Today marks the anniversary of the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1814, which officially became our national anthem in 1931. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” after he witnessed the fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key saw the lone (and huge—you can see it at the Smithsonian) U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, inspiring the most famous words of the song: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
I love the story, and love the song. Always have.
1. To nobody’s surprise, certainly not mine, Georgetown University was the 4th worst in FIRE’s annual ranking of universities based on their support of free speech. #1, the best, is the University of Chicago. Harvard finished in 170th place, a few slots short of the bottom fourth. Dead last, at #203 with a speech climate rated “abysmal,” is Columbia.
The whole report is here.
2. Hillary and Chelsea have a reality show, or something, on Apple TV. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that one of the (unfair and misleading) slurs on Donald Trump in 2016 was that he was “just a reality TV star,” and now Hillary Clinton, having exceeded her usefulness, is aspiring to be a reality TV star. I object to public officials and politicians past and present stopping to show business, including cameos in movies and TV, commercials, and shows like the Clintons’. It encourages the public’s confusing celebrities, entertainers and politics, making it easier for incompetent and unqualified people to get elected to jobs they shouldn’t have, and turning people like Oprah Winfrey into potential candidates. Here’s an amusing, if disturbing, review of the Clinton show on AppleTV, called “Gutsy.” If you want to hear mother and daughter tell knock-knock jokes, this is the place to go. ( Chelsea: Why do you think there are so few knock-knock jokes in America? Hillary: Because freedom RINGS!)
3. Remember: Generals don’t have to be nice guys or good people. Still…a 1945 letter typed and signed by Second World War hero General George S. Patton is up for sale on a historical memorabilia website, and if it had been widely known about earlier, George C. Scott might never have had the chance to play his most memorable role. The letter, dated 4 October 1945 and addressed to former aide Lt. Col. Charles R. Codman, was written just three days before General Eisenhower relieved Patton of his command of the Third Army and two months before Patton’s death in an auto crash. Patton was responding to accusations that he was responsible for terrible living conditions at many camps for Displaced Persons, many of whom were Jews. He wrote in part,
So far as the Jews are concerned, they do not want to be placed in comfortable buildings. They actually prefer to live as many to a room as possible. They have no conception of sanitation, hygiene or decency and are, as you know, the same sub-human types that we saw in the internment camps.
Elsewhere in the letter, he calls the people of the Soviet Union “the degenerate descendants of Genghis Khan.” War is an ethics-free zone, and the fact, and it is a fact, that Patton was a military genius who had a major role in winning the WWII justifies his recognition and honor. His bigotry is literally irrelevant to his historical significance.
4. Uh, yeah, I’d say it’s unethical to stay in an elected position under these circumstances. But then I’m a stickler. Clark County Public Administrator Rob Telles is accused of murdering Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German. The public administrator “runs the office that administers a deceased person’s estate is no family is found or if the family is unable,” and German had written many pieces criticizing Telles. Telles’ DNA was discovered under German’s fingernails when they found the reporter stabbed to death outside his home.
Telles won his position in 2019. He recently lost a three-way primary in June for the job to his deputy, so he won’t have it much longer. As it is, he won’t be allowed in the office if and when he gets out on bail—you know, that murder charge thingy. Nonetheless, Telles will keep getting paid.
“For now, he’s still an elected officer and he’ll get paid while he’s in jail,” confirmed Democratic Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom. Telles could be recalled, but that would require a recall petition, and gathering and verifying more than 100,000 signatures. “We can take the scope of work away from him, but as far as him having the title and getting the salary, it is that way, because the voters picked him,” Segerblom said. Good job, voters! Of course, Telles could also be ethical and resign.
Nah! It’s not like he killed someb…Oh. Right.