The gentleman journalist

By Christopher Harper

Hugh Downs stood far above the self-absorbed bloviators who pawn themselves off today as journalists.

For nearly a decade, I worked with Hugh for ABC’s 20/20. He was the consummate gentleman and Renaissance man who treated everyone with respect.

Hugh referred to himself as “a champion dilettante,” who dabbled in music, art, and science. His 1986 memoir, “On Camera: My 10,000 Hours on Television,” was no idle boast: For years, he held the Guinness record for most hours on commercial network television until Regis Philbin eventually passed him.

Hugh was born and grew up in Ohio. His father worked as a salesman who struggled to make ends meet during the Depression. Hugh had to drop out of college to support the family as a radio announcer in Lima, Ohio.

In 1940, after serving in the Army, he joined the staff of WMAQ, the NBC radio station in Chicago. Later in the decade, he made the transition to television, working on “Kukla, Fran, and Ollie,” a popular puppet show.
Eventually, he would appear on “The Tonight Show,” “The Today Show,” “Concentration,” “20/20,” and others.

At the beginning of his career, Hugh said he suffered from stage fright. He recalled those days in “On Camera,” his memoir:

“At the end of a piece of music, when I was supposed to say something, my knees would shake uncontrollably. My pulse and respiration went up. Fortunately, the fear never showed in my delivery, but it did in my hands. If I had to hold copy, the paper would rattle. As a defense, I learned to lay copy out flat on the desk, or, if standing, to grab my lapels along with the copy, so the paper didn’t move with my hands.”

In 1978, Hugh received a call from Roone Arledge, the president of ABC News, asking him to take over the newsmagazine “20/20.” Its debut just a week earlier had been a disaster. Hugh was the sole host until 1984, when his former “Today” colleague Barbara Walters became his co-host. He remained with the program until retiring in 1999.
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In addition to his television work, Hugh was a composer. He wrote a prelude that was performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Hugh was an amateur guitarist and played for Andrés Segovia. He said he was pleased that Segovia did not leave the room.

Hugh also was a science buff and an adventurer. He piloted a 65-foot ketch across the Pacific and traveled to the South Pole.

During my time at “20/20,” I worked with Hugh on a project to create coral reefs near Miami. We had a great deal of fun, including the opportunity to blow up an old ship to start a reef.

But I truly appreciated Hugh’s fame when he was able to get a reservation for our team at Joe’s Stone Crabs in South Beach, where people lined up for hours to get inside in the usually first-come, first-serve restaurant.

Hugh died at the age of 99. I know he probably wanted to reach 100, but somehow 2020 seems more appropriate.

Funspot, Waitresses, False History , Indifferent Fans and another dead black kid whose life didn’t matter under the Fedora.

Last week my son and I hit funspot arcade in NH the 1st day it opened. It was a bit of a rainy day and they had an OK crowd but even though we had a lot of pinball to play for some reason it just wasn’t as much fun as it had been. Both of us decided we wanted to leave early. Maybe it was the long drive day before to Manchester VT to Pastime Pinball but something about this Funspot trip wasn’t right.

That was very odd.


On the way back we hit a BBQ place KC’s Ribshack in Manchester that we hadn’t tried before. We were seated outside under a tent and the waitresses had to brave rain etc to get us served. The food was average but the service was outstanding.

I think there has been a real appreciation of the value of waitstaff by people. It’s one of the few positive side effects of the Cornoa/Wuhan/CCP virus.


It’s been rather amazing to hear people suddenly discover that history is not being taught in our classroom. The investment our enemies have made in our schools, particularly in pushing Howard Zinn who is a joke, have really paid off in terms of ignorance. If you want to know how history SHOULD be taught and referenced I suggest the opening chapters of this book by Albert Bushnell Hart about sources and how history should be taught.

I’m rapidly reaching the opinion that the closing of our schools is the 2nd silver lining from Covid 19.


Two months ago I was delighted at the prospect of MLB opening under quarantine and the games coming back.

However between the whining of players of all sports over risks that truckers and grocery clerks take daily and their homage to the BLM/democrat/media left cause I find I really don’t care anymore.

It will interesting to see what happens when these jocks discover that their large paydays are dependent on the public giving a damn.


Speaking of BLM I saw this at PJ media concerning the death of 11 year old Davon McNeal in DC on the 4th of July from his grandfather:

One of his grandfathers lamented black-on-black crime and criticized Black Lives Matter for ignoring it.

