Back in December, Emily Babay added a “Twitter Feed” to the MyTwoCensus homepage. This tool has proved all too valuable in finding out intricate details of Census Bureau problems. If you want to see why/how your tax dollars are wasted, look at the below Tweet for why. Great job payroll system! (FYI the term #lml stands for “love my life.”)
Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’
Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves says that operations are winding down; Mass #layoffs ahead at the #2010 #CensusTuesday, June 15th, 2010
Groves wrote, “As of Sunday, we have completed and checked-in about 44 million enumerator forms for this operation of the approximately 47 million; we’re at about 93% complete in this operation. We are somewhat ahead of schedule and certainly under-budget.”
My first (snarky) comment is that its not hard to be under-budget when you are given a $15 billion blank check that is more than triple what your predecessors had to work with in 2000.
My second, realistic comment, is that there are still 3 million households that have not been counted. With the end of operations looming near, this invites fraud on many levels, as individuals will likely be pressured by their higher-ups, all the way through the chain of command back to Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland to get forms completed come hell or high water.
Subtly, Dr. Groves also warned of mass layoffs in the coming days. He wrote;
However, for many we will have to say our goodbyes. It is to them that this entry is dedicated –
You were among the best labor force for a decennial census in decades; you brought to the census family the strongest set of skills and intelligence, the best work experience, incredible flexibility, and a strong devotion to serving the American public by devoting your talents to the 2010 Census. On behalf of the full Census Bureau family, I thank you for your service to the country, and I wish you well in the next steps in your careers. I hope some of the experiences you had during this massive, complicated, messy effort will provide knowledge that makes you a better employee in your next endeavor. Thank you again.
Also, please say a warm and fuzzy goodbye to Obama Administration job creation statistics that were inflated by Census Bureau hires!
In a memo sent last week to all of its employees, the Census Bureau took a huge swipe at the first amendment of the US Constitution, the right to freedom of speech. The contents of the letter were as follows:
CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDER
Social Networking and Census Employment
As personal blogging, tweeting, social network sites have become more common and popular, it is not unusual for Federal employees to have an opportunity to write about their work and their employer in a public forum. Please be aware that you cannot disclose any nonpublic information that is protected by statute. You also cannot receive payments for writing about Census programs or operations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee. In addition, you must be careful to ensure that there is no appearance created that you are writing on behalf of the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Government, when you are writing in your personal capacity.
These rules apply to all employees, as well as those who are professional writers and reporters, so please keep these considerations in mind before writing and publishing or posting an article or other writing about the census or your work as a Census Bureau employee.
As a Federal employee and a hard-working member of the Census Bureau, you have important responsibilities and obligations to the public which impose some limits on you that do not apply to persons in the private sector. Please be mindful of these responsibilities, even when engaging in personal activities such as blogging and posting on web sites.
These restrictions on writings and publications are in addition to the life-time oath you took to uphold the confidentiality of census information. Any wrongful disclosure of confidential census information subjects you to a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment up to 5 years, or both.
*The last part of the letter was underlined, not put in bold, but I put it in bold to illustrate a point.
Just like other government officials and people who work in the private sector, Census Bureau employees are subject to confidentiality laws. However, this does not mean that the government has the right to threaten employees, particularly whistleblowers, as they have in this situation. The Census Bureau must make clear what workers’ legal obligations are and what are simply the goals of the Census Bureau’s management and public relations team who benefit greatly from problems being kept quiet and unreported.
It’s funny how it is implied that criticizing and talking to outsiders about the incompetence of the census machinery and brass is punishable with jail and fines, when in reality, it only applies to title 13 of USC in regard to respondent information and personally identifiable information. The census own manuals have a section devoted to the rights and protections afforded to whistleblowers. They also imply that because we are paid government employees, that it is unethical for us to publicly humiliate and or expose the ineptness of our employers. Nice try. There is no law preventing anyone from writing in their personal capacity, but it is implied that it is wrong, unethical, and just not cool.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDERSocial Networking and Census EmploymentAs personal blogging, tweeting, social networking sites have become more common and popular, itis not unusual for Federal employees to have an opportunity to write about their work and theiremployer in a public forum. Please be aware you cannot disclose any nonpublic information thatis protected by statute. You also cannot receive payments for writing about Census programs oroperations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee. In addition, youmust be careful to ensure that there is no appearance created that you are writing on behalf of theBureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Government when youare writing in your personal capacity.[...]These restrictions on writing and publications are in addition to the life-time oath you took touphold the confidentiality of census information. Any wrongful disclosure of confidential censusinformation subjects you to a fine up to $250,000, imprisonment up to five years, or both.
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:
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!”
Since MyTwoCensus.com added a Twitter widget to the lower right side of our page in December 2009, it has been very easy to observe Tweets and dialogues from across the US that pertain to the 2010 Census. However, last week, we noticed a suspicious Tweet (see below) and contacted the person who posted it. Thus far, we have not recieved a response, but we must wonder: Are federal, state, regional, or local agencies hiring people (at $29.50 per hour!!!) to complete 2010 Census forms on behalf of prisoners? Is this legal? Will this produce a fair and accurate count? On Friday, we inquired about this Tweet with the Census Bureau. They have not yet responded to our inquiry.
Note: Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/MyTwoCensus
There will be one national vehicle and 13 smaller regional vehicles. The national vehicle, which will be unveiled today in Times Square, is a 46-foot gooseneck trailer towed by a dual axle, quad-cab pick-up truck. It’s expected to visit high-profile events nationwide.
The regional vehicles are sprinter cargo vans towing 14-foot bumper pull trailers. They’ll be at a variety of events in their areas.
The vehicles, which the Census Bureau has named, are equipped with GPS technology to track their progress online. Each vehicle also has it’s own Twitter feed.
After the jump, see the full list of regional vehicles, Twitter feeds and locations the national vehicle is slated to visit.
We have a great new guest editor on board, so stay tuned for her posts:
Emily Babay is a senior and history major at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the online editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian where she coordinated tons of political coverage for the 2008 elections. She also works at Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and drinks excessive amounts of coffee. She can be reached at email@example.com and you can find her on Twitter at twitter.com/emilybabay.