April 9, 2013

The U.S. government sent a man to our door to pay $90 if one of us would answer a few questions and spit in a tube.

Me, I don't answer the doorbell unless I already know who is there, but Meade went to the door to find a man with a clipboard and a National Health and Alcohol Study badge. If somehow I'd gone to the door, I'd have seen through the window that it was a man with a clipboard and given my no-none-of-that-here hand gesture and never opened the door. And if somehow I'd started talking to the guy and he'd said the first thing — that he was doing a government health survey — I'd have abruptly refused. No way! And if he'd reached the part about giving a saliva sample, I'd have laughed in his face.

But Meade — a Hoosier, much friendlier than I am — talked to the man for what was, to me, a puzzling length of time. Of course, Meade refused to do the survey or part with the saliva, but he did receive these papers:

Untitled

"Questions like age and education, drinking, medicine and drug use, mood, anxiety, behavior and medical conditions and personality." No way! Yet over 100,000 people have participated. $90 is an impressive amount of money, perhaps especially to people with alcohol problems. As Meade said later, you could buy a lot of gin for $90. I'm irked as a taxpayer. Is this a federal jobs program to tide over erstwhile census workers?

Above, you see the little brochure, and Meade was also given this copy of a letter that was previously sent in the mail to soften us up for government interrogation. I vaguely remember tossing it right in the trash recycling bin:

Untitled

Interestingly, the softening-up letter doesn't mention the part where the government's independent contractor makes you spit in a tube. It also refers only to alcohol and alcohol-related mental issues. Unlike the brochure, it doesn't mention drug use. It does, however, boldface the $90. You get $45 to sit for the interview, but $45 is withheld until you get to "the end."

But "It's okay to skip questions you don't want to answer for any reason." So, you're answering questions and then there's one you don't want to answer? Speaking of anxiety! And then they want the saliva sample. By the way, one of the mood/behavior issues around drug and alcohol use is lying. Presumably, they will detect that.

But don't worry, this is for "research purposes only." We're assured our personal information will be stripped away. What? Are you paranoid? How does that paranoia relate to your drug/alcohol use?

The government simply wants to "decide how best to use money and staff to solve national health problems." How about not handing out hundreds of thousands of pairs of $45 checks to collect data from the kind of people who don't know how to say no to a government that manipulates them into surrendering their freedom for a handout?

ADDED: Meade tells me the man said the saliva was for DNA, something about checking one's ancestry for alcohol (and drug?) related problems.

319 comments:

1 – 200 of 319   Newer›   Newest»
EMD said...

Your tax dollars not hard at work.

Icepick said...

How would you like to have the job where you get to collect the spit and carry it around all day?

wyo sis said...

Imagine being desperate enough to take that job. Horrible.

LYNNDH said...

I would do it. It would be the only thing I would get from the Gov't.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The eleven most terrifying words in the English language are I'm from the government and I'm here to collect your spit.

bagoh20 said...

If you're not paranoid, you haven't been paying attention.

This "survey" will result in a very specific sample of people, who the government will want to clone by the millions. They currently make up about 51% of the voters, give or take a couple percent who vote multiple times.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Did you have any way to verify that he was actually from the government? Maybe he is independently wealthy and just does this for fun. ( I know you got the softening-up letter, but that could have been fake too. )

Mitchell the Bat said...

First they came for the spit-givers . . .

AprilApple said...

This administration's idea of a strong economy is to create a Potemkin village.

-Meaningless studies
-Misleading Polls
-Huge sums of tax payer funded grants given to donors with fake "starts ups".

This is just one more item on the long list.

MadisonMan said...

That is bizarre. Haven't seen them on my street, but I'm so rarely home. I don't recall getting the softening-up letter, either, so maybe they're not targeting my neighborhood.

I'm very curious what they analyze the saliva for.

Marshal said...

When you believe the function of government is providing employment why wouldn't you spend money on just about anything you can think of?

Portia said...

I'm sure the 'government' is reading Althouse right now, and saying: "Oh, noes, Althouse is onto us!"

Tim said...

"How about not handing out hundreds of thousands of pairs of $45 checks to collect data from the kind of people who don't know how to say no to a government that manipulates them into surrendering their freedom for a handout?"

Yeah, but we'd have to outlaw the Democrat Party.

And, because you can't fix stupid, that will never happen.

Rose said...

Shocking. Next question is, what's really being done with the information?

They're gathering increasing amounts of information through the schools, and there was a report the other day that the ATF wants to know all of your associations, friends, etc. WHY?

In a sci-fi book, years ago, the society, finding government had become too efficient, and thus detrimental, established a department of sabotage, designed to keep it from becoming too onerous. Maybe not so far-fetched after all.

Teach your kids, and steel yourself, not to give extraneous, seemingly innocuous information on government questionnarres. It may be the best thing you can do for your kids, privacy may be the biggest issue they have to protect in the coming years.

