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September 26, 2009

BILL SPARKMAN'S GRUESOME DEATH.... As details emerge on the death of the slain Census worker in Kentucky, the story appears to be even more tragic than first reported.

Bill Sparkman juggled three part-time jobs and chemotherapy, and he was conscientious about keeping his schedule straight. So when he didn't show up for work at a day-care program Sept. 10, two days after he went out canvassing residents for the Census Bureau, a co-worker reported him missing.

Sparkman's body was found two days later beside a remote road near a small family cemetery in the Daniel Boone National Forest. His death initially garnered little attention, even in eastern Kentucky.

Then authorities revealed this week that a noose was found around his neck, and that he was hanging from a tree, his feet touching the ground. The word "Fed" was scrawled across the 51-year-old census taker's chest, according to the Clay County coroner.

Officials said Sparkman's body was found with his Census Bureau identification card taped to his head. An AP report added that he was "naked, gagged and had his hands and feet bound with duct tape."

As was the case earlier in the week, it's still worth emphasizing that this is an open investigation and additional information is needed before reaching any conclusions. Some of the earlier details have proven false -- Sparkman was not, for example, found hanging from a tree, as some initial reports suggested -- and our understanding of what actually happened may yet change again.

That said, what we've learned thus far is gruesome, and continues to raise the prospect of what may have been a politically-motivated slaying. Faiz Shakir added, "Regardless of what the motive for the killing may have been, why would a murderer(s) take such pains to so blatantly convey anger, fear, and vitriol towards a Census employee? Perhaps because some on the right have created an impression that Census employees are terrifying."

The record on that front is clear -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Glenn Beck, and Neal Boortz have invested considerable energy in trying to convince confused, right-wing activists that the Census and those who work for the Census Bureau are not to be trusted, and may even be dangerous.

Here's hoping that their reckless and irresponsible rhetoric did not have deadly consequences.

Steve Benen 8:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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"Here's hoping that their reckless and irresponsible rhetoric did not have deadly consequences."

Seems like it already has. Our culture has crossed so many lines lately that it's beyond alarming. First Dr. Tiller, now this poor single father census worker - murdered by fellow Americans. Lunatics showing up at public rallies/speeches with guns. Congressmen shouting at the President in a joint speech to Congress. Looks like we need to get out our Richard Hofstadter again, and look at the long history of loons in American political life.

Beyond that, the Feds need to find these murderers and put them away. And silent Americans need to start speaking up against hate, in any form.

My heart goes out to his family.

Posted by: nyc on September 26, 2009 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the loon who showed up at the Universalist Church in Tennessee and opened fire because he wanted to kill some "liberals". That incident got remarkably little publicity.

No one knows what happend with this census worker, but if the details reported are true it doesn't look good at all.

Posted by: Pug on September 26, 2009 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Gee , it feels like you might almost be forgiven when you think the unthinkable , the craven bomb throwing cretins of the right are responsible for giving permission to create anarchy . Good old nihlism and anarchy , I think I will reread "The Idiot" .

Posted by: FRP on September 26, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

I wish I could say that I was shocked that a crime like this could occur in this country, particularly at this moment in time. Whether this was a political hate crime or not, who could say they did not expect this crime, or one like it, to happen in the sickened and sickening environment created by the right. This gentle, caring man is dead, while Limbaugh (I'm not polarizing America.. Obama is)and the rest, like cancer cells, systematically attack what is best about this country.
What is it with this country? Are Limbaugh, Beck, Bachman, Hannity and the rest above accountability because they are wealthy, connected, and popular (at least with their minions), or do Americans love the circus

