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 ‘FoxNews’

So the Census Bureau won’t pay for toilet paper in New York but will pay to rent out a radical mosque in Virginia?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

UPDATE: The Census Bureau’s Public Information Office told me:

“Office leasings for the federal government are handled by the General Services Administration (GSA).  Lease payments for the Census Bureau’s Alexandria, Virginia office are made to Phillips Properties of Alexandria, Virginia.”

I’m looking for more details on this situation. I didn’t intend for the headline to appear like a mirror image of FOXNews, but if these claims are valid (the “toilet paper” in the headline is a reference to a piece I ran yesterday about New York), then FOXNews will probably soon be all over this story from AOL News:

By Chanan Tigay

(May 10) — The U.S. government is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent to a Virginia mosque that law enforcement officials have identified as “a front for Hamas operatives,” according to a new report from an Islamic terrorism watchdog.

In preparation for the 2010 census, the General Services Administration leased office space throughout the country for the Census Bureau. According to the report by the nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), one of those spaces is in an Alexandria, Va., building owned by the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center.

Muslims fill up the driveway and pray after the mosque was full at  Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia, 2006.

Alex Wong, Getty Images
Worshippers pray in the driveway of the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Falls Church, Va.-based mosque.

The Falls Church, Va.-based mosque was once the home of radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been linked to both Fort Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan and Christmas Day “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the IPT says.

According to the report, the lease contract, initially signed in 2008, is worth $582,026 for 25 months.

The IPT bases its claims about the mosque’s terrorist links on documents it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Those documents state “that Dar Al-Hijrah was ‘associated with Islamic extremists’ and was ‘operating as a front for Hamas operatives in U.S.’ ” and that “the mosque ‘has been linked to numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing,’ ” the IPT says.

It further quotes from a report, also obtained under FOIA, saying Dar Al-Hijrah “has been under numerous investigations for financing and proving (sic) aid and comfort to bad orgs and members.”

AOL News left phone messages seeking comment from both the General Services Administration and the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, but they were not immediately returned.

The IPT was founded in 1995 by Steven Emerson, a journalist and terrorism analyst who won a George Polk Award for his documentary film, “Jihad in America.” Emerson’s work has upset many Muslim groups, and the nonprofit Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has characterized it as an “unrelenting attack against Arabs and Muslims.”

Is this really Fox News? Or an April Fools joke?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the following opinion piece by Liz Peek of Fox News, but perhaps on the heels of Karl Rove’s 2010 Census PSA, the Republicans are finally doing the right thing…even if they are still highly critical of the process and making many unsubstantiated accusations about the White House’s influence in this headcount:

Republicans Have It Wrong, Census Forms Need to Be Filled Out Early and Often!

By Liz Peek

- FOXNews.com

I recently filled out my Census form and sent it in. It took about ten minutes, as advertised; four or five to actually write in the required information, and another several minutes to talk myself out of cheating.

Glenn Beck and Representative Michele Bachmann have it entirely wrong. Rather than bristle at the Census’ supposed invasion of privacy (you have to provide more info to join Costco, for heaven’s sake) they should be encouraging Republicans to respond…over and over again.

Instead of correctly marking down that two people live at my address, I wanted to write in fourteen. Why this sudden urge to fib? I’m afraid that others – many others — will cheat, and that I will lose out unless I do so, too. The more people who respond from my neighborhood, the more federal monies will flow in our direction. Over $400 billion in government funds is at stake. More important is that the Census totals determine how many Representatives your state sends to Congress. That means if you and the people who live next door are undercounted, you will also be underrepresented. That’s just plain stupid.

Why am I worried about widespread fraud? The 2010 Census is unusual in that the Obama administration has patched together a veritable army of people intent on increasing the count of those minorities historically considered to be “undercounted.” More astonishing, the Census Bureau was awarded an extra one billion dollars in Stimulus funds expressly to “hire additional personnel for partners and outreach efforts to minority communities and hard-to-reach populations.” One billion dollars! That’s a lot of outreach.

Not only will hundreds of thousands of Census workers fan out in coming weeks to press for higher response rates. Assisting them will be some 30,000 community organizations – such as the SEIU — resembling the coalition that helped elect President Obama. These “partners” of the Census Bureau will be mining Hispanic communities, in particular, where there is typically a high number of illegal aliens. These folks understandably shy from any contact with the U.S. government, for fear that filling out forms – any forms – might lead to their deportation. Those who advocate for illegals estimate that more than one million Hispanics were undercounted in the last Census, costing that community millions in support services.

