Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vietnam's War on Religion

By: Michael Benge
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The United States’ decision not to put Vietnam back onto the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) regarding religion flies in the face of absurdity given that repressive country’s ongoing war on religion. Religious repression appears to have actually increased since Vietnam was taken off the CPC list.

The Washington Times' August 7 article “Zen master at center of row” exposes but one more example of Vietnam’s war on religion, this time against the disciples of famous Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: “The monks and nuns at Bat Nha monastery in Vietnam’s Central Highlands have been quietly meditating and studying the teachings of the 82-year-old Vietnamese sage who is perhaps the world's best-known living Buddhist after Tibet's Dalai Lama.”

Rather than roll out mainline military units as in the past, the Vietnamese communists changed tactics and used gangs of plain clothes police and hired thugs - a parastatal army - armed with sledgehammers, axes, iron bars and other weapons to attack the monastery. They smashed windows, damaged buildings and threatened the monks and nuns. By using this mix of plain clothes police and hired thugs, Hanoi feels it has plausible deniability by claiming that the attack was caused by inter-factional fighting within the Buddhist Church, and in other cases “citizen anger toward inhabitants.”

Many believe that the real reason for the attack was because of Nhat Hanh's call on President Nguyen Minh Triet for Vietnam to abolish government control of religion. Others say that the attack may have been predicated on pressure from China on Hanoi for Nhat Hanh's praise for the Dalai Lama.

This kind of an attack is not an isolated incident and is being indiscriminately used against Protestants, Catholics and other Buddhist sects as well. A week later, the diocese of Vinh reported the brutal beating of two Catholic priests by plain clothed police and thugs. Fr Paul Nguyen was beaten by a group of men when he tried to save three women who were being attacked by the same men while 30 uniformed police officers stood idly by and watched. Fr Peter Nguyen The Binh was beaten by a similar gang of armed men and thrown from a second story window while visiting Fr Nguyen in the hospital.

Similar attacks against Montagnard Protestants have been reported in the Central Highlands. For example, on August 21, 2009, Vietnamese communist security police went to the homes of Protestant Christian pastors Phan Nay (DOB 1977), Vong Kpa (DOB 1969) and Hnoi Ksor (DOB 1982) of Ploi Ksing A village, Xa ia Piar commune, Huyen ayun Pa district, Gia Lai province and severely kicked and beat them with batons in front of their families and villagers. Afterwards, their relatives tried taking them to the hospital but were prevented from doing so by the police. According to more recent reports, they are still in severe pain and have difficult eating and keeping food down. The police accused them of conducting illegal House Church services not authorized by the “Potempkin” Hoi Thanh Tin Lanh Vietnam communist government controlled church for Montagnards in Plieku city.

In Vietnam, communism is a political religion and the communist party views any organized religion as a direct threat to national security and their authoritarian control of the Vietnamese people. In Vietnam’s 2008 Internal ‘Training Manual for the Task Concerning the Protestant Religion,’ designed for the Central Bureau of Religious Affairs’ (CBRA) special police, whose responsibilities include the monitoring and control of religion and churches, it states “official thinking still connects religion with schemes of “enemy forces which hope to destroy the precious revolution of our people.”

By 2007, the communist government held over 3,000 training courses and 10,000 workshops throughout the country for the political management of religion. US Ambassador Michael Michalak and the State Department commended the Vietnamese government for doing so. In the 2007-2008 training cycle, 21,811 more of CBRA’s religious police were trained to “manage religion.”

On August 11, Compass Direct News reported that four police officers and two officials from the CBRA interrupted a Sunday House Church worship service in Tran Phu Commune, Hanoi, and one officer told the members that if he found them meeting next Sunday, "I will kill you like I'd kill a dog." Ironically, the pastor had twice tried to register the House Church with the government.

Over 150 Montagnard House Church Pastors are languishing in prisons in Vietnam. In April 2008, Pastor H’Bat Puih, mother of four, was sent to Pleiku’s T-20 prison and hasn't been heard of since.

The price of registering churches means surrendering religious freedom to the communist party. The church must submit to the CBRA a list of the names and addresses of members, and only those approved by the CBRA can attend services. All sermons must be approved in advance by the CBRA, and all sermons, including those of minorities, must be given in Vietnamese. Pastors and priests can neither deviate from the approved sermon nor proselytize, and the CBRA religious police “manage” all church activities.

This wrath of the communist regime also includes the destruction of church property. For example, not only is the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam outlawed but its property was seized and buildings destroyed; the first Montagnard Christian Church, considered as a sacred historical site in Buonmathuot city, was recently demolished; the Catholic nunciature in Hanoi was destroyed as was the Redemptorist Monastery in Nha Trang. The nuns of the Order of Cross Lovers in Thu Thiem - a suburb of Ho Chi Minh city - were removed from their 170 year old convent and the buildings destroyed. The monastery of the order of the Brothers of The Holy Family of Banam (Frères de la Sainte Famille de Banam) in Long Xuyen were demolished, as was the monastery of the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres in Vinh Long province.

Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak recently stated, “The US has no interest in putting Vietnam back onto the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) regarding religion.” He has often praised Vietnam regarding their supposed record of improving religious freedom, and also said, “…the US Department of State stated that there was not enough evidence to put Vietnam back on the list.” US policy toward Vietnam seems to have reverted to “see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil” when it comes to religious persecution. This is the same communist regime that murdered over a million of their own people after its takeover of South Viet Nam in 1975.

This carryover Bush policy of engagement with Vietnam regarding religious freedom has been a dismal failure, and in fact, the U.S. inaction is seen by the communists as tacit approval of their policies. President Obama has promised change, now the question is, does he have the courage to change President Bush’s failed policy of worshiping at the alter of trade by holding Vietnam’s feet to the fire and placing that repressive regime back on the CPC list?


Michael Benge spent 11 years in Vietnam as a Foreign Service Officer, including five years as a Prisoner of war-- 1968-73 and is a student of South East Asian Politics. He is very active in advocating for human rights and religious freedom and has written extensively on these subjects.


