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Special Report

Disappointment for Descendants of American slaves

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Reparations Claim Rejected

A federal appeals court has rejected most claims by slave descendants that they deserve reparations from some of the country's biggest banks, insurers and transportation companies. Th e 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that slave descendants have no standing to sue based on injustices suffered by ancestors.

It also said the statute of limitations ran out more than a century ago. The lawsuit contended that big American corporations profited from slavery and should p ay. But the judge who wrote the decision said the issue was political — and should not be worked out in court.

Judge Was Wrong?

The head of the National Federation of the Blind says the federal judge who ordered that U.S. paper currency be changed to accommodate the blind was wrong. Marc Maurer writes in USA Today that Judge James Robertson's ruling that currency discriminates against blind people is untrue, saying blind people are not barred from spending money, and in fact have ways of using it effectively.

Maurer says the cost to society of changing currency would be much greater than the benefit to the blind. And he says that the idea, "implies that we can't look out for our own best interests and are generally helpless and incompetent."

Building Named for Terrorists

The chancellor of the publicly funded City College of New York has ordered that a sign naming a campus building for two terrorists be taken down. But a left-wing student group is considering legal action to stop it.

The student center is named after Guillermo Morales — a bomb maker from a terror group dedicated to Puerto Rican independence — and Assata Shakur — an alias of Joanne Chesimard — who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper. Both have escaped custody and are living in Cuba.

Outrage from police groups after a news article prompted the chancellor's decision. But the Cybercast News Service reports the Student Liberation Action Movement considers Chesimard to be a "role model" who is "innocent" — and has hired a lawyer to fight the move.

Seemed Like a Good Idea

And the organizers of a fundraising auction in northeastern Louisiana thought it would be a good idea to feature a chance to dine with Governor Kathleen Blanco — who has endured plenty of criticism over her response to Hurricane Katrina. So that item was saved for last.

Bidding started at $1,000, dropped to 500, and then as time ran out a bid of one dollar was made — and accepted.

The president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce — which hosted the event — has apologized to the governor for a "poor joke gone awry." And the man who made the one dollar bid has also apologized and donated $1,000 — but he's not going to the dinner at the Governor's Mansion — someone else will go in his place.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.