/* Just Say No. The American Community Survey
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More People Saying NO to ACS

Most people leave "anonymous" comments. (including yours truly, right here on my own Blog!) Awhile back "Alex" left me a comment and I just checked out his Blog— it has good stuff and is more up to date with comments than what you're reading right now. The format is better too— the "comments" scroll right after his post.

I remember how I felt when I received the ACS... I hope this link helps those who are searching.

Monday, December 31, 2007

INTRODUCTION... Stays on Top with a Phony Date

Helping You Make Informed Decisions— US Census Bureau Motto

My informed decision is NO! I won't answer the questions. I won't answer the phone. I won't answer the door. There. I said it. Do I feel better or more brave because I took a stand? No. Actually, I feel more uneasy because I feel far less free to speak my political mind than I ever have in my life. The overwhelming sense of foreboding I feel is deeply disturbing. I'm 60.

Most people don't even know about The American Community Survey (ACS). Sounds friendly enough, doesn't it? After all, we're all Americans, our sense of Community is important, and we love to voice our opinions, especially if someone is taking a Survey.What Ad Agency or PR Firm was paid for that extraordinary wordsmithing? Bureaucrats aren't that creative.

My ACS sat in the Junk Mail Pile for awhile because it was addressed to "Resident". Arriving next, a Fed-Ex from the "US Government Printing Office" and I thought, Now what? Opened the Fed-Ex, and it was a relief to see my renewed passport. Thinking these pieces of mail were somehow connected, I opened The American Creepy Survey (ACS). It must be a joke, a scam— who in their right mind would write down answers to these probing, intrusive questions and then just drop it in the mail? Where does the hard copy go? Who sees it? Who has access to it? It is not a survey using a mainstream definition— those are voluntary. This is an interrogation— your response is required by law and it feels like a strip-search of your personal information.

There is a glut of information about ACS and some fine editorial comment questioning privacy issues that I'll link to later. It took some creative Googling to find any personal accounts of other people who share my viewpoint. Most of the ACS protesters are buried deep in Google's pages, a few forum comments here and there, mostly dated.The ACS seems so easy to dismiss— until you get one. Am I obsessing about this, taking it too personal, being overly suspicious, distrustful, paranoid? Am I missing something? Noooooo, I don't think so.

Perseverance pays off! Imagine my surprise when I found a website called Survival Arts with the longest running ACS commentary dating from 2004! What a great read! Trust those gut feelings— it is them ,not us. Russell was going to take the ACS portion off and then it started getting busy— so busy in fact, his website stats showed bureaucratic interest.

Thank you Russell, for the inspiration and graciously donating your space for people like me. This Blog's for you!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Did You Say No to The American Community Survey?

You can always read what I say about the American Community Survey.This page is for your rants about the ACS— it too will stay on top with another fake date. I've been zipping around blogland and what I notice most is how this nefarious packet creates a whiplash in people's lives. The American Community Survey jars our reality.

Monday, July 31, 2006

"My Name is Lisa Kalvelage"

Pete Seeger wrote the song "My Name is Lisa Kalvelage"— in 1972, about four housewives who in 1966 non-violently protested a shipment of napalm headed for Vietnam. It was early in the War Protest and the local police were dumbfounded to see such well-dressed, polite women involved in a rather unseemly activity. Lisa Kalvelage spoke up then and protested the Iraq War a few years ago

I've always been a Seeger fan, but didn't know about this song until
Bruce Springsteen's "The Seeger Sessions" came out. Always been a Springsteen fan too and I was thrilled to hear Seeger's material in raucous, rambunctious. Hootenanny Style.

Pete Seeger's name is synonymous with protest, and I enjoyed reading (and reliving to some extent) about his many activities and accomplishments. He was accused of being a Communist during the McCarthy hearings and was sentenced to 2 years in prison for "contempt". He fought that conviction until 1972 when he finally was exonerated. The
transcript of his testimony is on the website and may seem implausible in today's world. The McCarthy hearings are a history lesson with hindsight, applicable to now. The Power of those in Power has no boundaries and there is no such thing as confidentiality. I know if Pete were still writing songs, he would write a song about The American Community Survey. I can hear a chorus of lilting disdain about "more nosey than necessary census.gov" or "where does all the info go..."

