of Ticket Master/LiveNation are particularly egregious and ill-conceived. Read on to discover why…]

So just who are these crack lobbyists hired by Ticket Master to work the same magic that previously got their asses handed to them on the same subject? None other than Tom Lee (Democrat) and Debra Maggart (disgraced Republican). Those of you paying attention will remember Miss Debbie as the member of GOP leadership that went down in flames while running through thousands in caucus campaign money in the process.

LiveNation, of course, is the A-list of the entertainment elite – usually found in their humble little Malibu mansions or their Park Ave. penthouses eating Brie and swilling Chablis with their fellow liberals. But every now and then they will hire people to venture forth to do battle for them in red state fly-over country (like the Volunteer state). That’s what makes their selection of lobbyists/warriors so amusing.

Here’s a little secret we bet the “in” crowd in LA doesn’t know about. Back in 2006, Maggart declared that some homosexuals adopt kids so they can “subject them to a lifetime of molestation and sexual abuse.”


RTP does not give two hoots and a holler about the political gay community nor their unrelenting efforts to undermine the sanctity of marriage, yada, yada, yada. Hell, every contributor here at RTP has gay friends, but that doesn’t mean we have to climb into bed with their political agenda. Even so, we think the former Rep. Maggart has wandered a little too far into the crazy patch with her accusations.

The ironic/delicious/amusing aspects of all this is not one’s sexual preferences, but the sheer stupidity of the left-wing entertainment industry hiring someone who is a complete anathema to their cherished liberal ideals. Just wait until they find out they are paying someone they would brand a homophobe to represent them in their legislative effort. What’s next? David Fowler lobbying for Planned Parenthood? (Yeah, like that would ever happen).

Maggart had better hope this info does not leak out.

Whoops! It just did.

Cabin Fever.

ice storm

So the RTP crew is iced-in like everyone else this week (except for the crew member who got “stuck” in Santa Rosa Beach, the bastard) and we are beginning to get a little stir crazy.

But there hasn’t been that much to report on, other than “Epiphanies” and s fascination with things can explode when you shoot them. Everything seems shut down.

Don’t believe it for a second.

Underlying all this seeming calm are some potent undercurrents that threaten to roil the legislature this session and beyond. There are seething ambitions to be the next governor (now that our current governor has made himself something of a four-year lame duck with his ill-conceived InsureTN debacle).

Also, the leadership, sensing a demographic and ideological sea change lapping at its door, is intent on giving the session the bum’s rush in an effort to get out of town before the other shoe(s) drop. Leadership seems to be channeling their inner “Jimmy Naifeh and the Bitter Clingers” who tried every dirty trick in the book to hang on to power after it became apparent the Republicans had arrived and were already rearranging the furniture. In fact most of the senior leadership and committee chairs are the last vestiges of the Naifeh era, many having learned their politics at the invitation-only 5 o’clock drinking sessions in Jimmy’s office (ask Mike Harrison, he was a regular).

In the days ahead, RTP will explore some of these phenomena and bring you our unbiased analysis.

Should be fun. At least for some people.


So what’s wrong with Forgety’s bill?


Rep. John Forgety has introduced legislation (HB0003) that the sponsor claims will “get rid of Common Core.” But is that true? RTP offers our analysis:

HB0003 will not get rid of Common Core. In fact, just the opposite is true. The bill will effectively institutionalize Common Core by running it through a process that will be dominated by Common Core advocates. The end result will be a program almost identical to Common Core, just with a different name.

With this bill, the Legislature will turn over complete control to an appointed board dominated by Common Core advocates, who will then appoint additional panels that will be predictably dominated by Common Core supporters. The only thing involving legislators after that will be for them to receive a “report” after everything has been decided.

The bill will grant total authority to the state Board of Education for selecting those who will determine the new standards. And who appoints the members of the BOE? The indisputable #1 cheerleader for Common Core – Governor Haslam. Conveniently, the governor has already  populated the Board with all Common Core supporters, save one or two members. (RTP will soon profile the BOE members in a future post. You will be surprised at some of the appointees).

Under such a process, it would be difficult to imagine an end product that is not a version of Common Core under a different name (Tennessee standards).

A vote for Forgety’s bill in its current form can (and will) be interpreted as a “Trojan Horse” vote for Common Core.

Count on it.

Hey Gang! Let’s all do the “Superintendent Shuffle!”

Also known as the Chuck Cagle “Common Core Cash Cow Conga Line.”

cash-cowSo the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) is just hunky-dory with the status quo on current standards (also known as Common Core). They even sent a lengthy letter to the legislature saying so.

But what was missing was the real story and the real reason they sent their letter.

It seems the Supers left out the little fact that their organization’s lobbyist is one Chuck Cagle. (For new readers of RTP wanting more info on “Conflict Chuck,” we suggest you go to the search box on this page and type in “Chuck”, “Cash Cow,” “Conflict-of-interest,” or “Cagle”.  “Butthead” might also work). In fact, it is reputed that when TOSS meets, they meet in Chuckles’ law office. Cozy, eh?Businessman Throwing his Money Around

They also omitted who might be making money on the status quo. One of those who stand to profit from Common Core is Pearson. And who has been the lobbyist for Pearson for the last five years? Whose wife, until recently, worked for Pearson for years selling Common Core textbooks to Tennessee superintendents?  If you guessed Chuck Cagle, you win a free ticket to hear Ron Lollar’s next Q&A.

One more important thing. Where does TOSS get the money to pay Chuck all that dough? Each superintendent pays $6,000 per year to be in TOSS (who then hires Chuck). And where do the superintendents get the money? Why from their school budgets. And where, pray tell, do the school systems get the money?

