american heroes

Guy On Internet Will Destroy the Census With FOIA Bombs

“Savvy Young Political Journalist” Stephen Robert Morse, who runs the news organization MyTwoCensus.com with Ben Franklin, is only trying to expose all of the crimes being committed by America’s people-counter gulag, the Census Bureau. Doing this important work requires him to file daily Freedom of Information Act requests asking the Bureau for millions of documents. But now the Census people want to charge America’s muckraker “exorbitant prices” for his courageous truth-questing. How will Savvy Stephen obtain justice for this civil rights violation against his blog?

By hosting the “Freedom (of Information) Summer initiative,” which involves making FOIA requests “five times per week throughout the summer.” Si se puede!:

As you already read in a previous post, the Census Bureau’s FOIA staff doesn’t get all that many requests, so I’m going to make them work a bit harder to encourage more government transparency.

The Censusites brought this upon themselves, by refusing to send our journo-blogger “travel records on all Census employee hotel stays for a 14 month period,” ”all records relating to technology systems at the Census Bureau covering a three and a half year period,” “correspondence with various public officials and emails which contained [an] itemized list of 26 profanities,” “all emails between four Census employees during a one week period in February,” “a log of all [previous] requests” and (obviously) “all emails containing ASCII pictures of rabbits.”

After totaling up what locating and sending all this stuff might cost, and which Morse will never be able to read in his lifetime, the Bureau sent him a bill for around $30,000. WRONG ANSWER:

How in god’s name do you expect me to pay these fees? I am working for myself and this site is no longer funded. Journalism organizations are excluded from paying fees, and I only request electronic copies as I don’t believe in wasting paper. It is an insult to have to have $30,000 on hand every time I want to make a request.

Why “in god’s name” does the Census Bureau want to bankrupt Stephen Robert Morse for his patriotic fishing expeditions? They must not have heard that his blog is “currently getting more daily hits than ever,” and is therefore better than the New York Times. [MyTwoCensus]

About the author

Lauri works at the Chicago Reader, and also writes and makes art-pictures for Wonkette. Her creative projects—including a now-defunct blog about finding clothing in the trash and wearing it, and an exhibition of portraits of all 50 Chicago aldermen made by 50 different artists—have been featured by NBC's Today Show, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, BUST Magazine, and other media outlets. She's written things for the Austin Chronicle, Texas Observer, In Pittsburgh Weekly, The Black Table, and other places, and taken photos for various nonprofits, bands, and publications. (She also has a law degree, for some reason.)

View all articles by Lauri Apple
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100 comments

  1. Redhead

    Yeah, “Journalism organizations” aren’t exempt from fees. In fact, quite often (especially among small local towns where the elected officials don’t know anything about government and think they can make up the rules), they have to hire attorneys and go to court to get those documents.

  2. doxastic

    Why does that photo make me feel like he’s watching us all undress through a bathroom window?

  3. JMP

    First Ken with that image in the morning round-up, and now Lauri, are just dropping seemingly random references to rabbits into their posts. Have bunny overlords taken over this place? I just don’t trust those things; bunnies aren’t just cute as everybody supposes, they got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?

  4. x111e7thst

    Maybe one of these days he’ll get laid and then he won’t care about all this FOIA stuff anymore.

  5. KnaveOfDiamonds

    I guess he was not aware of the part of the law that says that the person making the request can be asked to pay a reasonable fee to cover the expenses of collecting the information. He can request a waiver of the fee, though. He can also go to court, which should be hilarious.

  6. Doglessliberal

    Hey, asshole, if you don’t pay for the copies and shipping, guess who would have to?

  7. Oblios Cap

    I agree with Mr. Morse – everytime I go shopping for TVs and get the cash register, I yell indignately “How in god’s name do you expect me to pay for this flat screen TV? I am working for myself!” (ok, that’s a lie, but they don’t know that.) Those damn commies at HH Gregg haven’t taken pity on me yet.

  8. Doglessliberal

    [re=602965]doxastic[/re]: my first thought upon seeing it: “where are his hands…?”

  9. PsycGirl

    The Census Bureau is protecting Morse from himself. They know a “suicide by boredom” plan when they see it.

  10. tencentcomic

    Ain’t it great how these conservative wingnut assholes devote so much energy to try and stop things like the census–which ulitmately benefits even this turd. I guess it’s too much trouble to try and stop bad things that hurt people. I just hope he continues to waste his effort on this crap instead of wandering around Arizona packing heat under his jammie top.

