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HISTORY: Erath man presents Democratic symbol to president

Long before the Civil War and Thomas Nast’s Republican elephant, Democratic donkey, Tammany tiger, and Santa Claus, a rooster was the symbol of the Democratic Party. An article in The Commoner dated May 26, 1905, mentioned that Major W. W. Armstrong of Cleveland was the first to suggest that a rooster be used as the Democratic symbol.

Was he correct?

A writer in the Washington Star begged to differ. He claimed the credit should go to a Democratic senator from Indiana, who first suggested the rooster in a letter to one of his constituents after it was definitely known that Democratic candidate James K. Polk had closely defeated Whig candidate Henry Clay in 1844. According to the Washington Star article, a letter was sent to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that read: “Tell Bird B. Chapman to crow!” Chapman was the editor of the local Democratic organization, and his next publication contained the first Democratic rooster crowing over the defeated Whigs. And, that is how a crowing rooster became the Democrat’s symbol.

Full article: Crowing Rooster

Attribution: William Thibodeaux,


"It was, according to theWashington Star, an excellent place, with its worst aspect being that it was much too tempting a place for a newspaperman leaving theStar after a long day’s work.
Apparently, not enough Star reporters stopped by, because by 1968, the place had become the Golden Garter, and while the Roaring Twenties had “decorative” girls, according to the Star, the new place found itself looking for Go-Go dancers."

Full story: “Golden Garter” 
Attribution: By Robert Pohl,

Bennett receives national award for cartooning

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.
The National Press Foundation has named Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoonist Clay Bennett as the recipient of the 2014 Clifford K. & James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons.
The judges for this year’s Berryman Award cited “the elegant simplicity and sharp bite of Clay Bennett’s work. A combination of clean drawings and clear messages, Bennett’s style is disarming and charming, his humor is subtle and wry, and his execution is flawless.”
The Berryman Award, named after the father and son team of cartoonists for the Washington Star, will be presented at the National Press Foundation’s gala award dinner Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C.

Full article: Berryman Award

Jonathan Yardley - After more than three decades and 3,000 reviews, a fond farewell

Thirty-three years and four months — a third of a century almost to the minute — are quite enough, thank you. On the second Monday of August 1981, I reported for work in the tiny, semi-subterranean offices of Book World, the Sunday supplement of The Washington Post. Those offices moved all over the building in the years to follow, and indeed Book World itself eventually dissolved into bits and pieces of other sections, but I stayed the course, never missing a day’s work, plugging away book after book after book, to the somewhat numbing total of about 3,000 reviews.

As of the first Sunday of December 2014, I’m out of here. The choice to leave is my own: I am more than ready to retire, as I will explain below. But for me this has been a happy time, and ending it is a sad one. I had wanted to work for The Post from the day I left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June 1961, and though it took me two full decades to get here it was — for me, at least — worth every minute of the wait.

It was not until near the end of almost 5 1 / 2 decades of professional journalism that the full extent of my good fortune dawned on me. Not merely was I permitted to spend two-thirds of my working life at this newspaper, but I spent it in the Golden Age of American newspapers. The stops that I made — at the New York Times, the Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News, the Miami Herald, the Washington Star and at last The Post — gave me a grand tour of the decades in which this country’s newspapers were at their peak. It was a time when newspapers were not really challenged as the primary source of serious news and commentary; when they were crammed with advertisements that made some of them rich enough to send correspondents wherever the news might occur and to pay many of their employees better wages than had been par for the journalistic course; when American newspapers used all these resources to make themselves, for a while, the best in the world.

Full Article: Jonathan Yardley Retiring

Attribution: Jonathan Yardley,

Marion Barry dies at 78; 4-term D.C. mayor was the most powerful local politician of his generation

Marion Barry Jr., the Mississippi sharecropper’s son and civil rights activist who served three terms as mayor of the District of Columbia, survived a drug arrest and jail sentence, and then came back to win a fourth term as the city’s chief executive, died around midnight Saturday at United Medical Center in Washington. He was 78.

Hospital spokeswoman Natalie Williams said Mr. Barry arrived at the hospital around 12:30 a.m. and died at 1:46 a.m. He had been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday following a brief stay. His death was announced by his family in a statement released through a spokeswoman for Mr. Barry. No cause was given, but he had suffered from many health problems over the years, including diabetes, prostate cancer and kidney ailments.

Full Story: Marion Barry
Attribution: Bart Barnes,

Great Cutaway Drawing of Evening Star Building in 1922

A thank you to Jody Beck for finding this article:
 "This is such a cool cutaway drawing of the Evening Star Building at 11th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. We posted a great photo of it some time ago, but this was something we had to share after GoDCer Ellen sent this in last month. Thanks Ellen! The image was printed in the Evening Star on May 10th, 1922."

