Washington (CNN) - The Southern Poverty Law Center will designate the Family Research Council, a powerful conservative advocacy organization, as a hate group next year because of its anti-gay views. For its part, the council is already firing back in a statement calling the announcement a "smear campaign."
In the most recent edition of its publication "Intelligence Report," the SPLC included its analysis of 14 years' worth of hate crimes data. The study concluded that gays were more likely to be victims of a violent hate crime than any other minority group. As part of its study, the SPLC made a list titled "18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda." The SPLC said it would designate 13 of the 18 groups on the list as "hate groups" in 2011, including the Family Research Council.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, believes prayers for his wife after her car accident earlier this month prevented her from being paralyzed.
"With the prayers that have been offered all over the country for my little wife, that's meaningful to me," Reid said during a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday, "because I'm confident that those prayers prevented my wife from being paralyzed."
Landra Reid, Reid's wife of more than 50 years, suffered a broken neck, nose, and vertebra in a car accident outside Washington on March 11. Their daughter, Lana Reid, was also in the vehicle but her injuries were not as serious.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Bart Stupak, the pro-life Democrat from Michigan who has made legislative language over abortion funding a flashpoint in the debate over health care reform, is now facing a primary challenger from the left. Connie Saltonstall, a former Charlevoix County commissioner and retired businesswoman from Charlevoix, Mich. who announced her primary challenge Tuesday.
"The main issue is he was willing to sacrifice health care reform because of abortion funding," Saltonstall told CNN. "He's been my congressman for many years. I have compromised voting for him because of his position on choice. Health care and choice are two issues I am especially concerned about."
Saltonstall also says she will continue her campaign regardless of the final abortion language in the health care bill, or Stupak's vote.
"The people in our district lost trust in him. At dinners, he did powerpoint presentations on health care telling us he was going to introduce amendments, but telling us he would support health care regardless of the amendment. But then when the amendment passed, at his press conference he stated if his amendment language was not included, he would take the bill down. He has continued to say he would not vote for the health care bill unless his language was put in," she explained.
(CNN) – Charles Montgomery Burns, better known as Mr. Burns in the hit animated TV series "The Simpsons", got the most votes of any write-in candidate during last month's mayoral election in New York City. According to records released by the New York City Board of Elections, the cartoon billionaire received 27 write-in votes out of the 299 that were cast.
Burns wasn't the only fictional character to get votes in the race. Mad Magazine icon Alfred E. Newman, Fantastic Four arch-villain Victor Von Doom, Mickey Mouse, and Sleeping Beauty also received write-in votes.
Many New York City and state political figures also got votes, including former New York City mayors Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, and David Dinkins. Others include Bill and Hillary Clinton, former New York governor George Pataki, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and the candidates from this year's congressional race in New York's 23rd district Dede Scozzafava and Doug Hoffman.
Three historical figures also got votes: former presidents Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, and Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Other noteworthy figures getting a nod were New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, radio shock jock Howard Stern, deceased comedian Rodney Dangerfield, and Robert Burke, better known to many New Yorkers as "the Naked Cowboy."
Burns and the rest of the write-in candidates ultimately lost to real-life billionaire and incumbent mayor Michael Bloomberg.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Politics and rock collided in suburban Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night when Irish rockers U2 came to town for their U2 360º tour. In this city full of government and political operatives, there was no shortage of references to both during the two-hour performance.
Bono introduced what he called "the nation state of U2," designating each band member with a cabinet or government position. He called drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. "the author of our constitution" - a reference to the fact that it was Mullen's ad on a high school bulletin board that led to the formation of U2 in the late 1970s. He also bestowed on him the title of leader of the opposition. Bassist Adam Clayton shares the double duty of minister of culture and foreign minister.
Most would probably assume Bono as the head of state in this government, but he told the audience he was happy with being "majority leader" and "Madame Speaker" because of his interest and ability in making deals and building consensus. President The Edge gets that honor, who Bono dubbed, "the leader of my free world."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Emmy Award winner Alec Baldwin is eyeing a post-acting career that could take him off a Hollywood soundstage into the halls of Congress.
Baldwin, who currently stars in the NBC comedy "30 Rock," told Playboy magazine that he is seriously considering running for Congress. But he acknowledged his opponents would have plenty of fodder to use against him.
"I'll put it this way," he told the magazine. "The desire is there; that's one component. The other component is opportunity."
A native New Yorker, Baldwin said he has been approached by an unnamed Democratic law firm who wanted him to run for governor of Ohio, and he has also considered moving to New Jersey or Connecticut to run for office. "I'd love to run against Joe Lieberman," Baldwin said of the Independent Democratic senator who is no favorite of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. But Baldwin dismissed the idea, saying "It's all fantasy."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of liberal activists Monday called for the disbarment of two current CIA officials - and a former one - because of their roles in crafting and implementing Bush administration legal policies on detainee interrogations.
The National Disbar Torture Lawyers Coalition filed formal disciplinary complaints with the Washington, D.C., and New York state bar associations against John A. Rizzo, the current acting general counsel at the CIA; Jonathan M. Fredman, a CIA official currently on loan to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Scott W. Muller, the agency's former general counsel, who is now an attorney in the private sector.
The coalition has already filed a dozen similar complaints against former White House and Justice Department officials, including former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who also was attorney general in the Bush administration; and former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The complaints accuse the three attorneys of "advocating for immoral and unethical 'extended' or 'enhanced' interrogation techniques (amounting to torture), and other policies that resulted in clear violations of U.S. and international law." They were filed the same week that the CIA is expected to release an internal inspector-general report from 2004 criticizing the interrogation program.
CNN was unable to reach the three lawyers for comment, but CIA spokesman George Little responded, "This, to put it mildly, is something with which we do not agree."