Archive for December, 2010
Dec 21

Italy’s President Honors Café Milano’s Franco Nuschese

Franco Nuschese with Arianna Huffington at her Washington, DC book party October 2010
Franco Nuschese with Arianna Huffington at her Washington, DC book party October 2010

The owner of Café Milano and president of Georgetown Entertainment Group has a new award to add to a long list he’s received, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Franco Nuschese was born in Minori, Italy on the Amalfi Coast and has spent more than 20 years building a successful business and working to improve the lives of people across the globe. Now, Nuschese can be called “Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana,” the third of six ranks in the organization which is comparable to Britain’s Order of the British Empire.

Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic” is a prestigious honor conferred by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano for promoting a positive image of Italians around the world. Past honorees include designer Giorgio Armani, race car legend Mario Andretti, tennis star Francesca Schiavone, and astronaut Dr. Umberto Guidoni. Nuschese was presented with his new title December 13th at a dinner hosted by the Italian Ambassador to the United States, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, at Villa Firenze, the Italian residence in Washington, D.C.

Guests included Nuschese’s son Gianfranco, a Georgetown University student; Supreme Court Justice and Mrs. Antonin Scalia; General and Mrs. Jim Jones; Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; UAE Ambassador and Mrs. Yousef Al Otaiba; BET co-founder Bob Johnson; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“I am grateful and humbled by this honor,” said Nushcese. “I will accept it as a tribute to my father, Giuseppe, who several weeks ago died in Italy after a long and wonderful life.”

When Nuschese opened Café Milano in 1992, it quickly became the place to spot politicos and celebrities alike. In 2008, Nuschese was so moved by being chosen to host a luncheon for the pope during his visit to Washington, D.C., he wrote about it for The Washington Post. The event for His Holiness Benedetto XVI happened to coincide on the pope’s 81st birthday and Nuschese left no detail unattended. President Bill Clinton was such a favorite regular at Café Milano, that Nuschese and legendary producer Quincy Jones were chosen to speak when Clinton was honored in May with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service at the Sons of Italy Foundation’s 2010 NELA Gala.

Much like the former president, Nuschese has devoted himself to public service. He is the director of international relations for the Robert C. Gallo Foundation for AIDS and Virus Research, and is a member of the boards of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology, the Afghanistan World Foundation, the foundation for Georgetown University Hospital, the Washington National Opera, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Congratulazioni, Commendatore Nuschese!

Dec 15

Jon Stewart’s New Friend: Gordon Brown

It’s a British invasion of a different sort: Gordon Brown, the Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has taken America by storm while on book tour for “Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization.” Monday night, Brown exchanged bon mots with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, even sticking around for an extended interview that can be seen exclusively online.

“But in Globalization, you know, we would very much like to sell them our products, and we have quite a few of them,” stated Stewart. “But, the demand in the rest of the world. Globalization – isn’t this the problem that Western countries face in a post-Imperial world? Life was so much easier when we had colonies. We could go in and just suck out every last bit and exploit.”

“Look, Jon, it was easier for us when you were the colony,” joked Brown. “We should never have let you go.”

Then Brown faced the crew over at MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday morning. Joe Scarborough wrapped up the interview by saying, “This is so important, because, coming from him – not because he’s a former Prime Minister – but Chancellor of the Exchequer for a very long time. This is a book Americans need to read.”

But it all started here in Washington, DC on Saturday night at The Jefferson Hotel with Connie Milstein. See Washington’s famous faces and hear Brown’s remarks on WHC Insider.

Dec 12

Gordon Brown’s D.C. Book Bash

Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and wife Sarah, were in Washington this weekend to launch his U.S. book tour. The Browns were greeted by top politicos, global financial leaders and media types at a stately affair held at the Jefferson Hotel. The party was co-hosted by long-time friends Connie Milstein, owner of the Jefferson Hotel and her husband, J.C. de La Haye St. Hilaire, and Tammy Haddad.

Brown charmed the A-plus crowd, including the Obama Administration’s David and Susan Axelrod, Austan and Robin Goolsbee, Ambassador Elizabeth BagleyBill Burton and Laura Burton CappsStephanie Cutter, Bruce Reed, Eric Lesser and Katie McCormick Lelyveld, as he had a little fun describing his post PM life as well as giving his assessment of the global economy.

Here are Brown’s comments as reported by Politics Daily on AOL —
“In brief remarks, Brown — among the first world leaders to rescue troubled banks at home in 2008 — warned that “for the time in 200 years, America and Europe are being out-produced, out-invested, out-traded and out-exported” by other nations, and that the solution to the global crisis was to tap into a billion middle class consumers in Asia who in 10 years will have twice the buying power as Americans.”

Brown repeated that same message on ABC News “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” saying that while Asia and China had to consume more, “Europe’s got to reform its markets. America is prepared to invest in the future, while doing its fiscal consolidation. And that would mean, in my view, that you would have this exit strategy from a crisis based on high growth and high employment and not low growth and what I fear is high unemployment for a decade.”

The former prime minister — who earlier in his career spent a decade as finance minister — warned that the immediate danger “is that people cut back in education, which is vital for the future, that people cut back on their international contacts, because they think the solutions lie in national answers to their problems, when they lie in global cooperation. And I think the danger is, you have a ’30s-style protectionism where people relapse into currency wars, as we’re seeing, or trade wars or banning takeovers that have got cross-border ramifications, or simply a protectionism in of the mind, where anti-immigrant sentiment gets to the point that we’re not really talking to each other in a way that means that we have a coordinated world.”

