My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Archive for March, 2010

Stange Twist In West Virginian Post Office/Census Bureau Operations

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Yesterday, we reported that some 2010 Census forms were sent to West Virginia with the wrong city names one the envelopes. Now we are being told that this was intentional, and it won’t mean a loss of funding for the respondents from cities that were affected by this. Admittedly, this still sounds a bit shady, and we don’t plan to take this explaination at face value. Nonetheless, here’s the latest from West Virginia Public Broadcasting:

Census says wrong city name on form is cost-saving measure

March 17, 2010 · U.S. residents are receiving their 2010 Census forms in the mail this week and some in West Virginia are concerned their town won’t be represented, but Census officials say that’s not the case.

Residents in Vienna received Census forms with neighboring Parkersburg listed as their hometown. Vienna’s Mayor is telling them to cross out Parkersburg on the forms and write in Vienna before mailing them back, but Census spokesman John Willse says this is not necessary.

“That shouldn’t concern them at all. That’s just a postal procedure that helps cut costs on distribution or the mailing out,” Willse says.

By Emily Corio

Willse says a 20-digit identification number on each form links the data to the person’s exact street address and hometown.

The low down on the Rush Limbaugh-inspired CheckAmerican.org movement…

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

A few days ago, we wrote about CheckAmerican.org, the most recent waves from Conservatives in regards to the 2010 Census. This movement was the brainchild of Rush Limbaugh, the de-facto spiritual head and chief demagogue of the GOP. One Joseph Weathers  took Limbaugh’s gospel to heart (click HERE to listen to Limbaugh announcing his “Check American” policy on the air) and promptly created the CheckAmerican.org site. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions via e-mail, and this was Mr. Weathers’ response:

We launched our website 4 days ago on Saturday evening, March 13th.  Right now we have about 300 fans on our Facebook page, 100 followers on our Twitter page, and about 540+ visits to the site.

I got the idea when listening to Rush Limbaugh’s show on Thursday afternoon, and as soon as I got home I registered the domain name.  It took about 2 days to get the site designed and developed and ready to launch.

We are also talking to some other political figures and media outlets, but nothing concrete at the moment.

Our goal is to send the message that we as Americans are tired of being classified by racial and ethnic groups, and we just want to be considered as Americans.  I think this post on our Facebook wall sums up well how our supporters feel:

“Invited every single one of my friends. As a mixed family, we will be happy to check “American” and stop being labeled by our color!”

Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post live-blogs the process of filling out his 2010 Census form…

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

To make a long story short, it took Ed only a few minutes (significantly less than the ten minutes the Census Bureau advertises it will take) to complete his form. But to watch him on video, HERE’S THE LINK.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Census Bureau, GlobalHue, and NNPA should all be held accountable…

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

On March 12, allegations surfaced that GlobalHue (the agency hired by the government to coordinate the 2010 Census advertising campaign for minority-focused media organizations) required that the National Newspaper Publishers Association (a coalition of African-American newspapers that GlobalHue purchased Census Bureau advertising space from) would each write a series of six articles and two editorials about the 2010 Census. If the already struggling newspapers didn’t publish the articles and editorials, they were in jeopardy of losing these vital advertising dollars. To make this concept more abstract, this is an example of government-supported coercion, as trading editorial content for money leads to the spreading of pro-government propaganda, a system that has no place within American democracy or the American media.

Angela Spencer Ford, a representative of GlobalHue said, “With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, the NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.”

Though it is necessary to state that individual black newspapers were not responsible for the ad choices that the NNPA made, it is completely unethical that Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and head of the NNPA, was complicit in these actions. He should now be held accountable for putting finances above journalistic integrity.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner responded, “The National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) was actually hired by DFCB [the lead advertising agency for the 2010 Census] and the Census Bureau last year to handle Black/African American newspaper media buys.  The request for their members to provide the Census Bureau with added value originated with NNPA, which was paid $195,000 as one of the two contracted media buyers for the Black audience.  In fact, all of the more than 3,800 media outlets selected in the 2010 Census advertising buy were asked to provide added value, which is a standard industry practice.”

At no point does Buckner consider the difference between “added value” and paid editorial content.

Sadly, this situation is not unique. Ten years ago, a Salon.com investigative report led to the discovery that the White House was covertly financing anti-drug messages that appeared on all of the major television networks. As Daniel Forbes reported in 2001, “Two years ago, Congress inadvertently created an enormous financial incentive for TV programmers to push anti-drug messages in their plots — as much as $25 million in the past year and a half, with the promise of even more to come in the future. Under the sway of the office of President Clinton’s drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America’s most popular shows — including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “7th Heaven” — have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy.”