“Everybody’s just saying they’re just tired – tired of the shootings in the community,” John Ayala, McNeal’s paternal grandfather, told FOX 5. “Everybody’s running around here thinking they’re Uzi-toting, dope-sucking, psychopathic killing machines and they’re just destroying lives.”

“We’re protesting for months, for weeks, saying, ‘Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter.’ Black lives matter it seems like, only when a  police officer shoots a black person,” Ayala lamented, bitterly. “What about all the black-on-black crime that’s happening in the community?”

Mr. Ayala is almost right there. The shooter doesn’t have to be a Police Officer for a black life to matter to the media or left. If said shooter looked like or voted like me then I would not have heard about the killing of 11 year old Davon McNeal at PJ Media 1st.

As long as the black community gives their votes to the Democrat/BLM/Media left without question they will have no incentive to make this stop.

Report from Louisiana: Opening School

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – We are about five weeks from opening school in Louisiana, and teachers are beginning to get anxious. Certainly parents and students are as well, but teachers are natural planners and we like to know the lay of the land with as much advance notice as possible.

Districts across the nation have started releasing tentative plans, but we all know that could change on a dime. Most look like hybrid plans – part virtual school, part in-person. There are also all-virtual options for parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to school just yet.

I see a lot of concern about masks; both teachers and students are generally going to be expected to wear masks to school. I see lots of concern about social distancing, about number of students in a classroom, and about spacing kids out on the bus.

What I don’t see a lot of is concern for the teacher. In discussion threads I’ve been reading, many parents can’t wait to get their kids back to school, for a variety of reasons, and many seem comfortable that their kids will be safe. After all, it’s older folks who are mostly catching COVID-19, not young kids. We haven’t seen a lot of outbreaks in day care centers, I’m told.

Teachers across the country have a great deal of anxiety about returning to the classroom. There are a great many teachers near retirement age, or that are currently eligible to retire but just haven’t wanted to. These are the teachers expressing the most concern right now; many of us are caring for elderly family members or are in an at-risk group ourselves. Some of us live with immunocompromised people. So yes, we are invested in being certain that school opens safely.

From ABC News:

Some teachers around the country say they are nervous about returning because of underlying health conditions or concerns about infecting family members. Others say they are frustrated by the lack of clear guidance from officials about what’s safe. And for some, it’s about child care if their own kids are only back at school for a handful of days during the week.

The result is an inevitable clash between leaders pushing aggressive reopening policies in states like Texas and Florida and teachers, some of whom say local officials need to think more about what they are asking teachers to do.

There is so much conflicting information, it is difficult to believe anything or to truly know what is safe and what isn’t. After months of social distancing and stay at home orders, how can we just return to school with any degree of certainty that things will be safe?

Overall, a combined 54 percent of American voters said they are somewhat uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with reopening K-12 schools for the beginning of the coming school year, according to the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that assessed the nation’s mood about students returning to day cares and schools shut down by the pandemic.

Some districts are offering either virtual learning or in-person learning that “almost totally” disregards CDC guidelines because social distancing won’t be possible and students might not be wearing masks, said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of a school superintendents association.

“A lot of states along the Southern belt are just planning to move ahead with, all students, all come, and to me, that is going to be a horror,” he said.

And on the issue of masks, many school districts are recommending them but can’t mandate them unless they supply them. Or can they? How is it different than a mandated dress code? And what if a student refuses? What about students with asthma or other concerns?

So many unknowns.

And yes, we still have a few weeks. Things can change very quickly as we all know.

But I worry.

I worry about bring this virus into my home. I worry about getting sick, myself. I worry about exposing so many more people to the virus by opening schools and all that brings.  So many surfaces to clean! Where will all those Lysol wipes come from!? This is certainly a logistical nightmare for district decision-makers on so many levels.

What are your thoughts on the new school year? Would you be comfortable sending your kids into a public school in five weeks?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

DaTechGuy’s 3rd Law of Media Outrage and Secoriea Turner,

DaTechGuy’s 3rd law of media outrage states

The MSM’s elevation and continued classification of any story as Nationally Newsworthy rather than only of local interest is in direct correlation to said story’s current ability to affirm any current Democrat/Liberal/Media meme/talking point, particularly on the subject of race or sexuality.

Thus when a local cop in Minneapolis exceeded his authority causing the death of George Floyd it became national news.

