Tuesday Dept of Snow’s Coming, Maybe?

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday, folks.

The Legislative Session ramps back up in Frankfort today so we’re in for an interesting few weeks. Get ready, ladies, because there’s going to be all kinds of bickering, yelling and hand wringing.

Governor Steve Beshear has asked President Barack Obama for federal assistance to pay for the ice storm cleanup. [Bluegrass Politics]

Is 30 cents the new cigarette tax hike amount? Mark Hebert thinks so. [Hebert]

Greg Stumbo and David Williams are reviving the old capitol tradition of a joint Friday press conference. [Stephenie Steitzer]

As a reminder: If you suspect price gouging related to the ice storm? Contact the Office of the Attorney general at 1-888-432-9257 or email icestormcomplaints@ag.ky.gov. [Press Release]

WAIT WAIT! How hilarious is THIS mess? Daniel Mongiardo will be speaking to the Young Professionals Association of Louisville about– get this– “Diversity in the Obama Age.” HAHAHAHA! We hope Dr. Ricky Jones, Rico Nieto, Bonita Black and Julie Tam ask Mongiardo about his fancy gay panic that started in 2004. [YPAL]

Miss the Super Bowl? Watch the commercials. On the internets. [Huffington Post]

Senate Republicans are queening out over Barack Obama’s stimulus plan. The interesting thing? The Senate GOP’s stimulus plan hocked by Mitch McConnell costs 3.5 times as much! [Think Progress]

Jack Conway on Cyber Safety & the Weather

Here’s Jack Conway’s latest…

For the second time in just six months, Mother Nature has again tested our resolve. The destructive winds that swept across Kentucky in September have been replaced by snow, ice and bitter cold. Although very different storms; the end result is much the same. A record number of Kentucky families are again without power, homes are damaged, lives have been lost and Kentucky is in a state of emergency. My thoughts and prayers are with the more than 600,000 families who lost power in the wake of this devastating winter storm.

It is during times of natural disaster that we see both the best and worst in people. In September, I was reminded time and again of what it truly means to be a Kentuckian; neighbors helping one another and strangers coming to the aid of those in need. However, we were also reminded that there are people who seek to profit while others suffer.

That is why Governor Beshear and I have again acted quickly to ensure that those who have fallen victim to the winter storm will not be victimized a second time by storm related price-gouging.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreJack Conway on Cyber Safety & the Weather

Jack Found a Bad Guy in Pilot

When you think about these evil corporations jacking up gas prices during emergencies, there’s a part of all of us that wishes we could just catch them in the act and expose them. It’s like wishing you could catch the kid who took a baseball bat to your mailbox, or the guy who keyed the side of your car.

Today Jack Conway told Kentuckians about a Knoxville, Tenn.-based corporation that won’t admit to price gouging, but has still agreed to pay $100,000 to the state as a result of Conway’s investigation. Seems they’re getting away lightly.

So if you’re looking for someone to blame for gas price gouging, try Pilot Travel Centers LLC. It is a $16 billion company that operates 300 stations in 40 states. On the company website, it touts its principles of honesty and says it is “people-oriented.” But Conway says five of its stations were making $1 a gallon profits after a state of emergency was declared Sept. 12. Stations that got caught were in Corbin, Williamsburg, Middlesboro, Franklin and Oak Grove.

As part of its settlement with the state, Pilot gets to “deny any wrongdoing.” Can you imagine those negotiations?Could that have been an important consideration to Pilot? I think so.

Pilot’s president is Jimmy Haslam, a guy who recently bought a share of the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving you another reason to pull for the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. His brother Bill is the Republican Mayor of Knoxville and just announced his candidacy for governor of Tennessee. Jimmy has done fund-raising for his brother’s campaigns.

Sure, it would be great if those stations were really made to pay, somehow, by citizens. But boycotts don’t work, and in those small cities the Pilot station is likely one of few options. But allegations of price gouging certainly wouldn’t sit well with voters in Tennessee, would they?

Meanwhile, here in Kentucky, the investigation continues, focused on the impact of the 1997 Ashland Oil/Marathon merger. Let’s hope Jack points us to some bad guys who can tell us why we’ve been paying more for gas here than in other parts of the state. Now that would be fun.

More on Robert Felner’s Alleged Detainment

Federal prosecutors say Robert Felner wasn’t held against his will and also say he didn’t ask for an attorney during the day the University of Louisville scandal broke.

Former University of Louisville education dean Robert Felner was not held against his will, nor did he ask for an attorney during a seven-hour interview with federal authorities in June, according to a motion filed by federal prosecutors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Calhoun filed the motion after Felner’s attorney asked a judge last month to suppress statements Felner made to a U of L detective and a U.S. postal inspector during a June 20, 2008 interview at the College of Education and Human Development.

-SNIP-

But in a response filed yesterday, Calhoun said Felner was never in custody.

He said Felner chose to conduct the interview in his conference room and was repeatedly told he was not under arrest. Calhoun noted “the atmosphere of the interview was neither coercive nor intimidating,” although, he noted, Felner did lose his temper a couple of times.

