Up in the Air

An Egyptian-born man has waited two years for an FBI background check—while working at the Airport

Wael Abdel-Latif applied for U.S. citizenship two years ago, and he's still waiting for his FBI background check.

In order to appreciate the absurdity of the situation, consider this: For seven years, Abdel-Latif has worked as a manager of airplane parts in a hangar of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he has access to parts that are put on planes shortly before they take off. If he were a terrorist, we'd surely know by now.

(Incidentally, so would his employer, which conducts annual background checks on its workers. Even a DWI is grounds for dismissal.)

So, why the delay? The federal government isn't talking. But Abdel-Latif, who moved here from his native Egypt a decade ago, thinks he has the answer. "They look at all the Arabs as, 'Hey, they are all terrorists,'" he says. "That's wrong." Jonathan Kaminsky

 

Ape escape

Relax, PETA: BamBam will not be killed.

The capuchin monkey, seized earlier this month from a St. Paul residence, has received a pardon from the city's animal control office.

BamBam was quarantined on January 5 after he bit a man on the finger. As part of an agreement worked out last week between the city and the monkey's owner, BamBam will be placed in an animal care facility.

"The bottom line is we don't want anyone else to get bit," says Samuel McCloud, an attorney representing the monkey's owner. "She's doing the smart thing."

Bill Stephenson, head of St. Paul's animal control office, says it's the first time in more than two decades on the job that he's had to seize a monkey. "Hopefully BamBam can go live free like he was supposed to," he says. Paul Demko

 

Not from around here

After eight years of "un-American" this and "unpatriotic" that, local conservative blog Minnesota Democrats Exposed pulled a new arrow from the quiver last week, accusing St. Louis Park native Al Franken of being "un-Minnesotan."

Franken earned the rebuke after he mocked a conservative undergraduate student during a flesh-pressing session at Carlton College in Northfield. The young Republican took his ordeal to Strib gossip columnist C.J., whose account of the incident was linked on Drudge Report.

We here at City Pages believe it's time for an offical inquiry into just where this "Mr. Franken" actually resides. When the state Legislature reconvenes in February, it should immediately call him before the House Committee on Un-Minnesotan Activities and ask, "Are you now, or have you ever been a New Yorker?" —Jeff Severns Guntzel

 

Pole got your tongue

Leave it to Fox news to sensationalize even the most trivial childhood stories. When a girl's tongue got stuck to a metal pole in south Minneapolis, à la A Christmas Story, the fair and balanced network was the first (and only) to break the hard-hitting exposé.

The piece was the brainchild of three Fox 9 managers monitoring the scanner last Wednesday morning. After hearing dispatch call the fire department to bring warm water to the scene at 36th Street and Sixth Avenue South, "all three of them immediately thought that it would be a nice little feature," says Bill Dallman, vice president of news for the affiliate.

Unfortunately, the network arrived too late to get quotes from the tongue-tied tyke. "When a Fox 9 photo journalist arrived on the scene, there was evidence of water on the pole and footsteps in the snow around it," the network breathlessly reported. —Beth Walton

 
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