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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 November 24, 2014 08:29 GMT

GAS PRICES

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -- A national survey reveals the average price of regular gasoline has plunged another 10 cents a gallon over the past two weeks, to $2.84.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg says the decline continues a trend that has seen prices in the U.S. fall by 88 cents since May.

Lundberg says lower crude oil prices are continuing to drive prices down, along with an abundant oil supply and the rising value of the U.S. dollar.

The highest priced gas in the Lower 48 states was found in San Francisco at $3.14 a gallon. The lowest was in Albuquerque at $2.47 a gallon.

The average price for midgrade gas in the U.S. is $3.08. For premium it's $3.24.

REGULATING CAR SERVICES

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina has become a prime market for the smartphone-based car services Uber and Lyft -- and is likely to join a push around the country to regulate the fast-growing businesses.

A big draw for the companies is the state's mix of mid-sized cities, which are full of college students but lack extensive mass transit networks to serve their spread-out geography.

The companies' expansion has legislators in North Carolina and elsewhere scrambling to study their business models ahead of sessions in 2015 when they could address insurance, car inspections or criminal background checks.

Transportation analyst Douglas Shinkle of the National Conference of State Legislatures thinks at least 20 legislatures are likely to take up legislation on Uber, Lyft and similar services in 2015 after several passed laws this year.

MERGER SURGE-HEALTH INDUSTRY

Health care M&A leads global deal surge

UNDATED (AP) -- It's been a big year for deal making and the health care industry is especially visible in that arena.

Large drugmakers are buying and selling businesses to control costs and deploy surplus cash. A rising stock market, tax strategies and low interest rates are also fueling the mergers and acquisitions.

It's all combining to make 2014 the most active year for health care deals in at least two decades. Data provider Dealogic says the industry has announced about $438 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions worldwide so far, about 14 percent of the $3.2 trillion total for all industries. Overall, M&A is on track for its best year since 2007, the year before the financial crisis intensified.

One analyst says deals are being driven by "cost pressure on the entire health care system," as insurers and government health plans increasingly hold down or even reduce reimbursements to drug, device and service providers.

Companies also are looking to expand market share, and boost their portfolios in hot areas such as drugs for cancer and hepatitis C.

JACOBS ENGINEERING-CEO RETIREMENT

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The construction services firm Jacobs Engineering says CEO Craig Martin will retire in late December because of health reasons.

The company announced Sunday that former CEO and current board chairman Noel Watson will serve as executive chairman until a replacement for Martin is found.

The 65-year-old Martin joined Jacobs in 1994 and became CEO in 2006.

The Pasadena, California-based company helps design and build large, complex facilities for oil and gas companies, chemicals companies, governments and a variety of industrial customers.

Martin will step down Dec. 26, the last day of the company's first fiscal quarter.

SHIPPING SEASON

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Icy conditions have forced an early end to shipping on the Upper Mississippi River.

The season officially closed Thursday with the towboat Mary K. Cavarra and its load of four barges heading south through Lock & Dam No. 2 at Hastings, Minnesota.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1yIQ8un ) reports it's the earliest closing in 45 years. The season began last spring with the second-latest opening and came to a 26-day halt in midsummer so crews could clear flood-borne silt from the navigation channel.

Executive director Bob Zelenka of the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association says it's been a challenging year. Zelenka says the river is the cheapest way of moving crops. But the river's early closure means finding alternative ways to get those crops to New Orleans and foreign export markets.

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