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

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 […]

While this site exists partly to plug The Solomon Scandals novel about old-time newspapering, it’s also an experiment in online technology. iPad owners can see a snazzy magazine-style look from the Onswipe add-on for WordPress (described in detail in an independent blog post by my friend Nate Hoffelder). If you don’t own an iPad, click […]

Cal Thomas, the conservative columnist, isn’t ready yet to call our war in Afghanistan a scandal despite raising some excellent questions in his column of May 30. But I am. Even casting aside morality and asking, “Is this war even good by selfish standards?”, Afghanistan flunks the test, as shown by China’s access to the country’s […]

Smith Corona typewriters and all, the Front Page days lasted for decades at the Lorain Journal, now the Morning Journal but once an evening paper. I can still smell the old paste bottles and remember my fear of impalement on a copy spike, or the time a neighbor of the director of the local public […]

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 […]

Trailer from Scandal ABC series The Solomon Scandals novel, set amid the Washington muck, bears the same title as ABC-TV’s similarly located Scandal series, except for the "The," the "Solomon," and the "s" Big differences I’ve seen so far? The book, though fiction, takes on The System. ABC is less serious-uppity. Also, Scandals’s Jonathan Stone dedicates […]

”Among the other expenses were $3,200 for a mind reader, $6,300 on a commemorative coin set displayed in velvet boxes and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle.” – Washington Post report on $823K splurged on a 300-employee federal conference in Las Vegas. Ouch. The gems in the sentence above don’t even include […]

Your wisdom, please, readers. Did you think that the blonde woman on the cover of The Solomon Scandals‘s electronic edition was too sexy? For now, we’re reverting to the original cover, shown in the e-book ad on the right. A giant Sy Solomon is plunking down a wildly unwanted skyscraper that he bribed an obliging […]

The presses still roll at thousands of newspapers throughout the world, but for how long? And meanwhile this video from the Internet Archive, via the Atlantic site, reminds us of the days when news stories were “locked up” in the most physical way—in lead columns. The Solomon Scandals takes place around 1980, and back then, […]

E-books aren’t like regular books—they’re invisible except on the screen of a computer. Particularly at a time when so many bookstores have vanished, could e-libraries be one way to keep books on people’s minds? And help reinvent the concept of family literacy? Check out my other site, LibraryCity, where I discuss those issues and more. […]

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Might this guy sell more books if Washington weren’t so billionaire-friendly? Actually, yes—authors like John Grisham might well benefit from smarter fiscal policies such as the end of the top-tier tax cuts and other measures that have enriched multimillionaires at the expense of the rest of us. Let me explain. TechCrunch recently asked whether technology […]

Buy

You can order a trade paperback of the The Solomon Scandals through re.reads BOOKS south of Alexandria, Virginia, Bridge Street Books in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. or your own neighborhood bookstore, or buy it via the publisher, Twilight Times Books. The novel is also available online in digital editions. List price of the 252-page paperback is $16.95 […]

"Jeffrey wasn’t sure why no one would hang around with him anymore. Maybe it was his new deodorant?" – Animals being dicks, via Court Merrigan. Here’s the full story—G-rated—via an animation. Oh, and please ignore the meaningless “Similar Posts” links below unless they’re of interest to you in your “random” mode. My cyber-elves must be […]

Jane Austen wrote for herself, not her contemporaries. Her earliest reviewers were less than fully gung-ho about her fiction. Among other things, if you go by a recent book by Claire Harman, certain critics felt Austen’s writing wasn’t fresh enough. Talk about critical blunders! It took decades and decades, but the world finally caught up […]

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 […]

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Twitter has been abuzz with talk about The Price of Typos. Here’s the angle in the essay that most intrigues me:  the possible differences in the particular literary gifts of good and rotten spellers. On the New York Times site, Virginia Heffernan says: “A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled […]

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. […]

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Bio History-inspired mix of suspense and satire A Jewish novel, too Solomon for real? The actual Telegram? Sen. Ribicoff’s spookish investment The real GSA scandals Deadly Skyline collapse Two Chicagoans: Bullard and Obama Internet angles Truman and “Get a dog” More on Scandals’ origins Corrections: Any to add?

Yes, I mean real footnotes, not just endnotes—so readers will actually read them. The Solomon Scandals contains two endnotes, and one of them involves a dog, Harry S. Truman, and the New York Times. Read the novel for the full lowdown here. I disagreed with the Times about the Truman-related details. But in many if […]

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 […]