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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

If you’re here to learn more about Quinn Bradlee’s activities, check out the LibraryCity site. A long essay there mentions his Friends of Quinn campaign for people with learning disabilities. The LibraryCity post is actually about the need for two separate national digital library systems—one public and one academic—to serve often-starkly different library users. And […]

The New York Times, whether on global warming, the newest iPad or corruption in Mongolia, outdoes the Washington Post all too often. Underfunded for a hyper-competitive Internet era, the Post newsroom stints on local reporting, too. WaPo’s numbers could be much better. Future Grahams and others may not show the patience of Donald and kin. And the current […]

Sally Quinn-bashers have once again been at work—ridiculing an essay headlined Sally Quinn announces the end of power in Washington. Granted, Ms. Quinn has never delighted my inner Veblen. The essay among other things recalled the era when Quinn and her husband, Ben Bradlee, “might have attended five-course dinners a couple of nights a week, […]

Update #1: Ethics-challenged or not, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia's Eighth District won reelection June 12. Scroll to the end for my advice for his possible foes in the 2014 Democratic primary. Update #2: Jim Moran has since told me there was no quid pro quo, that the real estate developer's contributions were part of […]

The inspiration for The Solomon Scandals novel came in part from my real-life investigation of the late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret investment in a CIA-occupied building. But guess what? The research was mostly a bureaucratic exercise, a series of phone calls, face-to-face interviews, Freedom of Information letters, and other routine matters. No underground parking garages. […]

On CIA matters, The Solomon Scandals is fiction—not about what happened, but what could have happened. To this day we still don’t know the full story of why a U.S. senator held a secret stake in a CIA-occupied building in Arlington, VA, that the agency leased by way of the scandal-ridden General Services Administration. What has been established over the years is […]

Tax dollars at work, GSA style Angry taxpayers are buzzing over the organizational “culture” at the General Services Administration, the federal procurement agency. I don’t mean Chaucer, Mozart or Van Gogh. Enjoy this spoof video for a GSA conference—rudely picked up by ABC News and others. Hey, you helped pay for it. GSA was supposed […]

The Solomon Scandals site has just ditched an older, more cluttered look in favor of a sleek new one. You’ll almost immediately find out what’s on the home page, through a mix of text and images. OK, Washington Post. Time for you to follow with your own radical redesign? You’ve just appointed a chief experience […]

Updated October 24. See note at end. – D.R. A threatened post office near Sen. John McCain’s old prep school grossed almost $260,000 in Fiscal Year 2010. Nice profit opportunity for the Postal Service? The tiny branch even receives free space from Virginia Theological Seminary, the  major user. Terri Huff, the popular postmistress at the […]

Update: A link to an official postal complaint form is at the end of this post, although it might be too late to complain. Also see follow-up documenting the Seminary branch’s more than $250,000 in annual revenue. – D.R. Arizona Sen. John McCain‘s politics are oceans apart from mine—I’m far more to the port side. […]

The Montgomery County Council in suburban Washington killed a proposed resolution calling on the national government to throttle back defense spending and our wars abroad. Lockheed Martin, the biggest nongovernment employer in the Maryland county, apparently thought too much peace could be bad business. It put out word. Virginia began trying to woo away Lockheed […]

The terrorist-friendly Quarter Pentagon, the twin towers formally known as BRAC-133, has made Time Magazine. Time depicts the 6,400-worker complex as a “soft target” for truck bombers. Jihadists or others might wipe it out if given a chance. Since last year, the Solomon Scandals blog has been warning of the security concerns among other issues […]

Video by rhidoyakash California, not the Washington, D.C., area, is where  Americans go if they want to flirt with the apocalypse, at least the seismic kind. Man-made disasters here in Northern Virginia? Well, there was 9/11 at the Pentagon several miles from me—Target Zero, of course, during the Cold War. But in Alexandria, we locals […]

The Solomon Scandals is fiction—a mix of suspense, tragedy and satire—but more than a little history lurks within in it. A high-rise collapsed in Northern Virginia, and a Senator really did hold a secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occupied building a few miles away. Characters and events are composites or imaginary. But Scandals still […]

From ABC News Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, a multimillionaire benefactor of John Edwards, slipped him hundreds of thousands of dollars without the Federal Election Commission being the wiser. The alleged goal was to spare not just Edwards but also his presidential campaign from the public-relations Chernobyl that would result if the world learned of his secret […]

Terrorists must love the Quarter Pentagon, aka BRAC-133, just off I-395 here in Alexandria, Virginia. We’re talking about 6,400 defense workers destined for an unsecured location, perfect for a drive-by missile shooting—and let’s not forget, either, the idiocy of the Army Corps of Engineer in bragging about its high-profile target. The geniuses even managed to […]

Note: This is an expanded version of my talk to the Washington Biography Group on Monday at Washington International School. By David H. Rothman Founder of TeleRead, Co-Founder of LibraryCity, and author of The Solomon Scandals SEEING the windmill blades turn—in Al Gore’s multimedia book Are we wasting our time talking about books and the […]

Update: Jim Moran has since told me there was no quid pro quo, that the real estate developer's contributions were part of an arrangement by which he contributed to many races at once. I appreciated his responding and will let readers judge for themserves. I’ve already told how the $1B Quarter Pentagon, aka BRAC-133, part […]

Everything inside me is hoping that no one attacks the towers of BRAC-133, aka the Quarter Pentagon (which unfortunately will house 6,400 defense workers just off the I-395 freeway in Alexandria, Virginia, rather inside a secure military base). But a “sustainable development” news release from a Los Angeles firm gives us an idea of who’d […]

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 […]