And, notice on that image you posted, it says, 'in our FIRST visit...' - it seems they will be coming back for more.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MadisonMan said...

I'm very curious what they analyze the saliva for.

I assume DNA, looking for a correlation between genes and drug/alcohol issues.

Nonapod said...

Surveys like this creep me out no matter how friendly they are and even when they pay me. It's especially creepy given our current political climate.

Irene said...

It slips in under the guise of science, as a measure to protect the public and improve general health.

It moves forward as a study of people's habits, stability, and then, mental health.

If gun control doesn't pass, then the government will have records and DNA samples of the wobbly bobs. Next: preemptive detention in mental institutions.

(Extrapolating.)

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, the other side of the letter has the text in Spanish.

I like the word for "interviewer": entrevistador.

edutcher said...

No, Ann, you should have gone out there and, in your best conlawprof schoolmarm, asked him for a warrant.

All that talk about a Gestapo-like national database that people like AnUnreasonableTroll and some phony folksy would dismiss as Conservative paranoia doesn't seem so far-fetched now, does it?

PS The difference in being born on the East Coast or the Midwest, whether you answer the door.

PPS The Blonde, however, though Ohio-born and raised, would have gone out and told him, "No, not interested, and what do you need with my DNA?".

Rob said...

I'd happily spit on the government for free.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, the other side of the letter has the text in Spanish.

I like the word for "interviewer": entrevistador.


Should have used "inquisidor"

Rose said...

'ATF Seeks 'Massive' Database of Personal Info: 'Assets, Relatives, Associates and More' On March 28, ATF posted the notice on FedBizOpps.gov, entitled "Investigative System."

Related to this 'saliva test' - or not?

madAsHell said...

A study has shown.....

http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/surveillance.htm

Shouting Thomas said...

This drinking problem has been thoroughly studied by such scholars as Hank Williams, Hank, Jr. and Hank III.

Perhaps, the best study to date is this:

Hank Williams III - My Drinkin Problem

She said she's gonna quit me,
If I didn't quit the booze.
So I just started drinkin' more,
To see if she would really choose.
And I have to hand it to that girl:
She meant every breath.
An' I'm glad she did, 'cause I was about,
To drink myself to death.

Because my drinkin' problem left today.
She packed up all her things and walked away.
Well, it looks like off the bottle now is where I'm gonna stay,
Because my drinkin' problem left today.


God, I need a drink!

X said...

apparently the sequester was a joke. let's quadruple it.

Lem said...

I recall the Obamacare bill assigning a lot of discretion to the secretary of health and human services.

dis·cre·tion

1.The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.

2.The freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.

Shouting Thomas said...

Government is the only thing we all belong to!

WTF is wrong with you, Althouse?

Fr Martin Fox said...

And yet, no one in the gov't can think of what spending to cut...

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Perhaps this is the high paying job that requires absolutely no higher education that Bitchtits Mahal claims to have.

Nah, walking from the car to doors would result in more exercise than fatty can handle.

bagoh20 said...

This is a part of our future where citizens will be denied what their taxes were taken for based on "scientific research" and "studies" like this. You will hear leftist politicians and government PSAs constantly telling how the data makes this or that depredation imperative. Where politicians used to invoke the name of God to get submission, they will now use "the scientific consensus". The thing that makes me feel good is that I know it will be "for my own good".

The selfish refusal at Meadehouse is just making it harder for them to help us all. You bastards!

virgil xenophon said...

I once again quote my favorite great political philosopher:

"I try to be cynical--but I can't keep up."

------Lilly Tomlin

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The difference in being born on the East Coast or the Midwest, whether you answer the door.

It is also an urban/rural thing too. We don't HAVE people coming to our door on any regular basis. Jehovah's Witnesses, FedEx and UPS are pretty much it. Even the census didn't bother. They just hung the questionnaire on the fence down by the road or on your mailbox...if you have one. We answered the one or two questions that we felt like....and sent it back.

Anyone else who comes to your door is considered suspect (unless you know them or in our case are local people coming to my husband's shop for business and most of them call first for an appointment.) There is NO reason to come down our driveway and knock on the door. If I do open the front door, the first thing that they can see is a shotgun, leaned up against the antique church pew in the entryway. People who are local find that sight unremarkable and common. Anyone who is suspicious or there for nefarious purposes......gets the point.

Smilin' Jack said...

I'd certainly take the first $45. You only surrender your freedom if you get greedy and want the second $45.

Darrell said...

Obama needs to throw another blowout celebrity-filled party at the White House to show he serious about sequestration.

And so he shall.

AprilApple said...

The modern democrat party platform;
Your freedom for a handout.

Richard Dolan said...

This is an odd subject to go all Rambo about. Large scale surveys have their place -- the Bogalusa Heart Study is a classic, but there are many others. And what would sociologists like Charles Murray do without studies of changing patterns of behaviour across class/race lines, for example? A study of age, alcohol use and general health is hardly out of line.

