Amanda Bynes’ mother Lynn is blaming her daughter’s out of control behavior over the last two years entirely on weed.
The former child actress is currently living with her parents after setting fire to a driveway last July in Los Angeles, resulting in an involuntary stay in the psych ward at UCLA Medical Center before being transferred to The Canyon in Malibu. Prior to that, Amanda was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold in New York City after allegedly throwing a bong out the window of her high-rise apartment complex. She was also arrested for DUI, found herself involved in numerous hit-and-run incidents, and gained headlines for a series of bizarre posts on Twitter.
Bynes was allegedly diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and put on a treatment plan that stabilized her enough to be approved to leave the facility. But the diagnosis turned out to be bogus, at least according to Bynes' lawyer. "For the record, Amanda does not have schizophrenia, nor has she ever been diagnosed with it," her attorney Tamar Arminak said.
Lynn has also joined the chorus in claiming that her daughter “has no mental illness whatsoever” and in fact said that pot is to blame. "[She] is very sorry for all the hurtful tweets, statements and actions that occurred while she was under the influence of marijuana," said Lynn. Her parents retain a temporary conservatorship over their daughter's affairs until at least September.
In February, Bynes' DUI charge was removed as part of a plea deal that called for pleading no contest to reckless driving, three years of probation, and attending an alcohol education course. She is currently taking courses at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in the Orange County area and attends multiple therapy sessions per week.
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More than 30 years after it happened, a new report has surfaced claiming that Rev. Al Sharpton became a mob rat in order to save himself from a federal drug sting.
The Smoking Gun has allegedly found a surveillance video showing the civil rights activist-turned-MSNBC analyst discussing cocaine with an undercover agent, which FBI agents used to confront him. After being pressured to cooperate with authorities, Sharpton began hobnobbing with crime families as “CI-7,” digging up dirt for several years and becoming a “very reliable informant.”
Sources and court documents stated that his main job was informing on the Genovese crime families and helping bring down numerous members by “playing dumb,” including Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano and Dominick “Baldy Com” Canterino. But while the Reverend has never denied cooperating with the feds, he refuted claims that he was a paid snitch and carried a briefcase with a listening device, as the Smoking Gun report alleged. Sharpton also claimed that he began working with the FBI after being threatened by a mobster while working with black concert promoters.
“It’s crazy. If I provided all the information they claimed I provided, I should be given a ticker-tape parade. What did Al Sharpton do wrong? Eliot Spitzer did do something wrong and he got a TV show,” said Sharpton. “I was not and am not a rat. I know I was threatened [by mobbed-up entertainment figures]. I did what anybody would do that is respected...I cooperated. You had two options: Get killed by the mob...or get killed for trying to get them out of your community.”
The FBI has declined to comment on the matter and the controversy won’t stop Barack Obama from delivering the keynote address this Friday at Sharpton's National Action Network foundation convention in New York City.
Much-maligned New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has thrown his weight behind opposing a proposed bill that would legalize recreational weed in the Garden State.
"I'm not going to do that on my watch," Christie recently told a crowd of about 500 people at Winston Churchill Elementary School. "I'm just not. I don't think it’s the right thing to do for our state.
Two weeks ago, State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) proposed legislation that would follow the path blazed by Colorado and Washington in legalizing retail sale of marijuana to people 21 or over. “It will bring marijuana out of the underground market, where it can be controlled, regulated, and taxed just as alcohol has been for decades,” Scutari said.
Scutari was inspired by the tax revenues being brought in by Colorado. The state reported $2 million in tax revenues for January and $3.2 million for February, putting it on pace to exceed the $40 million projections for 2014.
At the time Scutari's bill was brought to light, Christie denounced it outright. “I will not decriminalize marijuana, I will not permit recreational use and I will not legalize marijuana because I think it’s the wrong message to send to the children in this state and to young adults,” he said at the time.
In the past, Christie has supported legalizing medical marijuana and even helped expand the program last year by allowing children to have edible forms of cannabis for those who apply. But he has been emphatic about drawing the line between medicine and recreational use.
"If you want someone who will [legalize marijuana], you're going to have to elect a different governor,” Christie said.
Legislators in Minnesota unanimously passed a bill that would give the state greater authority to stop retailers from selling synthetic drugs. The bill was passed 130-0 and is expected to receive strong support from the senate.
“This will be the tool that will once and for all stop retail sales of synthetic drugs,” said Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, chief sponsor of the measure. If signed into law, the bill will close loopholes in a three-year old state law that was designed to restrict the sale of synthetic drugs, many of which simulate the effects of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Under the new bill, the state’s Board of Pharmacy would be granted power to issue cease-and-desist orders to shops that are selling banned substances. The measure would also expand the definition of synthetic drugs beyond specific compounds to include “any combination of chemicals that produce the same effects as banned drugs.”
“We’ve done some research and this is the first time we’ve been able to find a state that has attempted this,” Simonson said. “It’s kind of groundbreaking and we’re excited about it.”
While the new law takes great strides in banning sales from brick and mortar shops, it does little to curb online sales of synthetics, a problem that did not go unnoticed. “Never have we claimed that we’re going to end the problem,” said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Board of Pharmacy. “Trying to prevent people from buying these things online is a much more difficult proposition.”
A new study has unlocked a key finding in understanding the psychology of problem gambling. University of Cambridge researchers observed people with various brain injuries - as well as those without brain injuries - play slot machine and roulette-style computer games.
“While neuroimaging studies can tell us a great deal about the brain’s response to complex events, it’s only by studying patients with brain injury that we can see if a brain region is actually needed to perform a given task,” said lead researcher Dr. Luke Clark.
There has been growing evidence that problem gamblers are particularly prone to erroneous thinking that push them to try their luck repeatedly, especially after near-misses, even though they are no different from any other loss - a phenomenon known as gambler’s fallacy.
Surprisingly, those who suffered injuries in the area most involved with decision-making and risk - the ventromedial prefrontal cortex - did not behave differently. But rather, it was those who suffered insula injuries who were the most rational of all the groups, including those with healthy brains. Everyone but the group with insula injuries reported a heightened motivation to play following near-misses in both games.
“A healthy brain is actually functioning incorrectly by thinking that they are more likely to have a tail after say, four heads,” Clark said. “The healthy group, and all the other brain injury groups apart from the insula group had that affect on the roulette table. Those with insula injuries were very rational in their answers,” he added.
The study, published April 7 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggested that the insula in problem gamblers could be hyperactive, making them more susceptible to these errors of thinking, according to Clark. “Future treatments for gambling addiction could seek to reduce this hyperactivity, either by drugs or by psychological techniques like mindfulness therapies,” he added.