Time for a new national anthem

Updated: Monday, July 14, 2014
Time for a new national anthem story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The latest World Cup, with its drama, athleticism, controversy  and passion seems to be opening the eyes of lots of Americans as to why futbol--we call it soccer--is the most popular sport in the world.

ESPN’s ratings are up, thousands are gathering at outdoor locations to watch it on giant screens, and today thousands of Americans were said to have called in sick so they could stay home and watch the USA play Germany.

Tonight, in Tom’s Corner, our Tom Van Howe says the games have also inspired him to lobby for a new national anthem.

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If you’ve been watching, you may have noticed that when the national anthems of the 32 teams who qualified for this years world cup are played before each game, the players sing.

They really sing! They’re into it. And the fans, from the audaciously dressed with face paint to those who look like they’re on their way to lunch, also really sing.

From Costa Rica to Japan, and from France to Cameroon,  its an incredible display of nationalism and pride.

But--and I’m not sure what it means, but--when it comes to the United States and the Star Spangled Banner, our guys just don’t muster the same enthusiasm.

It just isn’t there.

Some of them do sing, some seem to be mouthing the words, and some don’t even do that.

Maybe its because the Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key during the British bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, is hard to sing. It covers one-and-a-half octaves and lots of people know from the get-go they’re not going to be able to hit those high notes, so they don’t even try.

Or maybe its because in these troubled times the song is too militaristic--too much about conquest, too jingoistic.

For whatever the reason, our fervor for the song pales in comparison to other countries sharing this worldwide stage of the World Cup.

Maybe this is the time to renew the debate over which song ought to be our national anthem--the Star Spangled Banner, or America the Beautiful.

For one thing...it’s a song everyone can sing. For another, it’s a beautiful song with the kind of  optimistic imagery that we often associate with what we think makes our country so great--the fruited plains, the majestic rocky mountains, the amber waves of grain.

Listen to parts of the second verses of both songs--from the Star Spangled Banner: "then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto, in God is our trust."

And from America the Beautiful: "America, America, God mend thine every flaw; confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law."

One talks about conquest, the other about a country and its people--from sea to shining sea.

One talks about how our flag was still there--the other about endless possibilities.

And it can be sung.

Congress made the Star Spangled Banner our national song in 1931. It's been long enough.

It's time for a song that reflects who we are as a nation, and I don’t think we can find a better one than America the Beautiful. A wonderful tribute to the United States of America--and one we can sing.

In this corner... I’m Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on March 02, 2015 08:27 GMT

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department will release reports today on personal income and spending for January as well as construction spending for the first month of the year. Also, the Institute for Supply Management will release its manufacturing index for February.

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BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's finance minister says he trusts Greece's current government to fulfill the conditions for the bailout deal, but also made clear the country would not receive any further money if it didn't.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday that "I trust them to implement the needed measures ... and to ultimately fulfill its obligations."

At the same time, Schaeuble warned that if Greece did not fulfill the demands laid out by the eurozone finance ministers in a four-month bailout plan, "there will be no more aid."

He also said it remains to be seen whether Greece needs more aid after the end of the current bailout plan, adding that "no matter what's going to happen, we will set very strict standards."

HYUNDAI-RECALL

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hyundai is recalling about 263,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a sensor problem could cause drivers to lose power-assisted steering.

The company has not reported any injuries or accidents. A representative for Hyundai Motor America wasn't immediately available for comment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a sensor in the affected cars could detect a discrepancy in the steering input and signals and disable power-assisted steering as a result. Cars would revert to manual steering and require greater effort to steer at low speeds, raising the risk of a crash.

The affected cars include model years 2008 to 2010 of Elantras and Elantra Touring vehicles made between Nov. 1, 2008 and April 30.

Owners can contact Hyundai's customer service at 1-855-671-3059.

NXP-FREESCALE-ACQUISITION

UNDATED (AP) -- Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors N.V. says it has agreed to buy its smaller rival Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. for $11.8 billion in a deal that will make it the biggest supplier of microchips to the automotive industry.

The deal pays Freescale shareholders only a small premium. Freescale's market value was $11.1 billion based on Friday's closing price.

The companies said on Sunday that NXP will assume Freescale's debt, pushing the total value of the deal to $16.7 billion.

Freescale is based in Austin, Texas. It's a former division of Motorola and makes microprocessors and microcontrollers for cars and industrial equipment.

The deal has been approved by the companies' boards. It's expected to close in the second half of the year if shareholders and regulators sign off.

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

BEIJING (AP) -- A new survey shows China's manufacturing activity improved in February for the first time in several months.

HSBC Corp. said Monday its purchasing managers' index rose to 50.7 from January's 49.7 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing. It was the first improvement since October.

On Saturday, Beijing cut interest rates for a second time in three months in a sign of official worry that China's economic slowdown is deepening too abruptly.

HSBC said its survey found growth in output and total new orders accelerated but new export business declined for the first time in 10 months.

Input costs fell, raising the prospect that already low inflation could tumble into a potentially dangerous bout of deflation.

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ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia lawmakers may eliminate a tax break for all airlines buying jet fuel at the world's busiest airport.

A bill filed in the House would cut the exemption at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Supportive lawmakers say it would help the state get federal money for aviation improvements throughout the state.

They also argue the credit shouldn't be kept in place forever. A committee could soon approve the bill.

Representatives for Atlanta-based Delta Airlines say it's a tax increase that could hurt the airport's competitiveness.

Lawmakers created the exemption in 2005 as Delta was facing bankruptcy and have extended it several times before making it permanent in 2012. The bill's sponsor says Delta's CEO is pushing for tax increases for transportation but opposes losing the airline's benefit.

EARNS-BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s fourth quarter profit slid 17 percent because of declines in the paper value of its investments and derivative contracts.

Warren Buffett's company released its latest results Saturday along with his letter to shareholders.

Berkshire's quarterly net income declined to $4.16 billion, or $2,529 per Class A share, on $48.3 billion revenue. That's down from $4.99 billion, or $3,035 per share, on $47 billion revenue last year.

The biggest factor was investment and derivative gains of $192 million this year compared to $1.2 billion last year.

Buffett says operating earnings, which exclude investments, are often a better measure. Those were $3.96 billion, or $2,412 per share, up from $3.78 billion, or $2,297 per share.

The four analysts surveyed by FactSet expected operating earnings per of $2,655.09 on average.

BUFFETT LETTER

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett says owning stocks is the key to building wealth over time, but investors must avoid the common mistakes of trading too often and paying high investment fees.

The billionaire investor says there's every reason to expect stocks to perform well long-term, even if prices are volatile.

Buffett says his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. conglomerate benefited over the past 50 years from the S&P 500's growth from 84 to 2,059.

He says no commentator or investment adviser can predict the stock market. He said "market forecasters will fill your ear but will never fill your wallet."

Buffett isn't immune from investing mistakes. He told Berkshire shareholders the company lost $444 million on its investment in British retailer Tesco largely because he was slow to sell the $2.3 billion stake.

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