A Tea Party Train Wreck & The First Amendment

The so-called Tea Party Express has identified some favored candidates for this election cycle in an effort to advance a bevy of right-wing attacks on American civil liberties, all in the name of “taking the country back.” I asked before and I’ll ask again here, back to what? A close look at just one of these candidates, Nevada GOP candidate Sharron Angle, provides an unflattering and menacing answer.

(more…)



Manhattan Mosque A Matter of Principle

Does it seem insensitive for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero? Sure it does. I imagine for those who lost loved ones that September 11th, it must certainly seem callous, and defiant in the face of the resulting outcry. On the other hand, should we respect the right of a New York Muslim congregation to build a place of worship in Lower Manhattan? Of course, we should. This is America. And the principle of religious freedom and tolerance is at the core of our founding vision.

So why the big hoopla?

(more…)



Dreams in the Making

Some have long maintained that a Harvard diploma is a “golden passport.”

But sometimes what a Harvard student needs is the real thing: a U.S. passport. Or, for that matter, a birth certificate, Social Security card, or any proof of legal residency to avoid being deported to a country you don’t know.

That sort of thing would have come in handy for Harvard sophomore Eric Balderas, a 19-year-old biology major who recently became internationally known after he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being in the United States unlawfully. The arrest occurred on June 7 as Balderas tried to board an airplane to Boston after visiting his mother in San Antonio. Because he lost his Mexican passport, he tried to board the plane using only his Harvard student ID card and his Mexican consular card. That tipped off authorities. So Balderas was quickly slated for deportation to Mexico.

(more…)