Monthly Archives: June, 2015

Okay, now y’all just being stupid.

forrest bust

First came Ryan Haynes, who nearly mowed over Mary Mancini in an attempt to capitulate before the altar of political correctness. Then Brave Bill Haslam nearly wet himself trying to get to the head of the parade to prostrate before the thought police.

[Note to Bill: Remember how they taught you back in Sunday School that the measure of character was when you did the right thing when no one was looking? You walked by that bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest nearly every day without saying a damn word. Then the Washington Post and the New York Times demanded an apologia from people who had nothing to do with the tragedy in Charleston, and you suddenly got religion and demanded the state do something you never saw fit to call for in your previous 4+ years in the office. Pitiful – just pitiful.]

Then came Bob “Raise the Federal gas tax” Corker demanding the same thing and we were off to the races. And don’t get us started on WalMart – who never saw a problem selling stuff with the Stars & Bars on it, even while Hillary Clinton sat on their board of directors but never opened her yap about what they were selling until Charleston.

Today, Williamson County got into the “Guilt Tour” by saying they were going to review their county seal. Huh, you say? It seems that buried deep on the seal is a rocking chair that had a Confederate flag drooped across one arm – a homage to the brutal Battle of Franklin. How many of you ever noticed that? Hell, how many of you even knew Williamson County had a seal?

What does it say about the level of the debate when it falls to Ron Ramsey to point out that people appear to have lost their freakin’ minds and are acting in a “knee jerk” manner about the whole flag/bust thing? Ramsey was almost right: people are acting like jerks.

RTP’s favorite commentary came from a local industrialist who sarcastically marveled that he had lived to “see the end of racism” and that all it took was getting rid of the Confederate flag and a bronze bust to accomplish such a historic feat.

You want to make a substantive contribution to ending racism, Governor? Invite some black people to join your country club. As for Bob Corker, how about you encourage your daughters to date more minorities? Maybe then we will start to believe in your attempt to take the moral high ground with your asinine pronouncements.

Until then, Y’all quit acting like jerks and being stupid. It’s embarrassing.

Funny, the rest of us feel the same way about your new state logo.

Gov. Haslam on the controversy over the Confederate battle flag and the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the state capitol:

“I feel like that that Confederate battle flag is something that I think people are ready to see move to museums” Haslam said Tuesday after an event south of downtown Nashville.

Brave Bill also wants to remove the bust of Forrest from the State Capitol building.  We wonder if the governor also wants to shut down and/or change the name of the Nathan Bedford Forrest elementary school in Chapel Hill?

forrest school

 

 

 

 

 

Or how about Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park In Benton County?

forrest park

 

See, this is what happens when you react to a major tragedy by playing politically correct politics.  We hear that the governor wants to ban anything and anyone that refers to the Confederacy.

No comment yet from Rep. Steve McDaniel.  steve-mcdaniel-at-parkers

 

The Dean doesn’t actually call the Governor a liar, but…..

Tom Humphrey’s column this weekend is akin to Martin Luther burning the papal Bull n defiance of corrupt church authority. But the martin luther 2“Bull” Humphrey exposed is not a religious doctrine, but the first half of a word that accurately describes the proponents who want to raise the gas tax — especially the Governor.

The B.S. began with the state’s $500 million dollar revenue surplus. The governor and some legislative leaders began to grab at the “found” taxpayer moola like a stressed out mother at a Starbucks drive-through reaching for her double latte. Pork barrel projects from museums to agricultural centers sprang up faster than weeds in a cow pasture.

But Humphrey laid out in clear language that the governor’s claims of transportation funding and a lack of revenue to solve the problem is complete B.S.

“One part of the governor’s problem is what might be called inconsistent messaging by public relations professionals. For years now – up to and including this summer – the governor has been declaring things are great with the Tennessee budget.

“Insofar as overall messaging goes, this is all utterly at odds with saying the state needs more tax money.”

RTP provides a classic example: TDOT said it was going to be about $20 million short this year on its budget. By amazing coincidence, that is roughly the same amount as the permanent annual $20 million fuel tax break the state is giving FedEx CEO Fred Smith. By amazing coincidence, Fred sits on the board of directors for Pilot Oil. By yet another amazing coincidence, Pilot will be the #1 collector of any new gas tax (which will be included in the price at the pump).

This is a political daisy chain, with only the taxpayers getting screwed.

The FedEx tax break alone could fund this year’s alleged transportation short-fall in perpetuity. But let’s not stop there. The $120 million history museum would fund the shortfall for six years. The $500 million surplus could satisfy half of TDOT’s claim that it has $1 billion in backlogged transportation projects. Why, that amount of money could fund 10,869 new state logos, with change left over.