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You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF #76


September 27, 2009 No. 76


IN THIS CENSUS NEWS BRIEF:
Director Offers Census Operational Update
House Approves Temporary 2010 Funding Bill
Stakeholder Activities: New Toolkit Available
Condolences

CENSUS DIRECTOR DISCUSSES FINAL
PREPARATIONS FOR 2010 COUNT


House stop-gap funding bill includes reprieve for census operations

New census toolkit helps nonprofits promote census


CENSUS DIRECTOR LAYS OUT PROGRESS AND
CHALLENGES IN ADVANCE OF 2010 CENSUS

House Panel Assesses Status of Communications Campaign

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said last week that the agency was "on target for major operations" six months before Census Day (April 1, 2010), calling the 2010 decennial count "a gigantic mobilization of resources" at his first media briefing since taking office in July. Dr. Groves, an internationally-known expert in survey methodology, told reporters gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC that the "behavior of the American public is the keystone" to the success of the census, explaining that it is a "challenge" to estimate the initial response rate, due in part to a higher vacancy rate caused by the recession and foreclosure crisis. The director noted that the Census Bureau would save $90 million for every one percent of households that mail back their census forms. Answering the census "is something you can do to help reduce the federal deficit," he observed.

The Census Bureau completed the first major field operation, Address Canvassing, on time last spring, Dr. Groves said, and the agency is now evaluating the Master Address File that defines the universe for the enumeration. State and local governments participating in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program will have a final opportunity this fall to review the updated address list for their jurisdiction and appeal addresses they believe were mistakenly excluded.

The next major census operation, Group Quarters Validation, starts this week. Field staff will visit all addresses marked as "other living quarters" during the Address Canvassing operation, to verify their classification as group living facilities, such as college dorms, nursing homes, prisons, and military barracks, and other unusual living situations, such as campgrounds and marinas. Census takers will visit all group quarters next February, to arrange for the enumeration in April and early May. Census staff work with group facility administrators to distribute modified census forms -- called Individual Census Reports -- to residents; they also have the authority to request administrative records from group facilities in order to count residents who do not or cannot fill out a form.

From October through December, the Census Bureau will open 500 Local Census Offices (LCOs) nationwide. (About 150 of those offices were operational during Address Canvassing.) Local offices are responsible for training and supervising the 1.2 million temporary employees who will fan out across the country starting in May, to collect information from households that do not return a census form by mail (or respond by telephone). The printing of 183 million questionnaires, as well as 15 million bilingual forms, is "on schedule" and using much of the nation's printing capacity, the director said. Three data processing centers -- in Phoenix, Baltimore, and Jeffersonville, IN -- are open, and the Census Bureau is preparing to open call centers in late February, to field questions about completing census forms. The bureau and its advertising contractor, Draftfcb, are finalizing the paid media campaign, which will launch with an "awareness" phase in January. "Things are looking pretty good," Dr. Groves said about preparations for the 2010 count, but there is "much to do."

Census operations actually start in late January, when census takers will visit and enumerate households in remote Alaskan villages before the spring thaw makes it difficult to reach many of these communities.

Confidence in 2010 census design cited: The director said he believed the 2010 census design was an improvement over 2000, citing the first-time use of targeted bilingual (English-Spanish) census forms and replacement questionnaires for low mail response areas, as well as the decision to drop a longer, sample questionnaire that he said placed a burden on the public and reduced cooperation. (The ongoing American Community Survey has replaced the traditional long form, collecting a wider range of demographic, economic, and housing information than the six-topic 2010 census.) He also pointed to new questions on the census form -- called "coverage questions" -- that will help the Census Bureau identify people who may have been counted twice (such as forms that include students away at college) or mistakenly left off of questionnaires. The Census Bureau will follow-up by telephone with many of the households where the coverage questions indicate a duplicate count or missing people.

Dr. Groves applauded the additional funds for outreach and promotion in the stimulus bill Congress passed last winter, saying the extra money was helping the Census Bureau reach "trusted voices" at the community level through the Partnership Program. "I am quite comfortable that we have planned a better census than we executed in 2000," the director concluded.

Census Bureau faces challenges in months ahead: Dr. Groves also discussed a number of challenges the Census Bureau faces as the start of the 2010 census approaches. He said that the senior 2010 census team was "structured well to identify management risk" but had less high-level experience conducting a census than had teams in the past. The director said he was supplementing the management group with seasoned outside advisers: Former Census Director Kenneth Prewitt; former Associate Director for Decennial Census John Thompson; and former Chief Financial Officer Nancy Potok. (See the July 5, 2009 Census News Brief #68 for more information on the three advisers, who were originally appointed by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke while the U.S. Senate delayed a vote on Dr. Groves' nomination. Dr. Potok is now the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Department of Commerce.) Dr. Groves also noted the retirement of key mathematical statisticians, a problem he said was shared by other federal statistical agencies.

Dr. Groves emphasized the importance of maintaining the Census Bureau as a "nonpartisan and apolitical agency." "I need to fight that battle daily," the director said, later clarifying in response to a reporter's question that he was not under pressure to politicize the census, but that it "isn't unusual" for people "with very strong political views [to] care about the census." The agency, he said, must acknowledge the political uses of census data but work to "ensure that the process can never be politicized."

Development of software for processing information collected during door-to-door visits from unresponsive households was proceeding "on schedule" but under "very tight" deadlines, Dr. Groves said, noting the late decision to revert to a pencil-and-paper follow-up method when the Census Bureau lost confidence in its ability to use new GPS-equipped handheld computers for the vast field operation. He also said the quality of the final address list was a factor in the success of the census.

The director cited "the new media environment," including the "blogosphere," as a challenge, and said the agency would launch web-based outreach in the next several weeks. He also reminded reporters that there will not be an Internet response option in 2010, saying he feared possible deceptive web sites to trick the public into providing personal information to scammers. The director has established an internal working group to monitor possible Internet deception during the census.

Over the longer term, Dr. Groves said, he is "worried and concerned about cost estimation and cost control" for the census. In testimony last week before the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, Director Groves said there were cost overruns in parts of the Address Canvassing operation, suggesting a problem with cost models used to predict total costs.

House panel reviews 2010 census communications campaign: The House subcommittee responsible for census oversight also focused on the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign, which Chairman William "Lacy" Clay said "could play a key role in reducing the undercount, as it did in 2000," at its hearing on September 22.

Judith Gordon, Principal Assistant Inspector General for Audit and Evaluation, Department of Commerce, told panel members that the Census Bureau "has been diligent in its management and monitoring" of the $300 million communications contract with Draftfcb, but that the advertising agency's initial communications plan and delivery of promotional items to Regional Census Offices were delayed. The Inspector General's office is continuing to monitor the Partnership Program, another key component of the effort to educate the public about the importance of the census and to encourage participation. Ms. Gordon noted that the Census Bureau recently met its goal of hiring an additional 2,027 partnership staff using $120 million in stimulus bill funds.

Jeff Tarakajian, Chairman and CEO of Draftfcb, also testified at the oversight hearing. A full set of statements from the session is available at http://informationpolicy.oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=2600.

