Thursday is when the U.S. Census Bureau hopes to have as many completed 2010 forms back from Americans as possible. As of Tuesday, response rates in Kansas and Sedgwick County were 56 and 50 percent, respectively, compared with the nation’s 50 percent. The cost-saving cause of boosting mail-in response has motivated the bureau to spend $338 million on ads in 28 languages and $2.5 million on a Super Bowl ad, and to reach out to the conservative demographic by sponsoring a NASCAR entry and tapping Marie Osmond to talk up participation in Las Vegas and on QVC. Why worry about conservative response? Because of the anti-government noncompliance promoted by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who thinks the data might be misused (though it’s unlawful to share information even with other agencies). Pondering the simple form, Time magazine’s Nancy Gibbs wrote: “Bachmann may think the census is too intrusive; I just wish it were more so. As long as we’re spending all this money to reach so many people, imagine what we could find out. Which do you favor, Leno or Letterman? Smooth or chunky? Faith or works? Liberty or equality?”
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