People also are talking about arson at an American mosque and a racist video gets a fraternity suspended.
Seniors turning to pot for age-related aches
The group of white-haired folks — some pushing walkers, others using canes — arrive right on time at the gates of Laguna Woods Village, an upscale retirement community in the picturesque hills that frame this Southern California suburb a few miles from Disneyland.
There they board a bus for a quick trip to a building that, save for the green Red Cross-style sign in the window, resembles a trendy coffee bar. The people, mostly in their 70s and 80s, pass the next several hours enjoying a light lunch, playing a few games of bingo and selecting their next month’s supply of cannabis-infused products.
“It’s like the ultimate senior experience,” laughs 76-year-old retired beauty products distributor Ron Atkin as he sits down to watch the bingo at the back of the Bud and Bloom marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana.
Most states now have legal medical marijuana, and 10 of them, including California, allow anyone 21 or older to use pot recreationally. The federal government still outlaws the drug even as acceptance increases. The 2018 General Social Survey, an annual sampling of Americans’ views, found a record 61 percent back legalization, and those 65 and older are increasingly supportive.
Indeed, many industry officials say the fastest-growing segment of their customer base is people like Atkin — aging baby boomers or even those a little older who are seeking to treat the aches and sleeplessness and other maladies of old age with the same herb that many of them once passed around at parties.
“I would say the average age of our customers is around 60, maybe even a little older,” said Kelty Richardson, a registered nurse with the Halos Health clinic in Boulder, Colorado, which provides medical examinations and sells physician-recommended cannabis through its online store.
Its medical director, Dr. Joseph Cohen, conducts “Cannabis 101” seminars at the nearby Balfour Senior Living community for residents who want to know which strains are best for easing arthritic pain or improving sleep.
Relatively little scientific study has verified the benefits of marijuana for specific problems. There’s evidence pot can relieve chronic pain in adults, according to a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, but the study also concluded that the lack of scientific information poses a risk to public health.
At Bud and Bloom, winners of the bingo games take home new vape pens, but Atkin isn’t really there for that. He’s been coming regularly for two years to buy cannabis-infused chocolate bars and sublingual drops to treat his painful spinal stenosis since the prescription opiates he had been taking quit working.
It was “desperation” that brought him here, he said, adding that his doctors didn’t suggest he try medical marijuana. But they didn’t discourage him either.
NFL quarterback pledges month of no sex to get 'stronger'
The quarterback for the Carolina Panthers is hoping a month of celibacy will do wonders for his brain.
Cam Newton told an audience on "The Late Show with James Corden" last week that for the month of March, he is not engaging in any sexual activity.
He said that after undergoing shoulder surgery, he wanted to make his mind stronger.
The veteran quarterback's one-month vow of celibacy is the latest in a long line of lifestyle changes, as he revealed that he went vegan as well.
Last season, Newton's body was more th eproblem than his mind as he led the Panthers to a 6-8 record before sitting out the last two games with a shoulder injury.
Despite his physical limitations down the stretch, the three-time Pro Bowler and one-time NFL MVP had one of his best statistical seasons from a passing perspective, completing a career-high 67.9 percent of his throws for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Newton also did damage with his legs, rushing for 488 yards and four touchdowns.
Mueller's Russia probe report rules out criminal collusion
Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Donald Trump's campaign "conspired or coordinated" with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election but reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, Attorney General William Barr declared. That brought a hearty claim of vindication from Trump but set the stage for new rounds of political and legal fighting.
Trump cheered the Sunday outcome but also laid bare his resentment after two years of investigations that have shadowed his administration. "It's a shame that our country has had to go through this. To be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this," he said.
Democrats pointed out that Mueller found evidence for and against obstruction and demanded to see his full report. They insisted that even the summary by the president's attorney general hardly put him in the clear.
Mueller's conclusions, summarized by Barr in a four-page letter to Congress, represented a victory for Trump on a key question that has hung over his presidency from the start: Did his campaign work with Russia to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton? That was further good news for the president on top of the Justice Department's earlier announcement that Mueller had wrapped his investigation without new indictments. The resolution also could deflate the hopes of Democrats in Congress and on the 2020 campaign trail that incriminating findings from Mueller would hobble the president's agenda and re-election bid.
But while Mueller was categorical in ruling out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice. Despite Trump's claim of total exoneration, Mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other on whether he sought to stifle the Russia investigation through his actions including the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
According to Barr's summary, Mueller set out "evidence on both sides of the question" and stated that "while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Barr, who was nominated by Trump in December, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in May 2017 and oversaw much of his work, went further in Trump's favor.
The attorney general said he and Rosenstein had determined that Mueller's evidence was insufficient to prove in court that Trump had committed obstruction of justice to hamper the probe. Barr has previously voiced a broad view of presidential powers, and in an unsolicited memo last June he cast doubt on whether the president could have obstructed justice through acts — like firing his FBI director — that he was legally empowered to take.
