Archive for ‘Donald Douglas’

July 29, 2009

Nine Days in July: Nuclear Diplomacyin the Conservative Blogosphere

While I was trying to get ready to make a reporting trip to D.C. today, I made the mistake of checking my e-mail, thereby discovering to my horror that Donald Douglas has somehow pushed things to a full-blown DefCon2 alert.

The details are irrelevant, to those unaware and uninvolved. With all the humor I could muster, I’ve tried to broker peace. Now, however, the pilots have been scrambled, the jets are fueled and fully armed, and if a stand-down order is not issued soon, I cannot be responsible for the thermonuclear consequences. What I wrote in the comments at Cassandra’s is, I hope, all that remains to be said:

This entire “Erin Andrews nude” episode is like one of those wacky hypotheticals that a college sophomore proposes in a dorm-room debate, after about the third or fourth bong hit: A bizarre or possibly even nightmarish scenario that is amusing to contemplate simply because it’s never going to happen.
Except this time, it actually did.
As I’ve said offline, this is one of those things that bloggers discuss over beers for years to come. If blogger-over-beer were the Oxford Union, the debate proposition would sometimes have to be: “Resolved: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?”

It appears Erin Andrews was Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Professor Douglas was Gavrilo Princip. There may yet be peace, but we stand on the brink of Armaggedon.

July 29, 2009

‘Unseemly obsession’?

Little Miss Attila accuses me of some sort of Freudian complex involving the SiteMeter. Perhaps the Blogospheric Neologian can coin a term for this.

Look, Attila: The writer is ultimately less important than the reader. If it weren’t for readers, no one would bother writing. So the writer who seeks a larger readership cannot be presumed to be engaging in mere self-aggrandizement. Given that there is no TV network, publisher, agent, think tank, advocacy group or political party willing to spend a dime promoting my work to the wider world, the DIY-hype approach is the only alternative to the extreme traffic suckage that leads to blog-death.

Growth or entropy, take your pick. If folks in the newspaper industry had been more attuned to giving their readers something worth reading — something interesting and occasionally surprising — maybe I’d still be getting paid a full-time salary to fill reams of newsprint. Instead, the industry surrendered its fate to high-priced consultants and know-it-all ASNE panelists, so even if I were interested in a return to the dead-tree racket, why rush to be the last passenger aboard the Lusitania?

So I’m flinging pixels across the ‘sphere and, as Chris Muir recently reminded me, trying to have fun.

If you’re not having fun, you’ll burn out. And if you take this politics crap too seriously, it’ll drive you nuts. While I’ve been certifiably nuts ever since that unfortunate 1979 incident involving psilocybin mushroom tea and Bolivian flake cocaine — Just Say No, kids — maintaining a simulacrum of sanity requires that I occasionally get my Gonzo on.

So I indulge in little inside jokes and, as a great philosopher once said, the issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests.

We did. Or at least Professor Douglas did.

Well, you can do what you want to Donald Douglas, but we’re not going to sit here while you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

OK, that brings us around to Cassandra, who offers a splendid opportunity for double entendre that I’ll uncharacteristically resist. Instead, I’ll take up the comment she left in Monday’s post:

Stacy, if you want to argue with something I actually said, knock yourself out :p I’ll be more than happy to debate you on the merits.
But knocking down straw men doesn’t answer the mail. Kurtz didn’t link to the live video (repeatedly, just in case someone still hadn’t seen it), nor did he equate taking advantage of a crime committed against an innocent woman as part and parcel of “heterosexual male-dom.”

Exploitation is exploitation, ma’am, and your defense of Howard Kurtz approaches the event horizon of that philosophical black hole known as moral relativism. (As Stephen Hawking theorized, when one approaches such a point, time slows down and the force of gravity nears the infinite, which is probably neither here nor there so far as it concerns Erin Andrews, although it would have been a mind-blowing concept to ponder back in 1979.)

In my very first mention of the aforesaid Google-bomb, I tried to employ gentle humor to dissuade the Professor from further pursuing this unfortunate meme. When it quickly became apparent, however, that (a) the MSM were all over it and (b) other bloggers were weighing in on the Professor’s ethics, I felt obliged to address the topic more directly:

Like Dan Riehl and Don Surber, I had no clue who Erin Andrews is before this incident. I feel wrong even blogging about it, and I’m notoriously shameless when it comes to traffic enhancement.

