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3/14/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: March 14, 2012

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"Lin Sanity OG" Photo via

By Bryan Le

Whitney Houston

3/13/12 4:52pm

Fallout From Whitney Houston's Death Continues

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Oprah and Bobbi Kristina honoring Mom's
memory Photo via

Weeks after Whitney Houston's suspected drug-related death, the media drama around the singer rages on.  Houston's hairstylist Tiffanie Dixon—who was in her Beverly Hills hotel room when she died—has come under fire for cashing in for interviews with NBC's Dateline and Today Show. According to several reports, the network agreed to pay her up to $100,000 in return for exclusive sit-downs and photos of Whitney. (Reps for ABC and CBS both claim that Dixon also approached them with offers of a similar deal, but they turned down her down.) Houston's passing is also reaping rewards for her old pal Oprah Winfrey. The talk show host's struggling network, OWN, scored its highest ratings ever for Oprah's Sunday night interview with Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina, which attracted 3.5 million viewers. Even in death, Houston seems able to prove that she knows what friends are for.  Meanwhile, LA's Coroner says toxicology reports to determine Houston's cause of death will be released shortly.

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By Anna David

Mexican drug war

3/13/12 4:09pm

Drug Ballads Banned in Chihuahua City

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Los Tigres Del Norte: chased out
of town Photo via

The popular Mexican band "Los Tigres del Norte" has been banned by the Chihuahua city government for singing a ballad perceived to glamorize drug traffickers. Other bans on drug-related songs—known as “narcocorridos"—have been enforced in cartel-ravaged Mexico, but not concerning bands as big as Los Tigres. The group has been a mainstay of norteño (northern) music since the early '70s, with hits like "Contrabando y Traicion" (Contraband and Betrayal) and "Jefe de Jefes" (Boss of Bosses), selling 32 million records and winning five latin Grammy Awards. Typically backed by an accordion, their lyrics portray life in a way that resonates with fans worldwide; they've helped transform norteño into an international genre, infused with bolero, cumbia, rock rhythms and waltzes, as well as machine-gun and siren effects. But in the city of Chihuahua this weekend, Los Tigres played "La Reina del Sur" (The Queen of the South), a song believed to refer to alleged female drug capos like Sandra Avila Beltran, better known as the "Queen of the Pacific." The municipal government forbade the performance of narcocorridos in 2011; so as things stand, Los Tigres Del Norte are banned from performing in the city of Chihuahua indefinitely.

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By Reina Berger

Alcoholics anonymous

3/13/12 3:18pm

Psychologist's Anti-AA Screed Stirs Up a Furor

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Are people right to be in the rooms?
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A controversial op-ed about Alcoholics Anonymous published today in The Huffington Post has set off a massive debate on the site, enraging many in the 12-step community. Russell Bishop, a well-known psychologist and author, argues that just because people sometimes exhibit addictive behaviors they shouldn't be identified as addicts, since the "implications of affirming that you are your behavior" are inherently negative. Citing a 1995 article in the Harvard Medical Health Letter which asserted that 80% of alcoholics recover on their own, Bishop attacks AA for relying on “negation” that he claims "may not be all that helpful.” Specifically, he criticizes the fellowship for asking members introduce themselves with the phrase “...and I'm an alcoholic.” A member “is not asked to affirm that he is on the road to recovery having struggled with alcohol," he writes. "Instead, he is asked to affirm that he is forever more to be known as an alcoholic.” He also blasts a popular passage from AA's Big Book which claims that the only people who fail to maintain sobriety in the program are those “incapable of being honest with themselves.” Bishop calls the assertion “curiously damning.”

One thing that does work about AA,  Bishop says, is the comfort it gives to "people who lack meaningful, in-depth contact with other friends on a day-to-day basis," by connecting them with others who share the “sensitivity” that led them to abuse substances in the first place. "These kinds of recovery programs begin by insisting that you proclaim yourself to be forever lost and then further demean those who struggle by asserting a series of natural-born defects," he writes provocatively. As an alternative to 12-step groups, the author advocates building “a positive foundation upon which to build an even more positive life” through the “power of affirmations.” The psychologist boldly ends his piece by inviting readers to share their views and experiences with him at russell@russellbishop.com. It's safe to say that his inbox will be filling up pretty quickly.

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By Bryan Le

Medical marijuana

3/13/12 2:05pm

Pro-Pot Billboards Go Up in Florida

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A section of one of the bilboards Photo via

Two huge pro-medical marijuana billboards are being unveiled in Pompano Beach, Florida today, in an attempt to sway voters towards the legalization of MMJ in the Sunshine State. The 48-foot ads—sponsored by a non-profit organization called The Silver Tour—are strategically placed on the city’s busiest roadway, Sample Road. Alongside images of cannabis leaves and a man in a wheelchair, the billboards declare, "Legalize Medical Marijuana/I'm A Patient Not A Criminal." They add, "Prescribed In Israel." Robert Platshorn, founder of The Silver Tour, takes the credit for convincing Lake Worth Representative Jeff Clemens to file Florida’s first bill for medical marijuana in Tallahassee. His organization aims to educate senior voters about pot's medical uses, and runs live shows at reform temples and senior communities, featuring politicians, lawyers, doctors, nurses and patients who support legalization. A recent production at Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach grabbed global attention by being streamed live on CNN. Florida is one of 18 states weighing medical marijuana legislation this year.

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By Valerie Tejeda

celebrity addiction

3/13/12 12:22pm

Sienna Miller Slams "Medicated" LA

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Sienna Miller doesn't think drugs are fun
any more. Photo via

Don't expect Sienna Miller to be settling down in Los Angeles anytime soon. The British actress, who lives in London and is currently pregnant with her first child, slammed the City of Angels in a recent interview with British Vogue as the "most medicated place" she's ever been to. "Everyone's on something [in LA]," she complains. "It's the most medicated place, there's a whole massive market for really addictive drugs. I've been prescribed Vicodin when I didn't really need it. It's dangerous. I mean, it's prescription heroin really." Hollywood stars including Eminem, Kelly Osbourne, Matthew Perry  and Nicole Richie have all struggled through addictions to the powerful painkiller. Although Miller, who starred in Layer Cake and Alfie, has lived in LA for long stretches while she's been filming, she says the lifestyle isn't for her and that she'll only return if it's necessary for work. But her comments are in sharp contrast to the views she expressed on drug culture in 2007, when she claimed that drugs were "loads of fun" and admitted to loving her experiences with magic mushrooms and morphine.

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