HOUSE APPROVES ONE MONTH STOP-GAP FUNDING MEASURE

Facing the end of the fiscal year with no annual spending bills signed into law, the U.S. House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 217 - 190, a temporary funding measure -- called a Continuing Resolution (CR) -- that would fully fund preparations for the 2010 census while Congress works to complete final appropriations measures for Fiscal Year 2010. The U.S. Senate will take up the bill early this week, before the new budget year starts on October 1.

H.R. 2918 allocates $7.066 billion for the Census Bureau's Periodic Censuses and Programs ("Periodics") account, to keep 2010 census operations moving forward as planned and on schedule. The bill would fund federal agencies and programs through October 31, most at their current (Fiscal Year 2009) levels; appropriators carved out an exception for the 2010 census, which falls under the Periodics account. Limiting the Census Bureau's spending to current year levels would jeopardize final preparations for the 2010 census, since the agency's funding will more than double from 2009 to 2010. (The Continuing Resolution was attached to the regular funding bill for the Legislative Branch.)

The House-passed stop-gap Census Bureau funding level matches the amount the Senate Appropriations Committee approved in its version of the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science bill in July. That committee reduced the agency's 2010 census budget request by $50 million, which it said reflected inflated assumptions about the cost of mileage reimbursement for census field workers. (The full Senate has not yet considered the measure.)

The House of Representatives approved its version of the FY2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 2847) in June, appropriating $6.91 billion for Periodic Censuses and Programs. House appropriators said they believed the Census Bureau could supplement that amount with $206 million left over from 2009; the Census Bureau said it had already obligated those funds for media buys in 2010.

STAKEHOLDER ACTIVITIES

New toolkit helps nonprofits promote 2010 census: The Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network (NVEN) has prepared a comprehensive toolkit to help state and local organizations promote participation in the upcoming census among their members and the people they serve at the community level.

Available on a CD-ROM and on-line, "A Census Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations: Mobilizing Communities for the 2010 Census" includes fact sheets in English and Spanish, sample census questionnaires, a 2010 Census partnership agreement form, and other resources. Visit http://www.nonprofitscount.org/ to order a toolkit and to access other information prepared for the Nonprofits Count! campaign.

CONDOLENCES

We extend our deepest sympathies to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and her family on the loss of the congresswoman's husband, Clifton Maloney. Mr. Maloney passed away during a mountain climbing expedition in the Himalayas this weekend.

Rep. Maloney has served on the House census oversight subcommittee for many years, including as the panel's ranking Democratic member during the 2000 census. She has been instrumental in keeping her congressional colleagues informed about the importance of the census and the work of the Census Bureau generally.

Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Immigration Law Reform - Vietnamese Americans point of view

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-Immigration reform is a defining issue for Asian Americans. However, there is still a lot of education we need to do in order to educate Vietnamese Americans about why immigration reform will impact their lives and their families' lives.

-The Obama administration has made it clear that they will tackle immigration reform next spring, and that they will seriously advance a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will legalize the undocumented and bring them out of the shadows, resolve the family immigration backlogs, resolve the issue of future flow, increase worker protections, and maintain some sort of verification system.

-All of these issues impact all Vietnamese Americans. There are 1.2 million estimated undocumented Asians, and many of them are from Vietnam. In addition, there are over 100,000 Vietnamese Americans waiting abroad to join family here in the US through the family-based immigration system. Finally, any kind of mandatory verification system will impact all 250 million workers in America, whether you are a citizen, legal permanent resident, or undocumented individual. ALL Vietnamese Americans will be impacted by the passage of an immigration reform bill.

-That is why we need to pay attention to the debate, understand the policy parameters of immigration reform bills that are introduced, and make our voices heard. We can do this by joining the Reform IMmigration for America campaign, collecting stories of people impacted by our broken immigrations system, be willing to appear on the radio and TV to talk about our stories and engage in the debate, and help organize other Vietnamese Americans to become involved in this important policy movement.

Giang Tuyet Duong, Attorney
Immigration Laws


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CENSUS NEWS BRIEF

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September 20, 2009 No. 75

IN THIS CENSUS NEWS BRIEF:
Focus on Promoting the 2010 Census
News from Capitol Hill
2010 Census "Partner" News
Delay in Release of Some ACS Data
The Rest of the News ...

CENSUS STAKEHOLDERS FOCUS ON
COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES FOR 2010


PLUS: Legislation would require census question on citizenship;
Census Bureau ends ACORN 2010 census partnership;
Revised publication schedule for 2008 ACS data;
House panel to review 2010 census communications plan;

New report highlights importance of census for immigrant communities;
and more.

FOCUS ON PROMOTING THE 2010 CENSUS

Latino organizations hold "summit" on Communications Campaign: More than 40 national Latino organizations, U.S. Census Bureau officials, and media companies working on the targeted Latino communications campaign met last week to discuss efforts to promote census participation among Latinos and ways to coordinate messages about the importance of the decennial count. According to a summary of the meeting prepared by the Latino Census Network, attendees talked about fear of government and concerns about data confidentiality; calls for undocumented residents to boycott the 2010 census until Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform; the importance of engaging faith-based institutions in census outreach activities; the implications of anti-immigrant sentiments; and other challenges to achieving an accurate count of Latinos.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), a member of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, and Latino Census Network Chairman Angelo Falcon, who serves on the Census Bureau's Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population, spearheaded the meeting of the Latino Census Communications Group. The September 17 gathering was held at the National Council of La Raza offices in Washington, DC. To sign up for updates from the Latino Census Network, visit the National Institute for Latino Policy web site at www.latinopolicy.org.

All of the Census Bureau's official advisory committees, which are scheduled to hold their regular fall meetings in the coming weeks, will meet jointly on December 9, 2009, to provide final feedback to the agency on the 2010 Census Integrated Communication Campaign.

Expert Census Bureau panel applauds paid media campaign development: An independent panel of marketing and communications experts commended the Census Bureau for using industry and academic "best practices" to create the paid media campaign for the 2010 census. The agency formed the five-member Academic Assessment Panel last spring to "evaluate the methods used to define and develop the communications campaign," according to a Census Bureau press release.

Panel Chairman Dr. Jerome D. Williams, the F.J. Heyne Centennial Professor in Communication, University of Texas, Austin, said in a written statement that "the Census Bureau and [Communications Campaign contractor] DraftFCB team have done an exceptional job and are to be applauded for what has been developed so far under very challenging conditions." He called the crafting of the 2010 Integrated Communications Campaign "fundamentally sound."

2010 Census Publicity Office Chief Raul Cisneros said the expert review during the development phase of the media campaign allowed the Census Bureau to incorporate the panel's recommendations for improvements and revisions before it finalized advertising plans.

Modified ACS materials seek to minimize confusion in 2010: The Census Bureau will revise current materials or add new ones in conducting the American Community Survey (ACS) next year, to help reduce anticipated confusion among households that receive both the ACS questionnaire and 2010 census form. The ACS samples about 250,000 addresses a month, or 3 million a year, collecting a wide range of demographic, social, housing, and economic data previously gathered on the census long form once every ten years. The ACS was first implemented nationwide in 2005.

ACS materials sent to homes in the sample, including a pre-notice letter and at least one questionnaire (unresponsive homes receive a replacement form), will advise recipients that they will be receiving both ACS and decennial census questionnaires in 2010, and that they are required by law to complete both. The agency also will modify packaging for ACS materials next year, using different colors and logos on the envelopes to distinguish them from the 2010 census mail packages.

NEWS FROM CAPITOL HILL

Senate bill would add citizenship question to decennial census: Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) introduced legislation that would require the Census Bureau to collect information on citizenship and legal status in the decennial census, in order to remove undocumented residents from the state population totals used for congressional apportionment. The "Fairness in Representation Act" (S. 1688) calls for a "checkbox or other similar option" on the census questionnaire, to determine if respondents are U.S. citizens or legal residents.

In a press statement, Sen. Bennett said it "does not make any sense" for congressional apportionment and representation in the Electoral College "to be determined by a process that unfairly provides the advantage to those communities with high illegal populations." The lawmaker praised the Census Bureau's work but called the apportionment process "broken and unfair."

The proposal, if enacted in its current form, would be effective starting with the 2010 census. It takes several years for the Census Bureau to research, develop, and test its forms for a decennial census, and almost a full year to print and address questionnaires. For the last several decades, the census has included a short form sent to all housing units, and a long form sent to a sample of homes; only the long form included a question on citizenship. The American Community Survey, which is replacing the traditional long form in 2010, asks respondents if they are U.S. citizens.

Article I, section 2, of the U.S Constitution requires a population census every ten years as the basis for allocating seats in the House of Representatives. As modified by the Fourteenth Amendment (section 2), the apportionment is based on "the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed." Congress debated whether "citizens" or "voters" should be the basis for apportionment when it passed the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866, according to a Congressional Research Service review of similar legislative debates on the eve of the 1990 enumeration (LOC/CRS Report No. 88-62A, January 13, 1988). Since then, lawmakers have considered (but not enacted) a number of proposals to amend the Constitution to exclude non-citizens or undocumented residents from the census population counts used for apportionment.

Former Rep. Thomas Ridge (R-PA), ranking member on the census oversight subcommittee at the start of the 1990 census, led a group of Representatives, states, and private organizations in a lawsuit seeking to exclude undocumented residents from the apportionment counts (Ridge v. Verity, 715 F.Supp. 1308, W.D.Penn. 1989); a federal appeals court upheld the lower court's dismissal of the case for lack of standing. More recently, Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) sponsored a resolution (H.J.Res. 11) to amend the Constitution to exclude non-citizens from the apportionment counts derived from the census. The resolution, which has 11 cosponsors, was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which considers all proposed constitutional amendments.

The Bennett bill, referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, had three original cosponsors: Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY).

House oversight panel to evaluate Communications Campaign: The House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) will hold a hearing on September 22, 2009, to examine the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign, including "criteria for implementation" and "measurements for success." Census Bureau Director Robert Groves also will provide an update on preparations for the upcoming decennial count. The hearing will start at 2:00PM in Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

2010 CENSUS "PARTNER" NEWS

Census Bureau ends ACORN's 2010 census partnership: Census Director Robert Groves told the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) that the agency was terminating its Partnership Agreement with the nonprofit organization, citing criteria for determining whether a group can serve effectively as a booster for the 2010 count. The director said in a September 11 letter that "ACORN's affiliation with 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 census efforts."

Dr. Groves said the Census Bureau did not "come to this decision lightly," citing the agency's initial hope that ACORN could help encourage census participation among hard-to-count populations, such as the poor, renters, and people whose primary language is not English.

ACORN's participation in the Partnership Program drew significant criticism from Republicans in Congress. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) delayed a vote on Dr. Groves' nomination to be Census Director based, in part, on their concerns about ACORN's role as a 2010 census partner. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ranking member on the House census oversight subcommittee, urged the Census Bureau to end the agreement last spring. In a statement calling the director's recent action "welcome news," Rep. McHenry praised Dr. Groves' "courage" for terminating its relationship with ACORN and said he was "sure there are those in the Obama Administration who will not be happy" with the decision.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the senior Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (of which the census subcommittee is a part), said, "ACORN's partisan election efforts and its involvement in criminal conduct rightly disqualify it from working on the non-partisan mission of the Census to accurately and honestly count the U.S. population." The congressman said that congressional redistricting and the allocation of federal funds would have been affected "[h]ad ACORN been allowed to submit fraudulent information to the Census." A description of the Partnership Program on the Census Bureau's web site says that partner organizations "are not Census employees and have no responsibility for counting, collecting or processing census data."

Community-based organizations, schools, businesses, state and local governments, and other groups may sign a "partnership agreement" with the Census Bureau, promising to be "advocates for census cooperation and participation," according to guidelines for the Partnership Program. A description of the selection process says that partners should be "visible and trusted voices in the communities they serve." Partner organizations are asked to consider a wide range of activities that would promote cooperation with the census, including displaying and distributing materials, volunteering at Census Bureau events, inviting Census Bureau staff to speak at conferences and meetings, helping to translate census materials, providing space to test job applicants, and serving as a Questionnaire Assistance Center or Be Counted site.

Partnership Program staff may decline to select organizations as 2010 census partners, according to the guidelines, if applicants "are not trusted or are viewed negatively within the community" or "could distract from the Census Bureau's mission," among other reasons. More than 80,000 national and local organizations have signed partnership agreements in support of the 2010 census; there were about 140,000 partners during the 2000 census.

Asian American advocacy group launches census campaign: The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a member of the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, has launched a national campaign to mobilize the Asian American community in support of the 2010 census. The effort, which includes partnerships with eight local organizations in areas with significant Asian American populations, will rely on media outreach, community education, and social networking to highlight the importance of census participation. AAJC will translate many of its census campaign materials, such as fact sheets and toolkits, into 15 languages.