With all due respect to Humphrey, this not a failure of “inconsistent communication” by the governor and his allies. It’s lying, pure and simple. But despite Humphrey’s more genteel approach to such prevarications, he should be roundly praised for his courage in pointing out the Emperor is buck-naked sitting on his high horse.

Thanks, Dean. You’ll make a fine journalist someday.Tom Hunphrey

Is Rocky Top good, or what?

Tennessee logo 4

The TNWatchdog is reporting today that the governor’s new state logo boondoggle just got much worse.  It seems the infamous $46,000 logo that everyone hates cannot be trademarked.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the state’s trademark application.

Just 6 days ago ol’ Rocky Top Politics was warning that this was exactly what might happen, and now it has:

The governor, ever the legal expert, opines that they couldn’t use the popular “Tri-star” logo because “it wasn’t possible to trademark” that design.  Oh, really Bill?

Let’s see how well your trademark holds up when someone outside state government decides to use it and your crack Attorney General tries to stop them.  We were not aware that turning the state flag 90 degrees to the right, then replacing the Tri-stars with an acronym (TN) that was created by the U.S. postal service and has been in the public domain for 50 years  was “trademark-able.”  What a load of hooey.  Just like your bogus inference that people were upset with the logo because they “thought it would replace the state flag.”

For those of you who doubted the crew at Rocky Top, perhaps it is now clear to you that we know what we are talking about and that we are not afraid to say it.

And so we will ask the rather obvious question:  Does ANYONE over there know how to govern?  The incompetence of this administration is reaching embarrassingly absurd levels.  Paying a bunch of money for an ugly logo that the governor then tried to shove down the throat of the taxpayers is bad enough.  But having your trademark rejected (while claiming you could not use the popular tri-star logo because it “couldn’t be trademarked”) speaks to the very heart of why this governor is in such trouble.

No Bill, this is not the result of a recalcitrant GOP legislative caucus, or lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce losing the clout.  And it is not because of Obama.

No, this all on you,

How to play with RTP

RTP has received numerous email messages from readers who have tried to “sign up” or otherwise communicate with the one or more of the RTP crew.  So we thought it might be helpful to go over the “rules of the game,” so to speak.

RTP is a one-way street.  We never directly answer any inquiry, comment or email for security reasons.  That’s why we say in the FAQs that “Comments Not Accepted.”  We would turn off the “Comment” section entirely, but our technology-challenged volunteer contributors haven’t figured out how to do that (It is so hard to find good help these days, right?)

gossipHowever, we welcome your tips and other information.  We have used a great number of them over the last year and encourage you leakers, informants, malcontents and axe-grinders to keep those emails coming.  Send your scoops to our famous Rocky Top Politics Tip Line:

rtptipline@gmail.com

If we like your stuff, we will use it.  If we don’t, we won’t.  Either way, do not expect us to answer you directly.  We don’t do so because we are jerks (although that may be debatable), but because we don’t want the public officials using their considerable powers to track our sorry butts down and hassle us.

And as always, we protect your identity.  If you have any doubts about our sincerity, then set up a fake email account and send your info anonymously.  We truly do not care who you are, but that your information is sufficiently interesting and can be confirmed in some way.

Enjoy.

Haslam takes it in the shorts. Again.

spanking 2

Administration get “schooled” by judge for illegal shut down of Virtual Academy.

Pity poor Bill Haslam. He can’t seem to catch a break. He could try to attribute his latest setback to the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate, but in reality he has only himself to blame.

The Virtual Academy – K12’s controversial online school – has had its problems, to be sure. But its biggest problem was not in the classroom, but in the halls of the education bureaucracy, where Haslam officials have engaged in an almost pathological attempt to shut down the school before it even had a chance to succeed. They did so under the leadership of the governor’s office (aka, Mark Cate), the past Education Commissioner (Kevin Huffman) and his successor (Candice McQueen).

Tellingly,after the decision the administration refused to make any comment about the ruling.  No threats of further legal action, no macho posturing — just crickets….

Not to bore everybody with the minutiae, but late last week Judge Lyle ruled on a lawsuit brought by parents with children who attend the Academy and he essentially determined that the Haslam bureaucrats were trying to impose on the VA a different standard than they applied to other under-performing schools, and that the state tried to do so retroactively (i.e., illegally).

