The U.S. at a glance ...
Kaepernick’s protest spreads: A number of NFL stars joined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s symbolic demonstration against “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the opening weekend of the regular season this week—some kneeling during the national anthem, others raising their fists in protest. Kaepernick, who is biracial, began his silent protest during the preseason in order to bring attention to police brutality and racial injustice. His gesture prompted anger among some NFL fans, who argued it disrespected the U.S. flag and military. During this week’s opening games, which fell on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, four players from the Miami Dolphins knelt during the anthem, while at least six other players—from the Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs—raised their fists in solidarity with Kaepernick. Players from the Seattle Seahawks linked arms in a show of unity.
San Bernardino, Calif.
New attack details: A harrowing report on last year’s San Bernardino massacre has revealed the heroism of victims and police during the jihadist attack— including the fact that three county health workers rushed gunman Syed Rizwan Farook in an attempt to thwart the assault, only to be cut down by gunfire. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire with AR-15–style assault weapons during a December party at the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 people and wounding 24. The Police Foundation and Department of Justice report describes how in the initial response, a San Bernardino detective, patrol officer, motorcycle officer, and staff lieutenant on his lunch break—all armed only with handguns—attempted their own charge. “I felt so naked, because we didn’t have cover,” said one. The shooters had already fled. As the officers entered the building, the site “looked like a bomb had gone off,” the report stated. “Bodies were strewn across the floor.”
9/11 fight brewing: Congress and President Obama appeared to be headed for a showdown this week over a bill that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the 2001 terrorist attacks, after Obama renewed his vow to veto the controversial legislation. The bill, recently passed by the House and Senate, would amend a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in U.S. courts. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argue the law will help hold nations that sponsor terrorism accountable, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it would enable other countries to “haul U.S. diplomats or U.S. service members...into courts all around the world.” Obama has until Sept. 23 to veto the bill, but congressional aides said that in both chambers the measure likely has the two-thirds majority required to override a veto. It would be the first veto override of Obama’s presidency.
NCAA benches North Carolina: The NCAA this week announced it was pulling all championship tournament games out of North Carolina in response to the state’s controversial transgender bathroom bill. The law, known as HB2, requires people who are transgender to use school and government building restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate. The NCAA said its decision was an attempt to pressure North Carolina, which has hosted more men’s college basketball tournament games than any other state, to become more “inclusive.” The move affects not just the men’s basketball tournament games scheduled in March, but also championships for women’s soccer, golf, and lacrosse, as well as men’s soccer and baseball. A state GOP spokesman called the decision “absurd,” adding, “Under the NCAA’s logic, colleges should make cheerleaders and football players share bathrooms, showers, and hotel rooms.”
Powell’s emails leaked: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell slammed Donald Trump as a “national disgrace” and “international pariah” in a series of private Gmail messages released this week by hackers connected to Russian intelligence. In the emails from June 2014 to this August and posted on the anonymously run website DCLeaks, Powell wrote that Trump’s “birther movement was racist.” Powell, a retired four-star general and a Republican who lives in McLean, also turned his anger against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, attacking her for her use of a private email server and for her campaign’s attempt to use his own email practices while secretary of state to justify it. “Sad thing...HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it,” he wrote. “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” Powell confirmed the emails were his, adding, “The hackers have a lot more.”
Fort Pierce, Fla.
Mosque attack: Florida police were hunting this week for a suspected arsonist who set fire to the mosque where Orlando shooter Omar Mateen worshipped. In surveillance video released by investigators, what appears to be a white or Hispanic male is seen arriving at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on a motorcycle in the early hours of the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha with a bottle of liquid and papers in his hand. A flash of light is seen, then the man runs from the building while shaking his hand. “We’re not sure,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Maj. David Thompson, “but it’s possible he sustained burns on that hand.” Mateen, who lived in Fort Pierce and was known to worship at the mosque, killed 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in June in a jihadist attack. He was killed during the massacre in a shoot-out with police.