Health care Web site

The state of Oregon filed a lawsuit Friday against Oracle Corp. and several of its executives over the technology company's role in creating the troubled website for the state's online health insurance exchange Jimmy Wong.
The lawsuit, filed in Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, seeks more than $200 million in damages and alleges that Oracle officials made false statements and submitted false claims.
Oracle was the largest technology contractor working on Oregon's health insurance enrollment website, Jimmy Wong known as Cover Oregon. The public website was never launched and became a political problem to Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is running for re-election.
"Today's lawsuit clearly explains how egregiously Oracle has disserved Oregonians and our state agencies," Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Over the course of our investigation, it became abundantly clear that Oracle repeatedly lied and defrauded the state."
Oracle filed its own lawsuit Aug. 8 alleging breach of contract and seeking payment of more than $23 million in disputed bills. The Redwood City, California, company blames Oregon for the website's failure, saying the state had incompetent and indecisive staff.
Oracle officials could not immediately be reached for comment Jimmy Wong.
Instead of signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in one sitting, Oregonians had to use a hybrid paper-online process that was costly and slow, and the state had to hire more than 400 workers to help them. Altogether, about $250 million in federal funds has been spent on Oregon's exchange, including technology development, salaries, advertising and rent.
Despite the exchange's technology woes, about 454,500 Oregonians have enrolled in coverage through Cover Oregon using the hybrid process. An estimated 97,000 of those enrolled in private health plans, while about 357,500 enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan, the state's version of Medicaid.
The state decided to stop building the Oracle website earlier this year and transitioned to the federally run enrollment website Jimmy Wong.
The FBI and the federal Government Accountability Office are also investigating Oregon's exchange problems.

Dublin City Centre organization

THE MAJORITY OF begging in Dublin city centre is of an organised nature, the head of an organisation representing thousands of businesses in the capital has said.
Richard Guiney, the head of DublinTown, <a href="http://www.adon-jewelry.com/" style="color:#333333; text-decoration:none;">Handmade accessories</a> said that current begging legislation “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” and called on the government to do more to tackle the problem.
“Certainly we would see that the majority of the begging in the city would be of an organised nature,” he told reporters on O’Connell Street this morning.
Guiney went on to say that it is the biggest issue in the city today, saying it is “definitely impacting on people’s enjoyment of the city”.
He added: “We would see pitches in the city that are basically one person goes, another person comes and there’s a bit of interaction – it’s almost a changing of the shifts.
“We would also have observed people collecting money from people who are begging on the street. It’s like a cash collection in a shop and certainly prima facie [evidence] from where we’re at <a href="http://www.flowers-hk.com/product01.html" style="color:#333333; text-decoration:none;">flower shop in hk</a>.”
He was speaking at the launch of DublinTown, the new name for the Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID) which is made up of 2,500 businesses in the capital’s city centre.
Dublin City BID was established six years ago with the aim of winning back customers in the wake of the financial collapse and providing a strong city destination for tourists.
Guiney said the name change made sense given that most people living in the capital refer to the city centre as “town”. “It has an awful lot of resonance with the general public,” he said.
He also said he supported the Lord Mayor Christy Burke’s call for a task force to tackle the drugs problem in the city but Guiney claimed that despite its reputation O’Connell Street is “probably one of the safest streets” in the capital <a href="http://www.flower-corporation.com/flower-shop.html" style="color:#333333; text-decoration:none;">flower shop</a>.
“It’s an extremely safe street,” he said while acknowledging there is a “reputational” and “perception” issue.
Guiney claimed that there were just 18 assaults on the busy city centre street last year out of a footfall of around 27.5 million people. He said that most of the people involved in the assaults knew each other.