Generally, however, it seemed to me that Donald had gotten himself into a fix where friendly persuasion would achieve better results than a fire-and-brimstone sermon. Even geniuses sometimes make mistakes and, while the professor clearly crossed the event horizon, one can hardly argue that his Icarus-like adventure was entirely fruitless.

Given that I was nearing deadline on a 3,000-word feature about IG-Gate for the September print issue of the American Spectator (subscribe now to the only dead-tree publication that still matters), even while new developments were popping up left and right, not even Hawking’s time-warp theory could possibly provide me enough time to read everything that everyone wrote about this controversy.

Like a sophomore slugging Red Bull as he furiously crams for a test he’d forgotten was this Wednesday, or a hurried tourist rushing through the Louvre (“Oh, look, Seurat!”) during a two-hour tour-bus stop, all I could do was to conjure a rough gestalt impression of what the hell was going on.

Therefore, Ms. Cassandra, please excuse my failure to engage what Conor Friedersdorf would call your “substantive criticisms.” Between one thing and another — reporting IG-Gate, bashing David Brooks, pushing the Best. Book. Evah! — maybe I’m a tad overextended lately. Hell’s bells, I’ve barely had time to deride the “sucker’s rally” on Wall Street!

Speaking of Wall Street, my recent return to biz-blogging means that I now tune my home-office TV to CNBC while working. Tuesday night, while I was writing this (for posting Wednesday morning, when I’ll be getting ready for another shoe-leather trip to Capitol Hill), CNBC presented an hour-long special report:”PORN: Business of Pleasure“:

It was once too taboo to talk about, but not anymore. In the new CNBC original production “Porn: Business of Pleasure” nothing is off limits when it comes to the controversial multi-billion dollar industry . . .
CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, takes an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look inside the multibillion pornography business . . .

Time slows down, gravity nears the infinite . . .

July 28, 2009

My good friend Dan Riehl is angry

I’d call your attention to July 23rd when I recorded just over 47,000 uniques — far from a site record, by the way. But it had nothing to do with Erin Andrews videos, or girlie pics, it was a substantive essay on Obama’s burning down of his post-racial theme due to his rhetoric on Crowley-Gates.

OK, Dan is honest in his assessment and deserves honesty in return. Dan is one of my original blog buddies, going back long before this blog ever existed.

Dan’s skills as a researcher are invaluable to the conservative blogosphere, and have been valuable to me personally. When the question was posed, “Who Is Eleanor Acheson?” it was Dan who discovered that Acheson was actually a registered lobbyist in New York.

Given all his services to the ‘sphere, which continue daily, Dan’s got better things to do than to referee a silly dispute over Donald Douglas and the “Erin Andrews nude” Google-bomb, in the same sense that I’ve got better things to do than fisk David Brooks. Considering that I spent a couple hours last night digging for the lost e-mail in which one of my sources sent me Gerald Walpin’s phone number — which is now sitting atop The Notorious Pile O’ Crap Otherwise Known As My Desk — I should probably shrug my shoulders and walk away.

However, there is an important consideration here that I wish I could make Dan and other longtime denizens of the ‘sphere appreciate. Dan’s been blogging since September 2004 and, like other early-adapters of blogging, he benefits from having built a loyal readership back in the day when the ‘sphere was in its infancy, or at least its late pubescence.

Well, way back in September 2004, the policies of my employer specifically forbade me from blogging. There is neither time nor need to go through the whole story, but in July 2006, I came this close to getting fired for blogging about Ralph Reed. Around the same time, I recall reading a magazine article explaining that the hierarchy of the blogosphere was already set in stone, and that new independent bloggers didn’t stand a chance of reaching the level where they could actually earn a living at it.

All of which is by way of explaining that when I decided to quit my job in January 2008, to seek my living elsewhere, I couldn’t afford to fail.

‘Don’t . . . Tell Me It’s Raining’
On the day that news of my resignation hit Fishbowl DC, I got a call from the managing editor of a monthly magazine, eager to hire me. Because the primary reason for my resignation from the newspaper was a project that required me to fly off to Africa, I wasn’t immediately available. But at the insistence of that editor, I sent him a resume.

