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Associated Press

Furthermore …

A task unfinished

Three months after a devastating GOP primary loss, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar returned to former Soviet states to continue his groundbreaking efforts to destroy nuclear weapons in the hands of various republics, including Ukraine, Georgia and Russia.

“The point of the trip was not personal satisfaction, but it was really to try to think through ... when I will not be a senator but others will be serving,” Lugar said last week. “Others will have to continue to carry the ball.”

As a lame-duck senator, Lugar could easily complete his term in office with little effort.

Instead, he proposed expanding his arms-control efforts, suggesting that the U.S. and Russia work together to destroy chemical weapons in Syria.

Lugar also wanted to keep pressure on to renew the historic Nunn-Lugar Act, which he co-sponsored with former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga. The act calls on both the U.S. and the former Soviet states to destroy aging warheads. It expires next June.

NFL replacement officiating crews flagged

Many pro football fans remember the 1987 NFL season with a combination of amusement and chagrin over a strike that canceled one week of games and put numerous replacement players on the field for three weeks.

Some of the replacement players fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL with more or less respectable performances; but it was clearly amateur hour for others.

Now, unless the union representing referees and the NFL settle, the season will begin with replacement referees.

How are they doing in the preseason games?

One, as the New York Times reported, confused Arizona with Atlanta. His previous experience was with the Lingerie Football League. (Yes, it’s just what it sounds like.)

Another faced the wrong way when announcing a penalty.

Another reportedly gave the New York Giants a fifth down against the Bears.

One official ruled a punt was a touchback – when it rested on the 5-yard line. Yet another called a player returning a kick for holding. Other reports involve missed calls, bad calls and lack of understanding of the rules.

Players have begun to speak out. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe tweeted: “These replacements are horrible. Frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing.”

San Francisco coach – and former Indianapolis Colt – Jim Harbaugh (pictured) referred to the officials after one preseason game, saying, “A lot of them didn’t seem like they were in the ballpark.”

The NFL is standing firm – replacement officials are here to stay unless the union gives in.

But the concern is more than bad calls – player safety is at issue.

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