To access AAJC's census campaign materials, visit www.asianamericancensus.org.


CODING MISTAKE DELAYS RELEASE OF SOME ACS
ECONOMIC TABLES BY ONE WEEK


The Census Bureau will release 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year estimates on poverty, family income, and food stamp recipients a week later than planned after discovering a coding error that affected tabulation of the data. The agency said the mistake affected approximately ten percent of the data tables, which it will now publish on September 29. All other data for the roughly 7,000 jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or greater will be available on September 22, as originally planned. Three-year ACS estimates, for areas with a population of 20,000 or greater, will be released on October 27.

The coding mistake involved new check-box options for children and in-laws in the 2008 ACS relationship question; the tabulation of data on family income (which in turn affects poverty and food stamp receipt calculations) failed to account for income from these sources. Members of the press were notified of the problem late last week, when the Census Bureau was scheduled to release the full set of one-year data to the media on an embargoed basis. For more information on the annual ACS data release, see the September 6, 2009 Census News Brief (#73).


THE REST OF THE NEWS ...

Report highlights importance of count of undocumented residents: The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy has issued a report analyzing the benefits of counting undocumented residents accurately in the decennial census. The self-described "progressive" Institute concludes in "The Next Economic Imperative: Undocumented Immigrants and the 2010 Census" that, "Failing to gather accurate information about an estimated 12 million undocumented residents will make it too difficult for the country to recover from the worst recession in decades: local and state governments won't receive adequate funding for public services; businesses will be discouraged from investing in new markets and creating jobs in growing communities; costly mistakes will be made in infrastructure, education, and health care because of incomplete demographic data."

The nonprofit think tank also has drafted talking points to help immigrant advocates and other groups discuss the importance of counting immigrants. For a copy of the report and the talking points, visit the organization's web site at http://www.drummajorinstitute.org/library/report.php?ID=98

Census Project blog tackles key 2010 census policy and operational issues: The Census Project launched a new weekly blog to follow final preparations for and implementation of the 2010 decennial census. If you would like to receive new posts each week via e-mail, click here http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=censusblog&loc=en_US to sign up, or click here http://twitter.com/censusproject to follow us on Twitter.

Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Free Hepatitis B vaccination By The Vietnamese Medical Society of Northeast America

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Chích ngừa viêm gan B miễn phí:
Free Hepatitis B vaccination:
Do Hội Y Tế Miền Đông Bắc Hoa Kỳ
By The Vietnamese Medical Society of Northeast America


Địa điểm:
(Location:)


Bailey's Health Center (gần nhà hàng Mark’s Duck house)
6196 Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA 22044
Tel: 703-237-3446

Ngày 13 tháng 9 năm 2009
On Sunday, September 13, 2009


Lúc 9 giờ sáng đến 12giờ trưa
From 09:00a.m. until 12:00 noon


Voice of Vietnamese Americans Participated in the Vietnamese Community Health and Resource Fair on August 2nd, 2009

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

CENSUS NEWS BRIEF

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September 6, 2009
No. 73


Editor's note: Welcome back from August break, census stakeholders. As Fall begins, the pace of final census preparations and congressional oversight will accelerate, and we will report on the most important operational and policy developments as often as possible, as the start of the 2010 census nears. This Census News Brief summarizes recent issues and activities; it's a little longer than usual, so thanks for your continued interest and patience!


IN THIS CENSUS NEWS BRIEF:

Same-Sex Spouse Data Plans

New Report on 2010 Census Challenges in Gulf Coast

Conservatives Hint at Census Lawsuit

Concerns About In-Language Messages Persist

Stakeholder Activities

Census Appropriations Update


The Rest of the News ...

2010 CENSUS ROUND-UP

Plans for data on same-sex marriages

Civil rights group calls for special census in Gulf Coast

Conservatives hint at census lawsuit

Language outreach still a concern

Stakeholder activities
Appropriations update, and more.


CENSUS BUREAU CLARIFIES PLANS FOR DATA
ON SAME-SEX SPOUSES


The Census Bureau is preparing to release raw data from the 2010 census "relationship question" that will show the number of same-sex marriages, after the Commerce Department's General Counsel concluded that federal law does not bar the agency from publishing statistics on people who report a spouse of the same gender.

The agency issued a more detailed outline of its plan to publish same-sex spouse responses after several news outlets reported earlier this year that the Census Bureau was changing a policy developed during the Bush (George W.) Administration. The plan's summary, "A Census That Reflects America's Population," says that the bureau "is now focusing its efforts on the statistical issues of accurately measuring this population in future surveys," including the ongoing Current Population Survey (CPS), American Community Survey (ACS), and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

While conceding that it is too late to change a previous operational decision to re-code same-sex spouse responses as "unmarried partners" for 2010 -- a step that the summary describes as "embedded" in the coding process -- the Census Bureau will release unedited 2010 census relationship data in 2011, at the same time that it releases detailed tabulations of demographic and housing information from the decennial, in which same-sex spouse responses will have been recoded as "unmarried partner." (The first detailed data release is called Summary File 1, which is published after the basic detailed population data needed for congressional redistricting under Public Law 94-171.) In 2012, traditional special reports from the census will include an analysis of responses by same-sex couples. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke also has asked the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees federal statistical policy, to create an inter-agency task force on the collection and tabulation of relationship data.

The July 30, 2009 legal analysis by Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry reverses an opinion reached during the Bush Administration that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (1 U.S.C. §7) prohibited the Census Bureau from publishing responses from same-sex couples who describe themselves as spouses on their census forms. Based on the previous interpretation, as well as its own research on the quality of relationship data, the bureau planned to recode -- as "unmarried partners" -- responses from people of the same gender who identified themselves as husband or wife. Mr. Kerry's analysis concluded that DOMA's definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" apply when the words appear in acts of Congress, rulings, regulations, and other federal administrative documents, a description he said does not apply to the census questionnaire, noting that the words do not appear in the Census Act or any related rulings. The General Counsel highlighted the Census Bureau's "role as the nation's objective demographer" and said the decennial census "routinely collects and reports information that reflects changes in social mores."

CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP ISSUES REPORT ON
CENSUS CHALLENGES IN GULF COAST


As the Gulf Coast region marked the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in late August, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) issued a report evaluating the consequences for 2010 census operations of demographic and economic conditions in communities still recovering from the 2005 storms (Hurricane Rita hit many of the same areas that fall). The "nation's oldest and largest civil rights coalition" called for a special census early in the next decade to measure continued re-settlement in the hardest-hit areas.

