Saturday, September 26, 2009

'Southern populist terrorism'
UPDATED: Send me to Kentucky?


ORIGINAL 6:50 p.m.: A Harvard diploma qualifies Andrew Sullivan to conduct investigative journalism in Kentucky from his beach home in Provincetown, Mass., or perhaps from his pied-a-terre in D.C.:
If this was a revenge murder for stumbling upon a meth lab or pot plantation, it’s hard to understand why such a big deal would be made out of his census identification card. It’s possible, I suppose, that anger at the feds in general could make a drug dealer murder a census worker. But the most worrying possibility – that this is Southern populist terrorism, whipped up by the GOP and its Fox and talk radio cohorts – remains real.
Via Alberto Hurtado at Southern Appeal, and thanks to the anonymous tipster. I will refrain from comment at this time, as Alabama is busy whuppin' the ever-lovin' hawgs#*t out of Arkansas. Roll, Tide, Roll!

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: Alabama 35, Arkansas 7, with Crimson Tide QB McElroy completing 17/24 for 291 yds and 3 TDs, including a shwwwweet razzle-dazzle to Julio Jones. Alabama's win in its SEC opener at Tuscaloosa was the 10th consecutive home-field victory for the Tide, now 4-0 and ranked No. 3 nationally.

That's what's called reporting, as opposed to the prejudiced Ivy League elitist speculations of Andrew Sullivan. The following is also reporting, datelined from Big Creek, Ky.:
It was a bizarre and gruesome discovery in a remote section of eastern Kentucky: Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old teacher and part-time worker for the United States Census, was found two weeks ago hanging from a tree with the word "Fed" scrawled on his chest in felt tip pen.
A man who said he was among those who found the body told tells the Associated Press that Sparkman was naked, bound at the hands and feet with duct tape and gagged - details that have not yet been confirmed by authorities.
Jerry Weaver of Ohio told the Associated Press he was visiting a cemetery in rural Kentucky with family members on Sept. 12 when he, his wife and daughter saw the body.
"The only thing he had on was a pair of socks," Weaver said. "And they had duct-taped his hands, his wrists. He had duct tape over his eyes, and they gagged him with a red rag or something.
"He was murdered," Weaver said. "There's no doubt."
Weaver said the body was about 50 yards from a 2003 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck.

OK, this is evidently murder in Kentucky, not suicide. Motive unknown. Big Creek, Ky., is a 500-mile drive from here. I could easily drive it in eight hours. I had plans to attend an event Sunday in Virginia, and had expected to go to D.C. this coming week to follow up on the latest IG-Gate developments.

However, if my readers would prefer me to teach Andrew Sullivan a lesson in journalism, feel free to hit the tip jar. Figure 1,200 miles travel round-trip, at 25 cents per mile, that's $300. Five meals at $5/each, that's another $25. A carton of smokes, $50; ten cups of coffee, $20. If you add $125/night for a hotel room, I could make it a two-day trip for $500.

C'mon, readers, you want me to put some shoe leather on this story, or what? If this is really "Southern populist terrorism," who better than me to get the scoop? So if the tip jar contributions between now and Sunday evening reach $300, I'll take it for granted that the rest will come through while I'm on the road. I could be filing reports with a Kentucky dateline by Monday noon.

UPDATE 10:03 P.M: Just wanted to apologize to co-blogger Smitty. In bumping for the update, not realizing what time he had scheduled his own next post, I accidentally jumped right on top of his report (with photos) from today's Green Tea Party in D.C.

What infuriates me about Andrew Sullivan, if I may elaborate, is his arrogant laziness, an insult to hard-working people who actually do reporting (or half-way decent blogging, for that matter).

Do you suppose that Sully might do a Google search, find the phone number of the appropriate law enforcement authorities in Kentucky, and make a freaking phone call? Well, if you suppose such a thing, you suppose too much.

"Hi, this is Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic Monthly," is a phrase that no law enforcement officer in Kentucky will ever hear, because Sully's too damned important to be bothered with doing any actual reporting. So much more easy to sit in front of your laptop and tell us What It Means, as if you're the only person who can pull a theory out of thin air.

