Robert Stacy McCain reminds us that nobody really knows why Bill Sparkman was killed. In a way it fails to matter, because Sparkman’s death has set off a series of debates about the Census that needed to be brought into the open. If it turns out that Sparkman died at the hands of an unReconstructed hillbilly who thought he was after the ‘shine or the weed, or an illegal immigrant fearing exposure to la migra, the questions about the Census will remain before us anyway.

The Census can ask any questions it wants, but if they don’t realize that intrusion into private affairs generates resentment they’re a gang of fools. The Census questions had already moved ‘way beyond what was necessary to enumerate eligible voters for apportionment of the Representatives a century ago, and there has always been resentment. As they questions get more and more detailed and more and more invasive, the resentment and obstructionism grows. Doesn’t anybody at the Bureau notice that? I’d have thought it was a workplace safety issue SEIU should address. Damn, guys, you want me to ask that? You’re insane! The b*ds will run me out if they don’t kill me!

Sneer at “conspiracy theories” all you want, but hiring ACORN to do the census was at minimum a massive PR failure. Even its proponents don’t believe it ever intended to do anything resembling a fair count, and for many of them that’s not a bug, it’s a feature, and they say so right out loud. People not sympathetic to ACORN feel differently.

Minority groups are right to protest. All that demographic data being collected is the world’s biggest exercise in “profiling” — that’s what it’s for!

A possible bandaid would be to make the intrusive demographic questions optional. The first few questions should be clearly intended for the Constitutional purpose of determining apportionment of the Representatives — how many eligible voters are here? Objectors could simply decline to answer the rest of them, and that might bring some of them back on board.