That the Census Bureau had no qualms in permitting similar actions, albeit not reaching as large of an audience as those who were affected by the 2000 scandal, is both ludicrous and deceptive. In this instance, the Census Bureau has not only refused to admit wrongdoing in this situation; Buckner even attempted to justify these actions. Those who should be most upset about this situation are the readers of black newspapers. Unfortunately, these individuals are most likely unaware that the content they are reading is influenced by goals of the US Census Bureau and GlobalHue, as well as the financial interests of the NNPA.

While the overall message that the black newspapers are sending when they publish articles that promote the 2010 Census is good, because the organizations are bound to an advertising/editorial content contract, it is unlikely that they will be able to cover any problems with the 2010 Census – ranging from vague employee hiring practices to mailings not reaching the proper addresses to poor turnouts at Census Bureau sponsored events. The failure of the black press to report on the negative aspects of 2010 Census operations is detrimental not only to each publication’s credibility, but to the role of journalism in American democracy as a whole.

City name incorrect on some 2010 Census forms

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The following report comes from West Virginia (yet we have also received unsubstantiated reports that this same problem has occurred in areas of Missouri and Mississippi). H/t to newsandsentinel.com:

By Natalee Seely

VIENNA – Vienna residents who have received materials for the 2010 Census in the mail may notice an incorrect city name on the return form, but census officials said forms that include the wrong city but the correct street address will still be counted accurately.

The census materials sent to Vienna residents incorrectly state Parkersburg as the city name instead of Vienna on the return form, said Vienna Mayor David Nohe.

City officials contacted the census bureau about the error Tuesday and were told to have residents cross out “Parkersburg” and write “Vienna” on the return form before sending it back, said Nohe.

“We would encourage people to cross out Parkersburg and write in Vienna on the form,” he said. “I just don’t want this to lead to an inaccurate count. City officials will continue to talk with the census bureau to guarantee these will be accurately counted.”

A press release from the U.S. Census Bureau stated an incorrect city name will not affect the count as long as the street address is correct, but residents may change the name if they like.

The city is not important because all census forms will be counted using a geocode that assigns each housing unit to the correct geographic location, said Michael Gregorio, a public information officer with the U.S. Census Bureau.

“I can guarantee, if it has the right street address but the wrong city name, it won’t make a difference,” he said. “But the residents can change the city name if they want to.”

According to a press release from the census bureau, the incorrect city names on some forms is a result of a cost-saving measure that streamlines how forms are sorted and delivered to residents by the U.S. Postal Service.

A geocode printed on the form will guarantee the correct geographic location, regardless of the city name indicated.

If residents have received forms with the wrong house number or street name, census workers will follow up with them at a later date, according to the press release.

Giant 2010 Census forms popping up in cities across America!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Giant 2010 Census form in Times Square. Photo courtesy of Robert Brooks Cohen

Best 2010 Census Tweet Of The Day (perhaps this will be a new feature on here…)

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

tayterbug The US Census Bureau really doesn’t need to threaten people to get them to fill out the census form. Just disguise it as a Facebook survey!

This comes on the heels of news that Facebook is now the most-visited site in America!

Poll: Public Attitudes Toward US Census Improving

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

H/t to the Associated Press and the Pew Research Center for the following:

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the 2010 census under way, about 1 in 10 people may not participate in the population count, with many saying they see little personal benefit from the government survey or have concerns that it may be intrusive, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Pew Research Center poll shows marked improvement in public interest since January. At that time a poll showed 1 in 5 might not mail back the census form. Still, the new poll highlighted lingering apathy toward the head count, particularly among young adults.

”There is an increased commitment to participating in the census, but disparities remain,” said Michael Dimock, an associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. ”These include groups who have less-certain economic situations and who are often more mobile, which poses a challenge for the census count.”

The poll comes as more than 120 million census forms arrive in mailboxes this week. The population count, conducted every 10 years, is used to distribute U.S. House seats and more than $400 billion in federal aid.

Stephen Buckner, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said the increase in overall public awareness was heartening, noting that the government can save $1.5 billion in follow-up visits if everyone mails back their forms.

Buckner said for those who remain apathetic or reluctant to turn in their forms, the bureau will be closely monitoring mail participation rates and will increase advertising and outreach in the regions of the country that are lagging, including college campuses.