A crowd formed around media celebrities including new CNN host Piers Morgan and his wife Celia Walden, Arianna Huffington and Glee’s Matthew Morrison.

Notables in the crowd: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of World Bank; Ambassador Capricia Marshall; Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell; Terry McAuliffe; Rima al SabahBob Barnett and Rita Braver; Bruce and Bonnie Reed; Robert and Ellen Bennett; Hilary Rosen and Kate Harold; Sam and Danielle Feist; Dan and Rhoda Glickman; Shelby Coffey; Anita McBride; Sally Quinn; NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, and the BBC’s Rome and Amy Hartman.

“Beyond the Crash” is published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster.

Dec 11

Gordon Brown US Book Premiere

Watch the Gordon Brown US Book Premiere Party hosted at historic Jefferson Hotel

Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is celebrating the publication of his new book, “Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalization” at an exclusive party this evening in D.C., with remarks expected by Gordon Brown, as well as co-hosts Tammy Haddad and Connie Milstein & J.C. de La Haye St. Hilaire.

WHC Insiders can watch the event starting at 5:30pm and see Gordon Brown’s remarks here on WHC Insider at approximately 6:00pm.

Update: If you missed the LIVE feed check out the video below:

Dec 10

Axelrod-Milstein Team Up for Epilepsy Research

Glee stars surprise CURE crowd

Hundreds gathered at the Newseum Wednesday evening to recognize the scientific work of CURE Epilepsy, raise awareness, and to honor 2010 Friend of CURE Awardee, longtime television producer and WHCInsider’s own Tammy Haddad.

Susan Axelrod, Chair and founding member of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, was on hand to mark the special occasion. Axelrod and Connie Milstein, CURE supporter and noted philanthropist, co-hosted the event.

Connie Milstein, a CURE board member, announced the Axelrod Milstein Challenge Grant. It is a $500,000 two-year program. CURE Challenge Grants are CURE’s most prestigious, and fuel the much needed research to find the key to the cure of this dreaded disease.

“Susan works tirelessly to find a cure for epilepsy and seizure disorders. Like many families across the world, the Axelrods live with this disease every day, but their work, their strength, and their optimism give hope to so many, as they fight and live for a cure,” said Milstein.

Susan Axelrod described the lack of progress and the difficult research road ahead:  “With so many troops returning from war with traumatic brain injuries and epilepsy, the need is more urgent now.”

Axelrod, along with her husband David, was desperate to find answers when their own daughter Lauren was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy at 7 months old. Twelve years ago, CURE was founded by Axelrod and two other mothers around a kitchen table. Many members of the CURE family were on hand last night and gathered on stage for a group photo and greeted with a round of applause.

The room was a living tribute to CURE and Ms. Haddad, as devoted friends from both sides of the aisle raised a glass to what many have called a “force.” Haddad used her annual White House Correspondents Weekend Brunch to raise awareness for CURE after seeing Susan and Lauren Axelrod on the cover of PARADE magazine, and later on NBC’s The Today Show.

“I chased her down for weeks to get her to host the Correspondents Brunch because I wanted to help. Here was a chance to use a HUGE platform for an important message,” said Haddad. “What did she tell us? No parent, no child, no family — no person should have to suffer and experience the pain of epilepsy.  That is her goal…and since she is unstoppable we know she will reach that goal.”

Cabinet appearances by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Dr. Howard Koh, NIH’s Story Landis and Dr. Tony Fauci.

The audience roared as a video roast of Haddad began with David Gregory anchoring a “Meet The Press” open lamenting the lack of agreement on anything in Washington except in friendship and respect for Haddad.  Also in the video: ABC’s Jake Tapper from the White House, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale.  Jon Meacham roasted the longtime network and cable news producer by reminding the audience that Christopher Buckley put her in his novel “Thank You for Smoking.”  Haddad’s former MSNBC’s colleagues, the “Morning Joe” team – Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Mark Halperin and Harold Ford taking turns trying to figure out what award Haddad hadn’t won yet while praising her work for CURE.

The surprise ending was a song written and performed for Haddad by Glee superstars Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch.

Among those there to help celebrate: Rima al Sabah, the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s wife; British Ambassador to the US Nigel and Julia Sheinwald; AFT President Randi Weingarten; Tom Oliphant, Mary Louise Oates and Robert Shrum.

Politicos aplenty including Bloomberg’s Kevin Sheekey, Joel and Lisa Benenson, Jim Margolis, Susan Sher, Stephanie Cutter, Julianna Smoot, Dan Pfieffer, Eric Lesser and Jen Psaki.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard fresh from a Supreme Court appearance, along with crowd favorite Terry McAuliffe; Tony and Heather Podesta; Podesta Group CEO Kimberly Fritts and hubby, Marion Turner; Holly Page; Bruce Reed and Bonnie LePard.

Media biggies included Wolf Blitzer, Howard Fineman and Amy Nathan, Lynn Sweet, Betsy Fischer (producer of the surprise video), Andrea Mitchell, Gloria Borger, Roger Simon, Annie Groer and Hilary Rosen.

Both republican and democratic political operatives included Bob Stevenson, Jane Oates, Dan Meyers, Erica Elliot, Rich Galen and Tom Synhorst.

Designed by Jacquie Bloom, the Newseum’s Knight Center was aglow in CURE red. Guests enjoyed the pomegranate martini ice luge and the ice cream sundae bar.

CURE is in the middle of their Every Dollar Counts Every seizure Matters campaign.  To donate CLICK on