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.

Posts Tagged ‘Federal Government’

Monday Mailbag: Why aren’t enumerators who are let go being given this paperwork?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Subject: Why Aren’t All Enumerators Being Given This Paperwork?

Message Body:
When I separated from the Census I was given my SP-50 along with this paperwork ( http://www.docstoc.com/docs/44201134/Census-Separation-Paperwork) which includes a form that advises me that I may be eligible for Federal Unemployment.  This is of interest to me since I’d already run out of EDD extensions when I began working for the Census.  When I visited the EDD website I learned that there was indeed Federal Unemployment Insurance money that is seemingly just for people who were recently separated from the military or some other branch of the Federal Government.  To apply for EDD under these circumstances one must fill out a supplemental Federal form along with one’s regular Unemployment Application (http://www.docstoc.com/docs/44200536/Unemployment-Claim-For-Federal-Employees).  The thing is I just spoke to two other enumerators who were recently separated from the Census and all they received was their SP-50s.  They did not get the additional paperwork I got.  Is the Los Angeles area Census attempting to keep Census workers from the knowledge that they are eligible for this type of unemployment?

Shots fired at Census Bureau employee

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Thanks to Statesman.com for the following story. Sadly, MyTwoCensus has long predicted that anti-federal government sentiment would result in crazy individuals shooting Census Bureau employees simply trying to do their jobs. This is partially because rabble-rousers like CNN and talk radio’s Eric Erickson told people that he would shoot any census worker who tried to come to his door. I called for Mr. Erickson to be fired months ago, but perhaps it won’t actually happen until someone dies. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in Saturday’s incident:

Leander attorney accused of shooting at Census worker

By Miguel Liscano | Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 12:46 PM

barnes.jpg

Williamson County sheriff’s officials have charged a Leander attorney with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after they say she fired five shots at a U.S. Census Bureau worker on Saturday, court records show.

Carolyn M. Barnes, 53, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony. She was being held in the Williamson County Jail this afternoon with bail set at $50,000.

According to the affidavit, the Census Bureau employee told officials that Barnes pointed a handgun at her when she showed up at Barnes’s home, in the 400 block of Indian Trail in Leander, to collect information.

As the woman tried to get away, Barnes fired the weapon, the document says. It is unclear if she was injured.

Records show Barnes has not hired an attorney. The voice mailbox at her home and law office said they were full.

Barnes was previously arrested Jan. 8 in Austin after officials said she struck a Travis County deputy at the Sweatt Travis County Courthouse.

She was charged with assaulting a public servant, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years behind bars. Those charges are still pending, court records show.

According to an arrest affidavit, when Barnes entered the courthouse at 1000 Guadalupe St. and went through a security screening, deputies found a small knife.

They asked her to return the knife to her car, but she refused, the affidavit said. The document said she struck the officer after she took out her cell phone and the deputy asked her to take the call outside.

Contractors still robbing America’s tax dollars: Harris Corp. reports huge earnings as 2010 systems fail miserably

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Yup, it’s true. We hate the Harris Corporation. These people stole $800 million from United States taxpayers, and I hope that their stock drops considerably when people and the media get wind of this. Hopefully members of Congress stop kowtowing to this horrible corporation and start blacklisting them from receiving government contracts because of their tumultuous history of poor performance. (To the multitude of Harris Corp. employees who, according to Google Analytics, regularly read this blog, maybe your company should take some action to correct its mistakes now before the feds do it for you!)  Here’s a press release about their latest earnings:

Harris Corporation Reports Strong Third Quarter Orders, Revenue and Earnings

Increases Fiscal 2010 Guidance; Expects Higher Revenue and Earnings in Fiscal 2011

MELBOURNE, Fla., April 28, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Harris Corporation /quotes/comstock/13*!hrs/quotes/nls/hrs (HRS 51.97, +2.18, +4.38%) reported GAAP income from continuing operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 of $166 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, compared with $136 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Excluding acquisition-related costs, non-GAAP income from continuing operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was $170 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, compared with $136 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2010 was $1.33 billion, compared with $1.21 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Orders in the third quarter were $1.45 billion, compared with $1.03 billion in the prior-year quarter. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures is provided in Tables 5 through 7, along with the accompanying notes.

