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

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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, […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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 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 […]

The literary afterlife was oh so simple for Jonathan Stone, protagonist of The Solomon Scandals. While still alive in the corporeal sense, he just turned his memoirs over to the Virginia Historical Society for release back to his family a century afterwards. But what to do in the era of the Internet—not just with text […]

A sign that the U.S. economy is looking up? Twilight Times Books has ended the 99-cent sale, and the e-book edition of The Solomon Scandals is back at its former price of $2.99 on Amazon. I myself liked the 99 cents, but this is my publisher’s choice to make, and I actually can see both […]

Update, 7:51 a.m., July 20: The AdWords gods have sent me other notes recommending Amazon-style features but for now are letting me use the service without them. – D.R. Good news, Google fans. The AdWords gods in India were finally satisfied that I didn’t have to do a mini-Amazon act and include certain store-style features […]

Update, 5:53 p.m.: I’ve just heard from Google’s Alan Davidson and will not be calling the FTC tomorrow. As a shareholder, I’m rooting for Google to get to the bottom of what happened.  – D.R. If my AdWords hassles are not just an isolated screw-up, Google deserves a tough antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade […]

Film as perfect budget-crisis metaphor? As generic rhetoric, some in Washington may talk of  a “perfect storm” of chaos in the American and global financial markets if Republicans and Democrats don’t raise the debt ceiling by August 2. I myself, however, am thinking precisely of the book and movie title based on the meteorological term—yes, […]

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 […]

Ever wonder why our politicians, business leaders, and media figures so often disappoint us, and what happens after the scandals? The Solomon Scandals is not only about the original chicanery and related crimes but also their ripples—right up to the late 21st century. It mixes suspense, tragedy, and satire in an edgy look at Washington […]

Did Harry Truman really say, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? Or maybe “buy a dog”? In The Solomon Scandals, an eloquent Afghan named Thackeray II quotes that line in a Truman act at the Cosmos Club. But he gets corrected by Prof. Rebecca Kitiona-Fenton, author of the foreword and afterword […]

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Pete Hamill is out with Tabloid City, a New York newspaper novel commanding its share of pixels, column inches and decibels. If the rest of Tabloid City is like the first parts, I could never have written his book, just as The Solomon Scandals would have been impossible for him—we see life,  newspapers and fiction […]

Felice Cohen is happy here. I’m not sure if I’d be, although I envy her ability as an organizer and wish her luck with her new book on her grandfather who survived the Holocaust. Actually, in The Solomon Scandals, a maverick bureaucrat lives in a space smaller than Ms. Cohen’s. Meanwhile, might Ms. Cohen want […]

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 […]