Posted by: Broken Arrow on September 26, 2009 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Even if this poor guy was killed because he uncovered a meth lab, and not because he was a census worker, it's important what the killer(s) did with the body. Rather than hide it deeper in the woods, bury it, or put it in a lake, they did what they did, including writing "Fed" on the corpse.
Now, where did they get that idea? Something like that just doesn't occur in someones head willy-nilly. It was planted there. And those who planted that seed will, of course, deny any culpability. They are, though, very responsible. To have people who take rhetoric so lightly in positions of power like talk radio, TV, even CONGRESS!!!, means either that people are stupid or completely irresponsible. These people ought not hold those positions. And we should do everything in our power, legally, to make sure that they lose those positions as fast as possible.
The actions taken against Beck's advertisers was a great start. If I were an attorney, I would love to take on this poors mans case for his family. I would sue FOX, Murdoch, Clear Channel, Congresswoman Bachman, and every other person who has a megaphone but thinks that when it's turned on, they can still whisper.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 26, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

It will soon be appropriate to make some arrests for incitement to murder. Is it my imagination or have Bachman & Co become a little quiet? Have they even mentioned this poor man?

Posted by: JS on September 26, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

On a different note of hatred this front page story in mpls. startrib about about a hateful racial attack is quite disturbing (at least no one was killed):

"Derrick Thomas was on his bike with home in his sights, returning about 1 a.m. Wednesday from hanging out with his girlfriend and cousin in Brooklyn Park.

Before he knew to be terrified, Thomas, who has autism, found himself flying over his handlebars and writhing on his back on the concrete. Standing over him, he said, were three men armed with an ax, brass knuckles and a gun.

They beat and kicked the 18-year-old while screaming a racial epithet, and they ordered him to strip naked, he told police. Then they robbed him of everything he had, including his Air Jordans, blue jeans and shirt. Police said Thomas has a mental capacity of someone 8 to 10 years old.

"They were saying stuff like, 'We hate the president; we're gonna kill the president, his wife and his kids,'" Thomas recalled from his front stoop Friday, his left eye puffy and discolored. "They said every black person that comes through our park, we're gonna kick their butt. We don't like black people, period."


Posted by: Laurie on September 26, 2009 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

NYC and FRP,

The silence that follows an atrocity like this speakes volumes. I live near Pittsburgh, and the contrast is stunning. All of the resources of the federal and state governments are deployed to meet "left wing" protests (most, certainly not all, were peaceful)at the G20 summit, while little is done to deal with right wing groups. Right-wing talk show hosts like G. Gordon Liddy have advocated violence (shoot a federal agent in the head, and not the chest) have espoused violence for decades. Is it because these groups are well-armed (gun sales are up 400 percent since January) and well=connectted? I would really like to know the answer to this.

Posted by: Broken Arrow on September 26, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

If there were any justice Beck and Bachmann would go to jail for incitement.

Posted by: Liam J on September 26, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what this country is coming to, I think all this violence is going to cause more, Limbaugh sure tries to highlight what he sees as violence against white people, I guess he has not mentioned the Cracker Barrel incident. I have written to McConnell (about the Census taker) I guess he is the senior repub senator, I have told him I would like to see the repubs arrested for inciting murder, if we all sent him letters & emails perhaps he will come to his senses and speak out (although I doubt it)

Posted by: JS on September 26, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

The officials are using an astonishing level of caution, if you ask me...

Victim is bound, gagged, stripped, noose around the neck, but they're going to hold off on naming it as homicide?


Posted by: Bose on September 26, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK


Right wing groups will create an atmosphere in which some kinds, the most vile, of speech and symbols are banned, much like Nazi symbols, groups, and rallies are banned in Germany. Germans know all to well the bitter harvest that groups like these sow. Right wing groups will then use the "tyrannical" actions of the goverment to goad their followers into committing more and more horrific acts of terror.

Posted by: Broken Arrow on September 26, 2009 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky wrote the handbooks for the understanding of the fomenting mental riots that call themselves reason , but are named anarchy and nihlism by those who are not invited members .
I don't expect anyone to slog through these weighty pieces but it is amazing how direct the upheavals Russia went through during Dostoyevsky's lifetime , and how instructive , illustrative , predictable the social forces were then , and are now .