Sigh. Here, I'll let William Jacobson take over a while:

Think Progress, which never met a fact it couldn't twist, blames Michelle Bachmann's expressions of concerns over the intrusive nature of the Census for the death. Steve Benen at Washington Monthly spreads the blame around to Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Neil Boortz. While acknowledging that there is no real proof of anything, Benen ends with the transparently false hope "that their reckless and irresponsible rhetoric did not have deadly consequences."

Sparkman is dead, evidently murdered. This we know. What we don't know, we don't know, and until we do know, how about everybody grab a fresh hot cup of STFU?

If it turns out that Sparkman was lynched by the Clay County Glenn Beck Palinista Wing Nut Militia, OK. If it turns out he was murdered by dope growers or 'shiners, OK. If it turns out he was murdered for perverse motives by some toothless inbred banjo-picker who thought Sparkman bore a fetching resemblance to Ned Beatty, OK.

But if you're not going to do any reporting, Andrew, your baseless speculation about the Sparkman murder is as far from actual journalism as your idiotic obstetric theorizing about Trig Palin.

BTW, No. 5 Penn State 10, Iowa 5, with 13:24 left in the third quarter. That's a fact.

UPDATE 10:14 p.m.: (Smitty)
Whip me, flog me, deliver the abuse I crave.

UPDATE 12:01 p.m. RSM: Two phone calls, about an hour's worth of research and writing -- being an honest-to-God reporter isn't exactly rocket science, if you aren't hindered by an Ivy League education and elitist snobbery.


  1. "it’s hard to understand why such a big deal would be made out of his census identification card."

    Who is making the big deal out of this, other than the left blogs?

  2. I blame Andrew Sullivan's irresponsible rhetoric on the terror plot to bomb a republican congressman.

  3. I would say send me. But my car is POS and not safe for long drives.

    Oh Well. Hey RSM! Thanks for the link man. 402 views on just that entry, and that's just today. 230 last night.

    Overall the hits are up. But holy Moses and Aaron... No hate mail or threats....yet! o_O

    Now, if I could just get you to add little ol me to the blogroll... I'd also be interested in a contributor position. I'd work for free. I wouldn't swear over here. You could think of me, as your AllahPundit. :)

    Think about it, I can post the funny videos, break stories when your busy with the kids.

    Think about it. :)


  4. How much more not to come back?

  5. Kejda is back on the soapbox which is her web site, shouting the standard lizardoid line: "So-and-so says an organization you are affiliated with is 'neo-confederate.' EVERYONE knows that means 'racist.' So YOU, sir, must be a RAAAAACIST!"

    So-and-so (this time) is lefty historian James McPherson. (I guess she couldn't find anyone at the Southern Poverty Law Center to answer the phone; perhaps they were all out canvassing for ACORN.)

    The organization? Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

    As "evidence," Kejda cites Wikipedia:

    But Kejda conveniently fails to quote these gems from said wikipedia article:

    "Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have tendered letters of commendation to the SCV and affiliates, as have other members of the United States Congress."


    "In response to this boycott, McPherson stated that he did not mean to imply that all SCV or UDC chapters or anyone who belongs to them promote a white supremacist agenda."

  6. Iteresting that no one in the nedia ever speculated about the political motives of those who burned down Sarah Palin's church while women and children were still in the building. In fact few even reported it.

  7. Sullivan isn't engaged in journalism, investigative or otherwise. He's simply doing what all bloggers do: gossiping about the news he's read.

    Here's your lesson in journalism: Reporters find out what's going on. Reporters write the news, not read it.

    Bloggers just spend their days making copies of what they've seen on other people's web pages.

  8. I hit the tip jar. Hopefully you raise enuff to do this thing.

  9. Andrew Sullivan brings it up a notch:

    26 Sep 2009 12:20 pm

    Malkin Award Nominee
    "I killed the Kentucky Census worker — along with every man and woman in America who is guilty of having said or written anything critical of government. The criminalization of conservatism continues," - Michelle Malkin. Many of the details she pooh-poohs have now been confirmed. In fact, the murder seems even grislier the more you examine it.

    By the way, there is nothing conservative about Southern populism.