Despite the howls of protest from the Haslam administration before the legislature and during the trial, the judge kept the VA open for at least another year and perhaps longer. You can add this defeat to a long list of Haslam screw-ups and defeats, including Common Core, Insure TN (twice), InsureGate, Advance Tennessee, The Logo and host of other missteps.

And now the Guv says he wants to raise gas taxes?  Our advice to him:

grab your ankles

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Wrye: Lobbyist to the Right. Employer of the Left.

want adJim Wrye is in a real pickle. After being run out of the Alabama teacher’s union (the ingrates didn’t even take into account his years of loyal service as the Exec. Director of the Democratic state party), he moves to Tennessee, hoping to start a new life over in the union’s Witness Protection Program.

But Wrye’s troubles multiply no sooner than he takes his new job with the Tennessee teacher’s union. Even though he desperately tried to re-create himself as of some sort of Republican, his entire employment history catches up with him. Just as he arrives in the Volunteer state, he finds they have just eliminated collective bargaining. His union then loses 15,000 members in a short period of time, its dues are down 30%, they have to lay off 1 out of every 5 employees.

What to do, what to do?

Hire a Marxist!

That’s right. The best way to deal with a Republican super majority is to appoint a left-wing, socialist nut-job who will write sputtering polemics about the corporatists and the oligarchy. And do so while harassing elected officials like Sen. Todd Gardenhire, spitting on the America flag by refusing to even respectfully stand for the pledge of allegiance, and run around like a general ass pretending you are a “community organizer,” because after all that’s how the Chosen One got elected President of the United States.

Meet Chris Brooks. Communist/Socialist/Marxist agitator. TEA field rep. Fatuous dipwad.

Brooks, a studiously disheveled Metrosexual type, was hired by Jim Wrye (as if we needed a final confirmation of Wrye’s political inclinations) to work for the Chris BrooksTEA. And since then, Brooks has run amok through the local political community like “Pajama Boy” on crack. Here are some of the more entertaining (or disturbing) antics and quotes from Comrade Chris:

Brooks is frequently quoted in Workers World, the slander sheet with roots directly from the Marxist-Leninist communist party.

And when it comes to getting his Lenin shorts all in a wad, no one can spew it better than Chris Brooks:

 “corporate front groups coming into our city are aligning themselves with anti-worker and anti-equality organizations and are openly trying to capitalize on the South’s vicious history of racism and homophobia to accomplish their goal of stopping local workers from organizing a union.” 

So much for recruiting new businesses and new jobs to Tennessee. Brooks cries “racism” but did we hear a peep out of him when the TEA shifted their contributions to the GOP while short-changing the Black Caucus – their most loyal supporters?

Brooks has pointedly refused to even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in public meetings that he attends. Yeah, that’ll win you friends in the legislature.

So as the legislature begins its Long March back to another session, let no one forget what Wrye hath wrought. Oh sure, he temporarily hired a couple of token Republican lobbyists to mask his left-wing association’s politics.

But then he also hired Chris Brooks.

Remember President Lamar!

Lamar 1

 

The Jeb Bush campaign has reportedly hired every political consultant still breathing with all the cash they have raised. But couldn’t they have put a little aside for a graphic design artist for the campaign logo? Are the people who designed the laughable new Tennessee logo working pro bono for the Jeb Bush campaign? How else could you explain the new Bush for President graphic:

Jeb 1

Is the Bush name really so toxic among Republican voters that he has to drop it entirely? Or maybe he thinks he is a celebrity like Prince! Madonna! Beyonce! or even Hillary!

Regardless, Jeb! has only to look at fairly recent presidential campaign history to show that all the muddle-headed PR types in the world cannot design a campaign graphic that can hide someone’s underlying political problems (just ask Bill! Haslam). Remember President Lamar Alexander?

lamar 2

Free passes for illegal aliens and support for Common Core are Jeb’s! biggest hurdles, not the punctuation of his first name.

As always, RTP stands ready with a helpful suggestion for the nascent Bush campaign, with a new, more appropriate logo:

Loser!

Red Herrings and Logos

red herring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, by now, when it comes to the proposed new state logo, everyone knows that:

  • The Governor’s office commissioned a new logo that is really ugly and looks like a 5th grader designed it.
  • The government paid too much for this piece of crap.
  • The overwhelming majority of the citizens hate it.
  • Gov. Haslam is going to force us to use it anyway.

Aside from demonstrating an arrogance and tone deafness that seems second nature to  this governor, RTP thought it would be beneficial if we pointed out just a couple of the glaring inconsistencies of “Logogate.”

