Thursday Is Great Because It’s Almost Friday

You thought Kentucky politics were jacked up? Get a load of this race in Tennessee! HOLY WOW. Jacked up. [Wonkette]

$450,000 in checks from the University of Louisville to the National Center on Public Education and Prevention were deposited into a Louisville bank. And Robert Felner, whom we saw at a Bats game last night, has his hand in the cookie jar. His attorney says he’s helping to locate and reimburse any funds that could be in question. [C-J]

UPDATE: In the C-J’s updated story, the myth of this entire investigation being about one single grant is still perpetuated. Still. Two months later.

Speaking of the University of Louisville… Been wondering what your buddies at UofL make each year? Find out by searching the UofL salary database. [H-L]

Kentucky favorite Al Smith won a fancy award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He was one of three people named as Fellows of the Society. The other two were Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Tim Russert. [PolWatchers]

Today Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03) will examine the domino effects of high gas prices. He’ll be delivering Meals on Wheels in the A.M. hours and will make a delivery for Kentucky Harvest to Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville in the afternoon. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to see Anne Northup helping the needy or the homeless with her bare hands?  Or donating $150K to charity every year? [Press Release]

Wasted Money at Western Kentucky University

Man, the high-dollar swindling of higher education is rampant!

A probe at Western Kentucky University has revealed that former professor Katrina Phelps could have swindled $33,000 from federal grants totaling more than $4.8 million. Though, that $33K amount could change as the investigation moves along.

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny any investigations involving Phelps, said James Hendricks, senior supervisory agent at the FBI in Bowling Green.

In July 2007, a former WKU student reported concerns regarding possible fraud in two federally funded community outreach programs, according to WKU documents. The programs provided structured activities for at-risk youth during out-of-school hours.
The U.S. Department of Justice removed Phelps as the ALIVE Center’s contact on grants on Oct. 25 and Phelps was removed from all ALIVE Center duties Nov. 2. She subsequently turned in her resignation Nov. 8 and formally left WKU in December.
WKU declined open records requests for additional information involving its internal investigation of allegations against Phelps or for copies of the audits done by the university, saying that those records have been part of a subpoena by the FBI.

“The university declines to release any related records because the records are being and have been compiled in the process of detecting and investigating statutory violations, and the disclosure of the information would harm the agency by revealing, prematurely, information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action,” Wilkins wrote.

Anyone else experiencing a bit of deja vu?

When will higher education in Kentucky end this era of corruption?

Hot And Sticky Tuesdays Are No Fun In Kentucky

Labor unions are the devil and it’s all Bruce Lunsford’s fault! Gosh, they’re so scary! [PolWatchers]

Did you miss Fancy Farm? Joe Sonka has an interesting recap of the events on the ground. And an encounter with the KDP’s Thom Karmik, who apparently doesn’t live in the reality-based community. [Barefoot & Progressive]

WTVQ in Lexington is all kind of jacked up. A lead anchor left and the news director was fired. Then the station manager hired former Fletcher official Doug Hogan to be news director. He’s currently being sued along with Bill Nighbert by a woman alleging discrimination and harassment. This is going to get interesting. [H-L]

In case you missed it, the University of Louisville has a serious problem on its hands. A problem so serious that there is no way UofL president Jim Ramsey can continue to say stupid things in the media and expect to keep his $500,000+ per year job. [Page One]

Are you one of the folks who watch Fox News on a regular basis? Then you probably believe a KFC franchise was opened in Fallujah. Turns out the story is essentially made up and pedaled on Fox News in an attempt to make it seem like things are working in Iraq. [TPM Muckraker]

Did you hear? The Courier-Journal died a little more the other day. Public Editor Pam Platt’s job was axed and she was moved to the editorial board. The Gannett paper just doesn’t have any room for, you know, anything that costs money or is worth reading. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Republican voter registration has dropped in many states for the fourth year in a row. Meanwhile, Democratic and Independent registrations have increased. You seeing a pattern here, kids? [NYT]

New Felner Details Tonight @ 6:00 – UPDATED

The good folks at WHAS11 tell us interesting new details in the Robert Felner case will be revealed this evening in a 6:00 P.M. story.

Credit cards, credit cards, credit cards.

I’ll update this story in 45 minutes or so with details.

UPDATE @ 6:10

Robert Felner not only squandered potentially millions of dollars in grant money at the University of Louisville, he also spent more than $31,000 on university credit cards– all with school approval.

Turns out Felner dined on the UofL dime at some of the finest restaurants in the city. And not little dinners here and there. He spent:

  • $675 on a dinner at Jack Fry’s
  • $300 at Proof on Main
  • $4,000+ at the University Club over a six month period
  • And other untold funds on personal flowers, gifts and various membership dues.
  • Hundreds of dollars on moving boxes
  • And a whopping $759 on

In addition to the above frivolous charges, more than $34,000 was spent on travel, lodging and meals in March when Felner took 27 faculty members to the 2008 meeting of the American Educational Research Association in New York. Felner also hosted a reception at the meeting that cost more than $8,500– for things like crab cakes and frou frou hors dourves. Looks like an examination of papers and other things presented at this conference is in order– because we hear from several UofL faculty members that most weren’t presenting papers or doing anything academic.