Posted by: FRP on September 26, 2009 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

It wasn't said here, but on other sites, people were saying that because his feet were touching the ground, it's not a hanging. This is false. Branches bend, ropes stretch, necks stretch.

In addition, you all would be surprised just how many hangings occur with body parts (feet, knees, even buttocks) touching the ground. You just have to put sufficient pressure on the ligature to cause death via compression of large neck vessels. It is rare to find an "execution-style" hanging in which cervical vertebrae are fractured due to sudden deceleration from a height. People often simply put the rope around their neck, bend their knees and slump down.

This is is no way meant to imply he committed suicide. He didn't. This is a homicide, pure and simple. The authorities are being careful because the wingnuts will start screaming as soon as the cause and manner of death are released.

Posted by: Steve on September 26, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh sure tries to highlight what he sees as violence against white people

Speaking of which, as I live in St.Louis which is near Belleville Il, I was informed yesterday of a protest rally being held there this weekend by a group of white supremacists who expected a national showing of "white power" over the school bus incident. The white kid who was attacked has even come out and said it wasn't racially motivated, but no matter for Limbaugh and the rest of these folks.

Posted by: oh my on September 26, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

"Here's hoping" indeed. The "yes if not no" nature of modern editorial journalism will ensure a reasoned, moderate, rational reaction of no reaction so long the violence is waged against nobodies like Sparkman and Tiller. But let someone leave a bag of flaming boo boo at Dean Broder's front door and we'll hear calls for martial law.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 26, 2009 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

well, big goddamned deal that his feet were touching the ground. he was a middleaged man with health issues; terrified, bound and gagged -- who clearly was in no physical condition to remain standing for days until he was dicovered.

he had a noose around his neck. he was hanged.

that county should be flooded with agents -- just like the 1200 militarized cops mobilized to descend on that l.a. neighborhood this past week.

r.i.p. mr sparkman; and may your tormentors be haunted for eternity.

Posted by: linda on September 26, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

I've lived in KY since the early 90's and know quite a bit about eastern KY. I know plenty of people there that are good people. I also know the ignorance, poverty, crime, and hatred as well.

But this is shocking. In this day and age a man brutalized and murdered like this simply over his occupation and perceived political leanings? What else could it be? I agree with an earlier post that this isn't some sort of cover-up for a different type of crime. To go to the lengths the perpetrators did to identify him as a 'fed' speaks volumes.

I am ashamed to say I live in KY. And if I was this man's family, I would raising holy hell about this and take it straight to the top, to the the people that have been yelling fire in a crowded theater; stoking this hatred and undercurrent of violence.

In a civilized and decent society this would be dealt with swiftly and without prejudice. The fact that right wing celebrities can continue to foment this inevitable violence is a blight on our society. Even worse are the republicans that are silent. Their silence speaks louder than words.

Posted by: citizen_pain on September 26, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Welcome to scorched earth politics.

Posted by: Spokesman For The American Oligarchy on September 26, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

I believe the right-wing response to this sort of thing is: We can't be held responsible for the actions crazy people; however, the actions of this lone crazy person are indicative of how fed up the American people are with their government. Didn't Glenn Beck go on O'Reilly's show after one of those right-wing terrorist incidents, saying the government is stealing the people's freedoms/money/bodily fluids so it's understandable they would resort to violence, prompting Bill O'Reilly to suggest he may need to take a step or two back?

Posted by: ibid on September 26, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth . . . about 15 years ago, I had Eastern KY as part of my sales territory and traveled from county seat to county seat. I still remember being in Manchester, the seat of Clay County, and being warned by my customers not to go driving around the area willy-nilly. They said the marijuana growers were prone to shoot first and ask questions later. I have no idea what happened to poor Mr. Sparkman, but the above leaped into my mind immediately when I saw the location of the murder.

Posted by: Mickey on September 26, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

"His feet touching the ground" - that is the signature sign of a torture hanging. Not that it's "nice" anyway, but "legal" hangings require the body to drop so death comes quickly, from either broken neck or other sudden disabling of breathing. This tells us something, about the vileness of those responsible (and casts even more of a shadow on those, like Bachmann, Boortz and Beck - the three B-oobs? - that whip up hatred and paranoia against the Census.)

