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Despite Gov't Shutdown, Army Awards $2,163 Contract for 'Massage Chair'

1:01 PM, Oct 2, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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Sometimes timing is everything. Yesterday was day one of the federal government shutdown, and one of the biggest stories of the day was the barricading of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., nearly preventing a group of 92 veterans from Mississippi who had been flown in on an Honor Flight from visiting the site. But it was also the day that the U.S. Army chose to award a $2,163 contract for a "massage chair":

The chair was ordered for Fort Belvoir in Virginia, the site of many of President Obama's local golf outings. The classification is "Furniture," so it is not clear if the chair is intended as a rehabilitation tool, or just a relaxation aid.  A partial description of the chair reads:

Zero Gravity positions you back to minimize pressure along the spine. The chair is equipped with twin rollers to mimic the feel of human thumbs & Fingers, enhancing the massage experience. MP3 player with Music sync with two speakers in the backrest. LED light in the side panel create one kind of nice environment. Designed with a set of S-track movable intelligent massage robot, special focus on the neck, shoulder and lumbar massage according to body curve...

Other groups of veterans planning visits to the memorial in Washington, D.C. have reportedly been threatened with arrest if they breach the barricades as the Mississippi veterans did on Tuesday.

According to the Daily Caller, Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo said that both the White House and the Department of the Interior declined to intervene and allow the veterans an exception for their Tuesday visit.

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