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State opioid trial enters ‘Day 12’
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State opioid trial enters ‘Day 12’

State opioid trial enters ‘Day 12’
More than 23,000 prescription pills, mostly synthetic opioids were, uncovered by Marietta police and federal agents.

State opioid trial enters ‘Day 12’

The state's opioid trial enters its twelfth day today.

Testimony this week has focused on allegations that Johnson and Johnson improperly influenced doctors about opioids.

The state says documents show that Johnson and Johnson was more concerned about bad publicity on opioids than the impact it would have on sales.

Johnson and Johnson argues it was just trying to educate doctors on the benefits and risks of the drugs.

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  • The state’s highest court heard arguments on a plan to collect signatures for a public vote on whether to expand Medicaid Tuesday. Nearly 178,000 signatures are needed to get the question on the ballot. Supporters say the plan would add about $1 billion in federal funding a year into the state's health care system and help provide medical coverage to low-income Oklahomans who don't have health insurance. Attorney Travis Jett, of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, is behind the challenge. Jett argued that the petition is inaccurate and could perpetrate deceit and fraud. Opponents say the state's share of the 9-to-1 federal match is too costly and could be increased later. An attorney for supporters, Melanie Rughani, says the petition is accurate and urged justices to permit it to move forward to the signature-gathering stage. The court didn't say when it will issue a ruling.
  • U.S. businesses are imploring President Donald Trump not to expand his tariffs to $300 billion in goods from China that have so far been spared in his trade war with Beijing. These companies warn that the additional tariffs would drive up prices for consumers, squeeze profits and leave U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign rivals that aren’t subject to higher taxes on the components they buy from China. And in a sign that commercial combat between the world’s two biggest economies is hurting business on both sides of the Pacific, the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei warned that the hostilities with the Trump administration will shrink its expected revenue by $30 billion over the next two years. Huawei is at the heart of the trade war that Beijing is engaged in with the Trump administration, which has accused Chinese companies like Huawei of committing forced technology transfers from American companies and stealing their trade secrets. Last month, the U.S. placed Huawei on its “Entity List,” which effectively bars American companies from selling components to Huawei without government approval. In the meantime, American businesses, trade groups and individuals are pleading with the administration to drop its threat to tax the remaining Chinese imports that Trump hasn’t already hit with tariffs — or at least spare the particular imports that they and their customers rely on. Some are appearing in person to air their grievances in seven days of hearings in Washington that began Monday.
  • A Kansas teenager is recovering after being impaled by a 10-inch knife that penetrated his skull. KOAM reported. >> Read more trending news Eli Gregg, 15, of Bourbon County, was playing outside when he fell and the knoife penetrated his face, the television station reported. The blade penetrated the boy's skull, with the tip pressed against his carotid artery..  Gregg's mother, Jimmy Russell, was cooking dinner when the incident occurred. 'He came to the door, and when he opened (it), it was blood and he had a piece of metal in his face. And it was really shocking,' Russell told 'Inside Edition.'. 'It was instant, I was, like 'Oh my God, call 911, this is bad',' Russell told KOAM. 'I'm not even sure exactly how it happened at this point ... but ... yeah ... it was scary.' An ambulance took Gregg to an area hospital, and then he was transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital, the television station reported. Surgeon Koji Ebersole said Gregg was fortunate the knife stopped before it hit his artery. 'It could not have had a pound more force on it and him survive that event,' Ebersole told KOAM. Doctors were able to remove the knife, and Gregg is now recovering well, doctors told 'Inside Edition.' 'It's almost a miracle, it's amazing,' Russell told the television show. 'How it happened was one in a million.
  • Tulsa police are looking for a man accused of stealing a pair of expensive bags out of a woman's car.  The victim, Ellen Risk, says her Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags disappeared a week ago today.  Inside those bags were her address with codes to get into her home, her birth certificate and her credit card.  She discovered the bags were stolen when she found out her credit card had been used at Walmart, Dillard's and the hat store “Lids.”  A clerk at one of the stores told Risk the person who used the card was a man with tattoos on his forehead and cheek.  Risk has filed a police report and canceled her credit card.  She is offering a $500 reward for the return of her personal documents.