 Full website: Evening Star Building


Remembering the Greatest Generation on Veterans Day

"The last time I saw my dad was Sept. 9, 1979, when I was at Fenway Park covering the Orioles for the Washington Star. On the final Sunday of the regular season, I left tickets for my parents in the left-field grandstand. In the late innings, on my way to the visitors clubhouse for postgame interviews, I stopped by Section 27 to say goodbye to the folks."

 Full story: Veterans Day
 Attribution: Dan Shaughnessy

Journalist, horseman extraordinaire Finney honored at Harford Community College

"The inaugural equestrian journalism award, which was presented by the Hays-Heighe House in October 2012, recognized the late Joseph B. Kelly, a longtime racing writer, first with the Baltimore Sun and later the Washington Star. "

Full Story:

Attribution: By Special to The Aegis,

New York Times looks to slash 100 newsroom jobs

The New York Times sent shock waves through its Renzo Piano-designed headquarters Wednesday with a plan to shed 100 newsroom jobs, or about 7.5 percent of the editorial staff.

In an equally seismic blow, the Times also conceded that some digital efforts have flopped.
NYT Opinion, a mobile app with columns and op-ed content, will close because it failed to attract enough subscribers, Publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. and Chief Executive Mark Thompson co-wrote in a memo to staff.

The moves are part of a plan to shave as much as $30 million in costs, sources said, with the Gray Lady expected to report flat ad revenue for the current quarter.

“The job losses are necessary to control our costs and to allow us to continue to invest in the digital future of the New York Times, but we know that they will be painful both for the individuals affected and for their colleagues,” Sulzberger and Thompson wrote.

The deep cuts could also pressure the company to streamline the top management structure that includes Vice Chairman Michael Golden, Sulzberger’s first cousin.

Full story: New York Times Jobs


In her New York Times column, far-left author Maureen Dowd catches up to a fact shouted by conservative media for years—that President Barack Obama cares more for his own leisure and entertainment than governing the nation or facing difficult issues.

 "FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL."

Full NYTimes article: The Golf Address

Strangely shifting alliances: Vietnam today, North Korea later? - Donald Kirk

Journalist Donald Kirk, a weekly columnist at, has been covering war and peace in Asia since the 1960s.
"I still find it hard to believe, going down roads over which the war ebbed and flowed from rice paddies to dense jungle to rubber plantations, that peace prevails even if the Communist regime rules with a heavy hand, stifling criticism or opposition. The sight of the Vietnamese flag — a gold star on a red field — flying from government buildings still seems a little unimaginable. Well, at least Saigon is still called Saigon, even if it’s only the central area of sprawling Ho Chi Minh City, named after the famed North Vietnamese leader whose obituary I wrote for the Washington Star in September 1969."
Full story: Donald Kirk

Artists & Writers Annual Charity Softball Game

"Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein, the starting catcher who struck out swinging in his last at bat, said his next book, “The Washington Star,” is a memoir about his first five years in journalism at the defunct daily. It is due out from Henry Holt within weeks."
Full story: Scribes extend losing streak at Hamptons softball classic -

Maureen Dowd Joins The New York Times Magazine as Staff Writer

The New York Times announced today that Maureen Dowd is joining The Times Magazine as a staff writer. The move will mark Ms. Dowd’s return to her roots as a narrative journalist and is the first in a series of expected announcements regarding the magazine’s major redesign, set for early 2015. Ms. Dowd will also continue to write her weekly Sunday opinion column.

Jake Silverstein, the magazine’s editor said, “Maureen is one of The Times’s signature writers. Period. And as we work toward a redesign that will put new emphasis on stylish, long-form narratives, she’ll be a brilliant addition to our team. While I can’t disclose any specific assignments yet, I can reveal that Maureen's subject matter for the magazine will range far afield from her current bailiwick of politics, foreign affairs, Hollywood, and edible marijuana.”

Andy Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The Times said, “Maureen’s influence on our Op-Ed page can’t be overstated and I’m very happy that our readers will continue to hear her timely take on whatever the hot issue of the moment happens to be. This new adventure in her illustrious career at The Times will only enhance that voice and I’m personally delighted that we will continue our long and valued collaboration.”

2014 Star Reunion - Aug 7 at Mr. Henry's

"We had a good time and told Star stories, most of them true. Discovered too that the HillRag has a nice spread on our Diana McLellan. And that Donald Smith has a mystery novel coming out. It's called The Constable's Tale and is being published by Pegasus Press soon." Bill Grigg.

