Welcome to Thursday. Your Economy? Still Dead.

All right for being a day late and a dollar short. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a joke, is attacking Bruce Lunsford over gas prices. HAHA, what world are these people living in? The one without the biggest financial disaster ever? Apparently so. [Trey Pollard]

This is hilarious. A Faux News reporter in Scranton, PA interviews a diner filled with old people and asks if they’re voting McCain. Two people raised their hands. Everyone raised their hands for Obama. The “reporter” then said the vote was “split” and everyone laughed at the asshat. [Wonkette]

Seriously. Sarah Palin is dumb as hell. The gays totally choose to be homos. Sarah Palin says she chose not to be the gay. To quote Mary Lou Marzian, one of our idols, “You motherfuckers make me wanna puke.” God. Trust me, I so chose to suffer at the hands of every redneck on earth. And I so chose to be denied the right to see my significant other when I was hospitalized. Glad she’s not gonna “judge,” though. [Think Progress]

University of Louisville graduate students are reacting to the John Deasy situation. Also check out the boring open letter released by the administration that was just a rehash of John Drees’ press conference last week where nothing was revealed. [Louisville Cardinal]

The News Hour lady is coming to Kentucky. In celebration of KET’s 40th anniversary, television news journalist Judy Woodruff of PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will be the featured speaker during an October 22nd dinner at KET’s Lexington studios. [KET]

Does everyone remember that Russian video of the flying helicopter dildo personal massager at a press conference? WE NEED ONE. We want to fly it at every press conference ever. Someone please get one for us! STAT! Can you imagine us flying that thing when Jennifer Moore is speaking? Or maybe Jim Gooch. Or Vernie McGaha. [Immediate Need]

Ready for the latest SurveyUSA job performance poll for Steve Beshear? He’s at 50%, which is up nine points since August. 43% disapprove of the job he’s doing. Only 39% of his native western Kentucky support him. And only 50% (down from 59% the week prior) of Kentuckians say the economy is the number one issue for the next president. My, how uneducated we can be in the Commonwealth. [Mark Hebert]

Finally, are you in Louisville? Go volunteer for John Yarmuth (900 E. Market), Bruce Lunsford (2230 Dundee) or Barry O (640 Barrett). Okay, so primarily go volunteer for Bruce. But at least go volunteer. [Just Do It]

Special to Page One from the Attorney General

The following column is special to Page One from Attorney General Jack Conway.

Let me first say that it has been heartening to see communities across Kentucky pull together to help those in need following the devastating windstorm that swept across our state on September 14. Families were put to the test with damaged homes, loss of power and in some cases, the loss of life. As Kentuckians so often do when faced with adversity, we responded with kindness, compassion and concern for our neighbors.

Before the windstorm hit Kentucky and before Hurricane Ike made landfall in Texas, I formally requested that Governor Steve Beshear declare a state of emergency and implement the price gouging protections of Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act after receiving numerous reports of price gouging and rationing across the state on September 12. I felt it was important to get these protections in place as soon as possible to not only protect consumers but to put wholesalers and retailers on notice that we will not tolerate excessive profit taking as a result of this emergency. We even set up a special email, gaspricecomplaints@ag.ky.gov, for consumers to report possible price gouging. In fact, our office received more than 2,000 emails and phone calls. Please be assured, we took this information seriously and responded quickly.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreSpecial to Page One from the Attorney General

New Katie King Attack Piece

There’s a new “attack” piece out today that’s allegedly from some group that wants to prevent Katie King from being elected. As you well know, we’re suspicious of the circumstances of any attack piece on Katie.

The flyer appears to have been sent only to media types and a few elected officials. What’s strange is that both Rick and myself received copies. My copy? Received at an address that no one really knows. The address has never been tied to my name and it’s only been used for very specific government-related issues (like passport, taxes).

Here’s the envelope:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

It appears to have been dropped in downtown Louisville yesterday, September 29 as the postmark indicates.

Here’s the actual one-page flyer with some interesting photographs allegedly of Katie:


CLICK TO ENGLARGE

Thoughts?

Breaking: Deasy Steps Down From Sup. Job

This story couldn’t get any more controversial than it already has, right?

Haha. Dream on.

John Deasy, who received an allegedly fraudulent Ph.D. from the University of Louisville under the tenure of former Dean Robert Felner, just stepped down from his job. Deasy was head of the Prince George’s County school system in Maryland.

The insane part? OMG. Well, read it for yourself:

John Deasy, who has headed Prince George’s County school for three years, is expected to become the deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Post is reporting.

