Five years ago, a Southern California mother decided that in order to save the life of her son with severe autism, she needed to turn to medical marijuana.
Joey Hester-Perez was diagnosed with autism at 16 months, and later with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. His symptoms became worse as he got older, and more and more medications were added to his regimen until he was taking 13 different drugs every day. When Joey was 9 years old, ABC 7 in Los Angeles says, doctors told his mother to plan his funeral.
"I couldn't bear that," Mieko Hester-Perez said. "I couldn't imagine my life without Joey." Instead, she decided to give medical marijuana a try. It took trying about 15 different strains before the right one was found, but as soon as Joey's Strain, as it's now called, was concocted, the change was immediate. Joey began to smile, laugh, and joke with his in-home nurse. He gained weight, calmed down, and was no longer on edge. Today, Joey eats one brownie every week that contains cannabis oil derived from Joey's Strain, and his mother is sharing the positive results with other families.
"We need to open the door to more research so we can do this the right way," she told ABC 7. The few studies on autism and medical marijuana in the U.S. are focusing on cannabinoids, the active molecules found in marijuana, but it's very difficult to get started; according to doctors, they must "navigate a maze of bureaucratic red tape and receive permission from multiple federal agencies."
Mieko hopes that the rules are loosened, so more strides can be made and other children like Joey can have improved lives. "He may never walk, he may never form a sentence, he may never throw a ball," she said. "But he will smile, and that's all I've ever wanted." --Catherine Garcia
After reports surfaced in January that Michael Bloomberg was considering an independent presidential run, the former New York City mayor confirmed the possibility himself to the Financial Times on Monday.
"I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," Bloomberg said, adding that the public deserves "a lot better."
Bloomberg, who The New York Times reported would sink up to $1 billion of his own money into a campaign, told FT he'd need to start getting his name on ballots in March.
"I'm listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing," he said. Julie Kliegman
There is trouble in Hillaryland: According to anonymous sources who spoke with Politico, Hillary Clinton is frustrated with her campaign staff — and vice versa. With the too-close-for-comfort win over Bernie Sanders in Iowa and a New Hampshire victory for the Vermont senator on the horizon, Clinton is reportedly looking to reassess the staff at her Brooklyn headquarters sooner rather than later.
One source who is close with both Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, said, "The Clintons are not happy, and have been letting all of us know that. The idea is that we need a more forward-looking message, for the primary — but also for the general election too… There's no sense of panic, but there is an urgency to fix these problems right now."
There is dissatisfaction among Clinton's staffers, too:
Over the summer while her campaign was bogged down in the email controversy, Clinton was deeply frustrated with her own staff, and vice versa. The candidate blamed her team for not getting her out of the mess quickly, and her team blamed Clinton for being stubbornly unwilling to take the advice of campaign chairman John Podesta and others to apologize, turn over her server, and move on. The entire experience made her a deeply vulnerable frontrunner out of the gate, and underscored a lack of trust between Clinton and her operatives, many of whom were former Obama staffers that she didn't consider part of her inner circle of trust.
Her advisers were also frustrated by having to play roles they hadn't been hired for and were ill-suited for. From the beginning, [the campaign's top pollster and strategist Joel] Benenson was frustrated that he was forced to split his time between defending his boss on emails and defining a path for her candidacy. Clinton, meanwhile, longed for a chief strategist in the Mark Penn mold who could take on a more expansive role than playing pollster. [Politico]
Canada will stop its airstrikes on the Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq by Feb. 22, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.
"As I said many times throughout the campaign in my commitment to Canadians, this is a non-combat mission," he said.
Trudeau, who took office in November, added that airstrikes don't help local communities attain long-term stability. Instead, he'll up military personnel in the region and train more local forces, The Washington Post reports.
The Pentagon has said it respects Trudeau's decision to halt strikes, but did not invite Canada's defense minister to recent meetings the U.S.-led coalition held in Paris. Julie Kliegman
During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush showed off his throwing arm by lobbing a snowball at NBC reporter Jordan J. Frasier. Only, there wasn't much to show off.
"You can't do anything about it!" Bush taunted the reporter, whose hands were full managing the camera. Bush seemed to think about it for a second and added, "That's not fair, actually." Frasier, laughing, didn't seem to mind — and he caught the whole thing on film. Watch below. Jeva Lange
— Jordan J Frasier (@jordanjfrasier) February 8, 2016
An average audience of 111.9 million viewers tuned into CBS for Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night, making the program the third most-watched in TV history, Variety reports. The matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers trailed the 2015 and 2014 Super Bowls, which had 114.4 million viewers on NBC and 112.2 million viewers on Fox, respectively.
Donald Trump has captured a wide lead in New Hampshire ahead of the Tuesday primary, where voting begins as early as midnight. According to a University of Massachusetts Lowell/WHDH poll released Monday, Trump holds the support of 34 percent of likely Republican voters in the Granite State, followed by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13 percent apiece, and Jeb Bush and John Kasich with 10 percent each. Among Democrats, Bernie Sanders has a strong 56-40 lead over Hillary Clinton. However, New Hampshire is famously a "late-breaking" state with many undecided voters, and polls are typically subject to scrutiny.
Pollsters surveyed 407 likely Democrats with an adjusted margin of error of +/-5.52 percent and 464 likely Republican voters with an adjusted margin of error of +/-2.99 percent; voters were interviewed between Friday and Sunday. See the full results here. Jeva Lange
A possibly very confused voter at a John Kasich town hall in Windham, New Hampshire, wanted to know why she should vote for the Ohio governor in the "Democratic primary" — and Kasich, a Republican, didn't correct her. The question did not seem to be a slip of the tongue, either: The voter said she was having a hard time deciding between Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and John Kasich in the "Democratic primary" and wanted to know why Kasich should have her vote.
"Isn't that interesting," Kasich said as the crowd around her gasped. However, without mentioning his political allegiance or correcting the voter, Kasich went on to position himself as a good compromise between Sanders and Clinton saying, "One of them's too hot, one of them's too cold, but I've got the right temperature."
When Kasich asked the voter how he did in convincing her, she awkwardly dodged by saying, "I'll let you know tomorrow." Watch the scene unfold, below. Jeva Lange