The few. The proud. The hungry.  Lil & Arnold Taylor, Bobbie Hornig, Don Smith, Bill Grigg

Louise Lague - The Expat Almanac on Amazon

Huzzah! The Expat Almanac is now available on actual paper from Amazon! The diary of our illuminating and eye-opening and sometimes terrifying Senior Year Abroad has gotten some great reviews and a few raspberries. Thanks to all of you who've given us five stars, and to my big brother Dick, who ably defended us against our naysayers. His battle of comments (in the reviews section) makes pretty good reading all by itself!

Tender's Game - For five decades, there's been one constant in Capitol Hill bars: Rudi Appl. By Joe Englert

The first shift piled into Mr. Henry’s Restaurant on Capitol Hill. As usual, the morning crew expected to encounter the perpetual sins of the late-night brigade: unmarried ketchups, ashtrays bursting with Marlboros, tables and chairs sticky with splashes of Coke and 7Up. But they encountered an unusually bizarre scene one morning in 1969. Manager Alvin Ross heard a strange gargling sound, as if someone held a squirting can of whipped cream to an amplifier. He noticed every single beer tap slapped forward to the open position. Not a drop of beer poured from the taps; last gasps of CO2 hissed from the exhausted draft system. And then Ross spotted the culprit: hand-me-down bartender Rudi Appl, sprawled out on the bar, snoring loudly after a night of wrecking the establishment’s liquor percentages. Drunk, reckless, and so likeable you couldn’t fire the guy. Damn it—Rudi made it into work, at least, and he wouldn’t stop coming in for…for…well, forever.

Like brick sidewalks and scoundrel politicians, Rudi (everyone who knows him calls him by his first name) has always been a fixture in the District. Starting in 1966, he took his post behind a bar full of gin, vodka, and whiskeys, and since then, Rudi, now 79, has been standing tall, counseling, laughing, directing, empathizing, upselling, and entertaining in his home away from home—Mr. Henry’s Capitol Hill.

Back when he started, the Hill wasn’t chock-a-block with two-income power families, cable TV–driven gourmet burger places, or $2 million show houses snapped off the real estate market within hours. Denizens were known as “Hillbillies,” famous for their blue-collar ways, hard-drinking habits, and love of a good, old-fashioned throwdown. Almost every night, the cops had to call on Billy’s, a roadhouse right across Pennsylvania from Mr. Henry’s, to break up melees. You almost got used to the sound of breaking glass.

The more genteel clientele of Henry’s included wild-eyed newspaper men from the Washington Star, located down the block, who used to drink daily three-martini lunches and dinners there when it was known as Ted’s Grill, on the corner of 6th Street SE.

Full story:

Queen Mary Mary McGrory and the lost art of the Washington prima donna. By John Norris

On a quiet summer evening in 1964, Mary McGrory’s phone rang. The caller identified himself as a Secret Service agent and said that President Johnson wanted to stop by her apartment in 15 minutes. “Oh, really,” McGrory replied drolly, sure that the caller was a fellow reporter pulling her leg, but the man on the line insisted he was serious.
She went out into the hallway of her apartment building, a drab modern brick affair a few miles up Connecticut Avenue from the White House, and found several Secret Service agents standing near the elevator. Realizing that the leader of the free world was, indeed, on his way, she ran back inside and frantically tidied up. Several minutes later, the president appeared at her door.
At age 45, Mary McGrory was already one of the most influential political columnists in the country, a veteran of three presidential campaigns whose four-times-a-week musings in the Evening Star were an absolute must-read for everyone from political pros to the most casual observers. A Bostonian ever proud of her Irish roots, McGrory had adored President John F. Kennedy, and she had been a constant behind-the-scenes presence during the Camelot years. So she was no stranger to power, but the impromptu nature of Johnson’s visit was unnerving.
McGrory invited him in and offered the president a drink. They engaged in some friendly small talk until Johnson, tumbler of scotch in his large hand, finally put his cards on the table. “Mary, I am crazy about you,” he confessed. He wanted to sleep with her.

Read more:

Patrick Oliphant

LATEST NEWS:  Born Patrick Bruce Oliphant in Adelaide, Australia, in 1935, he knew from a young age that he "wanted to get into the newspaper thing." At 19 he was working as a copy boy at a local paper, the News (which, he notes, had just been inherited by the young Rupert Murdoch ). "They paid three pounds a week, so I soon went to the competition, the Advertiser, which paid 12 pounds a week," he recalls. "After I had been at the Advertiser for a while, they noticed I had a certain propensity for drawing, and they made me a cartoonist." He put in 10 years, and then went as far away as he could, which turned out to be a job at the Denver Post. In 1975, he was hired away by the Washington Star, where he worked until that paper folded in 1981.

Full article:

Carl Bernstein

LATEST NEWS: CNN’s political additions continue with legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein joining as a contributor, substitute anchor John Berman announced on “AC360″ last night.
Bernstein was an analyst for CNN during the 2008 election season and will now appear across the network’s programs giving political commentary.