And please Steve, not muddled descriptions of being hung from a tree but not "hung from a tree" because he just wasn't "dangling." And with the ID on his forehead? - yeah, not just angry moonshiners from "Deliverance" or methlabbers, or cannabis farmers etc.

BTW, is the Media covering this much? What are they saying? They should be covering the Gale Norton investigation too, not just ACORN.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 26, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously this was a suicide. He was probably a self-loathing federal worker, so he walked deep into the forest, scrawled "FED" on his chest, hanged himself, then quickly managed to bind his hands and feet before expiring.

Posted by: garnash on September 26, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK


Looks to me he was game for the local backwoods drug gower/traffickers. They toyed with him, hung him and simply didn't tie off the rope once they were done with him.

Whole thing is tragic, and while I don't think it is directly census related, it must be highlighted and shown that deliberate heightening of hatred towards government has real consequences

Posted by: Simp on September 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Simp, Mickey ...(garnash obviously sarcastic) - I take your interpretations as being sincere, but think: does it really make sense for cynical criminals, just out to protect their offbeat business model and rationally desiring not to bring attention to themselves, to take down a Census worker schlub with all that fanfare? Those people have more to lose (with "an operation" involving resources and facilities that need to be kept under wraps) than do militia type extremists, who can do things and blend back into their "ordinary" identities with few operational complications.

Census workers don't normally give a crap about weird goings on, and they approach people through normal channels AFAIK. They don't sneak into woods or check odd little gardens or buildings, etc. No, that just isn't a likely interpretation. Everything suggests (which is enough for our assessment, not a *trial* of an individual) that this is a crime motivated by hatred of the Census. And that hatred thrives because of paranoid fear against such agencies whipped up by enablers of domestic terrorism as named above, and others.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 26, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

According to two sources within the KBI, Sparkman stumbled onto a meth lab and was killed because "that's what they do with you when you're in the wrong place."

Posted by: John Q Public on September 26, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Neil B - I don't disagree with your points. There is a good chance that this will turn out to be motivated by anti-government madness. However, it is valid to consider that this area was "dangerous for strangers" as far back as the late 80's/early 90's. I traveled various parts of rural America at that time, in addition to eastern Kentucky - north and east Texas, eastern Indiana, central Pennsylvania, western Maryland, central Tennessee - and in no other place did I receive a specific warning from the locals like I did in Clay County, KY.

Posted by: Mickey on September 26, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, he may have been in the wrong place, I mention that in my earlier comment. However, why scrawl "Fed" on the body? Where does that come from? And why not just bury the body?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 26, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

It is conceivable that Sparkman was at the wrong place at the wrong time AND the noose and markings were designed as decoy. The wingnuts have certainly fomented the perfect environment to take the bait.

Posted by: Chopin on September 26, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Drug dealers or local criminals would never have made such a public law enforcement target of themselves. If poor Mr. Sparkman came upon a hidden field or lab, he'd have disappeared (in James Dickey's words) "Somewhere. Anywhere... NOWHERE!"

Posted by: blitzen on September 26, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

John Q Public, did you get that claim from http://macsmind.blogspot.com/2009/09/bill-sparkman-was-republican.html? I suppose you did, since the same wording is nowhere else AFAICT on the Internet. The BO, "MacRanger" does not actually show any such evidence. He links to a NYT piece, which says no such thing. Below I repeat my response to him:

Interesting, but the NYT article does not mention any FBI sources about that, just quoting some agents who say such things do happen around there, etc. Here's their relevant quote:

Although anti-government sentiment was one possibility in the death, some in law enforcement also cited the prevalence of drug activity in the area -- including meth labs and marijuana fields -- although they had no reason to believe there was a link to Sparkman's death.

''Now they're taking their meth lab operations into the rural, secluded areas,'' the sheriff said. ''We've had complaints in the area, but not that particular location.''

That doesn't equate to what you said about sources. You shouldn't write as if sources said something, unless you have the goods. Do you?

However, MacRanger does claim the proximity of a known meth lab, to the murder site. But I notice, the "meth lab" meme is spreading in the right-wing blogosphere - nice, blame drug-using hippie/rednecks to take the heat off right-wing inciters of domestic terrorism.

Posted by: N e i l B ! on September 26, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how far back the fear of census takers goes? For what it's worth, I remember voiced suspicion and concern among the adult residents of the hooverville where I grew up. They were mostly Kentucky-Tennessee-Missouri natives stranded in the industrial north by the Great Depression. I was 9 years old during the 1940 census year and I clearly remember such talk. My Canadian mother dismissed it as "hillbilly foolishness" and my father, under her civilizing influence, seemed to agree. But the talk was real, of that I have no doubt, and the hostility palpable. Years later my mother attributed it to a transplanted fear of "revenoors," or revenue agents, because most of our neighbors came from a bootlegger culture common to the old border states.

Posted by: buddy66 on September 26, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

If there were any justice Beck and Bachmann would go to jail for incitement.

At the very least, they should be on the receiving end of a wrongful death suit from Mr. Sparkman's relatives.

And Bachmann should be censured - if not investigated - by her colleagues. She did, after all, take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Guess where that pesky census that troubles her so resides? Article One, Section Two of the Constitution! Maybe she's confused because that section calls for an "enumeration" and her lips got tired trying to sound that out. But it seems grotesquely clear on the face of it that her incendiary remarks on this subject violate her oath of office.

Haven't these cocksuckers done enough damage to our republic? At what point are there consequences for this?

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on September 26, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Right-Wing Census Paranoia


There are many unanswered questions about the tragic hanging death of Bill Sparkman, a US Census Bureau employee, in rural Kentucky. But one thing is clear. Right-Wing leaders like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and media outlets like Fox News have whipped up hysteria and paranoia over the 2010 Census.

Mr. Sparkman's untimely demise may or may not have been the doing of an anti-government fanatic, but it’s clear that the Right is creating an environment that is hostile to Census workers and the Constitutionally-mandated Census.

A steady stream of conspiracy talk by Beck, Bachmann, and others on Fox News has legitimized and propelled conspiracy theories among many everyday Americans who are now terrified of their own government. Talk of rounding up dissidents into concentration camps and nefarious plots by ACORN to steal Congress has fed anti-government sentiment, which could boil over at any moment.

This should be an important wake-up call to those national outlets that have employed fear in pursuit of ratings.

Here is a video compilation of recent Fox News coverage of the 2010 Census -- featuring Beck and Bachmann among others -- along with three amateur YouTube videos created by Americans who fear the Census.

Posted by: pay attention on September 26, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hatred of the Census also feeds conservative doubts about the legitimacy of government and elected officials. If they can convince right-militants that the Census cheated to help Democrats win elections (and disperse Federal funds), then the militants will be enabled in not respecting the authority of elected officials.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 26, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Many years ago, I was a subscriber to the Washington Monthly because I was a liberal and trusted the WM to provide rational liberal information. This current hysterical attack on free speech is a clear repudiation of bedrock liberal principle and a major departure from the rational standing of the WM.

Posted by: Don Kosloff on September 26, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Don Kosloff, "where to begin." First, maybe you confuse criticism of some speech and its consequences, with using force to suppress the speech. No, it isn't - indeed, part of free speech is the criticism of other speech! Also, Steve Benen didn't and hasn't (AFAICT) advocated suppressing these demagogues, he just criticizes them in the manner I defended.

Some of the commenters want to interfere, but there is always a variety of opinions in such fora - you know that. Also there are subtle distinctions between government censorship and private litigation, and between forbidding content versus requirements for users of "the public airwaves" etc. And, don't you look at right-wing sites, and see the militant attacks on liberals there?