I don't know if this study is well designed (no reason to presume that it isn't), or whether it is a one-off or intended to turn into a longitudinal study, tracking changes over time. But there is nothing about it that automatically merits the Big Brother stuff either.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We also have a driveway alert system that buzzes/beeps if someone is coming down the driveway. It does, annoyingly, also tell us when the deer or other animals are entering the driveway. :-(

caplight45 said...

During the last US Census I had the "privilege" of being on the list for the long form. It happened to me in 2000 also. This time I didn't fill it out. After a couple of reminder letters a census worker showed up at my house. I did not invite her inside. I answered her questions and when it came to the one about race or ethnic identity, I asked her my options to which my response was, "American." she rephrased the question and I again answered, "American." I noticed she wrote down, "Other." I decided to leave it go. Nothing like a good government survey.

BTW if you spit in the tube they have your DNA for CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).

Meade could have said, "Hey, I've got my spittin' cup righ-chere. Let me jes' pour you some a' my tabacky juice."

Darrell said...

In this age of DNA, I see nothing problematic about giving mine away to anyone that asks. If I am later linked through DNA to the Lindbergh kidnapping, I would not be surprised either.

X said...

I'd have taken the $45 and told him to come back if and when the check clears.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

The government simply wants to "decide how best to use money and staff to solve national health problems."

You would think, with even 2/3 of Democrats not trusting Obamatax, they'd understand we don't want the Feds making our decisions on healthcare.

(actually, I think they're just trying to figure out where to put the death camps)

Shouting Thomas said...

But there is nothing about it that automatically merits the Big Brother stuff either.

The issue of whether or not Americans have the right to produce and consume alcohol without government interference and taxation has been at the center of the fight for freedom in this county since the Whiskey Rebellion. Probably even sooner than that.

That fight has extended into the production and consumption of marijuana.

elkh1 said...

wyo sis said...
Imagine being desperate enough to take that job.

Union worker with pensions and Obamacare benefits?

Ignorance is Bliss said...
The eleven most terrifying words in the English language are I'm from the government and I'm here to collect your spit to extract your DNA...we are here to collect your kid's water pistols... we are here to check on your kids who, by the way, are belong to the community...

Seeing Red said...

This is why I asked my question yesterday. I went to my safe deposit box, and in the course of the hostile exchange since she needed a copy of my DL to send to headquarters for something, the 1st time I can recall, the bank now has to ask if i'm a student, working or retired.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

...Anyone else who comes to your door is considered suspect...

Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun,
And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son

Way Out Here - Josh Thompson

Larry J said...

I answered her questions and when it came to the one about race or ethnic identity, I asked her my options to which my response was, "American." she rephrased the question and I again answered, "American." I noticed she wrote down, "Other." I decided to leave it go. Nothing like a good government survey.

When it comes to the race questions on government forms, I select "Other" and write in "Human". There is only one race and that is the human race. All the rest is superficial things like skin color.

As for the spit, it's almost certainly to collect DNA. It'll be a while before the ObamaCare mandated electronic medical records are online for everyone where "government researchers" will have access to all our medical info and absolutely positively promise not to abuse it. So, until then, they'll make do with spit samples.

Seeing Red said...

wyo sis, desperate?

For all we know, that could be part of the $48/hr group like Obamacare is hiring to help fill out the forms and sign up voters.

bagoh20 said...

"But there is nothing about it that automatically merits the Big Brother stuff either."

Like I said, you haven't been paying attention. I guarantee you that down the road this study will be used to take away some of your rights, including equal access to the services paid for with your taxes. If it doesn't, it's because the results were not able to be massaged in a way to do that, which is highly unlikely.

Either I'm paranoid, or you're naive - we'll see.

Seeing Red said...

Why in the hell do they need to do another survey to understand the American peoples' health needs?

They have access to all our medical records, others have been gathering this information for decades, did they scrap it all?

edutcher said...

Richard Dolan said...

This is an odd subject to go all Rambo about. Large scale surveys have their place -- the Bogalusa Heart Study is a classic, but there are many others. And what would sociologists like Charles Murray do without studies of changing patterns of behaviour across class/race lines, for example? A study of age, alcohol use and general health is hardly out of line.

I don't know if this study is well designed (no reason to presume that it isn't), or whether it is a one-off or intended to turn into a longitudinal study, tracking changes over time. But there is nothing about it that automatically merits the Big Brother stuff either.


You Limeys (or Canucks) don't have our history of (justified) government distrust. It's why we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights (tattered, though they may be).

Bob Boyd said...


Eagle Ford in Texas is the richest gas and oil field in the world, producing $60 billion dollars last year.
Last year the US government spent
$359,796,008,919.49 to pay interest on the national debt.
That doesn't include what they spent on loogies at 90 bucks a pop.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Me, I don't answer the doorbell unless I already know who is there"

I don't either, but I thought I was the only one. I think others find mildly eccentric.

