When Francis Scott Key witnessed the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, he was inspired to see in the light of explosions that the relatively new country's flag had survived.
So, he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," which became the national anthem of the United States of America.
Even though there would likely not be a United States of America without that second combat against Great Britain, all that red rocket glare and bombs bursting in air business is a tad too militaristic for Indiana's Goshen College.
So officials there have banned "The Star-Spangled Banner" at athletic events.
The seeming celebration of combat "seemed inconsistent to the entire message we were trying to send," said Richard Aguirre, a spokesman for the Mennonite institution. Officials were especially concerned about the song's impact on foreign students.
As a result, from now on they've opted instead to play "America the Beautiful."
How does this strike you? And how do you feel about the songs?
Above, we have one video version of the national anthem. And below we have one version of "America the Beautiful."
Somehow, from somewhere, a bright political strategist on the president's reelection team has come up with the idea of sending Obama out in a bus on Midwestern roads in two weeks, just like real Americans, or real Americans who can still afford a short summer road trip.
The spectacle of a passing politician's bus and waving citizens provides grand visuals for TV during the usually slow summer news days. The president of the United States might even happen upon a curbside lemonade stand operated by surprised children who deserve the kind of future he has in mind for all Americans. And more of that.
Not so good visuals of the trailing motorcade of press buses, Secret Service SUVs, SWAT team vans and communications cars. Nor the angry motorists stalled nearby because the highway and every on- and off-ramp has been closed by uniformed motorcyclists wearing large guns.
But a presidential bus tour could help refresh the image of this poll-plagued Democrat a year before his renomination for POTUS.
For weeks now Obama's only been seen at a pompous lectern lecturing members of Congress about the need to raise the national debt limit so he can make new "investments" in America's future and avoid default.
Or he's been seen reminiscing about the good old disastrous days of 2008 with Windy City poobahs who dropped $35,800 each to say they had dinner with the president.
Or Obama could not be seen in closed-door meetings with union leaders, who really liked the $787 billion stimulus plan but don't like any of this spending cut talk. As one result, Obama's job approval has never been lower.
So, on Aug. 15-17 he'll set out from somewhere and go somewhere else in a bus. You wouldn't announce your itinerary until the last minute either if you had Republicans itching to buy critical billboards along the route. And compute how few miles per gallon your big bus gets.
Political road tours do have other dangers. Remember Democrat John Edwards' bus breaking down on an icy Iowa roadside in early 2008, providing an irresistible media metaphor for his campaign on life-support?
So, where's the commander-in-chief going? Politically, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan make strong sense, although a dash into Iowa could help rain on campaigning Republicans' media parade. Yes, they're all run by Republicans now after last November's Democratic debacle. But Obama's got to retake at least two of them if he hopes to keep putting his feet up on that Oval Office desk.
However, according to Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney, the 72-hour bus trip is not political. (Laughter) No, really. Carney told doubting reporters this week, "The air of cynicism is quite thick. The idea that the president of the United States should not venture forth into the country is ridiculous."
Carney was fed such lines during his reporting days. But he persevered with the president's pitch: "It is absolutely important for the president, whoever that person is, in the past and in the future, to get out and hear from the people in different communities." Scroll down to watch Carney attempt to make that case on video.
The main trip topics will be the economy and jobs, he said. And no one would suspect the topics have anything to do with more discouraging employment figures expected out this morning.
Anyway, because the bus trip is so clearly presidential, America's taxpayers will be footing the bill for the non-political, three-day Obama odyssey through politically important Midwestern battleground states.
After all, taxpayers covered all the costs of Sarah Palin's successful One Nation bus tour back in June. Oh, wait. No, they didn't. Her political action committee paid for that.
ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), Mort Zuckerman and Doug Imbruce, with George Will, Ed Gillespie, Jonathan Karl and Donna Brazile
Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.)
CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.)
CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Thomas Hoenig and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal
CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Tim Tetz, Paul Rieckhoff, Dale Beatty, Nixon and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Reps. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with Bill Kristol, Byron York, Nina Easton, and Juan Williams
NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), with Alex Castellanos, Ruth Marcus and Harold Ford Jr.