Calhoun said Felner left the conference room several times, and although he was escorted, it was only to assure the integrity of the search.

We can’t wait til this is all over so the prosecution can tell us all about him losing his temper.

Oh Snap Monday! Lexington Is Screwed, Hard!

With David Huber out as U.S. Attorney, what will become of the Robert Felner prosecution? [C-J]

Aww, Barry called Pork Rind while he was at Kroger. It’s the second time this has happened. [Heffalumps]

Where is Governor Steve Beshear’s long-term solution? Can the Commonwealth survive with quick fix after quick fix? Greg Stumbo’s slots at tracks bill isn’t going to save us. The cigarette tax isn’t going to save us (it’s Kentucky, so you know we can’t even reach a $1 with it). And David WIlliams certainly isn’t going to help. [Larry Dale Keeling]

It’s silly that the state is planning to take a loss on Jon Draud’s luxury car. Why not keep it for his successor? The Commonwealth will just end up buying a new car for that person, anyway. Maybe someone should think this decision through before actually going through with it? Goodness. [C-J]

Dozens of northern Kentucky high school students are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. Despite, of course, refusals to help from Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning. We hear the only person who bothered to help in gaining access to the massive event was Rep. Geoff Davis, who doesn’t even represent the district the kids are from. [Pat Crowley by way of Kentucky Women]

Mitch McConnell isn’t a conservative. He’s not the savior of the Republican Party, as many spinning members of the RPK would have you believe. He’s a pork machine and sells out to the highest bidder. [The Daily Beast]

State lawmakers are looking at $656 million in school district contingency funds to balance the budget. Meanwhile, Kentucky remains uneducated, poor and broken. It’s right up Frankfort’s alley to dumb, I guess, by spending education dollars like crazy. [Mark Hebert]

The feds have reversed an earlier decision and now will allow the Transit Authority of River City to continue providing circulator service in and around the University of Louisville. And Miller Transportation is probably back at the drawing board, trying to figure out a way to kill the public service (it loses money) TARC provides the community. [C-J]

It’s not surprising that Lexington’s failure of a mayor (Jim Newberry) is silent on the Blue Grass Airport scandal. Vice Mayor Jim Gray is spot-on to say the public expects accountability and they expect a public voice that insists on it. So much for Newberry saying we shouldn’t be meddling in airport business. We think Newberry needs to be investigated, audited, yadda yadda. What the hell is up with this guy? Really? Newberry is done. [H-L]

You’ve gotta read all about the $332,000 flushed down the toilet by the Blue Grass Airport buffoons. Ryan Alessi and Jennifer Hewlett have pieced together a disgusting timeline of the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted. Strip clubs, Wiis, sports tickets, concert tickets, meals, hundreds of dollars worth of gasoline per day. [THIS IS SICK]

Wednesday Dept of Yesterday Was Pure Insanity

In case you missed it last night, check all the shenanigans of the House Leadership elections. [Page One]

Louisvillian and musical icon Will Oldham gets profiled in the New Yorker. Probably one of the best articles about him that we’ve ever read. [New Yorker]

Ha – Jody says he’s not the super counter he thought it was. At least he has a sense of humor. And then there’s this: When asked whether he thought Gov. Steve Beshear meddled in the race between him and Rep. Greg Stumbo, Richards declined to comment. His wife, Neva, however, stood next to him and swiftly nodded her head up and down. [Stephenie Steitzer]

So how right or wrong was Mark Hebert? [Mark Hebert]

Larry Dale has the vote totals. Stumbo 34, Richards 31; Clark 47, Jenkins 18; Stacy 33, Thompson 32; Bigoted Damron 34, Hoffman 31. We hope Kelly Flood feels great about supporting Bob Damron. We hope she’ll feel even better the next time he attempts to legislate hatred and ignorance. [Larry Dale Keeling]

Indeed, Andy, indeed. The governor is certainly flirting with disaster. [Kentucky Club for Growth]

The United States Attorney’s office says it needs more time to prepare for the case against Robert Felner. Meanwhile, Scott Cox is still babbling on about Felner’s right’s being violated when he was interrogated about squandering/stealing millions and millions of OUR tax dollars. [WLKY]

Is Harry Moberly out as budget chair? Harry got the best line of press yesterday, in reference to Greg Stumbo, “I was one of the ones who engineered the revolt that made it more open and broader,” Moberly said. “If he’s saying I’ve been against that, then he’s lying.” [Ronnie Ellis]

Greg Stumbo admits that there were fights within the caucus yesterday. [State Journal]

Don’t you love how the Associated Press refers to Martin Cothran’s hate organization as a “pro-family” group? He’s now communications director for Say No To Casinos, which means we know that it’s not really about casinos or gambling. The far right wing thinks gambling brings in the scary homosexuals who want to recruit your children! [WAVE3]

Speaking of Cock-run… Yeah, Marty, I’m here. Bend over, sweetie, and take it like a champ because you’ll need Democrats on your self-hating side if you want to stop gambling. [Self-Hater]