The Reliable Source Live

Nov 21, 2012

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

Past Reliable Source chats

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Reliable Source web chat.


Glad you could join us here before you begin your holiday rituals -- which we're sure begin with consulting our always helpful Thanksgiving Talking Points. Don't go to the dinner table without them.


What else? Well, we skipped the wrong gala — the one where Petraeus and Broadwell publicly hobnobbed.


Miss D.C. Allyn Rose has made the brave decision to get a preventive double mastectomy after the Miss America pageant.


Michael Morse and his bride Jessica Etably kicked off the very busy Nats wedding season.

In other news: Sandra Fluke meets Anita Hill. . . RNC and DNC spox shave heads for charity. . . The porn star who became a prosecutor. . . Hey, we know that bookstore on SNL!. . .  Hey, Nixonites, dinner at Rummy’s house!. . .  Viola Davis speaks up for domestics. . .  The last of the grande dames: Susan Mary Alsop. . . . And finally, Kid Rock breaks his silence on his Waffle House brawl.


Looking forward to your questions.

Enough with Petraeus, Broadwell, Kelley and her sister. There was no security breach, no connection to Benghazi, nothing of any interest other than some top military brass behaving like a lot of other men and some women using everything they have to climb the social or professional ladder. Nothing new here. It's over. Move on.

You make a fair point -- similar to what Dana Milbank had to say today.  Shall we put it to a vote, then? Shall we move on?

This day-before-Thanksgiving-chat has become a tradition for me. Thanks to you ladies for doing it every year and for everything else you do. Hope you have a great holiday.

Awww. That's so sweet. Anyone in your office today? The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become a de facto holiday, too -- Union Station was mobbed last night.  

Is she still in the city? Spending Thanksgiving here? I still haven't seen her!

No, I believe she's gone back to Charlotte.

Helpful and convenient for a busy day in the kitchen, or a gourmand desecration?

Can't they be both? Pass them over if you've got some on you, btw.

With or without raisins? Oysters?

Personally, I like sausage and a hint of dried fruit. But the fastest way to start a debate is asking what is a proper Thanksgiving menu.

When Hillary Clinton steps down as Secretary of State, it will be the first time since 1981 that neither a Bush nor a Clinton has been in the administration. 1981! I was a freshman in high school in 1981. That's when Jessie's Girl and Bette Davis Eyes and Celebration were popular. WKRP was still on the air. That was a long gol-durned time ago.

And now that you mention it -- 1981 was a pretty good year. Happy days are here again? It took me years to recognize what a good song "Bette Davis Eyes" is. You just take that stuff for granted as a kid.

How were the Gingerbread Olympics? Did Rox wow 'em?

Went well -- and more to the point, I had a blast. The contest is the National Gingerbread House Competition 9but they don't have to be houses); my piece was named one of the Top Ten and I received a big ol' ribbon. Will try something I've never done: Attach a photo to a chat answer. let me know if it worked.

There are only four of us here today. And the construction people turned off the water so I get the feeling maybe they didn't want us. But some of us have to save up vacation days for the Christmas holdiays?

If one is inclined to work, it's a good day to be productive. Not too many phone calls!

Read the New Yorker profile. When I finished I wondered just why they bothered, except that he was a "celebrity" backer of Mitt Romney and they were few and far between. Still seemed like a very odd editorial choice for them.

Actually, I disagree. Kid's involvement in the Romney campaign gave them a timely peg to hang the story on, but the New Yorker often does profiles of interesting artistic figures, and I think the story made the case for why his career is, well, interesting, even beyond his politics, the whole hip-hop/rock/country melding and progression.


And, of course, deep inside the story, this little gem, which no one called to my attention (not even the New Yorker itself, which issues a weekly press release with every new issue that is roughly the length of the Book of Genesis, and yes, I read it) until the magazine had been sitting on my bedside for a full week.  It was the same way last year when they had an amazing profile of Rita Jenrette and did nothing to promote the world-shattering revelation midway through that she says she never had sex on the Capitol steps.

Have you see it? Even if Bradley Cooper plays an off-kilter guy, he's still hot.

Crazy can be hot -- and makes affairs take strange turns.

That link doesn't take me to the story.

You're right, bad link. I'll correct, but meanwhile here it is:

Michael Morse marries Jessica Etably, first couple in busy Washington Nationals wedding season

Would you consider doing a where-are-they-now item about all of the reporters (the good, the bad, and the ugly) who led the Reliable Source over the years? We would like to know what happened (in the best gossipy sense, of course) to these folks. Thanks.

