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American Forces Network won't air football, baseball on TV

No Rays and Red Sox. No Gators and Razorbacks. No NFL! The American Forces Network, which provides television and radio to American troops overseas, says because of the government shutdown it has no plans to screen football, baseball or other sports until things get back to normal.

Navy Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Harrington, an AFN spokesman, said in an email to Stars and Stripes that the broadcaster's attorneys had determined there is no sound policy or legal basis to air sports. The legal opinion advised that televised sport "is not deemed critical to accomplish essential aspects of the DMA (Defense Media Activity) mission in direct support of excepted military operations and activities."

Stars and Stripes writes that AFN has no plans to screen baseball playoff games while the shutdown is in effect. Gone, too, are the NFL and college football. There is a little consolation: AFN Radio channels are still on the air.

The sports shutdown is also frustrating troops in Afghanistan. Lt. Uriel Macias, a Navy reservist assigned to a stability operations team in Kabul, told Stars and Stripes he has noticed an impact on others who work in his office.

"They have to use the online play-by-play sites, and sit there and refresh it over and over again," he said. "Sports are an escape for a lot of people here, so it can be a little frustrating for them."

Call for politicians to watch language

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, an Iraq war veteran, on Friday called on Washington politicians to stop using terrorism metaphors during the current budget debate. Speaking on the House floor, Wenstrup addressed both sides of the debate, but also focused on the White House's comments equating Republicans to someone "with a bomb strapped to their chest."

"I have heard references to being 'terrorists,' to 'jihad' and to having 'bombs strapped to our chests,' " Wenstrup said. "I spent one year, 2005-2006 — perhaps the bloodiest time of the war — as an Army combat surgeon in Iraq. In this chamber, I have seen no 'terrorists,' no 'jihad,' nor any 'bombs strapped to chests.' If you have been to war, you would not use such rhetoric here."

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., on Thursday accused Republicans of waging a "jihad" against Obamacare.

Common complaint of visitors: restrooms

Despite the shuttered museums and the closed memorials, some visitors are still making their way to the National Mall in Washington. But they are encountering a key problem, reports the Washington Post: no restrooms.

There are restrooms at the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Washington Monument, but they are all locked. And since the museums along the Mall are also closed, those restrooms are similarly unavailable.

"I was just crying because I couldn't go to the bathroom for over like 45 minutes," said Jennifer Lioy, 27, who was visiting from Rochester, N.Y.

The issue of restrooms is a chronic problem on the Mall with many visitors saying there were too few, even before the shutdown.

A T. Rex will have to wait until spring

A rare Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, which is to be a centerpiece of a future exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, is a casualty of the government shutdown.

The T. Rex is one of the most significant acquisitions the museum has ever made. And a procession planned with great fanfare, involving a sendoff in Bozeman, Mont., on Oct. 11, has been canceled, along with a Smithsonian program for hundreds of schoolchildren who were going to be deputized as "junior paleontologists" to welcome the dinosaur.

The skeleton will be trucked to the museum in the spring. Several federal entities involved in the long move are now constrained because of the shutdown.

Information from the Washington Post and New York Times was used in this report.

American Forces Network won't air football, baseball on TV 10/04/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 4, 2013 11:18pm]
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