  11. Bubberella

    Press organizations are not exempt from FOIA fees when they make requests that involve more than incidental staff time and copying. I never charged for quick and easy info requests, but if I’ve got to hire temp staff to go through files and copy reams, the requester has to pay the actual cost of doing that.

    Also, that guy’s got a bad case of the douche face.

  12. SayItWithWookies

    [re=602973]Doglessliberal[/re]: He needs all that information for his exposé on how government is wasting our tax dollars by spending too much time on frivolous requests from teabaggers.

  13. Carrabuda

    [re=602968]JMP[/re]: That rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!
    /python

  14. Mad Brahms

    So let me get this straight: he’s protesting what he sees as the government spending money needlessly by… forcing them to spend money fulfilling frivolous FOIA requests? Call the developmental psychologists, self-awareness is passe.

  15. germansteel

    You can all laugh now, but when Michele Bachmann is nominated for president in 2012, guess who’ll be her vice-pres choice? HENNGGHHH? HENNGGHHH?

  16. Monsieur Grumpe

    [re=602969]x111e7thst[/re]:
    I’m guessing this guy has never kissed a girl or boy… or whatever.
    His writing just screams of such whineyness that I hear Ray Ramano’s voice when I read it.

  17. Okie Dokie Dog

    Well I’m glad I read this just to see all the bunnies, plus Bonus!

    I can’t wait to start workn for them Census niggas, imma do my other job while I’m doin that 1 and can’t wait for the police to front lol – per http://twitter.com/SpArXmAdReefa

  18. AuntieLola

    So why does he have three names like a serial killer? I’m not saying he IS a serial killer, I’m just asking a question.

  19. Doglessliberal

    [re=602988]SayItWithWookies[/re]: You know, I am beginning to think “savvy” is not really the right adjective for this young journalist.

  20. Prommie

    [re=602963]chascates[/re]: yes, this sort of flagrant douchebaggery is the trademark of angry angry mr. Breitbart, the anger bear. There is no douchebag on earth like this kind of douchebag, fucktard amatuer lawyers who file endless insane lawsuits, or attend every public meeting and ask the same insane fucktard questions again and again, or who send in insane fucktarded FOIA requests, or who dress up as pimps or telephone repairmen to “sting” people. Fucktarded pigfucker douchebags, the worst kind of douchebag.

  21. Rotundo

    No alt text with “Douchetastic” or something similar? You’re excused as a rookie, but dangit kid, you’re in the big leagues of snark now, get out there and show ‘em how it’s done!

  22. JMP

    [re=602985]Bubberella[/re]: It is a very punchable face.

    [re=602984]tencentcomic[/re]: Some wignut obsessions can make some sense if you try and look at the world from their twisted viewpoint, but I’ve never really understood their big hatred of the census. It’s just counting people, and all they have to do is fill in a simple form, that’s it.

  23. Baldar T Flagass

    [re=602957]ManchuCandidate[/re]: I’m thinking the guy from Dazed and Confused with a haircut.

    “So, you’re not gonna go to law school? What do you wanna do then?”
    “I wanna dance!”

  24. lissonifan

    I love that this great mission on behalf of his fellow taxpayers was born “One evening, while perusing Craigslist,” as Morse lets us know on his website. I guess he couldn’t find a trick that night, so he decided to become a real American hero.

  25. x111e7thst

    (An)Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.
    Article 1 Section 2.

    Why do all the teabagging fucktards hate our Constitution?

  26. specialed

    I don’t know why but Beck’s catchy tune Loser is running through my head after reading this article.

  27. Mad Brahms

    [re=602988]SayItWithWookies[/re]: [re=602991]Mad Brahms[/re]: Foiled again! Damn you, wookies.

    [re=603008]JMP[/re]: I think the objection here is that it costs too many Ameros, which could be used on better things, like tax breaks for millionaires or giant phallo-bombs.

  28. Rotundo

    [re=602996]Monsieur Grumpe[/re]: Clearly he is destined to never have sexual contact with another human without an exchange of a substantial amount of money or profound quantities of alcohol and other chemical persuasion agents. I’m thinking he must have routinely had his head inserted into toilets and been pants’ed by non-asshole based life forms.

  29. JooJoo Bee

    If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, so I guess the price of eternal vigilance would be freedom, right? That’s logic, innit? So arrest the fucker.

