Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm
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."
Faith Hill sings both.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Ah, family vacation time in an American August, a chance for members to rediscover the joys and pleasures of being together, whether they like it or not.
As soon as President Obama escaped his new million-dollar bus in the Midwest and the latest disappointing economic numbers came out, the Democrat flew off to tony Martha's Vineyard to join his family, extended family and staff doing expensive things in a different place.
Some people thought such a venture revealed a political tone deafness for the elected elite to be seen enjoying off-shore luxury while two-thirds of American voters tell pollsters the country is on the wrong track with the Real Good Talker in charge. But, hey, Yes, We Can. So, Yes, He Did.
Sunday morning the Secret Service packed all the Obamas in secure cars and headed for a private ocean beach.
Reuters' sharp-eyed Kevin Lamarque snapped this revealing photo of the first couple in the car tuned out from each other during this quality time family foray.
Of course, Michelle Obama could have her iPod crammed with hubby's recent speeches.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters (the vacationing Obamas head to the beach for some quality together time, Aug. 21).
Tom Petty may have been born in a red state but the "Southern Accents" rocker doesn't appear to be changing his tune about saying no to conservatives who try to make his melodies their theme songs.
Michele Bachmann may be doing well in the polls in Iowa, but there's a Floridian in Malibu who isn't pleased that the Minnesotan is using his hit tune "American Girl" without his permission.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty reportedly has had enough of Bachmann using his 1977 hit single in her campaign and has reportedly issued a cease-and-desist letter to the conservative's camp.
Kelly O'Donnell announced the matter Monday on "NBC Nightly News."
"When Bachmann left the stage here, her campaign played the Tom Petty hit song, 'American Girl.' Turns out Petty isn't pleased. His manager says they will ask the Bachmann campaign not to use that song," O'Donnell said, adding that Petty had also asked former president George W. Bush not to use any of his tunes. Bush wanted to use the more contemporary "I Won't Back Down," which the rocker nixed.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law Thursday that would make it a crime to share passwords for subscription-based online streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, Rdio and Rhapsody.
If convicted, someone who watched or listened to $500 or less of entertainment would be sentenced to a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Chronic abusers would get popped with a felony and suffer harsher fates.
The law doesn't mean that you're committing a crime if you allow your spouse or family member to view a movie on Netflix under your own roof, Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), the bill’s House sponsor explained.
"What becomes not legal is if you send your user name and password to all your friends so they can get free subscriptions," McCormick told the Associated Press.
Jared Newman of PC World writes that the law is unnecessary and contrary to the inherent nature of Web-based streaming sites. He also feels the law, which is a first in the nation, would be difficult to enforce.
"Subscription services are meant to be accessed from lots of places," Newman argues. "Between computers, smartphones and tablets I already access the streaming music service MOG from six devices, and that number could balloon to dozens in the years ahead. Enforcing the law against consumers may be impossible because normal usage permits access on lots of devices."
Netflix, one of the larger companies that would stand to benefit from such a law seems to agree with Newman that the measure is unnecessary.
Karl Rove went on Sean Hannity's Fox News talk show Tuesday night to air his displeasure about an appearance that hip-hop star and actor Common will make Wednesday at the White House for a poetry evening hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Earlier this week former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative blogs highlighted a poem Common wrote to protest the Iraq war. At issue, it appears, are the lines: "Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button/ Killing over oil and grease/ no weapons of destruction."
Some have construed it to appear as if Common, who was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., literally meant he wanted to set the former president on fire. Rove, the former adviser to George W. Bush, is one of those people.
The blog post describes the well-dressed Chicago native, who was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., as "controversial" while printing out the lyrics to one of his songs, "A Letter to the Law," which protested the war in Iraq.
At issue, it appears, are the lines: "Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button/ Killing over oil and grease/ no weapons of destruction".
To some it could be construed that Common, a former Gap model, would literally want to set the former president on fire. That, of course, would be a silly assumption because the narrator of the tune, as is common in rap and other forms of public speaking, is far more interested in expressing the joys of gun ownership than pyromania.
"I hold up a peace sign, but I carry a gun," the song concludes.
If the love of sidearms isn't enough to bond Common with the hockey mom, the pair also share this similarity: They both express displeasure toward what Palin calls "the lamestream media."
Anyone who thinks St. Patrick's Day is not a political occasion is probably not from Boston or Chicago, where the not-so-wee Daley clan has ruled for 42 of the last 56 years.
Today will be the last presided over by a Mayor Richard Daley for a long while. He retires next month (but his brother William remains as White House chief of staff) to be replaced by former Obama aide, Rahm Emanuel, who is not Irish.
Not coincidentally, during his father's rule in 1962, city crews were deploying safe green dye to trace for sources of river pollution.
And, wouldn't ye know, Paddy, it looked such a lovely shade of green, that they've done it every March 17 since.
This morning we have a special St. Patrick's Day treat for Ticket readers. It's actually a new video fresh from Sydney, Australia.
Click for yourself. And enjoy the day.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Associated Press
As The Ticket's 60,000-plus Twitter followers here and 6,600 Facebook fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the Share buttons above.
Here's the regular Monday morning collection from the previous week:
Leno: Mexico's president, Felipe Calderón, arrived in the United States this week. So he can speak to the Mexican people.
Fallon: Mexico's president wants more American tourists to go there. He explains their new tourism slogan: "Mexico. Come to us or we’ll come to you!"
Leno: Oops! Texas Gov. Rick Perry says Juarez, Mexico, is the "most dangerous city in America." He just assumed Juarez is American because so many Mexicans live there.
Letterman: Libya's Kadafi was fun when he started out, you know. He’d stop by for....
President Obama has been issuing a number of international warnings in recent days -- to Egypt, to Hosni Mubarak, to Bahrain, to Libya. (Scroll down for a longer list of his warnings.)
Today, instead of warning another country, he praised Algeria for lifting its state of emergency decree that's been in effect since Obama was in law school somewhere.
The Illinois Democrat has been chided recently for becoming something of a tardy diplomatic scold, warning many countries and foreign leaders but leaving Iran-bashing to underlings. So, Obama took the occasion Thursday to make a considerably longer statement celebrating the Motown Sound and Black History Month at another star-studded White House music party. (See complete texts of both statements below.)
-- Andrew Malcolm
Speaking of sweet music with a distinctive beat, click here to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with someone you really treasure.
I commend the government of Algeria for taking an important step forward today by formally lifting the state of emergency that has been in place in Algeria for 19 years.
This is a positive sign that the government of Algeria is listening to the....