At an August 24 New Orleans press conference, Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, called Hurricane Katrina "a natural disaster and man-made catastrophe" and said an inaccurate census in Katrina-affected areas "would be one more devastating blow depriving residents and their communities of the assistance they need to fully recover." Trap Bonner, executive director of Moving Forward Gulf Coast, said that achieving an accurate census "will require an enormous effort on the part of everyone from the president, the Congress and the Census Bureau to community-based organizations like ours that have developed a special trust with people in hard-to-count groups."

Counting in the Wake of a Catastrophe: Challenges and Recommendations for the 2010 Census in the Gulf Coast Region (August 2009) summarizes recent demographic trends in Katrina-affected areas that relate to census-taking, such as the devastation and rebuilding of homes, changing racial and ethnic composition, and reduced telephone service. The report discusses how these conditions present additional barriers to achieving an accurate census; for example, lower-than-average unemployment could make it more difficult for the Census Bureau to recruit enough census workers next year, while high vacancy rates and temporary living situations "will increase the difficulty and scope of Update/Leave, Nonresponse Follow Up, and subsequent field operations."

The report offers several operational and policy recommendations, including a congressional field hearing in the Gulf Coast region to "examine the barriers to achieving an accurate and fair census" in the aftermath of the 2005 storms; a federally-funded special census in 2012 or 2013 in designated Gulf Coast communities; and appointment of a senior level Gulf Coast Coordinator to oversee final preparations and census operations in the region. Nearly 50 community groups working to address the lingering consequences of Hurricane Katrina wrote to Rep. William "Lacy" Clay (D-MO), chairman of the House census oversight subcommittee, in July, seeking a hearing on the Census Bureau's "ability to achieve an accurate count of Gulf Coast residents in the 2010 census." The advocates, led by nonprofit Moving Forward Gulf Coast and representing communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, expressed particular concern about the count of low-income and Black, Latino, and Asian American populations. Federal law (Title 13, U.S.C., §196) allows the Census Bureau to conduct special censuses in between decennial counts, at the expense of the requesting local government. A federally-funded, region-wide special census would require additional authorization and appropriations from Congress.

To download the report (or to view the report by section), go to http://www.civilrights.org/publications/gulf-coast-census/. The full press release is available at http://www.civilrights.org/press/2009/civil-rights-coalition-1.html.


CONSERVATIVES HINT AT CENSUS LAWSUIT

The chairman of the House Republican Census Task Force suggested in a fundraising letter that a conservative legal advocacy group would take the Obama Administration to court, if necessary, to prevent the Census Bureau from using "statistical sampling" in the 2010 census, which the letter says will "invite rampant corruption as government bureaucrats fudge the numbers to serve Obama's liberal agenda."

Calling the census "the alpha and omega of political power in America," Rep. Lynn Westmoreland's (R-GA) appeal asks recipients to sign a "Census Defense Form" to "prevent President Barack Obama from hijacking and rigging the 2010 Census in favor of liberals," and requests a donation to help the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) "defend the 2010 Census with me." SLF filed a lawsuit against President Clinton in 1998 (Glavin v. Clinton, No. 98-564), challenging the Census Bureau's plan to use sampling techniques to complete the Nonresponse Follow-Up operation and to adjust the final census numbers based on measures of undercount and overcount from a post-census survey.

House Republicans, led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), filed a concurrent legal challenge to the 2000 census plan (Department of Commerce v. U.S. House of Representatives, 525 U.S. 316, 1999), which the Court considered together with the Glavin case. The U.S. Supreme Court found in the House of Representatives lawsuit that the Census Act (13 U.S.C., §195) prohibits the use of "sampling" to compile the state population totals used for congressional apportionment. The Court did not rule on the constitutionality of sampling methods.

In light of the case, the Census Bureau dropped plans to sample the final ten percent of unresponsive homes during Nonresponse Follow-up; it did conduct an Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (A.C.E.) survey to measure undercounts and overcounts (or "coverage") in the census and determine if A.C.E.-based adjustments to the original census numbers would improve accuracy for non-apportionment purposes such as legislative redistricting and the allocation of federal program funds. The bureau decided, after two years of analysis, not to adjust the population figures for any use, citing concerns about the reliability of the A.C.E. findings.

SLF is a "national constitutional public interest law firm and policy center that advocates limited government, individual economic freedom, and the free enterprise system," according to the organization's web site (http://www.southeasternlegal.org/). Sharon Goessling, SLF's executive director, wrote in a February 18, 2009 op-ed in The Washington Times that statistical sampling "gives statisticians appointed by politicians the power to determine final congressional apportionment numbers. Imagine 30 million 'virtual' people; where they live and how many there are would be at the mercy of political statisticians." (The Census Bureau's permanent staff of roughly 13,000 at headquarters and in the 12 regional offices includes only a handful of political appointees, including the director, Associate Director for Communications, and Chief of Congressional Affairs.)

Current Census Director Robert Groves held a career Associate Director position at the agency during the 1990 census; he was hired by then-Director Barbara Everitt Bryant, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. Rep. Westmoreland's fundraising letter highlights Dr. Groves' support in that position for "manipulating the Census by using 'statistical sampling'," a reference to the recommendation by a nine-member panel of career experts at the Census Bureau to adjust the 1990 census numbers based on the results of a quality-check survey. Dr. Bryant concurred with the panel's recommendation, but Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher rejected an adjustment of the census. Rep. Gingrich was among lawmakers from both political parties who supported a statistical adjustment of the 1990 census, saying in an April 1991 letter to Secretary Mosbacher that an undercount in Georgia would "seriously dilut[e]" minority voting strength in the state. Dr. Groves told senators at his May 2009 confirmation hearing that he would not advocate for a statistical adjustment of the 2010 census and that the Census Bureau had not researched or prepared to implement the complex scientific procedure.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) created the seven-member GOP Census Task Force in February, after expressing concern over what Republicans viewed as politicization of the census by the White House. (See February 23, 2009 Census News Brief for more information on the Task Force.)


SAN FRANCISCO URGES IN-LANGUAGE
MESSAGES ON CENSUS ADVANCE LETTER


The City and County of San Francisco has told Census Director Robert Groves that it would "consider all available options to ensure that the Census counts" all of its residents, if the Census Bureau does not include multilingual messages in the advance letter sent to homes next March, alerting residents to the start of the census and the arrival of questionnaires. City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu urged Dr. Groves to "reconsider your decision to abandon the multilingual advance letter," saying the change from past practice was "bad policy that will undermine the accuracy of the Census and will worsen the already disproportional undercounts of communities where English is not the primary language."

