Female and male leaders in the Hamilton County Democratic Party are criticizing their chairman, Paul Smith, for including an off-color joke about women on an official business document, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Smith printed the joke, described as a guide to “happy life,” on an otherwise run-of-the-mill agenda for the party’s Aug. 23 board meeting. The joke recommends finding a woman who, among other things, “cooks from time to time,” cleans up, has a job and “is good in bed.”
“It’s very, very important that these four women do not know each other,” the punchline reads, “or you could end up dead like me.”
The joke appeared four days after Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., declared that women’s bodies can block unwanted pregnancies in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.” Akin later apologized for his remarks.
Party board member and Greater Chattanooga Democratic Women’s Club President Rita Fehring, former county party chairwoman, said Smith was “a moron” for printing the joke.
“He claimed that he was trying to make light of the Akin matter,” she said. “You know, there’s nothing light about rape. Misogyny’s not really funny when you’re a woman.”
Smith, a longtime local Democratic insider, refused to apologize last week, claiming he was misunderstood. He said the women he offended within the party were “troublemakers” who should have discussed their concerns with him instead of going to the media.
“It was not meant in any way to be a smear,” he said in an interview. “I think my intent there was strictly to point out that the guy who made the statements over there [Akin] is a political Neanderthal and politically ‘dead,’ and if somebody doesn’t understand that, they have a lack of depth of understanding.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chosen less than two weeks ago as the Republican vice presidential nominee, will be in Knoxville for a $1,000-a-plate luncheon on Sept. 27 at the Knoxville Marriott, reports Georgiana Vines. “Yes, he’s coming. It will be a fundraiser. We don’t know all the details yet,” businessman Jim Haslam II, a major fundraiser and contributor to the Republican Party, said Sunday.
Haslam, father of Gov. Bill Haslam, and Susan Richardson Williams, a delegate to the recent Republican National Convention, are among those selling tickets and tables.
…. “I think he will be a big draw,” Williams said. “We have not had an opportunity to meet him. He hasn’t been here. He’s someone very popular among Republicans, particularly conservatives. An easy ticket (to sell).”
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee attorney general will lead an investigation into the office of the 10th Judicial District state prosecutor.
The Cleveland Daily Banner reported Paul Summers was appointed to look into the office of District Attorney General Steve Bebb.
District Attorney Conference Executive Director Wally Kirby told the Banner on Tuesday that Summers’ reputation is beyond reproach.
Bebb said he asked for an investigation into everyone in the office, including himself.
The Office of the State Comptroller will assist in the investigation as will the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
An investigation by the Chattanooga Times Free Press concluded that important cases in the 10th Judicial District were botched through ineptness or misconduct, that taxpayer money was misused and that the office played favorites during criminal prosecutions.
News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
NASHVILLE – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of Kristi Pruitt Stanley to the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.
“Kristi Stanley is the kind of strong conservative woman who will make a positive impact on the economic lives of Tennessee women,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Her experience as an advocate on behalf of those who create jobs gives Kristi a keen insight into how women can become empowered economically. I look forward to her contributions on the council and I applaud her willingness to serve Tennessee.”
A longtime director of government affairs for the Memphis Area Home Builders, Stanley has worked for two Tennessee Congressman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Stephen Fincher as well as the Shelby County Trustee. Stanley is currently a government affairs specialist for Caissa Public Strategy in Memphis.
“I’m grateful to Lt. Governor Ramsey for offering me the opportunity to serve our state,” said Stanley. “I look forward to getting to work on behalf of women across the grand divisions of Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is a state agency created under TCA § 4-50-100 in 1998 to assess economic status of Tennessee women. The Council’s mission is to develop and advocate for solutions to help women achieve financial independence and economic autonomy.
— Note: Betsy Phillips offers some commentary on the appointment.
Devaney Cheers Release from Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney:
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement on the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate:
“Paul Ryan is the right choice to serve as Governor Romney’s running mate. Ryan has immense experience, including a knowledge and grounding on fiscal issues and the economy, something we are sorely lacking at Pennsylvania Avenue currently. Romney and Ryan will make a great team for the USA.” Forrester Jeers Release from Tennessee Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester:
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester issued a statement following Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.
“There’s no doubt what Romney-Ryan politics would mean for Tennessee – budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy, greater burdens for working families, fewer health care options for women, and less security for seniors who’ve worked their whole lives for some peace of mind.
“Tennesseans wholly reject the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it and shift millions of dollars in health care costs to Tennessee seniors through a paltry voucher scheme.
“Our children and our economy simply cannot afford the deep cuts Romney and Ryan want to make education — from Head Start to college aid. These are investments that are critical to a safe and secure future for all Tennesseans.
“The Romney-Ryan ticket would also giveaway a $250,000 tax cut to millionaires and billionaires at a time we should be working together to balance our budget.
“The Romney-Ryan plan is irresponsible and outrageous. Moreover, it’s just plain wrong for Tennessee.”
Politico has a story on four former politicians who left office after sex scandals and the lessons they learned. One is former Tennessee state Sen. Paul Stanley. Stanley, 49, served in the Tennessee state Senate from 2006 to 2009 before resigning after news of his affair with his 22-year-old intern broke. A week after the two ended what Stanley describes as a “purely sexual” and very brief “fling,” the intern’s boyfriend attempted to extort $10,000 from him by threatening to turn over pictures of the two to the press. Hours later, Stanley reported the incident to law enforcement and the intern’s boyfriend was arrested. Stanley told his wife about the affair the next day, but the story about the Tennessee legislator didn’t hit the news until four months later. The Republican lawmaker resigned his seat on Aug. 10, 2009.
The now-divorced father of two children, ages 12 and 8, is a writer living in Savannah, Tenn., his hometown. Stanley works as the politics editor for The Christian Post and is writing a memoir tentatively titled, “The Extortion of Forgiveness.” He is a born-again evangelical Christian and was at the time of the affair as well.
“You need to be honest with yourself. You know what you’ve done. You know what happened. Go to the ones you love… and tell the truth. When you do that, tell the entire truth. Don’t parcel it out, just tell it and ask for their forgiveness. When it becomes public, you’ve got to repent to God first. And then you need to genuinely say you’re sorry. Let me emphasize the word genuine. People will smoke you out in a heartbeat if your apology is superficial. They’re probably going to be disappointed in you, which they should, but the vast majority of them will forgive you.”
“I knew it was the best thing for my family at the time [for me to resign]. And without a doubt, without any question, I had been gone a lot as a politician. Politicians aren’t home a lot. For the next nine months, I was able to develop a very deep relationship with both my children… It’s made me a better person. I’ve told God on a number of occasions, I’d certainly like to go rewrite the ending, but he took me out of there the way he did and he did that for my own good. It wasn’t the way I would’ve liked to go out, but it was the right thing to have happened to me at the time.”
“My affairs were purely sexual. There was no emotion in them. … There need to be some ground rules in relationships — you don’t ever need to be alone with someone of the opposite sex after 5 p.m. or after business hours. There’s nothing good that can come of it.”
“Far too often politicians get thrown off course with people telling them how great they are, how wonderful they are. Even if you disagree with them, you’re complimenting them to get what you want. … You would think I would have learned from other people’s stories and other politicians from my story. … As you rise through political rings, more people pay attention to you and pay you compliments, accolades, and you have more power to control legislation. A lot of times, where there are females who are showing you that attention, you have to be very careful and have ground rules.”
“The No. 1 thing, and this is what threw me off, my spouse and I grew apart over time, and we didn’t deal with the issues when they occurred. That put me in a position where I was extremely vulnerable. I was a big boy and knew exactly what I was doing, but it put me in a place when I had more authority and more perceived power and I was getting attention — that was something that wasn’t good for me.”
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has brought his national momentum to Tennessee, outdistancing Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney by a nearly 2-to-1 margin among voters taking part in a new Vanderbilt University poll.
More from The Tennessean’s poll report:
But with Tennessee’s GOP primary now just nine days away, the race here remains fluid because one in four potential voters say they don’t know or don’t like any of the candidates, said Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer.
“As big a theme as Santorum leading is that a lot of people haven’t made up their minds,” said Geer, co-director of the Vanderbilt Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
The center commissioned the survey of 1,508 registered Tennessee voters — including 815 who indicated a preference for a Republican candidate — Feb. 16-22, during the first week of early voting.
The poll had a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points. The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that 33 percent of registered voters who are considering voting in the primary would push the button for Santorum, compared with 17 percent for Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the favorite of 13 percent of those voters, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress, drew just 10 percent. An additional 27 percent either said they wouldn’t vote for any of the four major remaining candidates, didn’t know how they would vote or refused to answer.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has fired two top officials at the Department of Environment and Conservation, while a third has announced his retirement.
The department said in a statement Friday that the changes are “designed to streamline our structure and build management efficiencies.”
Changes are to include the creation of a single water resources division encompassing the department’s pollution control, water supply and groundwater management programs, according to the statement.
The fired officials are Mike Apple, head of the department’s solid waste management division, and Paul E. Davis, who was in charge of water pollution control. Meanwhile, Mike Carlton is retiring as director of Tennessee state parks.
The Tennessean newspaper first reported the TDEC shakeup on its website Friday afternoon. Apple told the paper he had been called in to the office of deputy commissioner Shari Meghreblian earlier this week, and that he was given no explanation for the firing other than that “they wanted to make a change.”
Rand Paul, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, was held at Nashville International Airport Monday morning for refusing to complete the screening process after he triggered an alarm, reports The Tennessean. The Transportation Security Administration claimed Rand Paul triggered an alarm during routine airport screening and refused to complete the screening process in order to resolve the issue, TSA spokesman Jon Allen said.
The scanner found an “anomaly” on Paul’s knee, according to the Associated Press.
Paul claimed he asked for another scan but refused a pat down by airport security and was then detained at a small cubicle and missed his flight.
Paul said the situation reflects his long-standing concern that the TSA shouldn’t be “spending so much time with people who wouldn’t attack us.”
Four of the nine Republican candidates in Tennessee’s presidential primary ballot will have no committed delegates on the ballot with them on the March 6 ballot, while Mitt Romney has a surplus wanting to represent him at the Republican National Convention.
Candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Perry also had a substantial slate of committed delegates on the ballot to qualify before the deadline earlier this month. Candidate Jon Huntsman has three — two of them being former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe and his wife, Joan.
Tennessee Republicans will elect delegates as well as choose their favorite as the party nominee March 6, though that part of the election gets relatively little attention. The candidates without delegates on the Tennessee ballot — Michelle Bachmann, Gary Johnson, Charles “Buddy” Roemer and Rick Santorum — can still win them at the polls and have delegates appointed later by the state Republican Executive Committee under party rules.
But getting delegates on the ballot does at least speak somewhat to a candidate’s organizational effort in the state, said Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney, who stresses his neutrality in the primary.
“I do think it shows a certain amount of organization on the part of the candidates who have gotten a good number of delegate candidates to run,” he said. “That certainly shows there’s a level of organization and that they’re thinking beyond the early primaries.”