No, WaMo didn't leave you, you left it.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ on September 26, 2009 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

(Interesting, Don Kosloff "the liberal" presumably (the same) wrote this in 2007 at http://rbergmann.blogspot.com/2007/02/when-will-auto-deathsinjuries-be-taken.html:

Don Kosloff said...

Newspapers spend most of their efforts attacking safe nuclear power, law-abiding citizens who own guns, people trying to execute brutal murderers, people who make legal campaign contributions, the American troops protecting us in the war against terrorism, and other personal bogeymen while they generally ignore what really kills people. Then they wonder why more isn't done about the things that they generally ignore. Of course the ultimate irony is that many of the things and people that they attack are actually saving lives. It is a good thing that people who write for newspapers didn't try to become rocket scientists.
8:42 AM, March 09, 2007

Sounds like your basic dittohead to me, and other remarks out there are similar. Don, the Internets, the Internets!)

Posted by: Neil B ♫ on September 26, 2009 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

It sounds like to me that Sparkman was detained somewhere else and taped and gagged before he was taken to the cemetery. The man who found him says Sparkman's clothes were in the bed of his truck which was nearby the body and that the tail gate was down. Also, it seems strange that he was nude except for his socks unless he may have been sexually abused. It's all sort of crazy. Too, I wonder if this crime could have been done at night or was there some type outdoor light in the cemetery? Probably not if it was really a remote area.

I just hope these people are caught and tell us all we need to know about their motives for this horrible crime against an innocent man.

Posted by: Al Brat. on September 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for posting the earlier accurate comment that I posted. I notice that you provided not a shred of evidence that anything that I posted was inaccurate. You just did the standard name calling. That is a current neo-liberal practice that I always avoided while I was a liberal. You may want to consider what Voltaire said about free speech, "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it." You have certainly strayed a long ways from that noble sentiment.

Posted by: Don Kosloff on September 27, 2009 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

I bet Bachman killed him herself. She's been looking . . . younger, and, somehow, more . . . vital, ya know?

Someone should kill all the damn christianist priests for this! Who's with me?! Here, grab this pitchfork . . . .

Posted by: bobby b on September 27, 2009 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Well, they just should NOT take the Census in these areas.

They should just SKIP the Congressional districts of every single Republican, and especially those in the South and in Appalachia.


California needs the extra seats.

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 27, 2009 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

Don K,

You bear false witness. First, I did rebut your claim, without name-calling then, that we were for censorship. I noted that few of us, especially not the OP Steven Benen, called for censorship. I carefully explained that criticism of speech is not suppression of speech. That is something to see, I can’t and won’t provide statistics but neither did you - *and remember*, it is the job of the accuser to evidence his point, not the defender or skeptic to prove the accuser wrong!

Also, you seem to conflate your post here with the one I quoted, but I did rebut the one here. I quoted the other one (many are similar) to challenge your claim to be a liberal, not to argue the points in your comment elsewhere. (Can’t you tell the difference between finding an example that makes a point by its existence, versus arguing the points within it?) Your final quote is a noble one, but disingenuous and pompous given that we, overall, are not failing Voltaire’s sentiment. Last, neither I nor most of us here are “neoliberals.” Many of us despise that crew for kissing up too much to the power elites, globalism and interventionism, etc.

Don, I see you are very suited for a job writing for National Review!. But you still have the right to hang around here - it just isn’t your crowd (indeed!) and likely never was, despite your claims.

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on September 27, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, by all means, let us wait several months for an investigation to pass before we generate any publicity about this act of terrorism.

The media does not give a shit about anything that happened three months ago. Short of a video of Bachman having sex with the corpse, this story is already being swept under the rug, with the help of hand-wringing "he wasn't technically hung" nonsense from Steve Benen.

Posted by: inkadu on September 27, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Um, how is criticizing hateful speech that incites violence against others censorship?

