Twenty years before Jerry Maguire started working out of his house as a sports agent, Leigh Steinberg did the same thing. It's not a coincidence either. Director Cameron Crowe tailed Steinberg for a year before writing the screenplay that would go on to be nominated for an Oscar. Just like Maguire, Steinberg eventually made the big-time. Unlike Maguire though, Steinberg didn't get a happy ending.
Once the agent to half of the NFL's starting quarterbacks, Steinberg is now a 62-year-old has-been, working his way through bankruptcy and searching for a second chance. Like so many before him, his downfall can be traced back to booze, which he says he used to hide from his problems. Naturally, the 1750mL jug of vodka he lugged around each day only made those problems worse. "All I wanted was more alcohol. At a certain phase, it became synonymous with breath itself," he tells Armen Keteyian on Real Sports. Rock bottom came when he found himself in a hospital wearing a diaper, after being picked up from the middle of a vacant lot where he was "just singing away and making noise."
That was in 2007. It took him three more years to get sober. Now he hasn't had a drink in two years. Although his agent days seem long gone, Steinberg's still hoping to have an impact. “If my story is a cautionary note to anyone out there who’s struggling with any kind of substance abuse, there is help,” he says.
Presidential candidate Ron Paul says he supports the legalization of growing industrial hemp during his campaign tour in North Dakota. "There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp," the libertarian Republican told a crowd. "Hemp is a good product." Advocates say the alternative crop can be grown quickly and turned into a wide range of products including paper, rope, textiles and even food products. Despite hemp being a legal multi-million dollar export crop in Canada, the US government has banned its cultivation; the Drug Enforcement Agency lumps it together with its plant cousin, marijuana, even though it shares virtually none of its mind-altering properties. North Dakota lawmakers once filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the DEA's hemp ban.
A man and woman were arrested in Culver City last Wednesday in the biggest PCP bust on record, with 139 gallons of the hallucinogen—valued at nearly $100 million on the street—seized by the LA County narcotics task force, LA IMPACT. Darryl Dwayne Burton, 55, and Lagina Bell Huckaby, 31, were arrested at a UPS store where they were allegedly to trying to ship drugs. Two semiautomatic rifles were also confiscated, along with chemicals for making about 500 more gallons of the drug. Enough PCP was seized to dose 10 million people at a cost of $15 each. "It's the largest PCP seizure I've ever heard of," says Lt. Scott Fairfield of LA Impact. Burton is believed to have been part of the Bounty Hunter Bloods street gang, an active PCP manufacturer. The drug ring included 10 other people locally and was distributing to places including Texas, New York and Washington, DC. Investigators intercepted suspicious deliveries addressed to locations in Texas and tests confirmed that the boxes contained PCP. PCP is a hallucinogenic drug that comes in either powder or liquid form, and is typically sprayed onto leafy material such as cannabis, mint or oregano and smoked.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has asked the international community for half a billion dollars in aid to help finance a program aiming to eradicate opium poppies and wean 256,000 households off poppy-growing over the next three years. Police, soldiers and villagers armed with sticks and weed-whackers have already destroyed over 52,000 acres of poppy fields since September, preventing 30 tons of heroin from hitting the global market. "Every year the international community spends millions of dollars [on anti-narcotics initiatives] in countries like Afghanistan and Colombia, and the outcome is not satisfactory," says Sit Aye, senior legal adviser to President Thein Sein. "Here, with international assistance, we guarantee to wipe out the opium problem by 2014." However, the strategy could be crippling for families who depend on poppy growing to survive. The opium yield from an acre of Myanmar poppy is $1,000. One third of Myanmar's 60 million citizens live on $1 per day, and alternative crops can't be grown until the rains come in June or July. The UNODC has also estimated that poppy cultivation will rise about 10% between 2011 and 2012, suggesting that Myanmar's three-year eradication target is unrealistic with or without foreign aid.
When comedian David Cross told a standup audience about doing cocaine in the same room as President Obama at the 2009 White House Correspondents' Dinner, the crowd thought it might be just part of his act. But in a new interview with Playboy magazine, the 47-year-old Arrested Development star shows that unlike his character, Tobias Fünke, he's not shy about revealing all. "It wasn't even that much cocaine. It was literally the size of, I don't know, a tick,” he says, “I ducked under the table and did it. It wasn’t like I got high. The jolt was similar to licking an empty espresso cup. It wasn't about that. It was just about being able to say that I did it, that I did cocaine in the same room as the President.” Though he did it for laughs—and tells the story for more—Cross is not without regret, worrying that his actions got his actor girlfriend Amber Tamblyn in trouble. “She had nothing to do with it. She didn’t know I was going to do it,” he says. “And because of that, she’ll never be invited to the White House again. That’s not cool.”
Watching alcohol consumption on the big screen has been linked to increased drinking in young teens. Over the course of two years, researchers surveyed 6,500 US children aged 10-14, checking in on each of them four times throughout the study. The youngsters were asked if they'd ever drunk alcohol behind their parents' backs—they were also asked to identify which of 50 randomly selected movies they had seen. The movies on the list were then analyzed for alcohol use among their main characters (defined as actual or implied purchase or consumption of booze). The researchers found that the group of kids with the most exposure to alcohol in movies were twice as likely to have already drunk it themselves, and 63% more likely to progress to binge drinking. Over the two years the proportion of the monitored teens who drank rose from 11-25%; binge drinking among the study group went up from 4-13%. The study also found that having parents who drink at home, and having alcohol available at home, are both associated with taking up drinking—but not with progression to binge drinking. Children owning alcohol-branded merchandise, on the other hand, is associated with both.