  30. Prommie

    [re=603020]Mad Brahms[/re]: These are people who hate public roads, for christ’s sake. There’s no fucking “sense,” its just profound, deep stupidity. Oh, and hatefulness, never forget the seething resentment and hatefulness lurking right beneath the surface of each and every single libertarian-tard. They just plain hate the idea of anyone, anywhere, anyhow, getting something for nothing, unless its them.

  31. Mahousu

    That rabbit site should have come with a NSFW warning! Check around a third of the way down the page, where it says “(shhh, don’t tell anyone you saw this here!)”

    No, on second thought, don’t check that.

  32. ArugulaTeleprompterz

    Bit cross-eyed, that one. Makes it hard to read the reams and reams and reams of paper he’s uselessly requesting…

  33. chaste everywhere

    He calls his site “My Two Census”? Dearest Jesus fornicational Christ in Oedipal heavens above.

  34. JamesMichaelCurley

    This will make all the right wingnuts happy. First, cancel the census. Next, in ten years tell them the population went down because all the illegal immigrants left the country (can’t count them – can’t find them). Third, savings on the census and benefits to illegal immigrants nets $1.25 on their taxes over a ten year period.

  35. DoktorZoom

    [re=603016]x111e7thst[/re]: But, but, but, you see, the Constitution only provides for an enumeration, not for all of them socialist nosy questions about race and home ownership and how many flush toilets we have, which is the sort of government intrusion that the NWO will use to put all Patriots into concentration camps. If the Founding Fathers wanted anything more than a simple head count, they’d have included language allowing Congress to set up the Census “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

    These are the same folks who seem to forget that the phase “well-regulated” doesn’t appear in the Second Amendment.

  36. weejee

    The douche should remember Miriam before fucking around too much with those numerating censusers. The $30K may seem less a problem than the face-off.

  37. Oblios Cap

    [re=603021]Rotundo[/re]:

    I’m not sure that substantial amounts of money or profound quantities of alcohol and other chemical persuasion agents would enable him to have sexual contact with another human or most other forms of animal life.

    Well, maybe K-Lo would tag it.

  38. coolcatdaddy

    Sigh. I’ll be glad when the economy picks up and all those right-wingnut “journalists” can crawl out of their mom’s basement and get a real job at KFC where they belong.

  39. norbizness

    He looks like Jonathan Silverman if a small black hole developed in the middle of his cranium and the sides of his head started falling towards the center.

  40. Gorillionaire

    Why doesn’t he just make a bunch of shit up or chop up some video to make his point, just like the other wingtard douchebags. Too much effort?

  41. Rotundo

    [re=603062]Oblios Cap[/re]: And he would never, ever wash “down there” again. Talk about unleashing a disaster…

  42. Freedom McAwesomePants

    You know what? Go ahead and let him do this. Let them not fill out their census forms. Let them not be counted. That way the federal dollars and representation can go to the people in this country who aren’t f*cking batsh*t insane. Just wait until they lose Representatives because of it, then let the sh*t hit the fan.

  43. Katydid

    [re=602968]JMP[/re]: I’m off to claim whatswithallthecarrots.com for my very own. Thank you, JMP.

  44. Katydid

    [re=603030]Prommie[/re]:
    They just plain hate the idea of anyone, anywhere, anyhow, getting something for nothing, unless its them.

    Fixed.

  45. Adversary153

    I love it when these Conservo bloggers want to expose “Waste and Inefficiencies” in the government by causing waste and inefficiencies to provide unnecessary information to them.

  46. Manos: Hands of Fate

    How about we get this little prick to agree that in return for elminating the census, we just use demographers’ estiminations of what our actual population make-up is. (of course this means way more browns and Democratic voters, but I think we all live with that).

  47. Maus

    “emails which contained [an] itemized list of 26 profanities”

    What the fuck is it where conservatives claim to be pro-military but get “the vapors” whenever anyone cusses around them? I mean, even the “grizzly moms” tut-tut whenever their delicate ears hear something sour.

  48. DemmeFatale

    [re=603011]Radiotherapy[/re]: Alan Cumming is WAY better looking than that! I heart him!
    (And yes, I know he’s gay.)

    Geez Stevie, it’s like looking at your reflection in the back of a spoon.

  49. JMP

    [re=603185]Maus[/re]: Hell, they even through a pretend fit for Obama saying “ass”. Note to fainting prudes, “ass”, “hell” and “damn” are no actual curses, you can even say them on prime time TV.

  50. Tundra Grifter

    The site states “Run by a team of professional political journalists, MyTwoCensus is the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 Census!” So it must be true!

    Meanwhile, what other Census are they talking about? I didn’t know there were Two!