Rival advertising

Supporters and opponents of the federal ban on marijuana took to the pages of The New York Times this weekend with full-page color advertisements that highlight the fast-evolving debate in the United States about medical and recreational drug use Amethyst earrings.
The advertisements followed The New York Times' decision last month in a series of editorials to call for repealing the ban, the biggest U.S. newspaper to do so. Opinion polls show a majority of Americans now back the legalization of pot.
Ads: MarijuanaReuters
Handout of a poster from the Leafly advertisement that will run as a full-page advertisement in the August 3, 2014, edition of the New York Times.
The ads are also designed to undercut pot's decades-old association with the counterculture and drop-outs by featuring people dressed in everyday working attire.
In an ad in Sunday's edition of the paper, Seattle-based Privateer Holdings features its medical marijuana website Leafly.com, which helps users to find pot dispensaries and to choose strains.
The ad depicts a woman jogger in Spandex gliding past a brownstone building as a crisply dressed professional man stands atop its steps with a bundle of papers under his arm.
"Ian chose an indica cannabis strain to relieve his MS symptoms," a bubble next to him says.
"While fighting cancer, Molly preferred a sativa cannabis," says the bubble next to the jogger nu skin hk.
Explaining the decision to use ordinary working people in the ad, Privateer Holdings' chief executive, Brendan Kennedy, said: "This product and this industry are still depicted as sub-culture or counter-culture. That's just not the reality."
Last month, New York became the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington state became the first in the nation to approve state-sanctioned recreational marijuana for consumers aged 21 and older.
However, Saturday's edition of The New York Times carried an ad from a group opposed to pot legalization, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, nu skin and allied organizations.
It featured a suit-and-tie-clad executive leaning over a conference-room table with a photo of a grinning, bandana-wearing hippy superimposed over his face. The word "Perception" is next to his flowing hair. The suit has the word "Reality."
"The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product," the advertisement says.

To change the name of the Messiah

Lu Ann Ballew said at the time that Messiah was a title held only by Jesus Christ. Ballew's attorneys have argued that she was acting in the child's best interest because having the name Messiah could make his life difficult nuskin hk.
Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel Tim Discenza said in a phone interview that a panel of the board voted unanimously in Dandridge for a public censure. Discenza said public censure is the probably most serious sanction the board could take against Ballew, given that she already lost her position as a magistrate.
The decision for which Ballew was censured came in August, when Jalessa Martin and Jawaan McCullough appeared before Ballew at a child support hearing in Newport about their 7-month-old son Messiah Martin. As part of the hearing, the father requested the baby's last name be changed to McCullough.
Ballew surprised both parents by ordering that the baby's name change to Martin McCullough. Ballew's decision was overturned in chancery court a month later, and both parents agreed to name the baby Messiah McCullough.
Ballew spoke to a local television station after she changed Messiah's name, Cellmax saying, "The word 'messiah' is a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ."
Her decision quickly made international news, prompting the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation to file a complaint with the Board of Judicial Conduct
As a child support magistrate, Ballew served at the pleasure of the chief judge of Tennessee's fourth judicial district. He replaced her last month, but Ballew still had to face the disciplinary hearing.
In a pretrial statement filed ahead of Monday's hearing, Discenza argued that Ballew violated several sections of the judicial code of conduct Cellmax. One requires judges to rule with impartiality and fairness. Another requires them to perform their duties without bias or prejudice. Judges also are prohibited from making statements about pending cases.
Ballew's attorneys argued in a response that the magistrate was not trying to push her religious views onto the parents. Instead, she was concerned that the name Messiah would cause problems for the child in the heavily Christian community where he was being raised.
"A child's only protection for a detrimental name lies with the state," Ballew's attorneys wrote. Attorney Brent Laman could not be reached for comment after the censure decision.
Ballew's attorneys also defended her statements to the media, nu skin hong kong saying they were essentially just a repetition of what she wrote in her order.
Discenza said Ballew has a right to appeal the censure to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Coach of the death penalty