“Earnings in the third quarter increased 25 percent, reflecting continued excellent operating performance in RF Communications and Government Communications Systems,” said Howard L. Lance, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Revenue increased 10 percent for the company, and higher orders across all of our segments should continue to drive double-digit revenue growth in the fourth quarter. Our strategy of investing in new technology and applications to solve our customers’ complex, mission-critical, and quickly evolving communications and information technology needs is working. Higher orders, strong backlog and a robust opportunity pipeline should position Harris for achieving another year of higher revenue and earnings in fiscal 2011.”

Increased Earnings Guidance

The company has increased its guidance for non-GAAP income from continuing operations for fiscal 2010 to a range of $4.35 to $4.45 per diluted share ($4.23 to $4.33 per diluted share on a GAAP basis). This increase compares with a previous range of $4.25 to $4.35 per diluted share ($4.13 to $4.23 per diluted share on a GAAP basis). Fiscal 2010 non-GAAP earnings guidance excludes acquisition-related costs. Revenue in fiscal 2010 is still expected to be in a range of $5.2 to $5.3 billion.

Guidance for fiscal 2011 earnings is being initiated in a range of $4.55 to $4.65 per diluted share, representing a year-over-year increase of 3 to 6 percent, compared with the mid-point of fiscal 2010 non-GAAP guidance. Fiscal 2011 revenue is expected to be in a range of $5.5 to $5.6 billion, representing a year-over-year increase of 5 to 7 percent compared with the mid-point of fiscal 2010 guidance.

RF Communications

Third quarter orders for the RF Communications segment totaled $656 million, including $488 million in the Tactical Radio Communications business and $168 million in the Public Safety and Professional Communications business. At the end of the third quarter, total backlog in RF Communications was $1.50 billion, including $1.01 billion in the Tactical Radio Communications business and $489 million in the Public Safety and Professional Communications business.

Revenue for RF Communications in the third quarter was $551 million, compared with $439 million in the prior-year quarter. Revenue included $429 million in Tactical Radio Communications, driven primarily by deliveries to the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. Revenue in Public Safety and Professional Communications was $122 million.

Operating income for RF Communications was $205 million in the third quarter, compared with $151 million in the prior-year quarter. Non-GAAP operating income, which excludes acquisition-related costs, was $208 million. Non-GAAP operating margin was very strong at 37.8 percent due to favorable product mix, cost-reduction actions implemented in the second half of fiscal 2009, and operational efficiencies.

New orders for tactical radio communication systems in the quarter were driven by:

accelerating customer adoption of the company’s next-generation Falcon III(R) radios in U.S. and international markets;

equipping the military’s 6,644 M-ATVs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles); and

strengthening international demand.

Demand has increased for the company’s JTRS-approved, Falcon III family of ground tactical radios. At the end of the third quarter year-to-date Falcon III orders totaled $620 million. The field-proven radios are providing warfighters with unprecedented situational awareness, bringing new applications such as streaming video for the first time to the tactical edge of the battlefield.

Major Falcon III radio wins in the third quarter included a $73 million order from the U.S. Marines for Falcon III AN/PRC-117G multiband manpack radio systems to provide high-speed networking applications such as streaming video and a $12 million order from the U.S. Marines to upgrade existing Falcon III AN/VRC-110 multiband, multimode vehicular tactical radio systems from 20-watt to 50-watt systems to improve communications over longer distances and enhance reliability in rough terrain. Harris also received a $74 million order for Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) multiband handheld radio systems in vehicular adapters to equip the military’s new 6,644 M-ATVs. Following the close of the quarter, Harris received a $20 million order from a Department of Defense customer for Falcon III AN/PRC-117G multiband manpack radio systems.

Other significant U.S. orders in the third quarter included a $78 million order for Falcon II(R) AN/VRC-104 high-frequency (HF) tactical radio systems also to equip the military’s 6,644 M-ATVs. Following the close of the quarter, Harris received a $101 million order for Falcon II AN/PRC-117F multiband vehicular radios to equip the next phase of M-ATV purchases and to retrofit other existing MRAP vehicles.

International tactical radio wins in the third quarter included a $112 million order from the Australian Department of Defence that was predominantly Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) multiband handheld radios to provide next-generation battlefield networking capabilities. Other major international orders included a $44 million order for Falcon II RF-5800H HF radio systems from a country in Asia, and a $10 million order for Falcon II RF-5800H HF radio systems from the Iraq Ministry of Interior.

In the Public Safety and Professional Communications business, Harris was awarded orders totaling $100 million to upgrade the Miami-Dade County public communications infrastructure to a modern, P25 standards-based digital radio system. The flexible system platform will serve more than 80 agencies and 32,000 users, increasing functionality and improving interoperability among first responders and other radio system users. Also, a $13 million order was received in the quarter for our OpenSky(R) system to connect employees at a Texas-based public utility serving 50 counties.

