The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

Donald Trump is still demonizing billionaire George Soros and other “globalists,” just as he did in a 2016 campaign commercial with anti-Semitic dog-whistles, or at least something very close. But Trump is picky about which Jewish billionaires to smear, and for good reason. None other than Sheldon Adelson, the Jewish casino billionaire, helped finance our demagogic […]

Stone statues honoring the dead helped draw me to the University of North Carolina. Thomas Wolfe wrote unforgettably of his father the stonecutter in Look Homeward, Angel, a classic coming-of-age novel. After reading Angel, I knew I must go to Chapel Hill. Back in the 1960s when I was at “Pulpit Hill, as Wolfe called the university in […]

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HELL—Fresh from his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump has negotiated a historic agreement with Satan. Under the deal, Satan will not lay claims on the souls of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Occupational Health and Safety Administration acting head Loren Sweatt, immigrant hater Jeff Sessions, consumer financial protection foe Mick […]

Ouch. If you own stocks, how did you feel when Wall Street suffered its worst week in two years? The S&P dropped six percent. Donald Trump had been pestering the media to report more on the stock market, up since his election. Now at least one TV financial pundit was joking about Trump’s crazy trade […]

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Brilliant scientists from MIT and Berkeley deployed a powerful ray gun against President Trump before his State of the Union speech. This brain-altering gadget did not kill him. Instead it jacked up his IQ 50 points as intended, gave him a conscience and forced him to tell the truth. Wait. I’m dreaming. But here’s an […]

Late last night I fell asleep reading the Failing New York Times on my iPad here in Alexandria, Virginia. To my surprise, though a time warp and other inexplicable phenomena, I awoke in a spare bedroom in the former Trump White House. I say “former” for a reason. The time was the mid-2020s. And the […]

George Roper, my good friend from high school, is dead now. When alive, he was often as right-wing as they come—complete with a passionate anti-Obama blog. And yet George and I avoided hand-to-hand combat. Up to his death several years ago, we followed each other on Facebook. He even talked up my novel. Similarly my […]

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Think Donald Trump will give us many positive surprises in the near term? Dream on. His EPA nominee hates the agency’s mission. Among at least the long-shot possibilities for secretary of state? The head of ExxonMobil. What is this, reality or a cartoon? I caught up with James Fallows of the The Atlantic, once Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter, for his own take […]

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Thank you, Sarah Palin. Friday you reminded us what a whack job The Donald is, even if your language was more indirect. Here he’d led you to believe he was a constitutional conservative. But now he’s bragged about a plan for Indiana to pay $7 million in incentives over a decade to keep a Carrier […]

A century from now, historians may well turn to the Trump Time Capsule series. The Atlantic’s James Fallows has told “what we knew, when we knew it, about the man who was trying to become president.” The series holds Republican politicians and others accountable to future generations. Donald Trump’s detractors regard him as a potential tyrant […]

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Richard Nixon’s enemies list was a black-tie affair. What a party! The twenty original names included such luminaries as film star Paul Newman, Congress member Ron Dellums, and journalist Daniel Schorr. Some powerful VIPs almost felt slighted not to make The List. The Nixon people later added scores of other individuals, as well as groups, […]

Ohio National Guardmen killed Bill Schroeder, an ex-Eagle Scout, 46 years ago today, at Kent State University. As a reporter for The Lorain Journal, his hometown daily, I covered the death of this ROTC cadet. Do you realize what America was like back then? People actually phoned up our factory-town newspaper and praised the guardsmen […]

Nick Carraway and your English lit professor got it all wrong. A madman’s gunshots did not kill the hero of The Great Gatsby, published 90 years ago on April 10, 1925. The corpse inside the coffin was someone else, a clever ruse. With a “heavyweight team” of FBI men about to nab him, the real […]

Rashad Young, hired at $245K and now paid $266,508 a year, is leaving as Alexandria’s city manager to become city administrator for D.C. In my hometown of 150,000, Mr. Young has been pulling down a bigger salary than that of Vice President Joe Biden, paid $230,700. Across the Potomac, he’ll make $295K in his new […]

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Imagine you’re with the Secret Service. A young Ohioan calls up and says he’ll be joining the Nazi Party. “I wanted you to know.” Wait—the story gets even better. The Ohio man already has been within shooting range of presidential candidates. J. Ross Baughman isn’t a real Nazi, however. Instead he is a photojournalist for […]

Searching for Wooden Watermelons is a sweet indie flick about a bright 20-something in Beaumont, Texas, who is puzzling out her future. Hundreds of Watermelons-style films exist. Call ‘em Small Town Smart and Unhappy. And yet I couldn’t take my eyes off Watermelons when I watched it on the Vanguard channel by way of the […]

Decades before the ABC-TV series Scandal or House of Cards on Netflix, The Solomon Scandals existed in manuscript form—a quirky look at a darker side of D.C. that you can’t see on the screen right now or read about in the standard bestsellers. Scandals isn’t about a comely fixer in love with Mr. President, or […]

I named him Carlos, after a Miami–Dade politician with a bat-crazy miserliness toward public libraries. Our winged friend paid us a bedroom visit earlier this week, announcing his presence in the dark with a rustle. I turned on the light to see a shadow against the wall. How had he gotten into a second-floor condo […]

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Jack Shafer, the Reuters columnist, wrote last year that Graham family should spin off the Washington Post newspaper from the company of the same name. As the buyer he suggested Michael Bloomberg. “Not so crazy an idea,” I said on the Solomon Scandals site and in the Georgetown Dish. Now the spin-off will become a […]

Enjoying the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the fabulous House of Cards series on Netflix? Then you might also check out The Solomon Scandals, which predates the Netflix program. Like so much of House, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty. […]

Never mind fiscal cliffs, or the fact that the real danger isn’t a Mayan-style apocalypse but a nuclear one (with the Doomsday clock last set at five minutes to midnight). For more than a few of us, the big threat is the year ahead, 2013. Perhaps 85 percent of the world’s office buildings lack marked […]

A new local bookstore and Twilight Times Books, publisher of The Solomon Scandals, are teaming up to offer the e-book version for free, in major digital formats, for customers who buy the paperback from the store (price: $16.95). The bundling deal will be limited to the first eight buyers. re∙reads Books is south of Alexandria, […]

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How could I have written a newspaper novel like The Solomon Scandals without a chain-smoking editor? Kamikaze levels of tobacco and booze use helped certify newsroom denizens as manly risk-takers several decades ago, the time period of Scandals. Women were part of the scene by the 1970s, but they tended not to partake with such […]

At a Virginia shopping center, Obama voter-registration volunteers had to set  up their tent at a somewhat out-of-the-way location on the sidewalk. The reason? Some merchants saw this civic activism as a risk to their businesses. Others across the country, including some major shopping center owners, would undoubtedly feel the same. I’ll withhold the name […]