Washington Insider

  • Even as President Donald Trump and top Republicans in Congress call on Democratic leaders in the U.S. House to allow a vote on a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the President's top trade negotiator told Senators on Tuesday that there's still no set date for when the agreement would be submitted to the Congress 'I believe we're on track, I believe we are making progress,' said United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Asked by a GOP Senator about discussions with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Lighthizer gave no public hint about any problems. 'My hope is that over the course of the next several weeks, that we can make substantial progress,' Lighthizer added, as he said talks with Pelosi had been 'constructive.' Democrats have been pressing the Trump Administration over the enforcement of new labor reforms in Mexico, worried that the government won't adequately enforce the changes. Asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) when to expect a vote in Congress, Lighthizer gave no concrete date - as the trade agreement has not yet been formally submitted to the Congress. At a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Lighthizer faced some verbal slings and arrows from both parties about the President's trade policies. 'I do not agree that tariffs should be the tool we use in every instance to achieve our trade policy goals,' said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). 'China's market is now more closed off to American goods and American agriculture than before the trade war began,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), as he complained about the impact of the President's tweets on trade policy. For the most part, Lighthizer did not engage in pitched battles with Democrats over trade matters, repeatedly stressing common ground over trade disputes with China and final talks over the USMCA trade deal. As for China, Lighthizer made clear that President Trump isn't bluffing when it comes to additional tariffs on Chinese goods, acknowledging to Senators that the next round could have a bigger impact, to include items like laptop computers and cell phones. Lighthizer could have a somewhat more partisan reception on Wednesday, when he testifies on the same issues before the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • Five weeks after announcing his intent to nominate Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan for the top job at the Pentagon, President Donald Trump abruptly announced Tuesday that Shanahan was no longer under consideration, and would be replaced by the Secretary of the Army. 'Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family,' the President said, announcing that Army Secretary Mark Esper would be named as the new Acting Secretary of Defense. President Trump had announced on May 9 that he intended to nominate Shanahan to the post; he had been acting Secretary since the start of 2019, replacing former Secretary James Mattis, who resigned at the end of December. The move by the President came hours after reports by news organizations that Shanahan's FBI background check had been delayed because of an issue involving a domestic dispute with his ex-wife in 2010. Shanahan had been meeting with Senators in recent weeks as a prelude to his confirmation hearings - but no date for those hearings had been set by the Senate Armed Services Committee, and no formal nomination had been made by the President. It had led to speculation that Shanahan's nomination could be in jeopardy. The move comes at an awkward time for the Pentagon, as Shanahan had been serving as Acting Defense Secretary since January 1, after taking over for ex-defense chief James Mattis. Mattis resigned at the end of 2018 after a dispute with President Trump over U.S. troop levels in Syria and Afghanistan.It means the U.S. will go well over a half year without a Senate-confirmed Secretary of Defense, a point noted by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “This job should be filled in a matter of a few weeks, not months,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. “We urgently need a Secretary of Defense that has the confidence of the President, the Congress, and the country,” Thornberry said.
  • It was one year ago this week that I returned to the radio after a two year absence, with a new computer generated voice which we call 'Jamie Dupree 2.0' - a high tech invention which has allowed me to continue my radio news work, even after an unknown medical problem took away my voice. After doing your job one way for over thirty years, it has taken a little time for me to get used to operating the controls of Jamie Dupree 2.0, which produces a voice that sounds like me, but no matter how advanced it is, it can also go haywire in a split second and sound like a bad robot. 1. First, a recap for those who might not know the story. In the Spring of 2016, I was covering the race for President. Everything was fine. I took an Easter vacation with my family, got a stomach bug, and suddenly my voice started having problems. It's now to the point where I can barely talk, with the diagnosis being a neurological dystonia - the signals from my brain to my tongue and throat are getting messed up somewhere along the way, and my mouth just won't work correctly to form words and sounds associated with speech most of the time. My company found a firm in Scotland, CereProc, which built a computer version of my voice from my audio archives, using tapes from my old radio news stories. 2.  Jamie Dupree 2.0 just isn't just typing some words. It would be nice if I could just type my radio scripts, hit a button, and magically have a perfect audio file for my next radio newscast. But it's a bit more complicated than that, as the field of computer generated voices is still in its infancy. Luckily, there are special computer commands which can be employed with the Text-to-Speech program that runs with my special voice. Those commands allow you to slow words at the end of sentences, mimic the more natural ways that we speed up and slow down during regular speech, and find ways to make the overall sound less robotic. It makes for some clutter on screen, but this is what one of my typical radio news scripts might look like: 3. Some Jamie Dupree 2.0 words just don't sound right. For whatever reasons, there are some words and phrases which don't come out right when you type them in. The last name of Rudy Giuliani works perfectly, but the last name of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not - I have to use 'Ros' instead. Robert Mueller's last name came out as 'Myoo-ler,' so I had to spell it as 'Muller' to get it to sound right. Those are just a couple of examples of how, over the last year, I've had to do a lot of experimenting to figure out how to sound out certain things, which can be frustrating when you need to get a story done for the next newscast. Like one of the Democratic hopefuls for President, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That's hard for most people to say, let alone for me to try to figure out how to get my computer voice to say it. So far, I've settled on this: Pete Budda jidge. Here are some other names and words that I have to get creative with: 4. Stumbling on ways to make the 2.0 sound more real. As I did more and more work over the last year with my new voice, one of the most obvious problems was trying to figure out how to mimic our own real voices, as we speed up and slow down certain words and sounds. XML commands dealing with 'emphasis' didn't really work. I tried using my audio editor program to add some emphasis to my words, but that only was a minimal success. By accident, I found that by repeating a word or phrase, it would sound different - sometimes I would get exactly the right feel and emphasis. In the following example, I wanted a little more 'oomph' for the phrase, 'President Trump tweeted from Air Force One.' When you watch the video below, you will hear the original version of the audio produced by Jamie Dupree 2.0, followed by the version where I had it say the same phrase five times in a row. Then the two are compared at then end of the 30 second video. For some reason, the repetition creates a little more emphasis. Why? I don't know. I don't really care.  