(Wait for it…………)

From the Taxpayers!

Any questions?




Man, was RTP ahead of the curve, or what?

Check out this golden oldie from the Rocky Top Politics archives.  Wa-a-a-y back on March 22 (in our very first week), RTP posted this little gem predicting the Medicaid/Obamacare expansion fight:

After much pressure from Tea Party types, the Governor finally opted out of the Obamacare HealthCare Exchanges. Now about that whole Medicaid expansion thingy…

Then just a few weeks later, in May 2014, Rocky Top gave a preview to how the fight would be conducted:

Hospital Chain CEO Encourages Legislators to Lie

Needless to say, the comments from the CEO were remarkably prophetic regarding the eventual demise of InsureTN.  But more importantly, it revealed the deceitful mind-set that led to so many misleading claims and outright untruths to be peddled by industry hacks and the administration.  Their strategy from the outset was to try and browbeat and fool the legislature.  It didn’t work, but it should serve as an object lesson to legislators on how to deal with this governor when the next big issue comes before them.

Can you say Common Core?

TODAY: The Losers.








There are too many losers to count, but we’ll start the ball rolling with these:

  1. Rep. Kevin Brooks.

Kev tried to have it both ways, declaring publicly he was undecided while trying to recruit votes in favor of InsureTN behind the scenes. Not good.

  1. Governor Haslam and staff — especially Mark Cate.

The most common question heard around LP these last couple of days has been: “What the hell was he thinking?” Even his supporters can’t figure out why the Guv was so willing to expend such enormous tons of political capital for such a nebulous, ill-conceived, waste-of-money big government expansion program. Not only did his plan fail, he created an absolute toxic atmosphere in the legislature. It’s going to be a long Lame-Duck journey for Haslam.

“Bully Boy” Mark Cate has hopefully realized that belligerent pontification is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people who, unlike Cate, were actually elected to their positions by the voters. Mark’s mouth needs to occasionally check in with his ass before he tries to cash big political checks at the Bank of the General Assembly. Oh, and his testimony needs better preparation and some serious fact-checking.

And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Kiddie Korps of legislative liaisons employed by the governor’s office. These well-intentioned “Millennial Minions” get passing grades for their studied earnestness, but are seen as little more than human playback machines for spouting the administration’s talking points. A favorite game of legislators is to screw with them, just to see their reaction. They’re cute, but ineffectual.

  1. Liberal Media Sycophants and Prostitute Pollsters.

Even for the predictable liberal media, their willingness to stash their intellectual principles into a blind trust in order to blindly cover (or pimp) for InsureTN was breathtaking. Giving the governor a pass on the facts wasn’t enough for this crew. They shamelessly repeated the governor’s assertions that it “wasn’t Obamacare” and that it “won’t cost taxpayers a dime” and that “we could get out after two years if we wanted to” without challenging the falsity of such comments. But many went a step further, quoting without challenge the MTSU poll and the pollsters the governor hired, without questioning their methodology, sample sizes, demographics, etc. (more on the pollsters in later postings). In short, the media willingly whored itself out to the governor’s bogus narrative. Just when we thought the media couldn’t lose any more credibility – they did.

However, there were two notable exceptions to the above: Tom Humphrey and the AP’s Eric Schelzig. Humphrey played it pretty much down the middle. More importantly, he used his extensive relationships and gave generally objective analysis to the process itself – just what you would expect from the Dean.  Schelzig wrote a scathing analysis outlining the “poisonous atmosphere” the governor’s program had created in the legislature, quoting equally from opponents and proponents. Trouble was, that article got more play from newspapers outside of Tennessee than it did in-state. Surprised?

  1. The Chamber, THA, TMA and their Democrat lobbyists.

The Hospital Association pulled out all the stops to get their mitts on all the “free” taxpayer money to bail out their hospitals. Of course, no one bothered to ask why their hospitals were in such trouble. Check out the millions in bonuses paid out by one of the mega-hospitals (Erlanger in Chattanooga) that were crying poverty. The CEO pay scale was off the charts, especially for the big hospitals, with most receiving salaries, stock options and other bonuses in the millions. There is no sympathy for them.

Of course, these organizations were represented by a hoard of lobbyists, many of whom spent their entire careers as Democrats and who have been trying to enter the witness protection program ever since the GOP took control. But many GOP members are catching on. But not so for GOP leadership and their relenting hunger for more money from the lobbyists’ clients to pad their personal PAC accounts (Beth, we are looking in the direction of your $1.4 million here).

But let’s not leave out the “Republican” lobbyists who unsuccessfully pimped – er — lobbied for the governor’s plan. Incompetence knows no party labels. Hope you got paid up front.

5. Legislative leadership.

Speaker Harwell avoided having to take a position and didn’t even have to hide out in the bathroom this time to avoid a difficult vote (for you newcomers, ask Ron Ramsey about that last comment). But she certainly didn’t help her gubernatorial plans. McCormick probably guaranteed himself a primary challenge in 18 months and helped further divided the GOP caucus. The manner in which leadership “led” insures the rest of this session will be the most contentious and divisive in recent history…and that’s just among Republicans!


Special Mention – Sen. Jeff Yarbro.

It didn’t take long for the young senator’s smirking, liberal arrogance to wear thin.  After a couple of gratuitous snide remarks about the “seriousness” of the GOP majority in addressing the issue, “Pajama Boy” Yarbro was bitch-slapped by Sen. Todd Gardenhire in front of everyone.

Pour yourself another cup of Ovaltine before you think about trying that again, Jeff.

pajama boy 2