However when the riots which broke out pretty much destroyed a chunk of Minneapolis, when a part of Seattle was taken over by Antifa these stories were downplayed and ignored (until POTUS pushed the 2nd forward) as were the 20 deaths attributable to said riots.

Make that 21

Police said Turner was riding in a car with her mother and her mother’s friend when they exited the interstate at University Avenue. The driver tried to turn into the parking lot at 1238 Pryor Road when he was confronted by an “group of armed individuals” who had blocked the entrance.

“At some point, someone in that group opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child who was inside. The driver then drove to Atlanta Medical Center for help,” police said in a statement.

Police said the 911 caller told them they were heading to Atlanta Medical Center with the victim. The child died at the hospital.

But the real news here isn’t the shooting of eight year old Secoriea Turner it’s how the BLM riot / protest deaths are being reported or not, as David Bernstein notes concerning another Black lives matter protest related death this weekend…

I had to go to an Australian news source to discover that the driver of the vehicle that sped into BLM protesters in Seattle is an African American. (Apologies if one of my colleagues at Instapundit covered this, I have been away for the holiday weekend.) I have to assume that American media outlets know this, and decided intentionally not to mention it to create the implication that this was a racist murder, rather than a guy driving recklessly on what he thought was an abandoned highway. I increasingly feel like I’m living somewhere akin to the former USSR, in terms of the way the media are dedicated to a particular narrative regardless of the facts. At least unlike in the USSR I can access alternative sources to our equivalent of Pravda.

He’s talking about the death of 24 year old Summer Taylor a white “non-binary” BLM protester who was run down while blocking a freeway by a black driver who likely didn’t anticipate a bunch of people protesting in the middle of it at 1:36 AM in the morning.

The murder of Secoriea Turner is a huge inconvenience to those who have gone all in on the protests being “mostly peaceful” (which is as accurate as saying my vegan soup recipe is “mostly unpoisoned” but the real question will be what happens next

If Black Lives Matter was true to its name, there would be as much global outrage over the death of eight year old Secoriea Turner, gunned down by anti-police protesters in Atlanta Sunday night, as there was for George Floyd….Or as Secoriea Turner’s tearful father, Secoriya Williamson, told local media in Atlanta, “They say black lives matter … but you killed your own this time. You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

Of course, there won’t be any BLM protest marches held in honour of Jomo, little Secoriea, or any of the other innocents of any race slain in the ensuing crime wave.

No they won’t because highlighting her death would not cause sports leagues to funnel billions to the BLM front group to elect democrats in fact it might retard such cash. And of course there is the 4th law of media outrage:

The degree of media exposure of the corruption or illegality committed by any individual or organization under investigation is directly proportional to its distance from the media’s ideology.

Now I think the President won’t allow them to downplay this action by BLM but their media/democrat/blm left will do their best.

The truth is they don’t give a damn that Secoriea Turner was murdered, they just regret that it wasn’t done by someone who looks or votes like me.

THEN her life or rather her death would matter.

Update: Dad speaks out:

I predict that none of the money that the NBA, NFL or MLB gave to BLM will be spent remembering her, nor do I expect her name to be painted on any NBA court or her name worn on the jersey of any player as a social justice statement.

Although it would be nice

Statue wars come to Alaska

By John Ruberry

There was no post from me last week here as I was on vacation in Alaska with Mrs. Marathon Pundit celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and getting away from all of the craziness in what Alaskans call “the lower 48.”

Surely leftists’ obsession with tearing down statues hadn’t come to the Last Frontier?

Wrong. It is there too.

While listening to a Talkeetna, Alaska NPR station–which was apparently the only FM station I could pick up in “Gateway to Denali”–I heard a Native American artist from Sitka say, “Take them all down.” The statues, that is. Well, presumably not all of them, just ones of old dead white guys.

A friend of mine who lives in Anchorage urged me to get a photograph of the Captain James Cook statue in Resolution Park, where the bronze likeness of the English explorer, who led the first expedition of Europeans into what is now known as Cook Inlet in 1778, looks over his eponymous bay.

Why?

“Before Cook is taken away,” he warned me.

I believe the Cook statue is a goner. A Change.org petition to remove Cook from Resolution Park, which is named after his flagship, went online last month and attracted a lot of attention, including that of Anchorage’s Democratic mayor, San Francisco native Ethan Berkowitz. He’s a weasel and he punted the decision to an Anchorage native community of 70 to decide the statue’s fate.