We're not saying any of them should be censored or locked up or silenced in any way-- we're saying that the language they are using has consequences and that they should bear some responsibility for their rhetoric. It's like criticizing someone who yelled "fire!" in a crowded theatre that resulted in deaths from a stampede. Denouncing them is the very least we can do and has little to do with violating their free speech rights. What are we supposed to do, applaud them? Stand around and say "well, everyone has a right to believe what they want, even if those beliefs lead to the violent torture and murder of a census worker."

I find it very hard to believe Don K. was ever a "liberal."

Posted by: zoe kentucky on September 27, 2009 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to the Patriot Act and its many extensions tucked away in omnibus bulls, you'd have to be a moron to doubt that every last bit of your census response is going straight to the police state to be furiously datamined. And don't give me any of this confidentiality shit. Murder is wrong but paranoia is adaptive now.

Posted by: sly hicks on September 27, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sly hicks, just do remember under whose watch that PA and so forth got started. And we're not naive, mindless supporters of Obama or the government (although I'd like to see more criticism of Obama here, not just at AlterNet etc.)

Posted by: Neil B ♪♫ on September 27, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I just completed my assignment for the Census bureau and it was the first job where I was actually afraid for my life. That was even before I heard about this poor man in Kentucky. Why do people have to be uncooperative with me when I am just trying to do my job to pay my bills? If you don't like our country and our government, then why do you still live here? Leave, for pete's sake so those of us who are happy here do not have to live in fear.

Posted by: Karen on September 27, 2009 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"What are we supposed to do, applaud them? Stand around and say 'well, everyone has a right to believe what they want, even if those beliefs lead to the violent torture and murder of a census worker.'"

No applause is required, but no true liberal could ever ask the second question. In a liberal society everyone does, indeed, have an absolute right to believe what they want. They also have a duty and broad right to advocate those beliefs. Those are liberal beliefs that I retain, but which seem to be disappearing from the thought process of those who call themselves liberals today.

Another characteristic of a liberal society is that members of that society wait until a criminal is identified (at a minimum) before sentence is pronounced on others who are unrelated to the crime. It is not beliefs that result in the violent torture (as opposed to non-violent torture) and murder of people, it is the decision by a person or persons to carry out such acts.

Posted by: Don Kosloff on September 27, 2009 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK


In my September 27, 1:41 am post, I was commenting on the post wherein you posted the accurate comment that I had posted in 2007. That is why I thanked you for posting my 2007 comment. You still have not refuted any part of that 2007 post.

I will respond to your immediately previous comment later. Sorry, I don't have time for that now.

But I did, indeed, leave the Washington Monthly. Unfortunately, I don't recall the specific reason. During the years that I subscribed to WM, I also sent gift subscriptions to the magazine to many people.

Posted by: Don Kosloff on September 27, 2009 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like something that Beck or Limbaugh might have encouraged.

Posted by: Doug on September 27, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Analyzed logically, the hysterical innuendo coming from the left over this man’s death is simply a confession of the left's intellectual bankruptcy -- that is, it's a confession that they have no actual, valid, logical arguments to support Obama's fascist attempts to obliterate our few remaining freedoms -- they are reduced, instead, to attacking the character of those opposing Obama's power-grab.

Lacking valid arguments, they have nothing left but various appeals to emotion: "The right is stupid! The right is racist! The right is violent!" These are all Argumentum ad Hominem fallacies.

Even if it were true that every person on the right is a racist who harbors a secret desire to kill government workers, this would not refute their arguments against, for instance, Obama's healthcare power-grab. Proving that a man's character is vile does not refute his arguments. It’s one of the oldest and lamest fallacies on record.

This is simple high-school level logical analysis -- but the left is incapable of even this as they abandoned reason long ago.

The right is correctly pointing out that Obama's entire agenda is fascist to the core. Fascism is socialism without the nationalization of property. Fascism maintains the pretense of private property, but grants the government totalitarian power to dictate what must be done with that property. Fascism is the end of individual rights and liberty.