That's actually an easy one:

The first Reliable Source author, Lois Romano, is writing about politics for Politico. Ann Gerhart is covering the second-term transition here at the Post; Ann Groer is doing freelance writing and working on a book. Lloyd Grove is writing up in New York; Rich Leiby is overseas for the Post. And that brings us up to the two of us, who've been writing the column for seven-plus years. 


Would you please print the link to the article about John Lannan's wedding? That is exactly what I had wanted with regard to Michael Morse's (and the other upcoming weddings). To me the Nationals and Redskins are the local celebrities; I couldn't give a darn about the politicians and bureaucrats.

Here's the story on John Lannan's wedding. . . Did you and I have an exchange in the comments about the lack of details from the Morse wedding? If that wasn't you, then I'll point out that many VIPs, perhaps most, don't put out a lot of information about their weddings -- and even if they do eventually, it's not usually their first priority on the morning after the nuptials. We were lucky enough to get so much information about Lannan's wedding because it happened weeks before our item (there was a Christmas holiday in between), after we'd had a chance to work the phones and find people who've returned from it and were willing to chat. Morse, though, we wanted to write about the very next day -- and we had roughly as much information as the media could provide the day after the Blake Lively/Ryan Reynolds nuptials, which is to say, not a lot. Sorry! But Morse has been trickling out details since then on his Twitter feed.

My vote - Yes, please stop. Also, thanks for the TG Talking Points. It was awesome.

Thanks for both of your votes.

Unless the world ends. And then those of us born after 1981 will never know what this is like.

Well, true.

Thank you for helping me get a few moments of conversation out of family dinner tomorrow. Could you please explain sequestration to me?

That's in there! It's automatic budget cuts scheduled to take place over the next 10 years starting on Jan. 1. Mostly defense and big federal entitlement programs. Big fight brewing.

Since I started reading this chat, I have yet to bump into a single celebrity. Then I went to Paris this summer and walked right by Pierce Brosnan at the Rodin Museum. I said to my husband, "I have to tell Amy and Roxanne." My husband said, "Who are they?" I mumbled something about my friends in D.C....

Does he now think you have imaginary friends?

Which is superior, white or dark?

Both have their virtues.

Will you go shopping on Thursday night or wait till Friday? Or neither? I'm torn as I'm really short on time. But I'm also a purist who will not play Christmas carols or turn on the holiday lights till Thankgiving is over.

Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, right? So I don't know why we're planning so far ahead.

the only thing is he did something that a lot of line federal employees could lose a security clearance over. that makes it a big deal to a lot of dc folks.

Good point.

To the contrary, what this uproar has revealed is the way that four stars on your shoulder get you treated like a rock star all around the world. These guys today have perks that would be unimaginable (and, frankly, disgusting) to Dwight Eisenhower and George C. Marshall. As a matter of fact, a great letter in the Post yesterday from a reader presented a withering contrast between the way Marshall, who had five stars and was running the U.S. military effort in WWII, comported himself as opposed to Petraeus, Allen, and all the other generals whose privileged status has recently come to light.

Since I'm not a military brat, I know very little about the life. But the big generals seem to have a pretty sweet deal.

Have you heard Taylor Swift's cover of that? It is pretty incredible.

It's very, very good. The only part about it I don't like is the part where she gushes, "This came out in 1981, eight years before I was born!"

exhausted me! She had a lot of balls in the air, so to speak. Marathon runner and fitness buff, researcher and writer, mother of two and wife who was basically embedded in the military for a long period of time...the list goes on. I don't know how she found time for an affair in there, do you?

You know the saying, "If you want to get something done, ask a busy person." Seriously, I've heard of execs so busy they scheduled their mistresses for 6 a.m. Plus, I'm assuming these are not lingering hours in bed -- maybe just short encounters.

How was the Bob Dylan show? I assume Amy was in the special Friends of Bob VIP Section? (Does he have friends?)

You know. . . .I don't often skip a Bob Dylan show, but I did skip this one. It conflicted with the 40th anniversary of The Palm. Besides, I realized it would be much cheaper to just continue to listen to "Basement Tapes" over and over and over again, as well as have the occasional conversations with Bob in my head.

Does he apologize for stealing so heavily from Warren Zevon, to the point that when Kid's horrible "All Summer Long" comes on the radio, I'm excited to hear Werewolves of London, and then moments later I am disappointed that it's actually just Kid.

