- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Professional athletes who choose not to stand for the national anthem have affected the nation, their act gaining traction beyond the sports realm and drawing continued criticism from President Trump. “Taking a knee” and shunning the anthem has dominated news coverage, inspired polls, sparked argument and shaped a whole prism of political discourse for days. It’s complicated.

For some, however, the response is straightforward and simple.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, offers a candid, 15-word summation of where the 5-million member organization stands on the national anthem and Old Glory.

“NRA members stand for the flag, and they want the whole country to know it,” Mr. LaPierre says.

To further the point, the group has released a new video titled “We Stand,” featuring Dom Raso — who spent a dozen years as Navy SEAL — and a series of powerful images. He is also straightforward.

“For the land of the free and the home of the brave, from high school gyms to towering stadiums, every time I see our flag wave, I feel a humbling reminder of the brave who keep and have kept us free. I stand to honor the sacrifices of the generations before me, heroes who charged into battle through bombs and bullets — who lost their brothers and still pushed through, fighting for every inch of our freedom,” says Mr. Raso in the one-minute spot.

“I stand for my brothers who can’t stand anymore — men who hunted terrorists to the ends of the Earth, who sacrificed their bodies and their lives so that we could peacefully live ours. I stand for the children, spouses and parents whose family made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We are all standing. We’re the National Rifle Association of America and we are freedom’s safest place,” Mr. Raso concludes.

The NRA plans major broadcast buys for the spot and will promote it via social media, NRATV and other online resources.

“If we are going to defend our freedom, we must speak clearly and openly about the dangers of terrorism, dishonest leadership, hatred toward our law enforcement, how our culture of political correctness destroys our freedom of speech and religion — and how all freedoms are connected,” the organization advises. Find the video here.


Vice President Mike Pence himself has announced that the inaugural meeting of the brand new National Space Council has been cleared for take-off. The gathering next week is titled “Leading the next frontier” and will be staged in the spectacular Udvar-Hazy Center in nearby Virginia, an annex of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum. Space “enterprise” and further exploration is on the agenda. There will also be some very heavy hitters in attendance.

Yes, Mr. Pence will be there. So will Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; Secretary of Defense James Mattis; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross Jr.; Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke; Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats; Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot; Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Michael Kratsios and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul J. Selva.


Megyn Kelly made her much ballyhooed debut on NBC this week. The former Fox News Channel anchor will draw a $17 million annual salary and now vows that her new morning show would be free of politics.

“They spent all that money on this great political anchor and journalist,” an industry insider told The New York Post. “If you take those things away, what are you paying for?”


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says the House will vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Tuesday.

“I’m bringing legislation to the House floor that will respect the sanctity of life and stop needless suffering. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect the voiceless, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. It will protect those children who science has proven can feel pain, and give them a chance to grow and live full and happy lives, I welcome every member of the House and the Senate to unite together and say that when children can feel pain, when you can see their noses and ears, when you can hear their heartbeats and feel their movement — at the very least we can all agree these children should be protected,” Mr. McCarthy observes.

“This common sense policy would limit abortion to 20 weeks and finally join the consensus shared by eight out of 10 Americans — abortion should have real legal limits. This bill would not only save 20,000 lives every year, but would educate the public on the humanity of the unborn person and affirm the science of fetal pain early in development,” says Jeanne Mancini, president of the annual March for Life.


Fox News Channel has retooled their evening programming into a powerful prime time lineup. Daytime offerings are also due for change.

Sandra Smith will permanently join Bill Hemmer in co-anchoring “America’s Newsroom” at 9 a.m. EDT. Jon Scott will continue to helm “Happening Now” at 11 a.m. followed by “Outnumbered” at noon with Harris Faulkner and Ms. Smith. An hour later, Ms. Faulkner returns as solo anchor for “Outnumbered Overtime,” a new show. “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” follows at 2 p.m., also new.

Shepard Smith Reporting” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto” will occupy the same late afternoon time slots as in the past.

“We are living in unprecedented times and this new lineup ensures our viewers will get the best news, information and analysis on the news of the hour across the nation and around the globe,” says Jay Wallace, president of news for the network.


58 percent of Americans say their interest in professional football is the same as in “recent years”; 23 percent say their interest has increased.

19 percent say their interest has decreased.

14 percent of this group say they lost interest because players protest the national anthem and “too much politics” are involved.

10 percent cite penalties and delays; 9 percent say they’ve lost overall interest in sports.

8 percent are too busy, 7 percent cite player injuries, 5 percent cite “the quality of play” or boredom.

Source: A Washington Post/UMass Lowell poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 14-21 and released Tuesday.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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