August 3rd, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Sidney Harman

The 91-year-old retired business executive and husband of California Rep. Jane Harman will be the next owner of Newsweek magazine.

The Washington Post Co.'s Donald Graham confirmed the sale Monday when he introduced Harman to the Newsweek staff in Washington, Newsweek reported.

Though terms of the deal are not public and Harman is rumored to have bid a mere $1 on the magazine, Harman will reportedly assume Newsweek’s $70 million debt.

Harman was one of several bidders for Newsweek, which went up for sale earlier this year. Launched in 1933, Newsweek was acquired by the Washington Post in 1961.

Making a profit, Harman told Newsweek staffers on Monday, is not part of the plan.

"I would be delighted over a period of a few years to see Newsweek get by on its own fuel,” he said. “Break even is a serious accomplishment in this environment. I’m not here to make money. I’m here to make joy."

Harman became wealthy by selling stereo equipment beginning in the 1950s. According to the Wall Street Journal, Harman Industries was once a billion-dollar corporation specializing in home theaters and high-end audio equipment for automobiles. He retired as CEO and chairman three years ago.

Graham allegedly chose Harman because he committed to keeping his hands off the magazine’s editorial direction and maintaining at least 250 members of Newsweek’s current staff. Newsweek’s editor Jon Meacham agreed to leave the magazine when it went up for sale in May, Newsweek reported.

"Sidney is a quality man, a man who cares, and a man who will be trying with all his power to shape a successful future for Newsweek," Graham told staffers.

Newsweek: Washington Post Company agrees to sell Newsweek to Sidney Harman

Wall Street Journal: The 411 on Newsweek buyer

Kara DioGuardi

Rumors are swirling that DioGuardi has been fired as an “American Idol” judge two years after replacing her mentor, Paula Abdul, on the show. Co-host Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she is leaving after just one season, and speculation is that Fox will be adding Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to the mix.

Randy Jackson, the remaining original judge, is expected to return. A Fox spokesman declined to comment on DioGuardi.

The songwriter/producer has written more than 400 songs, according to She has worked with artists including Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, the Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears. She was a vice president at Warner Records when she joined “American Idol.”

DioGuardi met Abdul in New York in 1998. The two eventually wrote a best-selling song for Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue.

CNN: 'American Idol': Implosion or genius? Kara DioGuardi

Evette Leavy and Brian de Vale

The couple’s 16-year-old twin sons, Alan and Brian, were diagnosed in 2001 with the kidney disease focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. When Alan's kidneys failed in 2009, de Vale was able to give him one of his kidneys, according to the New York Daily News.

When Brian's condition worsened, Leavy wanted to do the same for her son, but she was ruled out as a donor because she had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant, the Daily News reported. She needed to lose 15 ponds in order to be a donor.

Rather than watch her son go through dialysis or wait for the right organ match, she changed her lifestyle. She cut junk food from her diet, ate only wheat grains, brown rice and steamed vegetables, and began walking regularly.

"I felt panicked," Leavy said. "I was determined that I would have to do it. There was never a doubt."

Brian had his surgery in July.

New York Daily News: Mom sheds pounds to donate kidney

Imam Zaid Shakir

 The New York Times has reported that the 44-year-old Berkeley, California, native is one of nine influential Muslim scholars who has appeared in a YouTube video denouncing militant Islam.

"Islam teaches a balance in all of our affairs, so it's not a religion that is amenable to extremism," Shakir said in the video that launched this week.

Militants have been highly unsuccessful with acts of violence, particularly against civilians, Shakir said. They have contributed to "one mess after another," he said.

"It's time for us to start cleaning up those messes and even going beyond that," Sharkir said. "It's time for us to begin to contribute to the construction of something beautiful."

Shakir was raised during the U.S. civil rights movement and converted to Islam while serving in the Air Force, according to his biography. He teaches Islamic and Arabic courses at the Zaytuna Institute in California.

New York Times: American Muslims make video to rebut militants

YouTube: 'Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice'

Maz Jobrani

The Iranian-born, California-raised actor and comedian has been touring the Middle East, performing his stand-up act in Beirut, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In his routine, Jobrani often points out the commonalities between cultures.

All cultures like to laugh at themselves, especially their issues with traffic, Jobrani told the Times.

“If traffic were a video game, Egypt would be the advanced level.” Jobrani recently told a crowd of Egyptians.

Political jokes are preferred over religious quips, Jobrani said.

“I’m trying to steer clear of fatwas,” he said.

Jobrani was 6 years old when his family left Iran for Tiburon in Northern California, the Times reported. He is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, and he attended UCLA for graduate school.

He has appeared in films including "The Interpreter" and the ABC program "Better Off Ted.” In January, he released a comedy DVD, “Brown and Friendly.”

A founding member of the “Axis of Evil” comedy tour, Jobrani toured with a group of Middle Eastern performers in 2007. The King of Jordan attended a show.

"It's been important for me … to do these shows because it shows the world that the people of the Middle East are global citizens and appreciate laughter just like anyone else," Jobrani said. "It helps bring the East and West closer with laughter. Kind of a comedic diplomacy."

Los Angeles Times: U.S. comedian faces tough crowd on Middle East tour

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Micah Arnoldy

    Brett I love ya man...but please...this is getting old (pun intended) just retire with your dignity intact

    August 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. david letters

    On Aug 2 your colleague reported on the video' walk across the US.' She said" this was filmed in 14 days, as no one could walk the entire US."WRONG! It is done every year. Adrventurers walk, run or bycycle the US of A. In 1974 , I ROLLER SKATED across the US from Gloucester, Ma`. to San Franciso. I did this to understand myself and the experience of such an adventure. I also preached the problems of the US dependance on oil. 36 years later and we have the same problem. Sadly, a` lot of American blood has flooded the sands of times over oil since then.All statements here are true. Comments??? David at edress above. Great Show too, keep punching the bag of truth.THE NATION NEEDS A VOICE louder than those at fox...

    August 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anthony Wilson

    i like Joe Jonas coz i think he has the best voice of the Jonas Brothers*`,

    October 4, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Shower Pump 

    ellen degeneres and tyra banks are two of my favorite talk show hosts,*~

    October 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Spyware Protection 

    Jonas Brothers and Moffats sort of sounds the same',`

    October 19, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mixer Shower ·

    oh i love Ellen Degeneres, you can always say that she is the best talk show host ""

    November 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |