About that $240,000 T-shirt case

The AFP reported earlier today on the case of a Muslim man who was awarded $240,000 from an airline (JetBlue) that made him cover up a T-shirt that apparently had a provacative Arabic message on it:

NEW YORK (AFP) – An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded 240,000 dollars in compensation, campaigners said Monday.

Raed Jarrar received the pay out on Friday from two US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways following the August 2006 incident at New York’s JFK Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced.

“The outcome of this case is a victory for free speech and a blow to the discriminatory practice of racial profiling,” said Aden Fine, a lawyer with ACLU.

Jarrar, a US resident, was apprehended as he waited to board a JetBlue flight from New York to Oakland, California, and told to remove his shirt, which had written on it in Arabic: “We will not be silent.”

He was told other passengers felt uncomfortable because an Arabic-inscribed T-shirt in an airport was like “wearing a T-shirt at a bank stating, I am a robber,'” the ACLU said.

Jarrar eventually agreed to cover his shirt with another provided by JetBlue. He was allowed aboard but his seat was changed from the front to the back of the aircraft.

There is a lot more to this story, which the AFP – of course – leaves out. Tigerhawk’s got the background on Jarrar’s case and emphasizes why this was no “victory” for free speech, nor is Jarrar any kind of “hero” for the “stand” he took against the airline.

Think about it this way: You and I both know that when the ACLU gets involved, rarely does any good come out of it. This case is no exception.

VIDEO: Bobby Rush says Senate refusal to seat Burris was racism

Watch/listen to the video below – about 45 seconds from the end is where he gets started:

And via CNN:

(CNN) – Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the new vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat should not viewed as ‘the black seat.’

“Mr. Burris will be seated or won’t be seated on the basis of what happens in a court. I don’t think it’s in the people of Illinois’ interests for us to color that seat,” Cleaver told reporters on Capitol Hill. “That seat can’t be the black seat. If that happens we begin to lose the progress we made.”

Those comments appear at odds with views of Rep. Bobby Rush, who has implored Senate Democrats to seat Burris because there are currently no African-American members of the Senate, and called the currently all-white chamber the “the last bastion of plantation politics.”

Once again, another race-baiting Democrat gets away with making racially charged remarks (more here) that would get a Republican grilled, broiled, flamed, basted, and fileted from all corners. Race clearly isn’t the issue at all here, but leave it to an opportunistic jerk like Rush to make a mountain out of something that isn’t even a molehill. But I’m sure this issue plays well to many of his constituents back home, eh?

We’ll never move forward on the issue of race as long as people in positions of power like Rep. Rush continue living in the past. Maybe he’s a close friend of Rev. Wright’s? :-?

Caption This – New Year’s Edition


Biden and Cheney
Original caption: Vice President-elect, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, has a word with Vice President Dick Cheney during ceremonial swearing-in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, before Cheney administered a re-enactment of the Senate oath.(AP/Charles Dharapak)

Have at it, ya’ll! :)

Story: VP-elect Biden sworn in for 7th Senate term


The latest on the Franken/Coleman contest

Al FrankenThe Minnesota bloggers over at Power Line remind everyone that the Senate race in their state is not over in spite of the fact that Franken was “declared” the winner yesterday, and argue pursuasively that Norm Coleman has legitimate legal challenges that need to be resolved. Even the liberal Star Tribune supports Coleman’s legal challenges in the interest that every vote is counted.

Unsurprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disagrees and believes that Coleman should throw in the towel. For whatever you feel about Coleman, and I know there are a lot of conservatives out there who aren’t crazy about him, the embarassment alone of having Al “I like try to physically intimidate people I disagree with” Franken sitting in the US Senate is worth Coleman’s continued persistence, if nothing else. I know Minnesotans are known for sending off the wall figures to serve in government (former pro-wrestler/governor Jesse Ventura comes to mind), but I hope this time around that doesn’t happen.

And just how the hell did they get to this point in the first place? Yeah, I know Coleman’s a weak candidate, but to be neck and neck with Franken? Once upon a time I figured he’d never be popular enough to be appointed dog catcher, much less come thisclose to winning a US Senate seat. Seriously. Is this another example of the ignorance of a certain segment of the American populace or do you think most Minnesotans knew exactly what they were doing when they voted for him?


Will he or won’t he? The Roland Burris open thread (UPDATE 2: SEC. OF SENATE TURNS AWAY BURRIS)

It’s another busy day for me, but I wanted to start an open thread for those of you keeping an eye on what’s happening in the Senate today, as Roland Burris has insisted he will try and enter onto the Senate floor as the junior Senator from Illinois:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) — Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris plans to try to enter the U.S. Senate chamber Tuesday to be sworn in with the other new senators.

Senate Democratic leaders said they will not allow the 71-year-old Burris to be seated because he was appointed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Leaders say his appointment is tainted because, among other things, Blagojevich was accused by federal prosecutors of trying to sell Obama’s seat to the highest bidder.

Both sides are determined to hold their ground, and the stand-off is expected to be somewhat staged, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Burris said his staff let his intentions be known to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, one-time director of the Illinois State Police, who knows Burris.

“We will only go as far as the sergeant-at-arms permits us to go,” Burris said. “We will then retreat and meet with our legal team.”

If you’re able to watch the goings on on CSPAN (or wherever) today, please post in the comments what happens. Michelle Malkin will probably liveblog events as well.

Should be interesting, especially if Franken shows up as well.

I’ll check back in when I can.

Update – 10:57 AM: Burris arrived on Capitol Hill this morning. Here’s the latest:

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama’s appointed successor is heading to the Senate to be sworn in as a member of the 111th Congress, but it isn’t clear whether he’ll get to take the oath of office.

That wasn’t stopping Roland Burris, who was in tense negotiations at mid-morning Tuesday with Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer.

Burris arrived on Capitol Hill in late morning and was escorted to the secretary of the Senate’s office — but no further. He also was expected to hold a news conference.

Fox will be carrying it live. Click here to watch.

Oh – and Franken is not in DC today.

Update 2 – 11:10 AM: MSNBC has this blaring across the top of their website: “BREAKING NEWS: Secretary of the Senate turns away Roland Burris, won’t let him be seated” (LINK).

Mark Silva’s liveblogging the Burris/Senate goings-on today (via Memeo).