Darrell said...

When they ask you for a pair of panties out of your hamper, be wary.

Peter said...

Althouse pointed out one potential flaw in this study, "$90 is an impressive amount of money, perhaps especially to people with alcohol problems."

That is, are those with alcohol (and/or mental) problems more or less likely to agree to be surveyed? I don't know if the study is attempting to estimate the prevalence of alcohol-related problems, but a low response rate would all but invalidate conclusions about the prevalence of these problems in the populaton.

And then there's the problem of lying. Practically everyone who drinks too much is going to minimize the extent of their problem drinking, often without being consciously aware of doing so. And if respondents are not aware that they're lying, can the test instrument detect the extent to which their answers are less than the truth? One can only hope that if tax money is being spent on this, there is vigorous review of its methodology.

According to the Website (http://www.nhasinfo.com/ )"Researchers and policymakers will use information from the nationwide study to determine how best to use money and staff to solve alcohol-related health problems and to direct health care services where needs are greatest for the American people."

Web site claims "The National Health and Alcohol Study is a nationwide study conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Is Westat a contractor?

Seeing Red said...

They're doing psych profiles?

Read that letter.

Ann Althouse said...

"That is bizarre. Haven't seen them on my street, but I'm so rarely home. I don't recall getting the softening-up letter, either, so maybe they're not targeting my neighborhood."

The lettere says that 60,000 addresses were chosen "at random." This is a nationwide survey, so they wouldn't be noticeable on any given street.

Rusty said...

Damn it, Althouse!
SOMEBODY has to hire those people who otherwise would be unemployable!

Bob R said...

I feel sorry for the poor schmoe collecting the data, but the urge to spit in his face would be almost unbearable.

LilyBart said...


I was selected for a "voluntary" Crimes Statistics Survey (through the census dept.) Turns out, this is a 3-year survey where they come to your house every 6 months and talk to each household member individually, including your minor children, about any property or personal crimes you may have had against you.

We said, "No, thank you." Well, this started a year long harassment by the Census department that only ended with an intervention by our Congressman's office. These people apparently don't understand the concept of "voluntary" They came by the house regularly and were reluctant to leave until they'd argued with me about the importance of their survey, left long messages on my voice mail, and send letters via Fed Ex overnight.

I still get upset when I think about it.

Seeing Red said...

Did anyone read the article about the decline of the French drinking wine?

The old guy quoted was right, he basically said now that we don't drink wine as a habit, our tranquilizer use is going up.

I'll take the wine, lololol.

Lem said...

NHAS is a Nationwide Study to learn about the health of American adults age 18 and older.

They want to know about the health of the custodians? of their children?... the community children?

That sounds reasonable... they want to know how many drunks and drug addicts are looking after the "communities children"... or something.

I say 'or something', because the concept of children as community property is new to me.

AReasonableMan said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs.

It's not in the general interest of the country to try to ameliorate this problem?

As noted by another poster large scale population studies are one of the best ways to try to understand these kinds of diseases. They are almost certainly trying to get a handle on the genetics of alcoholism. No one is forced to participate.

Research on public health problems is one of the core functions of the National Institutes for Health and an appropriate way to spend federal funds. Our increasing life spans do not come about by magic.

Rusty said...

I'm very curious what they analyze the saliva for.

GUNS!

You know what's fun?
Letting the evangelicals go through their whole spiel and then tell em you're a Jew.

Did you know if you answer your door dressed only in your underwear the people that knocked will go away without a word. Works for me.

jr565 said...

are these examples of jobs created or saved by the Obama administratioN, the guy that goes to your house and asks for some of your spit for some bogus study put out by govt?

Rabel said...

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

You could have offered to participate, but only if the interviewer would bring you a new bottle of Mad Dog 20/20.

Darrell said...

When they ask for the panties you are wearing, be extra-wary.

Chip Ahoy said...

Part of the survey is locating the people who wouldn't participate on the terms offered but bartered for higher payment.

And part of the survey to test how far they can persist with follow up questions before respondents tell them to piss off.

(I watched a tv show in Spanish that does that, push people rudely until they blow up and the fun is seeing how long it takes. The annoying part of watching the show is the laugher is canned.)

phx said...

Interestingly, the softening-up letter doesn't mention the part where the government's independent contractor makes you spit in a tube.

It's a violation of your rights. Plus, the government contractor made you spit into a tube.

Freeman Hunt said...

Just more taking advantage of poor people. Government loves to do that.

Lem said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs.

It's not in the general interest of the country to try to ameliorate this problem?


We amended the constitution trying to do "something" and it was a massive failure.

edutcher said...

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs.

And here I thought it was not letting homosexuals marry.

It's not in the general interest of the country to try to ameliorate this problem?

I thought that was what Prohibition was for.

