FEARLESS LEADER: Arianna Huffington multitasked while being honored by Laboratory Institute of Merchandising at a lunch Friday afternoon at Ports 1961 showroom. The author and Internet entrepreneur managed to interview and hire a new blog editor for The Huffington Post in the car on the way to the event while CNBC filmed Huffington for a “day in the life of” segment the network is producing. The segment will air in conjunction with the April 29 release of her upcoming book, “Right Is Wrong: How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America, Shredded the Constitution, and Made Us All Less Safe.” Huffington addressed scholarship winners and friends of LIM at a “fearless” luncheon sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar and Ports 1961 at its showroom overlooking a sun-drenched Hudson River (the event played off Huffington’s book published last year, “On Becoming Fearless…in Love, Work, and Life”). Huffington described fear as sounding like an “obnoxious roommate” who plants negative thoughts in your head. It seems that voice may also be personified: “I told Stephen Colbert that my obnoxious roommate sounds exactly like you,” she said. His response? “He said he had to find a place to crash.”
Huffington also described her own triumphs over discouragement when she published her second book, “After Reason.” “I was rejected by 36 publishers,” she said, adding that, had she given up pursuing the book by the 15th rejection, she wouldn’t be where she is today. Huffington signed copies of her latest book for luncheon guests before hopping a plane to Atlanta.
This story first appeared in the April 21, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Stephanie D. Smith
PAGING TURD BLOSSOM: Unlikely as it may seem, members of the House Judiciary Committee have actually been reading GQ, their adherence to its fashion coverage notwithstanding. On Thursday, chairman John Conyers Jr. and three other Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, wrote to Karl Rove asking him to testify about what they termed “the politicization of the Department of Justice during this administration, including allegations regarding the prosecution of former Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman.” The impetus? Rove’s interview in the May GQ, in which he called an Alabama lawyer who had implicated Rove in the case against Siegelman “a complete lunatic.” He said of Dana Jill Simpson: “When she shows up to give her explanation of all this [to congressional investigators], do you know how many times my name appears? Zero times. Nobody checked!” In fact, the congressmen write in their letter, “Ms. Simpson actually referenced [Rove] several times at deposition.”
Rove also calls CBS “a shoddy operation” for its early April report on his connection to the Siegelman prosecution and conviction for bribery and obstruction of justice, which the former governor is appealing. “[CBS] said, ‘Hey, if we can say “Karl Rove,” “Siegelman,” that’ll be good for ratings. Let’s hype it.'”
Siegelman had told 60 Minutes in his first postprison interview, “What we need is Karl Rove to get himself over to the Judiciary Committee and put his hand on the Bible and take an oath and give testimony. And he can either tell the truth or take the Fifth. Either one will satisfy me.”
The congressmen who requested that Rove testify apparently agreed. They wrote, “In any event, since you have briefly commented on this matter in GQ and while serving as a commentator on Fox News, we believe the subject, like other serious charges regarding the role of politics at the Department of Justice, should be addressed before a key investigating Committee of Congress.”
The letter also cites an MSNBC report on April 7 in which Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, said his client would voluntarily testify. But on Friday, Luskin told Roll Call that any testimony would have to be cleared with the White House because of executive privilege issues.
— Irin Carmon
SINS OF THE FATHER: Augusten Burroughs, author of cult favorite “Running With Scissors” (and a contributing editor at Details), has written more than a few memoirs, but his latest, “A Wolf at the Table,” a book about his father, shook him more deeply than the rest. “I had a bad father,” Burroughs said. “I had no bruises, no broken bones — no outside evidence — but he was like a predator. He was like a sociopath; he could have probably killed someone and then feel nothing about it. It was very scary to be close to someone like that.” In the book, he writes about a phone conversation with his father, where the two talked about Burroughs’ mother, and it became clear that his father had contemplated killing her. Burroughs, who has written for Details since 2003, has a selection from the memoir in the May issue of the magazine. “A Wolf at the Table” comes out April 29 from St. Martin’s Press.
— Amy Wicks
MARKETING MOVE: In Style has hired Bill Robinson as vice president of marketing, a new position on the publishing side. Robinson most recently was the president of Blue Relief, a production company he founded with actor-director Diane Keaton. He produced films including “First Wives Club,” “Unstrung Heroes” and “Elephant.” Robinson also was the driving force behind the development and launch of Keaton’s upcoming lifestyle brand, the Keaton Manufacturing Co. He will report to publisher Lynette Harrison.
INDIA ON DESIGN: Model India Hicks is joining the Bravo show “Top Design” as host for its second season, which will air later this year. Hicks, a second cousin to Prince Charles, replaces former host Todd Oldham. This season, similar to Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, Oldham will serve as a mentor to the contestants. Jonathan Adler is back as head judge, along with Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Elle Decor and interior designer Kelly Wearstler.