Thursday, September 24, 2009

Strange Fruit

Minnesota Republican Congressperson Michele Bachmann has been making a national name for herself by openly resisting 2010 US census efforts, warning the countryside from her split screen at FoxNews about the evil designs of the US Census Bureau.

BACHMANN: "If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps. I’m not saying that’s what the Administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private, personal information that was given to the census bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up."

Got that?  She's not sayin', she's just sayin'.  And now this weasely populist demagoguery has likely gotten a good man killed.

The FBI is investigating whether anti-government sentiment led to the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the word 'fed" was scrawled on the dead man's chest.

The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the death was a killing or a suicide, and if a killing, whether the motive was related to his government job or to anti-government sentiment....

Any bets about how that investigation turns out?  This much we know. One cannot present dark conspiracy theories about census bureau field workers in particular, or our federal government in general, from a platform like FoxNews and expect to be considered a productive public servant, let alone a responsible legislator.

This was Bill Sparkman --

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Georgia On My Mind

As Tea Party conservatives passionately demand their country "back," it remains a relatively abstract and unclear point to many others.

Meanwhile, amid the historical revisionism and fevered conspiracy theories emanating from these rallies we also find alot of flags including, but hardly limited to, our Stars and Stripes.  For example, the marginally familiar yellow Gadsden flag with its snake graphic and "Don't Tread On Me" motto and the slightly more familiar Confederate battle flag.

Considering the latter and the controversy it has continued to generate, it is well worth remembering that as recently as the turn of the century Georgia's state flag included the Confederate battle flag in its design.

The state ultimately acquiesced to concerns over the display of such a potent and polarizing symbol of historic violent separatism by adopting a new and improved flag design...


...which will not look at all like the more familiar Confederate battle flag to the casual consumer of historical trivia.  But it strongly resembles the original Confederate flag nevertheless.

Say what you will about these latter day separatists, they know their history and they know how to use it.