I think he considers it more homage than stealing.

Rox or Amy, have you seen it? I thought was brilliant and I've never seen a better portrayal of how politics can be noble and messy at the same time. Run, don't walk, to your nearest theater.

It's been ages since I say a movie. I promised myself one this weekend, and "Lincoln" is on the short list.

Strictly speaking, there was no Bush or Clinton in the Administration (cabinet-level and above) from noon on January 20, 2009 ( when George W. Bush ceased to be President) until 5:29 pm on January 21, 2009 (when Hilary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State). The top pop albums during that time were Taylor Swift's Fearless, Nickelback's Dark Horse, and Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreak.

Hmmm, now that you've brought Nickelback into the equation, I'm going to have to rethink my theory.

I was going to read the profile, but when the RS noted that it was long, that killed it for me. Most stories in the New Yorker are long, but t highlight they are long means that it is insufferable. Kid Rock just isn't worth my time.

Clarification: It's not long by New Yorker standards. It's just long by the standards of Kid Rock profiles. But it's not bad at all.

leads to paula and politics and prose

It is fixed now.

Up to a point it was just a routine case of military groupie has affair with object of adoration. Where it crossed the line into crazytown was the sending of threatening emails to the family friend/Tampa socialite. That makes it way creepier.

Yeah, but that's always the wild card in affairs. They  think it's a managable situation, then the other party does something so off that they realize they're in over their head.

A friend told me he saw Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius together at a screening of Anna Karenina at E Street over the weekend. I told him he should have sent you the sighting, but he didn't, so I'm doing it here instead. So cute that they're movie friends!

Hey, has anyone seen Anna Karenina yet? Let me know how it was.

When I pull up the chat, the ads that pop up for me are for Johnnie Walker Blue and for a cruise to Greece. How is that determined? Does that say more about me or you guys?

That says that you're a prosperous and classy guy. For me, it brings up ads for REI, some jewelry store at National Harber I've never heard of, ALDI grocery stores, and "Toyotathon is ON!"

is today. When I lived in DC, hubby and I would go to Georgetown Park after work and it would be empty on Wednesday evening. We usually would wait until Thursday morning to drive home to Pa., so it worked out nice. Of course, you don't get black Friday deals so much, but it is so much less stressful and there are always good sales.

You know, I always wondered how great those deals are anyway, and if it's worth the effort. I suppose I would have stood in line for a toy my kid desperately wanted, but he never craved anything that much. Besides, I've never been a morning person, so 5 a.m. anywhere -- except bed --  is not happening.

A bunch of us were talking about them last night. Did they ever get divorced? If not, why not? Are they ever seen in public together? Is the relationship acrimonious? You guys are awesome, btw.

They have not yet filed for divorce, since last we checked -- but they've also both moved on, it seems. Al has a new girlfriend, and Tipper has a new boyfriend. And thank you for your kind words. . .

...roasted in the oven. A dark horse for the Thanksgiving table.

For you last-minute menu planners.


Thanks. Will see if someone more tech savvy can help.

This Petraeus thing doesn't feel like a full scandal yet. It is still missing the cliche denouement -- when Hugh Hefner offers a ton of money for her to pose for his magazine and she rejects it.

You know, last week you all were waiting for the next shoe to drop, somehow thinking there should be a sixth shoe to drop or something -- but there's really been nothing new since then, has there? Except for the revelation that the shirtless FBI agent photo was really not the least bit sexy or confidential and clearly kind of a joke.

With cornbread and using veggie broth. It is the best part of Thanksgiving dinner for a vegetarian.

More ideas.

Umm, who pays for that? Please tell me it's not us taxpayers?

Judging from the shrewd marketing the W gets out of this, I'm guessing they comp the birds.

Do you also realize that people under 11 years have never known a world where a Bush or Clinton has not had a job on television simply because of their last name?

Oh, you don't think Billy Bush would have risen on his own merits? (Yeah, I'm following you.) I actually think he might have just done. That mellifluous voice and those celebrity suck-up skills -- not just anyone can do that. He was like a pre-Ryan Seacrest, really. A Pre-crest, if you will.

Does she still live in DC? My brother is in town and wants to stalk her?

She's here a lot but I don't think she's ever lived here.

Someone just mentioned the Georgetown Park Mall. Is that still a thing? I went to the DNV there about six months ago and it was totally empty -- except for the stores that bordered M Street.

They've cleared the place out of little stores and are bringing in a new batch of stores -- a Marshalls, I think, and other big discount retailers. 

