A Fix article features in the latest court document filed by Courtney Love's legal representatives. As we reported last month, one of the many cases Love faces is a libel suit launched by her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes, that makes allegations including malicious tweeting and the singer's inability to refrain from substance abuse. Love failed to show up for a scheduled deposition in New York on August 23. Later that day, Rhonda Holmes' lawyer, Frederic Gordon, told The Fix that Love's new attorney, Kenneth Freundlich, lied "under penalty of perjury" about the date that he'd submitted Love's objection to the deposition—an episode that Gordon described as "another significant episode of Courtney thinking she's above the law."
Freundlich showed just how unhappy he was about this claim in a document he filed for the case last week—which included our report as "Exhibit A." Freundlich states in the document: "On August 23, 2012, I received a call from a woman who identified herself as Internet reporter Carmela Kelly asking about the noticing of Love’s appearance, which was a private matter not in any public file." He continues, “I ascertained from Ms. Kelly that plaintiff’s counsel Frederic Gordon had called Ms. Kelly to 'update' her as to the minutiae progress of the matter. During this call, Mr. Gordon, whom I have never met, had the audacity to accuse me of committing perjury which was a totally baseless allegation and Ms. Kelly published that baseless allegation in her column. Attached as Exhibit A is a true and correct copy of Ms. Kelly’s article which was spurred on by the phone call from Mr. Gordon.”
It didn't happen quite like that, says this reporter, who contacted Frederic Gordon (rather than the other way round) months earlier concerning another case against Love. Gordon got back in touch last month to ask if this reporter knew the identity of Love's new legal representation—which she did—as he had a deposition coming up. He then shared the information on the Holmes suit—but only when asked.
Freundlich's filing was made "Joining in and in support of third party witness Frances Bean Cobain's motion for a protective order," seeking to protect Bean—who was subpoenaed by the Holmes camp—from being called as a witness on the basis that she "does not have any relevant knowledge or documents to offer." Freundlich contends that Holmes' libel suit is intended "to harass Love and her family members into submission" by reporting the "tiniest details" of the case to the press, accusing Freundlich of perjury "without a whit of evidence," and "including privileged matter in the complaint...concerning Love's struggle with sobriety, which was sure to attract media attention in this case."
Mixing nostalgia for childhood with the thrill of drinking-on-the-go, or just plain laziness, may explain a new trend in which adults are buying pre-mixed cocktails in baggies that resemble children's juice boxes. Alcohol companies such as Smirnoff, Arbor Mist, and Parrot Bay have already marketed their own brands of portable cocktails in brightly-colored pouches—for those who find regular liquor bottles too cumbersome (not to mention stigmatizing) to carry around, as well as for those who find mixing drinks too onerous and time-consuming. And the pouches are selling like hot cakes—sales jumped 153% to $154 million in the year ending June 23, and convenience stores like Walgreens are increasingly jumping on the pouch-wagon. The companies' intention to make the product appeal to a younger demographic seems to have been successful. One young blogger raves: "there’s nothing stopping you from popping one in yourself (except maybe your date of birth, but hey, that’s what Bigs and RAs are for). So just grab a few, freeze them overnight and get yo’ illegal classroom-drank on the next day—all without ever using a blender or fake ID."
Rooster fights are a centuries-old tradition for the ranchers and farm workers in the small towns along the coast of Guerrero, Mexico. But in the past few years, the events have started to attract a more violent crowd, thanks to the feuding cartel members who routinely make appearances to bet large sums of drug money on the fights. “The narcos sometimes bet as much as 100,000 pesos on a fight,” says a man at the ringside barrier at a recent match. Residents in the towns frequently see mutilated or headless corpses lying in the streets with threatening notes left by hitmen. They have also become accustomed to cartel gunmen stopping and questioning them, especially if they have out-of-state license plates. And the death toll is rising; recently, in the Acapulco area, police found the bodies of two tortured young men, gunmen killed 15 people in a nearby town, a police officer was killed inside his house, another police officer was shot and a 15-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet—all in just one day. The Mexican government and military forces have been no match for the fighting between drug trafficking groups, so it mainly goes unchecked. For now, the violence at the actual rooster fights has remained largely inside the ring—but they serve as a grisly metaphor for the violence that surrounds.
Doctors may feel they're doing patients a service by informing them if they have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. But a new study suggests that receiving this information can have a problematic effect—causing drinkers feelings of hopelessness, sadness and a heightened sense that they can't control their drinking. This raises particular concern over direct-to-consumer genetic tests for alcoholism that might have the power to change a person's emotional state, behavior and attitudes. "We have about 1,600 genetic tests available now," says psychologist Ilan Dar-Nimrod of the University of Sydney, who led the study. "We should have better knowledge about how to communicate these results in a manner that doesn't create harm." The study tested 160 undergraduates from the University of Rochester and gave each of them a bogus genetic test result, telling them whether or not they had a gene associated with alcoholism. The findings showed that people responded with emotional positivity when told they didn't have the gene. But they were emotionally negative—as well as less in-control over their subsequent drinking—after they were informed that they did have gene. Dar-Nimrod says this information is important because with the exception of a few genetic-related diseases, having a particular gene only increases the risk of getting a condition, by a small or uncertain amount in many cases. He says the media can bolster fears about "genetic determinism" when in reality, the risks are negligible.
Economics have switched the drugs of choice for residents of India from heroin and cocaine to opioids and prescription drugs, resulting in an epidemic that is now the country's fastest growing problem. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates there are 160,000 injecting drug users throughout the country, roughly one-third of whom are HIV positive. According to the UNODC's recently released World Drug Report 2011, this increase in drug use is also one of the least reported in developing countries. Heroin costs more than 10 times as much as pharmaceutical drugs in India, where chemists sell a set of three drugs and two syringes and needles for as little as 50 rupees ($.90). NGO workers say that although it's illegal to sell the drugs, it's standard practice for chemists to pay off the police. "It is a very big problem here. All my friends from when I was a teenager are users or dead," says Faqir, 32, who used to run a snack shop until his own drug habit forced him to stop. The epidemic has gotten so bad that wives and parents have been known to pay up to 5,000 rupees to have a user picked up against their will in the hope that their habit will be broken. "Every day there is a fight," says 45-year-old Ramesh Kumar. "Only my wife looks after my children. We have no money. I think first of the drugs and then only I think of them, but I can't stop."
"Whiskey takes you to a better world," goes the saying. "But then the world you wake up in is worse than the one that you left." One hard-drinking North Korean may have found only the first part to be true. The man, thought to be in his 20s, was discovered by South Korean authorities on Sunday morning—drunk, wearing only his underwear, and hiding in somebody's house in the coastal border town of Gangwha. "The man said he crossed to the South, holding on to a floating object to waters off the coast of Gyodong Island," says a spokesman for the South Korean military. "The floating object is seen as a wooden board that drifted due to the flood in the North." This seemingly inadvertent act of intoxicated self-smuggling has opened up new possibilities for the man's future: after questioning by the South Korean Marine Corps, he'll be able to choose between returning to the secretive land of Kim Jong-un or remaining in the thriving democracy he woke up in. And the result of his last binge may make him think twice before his next one.