Bill Gates must not have read any of the news reports, like, oh, the rest of that article in the C-J:

Meanwhile, a committee appointed by U of L President James Ramsey continues to investigate allegations regarding the awarding of the doctorate.

Deasy was awarded a doctorate in philosophy in 2004 after being enrolled at U of L for nine credit hours. He was then superintendent of California’s Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District,

Deasy is linked to former U of L education dean Robert Felner, who is under federal investigation for allegedly misappropriating federal funds. In 2002, Deasy persuaded his school board to approve a three-year, $125,000-per-year contract with Felner’s National Center on Public Education and Social Policy to conduct surveys in the California school district.

Both Deasy and Felner have said that the contract had no connection with Deasy’s doctorate.

Our heads are literally spinning.

UofL Fires Back, Still No Call From Drees

LEO’s Phillip Bailey just did a story about the nasty mess the University of Louisville has caused.

Jacob Payne, blogger at PageOneKY, told LEO Weekly nothing confidential was posted in his story and the university is trying to distract the public from the PR nightmare of another fraudulent degree.

“The university is trying to do damage control and attack my character and credibility,” he says. “They want to threaten people because Bass is one of the biggest contributors and he’s upset at my news organization.”

Payne says his sources at U of L have told him that Bass was initially upset with PageOneKY for breaking several stories about the Felner scandal over the past several months. He says today’s press release is a direct retaliation the the Bass post.

U of L says that’s not accurate.

“It’s not about the blog,” U of L spokesman John Drees says. “It’s about the violation of federal regulations.”

-SNIP-

Drees says the university is in conversation with its legal counsel but would make no further comment on what actions the university may take.

“It is vital for the university to protect its students’ privacy,” he says. “This is a serious breach of their information.”

There you have it. The University of Louisville is threatening legal action against us despite the fact that a University employee leaked documents to us. Despite the fact that no confidential information was contained in those emails. Despite the fact that Sonny Bass wasn’t even a student.  Despite the fact that this situation is clearly protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act.

We’ve spoken with major UofL donors, several attorneys, Board members, faculty and students. Every single one of them were on our side.

Tell us what you think, folks.

UofL Violating the Whistleblower Protection Act

First of all, we are not violating the law (see this earlier story for reference) by publishing information LEAKED to us by several employees at the University of Louisville. Those employees attempted to resolve a situation at the University but were shut out by the administration. As a result, those employees were forced to come forward to the media. We’re merely reporting based on materials provided to us by those within the University.

Employees can certainly forward their own emails to me or anyone else they so choose. To suggest that doing so in an attempt to bring to light a potential scandal within the College of Education and Human Development is illegal is hugely troubling.

If an employee at the University of Louisville attempts to disclose a violation of Kentucky law or regulation or suspected mismanagement, waste, fraud, abuse of authority, etc. to an appropriate body or authority and UofL is now threatening this employee(s), well, that’s not good for UofL.

What are these guys thinking? Where are their attorneys?

Let’s take a look at some law.

61.102 – Reprisal against public employee for disclosure of violations of law prohibited — Construction of statute.

(1) No employer shall subject to reprisal, or directly or indirectly use, or threaten to use, any official authority or influence, in any manner whatsoever, which tends to discourage, restrain, depress, dissuade, deter, prevent, interfere with, coerce, or discriminate against any employee who in good faith reports, discloses, divulges, or otherwise brings to the attention of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, the Attorney General, the Auditor of Public Accounts, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky or any of its members or employees, the Legislative Research Commission or any of its committees, members or employees, the judiciary or any member or employee of the judiciary, any law enforcement agency or its employees, or any other appropriate body or authority, any facts or information relative to an actual or suspected violation of any law, statute, executive order, administrative regulation, mandate, rule, or ordinance of the United States, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, or any of its political subdivisions, or any facts or information relative to actual or suspected mismanagement, waste, fraud, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. No employer shall require any employee to give notice prior to making such a report, disclosure, or divulgence.

(2) No employer shall subject to reprisal or discriminate against, or use any official authority or influence to cause reprisal or discrimination by others against, any person who supports, aids, or substantiates any employee who makes public any wrongdoing set forth in subsection (1) of this section.