Beginning in May, the Census Bureau will also send census-takers to visit homes that do not return their forms.

”We’re aware students are historically harder to count, and we are putting things in place to get an accurate count,” he said.

Overall, nearly all of those surveyed by Pew were familiar with the census. About 87 percent reported they had already filled out their 10-question form, or definitely or probably would do so, often citing reasons that it was ”important” or a civic duty.

Still, a majority of the people said they saw little personal gain from the census (62 percent) or expressed uncertainty as to whether the government was asking for more information than it really needed (55 percent). Many also said they still weren’t confident that census information would be kept confidential and not be shared with other federal agencies for law enforcement, despite repeated assurances from Census Bureau director Robert Groves.

Broken down by age, adults 18-29 were least likely to say they would definitely or probably participate, at 71 percent. That’s compared to 86 percent for adults 30-49; 92 percent for those 50-64; and 89 percent for people 65 and older.

Hispanics also were less likely to participate compared to other racial groups, although that gap has narrowed since January.

Pew interviewed 1,500 adults by cell or home phone from March 10-14. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, higher for subgroups.

The 2010 Census Road Tour’s Belly Dancers Scare Away Crowds…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here’s a great use of federal and state funds…not:

H/t to KMOX in Missouri

At low-turnout Census event, officials worry state could lose Congressional seat

Rebecca Berg Reporting
Kmox@kmox.com

JEFFERSON CITY (State Capitol Bureau) — At an event where state lawmakers and Census officials urged Missourians to “stand up and be counted,” not even belly dancers, free food and gifts could entice people to show up.

The 2010 Census “Portrait of America Road Tour” pulled up to the state Capitol on Monday for a promotional event to encourage participation in the U.S. Census. Organizers attempted to draw crowds with free food, belly dancing, gifts, music and speeches from prominent lawmakers.

Census belly dancers attract statehouse spectators

But few people attended. During a presentation by U.S. Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, state House Minority Leader Paul LeVota and other state and local officials, the audience consisted of fewer than 20 people.

Lori Simms, the Office of Administration spokeswoman, said the weather likely limited the turnout.

“Because it’s cold, a lot of people went inside,” Simms said.

Two state employees, Linda Albin and Betty Lock, braved the chilly weather to eat hot dogs and chips from the event on the steps of the state Capitol.

They said they enjoyed the free food but were not convinced the event would result in greater Census participation.
“If people aren’t already aware of the Census, this isn’t going to help,” Lock said of the food and entertainment.

The stakes for the 2010 Census are high. If Missouri’s population is counted as too low, the state could lose federal funding and one of its nine congressional districts.

Commissioner Kelvin Simmons, the Office of Administration chair who served as the master of ceremonies for the event, said Census participation will be of great political importance to the state.

“We are on the cusp of potentially losing a congressional seat,” Simmons said.  Simmons said losing a seat in Congress would be “significant” for the state and would result in state legislators losing power in the nation’s capital.

Leutkemeyer said he would not predict whether the state will lose a seat.

“It’s a little premature,” he said. “Let’s wait and see what the (Census) count is.”

Earlier, in his prepared remarks, Leutkemeyer noted that he and his wife have already submitted their Census form.

Dennis Johnson, the Census regional director, said he is working with local officials and media outlets to educate people about the Census and promote higher participation than in past years.

“Our goal is to make sure people send in their forms,” Johnson said. “We want to make sure we have more accurate information.”

Getting that information has required billions of dollars in federal funding. Approximately $15 billion was appropriated by the federal government to fund the Census. The event Monday, Simms estimates, cost the state $500.

Official response from GlobalHue…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here’s the official response from GlobalHue, answering allegations that were made last week:

March 15, 2010

Contact: Angela Spencer Ford

GlobalHue’s Statement Regarding NNPA Allegations

GlobalHue has long respected the Black Newspapers and their value to the Black community. We are however concerned about the recent allegations from some members of the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA) – also referred to as the Black Press – which was subcontracted by GlobalHue to negotiate and execute all Black newspaper buys for the 2010 Census.

In 2009, following a competitive selection process, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) was selected to manage the Black newspaper buy. The NNPA is headed by Mr. Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel. The NNPA was selected as a subcontractor because of their extensive knowledge about the Black newspaper business.  The NNPA is receiving payment for their services, and Mr. Bakewell is one of two NNPA subcontractors actually conducting the work on behalf of the Census Bureau.