Some weeks later, when I called the managing editor back — “OK, let’s talk about that job now” — I discovered that his boss, the publisher, wasn’t nearly so eager to hire me as the managing editor was. However, they might consider me, if I’d be willing to try offering some freelance work for them and . . .

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

I had no shortage of freelance opportunities, and was indeed already freelancing for The American Spectator. My references are excellent, my body of work and career skill-set were equal or superior to anyone that other publication might try to hire, so I made up my mind. The publisher of that other magazine would bitterly regret having heinously insulted me. As I remarked in an essay a few weeks ago:

Success in any endeavor starts with the resolute determination to succeed. No matter how formidable the competition, hold your head up high. They’re no better than you, and victory begins with the decision to rule out the possibility of defeat. “Can’t never could.”
That attitude took my father from a farm in Alabama to a brick home in the suburbs of Atlanta. It took me from Georgia to Washington, where now I find myself in daily competition no less formidable than those big boys from Bessemer, even if the sport is a bit more refined. Really, though, it’s still the same game, and the formula for winning has never changed.
I’m going to beat you today.
Count on it, buddy. I didn’t come this far to start losing now.

One reason I relentlessly excoriate David Brooks is that he evidently doesn’t feel the need to earn his pay. When I consider how hard Dan Riehl and some other of my friends work to make a few bucks in New Media — shout out to Jimmie Bise and Cynthia Yockey — I become enraged by the spectacle of Brooks being paid to waste 804 words on useless navel-gazing.

Growth vs. Entropy
We who are own bosses, hustling for every dime, can’t afford wasted words, so I regret if any words have been wasted in this ongoing debate sparked by Donald Douglas. But those of us who entered the ‘sphere after the hierarchy had solidified, and who push, push, push to build readership — the opposite of growth is not stability, but entropic decay — aren’t going to make headway by endlessly reiterating familiar arguments about health care or global warming or whatever today’s talking point may be.

If Donald went too far in his relentless quest for traffic enhancement, and it is well-nigh universally agreed that he did, then one ought to consider his motives, even if the best that can be said is that those motives were the good intentions that paved the road to Internet hell.

But I don’t want to argue with Donald, or Dan, or Cassandra or Attila. What I want to do is eat a sandwich, take a shower, clear my head and then call that telephone number on my desk. Unlike David Brooks, I have to earn my pay.

July 28, 2009

Howard Kurtz, CNN succumbto ‘Donald Douglas Syndrome’

Regret to inform you, Howard, but you just became Cassandra‘s least favorite media critic:

Hat-tip: Who else?

“You can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, twisted individuals.”

July 27, 2009

‘That’s Just the Rule 5 Way It Is!’

Little Miss Attila encounters the original inspiration for the Paul Anka Integrity Kick:

Seeing that was like watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time . . .

Indeed, and with Goldsteinesque appreciation for intentionality, I feel obligated to provide some (unfortunately necessary) clarification on the origins and purpose of Rule 5.

Donald Douglas is a good guy, and the blogospheric round-robin consensus that he pushed the rule beyond its reasonable limit does not diminish his good-guy status. One of the things about “edgy” humor is that you never know where the edge actually is until you’ve gone over it. Certainly, I cannot cast the first stone.

‘Pork Marlene Desmond?’
The sociological purpose of an inside joke is as a signifier of membership, an acknowledgment of shared experience. When I was at the Rome News-Tribune, there was a group of us guys in the newsroom who were all fans of Animal House and Blazing Saddles.

So when special-projects editor Pierre Rene-Noth issued an editorial memo to the newsroom, business editor John Willis would say, “Now what’ll that a**hole think of next?” To which the only response was, “Somebody’s gotta go back and get a s***load of dimes!”

Or, if you drew one of those short-straw assignments, city editor Mike Colombo would say, “You f***ed up — you trusted us!” Such a reference might lead to an extended riff-fest: “Will that work?” “Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.”

The whole point of this silly riffing was to humorously reassure each other that we were all sharing the same miserable fate (“Mongo only pawn in game of life.”) and thus maintain some some semblance of esprit d’corps among the wretches pulling the oars on this galley.