As noted by another poster large scale population studies are one of the best ways to try to understand these kinds of diseases. They are almost certainly trying to get a handle on the genetics of alcoholism. No one is forced to participate.

Yet.

And this sort of thing has always been done by private concerns.

Why do the Feds need to get involved now? We've had drunks in this country since we outlawed homosexuality.

jr565 said...

Im not worried about this as some assault on freedom. I just think its money badly spent.

Seeing Red said...

Robots don't get drunk, productivity will be fine.

I'll be dead before they start the pot studies.

OTOH, alcohol is your daddy's choice, pot is your choice, there won't be studies.

Lem said...

Money goes to money ;)

Seeing Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gutless said...

Should such a person appear at my door asking me to spit in a bottle I would take immediate steps involving my Mossberg 500 which would cause the individual to shit in his pants.

Nomennovum said...

How can this survey be worth the paper it's written on? The only ones who would acquiese to the extreme invasion of privacy are the dopes and the very poor who are already on the government dole. The results will be radically skewed towards sheep-like nincompoops, and the results will tell us that sheep-like nincompoops do knuckle-headed things.

Disgusting.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And part of the survey to test how far they can persist with follow up questions before respondents tell them to piss off.

When we get our evening interrupted by political survey phone calls (aka asking us for money) we try to see how long we can string them along, argue with the caller, point out flaws in logic in their questions, tell them that we know that they are just trying to get us to answer loaded questions to get the survey results that they have already predetermined, continually debate political points until they snap and hang up on us.

During the campaign we had an over 60% success rate in getting the survey callers to hang up on us. Woo hooo!!!! Either they hung up in a huff or we just got bored and told them not to call again and ended the call. You would think that they would code their calling list with some sort of marker that says "assholes, don't waste your time calling"....but noooooo....they kept calling. We felt that if they were going to waste our time and invade our personal space, we might as well get some entertainment out of it.

Seeing Red said...

Don't ban alcohol, it won't work, just limit the size of the bottle & how many you can buy at a time.

Maybe sports stadiums should serve 8 oz. cups of beer, limit of 2?

How about posting some of these surveyors outside of the stadiums?

mrs. e said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs.

I believe more so, in Wisconsin.

campy said...

The government is after our Precious Bodily Fluids!

GrandpaMark said...

Apparently someone in the Althouse/Meade household is suspected in a cold case crime. The letter and follow up visit was a ruse to get your DNA.

Why would they be doing surveys related to drug and alcohol abuse in an upper middle class neighborhood?

You guys need to watch more true crime TV.

AJ Lynch said...

I hope the checks were accompanied by a W-2 so the study participants could pay their fair share to Obama.

Lem said...

Meade tells me the man said the saliva was for DNA, something about checking one's ancestry for alcohol (and drug?) related problems.

And the leftist called Palin crazy for suggesting Obamacare would implement death panels.

The NHAS needs data, to backup any seemingly intrusive and freedom snatching decisions down the road.

Nomennovum said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs. It's not in the general interest of the country to try to ameliorate this problem? - ARM

God, another knucklehead!

Fuck the government "trying" to ameliorate a behavioral problem. Screw you for supporting another federal invasion of privacy. I am sick and tired of you ersatz concern whores. You are precisely the type of person who would ban the sale and consumption of alcohol, thus making the problem worse. Everything you "reasonalble" people touch turns to shit, but you never learn. Positively Bloombergian.

virgil xenophon said...

Paranoid, cynical me can see all sorts of directions this, and the alcohol survey (linked) could lead. Par example, is it not beyond the ken of man to envision a genetic test of fetuses for the alcoholism gene and then, under Obama-care regulations down the road when the zeitgeist of the times has "progressively" "evolved" (e.g., as with the concept of gay marriage) as a cost-preventative measure (in terms of ultimate cost to society) require a forced abortion? Crazy you say? Oh Yeah? Just ask those people being required by the State to purchase health insurance--the provisions of which are to be designed by the government. What if those "required" policies contain just such provisions?

jr565 said...

Back in my college days I remember working for the census bureau. And I had go door to door in neighborhoods and get people to fill out questionaires. And I didn't even have the cash incentive to fall back on.

I didn't have to ask people for spit though. that's a plus.

Sam L. said...

DNA samples? Oh, yessssssssss. Our gummint NEEDS those to convict us of something...

Lem said...

Remember, whatever they do they do for the children... the voiceless children.

I hear "the voiceless children" in Justice Kennedy's voice in my head.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Lilybart said:

and send letters via Fed Ex overnight.


If this is the government, why are they not using the US Postal Service to send overnight letters? In my experience it is just as reliable as FEDEX and, since it is govt, you would think they would get a break on price. If nothing else they would keep the spending in-house.

This brings up something I have heard several times of late but have not gotten around to checking out.

It seems that banks are sending out foreclosure and other notices by FEDEX/UPS rather than mail for legal reasons.