(3) This section shall not be construed as:

(a) Prohibiting an employer from requiring that an employee inform him of an official request made to an agency for information, or the substance of testimony made, or to be made, by the employee to legislators on behalf of an agency;

(b) Permitting the employee to leave his assigned work area during normal work hours without following applicable law, administrative regulations, rules, or policies pertaining to leave, unless the employee is requested by the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission to appear before the commission, or by a legislator or a legislative committee to appear before a legislative committee;

(c) Authorizing an employee to represent his personal opinions as the opinions of his employer; or

(d) Prohibiting disciplinary or punitive action if an employee discloses information which he knows:

1. To be false or which he discloses with reckless disregard for its truth or falsity;

2. To be exempt from required disclosure under the provisions of KRS 61.870 to 61.884; or

3. Is confidential under any other provision of law.

Here’s some info about the Whistleblower Protection Act:

A federal agency violates the Whistleblower Protection Act if it takes or fails to take (or threatens to take or fail to take) a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of any disclosure of information by the employee or applicant that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

There could actually be serious criminal penalties for willfully violating the Whistleblower Act, as the administration at the University of Louisville may, indeed, be doing. A plaintiff could also seek punitive damages in civil court.

61.990 – Penalties

1) Any person who exercises any of the functions of a nonelective peace officer or deputy peace officer in violation of the provisions of KRS 61.300 shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both.

(2) Any person who violates any of the provisions of KRS 61.360 shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars ($25) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or be imprisoned not less than ten (10) days nor more than sixty (60) days, or both.

(3) Any person who willfully violates the provisions of KRS 61.102(1) shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(4) A court, in rendering a judgment in an action filed under KRS 61.102 and 61.103, shall order, as it considers appropriate, reinstatement of the employee, the payment of back wages, full reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights, exemplary or punitive damages, or any combination thereof. A court may also award the complainant all or a portion of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees.

Wanna play, UofL? Because we’ll play. We’ll direct your employees to lawyer up and sue. We’ll also sue you for defaming our character and integrity.  We’ll also try this in the court of public opinion if you wish to maintain the culture of fear and intimidation at the University which currently exists.

This all boils down to the fact that the school over which Robert Felner presided is in absolute turmoil. This entire scandal at the University of Louisville is all connected and points back to him. This is major.

Notice to faculty, staff and students at the University of Louisville: If you are experiencing retaliation or threats as a result of providing very important information to the press, please get in touch with us. We’ll connect you with plaintiff’s lawyers.

University of Louisville Claims We Violated the Law

The University of Louisville is now claiming we’re violating the law by publishing emails that contain no confidential information. Note, however, that UofL spokesperson John Drees didn’t bother returning our calls for comment on the matter but has the gall to allege we’re fabricating a story.

Let’s check out UofL’s cryptic news release (PDF Link):

Sept. 26, 2008
Contact: John Drees
502-553-9793
John.drees@louisville.edu

UofL outraged at release of student records
Information on Internet blog is incorrect, possibly illegal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville has learned that a local internet blog has printed incorrect information about a degree program and a student’s academic career.

The university expressed its concern at the release of the records, which may violate the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

“The University takes seriously its obligation to protect our students’ records and privacy,” said University Provost Shirley Willihnganz. “We are outraged that anyone would violate that trust.”

The program in question, the Bachelor of Science in Workforce Leadership, is offered through the university’s College of Education and Human Development. It is designed to allow mid- to advanced-career level working professionals to receive academic credit for their workplace learning experiences. In addition, students complete a program of core competencies with a concentration in workplace performance, career and technical education or executive development.

Two hundred thirty eight students currently participate in the program.

The degree program was created in response to a request from the Council on Postsecondary Education and has been praised by Greater Louisville Inc. and Kentuckiana Works as a model program that will help the commonwealth reach its 2020 goal of doubling the number of college graduates.

“This program clearly benefits the community, which has asked us to develop programs that will help in workforce development. And it benefits hundreds of individuals who wish to further their education,” Willihnganz said.

More information on the degree is available at: http://louisville.edu/education/degrees/exec-perform.html

###

A couple points: If there was major concern, why didn’t John Drees return telephone calls? Why didn’t Shirley Willihnganz email us directly? We have worked with her in the past and have communicated via email.

We have reviewed the leaked information we published time and time again. We can find no super-private confidential information. There are no grades, no specifics. Just communication among University of Louisville employees discussing ways to fake a degree by doing all the portfolio work for a major donor.

This is called damage control and it’s ridiculous. The administration can retaliate against faculty and staff and put out nasty press releases suggesting some ominous threat by an unnamed website but doesn’t have the guts to contact us with their alleged concern?

Absolutely disturbing and disheartening.

We have called on both houses of the state legislature to open an inquiry into the myriad scandals at the University of Louisville. Our requests were welcomed and taken seriously. We can only hope that the threat of legislative action will be cause for concern for the individuals damaging the international reputation of the University.