While that is a reasonable purpose, it also invites fiddling with the numbers. Consider that such minority neighborhoods will almost certainly vote Democratic. The higher the numbers counted, the larger the number of Democrats in the House. That’s simple math.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Advice for Tea Party, GOP, and Conservative Leaders…Cut the nonsense and TELL YOUR PEOPLE TO MAIL IT BACK!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

If Glenn Beck could say one thing about the 2010 Census to his activist audience, I would hope that he explicitly tells them to mail back their census forms when they arrive at homes across America in mid-March. The mathematical and economic principles behind this plea are simple: Taxpayers save $85 million for every one percentage point increase in the national mail back participation rate for the 2010 Census. This money comes from avoiding payment to approximately 600,000 Americans who will work on non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations this spring and summer by making phone calls and ringing doorbells of individual households that have not mailed back their forms. Boycotting the 2010 Census is completely contradictory to the goals of the Tea Party movement, as it will create significantly more government spending.

However, the aforementioned facts have not yet been embraced by FoxNews commentators or the right-leaning talk-radio media. Perhaps these institutions want to keep ratings high by railing against the feds, but this is really the most ludicrous form of hypocrisy one can imagine. Sadly, it is not only the right-leaning media that is to blame, as Michael Steele and the national GOP continue to send mailers out to party members that emulate 2010 Census forms. It is shocking that this practice has gone on for months now in all regions of the US, even as Rep. Patrick McHenry, the ranking Republican on the Census subcommittee on the Oversight and Reform Committee in the House of Representatives has railed against Steele’s nefarious and ill-informed actions. MyTwoCensus recommends that Congress immediately passes a law to stop this most deceptive and counterproductive form of advertising.

Census News Roundup…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The story: FoxNews has claimed that Democrats in Ohio are may rig the 2010 Census.

MyTwoCensus Commentary: We urge readers to proceed with caution, as this article is filled with the kind of “Gotcha!” fluff that has made FoxNews so famous. However, FoxNews continues to serve an important role in keeping Democratic administrations on their toes…so we’ll watch this one for a bit.

The Story: Hatian immigrants moving permanently to Florida en masse could positively affect the Sunshine State’s headcount.

MyTwoCensus Commentary: Yup. This is likely. But how many grieving newly arrived Hatians make time for the 2010 Census as their first priority when upon landing in the US?

The Story:  Apparently, the Census Bureau is having trouble finding workers in West Texas.

MyTwoCensus Commentary: Even if West Texas has a low unemployment rate unlike the rest of the nation, there are still many unemployed and competent people out there. The Census Bureau recruiters in this area should be fired because clearly they are incapable of doing their jobs.

The Story: A 2010 Census meeting in Monroe, Louisiana draws sparse attendance.

MyTwoCensus Commentary: The Census Bureau did a great job getting the MEDIA and POLITICIANS to attend an event, but not the PEOPLE. Clearly there is a disconnect here. Will this be indicative of a low number of people returning their Census forms?

Wrong Info from WSJ’s The Journal Editorial Report on FOXNews

Monday, August 17th, 2009

The below report is a transcript of The Journal Editorial Report that airs on FOXNews and is hosted by Paul Gigot…unfortunately it’s riddled with inaccuracies and fact-check errors. In particular, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund is full of crap:

Gigot: We’re a little more than six months away from the start of the 2010 census, and if you think the goal is get an accurate count of U.S. citizens, think again. Instead, the Census Bureau is set to count all people physically present in the country, including–that means large numbers who could be here illegally. That could give states with high rates of illegal immigration a big advantage when it comes to reapportioning congressional seats. One big winner, potentially: California, which stands to gain nine more seats in Congress than it would if only U.S. citizens were counted. States like Ohio, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania could be among the losers.

We’re back with Dan Henninger and John Fund, and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley also joins the panel.

All right. John, are the–is the census set to count an awful lot of illegals as part of its count?

Fund: Yes, the Census Bureau says its job is to count everyone in the country–I assume that includes illegal aliens and tourists–and make that part of the census count.

Gigot: Tourists? They’re going to catch them at the airport?

Fund: Or the hotel. The problem is the Census Bureau, for the first time, is not going to be asking on the census form if you’re a citizen, so there’s no way of telling who they’re counting, whether they’re a citizen or not. And I think this is highly dangerous, because the Census was originally designed to count citizens and permanent residents of the United States. In the last 10 years, we’ve had a large increase in illegal immigration. There’s somewhere between 7 million and 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Adding them into the decision about which states get how many House seats really will dramatically change our politics.

Gigot: All right, Jason, do you agree with that?

Riley: No, I don’t. I think the 14th Amendment is pretty clear. It says, quote, “Count the whole number of persons in each state.” There may be residents of these states that are illegal, but they’re still residents, and according to the Constitution, John, they have to be counted. The idea that Census Bureau administrators can arbitrarily decide not to count certain people is legally dubious and probably unconstitutional.

But the second point to make, I think, is that the census is more than just about reapportioning members of Congress. It’s also going to determine federal funds, some $3 trillion in the allocation of federal funds over the next 10 years. Why should border states, who are bearing the brunt of these illegal immigrants, be punished for the federal government’s inability to take care of our illegal immigration problem?

Gigot: He has a point, Dan. I mean, Jason says, look, if the people are in the states and they have to pay for the people who are in these states for services whether they’re illegal or not, they should be allowed to have that counted because they’ll have access to the money.

Henninger: Well, you know, I think, Jason, though, what you’re suggesting is something of an abstraction. As a practical matter, the Census Bureau could–

Gigot: Money isn’t an abstraction.

Henninger: No, but counting people is real. You have to–the census goes out and takes a physical, in-place head count of the sort we were showing in the video on the screen. You don’t mean to think they’re going to go out and knock on the doors where the illegal immigrants live and they’re going to answer the door and say, “Oh, yeah, I’m be happy to fill this census form”–when they’re in hiding? So then it leads you to something we’ve talked about on this program before called statistical sampling, in which you use statistics to sort of estimate how many people are, which is what a lot of groups representing blacks, Hispanics, even Japanese, have wanted the Census Bureau to do. And they’ve resisted for years because it’s just an inaccurate account.

Riley: And the current director says he won’t do that.

Henninger: And this leads to a complete morass if you start trying to count people who are in hiding.

Fund: Paul, and the current Census Bureau director is someone who originally started this sampling process, so he’s very much in favor of it. In addition–

Gigot: But he said–wait a minute, John.

Riley: He said, on the record, that he wouldn’t do it, John.

Gigot: He has said, on the record, that he will not do it.

Fund: As far as I know, and from my sources inside the Census Department, they are preparing to use sampling techniques next year.

Gigot: John, let me ask you about the constitutional argument here. Eugene Volokh, a conservative constitutional scholar, among others, agrees with Jason and says, Look, if you’re going to change and you want to count only citizens, then you’ve got to have to have a constitutional amendment, because the 14th Amendment says what it says.

Fund: Well, what has been done in the past is you’ve had two separate numbers, one that could be used, in theory, to apportion the money that these border states, for example, have to bear costs from illegal aliens, and the other to reapportion the House districts. So I think you can do something that I think preserves the original intent of the Constitution and also takes into account the need for federal money to be allocated fairly.

Gigot: Well, but in terms of the allocation of representation, the small states are already–are overrepresented by population in the Senate, so they do get, regardless of the census count, a fairly good representation in the United States.

Fund: But the distortions are now becoming so large. If California has nine more congressmen and -women than it’s allowed normally, that’s an enormous distortion of our political process. And it’s no longer a small one we can ignore.

Riley: I doubt that nine–that California’s going to get nine more congressman, John, I think other indications show there’s been a lot of outmigration from California and Northeastern states as well.

Utah’s Rep. Chaffetz: Integrate Census With Postal Service

Friday, June 26th, 2009

On Wednesday, it was reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (whom I know from following stories of his “Freshman Year” on CNN) had proposed integrating the decennial census with the U.S. Postal Service. Thanks to the Salt Lake Tribune for covering this topic:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wants your mail carrier to count you.

Chaffetz said Wednesday he will introduce legislation to marry the U.S. Postal Service temporarily with the Census Bureau so that the postal workers can help with the once-a-decade count of how many people live in America.

“They really have the workforce in place to do this,” Chaffetz said. “They already go to everybody’s door.”

Chaffetz proposes taking a “postal holiday,” so that mail carriers, instead of dropping bills and magazines to your mailbox, would count the number of people in each household. The Postal Service matches up well with the Census needs, Chaffetz argues.

There are 760,000 postal employees, and the Census is anticipating it will need 750,000 temporary workers to conduct the Census next year. Congress is forking out $11 billion to do the count while the Postal Service is looking at a $1 billion revenue shortfall this year.

The Postal Service had no comment on the bill because the legislation had yet to be formally introduced Wednesday and Census officials did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

And today, Glenn Beck of FOXNews took up Chaffetz’s cause in an interview, so we’ll soon see if this idea gains any momentum in the near future…

At It Again: Rep. Michele Bachmann Warns Of Link Between Census, Japanese Internment

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Thanks to TPM for the following report about the arch nemesis of the 2010 U.S. Census:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is taking her refusal to fully fill out her Census form, which is a crime punishable by a $5,000 fine, to a whole new level: Invoking the memory of the Japanese internment during World War II, and the evil role that the Census played in it!

During an interview this morning on Fox News, Bachmann mostly focused on the danger of her personal information falling into the hands of the dreaded menace ACORN. But at one point, she made a very interesting appeal to history:

“Take this into consideration. 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,” said Bachmann. “I’m not saying that 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, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps.”

ACORN is back in the news…

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Below, Congressman Steve King discussed Democrat efforts to block his amendment keeping ACORN of out the 2010 census with FOXNEWS on June 17, 2009: