2008_07_helms.jpgJesse Helms, the controversial conservative U.S. Senator from North Carolina who regularly opposed civil rights, abortion, modern art, funding AIDS research and other issues, died of natural causes in Raleigh, N.C. He earned the nickname "Senator No" after blocking legislation and nominations--the AP recalls how, when then President Bill Clinton wanted to confirm an openly homosexual candidate for a position at HUD, "I'm not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine." Helms said, " Helms had retired in 2003, after serving five 6-year terms, prompting President Bush to say the Senate was "losing an institution."