Trying to explain their monumentally stupid idea of a new state logo, the governor’s office resorted to the straw man of “calm down, everyone. It is not going to replace the state flag.” Earlier this week, even the governor made this excuse: “It won’t replace the state flag.”

Just one thing wrong with that rationale: The only ones referring to the flag replacement possibility are the governor, his staff, the overpaid ad agency and a couple of close allies. The first mention in the press of “no flag replacement” came in the Tennessean on May 26. The source? Gov. Bill Haslam’s office. The most recent person to repeat the “no flag replacement” meme? Gov. Haslam.

And recently, Sen. Mark Norris says the whole controversy will somehow go away if the House starts reciting something called the “Salute to the Tennessee State Flag” every day (something those party hounds in the Senate apparently already do). We do not have any idea what Norris is talking about, and we have the sneaking suspicion neither does he.

But Sen. Marko Stupido couldn’t just leave it be with his weird solution. Oh no, he had to go and question the intelligence of Tennessee voters with this insulting statement (which readers will note repeated the governor’s spurious theme of “not replacing the flag”):Mark Norris

“Concern arising from the recent introduction of a new state ‘logo’ is the reason I’m writing you today,” says Norris, R-Collierville, in the letter to Harwell, dated May 26. “You and I understand that Gov. Haslam has no intention of attempting to replace the Flag of Tennessee, but most Tennesseans do not.” (emphasis added)

Really, Mark? You and Beth and Bill are so-o-o much smarter than “most Tennesseans?” Those ignorant hicks think the ugly new logo is going to replace the state flag? Exactly where did you see a poll that says that? Or did you just pull that assessment out of your butt? We’re betting it’s the latter.

The governor, ever the legal expert, opines that they couldn’t use the popular “Tri-star” logo because “it wasn’t possible to trademark” that design.  Oh, really Bill?

Let’s see how well your trademark holds up when someone outside state government decides to use it and your crack Attorney General tries to stop them.  We were not aware that turning the state flag 90 degrees to the right, then replacing the Tri-stars with an acronym (TN) that was created by the U.S. postal service and has been in the public domain for 50 years  was “trademark-able.”  What a load of hooey.  Just like your bogus inference that people were upset with the logo because they “thought it would replace the state flag.”

RTP helpfully offers some more, equally absurd, red herrings for the governor’s office to use when their current excuse for the state logo fiasco starts wearing thin:

“Critics of the logo need to take a Valium and realize that the new logo does not mean the state is going to randomly euthanize your pets.”

 

“The Pride of the Southland Band is not going to use the new logo to replace the Power T in the pregame program at football games and anyone who says so is an enemy of Gov. Bill Haslam. And a communist.”

And RTP’s favorite:

“Most Tennesseans think the town of Ten Mile (Meigs County) is going to be required to change its name to TN Mile to conform with the new logo. That’s just not true and the Governor says that Tennesseans should be ashamed for even suggesting such a thing.”

We could go on with more examples of herrings of the crimson variety, but you get the idea.  We will leave you with this thought:

Most Tennesseans do not believe the new logo is worth 50 cents, much less $50,000. But if replacing the state flag with the new logo would mean we get to replace condescending schmucks like Mark Norris and bull-headed officials like Bill Haslam, then we would be willing to consider it.

 

Wow.

fonzieGov. Haslam “Jumps the shark.”

In what has to be one of the dumbest public admissions of political impotence by a sitting governor, Bill Haslam has truly outdone himself.  In a speech to local officials, Haslam begged them to bail him out of the morass he has created over the last 5 years.  Since many of our readers do not speak fluent “politicalese,” the contributors to RTP have provided a helpful translation (outlined in red type) to what the governor was actually saying.

 

Haslam asks local officials for help with ‘changing’ Legislature

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday issued an appeal to officials from Tennessee cities and towns to help influence what he described as a “changing” state Legislature less concerned with the interests of traditional institutions.

The Republican governor said in a speech to the Tennessee Municipal League that local officials need to get directly involved in engaging with state lawmakers on key issues if they want to get them passed.

“I’ve talked with governors all over the country,” Haslam said. “And the nature of state legislatures is changing in terms of who gets elected and their view of what government looks like.”

Translation: “I don’t even know these people. I for sure haven’t seen them around the country club. I bet they have never even been to a Swan Ball.

“The damn voters are electing conservatives who promised limited government and who cannot be bought and who stand on principle. I hate that.”

Haslam told reporters after the speech that once powerful institutions like lobbyists, the media, chambers of commerce and hospitals no longer carry as much sway with the General Assembly.