Full story: Carl Bernstein Joins CNN as contributor

Virginia man revists his 12 Super Bowls

Steve Guback, used to cover sports for the old Washington Star newspaper. But attending Superbowls has been a labor of love, in fact he has been to an even dozen of them.

The first was the Super Bowl 6 in New Orleans

"I can't believe I'm that old," chuckled Steve Guback. "All I remember is the parties.The Super Bowl was 39 degrees."

He recalls, "We weren't dressed, you know, for that kind of weather. But the hotel was really nice and gave my wife a blanket. The Games back in those days were not very exciting. They weren't even sold out in many cases."

But Guback's favorite Super Bowl was Super Bowl VII (7)

"That was the first one the Redskins were in….the town was ecstatic that they made it," said Guback.

Fans know that Washington went on to lose that Super Bowl to the undefeated Miami Dolphins but Guback did see the Redskins win in Super Bowl (XVII 17 1982) and (XXII 22 1987) and though he will not be in New Jersey for Sunday's Super Bowl (XLVIII 48), he believes those who do attend will find a way to stay warm.

"With the temperature in the 20's and low 30's, that's not too bad, they have probably gone to regular season games colder than that," he said.


Lisa Myers

Correspondent Leaves NBC News After Three Decades  A correspondent who has been with NBC News for more than 30 years is leaving the network. TVNewser reports that political and investigative correspondent Lisa Myers announced she's headed out. “I have had more than 30 fascinating years at NBC News, learning from and working alongside the best of the best, including journalists who paved the way for many of us: Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert,” she wrote in a note that was sent to NBC News employees from Washington bureau chief Ken Strickland. In the note, Strickland writes that Myers is leaving to “start a new chapter.” While Myers writes that she appreciates “the company granting my request to change gears and pursue new horizons,” the note doesn’t say what she plans to do next. Myers joined NBC News in 1981 from The Washington Star, where she was the publication’s White House correspondent.

Attribution: TVNewser

The District library’s Washingtoniana division is a treasure trove of D.C. history

Among the pictures catalogued at Washingtoniana is the photo archive of the Washington Evening Star.
The Star is on microfilm at Washingtoniana, too, along with The Post and such defunct papers as the Washington Herald and the Washington Times (the original Washington Times).
African American papers are there, too. You can scan city directories, which once were like super-detailed phone books, complete with the occupation of each resident.
Some of the material is digitized and searchable on your computer from home. That includes the Evening Star from 1852 to 1952, once searchable only via a handmade index. (All you need is a D.C. library card, which you can get even if you don’t live in the District.)
“People are loving having the Washington Star,” said Kim Zablud, special collections manager and boss of the 12-person department. (For decades, the Star was the city’s leading newspaper, often besting the rag you’re reading.)

Full Story:

Attribution: John Kelly,

Focus on: Lexington artist Susan Harb transforms found objects into one-of-a-kind pieces

Why you should know her: Susan, a Lexington-based artist who’s lived in the Rockbridge County area for roughly 15 years, unveiled the new month-long exhibit “Lust for Rust” — featuring a mix of sculptures and assemblages made from found objects indigenous to rural Virginia — at the Academy of Fine Arts last week.


The Indiana-born admirer of avant-garde expression was reared about 35 miles west of Orlando in the former citrus hub of Groveland, where she spent much of her childhood playing the part of resident tomboy, often hanging out around her father’s tractor business and sweeping up his welding shop once a week.

That early introduction to heavy equipment and all things metal served as a breeding ground for her future profession in the art world, one that’s rooted in the scavenging of automobile graveyards, refuse piles and decaying dump sites for the right materials to fashion her unconventional pieces.

But her obsession with the discarded relics of the past came later.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in news and editorial writing from the University of Florida, she set out on a 15-year career as a journalist, covering the arts for publications like the Washington Star, the Virginian-Pilot, the Gainesville Sun and others.


There are many food writers in the English-speaking world who have made it their mission to bring French food back to their unawakened compatriots. Some, such as Julia Child, became media superstars. However, among them and animated by an almost missionary zeal, Anne Willan is unique.

For one thing, she not only brought France to her native England and her adopted homeland the United States, but she indulged in a kind of interactive cross-cultural pollination by bringing them to the school she established in Burgundy, "La Varenne":

"I was learning that great cooking is so much more than recipes . I wanted people to leave saying what one student early on remarked: 'When I go home I will never look at food the same way again.'"

The core of this warm-hearted memoir is the lengthy, multipronged process by which Ms. Willan's attitude toward food evolved from its roots in good taste and good cooking to the stratosphere of cuisine.