General OKs pour of duty

Permission to swill a couple of 12-ounce beers might not seem to be a big deal, but it is if you’re a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq.

Drinking alcohol in a combat zone could lead to a court-martial, not to mention it’s a sensitive issue in the Islamic country.

But Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, issued a waiver this week that will allow U.S. troops a two-beer limit during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Odierno acknowledged the sensitivity of drinking alcohol in Iraq, particularly considering the game falls during a holy period for the country’s Shiite Muslim majority. But he put his troops first.

Without the waiver, U.S. soldiers are banned from drinking, possessing or selling alcoholic beverages under a general order that also bans them from possessing pornography and other activities. They can face a reduction in pay or rank or even a court-martial if they violate the rule.

No word on whether commanding officers are allowed to organize Super Bowl betting pools.

• ‘SKINS, WWE CUT JOBS — Not since the days of Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd have professional wrestling and the NFL shared such a bond. Both entities this week are feeling the pain amid a sagging economy.

Washington Redskins director of player development John Jefferson and salary-cap analyst Jimmy Halsell were among more than 20 people laid off by the team.

World Wrestling Entertainment said Friday it will cut 10 percent of its staff. The biggest hits at the WWE could be in the reduction of script writers and plastic surgeons — probably kept on retainer to enhance the stature of female wrestlers — which could lead to their roles in the ring going bust.

• CLEANING UP — Bernice Gallego, 72, and her husband, Al Gallego, 80, have owned Collectique, an antique store in Fresno, Calif., since 1974.

Last month, she found a baseball card of the “Red Stocking B.B. Club of Cincinnati” in a box among an array of old jukeboxes, slot machines and records.

She put the oversized card on eBay for $10 but pulled it off the market after receiving several inquiries that led her to do further research.

The Gallegos discovered the card was an 1869 advertisement for Peck & Snyder, a company that sold baseball equipment, that featured a picture of the first professional baseball team.

Plans are for the card to return to eBay, where it is likely to fetch the pack rats more than $100,000.

• UP TO SPEED — IndyCar diva Danica Patrick is displaying a penchant for speed away from the racetrack.

Patrick, 26, was cited Dec. 9 for driving her 2007 Mercedes 19 mph over the 35 mph speed limit near her home in Scottsdale, Ariz. She paid a $196 fine for the infraction.

Patrick also was ticketed a year ago for doing 57 in a 40 mph zone, The Associated Press reported, and Patrick posted her only IndyCar victory a few months after being ordered to attend traffic school. Probably just a coincidence.


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