In close consultation with GlobalHue, NNPA conducted negotiations with media properties for ad placements.  NNPA also made recommendations to GlobalHue on what the terms of the agreement with the media vendors should be. One of the items in the negotiations was the added value the media vendors would offer.  All of the more than 3,800 media vendors participating in the 2010 Census media buy were asked to provide added value.  This is a standard industry practice and an important factor in informing the public about the Census.

With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.

In response, GlobalHue amended the value added guidelines and new insertion orders were submitted to all of the newspapers that received the original insertion order.  While the new insertion order asked that every paper make an effort to include articles/editorial pieces about the 2010 Census, it also made it clear there was no quid pro quo for advertising buy.

Of the $23 million Black Audience paid media plan, Black newspapers are receiving 11 percent of the ad dollars for this audience. At this time, 173 African American, African, Caribbean and Haitian newspapers in 64 markets across the country are being engaged in the buy.

# # #

A call for clarity: What’s ‘living somewhere else’?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

This MyTwoCensus employee received his census form in the mail today, and immediately ripped it open to start filling the form out.

Most questions were very clear. Race? White. Name? Evan Goldin.

However, one question was not so clear: “Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else?”

I spend time in Lake Tahoe at a cabin that I rent with a dozen other friends. Does that necessitate a checkmark for this question under “Yes — as a season or second residence.” My roommate stays at his girlfriend’s house a lot. Should that get a checkbox under “For another reason?”

The title of the question seems to make things clear, but it’s unclear what qualifies as “sometimes,” and no implications are clarified either (does this mean I shouldn’t fill out the form?).

What do you think? Anything else that was unclear? Care to clear this question up?

How will CheckAmerican.org affect 2010 Census data?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Well, we will finally be able to determine just how wide (or narrow) Rush Limbaugh’s grasp on a segment of America is, as he is urging people to “check American” instead of filling out their race on the 2010 Census form.  This is presumably intended to make Caucasian (white) people feel good about themselves. While MyTwoCensus.com supports freedom of choice, this example of jingoism doesn’t make much sense in the long run, because it will then make it seem as if there are fewer white/Caucasian people in America (or whatever race the person is who writes in American) on the official statistics. Early prediction: This movement has very limited support, as it only has 74 followers on Twitter. But, nonetheless, check out the site:

http://www.checkamerican.org

(We just sent them an e-mail with some questions and hope to hear back soon! Their logo looks conspicuously similar to ours…)

2010 Census forms will start arriving today…

Monday, March 15th, 2010

March 15-17: Forms are mailed to most homes.

Let us know your thoughts, opinions, problems, and questions in the comments section! Thanks!

Note: The mainstream media is obviously covering this phase of 2010 Census operations pretty thoroughly, so we are only going to post reports here that highlight essential information or surprising outcomes. Right now, we are sifting through the thousands of news reports about this operation that have appeared during the past 24 hours and will continue to appear during the next few days.

Official Census Bureau Response To Charges That Ad Agency Traded Ads For 2010 Census Coverage

Monday, March 15th, 2010

In response to last Friday’s allegations of improprieties and scandal involving ad agency GlobalHue’s dealings with newspapers, Census Bureau PR man Stephen Buckner provided the following response:

The National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) was actually hired by
DFCB and the Census Bureau last year to handle Black/African American
newspaper media buys.  The request for their members to provide the Census
Bureau with added value originated with NNPA, which was paid $195,000 as
one of the two contracted media buyers for the Black audience.  In fact,
all of the more than 3,800 media outlets selected in the 2010 Census
advertising buy were asked to provide added value, which is a standard
industry practice.  Each media buyer made it clear that this was voluntary
and that each media outlet would get credit for any previous coverage they
may have run prior to the buy.

Black newspapers are receiving about 11 percent of the total ad dollars for
this audience despite media consumption research showing that they only
spend 6 percent of the their time reading newspapers.  About 80 percent of
the media budget is being targeted among popular Black television and radio
programming.

Mindful of taxpayers dollars, the Census Bureau leveraged it’s $133 million
advertising campaign to secure nearly $30 million in free advertising –
all of which is an attempt to increase public awareness and motivate every
household to mail back their 2010 Census forms.  In fact, if everyone
mailed back their form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of the census by
$1.5 billion.

The Multiracial Debate

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

H/t to the Chicago Tribune for producing a lengthy piece of journalism:

By Oscar Avila, Dahleen Glanton,

Look in the mirror and what do you see?

When the census form arrives in mailboxes this week, the complex answers to that question will help paint America’s evolving portrait, with repercussions for a decade and beyond.