Cook haters and everyone who despises white explorers should be able to take solace in knowing that the captain was killed by native Hawaiians on the Big Island several months after sailing into Cook Inlet. But no.

Anchorage is a sister city of Whitby, England, the town where Cook began his maritime career, and the Resolution Park statue is a replica of the Whitby one. Yes, there is a drive in the UK to topple that Cook statue, although the member of parliament who represents Whitby says it will be removed “over my dead body.”

But like hungry sharks, the first kill is never enough for that haters of white man statues. Even in Alaska. What was then known as Russian America was purchased by the United States in 1867; the driver of that purchase was William H. Seward, the US secretary of state. Seward, a rival of Abraham Lincoln for the 1860 presidential nomination, was seen as more anti-slavery than Lincoln. Along with the Great Emancipator, Seward successfully used diplomacy to keep Great Britain and France from recognizing the Confederacy and intervening in our Civil War. On the night Lincoln was assassinated Seward was seriously wounded as well.

In short, most people agree Seward was one of history’s good guys.

We stayed in the village of Seward for a couple of days last month–there’s bust of him there, which is so far safe. That is not the case with the Seward statue in Juneau, Alaska’s capital. Yes, there is a Change.org petition calling for getting rid of it.

Seward’s Day is a state holiday it Alaska, it commemorates that signing of the Alaska Purchase treaty. There is a Seward Highway–which we traveled on last month–and a Seward Peninsula in our 49th state. Clearly, the usually overlooked Seward is a noticeable presence in Alaska. If Juneau’s Seward statue goes, which Seward remembrance will be next?

In Sitka, there is a Change.org petition to remove the statue of Alexander Baranov, who once headed the Russian-American company.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I journeyed to the Last Frontier, among other things, to get away from the craziness in the continental United States.

But that was not possible.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The #Unexpectedly Chronicles Kaepernick: Not about the Flag My Ass UPDATE Steven Miller Kaepernick before and After Benching

The NFL commissioner made a big fuss recently about Colin Kaepernick stating perhaps they were wrong on his stance against kneeling because perhaps it wasn’t about the flag after all:

Oh Wait:

Colin Kaepernick rips 4th of July as ‘celebration of white supremacy’

But but we were told by everyone this is all about police brutality and not about hating the flag or the country and anyone who things otherwise is just twisting his words.

I’m sure that the NFL is absolutely DELIGHTED with this headline along with every single TV & Radio host who suddenly (or always) decided they were on Kaepernick’s side after all.

I have a funny feeling they will not have a comment on this subject. After all plausible deniability doesn’t work when deniability is not longer plausible

They damn well better hope they play without fans this year due to covid because with the exception of Tampa Bay excited about Brady and KC excited about a repeat I suspect the paying customer will not be anxious to give these clowns their money.

Update: Steven Miller notes that before he was Benched Kaepernick’s opinions on the 4th of July were….different

Unexpectedly of course

Cancel culture coming for the Church

Our Lady of Guadalupe, with distinctly non-white features, from Wikipedia

This past week we saw two very different responses to Shaun King, a self-proclaimed activist that called on images and statues that showed Jesus depicted as a white European to be taken down. On its face, that sounds legitimate because if Jesus came from the Levant, in all reality he would likely be more tan or brown color. It might make it appear that the Catholic Church was whitewashing Jesus.

Except its not hard to see past this. I’ve traveled a fair amount, and every Catholic Mass I attend overseas, I noticed that the statue depictions are different. Jesus in Turkey was more brown. Jesus in Ethiopia is black. The Blessed Mother appeared in Guadalupe with distinctly Mexican features. And so on. It only takes a brief pause from your cat videos to Google “Jesus around the world” to see this first hand. The fact that Jesus and his Blessed Mother take on the various characteristics of the local population is amazing to me. We have a truly universal Church. It really is for everyone, no matter your skin color.

(And as an aside, if he was a carpenter, he was probably ripped and muscular from working all day, and could have run a Crossfit gym)

Sadly, this is the first part of linking the Catholic Church to slavery. Already, there is vandalism on the Wikipedia page about the Church and African Americans. Already we have people linking vague actions by the Church, such as this article, to racism:

“The way the church would sustain or enable racism would be through the acts of the people who make it up,” he told Catholic News Service. “But the actions of all of those people are deeply influenced and shaped by social, political, and economic structures they inhabit.