Following the close of the quarter, Harris received an order from the New York State Police for 1,100 Unity(TM) XG-100P multiband radios. The Unity radios will provide interoperability between the state police and local, metro and county law enforcement organizations. In a single radio, the state police will be able to communicate with local systems that are conventional or digital, and that operate on the various VHF, UHF, 700 MHz or 800 MHz bands.

Government Communications Systems

Third quarter revenue for the Government Communications Systems segment was $666 million, compared with $649 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating income was $90 million in the third quarter, compared with $74 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was strong at 13.6 percent and reflected continued excellent program performance and award fees.

Revenue increased for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-Series R Ground Segment (GOES-R GS) weather program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Modernization of Enterprise Terminals (MET) program for the U. S. Army, the IT services relocation program for the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) and several classified programs for national intelligence customers. Revenue also benefited from several small, recent acquisitions related primarily to the new growth initiatives of Cyber Integrated Solutions and Healthcare Solutions. Revenue from the Field Data Collection Automation (FDCA) program for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 census declined as the program nears completion.

MyTwoCensus Data Capture Center Investigation Part 3: From the Federal Penitientary to the Federal Government

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

We urge you to please read our first post about security concerns at America’s three data capture centers before reading this post.

Situation: You’re an ex-con, fresh out of prison, and you need a job. Who do you turn to? Well, if you live in Baltimore there’s a high likelihood that you would turn to Maryland New Directions, a non-profit organization that assists people finding jobs. This is surely a noble mission, but it may make some Americans queasy if they knew that the people reading, logging, and scanning their 2010 Census data had gone from living at a federal penitentiary to working for the federal government (Of course they are actually employed by subcontractor Computer Sciences Corporation, but you get the picture: These people are bound by the same regulations as all other Census Bureau employees so it’s a fine line they’re walking.).

*Also note that Baltimore public defender Coriolanus A.J. Ferrusi is on the Maryland New Directions board.

GOP Budget Committee gives “Boondoggle Award” to the Census Bureau

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Well, your taxpayer dollars are hard at work in many ways, as the GOP Budget Committee has taken up some house.gov server space to criticize government spending on the 2010 Census:

Costly Counting: The 2010 Census

May 12 , 2009

In its zeal to go “high tech,” the usually redoubtable Census Bureau has already assured the 2010 head count of U.S. residents will be the most expensive in history, even after adjusting for inflation. At a projected $14.5 billion, next year’s census will cost more than twice the expenditure for the 2000 enumeration – mainly because agency officials contracted for a half-million hand-held computers, and then mismanaged production of the devices. The result is $3.6 billion in wasted taxpayers’ funds – and the latest Budget Boondoggle Award.

Here is how events unfolded:

  • After the 2000 census, top Census Bureau officials sought to replace the paper-and-pencil method of data collection with automated hand-held computers. But instead of buying off-the-shelf technology and coordinating with those who would actually use it, the agency paid a vendor more than $600 million to “custom-build” 500,000 hand-held devices for its temporary field enumerators.

  • The hand-held instruments had to do just two things: 1) enable enumerators to input information from households who did not return their census questionnaires; and
    2) update the location of every household in the country. They succeeded in neither. Census Bureau officials failed to articulate or oversee technical requirements, resulting in a poorly designed and inferior technology. In dress rehearsals, it became clear the devices were too complex for workers to use, incapable of transmitting the amounts of data necessary, and full of “bugs.”
  • How to solve the problem? Spend more money, of course. By April 2008, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, home of the Census Bureau, admitted to Congress that the program had “experienced significant schedule, performance, and cost issues,” forcing census officials to scrap plans for the computer devices and spend an additional $3 billion to revert to a traditional paper-based system.

  • This $3.6-billion mistake has pushed the overall price tag for the 2010 census from roughly $11 billion to an unprecedented $14.5 billion – more than double the $6.5 billion spent on the 2000 census. Yet despite the additional spending, the Government Accountability Office and other nonpartisan watchdog groups deem the forthcoming census “at risk,” leaving many worried about its accuracy.

After repeating the same constitutionally required task every decade since 1790, the Federal Government should by now have a handle on how to take a census, from which congressional districts are established, and billions of dollars in State, local, and research funds are allocated. But by trying to “modernize” procedures, the Census Bureau has actually regressed. The results raise doubts about the government’s ability to run, say, auto companies, financial institutions, or U.S. health care