Venturing into the epicenter of Kentucky’s fight against heroin addiction, national drug czar Michael Botticelli on Thursday touted needle-exchange programs as effective grassroots initiatives to combat the spread of infectious disease and to steer heroin users into treatment. [H-L]

When Rand Paul announced his candidacy for president last week, he declared his plans to help America “take our country back.” Singer-songwriter Jill Sobule has an important question for the 2016 contender: “What the fuck do you mean?” [HuffPo]

Dark money has seeped into Kentucky’s current Republican gubernatorial primary and it’s likely to turn the election a lot darker before the May 19 election. [C-J/AKN]

“Sandy Hook is just the beginning. We’re raising a generation of mass killers.” [ThinkProgress]

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking competitive proposals from Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to coordinate the healthcare services provided to more than 1.1 million Kentuckians who have met eligibility requirements and are enrolled in either traditional Medicaid or Medicaid expansion. The current contracts with Anthem, Aetna (Coventry Cares), Humana (CareSource), Passport and Wellcare are set to expire on June 30, 2015. The new contracts will take effect July 1, 2015. [Press Release]

US President Barack Obama has said his meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro will help both countries “turn the page” after decades of hostility. [BBC]

Highway fatalities in Kentucky increased in 2014 after a record low in 2013. There were 672 fatalities last year, 34 more then 2013. [Press Release]

They may not be the most attractive creatures in the world, and they scare the life out of many people, but you have to feel bad for the bat. [NPR]

Look what the Kentucky Baptist Convention bigots are up to these days. Promoting their bigoted Sunrise Children’s Services scam. [Ashland Independent]

As prosecutors put the finishing touches on the 2008 indictment of Blackwater security contractors for a deadly shooting in Iraq, the F.B.I. agents leading the investigation became convinced that political appointees in the Justice Department were intentionally undermining the case, internal emails show. [NY Times]

Glasgow police Lt. Col. Guy Turcotte, the department’s former chief, received verbal and written reprimands in the past week since returning from extended time off, according to documents obtained Friday afternoon by the Daily Times through open records requests. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement on Sunday lit up Facebook, making a bigger splash than the announcements of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Wingnut) or Sen. Rand Paul (R-Miniature Texan). [The Hill]

With the formidable USS Yorktown as a backdrop, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul declared Thursday that he would “never take the country to war without just cause and without constitutional approval of Congress.” [H-L]

Visitors to the White House whose gender identity doesn’t align with a male/female binary now have have a safe space to use the restroom. [HuffPo]

Last Week Not Great For Liberty Christ

If you missed it last week, the now former embattled Montgomery County Schools superintendent was fired with a list of sixteen pages of charges read against him. [Page One & More Page One]

Two Kentucky high schools are investigating allegations in an online sports article that a student athlete was harassed and outed as gay during a December basketball tournament in Lexington. [H-L]

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign will center on boosting economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families, while casting the former senator and secretary of state as a “tenacious fighter” able to get results, two senior advisers said Saturday. President Barack Obama all but endorsed her, saying “I think she would be an excellent president.” [HuffPo]

Hal Heiner is afraid to tell anyone he’s from Louisville. And Jamie Comer is afraid to tell anyone he let his ego get to him and all hell is breaking loose behind the scenes of his world. [C-J/AKN]

A week after Outsports posted the story of gay Kentucky basketball player Dalton Maldonado, questions still swirl around the incident that forced the high school senior out of the closet. [Outsports]

Jamie Comer probably shouldn’t speak out of both sides of his mouth on equality. He can’t tell me one thing and then say another when inside a church with a bunch of other Republicans. That’s cowardly. [WKMS]

What do Rand Paul’s wife and Jack Conway (him, not his wife) have in common? They were both blonde(?) cheerleaders. [Daily Mail]

Trimble Co. Magistrate Donald W. McCarty was arrested on domestic violence charges Wednesday, according to State Police. [WTVQ]

