The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large
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Hints: I don’t mean “liberal.” Also, the topic is staid but rather important. Frequent visitors to the Solomon Scandals site may already know what I’m up to. For others, the fog will lift tomorrow or the day after. The State of the Union address just might make Issue X rather timely. Solomonscandals.com will continue, but […]

So how does it feel, Sarah Palin? You put gun sights on a map showing the congressional districts of Gabrielle Giffords and some others voting for the Obama healthcare legislation. And how about you, Sharon Angle? Didn’t you talk of “domestic enemies in Congress” and “Second Amendment remedies” against politicians like Harry Reid, your foe […]

In The Solomon Scandals,  my Washington novel, a reporter says he became one so he wouldn’t have to strangle in a necktie. So what’s the reality in D.C. today? Alas, even among many members of the Fourth Estate,  the tie is hardy dead—and, worse,  the real power people won’t even think of going tie-less on […]

With so many local libraries facing cutbacks, the case for a well-stocked national digital library system grows stronger each day. At TheAtlantic.com  I’ve written of the possibility of a decentralized public library system existing within the Library of Congress but run by librarians in many cities, so that Washington does not dictate to America what […]

Does the Washington Post want to be an opinion rag for the rich or serve Washingtonians and Americans as a whole? Never mind the old adage that newspapers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Here’s one indication that the Post is already a right-wing house organ on certain occasions. The Post published wacky […]

Of course. ”The wrong Edwards ran for president.” Elizabeth Edwards abounded with the positives, especially moral ones, that I found wanting in her husband, who often reminded me of the slick Southern lawyer in the movie version of The Devil’s Advocate. The real tragedy isn’t just her fatal cancer or John’s infidelity. Rather it’s that […]

Groucho Marx once said any club that would admit him wasn’t worth joining. Marx was Jewish, of course, as am I, along with many of the characters in my novel, The Solomon Scandals; and I’m curious if the same logic might be behind rabbis’ traditional reluctance to convert nonJews without sufficient preparation to join our […]

For The Solomon Scandals I created a fictitious Virginia county with fictitious crooks. Across the Potomac River in Maryland, I didn’t bother with all the niceties. I just called the county by its real name of “Prince George’s,” and my reporter-narrator told of driving past “row after row of grubby garden apartments—the legacy of developers […]

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Tell me this is a joke. Joe Barton of Texas—ranking minority member of the House Energy Committee who’d love to be chair again—wants to repeal a law phasing out the old-fashioned incandescent lights. They’re energy hogs, but it makes no differences to Barton. Barton hates “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones” intended to reduce energy consumption. […]

Are politicians and judges what they read? Senator-elect Rand Paul is a “big fan” of Ayn Rand, the ultimate novelist for the greed-is-good crew—even though he assures us that his first name is just short for “Randal.” Check out Paul on YouTube. I’ve long known about Ayn Rand and another admirer—Alan Greenspan, the ex-Fed chairman. […]

On the Atlantic site this morning, you’ll see my call for a well-stocked national digital library system, along with comments from James Fallows, once a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. But who says the proposal is just for Democrats and liberals? In fact, my own interest in such a system arose originally from a comment by […]

Now that so many Tea Party sympathizers are headed for public office, I can’t resist offering their followers a little advice—as the author of The Solomon Scandals, a novel on D.C. corruption: 1. If you think America is screwing the middle class, do you really want income taxes for the super-rich to remain outrageously low […]

I’ll leave the graphic Orwellian details to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, but the Transportation Security Administration has finally outdone itself in the crotch region—well, Americans’ crotch regions. The idea is to bully travelers into submitting to “back-scatter” scans to avoid invasive pat-downs. Modern technology lets the TSA undress you. “Security theater,”  argue Goldberg and others, […]

The Charles E. Smith family built the giant Crystal City complex near Ronald Reagan National Airport and donated hundreds of millions to good causes, most of them probably in and near Washington. Names from the family went on the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center at George Washington University, the Robert H. Smith School of Business […]

As if the stolen glasses weren’t enough, Jonathan Franzen is in the news for not making the final cut in the National Book Awards. I myself have mixed feelings about Freedom, but mostly like it. Granted, events and outcomes happen with a little assist from coincidence. But you can accuse Dickens of the same. What’s […]

Update: Jim Moran has since told me there was no quid pro quo, that the Indiana real estate developer's contributions were part of an arrangement by which the developer contributed to many people at once, apparently with an unrelated issue in mind. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. I’m […]

Update: Jim Moran has since told me there was no quid pro quo, that the Indiana real estate developer's contributions were part of an arrangement by which the developer contributed to many people at once, apparently with an unrelated issue in mind. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. A […]

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Skimpy little items in the Washington Post and Politico, on the end of an Oregon inquiry into the sex charges against Al Gore, didn’t do justice to the ex-VP.  Given the seriousness of the charges and Gore’s prominence, wasn’t he worth more than those pathetic follow-ups? Check out a  far more detailed AP report in […]

Update, Aug. 19: TBD’s current coverage is a long way from what I propose below. The Alexa Web traffic measurement service is hardly scientific, and besides, TBD has just started up; but if the service on the mark, the new site is far from an instant success. I lack access to TBD’s internal stats. – […]

Oh, the temptation to do a Moliere act here, despite the sweetness visible in the wedding photo from so long ago. Remember? Al Gore talked up Internet filtering to shield children from Net porn, while his wife, Tipper, crusaded against racy rock lyrics. Less than a month ago, we heard about the Gores separating, hardly […]

Apple has sold some three million iPads in 80 days, according to the latest news from the company. Many thousands of books are now available for the iPad and the newer iPhones and iPod Touches through Apple’s iBooks app—including The Solomon Scandals. But three million is still a small number compared to the total U.S. […]

Jonathan Stone, the reporter in The Solomon Scandals, has located a few entries from the secret diary of Tony Hayward, the BP CEO. Here they are with links helpfully inserted by Stone, lest anyone distrust the truth-seekers at BP. Dug up any entries yourself? Share ‘em, if you’d like. – D.R. I find those pictures […]

Jon Stone isn’t the only one Q & A-ing me these days. At George Washington University yesterday, I answered clueful questions from Asst. Prof. Christopher Klemek and members of his D.C. urban history class, including a young woman named Livia (did I get that name right for I-knew-her-when purposes?) who wants to run someday for […]

A black mongrel dog scampers across the stage, “dragging a leash and a canoe paddle.” Her owner yells for the dog by her proper name, “Shit”—an ever-handy expletive for a Texas oilman’s red-headed daughter, grouchy about the status quo. This is the populist journalist Molly Ivins at home, in a new play by Margaret (Peggy) […]