November 19th, 2013
11:11 AM ET

Alec Baldwin's Daughter Defends Him

Alec Baldwin and his daughter Ireland have apparently mended their differences.

The 18-year-old model used Twitter to defend her father after his use of an anti-gay slur. The younger Baldwin insists that her dad "has a kind heart."

"For someone who has battled with anger management issues, my dad has grown tremendously," she tweeted. "My dad is far from a homophobe or a racist."

His daughter knows a great deal about such anger issues. In 2007 a voice mail was leaked in which the actor ranted and called his then-11-year-old daughter a "rude, thoughtless little pig."

Recently Alec Baldwin lashed out at a paparazzo who was outside his Manhattan apartment and called the man a "c******king f*g."

That resulted in both GLAAD and CNN's Anderson Cooper taking Baldwin to task.

"Wow, Alec Baldwin shows his true colors yet again," Cooper tweeted. "How is he going to lie and excuse his anti-gay slurs this time?"

Ireland Baldwin said via Twitter that "Paparazzi can bring out many confined feelings of anger and spite out of anyone" and that "... what my dad said was WRONG. What my dad felt WASN'T."

"Boundaries have to be made," she said "Paparazzi have jobs to do, but some of them jeopardize people's lives and cross a line. My dad has an INFANT CHILD to protect."

The "30 Rock" star has had a rough time of it lately, with MSNBC putting his show "Up Late" on a two-week suspension in the wake of the scandal. A rep for MSNBC told CNN the show is scheduled to return after the suspension.

On Saturday, Baldwin - who had already apologized for the slur he used against the photographer - posted a piece on The Huffington Post in which he said he would never again use the term "toxic queen" as he did in referring to a tabloid journalist. He expressed amazement at how he has been characterized.

"My friends who happen to be gay are baffled by this," he wrote. "They see me as one who has recently fought for marriage equality and has been a supporter of gay rights for many years. Now, the charge of being a 'homophobic bigot,' to quote one crusader in the gay community, is affixed."

He also asked that his network not be judged by his actions.

"Don't allow my problem to be MSNBC's problem," he said in his piece. "They are good people who work hard at a job, just like many of you. And two, please respect the privacy of my wife and family. If you have an opinion of me, then express it. Think what you like. But I ask that my wife, who I care about more than words can say, and both my children, be left out of this."

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November 19th, 2013
11:06 AM ET

A Not-So 'Wonderful' Idea?

A sequel to Frank Capra's classic 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life" is in the works, but it might take a Christmas miracle to turn this reboot into a classic.

According to a news release from film financier Allen J. Schwalb and his company Star Partners, "It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story" will tell what happened to the Baileys of Bedford Falls after the first movie ended, CNN's Nischelle Turner reports.

To help bridge the two films, producers announced that Karolyn Grimes, who at 6-years-old played Zuzu Bailey alongside Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, will reprise her role.

Grimes might have been charming as little Zuzu in the original, but her film resume ended roughly when her teens started in 1952. There are also talks with other living original cast members to see if they would sign on to the movie, which may sound like a holiday treat to some and like a lump of coal to many.

"It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story" will be written by Bob Farnsworth, known primarily as a music producer, and Martha Bolton, whose resume largely consists of her work done on Bob Hope specials in the 1980s and '90s. Schwalb has financed a long list of films - including "Rain Man," "The Color Purple" and "Thelma and Louise" - but most of them were hits in the last century, and his credits as a producer appear to be minimal.

Despite a reported $25 million to $32 million budget and an projected release next holiday season, the movie resembles an independent film rather than a high-profile sequel.

And that's if it can even get off the ground; the copyright to the original is its own complicated story.

NBC controls the rights to "It's a Wonderful Life." At one point, it was believed to have been part of the public domain and these new filmmakers seem to be operating as if it is.

Requests for comment from NBC have not been returned, but it's worth noting the network has been protective enough of the classic's legacy that it airs the film sparingly even during the holidays.

For his part, Schwalb says this new movie would continue the classic story for "an entirely new generation of moviegoers" and he is proud "to be involved in moving this story forward."

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November 19th, 2013
10:58 AM ET

Princeton Students Closer to Getting Meningitis Vaccine

Pending final approval from the Centers for Disease Control, Princeton University is preparing to provide a vaccine targeting a strain of meningitis in the wake of a campus outbreak, the school said Monday.

The CDC was preparing to recommend that all Princeton undergraduates and graduate students living in dormitories receive the vaccine, the Ivy League school said in a statement.

Other members of the university community should be vaccinated if they have conditions where the spleen is compromised or immune system disorders, the statement said.

The recommendations are still pending the review of the CDC's Independent Review Board, the CDC said Monday.

"Pending final CDC approval, the university is prepared to accept these recommendations and make arrangements to provide access to this vaccine as soon as possible," the Princeton statement said.

Princeton has seen seven cases of meningitis, a potentially fatal illness, since March. Only one vaccine exists to target meningococcal bacteria known as type B, the strain that appears responsible for the outbreak.

See CNN's Elizabeth Cohen says this vaccine is called Bexsero and is made by Novartis. It has not been licensed for use in the United States, but it was approved this year in Europe and Australia. The Princeton situation is the first outbreak of this strain since the vaccine was licensed in those countries.

The necessary doses would need one to two months to get to Princeton, according to Novartis spokeswoman Julie Masow. Bexero is manufactured in Italy, Masow said.

The university would cover the cost of the vaccine for all students who receive it.

Two doses are required to protect individuals against this rare disease. Princeton hopes to make the first two doses of the vaccine available in early December, and the second in February.

The meningococcal vaccines already available in the United States to college students would not protect them against this serogroup B bacteria.

The university, the New Jersey Department of Health and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are discussing options to control the outbreak, CDC spokeswoman Sharon Hoskins said Monday.

Before the news of the possible CDC recommendation on Monday afternoon, Princeton's board of trustees had met over the weekend to consider whether to offer students the vaccine on a voluntary basis.

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November 19th, 2013
10:52 AM ET

'Knockout Game' Hurts Random Victims

It's a dangerous game, now reported in at least six states,  and it could happen to anyone walking down the street.

One minute you're minding your own business, the next a complete stranger deliberately knocks you to the ground.

Across the country, police are struggling to tally the full impact of this deadly game. CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

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