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

In the middle of the Great Library Debates raging on the Atlantic site and elsewhere, I had to neglect something. But now here’s my take on the departure of Jim Brady as general manager of the TBD hyperlocal news site. Brady wanted a mix of linking and original reporting, but as I see it, TBD […]

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Roy Tennant, a digital library maven, Library Journal columnist and OCLC program officer, has just posted Dueling National Digital Library Visions on the LJ site. It’s my plan on the Atlantic site vs. Harvard Library Director Robert Darnton’s proposal  in the New York Review of Books. If this is new to you, go to the […]

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. […]

What was Sy Solomon—the D.C. real estate tycoon in The Solomon Scandals—-doing on the book’s blue cover shown here? Picking up a refrigerator with one hand? Or a gargantuan keyboard? Or plunking down a high-rise in a favorite location, with a little help from well-bribed zoning officials? The correct answer is the last one. But […]

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 […]

So what’s “close”—the word that a TBD headline used in describing the Washington Post’s hyperlocal launch”? Psst! A Post source tells me he expects the launch to happen in the “late spring.” No, we’re not talking about a janitor in the newsroom. Ideally the Post can go public with a few more details to get […]

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 […]

Update, 7 p.m.: Looks as if "close" is late spring 2011. – D.R. I hated the Washington Post’s hyperlocal edition for Loudoun County, Virginia. From multimillionaire horse-breeders to soccer moms, Loudoun is a whole series of communities—a point lost on the edition’s creators. Lumping the county’s hamlets and subdivisions into a single mishmash without decent […]

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If you love video games—fine. But will the Washington Post, New York Times and a good part of the rest of the media please stop forcing me to play them? If I don’t move my cursor just so, I end up seeing an overgrown ad rather than an article. That’s good for a newspaper’s exposure […]

Might American newspapers and journalistic Web sites be too quiet these days? Here I’m not talking about silence on Afghanistan or the budget deficit. I mean the rooms—the amount of noise or lack of it.

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 […]

If I ruled the world and the Washington Post, you would have been able to read the paper on a genuine iPad app months ago. But fear not—either about my ruling the world or about the lack of a Post iPad app. The paper will release an iPad edition “before the end of the year,” […]

Congratulations to TBD.com and sex-and-gender blogger Amanda Hess, who owned up to the goof of the century or at least of the year. In sharing an HIV-related statistic, Ms. Hess meant to write about men having sex with men. She dropped the “n” in the last word. You can read more details via TBD, MediaGazer, […]

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 […]

How much coverage of Quinn Bradlee’s wedding is enough in the Washington Post, where his father was the Watergate-era editor and his mother’s picture still graces the On Faith Web page? I’ve noted that the actual wedding, as opposed to the fuss over the dueling weddings, received just three sentences originally and then just three […]

Well, the Washington Post has now published more than three sentences about the Quinn Bradlee-Pary Anbaz Williamson wedding festivities this week. The police showed up at 12:30 a.m. Monday in response to a Georgetown neighbor’s noise complaint about D.C.’s wedding reception of the year. So the Post’s Reliable Source gossip column generously doubled the total […]

I’ve poked at the TBD hyperlocal site for not having enough civic-oriented blogs in its network—the Washington area is heavier on hobby-focused sites. As a citizen-reader, I suggested to contacts at TBD and the Washington Post that they take a good look at the Lincolnia Hills & Heywood Glen blog in the Alexandria-Fairfax County area […]

Is more on the way? Or is this it? So far I’ve spotted just three sentences in today’s online Post about D.C.’s most-talked about society wedding this year—the union of Sally Quinn’s and Ben Bradlee’s son with a yoga instructor. As a long-time Postologist—with no incredible inside connections these days, but certainly with enough words […]

Seen the wedding announcement in the New York Times? By the time you read this, Josiah Quinn Crowninshield Bradlee and Pary Anbaz-Williamson may actually be man and wife. The wedding was set for today at the Washington National Cathedral (mentioned in The Solomon Scandals, complete with a moon-rock reference). He has worked on videos and […]

Philip Roth was an evil literary influence on me. I don’t write like him, but love his sarcasm, irony and well-crafted dispatches from the battles of the sexes, the very stuff that unsettles Leah Hager Cohen, author of a favorable New York Times review of Nemesis, Roth’s latest novel. Ms. Cohen until recently despised Roth’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. I appreciated the Moran response and will let readers judge for themselves. You haven’t heard the last from me about […]

Will AOL’s Patch hyperlocal network drive out locally owned news sites here in the D.C. area and elsewhere? Tibby Rothman—no relative–has written an L.A. Weekly piece quoting Timothy Rutt, a blogger in Altadena, California: “It’s a Walmart moving in and driving out the mom-and-pop businesses." I’ve got mixed feelings. I share Rutt’s concerns and also […]

Credentialism: A few months back I groused about credentialism in media and elsewhere, and I also urged the Washington Post to care more about the nonelite rather than Slate-izing excessively. Among Scandals’ characters is the resume-fixated Rexwell Garst, the Yalie who, of course, lives in a converted carriage house in Georgetown. Now here’s the 25-year-old […]