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  10. Having lived in Kentucky some 15 years ago, I can tell you that there was already a lot of anti-government sentiment. Many small and part-time farmers grow tobacco and don't like the taxes. But drug producers are more likely. Many people in that sparsely populated area just want to be left alone. There are probably lots of houses where a stranger shouldn't just walk up and knock on the door, especially wearing a federal ID tag.
    Not a condemnation of Kentuckians, though. Most are good, decent, God-fearing, hard-working salt of the earth. But would still rather be left alone by the feds.

  11. My SCV camp participates in such uber-racist things as cleaning up cemetaries, restoring historic homes, and conducting living history exhibits for school children.

  12. Hey Stacy -- you forgot the sawbuck bribe money to tuck into the shirt pocket of the night shift bellhop who was working the back of the house on the night in question.

  13. As a writer and photographer who was born and raised in the South and who has traveled extensively thru the area, I would be shocked if Mr. Sparkman's death was not related to meth labs or other illegal drug activity. The area of Kentucky in which he was found is miserably poor, with 41.9% of the population living below the poverty line. ( Illiteracy, unemployment, alcoholism, and drug addiction are all sadly rampant in this area, as is a general mistrust of people they consider to be outsiders, whether they're government employees or not.

    Illegal drug labs and growing fields are so prevalent in this area of Kentucky, I will no longer venture off the main roads when I travel, no matter how beautiful or intriguing the potential photographs may be. (So be careful when you investigate, Stacy.) Mr. Sparkman's killer(s) probably have no more of an idea who Glenn Beck is than a street vendor in Myanmar would, so the comment by Mark Kleiman that "Glenn Beck very likely has Bill Sparkman’s blood on his tongue and lips" is particularly preposterous.

    I am a Southerner and a conservative and I see no reason to use violence to bring an end to the Left's unpopular agenda when their ignorant and inflammatory comments and speculations will do it for me. Now ya'll shut up.

  14. For pete's sake, McCain. You've got to man up a bit. What real reporter wears tasseled loafers...tasseled loafers doing real investigative reporting?

  15. Anonymous: What real reporter wears tasseled loafers...tasseled loafers doing real investigative reporting?

    I wear loafers because I don't like having to tie my shoes when it's time to go to work. You want me to wear penny loafers?

    BTW, Lewis Grizzard wore tassel loafers. Guccis. With no socks. That is a neutral, objective fact, sir.

  16. I hit the tip jar you'll be able to go at least one day.

  17. Sir
    I am an East Kentucky native of 58 years and live about an hour from Clay County. I am familiar with the hostility toward "outsiders" who are nosy and asking questions that are nobody's business. Usually such episodes result in ordering someone off the property. However, with the rampant drug problems of meth labs, pot growers, drug dealers and bootleggers (still an issue), you have to be careful and know the area you are travelling. I notice that there has been no mention of cock fights and dog fights which are also possibilties in rural Kentucky. Do a Google search. I love my home but I am realistic about the problems. Eastern Kentucky is beautiful and the people are some of the best in the country but there are places you just don't go. You need to be aware of where you are and to exercise judgment. The anti-government feeling is not recent nor is the hostility limited to government. Strangers are generally welcomed. However, anybody that asks intrusive questions is likely to meet verbal hostility at the very least. If you come to Eastern Kentucky, please be aware that the press is frequently the target of hostility for past portrayals of the folks from here.


  18. I am a registered Democrat, however...I am so enthusiastic about healthcare reform, i.e. against Obama's plan that I beg you to print my viewpoint. You have an audience that I do not have. Here is the address:

  19. "By the way, there is nothing conservative about Southern populism."

    Somebody needs to let Andy know that Malkin is neither Southern nor populist, and that there is also nothing conservative about British homosexuals with an obsession for gay marriage.

  20. Naked, bound, and ballgagged? That does not sound like a political killing to me, but more like some kinky sex gone bad.

  21. There are reasons why two weeks plus after the body was discovered, law enforcement still hasn't determined whether it is a homicide, suicide, or accident. So, I would be reluctant to call it a murder.

    Also, enough with the southern bashing. There has only been one murder in this county in 3 years. That is a pretty damn low statistic.

  22. Oh, and for a bunch of ignorant southern hicks [/sarc], the local state police, Post 11, have a very slick, informative web site.