The name
Lisa Kalvelage was familiar from childhood memories. The Kalvelages lived across the street and the Mom's name was Lisa and she came from Germany. Her daughters, Angela and Birgit were my friends. As a child, I remember liking "Mrs. Kalvelage" because she was interesting and different. Sometimes she wore a white nurse's uniform which seemed important somehow.

Adding today's words to my childhood admiration, Lisa Kalvelage had focus, efficiency, and determination. Her dining room table was full of boxes packed for Overseas. As kids, we helped by putting American cigarettes inside Jello boxes. I remember her explanation and my feeling of indignation— "That's not fair!" Lisa had family in Germany— was it East Germany?

That was the 50s, I was 8 or 10, and I don't remember when they moved away. Kalvelage and Lime Jello boxes are burned in my memory.

Within the same few weeks, I received my American Community Survey, went to the Springsteen concert, found the song "My Name is Lisa Kalvelage", read what she did and felt so proud. Seeds of involvement and protest are sown early on— might be in Lime Jello boxes right across the street.

Pete wrote a song about Lisa Kalvelage and I know if the Feds get pushy, Bruce will write a song about me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Look Who's Talking!

I'm searching within Blogger for "American Community Survey". So far I've looked at about 100 out of 2238 results. Google produces 426,000 results using the same search words. Some are personal blogs or websites without comments, some are active forums not particularily associated with the ACS. My temporary conclusion after reading so many entries and posts is this: No matter who you are or what your focus may be— when The ACS Census Packet arrives, the internet becomes your confidant, your soapbox, your therapist, your teacher, and a reliable source of information.

As I keep searching, I'll add more. This could be in the Links section but I wanted to add some commentary.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Celebrate Today

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident,that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

"That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,
that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends,
it is
the Right of the People
to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
Safety and Happiness."

Let's celebrate those independent, brave words because they embrace the power of choice. I'm choosing not to participate in the American Community Survey. That's one choice and it is personal because, if for no other reason, My Pursuit of Happiness is seriously impaired. (This is taking up a lot of my time because Blogger can be infuriating and I'm a newbie. Every single facet of the ACS disturbs me— the justification, funding, questions, methods, conclusions, partisan bickering, and the whole-hearted support of everyone except the brave puny few who post here or might be reading this.

Wouldn't it be nice if today was part of Independence Holiday Weekend instead of a Tuesday that feels somewhat like a Sunday. Independence is a thoughtful word like memorial, thanksgiving, and labor. Wonder if anyone thinks about presidents on Presidents Day? Mid-July sounds good to me. People spend more money on 3-day weekends and I don't need the Census Bureau to tell me that.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bush Said No
Well... it seems like a no— probably had his flip-flops on. It is deep in the CNN archives from Campaign 2000 and worthy of reproducing here.
Links have a way of disappearing. Census 2000 had a LongForm similar to the ACS and it was mass-mailed to everyone on April 1, 2000 (no foolin'!). Enough media scrutiny and public discussion sent the whole ACS operation into stealth mode. Divide and conquer— stay under the radar. Make people crabby and more suspicious.
Census 2000 too nosey?
Republicans criticize long-form questions
March 31, 2000
Web posted at: 3:40 p.m. EST (2040 GMT)

Why answer them? It's required by law.
But presumptive GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush said Thursday
he's not sure he would fill out the detailed version of the questionnaire, which
goes to one in six of the country's 115 million households.
"We want as accurate a count as possible, but I can understand why people
don't want to give over that information to the government," Bush said Thursday
during a campaign stop in Milwaukee. "And if I have the long form, I'm not sure I
would, either."

The Texas governor stopped short of advising people not to complete the form.

But he said, "If they're worried about the government intruding into their personal
lives, they ought to think about it."

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/US/03/31/census.01/#2 (plan B if my links don't work, I'm a novice)

Worried about the government intruding into their personal lives? Oh, let me count the ways.