After I moved to Washington, I was mortified to discover that, in the newsroom of The Washington Times, the appropriate signifiers on the national desk were Caddyshack and Seinfeld, so that (a) I didn’t always get their in-jokes, and (b) my own accustomed in-jokes did not elicit the appropriate chuckles of recognition.

To make matters worse, over the course of the next decade, turnover in the staff meant that we increasingly had younger staffers for whom all such references were as opaque as the Dead Sea Scrolls. (On the upside, however, your average 20-something’s shortage of cultural referents means an old guy can recycle ancient vaudeville gags and be considered inventively witty: “If I could walk that way, I wouldn’t need the talcum powder!”)

Pirate’s Cove and the Zero Hour
As I’ve explained before, but perhaps should explain again, the credit (or blame) for inspiring Rule 5 is split three ways:

  • A back-and-forth Christina Hendricks riff with Stephen Green of VodkaPundit in the gloomy weeks following the 2008 election, when political blog traffic plummeted precipitously.
  • Five days a week, Conservative Grapevine includes links to bikini babes at the end of its news aggregation and — as John Hawkins has pointed out — the bikini links consistently get more clicks than all the rest.
  • Every Sunday, William Teach at Pirate’s Cove does Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup, an aggregation post featuring classic pinup art.

Back in the day — and remember, my first month of full-time blogging here (March 2008) I had a grand total of 6,000 visitors — involved repeated encounters with that awful moment experienced by every newbie blogger, The Zero Hour: You toil into the night to create what you think is the most brilliant post ever, e-mail the link to several bloggers (Rule 1), go to bed, wake up at 5 a.m., log on expecting your SiteMeter to be spiking off the charts and . . . nothing. Your most recent hourly traffic was a big, fat zero.

OK, you could buy a “secrets of blogging” book (Secret Tip No. 1: Be A Cute Chick) or sign up for a class on how to enhance your blog traffic. Or you could stick your head in the oven and end it all.

If neither of those options is appealing, however, there’s the DIY method: Obsessively study the craft, apply what you learn, and resourcefully bootstrap your own trial-and-error solution to the ubiquitous blogger problem of traffic suckage.

Also, listen to your wife. After about my third or fourth Instalanche, my wife said, “Let me guess: Was it one of your smart-ass comments?” Well . . . yeah, it was. My wife said, “See? You should be funny. You’re good at that.”

At any rate, there were some Sundays in the early going when, if it hadn’t been for inclusion in the Pirate’s Cove aggregation, I wouldn’t have had 100 visits for the whole day. So when it came time to celebrate our first million hits, to have omitted Rule 5 would have been an act of negligence and ingratitude. You’ve got to give something back, see?

‘Land-Snatching . . . See: Snatch’

Hedley Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
Taggart: Golldarn it, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a $20 whore.

And so we behold Donald Douglas and the “Erin Andrews nude” Google-bomb, still pounding it as relentlessly as Andrew Sullivan in the back row of the cineplex during a Patrick Swayze film festival.

When we crossed the 2 million threshold, I used the occasion to suggest that maybe it was time to “step away from the peephole,” but Donald keeps milking it like Andrew Sul . . . Never mind. Supply your own disturbing mental image. I refuse to take responsibility for the emergency brain-bleach shortage that would result if I completed that sentence.

My point is that now Cassandra of Villainous Company is becoming so offended, she’s threatening to remove her sexy garter-flashing pinup art — and we can’t let that happen. Like some sort of well-intentioned mad scientist, I’ve created a monster (Frankencheesecake?) and now the villagers are storming the castle with pitchforks and torches.

What’s weird is that Professor Douglas is now able to provide Erin Andrews nude citations from the Hartford Courant and Howard Kurtz. It’s one of those viral memes that is unlikely to stop spreading anywhere this side of the Wall Street Journal or the Christian Science Monitor.

How can we lure Donald out of the swirling vortex — a torrent, one might say — of Erin Andrews nude?

‘We Have to Go All Out’

Otter: I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
Bluto: And we’re just the guys to do it.

Fighting fire with fire, and inspired by the success of National Offend A Feminist Week, I hereby declare July 27-Aug. 2 to be International Rule 5 BikiniFest Week. (Smitty: “Now what’ll that a**hole think of next?”)

We’ll have a daily contest, recognizing the best of each day’s entries, and culminate next Sunday by awarding the 2009 Rule 5 BikiniFest Week Grand Prize. Here are the rules:

  • PG-13. You’ll be disqualified for prizes if you go too far, so use your best judgment, guys. Generally speaking, anything more revealing than the sexy bikini picture of Mrs. Other McCain risks disqualification. Smitty will be the final arbiter of this rule, although I may be available for consultation on particularly difficult cases.
  • Bikinis preferred, but not mandatory. Glamour/lingerie photos will also be considered. Mrs. Other McCain has never minded me looking at the Victoria’s Secret catalog, so long as I buy her something nice and lacy for Christmas. However, keep in mind the “PG-13” rule. Of the 15 photos in this Miranda Kerr Victoria’s Secret pictorial, the three topless photos would probably risk disqualification. However, Smitty is the final arbiter.
  • Sorry, ladies: No beefcake. Given that the whole point of this exercise is to tempt Professor Douglas away from his traffic-hungry Erin Andrews frenzy, photos of studly bare-chested macho dudes (NTTAWWT) will be ineligible for prizes, although Smitty may decide to link those posts anyway.
  • No minors. Anyone posting bikini photos of Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez will be immediately disqualified. Ex-jailbait princesses — Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc. — are eligible, but only if the photos were indisputably taken after the subjects turned 18, you sick freak, you.
  • No Erin Andrews. Speaking of sick freaks, whoever drilled that peephole and recorded that video needs to be strung up by his scrotum and repeatedly cattle-prodded where it hurts the most. No criminal voyeurism, no bondage, no whips, no chains, no handcuffs, dog-collars or nipple-clips — do we need to go ahead and specifically rule out bestiality and necrophilia, or is the general idea clear? We want healthy, wholesome cheesecake of the kind that any red-blooded truck mechanic would be pleased to see rendered as art in a Gil Elvgren classic pinup calendar. Again, Smitty is the final arbiter.

So there you have it: Thanks to Dr. Douglas and this disgusting peephole video, bloggers now have a perfect excuse to post babelicious bikini pics every day of the week. Just post the babes and e-mail your links to Smitty. In addition to reciprocal linkage, winners will be eligible for the the prize of one beer, if you should ever happen to catch me in a bar with money in my pocket — and good luck with that.

Will this crazy scheme work? If it doesn’t, we may have to send SWAT units and the hostage negotiation team to try to talk Dr. Douglas away from Erin Andrews nude.

The amazing coincidence here is that International Rule 5 BikiniFest Week just happens to occur during the nadir of the mid-summer doldrums, when our blog traffic would otherwise suck worse than Andrew Sul . . . oh, you don’t really expect me to finish that sentence, do you? Hit the tip jar, or I just might, and in such a way that you’ll never get enough brain-bleach to erase that mental image.

June 21, 2009

Thank you, Bush 41!

Oh, sweet mother of ironies:

First Lady Michelle Obama is kicking off a White House push to underscore the importance of volunteerism in San Francisco on Monday — a move that will have political figures here elbowing each other to get in the frame with her.
But step aside, folks, it’s California First Lady Maria Shriver who snags that honor before all. . . .

(Editor’s note: Remember how all those celebrities in California strove to “get in the frame with” Laura Bush? . . . Hello? Is this thing on?)

Then, Michelle Obama delivers the keynote at Moscone Center, before the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. That meeting, hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Institute . . .

Ah, the “thousand points of light” hailed by President George H.W. Bush as he celebrated that “kinder, gentler America” which he handed on a silver platter to Bill Clinton four years later and which his son delivered, gift-wrapped with a festive bow of “compassionate conservatism,” to the Obamas. (Read My Lips: No More Bushes!)

Michelle Malkin links this S.F. Chronicle story to point to an angle that interests me very much:

Guess where the First Lady will be on Monday?
Why, she’ll be delivering the keynote address at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco.
And who is co-sponsoring the conference?
Why, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)!
Yes, that’s the same CNCS that is the parent organization of AmeriCorps.
It’s the same CNCS that last year suspended Sacramento mayor/Obama crony Kevin Johnson from receiving federal funds after then-inspector general Gerald Walpin blew the whistle on massive fraud and abuse of AmeriCorps dollars for personal and political gain. . . .

If you haven’t read the whole thing (including The Other Michelle’s California itinerary), then most certainly you should read the whole thing. However . . .

When you come back from reading the whole thing, let’s talk about something very important: The reason Barack Obama is president is because the people in charge of the Republican Party are stupid. And I’m not talking about SAT scores. I’m talking about the kind of stupid that thinks:

  • Republicans can win by trying to beat liberals at the “compassion”/”social justice” schtick;
  • Republicans can create government programs that won’t be taken over and subverted to expand the Democratic Party the next time Democrats win an election; and
  • Republicans who think it’s a good idea to nominate a short, bald, grumpy 72-year-old for president.

Perhaps you fall into one of those three categories, in which case, you should never look into a mirror without seeing a face blushed with shame for having elected Obama president. Had the Republican Party stuck to its knitting, The Other Michelle would not be first lady, but because of “compassion” and Crazy Cousin John . . . On Super Tuesday 2008, somebody wrote this:

McCain is not a conservative, he will lose in November . . .

And the same person wrote this:

John McCain lost the election Sept. 24 and Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Nothing that is likely to happen between now and Nov. 4 can change this outcome.

Really, shouldn’t being right count for something?

But it doesn’t count for . . . well, it doesn’t count for much. Why is this? Because the stupid people who run the GOP (are you listening, John Cornyn?) invariably heed the voices of The Republicans Who Really Matter.

Someone recently called attention to the fact that a certain writer is “enthralled with the leftosphere’s ‘association with academia,'” like Professor Glenn Reynolds is chopped liver and Professor William Jacobson is a side order of fries. Attention was called to this backhanded insult to conservative academic bloggers by the pickle on the lunch plate, Professor Donald Douglas, observing that the bearer of insults “argues like a lefty.” Gee, ya think so?

Some of you might have noticed that there was actual news today, while some of us were distracted by other matters. I’m tired of being distracted. Remind me one of these days to write an essay entitled, “Exhaustion Has Consequences.” Think Small.

BTW, I just had to borrow Ed’s troll-hammer and delete a couple of comments on a thread. Use your own bandwidth, Anonymous. You’ve abused my hospitality once too often. Also, sensei Moe Lane points out that he’s got some practical tips on blogging to offer.

There is a saying revered among the sensei: Thou shalt not suffer a troll to waste thy bandwidth. Few are the sensei, and many are their sayings.

Anything else? Yes. Little Miss Attila. More sensei wisdom: When in doubt, link Little Miss Attila.

UPDATE: Daley Gator is praying for me. TrogloPundit is moved to pity. Trog, you know who you should pity? The Wisconsinian with whom you partied in Minneapolis last August.

When I was driving down to D.C. on Thursday, I was so furious I was ready to dismantle that boy. Fortunately, I restrained my wrath, and he bought me a cup of coffee. Then I spotted a sign next to an elevator that directed me to the office to which your friend should have taken me immediately upon my arrival.

The most valuable qualities in journalism are aggression and resourcefulness. When other reporters are eating your lunch and your sources aren’t answering their phones, you get angry. You are being paid to get the story, and if you aren’t getting the story, you’re cheating your employer out of a paycheck.

Faced with the alternative of becoming a worthless laughingstock, you get in your car and start driving with one idea in mind: Finding that son of a bitch who stands between you and your story.

Well, Trog, on Thursday, your buddy was that son of a bitch. Ask Mrs. Other McCain what kind of mad Celtic fury had gripped my soul when I left the house that afternoon. Ask Rick Moran what sort of bloody imprecations I was shouting into my cell-phone as I blazed down the freeway at 90 mph en route to what, for all I knew at the time, was going to be a fruitless run-around by the son of a bitch who wasn’t returning my calls.

Trust me. I was going to leave Washington with the story, or else I was going to become the story. Maybe the story was going to be my obituary, but . . .

Anyway, when I have to drive 70 miles, pay $9 to park and walk three blocks because you didn’t answer your phone, don’t expect me to be in a pleasant mood when I arrive. And I’m prepared to make that trip again, if necessary.