The Washington Post

The Reliable Source Live

Mar 21, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, March 21, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello, and welcome back to the  Reliable Source chat. Before we get started, a quick review of some key recent stories. . . .


George Clooney arrested at the embassy of Sudan. . . . This, after attending a very splashy state dinner for Britain (and yes, you can call it that, apparently). What'd you think of the state dinner dresses? Or Idris Elba's suit?


Sad and surprising split at CNN: John King and Dana Bash separate.


Robert De Niro makes a joke, outrage ensues . . .


Mike Daisey keeps on talking, days after "Steve Jobs" fabrication controversy erupted, at  Georgetown speaking engagement.


Meet the D.C. guy who got knocked down hard in the polo match with Prince Harry.


In other news: Chris Dodd brings Harvey Weinstein and the "Bully" rating debate straight to the MPAA. . . Hillary Clinton endorses new search for Amelia Earhart. . . . St. Patrick's Day is a total slog for Irish diplomats. . . . Meghan McCain in Playboy! (No, not like that.)


Questions? Hope you remembered to bring them.

Newt Gingrich's outrage is much ado about nothing.

It's a very dangerous time to be making jokes of any kind, it seems.

No Adele? It would have been so obvious!

Or, say, Posh Spice and Beckham. Or Daniel Craig? Or Keith Richards? Face it: They may drive us up a wall now and then, but the Brits have given us many great things.

The ONLY time I've ever wanted to be a DC police, jail, or court employee!

For a pre-planned event, it sure went off well. Lots of reader interest in the Clooney arrest.

Omar IS the best character on "The Wire" and "Luther" IS a great series...and I'd have Idris Elba over for dinner any time he is willing! Is he as good looking and tall in person?

Roxanne, who is off on assignment at the moment, was the one who went to the White House, and she reports that Idris is indeed a knockout.

What a tool---seriously. I wouldn't really have a big problem with him just saying (initially, not after he got caught) "this is theatre and I exaggrated/modified the story for dramatic license." But he's got some nerve playing the victim in this whole thing. If you listen to the This American Life episode, he admits to flat-out lies yet simultaneously defends his story. Talented performer, gifted storyteller, total jerk.

It was interesting hearing Daisey talk at Georgetown. He is one hell of a talker. Very ingratiating, very charming -- but an unnerving knack for both deflecting and for making it all about him (while proclaiming that it's all about a greater message). Mixed emotions, it seemed, in the audience. About a third of the room gave him a standing ovation, while others stayed in their seats and didn't applaud at all.

you ran a story on Meghan McCain. Isn't her 15 minutes over already? The more she talks, the less I like her.

Since Meghan's role these days is to say provocative things, we've set the bar pretty high for quoting her. But I thought her latest self-referential quip was pretty amusing, so we used it.

I was saddened to read this report today. I saw them both recently at the pediatrician and they couldn't be nicer (we discussed our babies who are about 3 months apart in age). Their little boy is a cutie, too! I did ask my husband later that evening how the two of them could make it work given their demanding schedules, including travel. We both assumed scores of paid help was involved. Now we know that it wasn't that easy after all!

It's a very sad story.

So, "they" are saying that this season's DWTS is the best ever! Is that maybe like being the smartest of the 3 Stooges?

I think so. Except that there are only three Stooges, whereas Dancing with the Stars has been on television for 37 seasons now, with no end in sight.

Heard former 'skins lineman Joe Jacoby speak this week, and he talked about finally finishing his bachelor's degree in 2011! He was drafted by Washington around 1981, and went back to Louisville, where he played college ball, to finish his degree. What an inspiration!

Very interesting, I didn't know that. Here's a story about Jacoby getting his degree late last year.

This brought up all sorts of jokes - some inappropriate. Somehow, I think he knew this would happen. However, I think it was definitely rigged - makes for better press than announcing that heir to a widget foundation who lives with 25 cats was the magic number 500!

I thought that too -- and wondered, did Branson give Kutcher a discount in exchange for being part of that press release? But then, you think about it, and the odds are that whoever pays $200K a two-hour trip into sub-space -- which, admittedly, would probably be pretty amazing -- is probably someone fairly rich and ridiculous. If it weren't Ashton, it would have been -- I don't know, Kim Kardashian, maybe.