For most people, the census will be a simple 10-minute process. For others in this nation of Barack Obama, Jessica Alba, Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Apolo Ohno and Joakim Noah , questions of mixed race and ethnicity will prompt soul-searching over how to categorize themselves among a small but growing minority in the national fabric.

The census is a montage of self-portraits that will detail the ways a nation of nearly 309 million has changed since 2000, including migration, family size and housing patterns. While that data is easier to quantify, critics say a rote list of boxes and checkmarks can’t adequately reflect all the racial and ethnic transformations.

On Chicago’s South Side, the daughter of a black father and white mother will check both. Her brother will check black. Their children will write in “mixed” or “biracial.”

A Brazilian immigrant will mark a box that says Hispanic, though she doesn’t accept the label. A woman from Jordan won’t check Asian, though she is. A man born to a Japanese mother and white father considers himself white only at census time.

Another respondent may check four racial boxes like the multi-ethnic Woods, who invented his own identifier: “cablinasian,” a mix of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian. Obama jokingly labeled himself a “mutt,” but he won’t find that box on the form.

Some bemoan the absence of a separate “multiracial” box to check. And beyond race and ethnicity, the form won’t account for the principal factor by which many Americans identify themselves: There is no category for sexual orientation, so some gay activists plan to protest by affixing pink stickers on the envelope.

“The lesson is that, like reality, like our lives, census data are messy,” said Jorge Chapa, a University of Illinois professor who has consulted for the Census Bureau. “But the messiness does reflect the growing diversity and our complexity as a people. It’s closer to the truth.”

Over the years, the census form has changed to reflect racial realities. A historic switch for the 2000 census allowed Americans to click more than one category, meaning that the son of a Kenyan father and a white woman from Kansas can now officially be both races. About 6.8 million Americans, 2.4 percent of the population, checked more than one racial box.

A Brookings Institution survey has shown a doubling of mixed-race marriages over the last two decades. A Pew Research Center report last month documented that younger generations were far more tolerant of racial mixing than their elders.

People who mark more than one race box are not counted more than once in the overall population tally. But they would add one additional person to each racial category they choose.

Susan Graham, executive director of California-based Project RACE, which advocates for multiracial families, said a hodgepodge of individual boxes is not sufficient to describe her children. She is white and was married to an African-American, and their children have a singular identity as multiracial American.

“The term ‘multiracial,’ we believe, is important and should be on the form. Words are important,” Graham said.

Researchers have found that people’s self-identities can be fluid: Over the course of their lives, they can more strongly identify with various parts of their ancestry at different times.

Kenneth Prewitt, who directed the 2000 census, said some civil-rights groups have resisted the concept of checking more than one race out of fear that it will dilute their influence.

Prewitt said the “Hispanic” term, one used mainly in the U.S., is especially confusing. The term, which the Census Bureau first used in 1980, describes an ethnicity pertaining to Spain but can include white, black and other races. He would include one catch-all category merging Hispanics with other race identifiers, or eliminate all boxes and have everyone write in their preferred identities.

(to continue reading this article click HERE)

Regional Director Says A 6th Grader Can Work For The 2010 Census

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? If so, then you’re qualified to work for the 2010 Census according to Dennis Johnson, who heads the Kansas City Regional Census Office (one of 12 throughout America). H/t to Fox’s Kansas City affiliate for the following:

KANSAS CITY – Advertising for jobs with the 2010 Census has some taxpayers questioning just who the government is trying to hire to go door-to-door, as job applicants can essentially fail a qualification test multiple times, and drug users are apparently welcome to come work for the government.

“Thugs,” said taxpayer Angie Borges, when asked who the government seems to be recruiting for the 1,500 open positions. “Sorry, people that are just not worthy of having that job.”

Applicants for Census positions take a 28 question multiple-choice test, in which they only have to answer 10 correctly to pass and qualify for a job that pays $15 an hour. But if that proves too difficult, applicants can retake the test as many times as necessary to get 10 answers correct.

According to advertising for the positions, the Census wants applicants to know that there is also no drug testing for the jobs.

“You can take the test over and over and over again and fail multiple times until you pass it,” said Borges. “If you pass it, no drug testing required. Who is that going to appeal to?”

Other taxpayers said that they question how those being hired will impact the accuracy of the count.

“It looks like they’re appealing to almost anybody who wants some sort of a job that will pay $15 an hour,” said taxpayer Kim Kearny. “They’re not going after the best, most knowledgeable people, therefore the census may be askew.”

