Gingrich, Calling It Splits

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has filed for divorce from his wife, Marianne, saying their 18-year union is "irretrievably broken." According to papers filed in Cobb County, Ga., Superior Court, the couple are trying to reach an agreement "resolving all matters and controversies between them." The Gingriches have been separated since May 10, the papers said. Newt Gingrich, 56, reserved the right to "set forth additional grounds for divorce" if he and Marianne, 47, can't reach a deal. This was Newt's second marriage, her first. His spokesman would not comment. "Marianne is saddened and disappointed at Newt's decision," said Victoria Toensing, her personal attorney.

Dr. Laura's Unwelcome Advice

A California support group for parents of autistic children is steamed at radio yenta Laura Schlessinger for telling a distressed mother that her autistic son "may not be fixable" and may need "some kind of placement at some point." "Dr. Laura" made the remarks on her show Thursday after a caller named Denise asked if she should take her 8-year-old to her father's birthday party. Schlessinger advised her to buy a new dress and attend the party without the child. The organization Families for Early Autism Treatment posted a transcript of the call on its Web site, and angry parents lit up Schlessinger's switchboard.

"The mother didn't ask whether she should institutionalize her son or not; Dr. Laura took the initiative on this," complained FEAT spokesman Lenny Schafer. "Her advice can certainly be seen as a rush to 'dump,' betraying her ignorance and perhaps a bias against those with disabilities."

The vice president and general manager of the "Dr. Laura" show, Keven Bellows, said FEAT is "just wrong. She does not advocate institutionalizing this child. . . . It seems to me that this is a case of people yelling without any real reason to yell."

Congresswomen Protest CNN Dismissal

Thirteen female members of Congress, led by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), have filed a protest with CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson over the termination of veteran journalist Mary Tillotson and the cancellation of "CNN & Co.," her daily half-hour program featuring women in the news. "Mary came to us and asked off the show," Johnson said, adding that he'll respond to the congressional letter as soon as he receives it. "Her request really gave us an opportunity to look at our entire programming lineup." That lineup won't include the 53-year-old Tillotson, who's spent 18 years at CNN. "I asked to be allowed to return to street reporting. I've been told there's no job available to me at the company," Tillotson said, noting that "CNN & Co." suffered severe budget and staff cuts over the past six years. She added philosophically, "Honey, it's TV."

End Notes

Whoops, those weren't party favors, say newlyweds Victoria Adams (a k a Posh Spice) and David Beckham. It seems guests at their July 4 nuptials in Ireland walked off with about 75 solid silver goblets. "It's a bit embarrassing," the Spice Girl said. "It's flattering that people took them as a memento, but we'd only hired them and it seems they are quite valuable"--they're worth several thousand dollars--"so if anybody has them, please give them back. You can keep the velvet napkin holders" . . . Amy Carter and husband James Wentzel became parents for the first time Thursday when Carter gave birth to 7-pound 13-ounce Hugo James Wentzel. He's the 10th grandchild for former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn . . . Fatherhood is in Keanu Reeves's future. The mom-to-be is the actor's friend Jennifer Skye. The two don't have any plans to wed . . . Prince William passed his driver's test on the first try, Buckingham Palace reported. The 17-year-old got a VW Golf for his birthday . . . Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is "resting comfortably" after undergoing heart bypass surgery Friday morning at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, his office said.