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Freedom in America: Why don’t some folks get it?

August 6th, 2010 8 comments

Mike Bloomberg marked the Cordoba House victory from Governor's Island (nee Nutten Island), where the Dutch first settled New Amsterdam.

This past week has seen two important victories for liberty in America.  Yet somehow, the news accounts are all over the place.  If you look at a Red station/website/paper (e.g., anything owned by Rupert Murdoch), the sky is falling.  If you’re on Twitter or Tumblr, you’d think everyone had decided to sing Kumbaya and that all the world’s ills are over.  Obviously, the reality is somewhere in between.  And, at least in my eyes, these victories for liberty were but speed bumps that have not halted a harsh and brutal wave of oppression that ironically brandishes the name of freedom.

The victories of which I speak were both very important.  The first came on Tuesday when the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously against a measure to grant landmark status to the building that once housed The Burlington Coat Factory and now is planned to be torn down and replaced with a 13-story community center called the Cordoba House.  The second was Wednesday, when a California jurist enjoined enforcement of a ballot initiative that effectively banned same-sex marriage in the state.  While these two levees pushed back the waters of hatred and bigotry (of late, quite commonly in the name of fundamentalist Christianity), this country is leaking like a sieve elsewhere and that the victories were necessary at all is reflective thereof.

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Review: A Day Without A Mexican (2004)

November 13th, 2009 Comments off

I was reminded of this movie recently and was explaining it to a coworker. It sounds quite ridiculous and even mocking, but A Day Without A Mexican is actually a very compelling, humorous and fun comedy with a strong message.

Released just as Lou Dobbs and the Minutemen elevated xenophobia to extraordinary levels, the movie tries to make light of what life would be like in California if you really did get rid of all the Mexicans (both those with and without papers). In doing so, it’s illuminating and can be appreciated by those who don’t already appreciate the contributions of immigrants of all stripes and all legal statuses.

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