Translation: “Lobbyists have filled the political pockets of what few allies I have in the legislature with millions of dollars in contributions. The news media, while still reliably liberal, are suffering catastrophic circulation losses and have demonstrated an inability to influence the legislature. In fact, what leverage they possess is now a negative influence. Want something to fail and fail miserably? Call the Tennessean and ask them to write an editorial in support of it.

“The Chambers of Commerce, represented in Nashville primarily by lobbyists who are Democrats andwho spent years trying to make sure Republicans never took over the legislature, now whine that those same Republicans are ignoring them.

“The grossly over-paid hospital CEOs trying to fund their bonuses and golden parachutes with taxpayers’ money extracted through Obamacre schemes are upset. They should be. The GOP legislators in the Assembly are ignoring the CEOs and listening instead to their constituents (taxpayers). The horror.”

“We have a changing Legislature and the old ways of doing things won’t necessarily work,” Haslam said. “So I think you’ve got to be visible and present here.

Translation: “What kind of world are we living in when even a billionaire like me cannot buy off legislator?  We have got to start pressuring them in other ways to do what we want and to ignore their constituents, so I want you to take off from work and schlep down to Nashville to pull my ass out of the fire.”

“It’s just a different world,” said Haslam, a former Knoxville mayor. “You can’t rely on sending a rep to do what they’ve always done and expect the same results.”

Translation:  “Your lobbyist is screwing you to the wall with his/her contract and claims of effectiveness.  They are lying through their teeth if they tell you they have a good relationship with the emerging conservative majority of the GOP caucus.  In fact, the lobbyists — be they establishment Republicans or yellow dog Democrats — hate the conservatives.  The feeling by the way, is mutual.”

The governor during this year’s legislative session twice saw lawmakers defeat his signature Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health insurance to an estimated 280,000 low-income people despite strong public support and the backing of business and hospital groups.

He was also put in the position of having to sign a bill to strip local governments of the power to ban all firearms in local parks, ball fields and playgrounds. Haslam as mayor presided over a vote to keep gun bans in place for some Knoxville parks, and had long argued for local control over the issue.

The governor also faces a steep path with lawmakers if he decides to try to raise the state’s tax on gasoline next year. The tax hasn’t been increased in 25 years while fuel efficiency has improved and federal funding has wavered. That has left the state with more than $8 billion in unfunded transportation needs.

Translation:” I magically found $120 million for a new state history museum and another few million to get the state into the teacher liability insurance business (which practically no teacher asked the state to do) among other dumb spending items, but I couldn’t scrape together an extra dollar for roads. In fact, I had to empty out the offers so that the road funding problem would look worse than it really is. Oh, and that $8 billion in “unfunded transportation needs?” That’s just the phrase we like to use for the ridiculously inflated “wish list” to guarantee full employment and large profits for road builders.

“Better not let people know millions of transportation dollars have and are being spent on critical “needs” such as bikepaths used by about 2% of the population, public transportation with empty seats and other politically correct nonsense it was never intended to fund.”

“It’s not as much as a felt need right now as it needs to be for there to be a transportation bill passed,” Haslam said. “Transportation issues are big deal to a lot of folks here, but I’m not sure their state reps feel the pain the way they might.”

Translation: “Look for us to stop doing regular maintenance work. A few thousand motorists having to go into the repair shop for wheel alignments ought to change some minds.”

“It’s time to get tough with those brutes in the legislature. And since I have proven myself to be an unmitigated wimp and politically incompetent, I am asking for your help to make sure the last three years I am here are not a living hell for me. Oh, and to all of you who will lose your next election because you pushed for a gas tax? Thank you for your sacrifice.”

While many lawmakers acknowledge the funding crunch, there is also a widespread wariness supporting a tax increase even if it packaged as a “user fee.”

Translation: “No sh*t, Sherlock.”

Haslam in the speech said he understands that local officials have their hands full without the added duty of trying to lobby their state lawmakers. But he called it “critical” that legislators hear from officials in their district.

Translation:” I’m begging you. Please make me look like the governor I know I will never be. I’m desperate here. Free Pilot gas cards and Cleveland Browns tickets for everyone who signs on!”

“At the end of the day, you can send all the lobbyists you want,” he said. “But nobody can be as effective as you who lives in the communities with that state legislator there expressing your concern.”

Translation:  “Pray to God nobody in your town reads Rocky Top Politics — especially state legislators.”

Bill Haslam practicing his "mean" look to scare legislators.

Bill Haslam practicing his “mean” look to scare legislators.