Could a robot reporter have investigated D.C. sleaze better than I did in the 1970s?

Could a robot reporter have investigated D.C. sleaze better than I did in the 1970s?

Could a reporter bot have been me in real life in the 1970s—or Jonathan Stone, the far more dashing investigative journalist in my novel The Solomon Scandals? And who would have made a better sleuth, humans or AI? With the above in mind, let me share a cautionary story about a CIA-occupied building and an […]

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Build your own chatbot to promote your book: Lessons from my ScandalsBot

Build your own chatbot to promote your book: Lessons from my ScandalsBot

I call it the ScandalsBot. If you ask what Washington sleaze inspired The Solomon Scandals, the bot will oblige. The bot can also compare my corruption novel with All the President’s Men and other Washington books, or it can explain why I mixed genres rather than just writing suspense. What’s more, it can lay out […]

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Beware, genre cops! The Scandals Scandals mixes suspense, naturalism and satire

Beware, genre cops! The Scandals Scandals mixes suspense, naturalism and satire

Does your stomach churn if a novel mixes genres? As the author of The Solomon Scandals, I cheerfully plead guilty. My book blends suspense, naturalism, and satire. The goal is to entertain but also explore the oft-bizarre realities of Washington as a white-collar factory town. Scandals is not a quick beach read. But I won’t […]

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Civil War II: The best way to prevent it

Civil War II: The best way to prevent it

One bloody American Civil War is enough. The cannons I photographed this week are at Fort Ward in Alexandria, Virginia, just a walk from my place. They inspire reflection. The best way to prevent Civil War II—-scary enough even as an unlikely possibility—is to punish President Trump and other psychopathic officials for treason and countless […]

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Donald Trump could kill me: The biggest reason I’ll vote for Joe Biden

Donald Trump could kill me: The biggest reason I’ll vote for Joe Biden

Got a beef with establishment Democrats? I do—more than a few. I worked for a once-thriving factory town newspaper in Ohio that today operates out of a hamburger stand. Bipartisan trade policies over the years were toxic to the local steel industry without the workers getting the much-ballyhooed retraining that free trade boosters talked about. […]

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‘Trump Virus,’ please–not ‘Chinese’ one

‘Trump Virus,’ please–not ‘Chinese’ one

Herbert Hoover didn’t singlehandedly cause the Great Depression, but he fumbled in his efforts to fix the American economy. One upshot was the name given the shantytowns housing hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken Americans. “Hoovervilles” popped up near free soup kitchens. Should Donald Trump now face similar obloquy, by way of the term “Trump Virus”? […]

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Stupidity can kill: How to vet and test would-be presidents

A nuclear bomb from China or North Korea—that’s how I expected to die if Donald Trump was too inept to handle a major crisis. The Trump-worsened coronavirus threat is so prosaic by comparison. No, this monster-buffoon didn’t cause the virus, but thousands of Americans may die unnecessarily because he downplayed the threat early on, and […]

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A billionaire ban? No. Tougher regs and more taxes? Yes.

Billionaires are not always the most lovable people. Remember the Silicon Valley venture capitalist who said wealthy Americas were victims of persecution, just like Jews in Nazi Germany? Oh, the horrors! Our super-rich are so jeopardized that only three billionaires, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are together wealthier than the lower half of our population if we […]

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