The August 12 letter noted that almost half of San Francisco's households speak a language other than English at home and that, of those, more than half say they do not speak English very well, according to Census Bureau estimates. In the 2000 census, the advance notification letter included information in five languages other than English (Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog), allowing respondents to check a box and mail back the letter to receive a form in one of those languages. The letter also offered a toll-free number for assistance in a non-English language.

The Census Bureau's 2010 Census Advisory Committee established a subcommittee to review the issue of in-language messages on the advance letter, after the stakeholder panel expressed concern about the Census Bureau's plan at its May 2009 meeting. Agency staff said the 2000 census procedure resulted in some households mailing back questionnaires in English and another language, and that the advance letter prompted only 100,000 telephone requests for an in-language form, a number they said did not justify the resulting operational difficulties. The Census Bureau will rely instead on its public information campaign and partner organizations to spread the word about the availability of in-language questionnaires and assistance guides in 2010. San Francisco officials said that while they "applaud" these efforts, "we believe it is vital that people receive direct correspondence from the Bureau in a language they can understand." They noted that an undercount would "cost the City at least tens of millions of dollars in federal funds" and "lead to distortions in electoral apportionment."


STAKEHOLDER ACTIVITIES

Illinois philanthropies launch 2010 census initiative: On September 2, ten leading foundations in Illinois launched the Count Me In campaign, an unprecedented collaborative effort to support 2010 census outreach and promotion activities targeting hard-to-count populations in the state. The foundations announced grants, totaling $1.2 million, to 26 organizations that will fund 60 nonprofits whose goal is to increase census participation in 37 targeted communities. The philanthropic alliance includes the Joyce Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, The Chicago Bar Foundation, and The Boeing Company.

In a press statement announcing the grantees, Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding said, "The groups we fund -- using tactics ranging from door-knocking and celebrity text messaging to barber shop and church outreach -- could persuade thousands of Illinoisans to be counted." Nora Moreno Cargie, Director of Global Corporate Citizenship at Boeing, said the initiative presented "a tremendous opportunity to leverage the strengths of the organizations we are funding to ensure that Chicago and other Illinois communities are on strong economic footing for the next decade."

A full description of Count Me In and a list of grantees and their planned projects are available at http://www.joycefdn.org/2010census.

Campaign targets Asian American communities: The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) launched a 2010 census campaign to promote participation in the diverse Asian American community. The Twenty10 Project will feature multilingual educational materials, including fact sheets in English and 13 other languages, such as Arabic, Bengali, Korean, and Tagalog.

At the August 11 initiative launch, AALDEF staff attorney and project director Glenn Magpantay said, "[A]n accurate count of the Asian American population is essential." The group says it will monitor census operations and "advocat[e] for crucial changes to Census policies," including "stronger enforcement of the confidentiality of census information, expansion of the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance (TQA) program, and relaxed immigration enforcement during enumeration."

For more information on the AALDEF census initiative and to download the multilingual fact sheets, go to http://www.aaldef.org/article.php?article_id=409.



CENSUS APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE


Congress returns to work this week with less than a month to complete work on funding bills for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins on October 1. The House of Representatives approved its version of the FY2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 2847) in June. The bill allocates about $7.2 billion for the Census Bureau, including $6.7 billion for the 2010 census. The funding level is $206 million below the Administration's budget request of $7.375 billion, after an apparent misunderstanding between appropriators and the Commerce Department over whether that amount represented a carry-over of funds from FY2009 (it was, in fact, committed to a media buy for the 2010 census). The Census Bureau said it would need to dip into a $573 million contingency fund if the money is not restored when appropriators finalize the bill in a conference committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Commerce spending bill in early July, allocating $7.32 billion for the Census Bureau. The committee reduced the agency's budget request by $50 million, which it said reflected inflated assumptions about the cost of mileage reimbursement for census field workers. The full Senate has not yet considered the measure.

If Congress does not complete action on all 12 regular appropriations bills by October 1, it must pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep federal agencies and programs running in the new fiscal year until enactment of final FY2010 funding bills. Temporary appropriations measures usually fund programs at current year levels, a situation that would jeopardize final preparations for the 2010 census, whose funding will more than double from 2009 to 2010.

Congress can include an exception for the Census Bureau in a Continuing Resolution, to allow the agency to spend at the higher 2010 levels that Congress is likely to approve in the end. A series of temporary appropriations bills for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 included exceptions (called "anomalies") for the Census Bureau, which was already gearing up for the decennial count. However, a six week delay in approving an exception from flat-line funding for Fiscal Year 2008 forced the Census Bureau to push back and curtail the 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal.

THE REST OF THE NEWS ...

2008 ACS data release set for Sept. and Oct.: The Census Bureau will release annual one-year estimates from the American Community Survey on September 22, 2009, for all jurisdictions with a population of 65,000 or greater, as well as for congressional districts. The release will include data on health insurance coverage, marital history, and veterans' service-connected disability for the first time. The Census Bureau will publish three-year estimates for all geographic areas with a population greater than 20,000 on October 27, 2009.

In past years, the Census Bureau released annual ACS data on a flow basis starting in late August, when many lawmakers and journalists are on vacation. The three-year estimates will now be available six weeks earlier than in 2008, the first time the Census Bureau released data for smaller areas. These estimates are compiled from information collected in 2006 through 2008, a method designed to ensure adequate sample size for less populous areas. The first census tract-level estimates from the ACS -- called "five-year estimates" -- will be released in Fall 2010, compiled from data gathered in 2005 through 2009.

The ACS was launched nationwide in 2005 (group quarters were added in 2006) to gather a wide range of economic, demographic, and housing information previously gathered only once-a-decade on the decennial census "long form." As a result, the 2010 census will feature only a "short form," with 10 questions covering six topics.

Commerce Secretary speech to journalists highlights census: Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke used his speech to the 20th Annual National Conference of the Asian American Journalists Association to highlight the importance of the 2010 census, especially for the Asian-American community, whose share of the U.S. population has been growing rapidly. The Secretary, whose department houses the U.S. Census Bureau, described the important uses of census data and applauded the vast public information campaign already underway to promote the count. "Even with this unprecedented full-court press by Census, misperceptions and misinformation persist," Secretary Locke said, describing how fears about the census are "not irrational" but are ultimately "unfounded."

Secretary Locke was the first Chinese American elected governor (Washington State) and is married to a former television journalist. For the full text of Secretary Locke's August 12th speech, go to http://www.commerce.gov/NewsRoom/SecretarySpeeches/PROD01_008301.