“Many of them would not perceive their actions as enabling racism, but if they accept the structures uncritically, they are doing that, and they inhibit the church from realizing the full impact or engagement of its social teaching.”

The Boston Pilot

So, pray tell, what are we supposed to do with the above information? Feed the poor? Educate people? Help people find jobs? The Church already does these things! Has the author not looked at a Church bulletin lately? There is a ministry for all these things and more, limited only by people’s imagination and time.

As said before, the best strategy with people like this is to push back. Folks like Shaun King won’t stop with their demands, they are simply looking for weakness to exploit. I give Bishop Hying props for standing up to this mob, where he accepts that we need to have dialog and action while rejecting calls for destruction. Compare this with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is now “reassessing” depictions of Jesus as white.

No matter what the Anglican Church does, someone in the mob will find it as not enough and will call for further action. Mobs don’t stop. When they find weakness, they push harder. Pushing back forces them to stop. The Anglican Church isn’t going to get a break, and they are going to learn this rule, unfortunately, the hard way.

We live in a democracy, but if aren’t willing to enforce its rules, we’ll soon live in a mob state.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Trump at Mt. Rushmore Reality vs Spin

Katherine McClintock: What’s going on here?

George Washington McLintock: Now Katherine, are you going to believe what you see, or what I tell you?

McLintoch! 1963

I watched the President’s speech yesterday via an online live stream. It was an interesting speech because it was a speech that wasn’t so much about himself as it was about America.

He talked about our history, he talked about why Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were great and contrasted that with those who have torn monuments down and have publicly torn America down. It was less a speech about himself as it was a speech about loving America vs hating America and explaining why America is great.

What was even more interesting than the speech was watching the left in real time spin it into something that it wasn’t. It was sheer audacity given that the ability to see the President speak and hear him in his own words was but a click away.

The President was bluntly stating truths, truths that people have seen and experienced. Moreover his willingness to call out the left for what is had been when schools, business’ and corporations have been cowering in fear is pivotal if people are going to have the courage to stand up to them.

I think this tweet (via Instapundit) says it all

I submit and suggest that no objective person who watched that speech can come to the conclusions that these four headlines state and this is why the left in general and the media in particular are terrified of large events with the President speaking and also hate when he tweets It’s much harder to spin the people when they’ve seen and heard what has been said themselves.

Now I presume that people reading this blog have seen the speech (if they search youtube the 1st results are spin) but if you haven’t watch it and judge for yourself

The gauntlet has been thrown down and the next three months aren’t going to be pretty.

Update: via Don Surber: Nailed it!

DaTechGuy off DaRadio Podcast 3 PM EST: Do all Lives Matter to UMass Lowell Nurses?

Today at 3 PM EST comes the lastest DaTechGuy off DaRadio Podcast livestream (right after rush). On our podcast today we will talk about:

  1. The firing of a tenured Dean at Umass Lowell Nursing department for stating in writing that all lives matter
  2. The Parable of the Woke Pharisee Protesters and the humble historian
  3. What we’ve learned over the last month
  4. What our new civil war will look like

We will discuss these things, and whatever else tickles my fancy at 3 PM EST. You can watch the podcast live here

Incidentally I’ve reached out to UMass Lowell for comment with a 2:30 deadline. They sent me this statement:

“Leslie Neal-Boylan’s employment at UMass Lowell ended on June 19, after she was informed she would no longer serve as dean of the Solomont School of Nursing. She had been in that role for 10 months. Although a tenured full faculty member, she declined to join the nursing faculty. As with all such employment decisions, it was made in the best interests of the university and its students. Although we are not able to discuss specifics of a personnel matter, it would be incorrect to assume any statement by Dr. Neal-Boylan was the cause of that decision.”

I followed up asking two questions:

  1. Is it the position of the Nursing Department of UMASS Lowell that all lives matter
  2. Are the nursing students being taught by the nursing department at UMASS Lowell that all lives in their care matter?

I’ll let you know if they answer before the show

Expect more of this

District Attorney: What did you tell him?

Ness: I told him his name is in the ledger too.

District Attorney: His name wasn’t in the ledger…

the Untouchabes 1987

I suspect there are a lot more photos like this and the reason why it took so long for her to be arrested is that there are a lot of establishment types who are terrified of what she can say.

I would not be surprised if that was the reason why getting rid of that prosecutor in NYC caused so much fuss. I wonder how many asses were being covered?

Let’s see if she lives long enough for us to find out.