Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington (born July 15, 1950) is a nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. She describes herself as a "former right-winger who has evolved into a compassionate and progressive populist". She is the founder of the Huffington Post, an online commentary blog. Her latest book is On Becoming Fearless.... in Love, Work, and Life.

Huffington was born in Athens, Greece as Arianna Stassinopoulos, the daughter of Konstantinos (a journalist and management consultant) and Elli (Georgiadi) Stassinopoulos, and the sister of Agapi (an author, speaker and performer). She moved to England at the age of 16, and attended Girton College at Cambridge University where she was President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1971 and graduated with a MA in Economics in 1972.

After graduation, she moved to London, working as a columnist, critic, and appearing on a number of television shows. For much of this time, she lived with literary critic Bernard Levin, whom she had met while the two were panelists on the TV show Face the Music. She left Levin in 1980 to move to the United States (partly, she later said, because he refused to marry her). On his death in 2004, she called Levin "The big love of my life".

She met millionaire Michael Huffington at a 1985 party hosted by Ann Getty in San Francisco. She married him in 1986, and they moved to Washington, D.C. when he was appointed to the Department of Defense. They later established residency in Santa Barbara, California, in order for him to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which he won by a significant margin. They divorced in 1997, after he narrowly lost the 1994 race for the U.S. Senate seat from California to incumbent Dianne Feinstein. Michael Huffington, a political conservative who (paradoxically) had publicly supported gays in the military during his political career, announced in 1998 that he is bisexual. A 1999 magazine article claimed that Arianna Huffington "entered the marriage... with full knowledge of Michael Huffington's sexual interests in men". The financial terms of their divorce agreement remain undisclosed. Arianna chose to retain her former husband's surname, instead of her own (Stassinopoulos).

In 1996, she and politically liberal comedian Al Franken participated in Comedy Central's coverage of the 1996 U.S. presidential election. For her work, she and the writing team of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher were nominated for an Emmy, for Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program.

Huffington's shift in political ideology was purportedly inspired by her Left, Right & Center segment colleague, Robert Scheer, her friend Al Franken, and her belief that the Republican Party does not do enough to help the "less fortunate". Huffington's political transition coincided with the crisis in the Balkans during the 1990s. Huffington was a strong, vocal opponent of American intervention against the Serbians during the Bosnian and Kosovo wars.

In 2000, she instigated the 'Shadow Conventions', which appeared at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. To one of the attendees at the Shadow Convention in Philadelphia, State Representative Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, "the subjects of the Shadow Convention—campaign finance reform, reform of America's drug laws, fighting the causes of poverty, reducing corporate influence on the political process—showed that she had come a long way from her days as a Gingrich-backer while remaining a registered Republican."

Huffington heads The Detroit Project, a public interest group lobbying automakers to start producing "cars that will end our dependence on foreign oil." The Project's 2003 TV ads, which equated driving sport utility vehicles to funding terrorism, proved to be particularly controversial, with some stations refusing to run them. Huffington drives a gasoline-electric hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, but is often criticized for owning and using a private jet, a vehicle which consumes more fuel in an hour than several SUV's combined.

Huffington was an independent candidate to replace California governor Gray Davis in the 2003 recall election. She described her candidacy against front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger as "the hybrid versus the Hummer," making reference to her ownership of an energy-efficient vehicle, the Prius and Schwarzenegger's of the gas-guzzling auto brand. Despite briefly retaining former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley as a campaign advisor and noted ad executive Bill Hillsman as her media director, she dropped out of the race on September 30, 2003 to instead try to get the recall defeated. "I'm pulling out, and I'm going to concentrate every ounce of time and energy over the next week working to defeat the recall because I realize now that's the only way to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger," she said. Others attributed her exit to her inability to garner support for her candidacy, noting that polls showed that only about 2% of likely California voters planned to vote for her at the time of her withdrawal. Though she failed to stop the recall, Huffington's name still appeared on the ballot and she placed 5th in a field of 135 candidates, capturing 0.6% of the votes. Her former husband endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger (a fellow Republican) over her.

Huffington, who was once a Republican, changed political affiliations in the late 1990s, and backed the Democrats. "You cannot live without liberalism," she said in a 2006 appearance on the Colbert Report. Huffington explains her sudden conversion on her official web site. In a 2004 appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart she announced her endorsement of John Kerry by saying that "When your house is burning down, you don't worry about the remodeling." In recent years, she has moved closer to the Democratic Party. Huffington was a panel speaker during the 2005 California Democratic Party State Convention, held in Los Angeles. She also spoke at the 2004 College Democrats of America Convention in Boston, which was held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention 2004.

Huffington has written several books, including:

* The Female Woman (1973) (ISBN 0-7067-0098-8)
* After Reason (1978) (ISBN 0-8128-2465-2)
* Picasso: Creator and Destroyer (1988) (ISBN 0-671-45446-3)
* The Gods of Greece (1993) (ISBN 0-87113-554-X)
* Maria Callas (1993) (ISBN 0-8154-1228-2)
* The Fourth Instinct (1994) (ISBN 0-7432-6163-1)
* Greetings from the Lincoln Bedroom (1998) (ISBN 0-517-39699-8)
* How to Overthrow the Government (2000) (ISBN 0-06-098831-2)
* Pigs at the Trough (2003) (ISBN 1-4000-4771-4)
* Fanatics & Fools (2004) (ISBN 1-4013-5213-8)
* On Becoming Love, Work, and Life (2006) (ISBN 0-316-16681-2)

She was accused of plagiarism for copying material for books about Maria Callas and Pablo Picasso; the charges were settled out of court. She founded and writes for The Huffington Post, which has a liberal perspective.

Huffington is co-host of the nationally-syndicated public radio program Left, Right & Center. She was originally introduced by the moderator as occupying the chair "from the right," but is now described as "coming from the fourth dimension of political time and space", or from the 'independent-progressive blogosphere'.

Huffington has always embraced spirituality. Her book The Fourth Instinct is based on the idea that all humans have an inherent spiritual yearning. She now does not belong to an organized religious group, but meditates regularly. She was reputedly a longtime follower of John-Roger and a minister in his Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (considered "a suspicious organization" by the Cult Awareness Network, a once-independent religious watchdog group now operated by associates of the Church of Scientology). During her then-husband's 1994 campaign, she denied being a member of the organization, but stated she was a close friend of its leader.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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