If they send out a fraudulent doc or commit any other illegalities by USPO, they are subject to a lot of mail fraud statutes. The USPO has its own police dept/postal inspectors to go after mail fraud.

If by FEDEX, not so much.

Might this be why the survey is sent FEDEX rather than mailed?

More on Postal police here:

http://youtu.be/6nKlzQo3Wqo



John Henry

MadisonMan said...

I wonder if they went to the house of the Lutheran Bishop.

mrs. e said...

It's not in the general interest of the country to try to ameliorate this problem?

We amended the constitution trying to do "something" and it was a massive failure.


Actually, they could be looking for genetic markers, explore new treatment options or to help develop better public policy responses. From asthma studies that I've participated in (one DNA-based), this seems like a reasonable way to collect a wide range of data points.

virgil xenophon said...

Good point John Henry..

MadisonMan said...

We felt that if they were going to waste our time and invade our personal space, we might as well get some entertainment out of it.

This is what caller ID is for. If it's a call from an unknown number, we don't answer. Even if we know the number, we might not.

I never answer my cell phone, but that's really because I don't know how to.

mrs. e said...

I wonder if they went to the house of the Lutheran Bishop.

Very sad story.

Nomennovum said...

I, however, would invite the revenuer in my house to do his survey. Bourbon in hand, I'd tell him I never drink, refuse to answer any other questions, and spit a mouthful of Maker's into his goddamn test tube. "There's yer damn DNA sample, revenuer!"

jr565 said...

edutcher wrote:
All that talk about a Gestapo-like national database that people like AnUnreasonableTroll and some phony folksy would dismiss as Conservative paranoia doesn't seem so far-fetched now, does it?

We live in an age of computers. why would we assume that information compiled wouldn't be put into a database.
You think the IRS doesn't compile records that aren't put into a national database? THe census every ten years goes out and collects data natioanlly which is put into a database.
And similarly, if you get an account on Amazon you go into their database.
I don't really see why that in and of itself shoudl be scary to conservatives.

This particular study seems like shit, but the Census (as badly run as it is) serves a valuable purpose and it collects data much like this study does (absent the request for your spit of course) like where you live, your income, your sex your race etc.

cubanbob said...

Alcohol abuse is the single biggest drug problem in the country, with massive social and productivity costs.

Great! Lets legalize dope. That will fix the problem.

Calypso Facto said...

The lettere says that 60,000 addresses were chosen "at random."

Random among conservative(sic) bloggers that the government would like very much to have damaging personal information about?

MadisonMan said...

Very sad story.

Sad, but predictable. If you're driving drunk, you will kill someone eventually.

The Episcopal Priest at my parents' church was also an alcoholic. I don't know if he ever was driving while intoxicated, however. His kids ended up really messed up though.

You just never know.

John said...

Lem said:

Remember, whatever they do they do for the children... the voiceless children.


Apparently they are not all that voiceless sometimes:

PHILADELPHIA – A Delaware woman who worked for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell recalled hearing one child “screaming” after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure at Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic.

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130408/NEWS/130408013?nclick_check=1

Probably trying to say "Don't let him kill me Mom"

Neither Mom nor Doc seemed to care. It did bother the nurse, she said. Not enough to do anything about it though.

there is this, though, from later in the article:

Gosnell is facing a possible death sentence if convicted.

Good. He deserves it. The nurse deserves a long, long, long, spell in the clink for her complicity.

And I don't think the Mom should get off either.

I know that some here do not think that abortion=murder. No matter what you think, it is hard to believe that you would not consider killing a living, kicking, screaming BABY murder

John Henry

Ignorance is Bliss said...

GrandpaMark said...

Why would they be doing surveys related to drug and alcohol abuse in an upper middle class neighborhood?

Do you remember the various pictures Althouse has posted that included a glass of wine?

jr565 said...

We, as conservatives (Well,not all conservatives), have been asking for ID cards as part of the election process to ensure that people are who they say they are when they vote.
But implicit in this, at least to my mind, is that we are going to have that information collected IN A NATIONAL DATABASE. Including peoples names, their sex, their age, their address. etc.
SO it seems a bit incongruous to suggest on one hand that the idea that the govt is collecting your data is Big Brother, while on the ohter hand saying that we need to get peoples data to insure they aren't commtigng voter fraud.

Darrell said...

Because asking someone to flash their picture ID is just like collecting DNA and sensitive details. Right.

jr565 said...

Darrell wrote:
Because asking someone to flash their picture ID is just like collecting DNA and sensitive details. Right.

That was in response to edutchers point about the national database. Even if they don't ask for your spit, its still going into a database. Granted when you are presenting your ID you aren't giving up sensitive information, but when you got your ID you certainly did. Right?

And in the defense of this study, at least its voluntary and people are getting paid to give up their spit.

