John McCain demands a pardon for Jack Johnson—heavyweight champion of the world!—who was convicted of sleeping with a white woman, 96 years ago. Good on John!
Senator McCain has his inconsistent and deeply personal conceptions of "honor" and "justice," which means that occasionally he fights for completely symbolic things that we nonetheless approve of wholeheartedly, like this. Free Jack Johnson! McCain is a huge boxing fan, of course, and he's teaming up with Peter King and Ken Burns today to urge President Obama to pardon Johnson for his 1913 violation of the Mann Act.
Burns has been fighting for Johnson's pardon since 2004, but he ran into trouble with the last administration:
Burns said he spoke about the petition a couple of times with Bush, who as governor of Johnson's home state of Texas proclaimed Johnson's birthday as "Jack Johnson Day" for five straight years.
Bush gave Burns a phone number which led to adviser Karl Rove, Burns said, but Rove told him a pardon "ain't gonna fly."
Yes, right, of course.
Anyway let's all listen to Miles Davis (with Sonny Sharrock, right, jazz nerds?) and root for Johnson's century-late justice!