The media spotlight has moved on from Indianapolis now, after Gov. Mitch Daniels aborted his anticipated campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in a Saturday midnight email that shocked supporters across the country.
But little noticed as the political parade marches toward the state fairs this summer and the Iowa caucuses and primaries next winter are the newly abandoned supporters of Daniels.
"Well," said Max Eden, head of the Student Initiative to Draft Daniels, "the rapture took Mitch from 2012. His better angels had the last word, and he put his family first. His choice attests to half the reason why students at 65 colleges rallied to urge him to run: He is a good man."
Among those students is Hannah Thoreson, a 21-year-old physics major at ....
In a humble 164-word email to supporters early Sunday morning, Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said he would not pursue his party's nomination for 2012.
His decision came as a shock to many mainstream Republicans, who knew of the objections of his wife Cherie to the personal rigors and media scrutinty of a national campaign.
But they thought those concerns had been overcome in recent days of quiet lobbying.
Here's the full Daniels message text, that will further roil the GOP field:
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels non-candidacy message to supporters
I hope this reaches you before the public news does. If so, please respect my confidence for the short time until I can make it known to all.
The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate.
In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry.
If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.
Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection. Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic. ####
There's an important, hidden lesson in Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign kickoff for all the other Republican White House wannabes:
Take your time.
There's no rush.
It's only May.
Why set yourself up as a target any sooner than necessary? President Obama would be delighted to have Republicans fighting among themselves ASAP, so he can look calmer, more presidential by comparison, while his opponents try to prove their conservative bona fides to that raucous crowd on the right side.
Obama announced early to get going on his billion-dollar campaign fund, which is $255 million more than he needed last time as a nobody. A billion dollars is a really impressive number -- unless you're falling short, say, because of the economy or this time your less enthusiastic base is saying, "Yes, we won't."
Interestingly, only one month into his campaign Obama aides are already trying to walk back that billion-dollar boast and the first quarter's report, due out in early July, that was supposed to blow away everyone else's money haul.
The president will do two Boston fundraisers tonight after his ....
ABC's "This Week" with Jake Tapper: Govs. Nikki Haley (R-SC), Jan Brewer (R-AZ), Deval Patrick (D-MA) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Christiane Amanpour reports from Libya.
Bloomberg's "Political Capital" with Al Hunt: Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fl.).
CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).
CNN's "GPS" with Fareed Zakaria: Paul Wolfowitz and Michael Lewis.
CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Govs. Scott and Dannel Malloy (D-Conn.), with Mark Zandi and Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
"Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), with Bill Kristol, Dana Perino, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson.
NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Gov. Scott Walker (R-WIis.) and McCain with Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), Kim Strassel, Richard Trumka, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) and Lawrence O'Donnell.
The battle against unions in the Midwest escalated Wednesday as a second state, Indiana, effectively found itself trapped in a legislative stalemate.
All but three of the 40 Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives have temporarily moved to Illinois to avoid voting on legislation they consider to be anti-union.
Illinois is also where all 14 of the Democratic senators from Wisconsin sought sanctuary when they fled from Madison last week to block legislation that would have ended collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.
Public schedule of Vice President Joe Biden for Thursday, Feb. 24:
At 10:45 AM, the Vice President and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will meet with President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka and with presidents of AFL-CIO labor organizations.
Whatever do you suppose they're plotting inside this transparent Obama administration White House?
Well, we'll never know. Because this meeting of an elected federal official with top labor union officers is closed to press.
Back to Deficit City we go with the State of the State address from newly installed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. A former state assemblyman and Milwaukee county executive (Walker's official bio is here), he chose his first day in office to call a special legislative session to deal with an issue Washington has been talking about for more than two years: job creation.
Walker was part of a major Republican political takeover in the Badger State in November, securing the Legislature, the governor's office and knocking out of office the onetime unbeatable Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.
So determined is the new governor to drive his signature jobs issue that he smartly seized the public relations moment a few weeks back for a little elbow-swinging interstate competition.
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.