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.