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Cities in Red States have been doing everything they can to drive out the homeless. Now, Birmingham, Alabama is grabbing food out their hands. (Includes poll.)

Conservatives hate, hate, hate pesky inconveniences like poor people and facts. And they've been awfully busy lately coming up with new and creative ways to make them disappear. (Don't like the enrollment numbers for Obamacare? Run with a misleading graph and remind the working poor that health care is something evil.)

Some things, though, are harder than others to make disappear with a standard-issue Heartless Magic Wand. Take homeless people. Here is where "compassionate conservative" creativity truly shines. Temperature dropping? Make it illegal to give a homeless person a blanket! Notice too many people hanging out downtown and wearing the same clothes every day? Threaten all 1,500 of them with jail time if they can't magically squeeze into a shelter built for 240.

Those are just two examples (from Florida and South Carolina, respectively) of Red States inventing new ways to make life tougher for their poorest citizens.

It would be nice to imagine some of the conservatives' famously trumpeted "compassion" showing up when it comes to people down on their luck and living on the streets – but that's not what's going on. So why were we surprised to learn what's been happening in Birmingham, Alabama – where cops have been showing up to yank the free food out of homeless people's hands? (Really.)

See, a new law governing "food trucks" has been interpreted to include churches that hand out hot dogs and other foodstuffs to homeless people. Unless these churches comply with new zoning laws and shell out the money for expensive permits, feeding the hungry is now against the law. In fact, it would cost a church the value of 1,700 hot dogs just to be able to hand out free hot dogs.

"I'm just so totally shocked that the city is turning their back on the homeless like this," said the pastor of one of the churches. "It's like they want to chase them out of the city!"

Ummm... ya’ think???

Birmingham defended the move, claiming to be protecting the "health and safety" of its homeless population and calling it all part of a "larger plan" -- one that addresses the 145% increase in the city’s homeless between 1987 and 2005.

We're all for health and safety, but knocking free hot dogs out of hungry people's hands seems a disingenuous way to accomplish it, to say the least.

The good news is some of the churches plan to defy the law completely and keep doing what they've been doing. Which means it's time for heartless politicians to get creative again! If they can't starve them out of the city, what will heartless politicians try next to get rid of the homeless? What do YOU think?

(Original poll at


What's the next bright idea heartless politicians will come up with to get rid of the homeless?

26%11 votes
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26%11 votes
4%2 votes
12%5 votes
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4%2 votes
17%7 votes

| 41 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  so they want religious organizations to be (11+ / 0-)

    exempt from ACA provisions they don't like, but not from licensing laws?

    How utterly consistent.

    •  Obviously people who feed the homeless (9+ / 0-)

      are not truly religious.  First you have to be a corporation to be truly religious.  Then you have to forcibly impose your beliefs on others.  You know, like Jesus did.

      If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

      by MadRuth on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 01:24:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who are "they?" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope, Ahianne

      Because the officials behind this ordinance  are mostly Democrats and mostly supportive of the ACA. Birmingham is the primary population center in the reliably blue, majority-minority 7th Congressional District.

      Mayor Bell (and a lot of others) happen to be dead damned wrong on both the food truck ordinance and its enforcement against feeding programs for homeless people. But I don't know where you're getting support for Hobby Lobby by city government.

      I live in Birmingham. The ordinance was passed to protect buddies of the city officials who own traditional restaurants downtown.

      Those downtown restaurateurs were up at arms because they were losing a LOT of their lunch crowd to the trucks. [sarcasm on] It couldn't possibly be because so many of the places are cookie-cutter chains serving slop and/or provide slow, rude customer service. [sarcasm off]

      Starving the homeless is definitely a feature, not a bug. My church serves hot lunches from the parish hall 365 days a year, and the merchants' association in our neighborhood has tried to get us shut down on  numerous occasions.

      But the root of this abomination is good old fashioned cronyism.

      Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

      by susanala on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 03:08:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tipped you, susanala, and now please provide facts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        showing Democrats are the only ones pulling this shit. Any links? Any other sources with NAMES?

        OK. Maybe you've got it absolutely right. But cops on the beat don't take instructions from the city leaders directly, they take them from their departmental heads. So maybe there's some enterprising eeevil-hearted types (regardless of party affiliation) who are pulling some "interpretive" shit.

        So...prove it with facts.

        Thanks for speaking up. Just prove it.

        Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

        by kaliope on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 07:32:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They are after a fashion trying to protect (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, BlackSheep1, maxfolger

    their own. To make their own free of homeless.

     Here we are hearing it phrased as a health measure trying to protect the homeless because that is the meme which the Tea judges buy when applying it to women and denying them the right to protect their own bodies as well, as the most recent Texas case demonstrates.  In that case, anything that did less damage than a complete ban to women's rights to abortion, no matter how difficult it was without total impossibility, forget 'unreasonable',  was justified by a claim that the restriction protected the health of any woman seeking the still legal procedure, and was accepted by the Court, and the standard for relief put in a place nothing else in the law is.

    This is more of the same, jiggered to apply to a different population to make sure that population does not stay because  it will die if it does, in the jurisdiction passing the law. This is what happens if we think ignoring it when the target is women because we have other issues, will not encourage that stuff. It works, so they will keep on doing it until we find a way to make sure it does not work. Won't happen with the current SCOTUS, I don't think.

  •  William A. Bell is a Conservative? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Ahianne

    I don't see his political affiliation here but last I recall, Birmingham's government was pretty much all Democrats.

    •  You are correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maxfolger, Ahianne

      I live in Birmingham, and I just hit post on an explanation upthread.

      Short version: This is about protecting cronies who own restaurants and were losing business to the trucks.

      Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

      by susanala on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 03:11:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Extra Extra! Republican war against Christianity! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tomtech, tuesdayschilde, maxfolger

    We should push this meme as it is the repugs who are going after Christian churches doing what they SHOULD be doing (charity, helping those less fortunate)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 01:28:31 PM PDT

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