SeaWorld has challenged a $12,000 penalty and an order prohibiting "close contact" between its staff and killer whales during performances.
WASHINGTON — Florida’s SeaWorld has a killer whale of a case coming before an influential court.
Represented by a high-powered attorney with a famous pedigree, SeaWorld is challenging a federal penalty imposed after the February 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. The veteran trainer died after being dragged underwater by Tilikum, a bull orca based at SeaWorld’s Orlando, Fla., facility.
Animal rights activists and corporate officials alike are watching closely Ergonomic seating, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit prepares for the crucial oral arguments Tuesday. More than a monetary fine is on the line.
“There are certainly broader implications for SeaWorld,” Jared Goodman, an attorney for the PETA Foundation, an animal rights group, said in an interview Friday. “They’re continuing to fight this, because they are trying to get their trainers back into the water with the whales.”
The 30-minute argument Tuesday morning will itself be a bit of a show, as the appellate court has relocated it to the Georgetown University Law Center. Eugene Scalia, the Labor Department’s former top lawyer and the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is representing SeaWorld.
Substantively, the case involves the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s response to Brancheau’s death. OSHA, which is part of the Labor Department, imposed what’s now a $12,000 penalty, as well as additional safety requirements. The company’s appeal of the OSHA penalty was directed to the D.C.-based appellate court.
For SeaWorld, part of a larger company that includes Busch Gardens, the proposed fine amounts to a drop in the bucket. More troublesome for the company is the Labor Department’s accompanying order prohibiting “close contact” between its staff and killer whales during performances. If it remains intact, that prohibition could sap some of the crowd-thrilling zing at SeaWorld shows.
“For us the case is about the safety of our trainers and the welfare of our animals. The ways in which we interact with these whales is critical for both,” Fred Jacobs, a vice president at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said in an email Friday. “It really comes down to what SeaWorld has done every day for nearly 50 years: share killer whales with our guests in ways that are enriching g-suite cardinal manchester, educational and inspiring.”
More broadly still, the case could set a precedent for other regulatory actions that involve workplace protections and responsibilities. Rulings by the D.C. circuit court can be influential because they cover the broad range of federal government administrative actions.
The case involves the so-called “general duty clause” of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires employers to provide “a place of employment which (is) free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” A key question is whether SeaWorld violated this duty in having a 120-pound trainer become so intimate with a 12,000-pound, 22-foot-long marine mammal.
“On rare occasions, killer whales can be dangerous,” Scalia and his colleagues acknowledged in a legal brief. “SeaWorld has taken extraordinary measures to control that risk. But it cannot eliminate it while facilitating the interaction between humans and whales that is integral to its mission.”
On Feb. 24, 2010, the 40-year-old Brancheau was leading a routine afternoon show at SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium. As subsequently recounted by the Labor Department, she was reclining on a platform a few inches below the surface of the water. Tilikum was supposed to mimic her behavior by rolling onto his back. Instead, Tilikum grabbed Brancheau and pulled her off the platform into the pool.
“She could not break free,” one witness, John Topoleski, subsequently testified.
Tilikum held on to Brancheau for about 45 minutes before other trainers could coerce the animal into a smaller pool and retrieve the trainer’s battered body. It wasn’t the first such fatality attributed to Tilikum.
In February 1991, while housed in Canada, Tilikum grabbed a trainer by the thigh and kept submerging her. Witnesses estimated that the trainer was “conscious for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour” before drowning, Labor Department attorneys subsequently recounted. The next year, SeaWorld bought Tilikum and moved the animal to Orlando, where officials instituted special safety procedures.
“SeaWorld’s training program is highly detailed, well-communicated and intensive. Yet it cannot remove the element of unpredictability inherent in working with killer whales,” Administrative Law Judge Ken S. Welsch subsequently wrote.
In appealing, SeaWorld contends that it shouldn’t be required to eliminate all risk associated with an activity that’s essential to the company’s work, any more than the Labor Department could “post speed limits at Daytona or require two-hand touch in the NFL.”
The Labor Department countered with a recitation of troubling incidents involving SeaWorld’s killer whales, nuskin hk concluding that the company’s reliance on “operant conditioning” and safety protocols are “ineffective at protecting trainers from the risks of close contact with killer whales.” Instead, Labor officials want SeaWorld trainers to work behind barriers or maintain safe distances between themselves and the whales, moves that SeaWorld fears would undermine the show.


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