Census regional director Dennis Johnson concedes that testing is designed for sixth- or seventh-graders, so there will be available workers in every neighborhood.

“After a few years, some of that sixth- and seventh-grade knowledge may fade away, but most people are able to get through the test, do very well,” said Johnson. “And we’re seeing a lot of people who get all the questions right. That doesn’t exclude those that don’t. We need a lot of people.”

The 2010 Census takes to YouTube for a last-minute push…

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Propaganda Minister Census Director Robert M. Groves pleads for your participation…

MyTwoCensus Editorial: If scandal proves true, the Census Bureau’s violation of the First Amendment is inexcusable!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Today it was alleged that the Census Bureau’s advertising partner, GlobalHue, directed newspapers across the country to face a loss of Census Bureau advertising dollars if they didn’t write six (presumably positive) articles about the Census Bureau’s efforts. If this proves true, it is an example of governmental coercion and extortion, in that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. In democratic (lowercase d) regimes, the government doesn’t mandate media editorial content. (We’re not living in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela, and for that we should be thankful…)

Yet again, history has shown to repeat itself as similar illegal activities took place between the government and the media industry in 2000. In the age of Obama’s government transparency, why have we reverted back to the 1960s — to a time before Ralph Nader authored the book Unsafe At Any Speed — when newspapers feared retribution from auto company advertisements if they ever wrote anything negative about automobiles?

The claims that came to light today fully validate all the work that MyTwoCensus.com has done, but it also makes us wonder: Has the proliferation of fluffy 2010 Census-related stories from other media sources (which may now be directly tied to this scandal) masked problems and deficiencies in 2010 Census operations? Have publishers held stories that were critical of the Census Bureau, for fear that essential advertising dollars would disappear in this age of media industry uncertainty?

Ad Scandal: Agency Forces Community Newspapers To Write Six Or More Articles About The 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

H/t to Jim Edwards, the former managing editor of AdWeek, for making us aware of the following (full article HERE):

Ad agencies for the U.S. Census Bureau appear to have learned nothing from a decade-old White House scandal — because they’re busy repeating history.

Back in 2000, the White House was discovered trading ad buys with TV networks in return for positive spin in its war on drugs. That covert operation, which exposed millions to anti-drug propaganda masquerading as drama and sitcoms, ended in disgrace and the White House promised to cancel the program.

Ten years later, that promise is long forgotten. Globalhue, the ad agency that controls much of the government’s ad money targeting minorities for Census 2010, sent a letter to the National Newspaper Association demanding that publishers run six articles about the census or else the government would cancel its ads. (The NNPA represents community newspapers.)

While there was no explicit requirement of positive coverage demanded by Globalhue, the implication is clear: How long do you think the agency would continue placing ads in any newspaper that was digging dirt against the national headcount?

According to congressional hearings in February and March, the letter from Globalhue CEO Don Coleman said:

“In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately.”

Amazingly, the arrangement proposed in the letter — that ad buys be contingent upon articles written by the papers themselves — is exactly the same as the one conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy during its disgraced ads-for-coverage scheme.

Letter to the Editor: Waste in Boston

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Disclaimer: The following does not represent the views of Stephen Robert Morse or MyTwoCensus.com.

I just sent this email to the Census Bureau after witnessing incredible waste this morning. And for the record, I’m not some crazy anti-government teabagger, I’m a diehard Democrat.

Did you have someone handing out red plastic cups today at Wollaston Station in Quincy MA?? Everywhere I looked I saw LITTERED red plastic cups, wrapped in plastic, with info cards about the US Census!! Plastic cups on the subway platform, the sidewalk, and in the TRASH CANS, headed not for recycling, but straight to landfills. Pollution and landfills! WHO authorized this boneheaded promotion? First, whoever you had forcing these pointless, plastic giveaways on commuters should be admonished. “Do you WANT a red plastic cup?” 99% will say no. Don’t force them into people’s hands where they will take one to be nice, get your guy to shut up, or help him meet some possible quota for giving away this crap. Second, you need to cease this “plastic cup” giveaway, just donate what’s left to schools or shelters. Why would you think anyone would want an ugly plastic dixie cup anyway? Hand out the cards if you must, but draw the line at pointless WASTE that pollutes our streets and waterways or ends up in landfills! I guess Congress gave you an advertising budget and you didn’t know what to do with it. Unbelievable. The Census shouldn’t even be advertising in the first place, it’s self-explanatory to anyone with half a brain.

–  Mr. R. Feinberg, Boston