This is not to say that the study desn't look like a complete waste of money or that I would give my spit if someone came to my door.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is what caller ID is for. If it's a call from an unknown number, we don't answer. Even if we know the number, we might not.

I know. We have a business line that rolls into our residential line and we get business calls on both numbers. So..we generally answer most calls even unknowns from other area codes, which often turn out to be new customers calling from their Bay Area or Southern Ca. cells. IF it is an obvious spam call to try to get us to get a web site or place our name on the internet yellow pages.....no thanks....we don't answer. In fact we unplug our phone after 7pm and let it go to answering machine. There is no one we want to talk to after that time anyway and even IF it were a family emergency....so what? We can't do anything from our location (hundreds and hundreds of miles away from family). There is nothing that can't wait until the morning.

BUT....during the election, we really enjoyed torturing the program callers.

:-) We are evil.

edutcher said...

When Choom wanted to allow homosexuals to serve in the military, the Pentagon sent out a survey to all service members and spouses. The "results" were used to justify the "decision".

Problem was, so few people wanted anything to do with it for fear of repercussions if they answered incorrectly, half the responses were from the Coast Guard.

No matter how few people participate in this, 5 will get you 10 it will be used to justify whatever repressive measures are intended to come from it.

jr565 said...

All that talk about a Gestapo-like national database that people like AnUnreasonableTroll and some phony folksy would dismiss as Conservative paranoia doesn't seem so far-fetched now, does it?

We live in an age of computers. why would we assume that information compiled wouldn't be put into a database.


I rest my case.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think a properly-designed study of genetic links to alcoholism would entail also collecting the names and addresses (and saliva!) of your living blood relatives. We have to be thorough here.

I hope this stirs up a stink. There's been enough controversy over police departments hanging on to the DNA of arrestees who weren't ever charged -- you know, just in case it might turn out to be useful, later on -- that you'd think there'd be traction when it's a case of the government paying people for DNA samples linked to their name and address.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

:-) We are evil.

Yep. But my kind of evil.

Brew Master said...

Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid to hand out a bunch of $45 checks to a surveyor? What would keep an unscrupulous person from using these to 'benefit' friends and family for the large part?

Not a real good way to build a representative sample.

jr565 said...

edutcher wrote:
When Choom wanted to allow homosexuals to serve in the military, the Pentagon sent out a survey to all service members and spouses. The "results" were used to justify the "decision".

You get no arguments from me that Obama is trying to socially engineer based on a flimsy poll.
That being said, it could just as easliy have gone the other way, with a different president.
i.e a poll was sent to servicemen and their families who said that they don't want the military to allow gays.

Sorun said...

"Just more taking advantage of poor people. Government loves to do that."

I'm looking forward to when the public schools are completely funded by selling lottery tickets to poor people.

Shanna said...

asking for ID cards as part of the election process to ensure that people are who they say they are when they vote.

But implicit in this, at least to my mind, is that we are going to have that information collected IN A NATIONAL DATABASE


No it isn't. Most people will be using STATE id's. In fact, we just had a bill passed on this and I think our gov vetoed it b/c it would cost the state money.

From Inwood said...

Last year my doorbell rang one weekend afternoon.

I opened it (we have bars on the windows & doors) & saw a beautiful, nubile, full-figured gorgeous girl in a light summer dress & said to my aged self "Thank you, God".

Being of literary bent, I immediately thought of The Girls In Their Summer Dresses by Irwin Shaw (1939)

“Look out,” Frances said as they crossed Eighth Street. “You’ll break your neck.” Michael laughed and Frances laughed with him.
“She’s not so pretty,” Frances said. “Anyway, not pretty enough to take a chance of breaking your neck.”
Michael laughed again. “How did you know I was looking at her?”
Frances cocked her head to one side and smiled at her husband under the brim of her hat. “Mike, darling,” she said...

“You always look at other women,” Frances said. “Everywhere. Every damned place we go.”
“No, darling,” Michael said, “I look at everything. God gave me eyes and I look at women and men in subway excavations and moving pictures and the little flowers of the field. I casually inspect the universe.”
“You ought to see the look in your eye,” Frances said, “as you casually inspect the universe on Fifth Avenue....”


Anyway, as soon as I recovered, I asked her what I could do for her (no scatology here please).

She replied that she was here to “speak to me about the environment" (again, no impure thoughts, here, please).

I asked her her age.

She seemed nonplussed & gave no answer

I then said "let me guess: 20 years give or take.”

She simply stared at me.

I then said "I'm many times your age & with all due respect, I'd be quite surprised if you had anything to tell me about the environment that I haven't heard already.”

She looked at her clipboard & started to go through her obviously prepared chicken-little unthought.

I said "Gimme a break. I can’t handle this. Get a life. Bye Bye."

I closed the door.

Problem: she appears in all my dreams & I can never reach her.