Census advisory committees plan fall meetings: The Census Bureau's Census Advisory Committee of Professional Associations (CACPA) will meet on October 8 - 9, 2009, to discuss policy, research, and technical issues related to the 2010 census, as well as other agency economic and demographic programs. The committee's 36 members offer expertise in demographics, statistics, economics, marketing, and related scientific disciplines. The meeting will run from 8:30AM - 5:15PM on October 8 and from 8:30AM - 12:15PM on October 9.

The Census Bureau's five Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees will meet jointly on October 28 - 30, 2009, to discuss the 2010 census Communications Campaign, Partnership Program, and other decennial activities, including the American Community Survey. The REACs represent the views of the African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations. The REAC sessions will run from 1:00 - 5:00PM on October 28, 9:00AM - 4:45PM on October 29, and 9:00AM - 12:00PM on October 30.

Both meetings will take place at Census Bureau headquarters in Suitland, MD, and are open to the public. Visitors must present photo ID and call 301-763-3231 upon arrival at the building.

The 2010 Census Advisory Committee plans to meet on November 5 - 6, 2009; the Census Bureau has not yet released a schedule for that meeting.

Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.

Contact Information:
TerriAnn2K@aol.com
Phone: 203-353-4364

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WHY HEALTH CARE REFORM?

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No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick - Jenny Lawson

DR. QUAN XUAN DINH - TRANH CÃI VỀ CẢI TỔ BẢO HIỂM Y TẾ - DISCUSSION OF H.R. 3200 - "America's Affordable Health Choices Act"

THE SECURITY YOU GET from health insurance reform:

No Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions
Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your
medical history.

No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays

Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for
out-of-pocket expenses.

No Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care
Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

No Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill
Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance
coverage for those who become seriously ill.

No Gender Discrimination
Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

No Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage

Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

Extended Coverage for Young Adults
Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.
Guaranteed Insurance Renewal

Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal because someone



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A Dialogue with China

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Vietnamese Americans, Asian Americans, and multi-ethnic groups gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy on August 29th 2009 to raise collective concerns of global security being threatened by Chinese expansionism with disrespect for human rights, environmental issues, its greediness for oil and power in the South China Sea and in the Middle East. A Petition was started globally for all who could not join the demonstration to also participate in the just cause.


CHINA SHOULD STOP BULLYING ITS NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES - Petitions ...


We, the undersigned Vietnamese Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, ASEAN members, and multi ethnic groups of overseas Chinese from different states would like to raise collective concerns of the global security being threatened by Chinese expansionism with disrespect for human rights, environmental issues, its greediness for oil and power in the South China Sea and in the Middle East.

Recent tragedies in Xinjiang, Tibet, Myanmar, South China Sea following the overbearing Beijing 2008 Olympics and the unforgettable Tiananmen Square Massacre continue to raise global concerns about China’s aggressiveness to its own people and its neighbors.

This petition signed by Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, communities of ASEAN members, and multiple ethnic groups of overseas Chinese requests China to immediately stop its aggressiveness and conform to the Charter of the United Nations, respecting international laws, human rights, protect the environment, stop destroying our good earth.













Mr. Nay Rong from North Carolina came with the delegates representing the Montagnards living in the Central Highland of Vietnam raised concerns about Bauxite which is known very toxic and would cause long term destruction to the land of the Montagnards.



Mr. Thach Yen, representing the Cambodians, raised concerns of how China has always controlled Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam. Mr. Thach Yen requested Chinese authorities to withdraw from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam's territories.


Details, Impact and Progress


In recent years if not decades, China, in its rise to world power, has sought to do the following impacting on the security of neighboring lands and thus threatening the regional stability and sustainability of the whole East Asia and ASEAN region:

1/ It has through a series of dams and levees and possible underground diversion schemes tried to secure for itself water resources and hydroelectric power at the expense of its neighbors and downstream countries. This has happened in the upper reaches of the Mekong River, affecting riverside countries like Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and southern Vietnam, while plans are proceeding apace with schemes of diverting water from the upper Brahmaputra, affecting severely the lower reaches of this river in India.

2/ It has since the 1950’s laid claim (as China’s territorial waters) to a so-called dragon’s tongue, or U-shaped, area affecting about 80 percent of the South China Sea. In this way, it not only infringed upon the sovereign rights of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia, it also seeks to control the vital sea lanes going through that body of international water, which could threaten the economic viability of Japan, Korea and even Taiwan.

3/ In its drive to dominate the South China Sea, China has invaded the Paracel Islands belonging to Vietnam (January 1974) and parts of the Spratly Islands belonging to Vietnam (March 1988) and the Philippines. In the meantime, it has beefed up its navy with submarines and destroyers and eventually even aircraft carriers in an attempt to rival the U.S. Navy by 2025 or even earlier. These developments are so worrisome that Senator James Webb recently had to organize a hearing in the U.S. Senate to discuss the issue. And this explains also his current visit to the area.

4/ The control that Beijing is tightening on the Myanmar military junta and Vietnamese communist party is slowly transforming these two countries into China’s satellites, witness: the development of a route going through Myanmar giving Beijing access to the Indian Ocean and the series of unequal treaties that Beijing has managed to impose on Hanoi (the 1999 Border Treaty, the 2000 Treaty on the redrawing of the Gulf of Tonkin map and on fishing rights, Hanoi’s acquiescence to Chinese bauxite and uranium mining in the Central Highlands of Vietnam).

Thus, it is clear that Beijing is in the process of building a solid hegemony in the area, in the process threatening the very stability of the whole region.

This petition is signed by Asian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, communities of ASEAN members, and multiple ethnic groups of overseas Chinese requests China to immediately stop its aggressiveness and conform to the Charter of the United Nations, respecting international laws, human rights, protect the environment, stop destroying our good earth.

This petition also calls for the join forces of the United States, the European Union, ASEAN members, Asian countries such as India, Japan, Korea, to collectively emphasize the importance of a global collaboration with zero tolerance to aggressiveness and expansionism.

We respectfully submit this petition to His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to President Obama, and the United States Congress,the European Union, as well as to all of the World’s Leaders, including China, to open a direct dialogue with the Chinese Government to protect world’s peace and civilization.

Respectfully,







Young Vietnamese American ladies, Ms. My Phuong from Connecticut and Ms. Le Diep My Dung from the Vietnam Reform Party expressed concerns over Chinese aggression toward Vietnam.





Demonstrators protested Chinese authorities for killing and harrassing innocent Vietnamese fishermen who were only fishing in the body of water belongs to Vietnam.








Demonstrators protested China for invading Spratly and Paracel islands.

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