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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


"Let them eat cake" would be an improvement

Because in some places in the United States, attempting to feed the poor is an arrestable offense:
An Orlando activist was arrested this evening while he was feeding homeless people downtown.

Eric Montanez, 21, a member of Orlando's Food Not Bombs, had just finished serving food at Lake Eola Park when the 5:30 arrest took place, witnesses said.

Police said Montanez violated a controversial city ordinance that bars feedings in the park. Each group may only feed 25 people fewer. Their undercover officers said Montanez fed 30.
I'm not sure which is more amazing, that Orlando has an ordinance barring feeding people in the park, or that they actually assigned an undercover officer to count the number of people being fed (and, presumably, to photograph them for evidence in the trial).

As usual, one of the most interesting things about this story is to observe the press coverage of this event, which is surely as newsworthy as, to pick an item at random, the parentage of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. I first read about it in Granma. A Google search shows a handful of stories in Florida newspapers, coverage in a couple of papers outside the U.S., and, interestingly, coverage in CNN International, but not CNN itself. Not a single national U.S. media outlet appears to have mentioned the story.

Update: While we're on the subject of "compassionate capitalism," read this op-ed entitled, "What if John Edwards worked at Wal-Mart?" No, it isn't about the ludicrous hypothetical of a Wal-Mart employee wanting to run for President, but rather about the very unhypothetical situation of a Wal-Mart employee whose spouse has cancer and faces the prospect of dealing with that situation with what passes for medical "care" in the United States. (Hat tip to Cursor)

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