One by one the tenants have been leaving; there's not much there at all these days as the new owners try to rehab and reconfigure the place. There was talk that a T.J. Maxx might be a new anchor.

Any relation to Chris?

Don't quote me on this, but I think not.

I'm thankful for the work you do to put a little spice and fun into the paper. And these chats, which are always worth reading. Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

And we're thankful for you.

If you could invite any public person to join your family at the dinner table, who would it be?

Merle Haggard. Or Wendy Rieger, if he's not available. How about you?

My international celebrity crush, British playwright Tom Stoppard. 

Meh, these really don't bother me so much because so few people qualify for them and these guys must have made a lot of sacrifices to get to that rank. I thought the article trying to link these perks to infidelity was a bit off the mark. I couldn't see a real link between the two, but I suppose the exception sometimes proves the rule.

so much as his friendship and support of the Tampa socialite and her twin sister. That whole scenario doesn't make sense to me. Is there a network of these socialites who hang around the high-level military establishment? The whole thing is bizarre.

There are always local citizens near bases who host parties and raise money for military families, etc. That's not the weird aspect -- the fact that two four-stars would get involved in a custody battle is weird and ill-advised. And yes, there are general groupies.

Taylor Swift's purple dress in that clip you posted is very classy. Any idea where she shops?

Uh, no. Sorry. Many places, I assume. And she probably has stylists showing up at her mansion with groaning garment racks, and designers Fed-Exing her their gratis offerings. In other words -- wherever and however she shops is probably not relevant for our lives.

Make a smashad potato and seasoned bread crumb mixture, add sauteed celery and onions with a little garlic, then infuse with enough turkey broth to moisten bread crumbs and potatoes. That and the gravy are the only things my mom can cook.

This is a new one on me -- I have a hard time imaging it's not just souped-up mashed potatoes instead of stuffing.

In fairness to Petraeus -- if I has someone who would rake my leaves and take care of my lawn, I would then have plenty of time to have an affair. So this makes sense.

Except for running a war, you mean?

Thanks for being here today. I would have assumed you were taking the afternoon to see the opening showing of Red Dawn.

Aiming for the 2:10 p.m. showing at Gallery Place. Meet me there? I think a Hemsworth is in it.


If you haven't already seen it, do check out Michael O'Sullivan's "Red Dawn" review.  The lead is a highlight:


"There’s good news and bad news about “Red Dawn,” a remake of the 1984 action film about high school kids from the American heartland forced to become guerrilla warriors when their small town is invaded by foreign troops. I’m happy to report that the amped-up retread, which substitutes North Korean soldiers for the original Soviet bad guys -- and a steely Chris Hemsworth for a cheesy Patrick Swayze -- is a big improvement.

"The bad news is: That’s not saying much."

I'd invite Joe Biden. He'd amuse us with stories at the dinner table and then he'd help me with lawn care afterward.

Excellent point.

Why does most of the media refer to her as a socialite? I would think social climber is more appropriate. They do remind me of the Kardashians.

Because "socialite" is one of those all-purpose terms describing a woman of a certain class who typically doesn't work outside the home and goes to/throws a lot of parties. Not every socialite is a social climber.

My husband & I saw it and loved it. James Spader is excellent as a political "fixer" named William Bilbo (kept me thinking of The Hobbit. . .), and, as I'm a big David Strathairn fan, I loved him as Seward. Lukas Haas (the young Amish boy from Witness) has a small role as a Union soldier in the beginning of the movie, and S. Epatha Merkerson has a "blink and you'll miss it" role. DDL and TLJ are, of course, amazing.

Oscars, here they come.

I was told to bring wine to Thanksgiving dinner. What goes best with turkey?

Dry Riesling or Pinot Noir.


Hell, don't ask me. That's probably the wrong answer, but it's what I like to drink. Anyone else here know?

not on my computer! But I also have the ad in the middle of the chat...

I haven't figured this out; will attempt to post a gingerbread picture in the next chat.

Used to work for a now defunct DC radio station in the early 2000s.... Z104 I believe (or something like that).

According to Wikipedia, he was on D.C.'s 94.7 before moving to Z104, before becoming a big TV star. . . .

Kids,  time to wrap it up so we, too, can prepare stuffing -- or to be stuffed. Have a joyful Thanksgiving and make a small list of things to be thankful for (it will take your mind off the traffic.) Oh, and pass on sightings and tips to Stay safe; see you all next week.

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