  51. Beetletheknee

    [re=603074]Traveler[/re]: Bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies! Or maybe midgets. I wonder if the census has any data on how many of those are available and what kind of fees that would cost.

  52. desertwind

    “…the site is no longer funded.”

    Yeah. Well, I’m sending you a FOIA request (by brainwave) to details on who originally funded your site.

    I’ll pay you $.30. Take it or leave it.

  53. acommenter

    Comment on that blog thread suggest he try ambushing instead…

    His buddy did try an ambush, got himself a job as a census worker & could have really done some great infiltration/embedded journalism, with real stories from the inside and with actual information about how the system works, not just guesswork.

    Instead, his buddy got all excited and blew his wad/cover when he thought he had uncovered a huge scandal, which turned out to be just SOP payment for travel & study time during training.

    It probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. I’m not sure if either of them could handle actually working for a living, even if it’s just pretending to work in order to get a scoop.

  54. Mustang

    Since there’s no alt text, you can substitute doing the thing where you move the little cursor glove to his nostril. This suits him well.

  55. Traveler

    Apparently this hard charging anti-bunny journalist was unable to find this website http://www.census.gov/po/www/foia/essential.htm which took lots of leg work for me to uncover.

    Go to Census page, type FOIA in search box, click on Request records under the Freedom of Information Act link. This page contains in part the following section:
    Will I be charged a fee for processing a FOIA request?

    Representatives of the News Media Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 100 pages)

  56. Enumerator

    Finishing up 7 good weeks of employment with the Census. Not gonna visit his blog; I can tell what it’s going to consist of. All these rightwing douchenozzles think they’re badass & rocknroll, and it’s all in the name of Freedumb! Of Information!
    *sigh* I wish Hunter S. Thompson were still around…

  57. imissopus

    Shocked, SHOCKED I am to see that you guys haven’t warblogged the shit out of this douchenozzle yet.

  58. imissopus

    [re=603614]glamourdammerung[/re]: Because the smug little shit is bragging about it on Twitter so we should hijack all his comments threads for Trucknutz?

  59. Traveler

    [re=603690]BruceLee5000[/re]: I refuse to go look, I have some standards after all, but I suspect that middle name trick doubled the number of Facebook friends that he has.

  60. WeWin

    Please do excuse my late entry into this oh so nice party, but I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of interesting nuggets. Enjoy. (FYI – I have screen shots just in case he takes down the photos)

    “My most conservative pal, Senator Rick Santorum…he looks like hes 22.”
    http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1211752170049910552MmIaNT

    I think I am going to be sick…ew
    http://cargocollective.com/srm#

    Paid $25k by the Phillips Foundation to put up the mytwocensus site (do a search for “Morse”)
    http://www.thephillipsfoundation.org/index.php?q=alpha_fellowship_profiles

    The Phillips Foundation Application
    http://www.mytwocensus.com/2010/06/17/update-on-todays-story-the-census-bureau-hides-behind-the-shield-of-foia-once-again/#comment-7982

  61. bloodywonker

    @WeWin and others making such ludicrously dumb allegations about this chap’s political affiliations based on some old photos. When you Google him, the first thing that comes up is that oh-so-conservative magazine aka the most liberal publication on the face of planet earth, Mother Jones:

    http://motherjones.com/authors/stephen-robert-morse

    Oh wait, there’s more. Here is young Stephen photographed with some other Repub…oh wait, Democrats:

    1. SRM with John Kerry: http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1206718803049910552nrsnqi
    2. SRM with PA Gov. Ed Rendell: http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1206716130049910552sDhYau
    3. SRM with former PA Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D) : http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1206716889049910552LWKYdu

    And if that’s not enough, what about Stephen Robert Morse and wait, Howard Dean:

    4. http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/1206715399049910552zfLlUo

    Get a life!

  62. bloodywonker

    @WeWin – Please do excuse me, but you are a Class A idiot. Note the sarcasm in the Santorum caption and note the other photos of the blogger in question with such figures as John Kerry, Ed Rendell and Joe Hoeffel. You’ve clearly got way too much time on your hands if you are rapidly searching for photos from when a kid was 19 years old! GET A LIFE!

  63. bloodywonker

    [re=603690]BruceLee5000[/re]: It’s a pretty common name, genius. Probably 10,000 Stephen Morse’s out there.

  64. WeWin

    I’m done working for the Census, so goodbye Morse. No more posts from me. I won’t bother you anymore. Good luck on the book deal. Seriously, I plan on buying a copy.

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