All I know is that I found a shortcut which makes it sound better. 5. The reaction to 2.0 continues to be mostly positive. Remember, these are the days of social media, so it's not difficult to make your voice heard, and tell me that you never liked me in the first place, and you're happy that my real voice doesn't work.  But those messages only spur me to keep going and to work harder at being heard on the radio.  I don't want to be using this computer voice technology, but thankfully for my family, it's available, and it has allowed me to continue in my career as a radio reporter covering Capitol Hill.   As I have detailed above, it's not a simple process to get a story on the air.  It takes time to mold the words into the correct sounds, and get that into our radio newscasts.   It would be much quicker to just open my mouth, hit the record button, and start talking.  For whatever reason, my brain won't allow that to happen.
  • Unable to fulfill one of his central campaign promises - a repeal of the Obama health law - President Trump is again talking about releasing a plan to replace the current system which forces Americans to buy health insurance coverage, as the President continues to dangle the possibility of setting out a new health care package. In an interview with ABC News broadcast in recent days, the President said that he would unveil a new plan in the next month or two. 'And we already have the concept of the plan, but it'll be less expensive than Obamacare by a lot. And it'll be much better health care,' Mr. Trump said, adding that 'we'll be announcing that in about two months.' 'Obamacare has been a disaster,' the President said, again bemoaning the last second change by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) which defeated a bare bones effort to pass any kind of GOP health care plan in the U.S. Senate in July of 2017. The sudden talk about unveiling a new plan caught Capitol Hill Republicans by surprise - just as the President had surprised the GOP by saying earlier this year that he wanted the GOP to act on health care reform. 'The Republican Party will become the party of Health Care,' Mr. Trump tweeted back in March. But after a few days, the President backed off, and said he would not try to press for major changes in the Obama health law until after the 2020 elections - and only if Republicans take back control of both houses of Congress. 'It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America,' the President tweeted back in early April. At the time, there seemed to be little appetite on Capitol Hill for tackling the issue again, as the GOP is all for doing something different on health care - but does not have an agreement on what that 'something' should be, in terms of the fine print. Democrats were skeptical that anything has changed. 'Someone tell the President that ripping health care away from 20 million Americans isn’t called a “plan,” it’s called a catastrophe,' said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
  • With rules that make it difficult for lawmakers to steer taxpayer dollars into home state projects - that doesn't mean less money is being spent for such items - as instead billions of dollars in grants are being handed out by the Executive Branch each year, with federal bureaucrats taking the place of lawmakers in deciding how to dole out money approved by Congress for a variety of programs. A decade ago for example, Congress would have approved a highway bill filled with pages and pages of specific projects to be funded back in their states - but now, Congress funds billions in generic grants for the Department of Transportation, and then watches as the money is handed out by the feds. Experts say voters probably don't understand that what some would deride as 'pork barrel spending' just been shifted from the Legislative Branch to the Executive Branch. 'Presidents — and their appointees — engage in pork-barrel politicking (earmarking) in the same way Congress does,' wrote John Hudak of the Brookings Institute, who argues that budget 'earmarks' should be brought back in the House and Senate. Here are some examples of money sent out for highway and transit projects by the feds: Some lawmakers say they should be the ones deciding where that money goes - not a bureaucrat who maybe has never been to their state. 'We all should be able to stand behind the work that we do and advertise to our constituents and everybody around the country as to why this is a priority,' said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). 'If people think we are quote saving money,' Murkowski told reporters, 'they are fooling themselves, because those dollars are still going out the door.' But there are also Republicans who think Congress should just stay away from pork barrel spending. 'Earmarks grease the skids for bigger government,' said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). But regardless of complaints about how big the federal deficit might be, and how much is being spent overall, lawmakers of both parties trumpet the arrival of money for the folks back home - with federal agencies joining in those announcements as well. There are so many grants offered by the U.S. Government that a special website was set up to help people find out more information about what's available. Going through many of the grants, what one notices right away is the wide swath of money available for all sorts of matters: + Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) USA Cooperative Agreement Program + Invasive and Noxious Plant Management  + Forest and Woodlands Resource Management + Cultural Landscape Inventory for the Navajo Settlement  + Longitudinal Research on Delinquency and Crime  One grant available right now from the National Institutes of Health deals with research into dementia, 'to conduct new research on automobile technology for signaling early signs of cognitive impairment in older drivers.' In recent weeks, President Trump has made it clear that he's ready to use support for specific home-state spending matters to his electoral advantage, too. The focus on local spending is not new - almost ten years ago, I wrote about the proliferation of grants, and how the executive branch was handing out the pork. And it's still happening today.