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Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 8:42 AM
Updated: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:03 AM
BOSTON — UPDATE, 10:03 a.m. 1/21/2018: Despite the shutdown of the United States government early Saturday, the NFL announced Sunday morning that the Armed Forces Network will air the AFC and NFC Championship games.
The NFL also said it is providing free access to the games via NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
Meanwhile, Congress is back at work Sunday, attempting to create a deal to end the shutdown.
Great news as Armed Forces Network will air both Championship Sunday NFL games today for our service members around the world— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) January 21, 2018
ORIGINAL STORY: As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.
There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.
Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday.
Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue.
Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.
"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.
For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.
"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.
With no one to run it, AFN is off the air.
The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.
Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.
Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.
However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats.
Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.
"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:11 PM
— National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 4:56 PM
— Officials with the National Rifle Association on Wednesday voiced opposition to any legislation aimed at raising the minimum age needed to buy certain rifles amid a renewed gun debate following last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida.
In a statement obtained by The Hill, NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the focus should be on keeping guns out of the hands of “violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.”
“Passing a law that makes it illegal for a 20-year-old to purchase a shotgun for hunting or adult single mother from purchasing the most effective self-defense rifle on the market punishes law-abiding citizens for the evil acts of criminals,” she said.
The group argued that raising the minimum age would deprive people between the ages of 18 and 20 of “their constitutional right to self-protection.”
Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman in last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, legally bought the AR-15 rifle he used to gun down 14 students and three teachers. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The current federal minimum age for buying or possessing handguns is 21, but the limit is 18 for rifles, including assault-type weapons such as the AR-15.
Officials with the NRA did not address the possibility of raising the minimum age Thursday while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference. However, President Donald Trump endorsed the idea during a school safety discussion Thursday with state and local leaders from across the nation, The Associated Press reported.
"We're going to work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18," Trump said. "The NRA will back it and so will Congress.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said in a tweet Wednesday that he was working with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, on a bipartisan bill to raise the minimum gun purchase age for most Americans to 21 years old.
“A kid too young (to) buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15,” he wrote.
A kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15. Working with @SenFeinstein on a bipartisan bill that will raise the minimum purchase age for non-military buyers from 18 to 21 - the same age you currently have to be to purchase a handgun.— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) February 21, 2018
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 4:41 PM
— The National Rifle Association has gone under the scope of national scrutiny again after last week’s deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school. The organization’s latest offense came after it decided to tweet a GIF from the NBC show “Parks and Recreation” on Wednesday night.
The group sought to thank spokesperson Dana Loesch for her presence at a CNN town hall with the GIF. The GIF features the show’s main character, Leslie Knope, who was portrayed by comedian and actress Amy Poehler for seven seasons.
Show creator Michael Shur addressed the GIF on Twitter Thursday morning.
“Hi, please take this down. I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda,” he tweeted.
Shur also shared a message from Poehler.
“Also, Amy isn’t on twitter, but she texted me a message: ‘Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said (expletive) off?'”
Other actors on the show joined in, including Nick Offerman, who played Ron Swanson on the show.
“Our good-hearted show and especially our Leslie Knope represent the opposite of your pro-slaughter agenda - take it down,” Offerman tweeted along with an explicit remark.
Adam Scott, who played Ben Wyatt, and Aubrey Plaza, who played April Ludgate, also responded on Twitter.
“Hey NRA please stay the (expletive) away form Lesilie Knope,” Scott tweeted.
Plaza responded to Offerman’s tweet with a GIF of her character from the series.
While Poehler’s Leslie Knope largely remained accepting of several different political ideologies, it was no secret that Pohler leaned toward the Democratic Party at the time of the 2016 presidential election.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 10:01 AM
DARIEN, Conn. — Steve Wilkos, a former security guard on “The Jerry Springer Show,” admitted that he lied about what really happened in a January car crash in Connecticut.
At the time of the Jan. 21 crash, Wilkos told TMZ he crashed after becoming distracted while reaching for his glasses. Just one month later, he confessed to the tabloid that he made the story up and admitted that the crash happened as a result of him driving under the influence of alcohol.
In January, Wilkos struck several poles and a tree before his vehicle rolled over. He was hospitalized and treated for minor injuries before being released. No other injuries were reported at the time.
People reported that Wilkos turned himself in on Wednesday after learning the Darien Police Department had a warrant out for his arrest. A news release from the Darien Police Department said a judge set bail for the TV talk show host at $1,500, which Wilkos posted that day and was released. The publication reports that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was .29 percent, which is over the legal limit.
Following the arrest, Wilkos issued a statement to TMZ.
“Over the course of my life, I have been struggling with bouts of depression and on the day of my accident, I had a complete lapse in judgment which resulted in me drinking and getting behind the wheel of my car,” the statement said. “This experience reinforces my commitment to get the professional help that I need and I have recently completed an intensive medically supervised program.”