Mueller's findings absolve Trump on the question of colluding with Russia but don't entirely remove the legal threats the president and associates are facing. Federal prosecutors in New York, for instance, are investigating hush-money payments made to two women during the campaign who say they had sex with the president. Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, implicated Trump in campaign finance violations when he pleaded guilty last year.
The special counsel's investigation did not come up empty-handed. It ensnared nearly three dozen people, senior Trump campaign operatives among them. The probe illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.
Thirty-four people, including six Trump aides and advisers, were charged in the investigation. Twenty-five are Russians accused of election interference either through hacking into Democratic accounts or orchestrating a social media campaign to spread disinformation on the internet.
Sunday's summary — and its suggestion that Mueller may have found evidence in support of obstruction — sets up a fight between Barr and Democrats, who called for the special counsel's full report to be released and vowed to press on with their own investigations.
"Attorney General Barr's letter raises as many questions as it answers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
"Given Mr. Barr's public record of bias against the special counsel's inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report," they said. Trump's own claim of complete exoneration "directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility," they added.
Racist video mocking slavery and using racial slur gets fraternity suspended
A University of Georgia fraternity is being investigated over a video showing some of its members mocking slavery and using a racial slur.
The university's Student Government Association said in a statement Friday that they were aware of a video circulating on social media that shows members of a Greek organization "using racist language and engaging in behaviors that mock the suffering of enslaved peoples," media report .
The university said on Twitter that the fraternity was suspended by its national organization.
"The University of Georgia condemns racism in the strongest terms. Racism has no place in our campus," the university said.
The video shows a student hitting another with a belt while saying the words "Pick my cotton" and then a racial slur.
The national chapter for the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity said in a statement that the students have been expelled and the organization is "disgusted, appalled and angered," by the incident.
"TKE will not tolerate any actions such as these that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive," the organization said. The group said the members in the video were not on chapter premises when the incident happened and were not taking part in a fraternity function.
Scary soars as 'Us' rakes in $70 million
Jordan Peele's new horror film terrified audiences and shattered expectations at the box office this weekend.
"Us," the director's second film, made an estimated $70.3 million in North America — more than tripling its production budget of $20 million.
It exceeded industry expectations in a big way. The film was initially projected by industry experts to bring in closer to $45 million this weekend.
The R-rated film stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke as parents trying to fend off an attack from evil Doppelgängers. The film has made $87 million worldwide.
"There's nothing scary about horror for Hollywood," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
Peele's "Get Out" was a critically acclaimed blockbuster in theaters two years ago. It hauled in $255 million at the box office globally — $33 million on its opening weekend. That was 56 times its budget. "Get Out" was also nominated for four Oscars, and Peele won for Best Original Screenplay. As for Universal, the studio now has the second, third and fourth biggest openings of the year — with "Us," "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," and "Glass."
"Us" represents another horror hit for Hollywood. Scary films such as "It," "Halloween" and "A Quiet Place" have made big money on low budgets in recent years.
Strong reviews and word of mouth helped propel "Us."
The film has a 94 percent score on review site Rotten Tomatoes and has been building buzz since its premiere at Austin's SXSW conference earlier this month.
Mosque set ablaze in 'clear homage' to New Zealand attack
The Muslim community in Escondido, Calif., gathered a week ago for an interfaith prayer vigil, insisting that a distance of nearly 7,000 miles did not ease the pain they felt for the 50 victims of a pair of mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.
They assembled again on Sunday evening, uttering prayers that echoed like a grim refrain. This time, they turned their attention to one of their own mosques, whose walls had been blackened in an apparent act of arson announcing its intentions with graffiti citing the March 15 attack in New Zealand.
With rapid velocity, the violence visited on the Pacific island nation appears to have traversed the globe, choosing as one of its first American targets an unassuming, beige-colored place of Islamic worship, flanked by palm trees.
“I never could have expected that this would happen here, two blocks from my house,” Yusef Miller, the point person for interfaith initiatives and a board member at the Islamic Society of North County, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The connection was chilling. It was a clear homage to what happened in New Zealand.”
In the wee hours of Sunday, seven people were inside the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido, about 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, when someone outside tried to set the building ablaze, according to city police. No one was injured in the fire, which marred the exterior of the mosque. The worshipers who had been inside were able to snuff out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
A 911 call brought police and fire services to the scene, as authorities judged the incident to be an act of arson. An accelerant had been used to stimulate the flames, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Police said they were investigating the act as a hate crime.
“Graffiti left behind by the suspect made reference to the shooting incident in New Zealand,” Chris Lick, a police spokesman, said in a news release.
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting city and county officials with their probe. No suspects have been identified.
Authorities didn’t shed further light on the words spray-painted on the building’s exterior. Muslim leaders said they remained in the dark about the precise language, as police feared that disclosing the exact message might jeopardize an ongoing investigation.