Didn't we decide that was a euphemism for something?

Yes, I think you're right. I didn't mean to say say Roxanne Roberts is on assignment. I should have said that Roxanne Roberts was hospitalized for exhaustion. And is now spending more time with her family.

That joke was not offensive but it wasn't that funny. DeNiro is an Oscar-winner and an iconic actor. He should not have to stoop to Republican humor.

Oh, it's not a terrible joke. It's got layers of irony and wryness. And it's probably all in the delivery.

I never heard of this guy until the past week. Seems like a smart guy -- as he is bigger than ever. Well played, Mike Daisey.

Call me a cynic, but I think this will not be terrible for his career.

It has been forever and we don't know what happened to Amelia Earhart. We will learn nothing new about aviation, nothing about better safety if we learn, right? Why are we spending millions of dollars to look into this.

It's a privately-funded mission, and as a documentary, it will probably be a major hit for Discovery.

Pretty please?

Ha ha. Thus far, I haven't heard a whole lot of details about how these sub-orbital planes land, or what the safety record is. All these celebrities boarding these things makes me nervous, like it's the new Titanic in the making.

Beckham was working that night.

Oh, okay, if you say so.

I think I have a busy job, though certainly less busy than the President of the United States. How does he have time to keep up with The Wire, Luther, and all the NCAA tournament games? Is that all just an example of how much more free time we would all have to watch TV if we had no commute?

Yes. Now, bear in mind, he was a mere state legislator during the first couple seasons of "The Wire," and he hadn't yet clinched the nomination before the whole show was over, so who knows what a *mess* his Netflix queue would look like if it were on the air now. Also, I've noticed that he's unusually silent on the topic of "American Idol" or "The Walking Dead," and I fear that that's where he's been forced to slack off.

Chasing Amelia? Desperately Seeking Amelia? Lost?

Good ideas, all.

Mysteries intrigue people! And, she was such an icon in her day, and so many conspiracy theories surround it. Not only is this poster WRONG about the funding, but I think s/he is wrong about how many people were intrigued/fascinated/inspired by this spitfire and would be intrigued about its conclusion. I have a friend who just last year named her daughter after her.

Are they still touring?

I'm afraid not, though they did have a pretty good gig last night.

is still trending, and every decade someone does a new "search" or discovers "new" evidence and films it. The woman is still a cash cow, after all these years.


When does it all finally happen, the inevitable hiring at MSNBC to work with Luke Russert, Jenna Bush, and Chelsea Clinton and other unquaified children of famous people?

Wait, where have you been? You know she already works there, right? She signed on as a contributor last fall.


All we really know is who accepted and attended, right? They don't tell us who gave an "I am honored, but cannot attend that evening because of a prior engagement." THAT would be fun - to know whe turned the White House down for any event!

Well, we know that John Boehner was invited, as usual, and sent his regrets, as usual.

Why is he such a ubiquitous presence at State Dinners? Nothing against the guy, but he's not our most interesting Senator, our most popular Senator, and, I would venture to guess, the one who looks best in a tux. He's not a member of leadership, and he not even the hottest Senator from his own state. So, why?

Well, I'm pretty sure he owns his own tux.

I'm surprised that everyone had such a positive reaction to her dress at the state dinner. My first reaction when seeing it was wondering if she had hit up H&M. It really looked like something, if cut a little shorter, you would see on the Metro at rush hour. But what do I know, she's still a lovely lady.

Having spent way too much time looking at up-close, high-resolution photos of the dress, analyzing lingerie straps, I've concluded that it was probably much more dazzling in person -- it's an extremely intricate pattern -- than in photos.

Great to see George this past Friday at the Sudenese Embassy. Any thoughts as to what current girlfriend (insert name here) thought of it?

I don't know. Is she contracturally allowed to discuss such things?

I guess we should cancel this chat. Or is snark still okay?

No, it is not. You have been warned.

I'm sorry, Roxanne.

Well, he's gone now. Did he wear out his welcome last week?

In reading the guest list in the dead tree version of the paper, I noticed that George was dateless. I also noticed that he was seated next to Michelle Obama at the head table. Thoughts?

And it was an asymetrical head table seating arrangement -- nine on one side, eight on the other -- which makes me think he could have brought a date if he wanted to, but opted not to.

Did he spend any time literally behind any bars?

Yeah, a little.

As far as celebrities telling jokes at political events, it was one of the better jokes I have heard.

Exactly. Remember the context.

How much planning do you think he and his stylist do on what is ideal to be arrested in? Seemed comfortable and casual, but everything seemed to fit well. And so I assume the effortless look was, in fact, done with lots of effort.

The scruffy beard worked as well at the state dinner as it did with handcuffs.

Read the WashPost story today on Sasha and Malia and how they are not covered. As I'm sure you get tipped off all the time when they are in public, how do you decide when it it OK to mention them?

Oh, I meant to link to that. Very interesting story:

President Obama’s daughters’ privacy is difficult to protect in Internet age

Why wasn't Benny Hill invited?

Dead, you know.

What if they just didn't invite him to the next Big Event? Would he be all offended that he wasn't asked? In the regular world, if an invitee turned down a host/hostess every time, the host/hostess would cease to issue invitations.

Oh, I assume it's become a pleasingly familiar ritual for everyone by now.

No love for Jimmy McNulty, the great TV character ever?

As much as I love McNulty, I'm afraid I'd have to agree with the consensus -- and the results of Grantland's "The Wire" bracket -- and say that Omar really is the best.

My 13 year-old son thinks there should be a national disaster drill for the zombie apocalypse. Seriously.

The schools should have kids practice, by tossing hatches at watermelons.

about the potential for RGIII to be here? And are you sad that P. Manning won't be in the area?

Why should we be excited about RGIII? I'm not doubting, I'm just asking, as someone who'll need to get up to speed on this eventually.

Mad props to him! But didn't Elvin Hayes do the same thing at the University of Houston during his career with the Washington (then-)Bullets? And long ago so did QBs Joe Kapp and Craig Morton at my alma mater, the University of California-Berkeley, although both were within a semester or so of graduation when they turned pro. Any idea how common this is nowadays?

Probably not that common -- simply because I think it would be hard for anyone to get motivated to go finish up those final credits, especially if they're financially established. But I think that if you're looking at a next career as a college coach, the degree is probably necessary.

I was wondering why the lead actor from that show, Andrew Lincoln, who also is British, wasn't at the event. It explains it if they don't know (1) about the show, and (2) that the lead actor playing a Georgia Sheriff is actually British. (We tend to have a lot of these undercover Brits playing American on our tv shows these days.)

Or (3) they've gotten bored with the show. I was totally into it until abruptly last week when I realized I wasn't. Right when you realized that the zombie virus was jumping into people who hadn't been bitten: I suddenly thought to myself, "Wow, that would be an amazing plot twist if I still cared."

There's a WaPo Tumblr??!?! Excitement abounds!

Specifically, a Style Tumblr, and it is effortlessly clever, and I'm always seeing delightful things on it, so get on board, okay?

He's invited to all the state dinners because he's the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Oh, look at you, with your fancy smart-person answer.

He is such a hottie, but his hair looked like he had just run through a monsoon. Not to nitpick (although isn't that why we are here!), but his stylist should be flogged for diminishing his awesomeness.

Oh, but his hair has so much personality.

They should have a back-up where some average person is allowed to go in the Speaker's place. I volunteer to be first!

Boehner should have a lottery or a contest to give away his pair of tickets. Like, be the 18th caller when you hear 18 jams in a row on WPGC, and you'll get to go to the state dinner with John Boehner. That would be fun.

One thing I've always wondered: do they let the press taste the food? It would be absolutely awesome to have Tom Siestma cover the next state dinner if they did!

I'm sure they'd like to invite him as a real guest, but it would be too weird having him there wearing a mask or fake beard or whatever he does.

Good looking, talented, stylish...sounds pretty good to me!

Okay, just went to his Wikipedia page. OMG - he was born in 1990!

Too bad Hilary Swank's biopic bomb about Amelia Earhart didn't wait to get released: Link

I suspect we're more willing to watch cable documentaries about Amelia Earhart than to go to a movie theater to see someone dressed up as her. Why is that?

Am I the only who got a bit of a giggle over the fact that the FLOTUS spokeswoman speaking re Malia Obama being in Mexico during the quake is named Kristina SCHAKE?

Ha ha. I've always wondered why they don't have a beverage in her honor at Shake Shack.