CLICK HERE for the full story from WHAS11’s Adam Walser. And HERE for the full video.

Meanwhile, the Courier-Journal still maintains that this investigation only involves a $694,000 No Child Left Behind grant.

Now do you believe us when we say it’s only the tip of the iceberg?

Read UofL’s response in defense of the thousands spent in New York after the jump…

Read moreNew Felner Details Tonight @ 6:00 – UPDATED

It’s Friday! And We Aren’t Going to Fancy Farm! Because We Still Have The Plague And Are Sleeping 24/7

Things aren’t going so well for Governor Steve Beshear these days and he keeps making interesting appointments. This time it’s Danny Ross (half-brother to Larry Clark) getting appointed as policy advisor to Labor Secretary J.R. Gray. Ross was pardoned after being indicted for felony campaign finance violations in 1995. We like Danny a lot but we’re not sure why on earth the governor would appoint him to a position after all the trouble he had trying to move him during the session. [PolWatchers]

The Journal-Times incorrectly gives the Courier-Journal credit for reporting on the Felner emails last week. Credit should go to WHAS11’s Adam Walser and this site. But we love how mainstream newspapers love to ignore the facts. It wouldn’t be a normal day without some newspaper– usually the C-J– jacking some sort of story up. [Journal-Times]

The Herald-Leader editorial board is none too happy with Mitch McConnell and his filibustering everything. Everything from curbs on oil speculation, home heating and cooling assistance for the poor and elderly, tax credits for wind and solar energy along with clean coal and electric vehicles. Yay, the McConnell way of life is great for our country. [H-L]

Thought we were finished with this gambling stuff? Does anyone really care about slot machines at race tracks? Will anyone actually support Greg Stumbo’s attention-seeking bill? We can all agree that using the revenue to replace vehicle taxes would be nice, but come on. [C-J]

How did Kentucky end up on the sidelines in presidential election years? We have fewer African Americans, we’re more conservative, yadda yadda. And no one important is stopping by Fancy Farm this year. Daniel Mongiardo reminds us of his loss to Jim Bunning. [H-L]

We all know how Geoff Davis voted when congress was working to extend FDA authority over tobacco. So take a look at Michael Kelley’s response to Geoff’s ridiculous decision to vote no. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Interesting State House Leadership Rumors

We hear through the grape vine that University of Louisville president Jim Ramsey is making telephone calls in support of Larry Clark in the Speaker Pro-Tem race against Joni Jenkins.

We’re pretty sure this is bad news for Larry Clark. Aside from the fact that Clark was probably the only person other than Tony Lindauer to support Steve Henry for governor after he found out he was under investigation, Larry just isn’t exactly a well-liked man in the State House. So this Ramsey thing could further tarnish his reputation.

Ramsey, you’ll recall, recently developed a less-than-stellar reputation for defending Robert Felner in super-awkward ways while in public. Praising a man who allegedly swindled potentially millions of dollars in grant money, allegedly sexually harassed people and caused all kinds of unrest at the College of Education for several years is hardly a good move on his part. Also not a good move to trash and belittle 30+ individual faculty members at UofL who filed grievances and complaints against Felner by calling them “crap.” You may read all about Ramsey here, here and here. Not exactly a smooth move on Larry Clark’s part to get Ramsey on board.

For more information about Larry Clark’s recent past, dig in after the jump…

Read moreInteresting State House Leadership Rumors

Thursday. Day Before The Dead Pig Picnic.

Be glad you’re not Chris Koster, a party-switcher running for attorney general in Missouri. His ex-wife bought nearly $200,000 in airtime ti take down his campaign. How insane is this? WE LOVE IT! [KC Star]

Jim Bunning is suddenly all upset over China’s spying and poor treatment of, you know, everyone. He apparently isn’t familiar with his buddy Mitch McConnell’s super-tight ties to Red China. Maybe he could open his eyes. [UPI]

The U.S. House voted to regulate tobacco. Geoff Davis voted no. We’re talking about a bill that both John McCain and Barack Obama support. Isn’t that nice? We’re finally going to regulate one of the biggest killers on earth and people like Geoff Davis don’t see fit to care. Ed Whitfield, Ron Lewis and Hal Rogers also voted no. [H-L]

Wait wait. Steve Beshear has replaced Jim Sullivan on the lottery board with Larry O’Bryan, the political media consultant in Louisville. Does this mean anyone can get appointed to anything and get paid while doing it? If so, someone needs to tell the governor we need some appointments. [Mark Hebert]

David Williams will chair John McCain’s presidential campaign in Kentucky. What’s most interesting, though, is that Williams said “McCain is a leader Kentuckians can believe in.” After, of course, McCain himself lies every day by saying he didn’t say something controversial the day prior– and then the press digs it up on video. [PolWatchers]

Of course gay-hater Martin Cothran couldn’t go five minutes without dreaming up some sort of ho-mo-sexual conspiracy at the Courier-Journal. Did you know The C-J and UofL are “running interference for the gay community” ?? Because we certainly didn’t. [Martin Cothran]