Some mention has been made in the news and online regarding the American Community Survey. You may not be familiar with this document. It replaces the long form version of the U.S. census to be administered in 2010.

We were among the several million lucky households selected to fill out the American Community Survey, known in this household as the Governmental Proctology Exam. Our bulky, multiple-page form arrived in the mail yesterday.

You might be curious as to what kinds of questions you might be asked as part of this survey. Here’s a quick rundown of the questions posed only to Person 1, usually referred to as the Head of Household in previous census documents. These questions are repeated for up to four other people residing in the house, plus additional questions asking about the relationships of Persons 2-5 to Person 1.

You may want to pause here and get yourself a beverage before you begin. Maybe a bathroom break, too. This is going to take a while.

Ready? Here we go.

Personal information

  • First Name, Last Name, Middle Initial
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Date of Birth
  • Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin
  • Race (a list of 15 options, including two fill-in-the-blank options)
  • Location of birth
  • U.S. citizen?
  • If not born in the U.S., when did you come to the U.S.?
  • In the last three months did you attend school/college? What grade were you in?
  • What was the highest level of schooling completed?
  • Bachelor’s degree/majors?
  • Ancestry or ethnic origin
  • Do you speak anything other than English in the home?
  • If yes, what language?
  • How well does this person speak English?
  • Did this person live here a year ago?
  • If not, where did the person live previously? (Address, city and state)
  • Covered by insurance? (Current or former employer, insurance purchased personally, Medicare/Medicaid, Tricare/military care, VA, Indian Health Service, other)
  • Deaf or difficulty hearing?
  • Blind or difficulty seeing?
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions due to physical, mental or emotional condition?
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
  • Difficulty dressing or bathing?
  • Difficulty running errands due to physical, mental or emotional condition?
  • Current marital status
  • 12-month history of marriage/widowed/divorced
  • How many times married?
  • Year married
  • If female, have you given birth in the past 12 months?
  • Grandchildren under 18 living in home
  • Grandparents responsible for basic needs of grandchild(ren)?
  • Length of time grandparent has been financially responsible?
  • Military service
  • Active duty in various conflicts?
  • VA service-connected disability rating
  • Last week, did this person work for pay at a job?
  • Last week, did this person do any work for pay?
  • Address of company where person worked last week
  • Method of transportation to get to work last week
  • Automobile occupancy going to work last week
  • Time person left home to go to work
  • Commute time
  • Laid off last week?
  • Temporarily absent last week? (Vacation, maternity leave, illness, bad weather, etc.)
  • Have you been informed that you will be recalled to work within the next 6 months?
  • Have you looked for work in the past 4 weeks?
  • Last week, could you have started a job if you were offered one?
  • When did this person last work, even for a few days?
  • During the past 52 weeks, did this person work 50 or more weeks? (Paid time off counts as work)
  • In the past 12 months, how many hours per week on average did this person work?)
  • Category of current job (8 possible categories)
  • Name of employer
  • Employment type (what does your employer do or make?)
  • Type of work the person does
  • Most important activities or duties at work
  • Income for the last 12 months (interest, dividends and rental income, Social Security or supplemental income, welfare assistance, retirement/disability pensions, other)
  • Total income from all sources


  • Describe the building.
  • When was it built?
  • When did Person 1 move in (month/year)?
  • Acreage of lot
  • Actual sales of all agricultural products from this property
  • Business on the property?
  • How many separate rooms are in the house?
  • How many are bedrooms?
  • Amenities (hot and cold running water, toilet, bathtub/shower, sink with faucet, stove, refrigerator, phone including cell phones)
  • Number of automobiles
  • Heating fuel for the house
  • Last month’s electric bill cost
  • Last month’s gas bill cost
  • Past 12 months of water/sewage bill costs
  • Last month’s fuel usage (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.)
  • Past 12 months food stamps benefits
  • Is there a condominium fee in addition to rent?
  • Ownership of housing?
  • Cost of rent
  • Does the rent include meals?
  • Estimated sale price of property
  • Annual real estate taxes on property
  • Annual payment for fire, hazard and flood insurance
  • Does anyone in the household have a mortgage on the house?
  • How much is the mortgage payment?
  • Does this payment include real estate taxes?
  • Does this payment include fire and flood insurance?
  • Does anyone have a second mortgage on the property?
  • Monthly amount for secondary mortgage
  • Annual cost of property taxes and fees

In short, this is a stalker’s wet dream. Why do the Feds need to know what time I leave the house to go to work? Why do they need a 12-month history of my marital status? What do they want with last month’s electricity bill? Is it any of their business whether I have difficulty dressing or bathing? (Are they offering to come help me bathe? If so, I have a two-word answer for them, and it ain’t Happy Birthday.)

I can understand their desire to obtain this information. But just because they want it doesn’t give them the right to demand it from me. This survey arrived with an implicit legal threat on the outer envelope: “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.” It did not explain the nature of my required response. Fortunately, I have a passing familiarity with the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2. The only information I am required to give the Census Bureau, by the supreme law of the land, is the number of people living in this dwelling. And that’s exactly what information I gave them. That cut down the “estimated time to complete this survey” from 38 minutes to 30 seconds.

We live in the Age of Information. More and more businesses, companies, and of course government entities are recognizing that your information is valuable, and they try to get you to give it away for free. Consider for a moment: how much is this information worth? How dare anyone, let alone the federal government, demand that you give them this valuable information for free?

But even if the Feds wanted to pay me to obtain this information, I would refuse–because I believe in a limited federal government, not in a nanny state that feeds me, burps me and changes my diapers every day of my life. I am an adult citizen, and not an infantile subject.

Today is the first anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, but there won’t be any partying to celebrate.

Don’t expect any partying at the White House on Wednesday.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs says nothing special is being planned to take note of Barack Obama’s first year as president. Obama took the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol around noon on Jan. 20, 2009.

Gibbs acknowledged that Wednesday is an “anniversary of types” but says the staff isn’t focused on marking the first year.

Why so serious? After all, the White House has been party central this past year.

In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune, the stylish Ms. Rogers and the party-hearty First Couple hosted no less than 170 parties and social events through December 3 of 2009. And that does not even include the 17 parties and 11 open houses – feting more than 50,000 guests – ABC News reported the Obamas hosted throughout the Holiday Season.

For those not counting, that means by January, 2010, Ms. Rogers had staged one gala White House event every three days throughout the first year of the Obama Administration, making the once austere Executive Mansion look more like party central.

No reason to celebrate Obama’s first year? What could possibly stop the constant partying? Could it be the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts to fill Teddy Kennedy’s old Senate seat? Could it be that many Democrats and independents who had voted for Obama for President voted yesterday for a Republican for Senate? Could it be Obama’s plans for government take-over of health care are now needing emergency care?

Maybe President Obama has decided to spend more time working this year instead of golfing so much.

Since my last post didn’t list too many accomplishments in 2009 by President Obama, I figured I should give credit where credit is due and list some of the other many accomplishments of his presidency. This list is courtesy of Victor Davis Hanson, as he compares the Obama presidency to something made of china, fractured and glued back together:

Here is a random selection. I provide no chronology or theme. Nor do I judge the relative importance of any one incident. The point, again, is only that each was a fissure, some small, some major—all were glued over. The result is that now the public understands that its china presidency is fragile and held together by mere glue.

Here it goes:

  • Constant apologies abroad for everything from slavery to Hiroshima
  • Bows to Saudi royalty, the Japanese emperor, and Chinese autocrats
  • The on-again/off-again Guantanamo shut-down mess
  • The fight with the former CIA directors
  • The public show trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed
  • The reach out to Ahmadinejad Castro, Chavez, and assorted thugs
  • The Honduras fiasco
  • Czars everywhere
  • The serial “Bush did it”/reset whine abroad
  • The Queen of England/I-pod fiasco
  • Gordon Brown gets snookered in his gift-giving
  • Unceremoniously shipping back the Churchill bust
  • The end of the special relationship with the UK
  • The New York on-the-town presidential splurge
  • Anita Dunn and her Mao worship
  • Timothy Geithner/Tom Daschle/Hilda Solis and their taxes
  • What ever happened to Gov. Richardson?
  • “No lobbyists” = gads of them
  • The Podestas’ insider influence-peddling empire
  • Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” chauvinism
  • The Special Olympics silly quip
  • Trashing Nancy Reagan
  • The Skip Gates/police acting “stupidly” mess
  • The get-Chicago-the-Olympics jaunt to Copenhagen
  • Cap-and-trade boondoggle
  • “Millions of green jobs”
  • Ignore gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power production
  • Cash-for-clunkers
  • The Joe Biden gaffe machine
  • Jobs “saved” or “created” rather than references to the actual unemployment rates
  • Van Jones, the racist and truther
  • Desiree Rogers won’t testify
  • The blowback from, and silence about, the Rangel/Dodd corruption
  • The White House party crashers plan to take the 5th Amendment
  • The ‘bipartisanship’ con
  • The pork-barrel stimulus spoils
  • The demonization of the Town-Hallers
  • The Acorn Mess
  • The Kevin Jennings/Safe School Czar embarrassment
  • The SEIU direct access to the White House
  • The Asian Tour comedown
  • The politicization of the take-over of GM and Chrysler
  • The Obama readjustment in the order of paying back car creditors
  • Car dealerships closed on shaky criteria
  • Obama as “Caesar”
  • The Emanuel “never let a serious crisis go to waste” boast
  • The Black Caucus/Rangel/Waters bid to bail out the inner-city radio stations
  • Yosi Sergant and the NEA
  • $1.7 trillion deficit
  • The planned $9 trillion added to the national debt
  • New income tax rates; health care surcharge talk; and payroll tax caps to be lifted
  • Rahm Emanuel’s promised payback to those states that trash the stimulus
  • The supposed C-span aired health care debate
  • The promised website posts of pending legislation
  • Czechs and Poles sold out on missile defense
  • Sermons to and finger pointing at the Israelis
  • The failed ‘Putin helps to stop a nuclear Iran’ gambit
  • Voting present on the Iranian reformers in the street
  • Serial but empty deadlines to Ahmadinejad
  • The good war/bad war twisting and turning on Iraq/Afghanistan
  • The months-long dithering over Afghanistan
  • Renditions, tribunals, Patriot Act, etc. once trashed, now OK
  • Health-care take-over
  • The 2,000 page proposed new health code
  • The embarrassing Nobel Peace Prize nomination
  • The attacks on surgeons, Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.
  • The Islam mythologies in the Cairo Speech
  • The al Arabiya “Bush did it” interview
  • Obama’s TV “my Muslim faith” gaffe

Some comments on Hanson’s blog point out a few more gaffes, and I add a few more that happened after he posted this list:

  • Justice Department drops Black Panther prosecution after winning the case
  • Snubbing the king of Norway
  • Air Force One buzzing New York
  • Firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin
  • Hubris: “I like being President. And it turns out I’m pretty good at it.”
  • Refusing to call the Fort Hood shootings “terrorism”
  • Telling soldiers “You make a great photo op”
  • Terrorism = “man-caused disaster” / War on Terror = “Overseas Contingency Operation”
  • His constant reliance on the teleprompter
  • Civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York
  • Golfer In Chief
  • “The system worked” / “The system failed” within 24 hours by Janet Napolitano

At some point, a piece of china placed under much abuse will become more cracks and glue than fine china. But I don’t think we are at that point with Obama’s presidency. And yet it certainly is getting hard to see the presidential china because of all the cracks and glue.

With the new year, it’s time to review the many accomplishments of Pres. Obama in 2009.

  • Sworn in as President
  • Appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court
  • Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

I’m trying to think of something else that could be legitimately credited to Obama as an accomplishment. I’m not counting bills signed into law as an accomplishment because the work is done by the House, and all the President has to do is scribble his signature on the dotted line.

OK, I’ll give President Obama credit for two other accomplishments in 2009: he asked for and got Congress to spend trillions of dollars, and he read lots of speeches off teleprompters.

Can you think of anything else?