Just wondering.

Don't think so.

Don't forget Shaq!!!! He went back WHILE playing in the NBA. He even walked at commencement!

If you say so. I'm running out of time to fact-check all this stuff.

Michael Jordan also finished his UNC degree while stilll in the NBA.

As I said above. . . .

The Vikings (Minnesota) had a player back in the day that went to law school while he was playing. He's now a State Supreme Court Justice.

If you say so. Interesting.

What fun would it be to go with John Boehner--you'd spend all night at the smoking area.

Where all the cool kids hang out, right?

Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa. . .They are all good-looking bachelors (although Morse is engaged and RZimm has a girl and Clip may also). Imagine if we had had Tim Tebow coming to town! He's good looking, famous, and a virgin! Steven Strasburg is married, which is why he's not on the list, and Bryce Harper is only 19!

Yes, I do believe Morse is getting married later this year . . . . The problem with the baseball players, though, is that most of them don't linger around town much.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail?

Roxanne Roberts was hospitalized for just caring too darn much.

"Mad Men" returns, do you care?

Nah. Sorry.

Damien Lewis. Amazingly, blazingly hot.

Yes, indeed. He is both incredibly creepy and incredibly hot.

I've never smoked pot. But for years (back in the day), each of my seven siblings would always offer me a "taste" when we were gathered away from our parents (with absolutely no pressure). I finally asked my oldest brother why they kept offering when I kept declining. "We're afraid you'd be offended if one day we DIDN'T offer and you actually wanted to try it." Boehner strikes me as the type who would be offended if they didn't ask.

That was very kind of your siblings. No one ever offers me anything -- not that I'd want any, but I'm endlessly offended nonetheless.

I've noticed that he trots them out for award shows, etc. but leaves them out of the "serious" side of his life. That's probably a big message about how much of a "partner" these women are, vs. an arm-warmer.

What do we really know, though, of the serious side of his life, or what's in it? Just being realistic about our relationship to celebrity. We don't really know. (Though we do know from observation that they change, like clockwork, about every two years.)

Not to provide htis for a rival publication, but this story about what a scam celebrity chef cookbooks are is interesting, if not exactly surprising: Link

Oh, yes -- juicy stuff, thanks for sharing. Not surprising but still a pleasure to read about.

Missed the last two chats, but thought I would show you how I learned to Dougie: Link

Lookin' good! You forgot your pants again, though.

The ultimate athlete-returning-to-school story was Rice grad Frank Ryan, who played QB inter alia for the Washington Redskins -- who went back to Rice to earn his Ph.D. in Mathematics!

I had to look this one up. . . Apparently he got his PhD while still playing for the Redskins. They think he's the only PhD in mathematics to play pro football.

How do you have the time to "fact check" that, Amy?

Sorry I let that one slip by without proper vetting.

I had no idea they were married, but it was a pleasant surprise to see her at the dinner and totally appropriate, because some sort of representative from the Harry Potter verse needed to be there.

Yes, I guess so. Downton Abbey: 2. The Wire: 2. Harry Potter: 1.

That's a reference to the senator who claimed he was hiking the AP. Trail when he flew to Brazil to see his mistress!

Er, thanks for the footnote, but I think everyone got the joke. (Right? Right?)

But he was the governor of South Carolina. And his girlfriends was in Argentina. But otherwise, yes.

Jawan Howard left the University of Michigan early for the NBA -- but stayed in his hotel room working on independent study projects instead of partying with his teammates so he could graduate with his class -- as he had promised his late grandmother, who raised him. (He planned to go on and get a Masters in Education, though I don't remember whether he did that (yet).)

No time to pull his transcripts, so I'll take your story as is.

The only thing I have ever seen him in is The Forsyte Saga, so it was kind of jarring to see that sniveling, creepy Soames...

I only know him from "Homeland," and he's utterly compelling in it.

So funny to me that the whole zombie genre of horror films had this mega revivable just when somebody (think "28 Days Later... was the first) thoughts, "Hey, was if we make the zombies run?"

Speaking of running zombies. . . I gotta run, too. It's time to stop all this fun and write another column. . . . I'll send your regards to Roxanne, and see you next week. But stay in touch all week long at


In This Chat
Reliable Source
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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