Rand Paul used to be libertarian. Now he describes himself as “libertarian-ish.” [Politico]

Production costs for a handful of U.S. coal producers declined in 2014, but some Illinois Basin producers actually reported higher costs, according to a cost-of-coal-sales-per-ton analysis by SNL Energy. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

The stacks of Supreme Court briefs filed on both sides of the same-sex marriage cases to be heard this month are roughly the same height. But they are nonetheless lopsided: There are no major law firms urging the justices to rule against gay marriage. [NY Times]

Local hospital workers will have to work harder next year if they hope to surpass the food collection efforts of area students, although officials at River Cities Harvest say the tons of nutrition contributed by both Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and King’s Daughters Medical Center will make a world of difference for local families. [Ashland Independent]

Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged. [WaPo]

Steve Beshear has asked for a state investigation into allegations that the Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development mismanaged federal workforce investment dollars that are used to help people find work. [H-L]

President Barack Obama said Saturday that partisan wrangling over the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran and on other foreign policy matters has gone beyond the pale, singling out two senior Republican senators for particularly harsh criticism. “It needs to stop,” he declared. [HuffPo]

Secret Sannie Shows Her True Colors

We still can’t stop laughing at how hard Sannie “Secret Sannie” Overly and the Democrats are fighting to keep their corruption secret. [H-L]

Global warming isn’t just affecting the weather, it’s harming Americans’ health, President Barack Obama said Tuesday as he announced steps government and businesses will take to better understand and deal with the problem. [HuffPo]

A day after announcing his bid for the White House in Louisville, Sen. Rand Paul got into a verbal scrapes with members of the media. [C-J/AKN]

Rand Paul (R-Garden Gnome), already in the spotlight for a televised fight with “Today” Show host Savannah Guthrie, got into a heated exchange over abortion on Wednesday with an Associated Press reporter. AP reporter Philip Elliott’s interview with Paul became heated after Elliott pressed the presidential candidate to say whether victims of rape should be able to get abortions. [The Hill]

In Milford on Wednesday, Paul said “when the founders of New Hampshire came up with the motto ‘Live Free or Die’, they didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.” But the phrase didn’t become the state motto until 1945, and it wasn’t a state founder who came up with it. [WKYT]

Rand Paul has skipped most Homeland Security hearings since 2014, a review of videos and documents related to the hearings show. [BuzzFeed]

For Hazard native Jonathan Beatty, everything changed when he read the now-infamous New York Times article, “What’s the Matter with Eastern Kentucky?” [Hazard Herald]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday it was unlikely to approve new or expanded uses of certain pesticides while it evaluates the risks they may pose to honey bees. [Reuters]

Speaking at a meeting of the Harlan Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board member Ken Crider asked businesses to begin displaying signs or pictures supporting local tourist attractions, along with welcoming signs for visitors. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Neither Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky nor New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was invited to address the NRA’s Leadership Forum. [Politico]

The group that sought to replace the existing board of directors for T.J. Samson Community Hospital has decided it will not pursue further legal options after the Kentucky Court of Appeals on March 20 upheld a lower-court ruling against the group. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A proposal to nearly triple the maximum compensation for workers who lose a limb follows a ProPublica/NPR story that showed Alabama to have the lowest permanent partial disability benefits in the country. [ProPublica]

Less than 24 hours after Rand Paul announced his White House bid before dozens of jubilant, flag-waving supporters, his fledgling presidential campaign seemed to be defined more by his defiant performance when the cheering stopped. [H-L]

U.S. President Barack Obama called on Wednesday for an end to psychiatric therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender youth, the White House said. [HuffPo]

Another Misleading Line From Comer

Check out Jamie Comer’s latest ad… in which he believes he’s running against President Barack Obama:

Here’s the deal: he didn’t stand up to Obama’s DEA.

Holly Harris stood up on the hemp front.

I know first-hand because I was there. I was the person who told her (warning for offensive and insensitive language), “Don’t be a pussy, Holly!” when she was at the federal court house. Comer was paranoid and reluctant about fighting back.

He wouldn’t even stand up for himself when he traveled to Washington, D.C. He had other people with him who had to do it. Which should surprise absolutely no one at this point.

Comer’s people — namely lobbyist Riggs Lewis — assured me that Comer would not continue to take sole credit for the work of others. But whattya know. That’s exactly what he’s doing.

The best part, though? Several former staffers who are no fans of Harris have come forward to tell us some unsurprising stories. Turns out, quite a few people have resigned from the Comer world only to have him spread rumors and malign their characters after they moved on to bigger and better things. Like allegedly calling the new employer of a former staffer to make claims that they’re addled with drugs.

If you value truth over political allegiances, Jamie Comer will smear you into the ground like he’s a Democrat on Jack Conway’s team.

That doesn’t mean his opponents on either side are any better. But let’s stop putting the man on a pedestal as some political saint.

Fun Year Of Rand Embarrassing You Begins…

Katie Prager would just like to go home to Flemingsburg and live with her husband. She is 24 and, in theory, her life is ahead of her. But instead, she is stuck in a room at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, and her lungs hurt. A lot. [H-L]

Rand Paul briefly appears in a new documentary that argues gay rights are a threat to Christianity. “I don’t think I’ve ever used the word gay rights, because I don’t really believe in rights based on your behavior,” he said in the video. [HuffPo]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the Louisville area off its list of cities that fail to meet the latest clean-air standard for soot. But the federal agency did not go as far as saying Louisville complies with the standard, either. [C-J/AKN]

A ProPublica review of Justice Department statistics in 2012 found that Obama granted fewer petitions for pardon than the four preceding presidents at similar points during their administrations. To date, Obama has granted only 3.4 percent of petitions for pardons and commuted less than one percent of petitions for clemency. He has denied more than 9,000 petitions. [ProPublica]

Several teachers at South Green Elementary School voiced dismay about a decision to rename the school during a sometimes-intense meeting Wednesday morning with Glasgow Independent Schools officials, who said the change is stipulated in an agreement to acquire property they believe will positively affect the entire district. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A pipeline company is suing more than 100 landowners in West Virginia in an attempt to get access to their land, claiming that its proposed pipeline has the right of eminent domain. [ThinkProgress]

Authorities are looking for a Grayson woman charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty. Holly Gillette, of Holly Lane in Grayson, was charged with abandoning nine dogs and one cat, which put them in danger. [Ashland Independent]

Way to go, UK, you’ve made embarrassing national news again. [Reuters]

Kentucky’s vehicle registration receipts will see changes soon as Print On Demand (POD) decals begin popping up in Madison County, according to County Clerk Kenny Barger. Law enforcement officers will notice several changes with the new POD decals and the registration certificates that accompany them. [Richmond Register]

Rand Paul wants to change the GOP from the inside by becoming the party’s standard-bearer in 2016. The Kentucky Republican poised to launch a presidential bid on Tuesday thinks he can capture the Oval Office prize that eluded his father by pulling the GOP in a more libertarian direction. [The Hill]

Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill took time during a recent Harlan Fiscal Court meeting to give an update on the status of the county following the recent blizzard. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Kentucky’s on board the Rand-Wagon? Really? Could have fooled, you know, Kentuckians everywhere. [Politico]

It took a while but Laurel County is back to being the armpit of awful. A Laurel County couple and their adult son were arrested and charged with wanton endangerment after police say they hid inside their home and left a 3-year-old and 5-year-old whom they were supposed to be babysitting alone outside. [H-L]

Almost all Shi’ite paramilitaries had left Tikrit on Saturday after locals complained that some fighters had spent several days looting the Sunni city after helping retake it from Islamic State. [HuffPo]