Take, for instance, the so-called “individual mandate” that Obama is pushing under the guise of healthcare “reform“. It would require, under penalty of jail time, that all individuals purchase government-approved health insurance. So the pretense of private property is retained -- government is not going to seize your money or your property -- they are merely going to have totalitarian power to dictate how you spend it.

This, of course, is not the only fascist proposal on the table, and Republicans have been guilty of the same thing. The law signed by President Bush that dictates what light bulbs we can burn is blatantly fascist.

But the Republicans were pikers compared to the fascism being pushed by Obama -- and it constitutes a brazen attempt to snuff out the last of our individual rights. Nothing justifies the notion that one man -- or the government -- can violate the property rights of another man by dictating how he must use and dispose of his property.

Americans are starting to assert a basic truth they've ignored for too long -- namely, that our lives and the fruits of our labor belong to each of us individually, not to society, not to the government, and not to any band of power-lusting thugs that deceives their way into power.

Posted by: Michael Smith on September 28, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

all good things

Posted by: Globals on October 2, 2009 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

What everyone has failed to recognize is that the investigators have not been able to rule on the unnatural cause of death because they were already aware of the unusual behavior before his death.

Given how unusual this behavior is it is easy to imagine his death could have been an accident or murder. The ideal that is was suicide is ridiculous though, at least without assistance.

If you're asking how they already knew of the census worker before his death look at the rash of terrorism arrests lately and the evidence that led to these arrests. Law enforcement doesn't get the kind of tips that led them to put heightened surveillance on these types of characters; rather they snared it in a huge dragnet of which all the data is warehoused in perpetuity in several locations. They then look for interesting activities in these databases. What you are doing is entertaining to some (OK, a lot of them) of them now but not currently not the focus of their mission. Maybe it will be later. Think NSA. Think Echelon. Think surveillance that would make the author pine for the quaint, quiet, and private world he created in 1984.

Or it could be that I'm just paranoid ;-)

Posted by: Echo on October 3, 2009 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I enjoyed the read but if you smoke marijuana and find that you are becoming tired and de motivated and you do not want to quit using marijuana. Try vaporizing your marijuana and you will get more a of a clean headed high buzz.

Like tobacco, marijuana smoke contains toxins that are known to be hazardous to the respiratory system. Among them are the highly carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, a prime suspect in cigarette-related cancers. These toxins are essentially a byproduct of combustion, separate from the pharmaceutically active components of marijuana, known as cannabinoids, which include THC. When you burn marijuana it produces quite a lot of tar. Pipes and joints generally do not have proper filters. Bongs are not the answer, because you inhale concentrated smoke.

The vaporizer certainly reduces the level of tar. You will not have to worry about the harmful carcinogens your body is absorbing when you inhale marijuana smoke.

I will suggest 2 places that I use the first one is Legal Bud!

The second suggestion I have is Gass City!

Posted by: Nick Sommers on October 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Don't for get to get your free 3 bag of legal herb here


Posted by: immifydaf on October 6, 2009 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

I've read in my local paper today that authorities are getting closer to solving this case. Since then, I've read a lot of blogs and ended up on this one.

Yes, a lot of violence takes place in this country as result of political pundits flapping their jaws day and night on radio and TV. I prefer to call them agitators. Plain and simple, these agitators get payed for stirring up gullible people.

Some of the posts further up have cited numerous violent episodes. Because these agitators play to the emotions of a fringe element of our society, the life of the President is threatened on an average of 4 times a day ... an escalated average of former Presidents. This is scary considering we never know when a loose cannon is going to act on the misinformation perpetually drummed by cable/radio agitators.

It is totally unacceptable in American society to allow these mouth-thugs to incite the violence they orchestrate on a daily basis to make a buck.

Posted by: Captain Clue on October 28, 2009 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds as if several of you are out for blood . . . hate-mongers, in truth! I'm curious to see what you will post if this person's death does, in fact, end up being ruled a suicide.

Posted by: Siente on November 5, 2009 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

It's official, Sparkman committed suicide to further an insurance scam.

Apologize, NOW.

Posted by: Chris R on November 24, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK



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