What should I do?

jr565 said...

edutcher wrote:
All that talk about a Gestapo-like national database that people like AnUnreasonableTroll and some phony folksy would dismiss as Conservative paranoia doesn't seem so far-fetched now, does it?

We live in an age of computers. why would we assume that information compiled wouldn't be put into a database.

I rest my case.


So you think that the govt shoudn't use databases, and keep all of its data in a ledger? Should they go back to abacuses to figure out math problems? Or do you think that the govt shoudln't compile any data at all?

Rose said...

The first mistake is in thinking this has anything to do with alcohol, despite the wording.

As far as DNA collection - wasn't there a proposal to start collecting saliva/DNA samples from convicts, or arrestees, to look for linked crimes, and there was a HUGE outcry about the rights to privacy?

Where is the ACLU? Silent? Because. Obama. Really?

Rob Crawford said...

I was selected for a "voluntary" Crimes Statistics Survey...

We said, "No, thank you." Well, this started a year long harassment by the Census department that only ended with an intervention by our Congressman's office.


Perhaps the program was intended to turn their employees into crime statistics?

mrs. e said...

Sad, but predictable. If you're driving drunk, you will kill someone eventually.

The Episcopal Priest at my parents' church was also an alcoholic. I don't know if he ever was driving while intoxicated, however. His kids ended up really messed up though.

You just never know.


I don’t know that it’s necessarily predictable, I’m actually surprised that it doesn’t happen more often. And I can just about guarantee you that that priest did drive drunk – and with his kids/others in the car. That his kids are messed up is no surprise – it leaves a lot devastation in it’s wake.

Shanna said...

On this subject, I am too paranoid to hand that kind of stuff over, but there are loads of rules that have to be followed on anything related to anything having to do with human studies research. There would indeed be some kind of database, but it might have personal information protected. I would have to look up the rules to be sure of the details.

rhhardin said...

It's time for the dog saliva trick.

jr565 said...

Shanna wrote:
No it isn't. Most people will be using STATE id's.

If it's a state ID then it's a database colledcting state data in a database.
What distinction are you trying to get at?

Marshal said...

AReasonableMan said...
Research on public health problems is one of the core functions of the National Institutes for Health and an appropriate way to spend federal funds. Our increasing life spans do not come about by magic.


Notice how ARM uses the existence of an institution to justify further intrusion and expense. Tomorrow though he'll be back to claiming slippery slope arguments are invalid as if this never ocurred.

gadfly said...

But under no circumstance will we have White House Tours or will we man selected Airport towers.

Rob Crawford said...

We, as conservatives (Well,not all conservatives), have been asking for ID cards as part of the election process to ensure that people are who they say they are when they vote.
But implicit in this, at least to my mind, is that we are going to have that information collected IN A NATIONAL DATABASE.


Ever heard of the states? We have something like 50, 57 of them.

GrandpaMark said...

"No way! Yet over 100,000 people have participated."

"The lettere says that 60,000 addresses were chosen "at random." This is a nationwide survey, so they wouldn't be noticeable on any given street. "

Which is it? Over 100, or just 60?

Rob Crawford said...

If it's a state ID then it's a database colledcting state data in a database.
What distinction are you trying to get at?


State vs. federal. Are you dim or just annoying?

Inga said...

I wonder if the Governor of the state needs to sign off on this, did he know it was going to happen? What is his opinion on this sort of survey on the citizens of his state? Very strange indeed and to pay a volunteer for this information, weird.

Shanna said...

State vs. federal.

Yeah, exactly. They are entirely different governments run by different people.

David said...

As Garage would tell you, we have already cut budgets to the bone. We can't cut any more without endangering essential services to the people of our nation.

Dantes said...

I don't answer any of these government requests for information anymore, even the census questions the government takes between censuses and threatens to fine you over if you refuse to comply.

Why give them any more rope to hang us with?

Dantes said...

I don't answer any of these government requests for information anymore, even the census questions the government takes between censuses and threatens to fine you over if you refuse to comply.

Why give them any more rope to hang us with?

jr565 said...

Rob Crawford wrote:
Ever heard of the states? We have something like 50, 57 of them.

YOu're right in that when i referened national databases I used an example that instead used state databases. If the issue is collection of data, is it somehow less Big Borhter that the state is doing the collection and not the federal govt? You think that somehow there can be no overlap between state and federal databases?

mrs. e said...

that you'd think there'd be traction when it's a case of the government paying people for DNA samples linked to their name and address.

I doubt there are identifiers linking names to samples. The study I participated went to great lengths to say the data itself was linked, but that it would be impossible to trace it back to me. I can't/won't vouch for this study, just that my experience provides me a different perspective.

jr565 said...

Shanna wrote:
State vs. federal.

Yeah, exactly. They are entirely different governments run by different people.

When it comes to "govt collecting private data", does it matter?
So, if instead of this program being a federal program, if someone came to your door asking for your spit and personal data but said he was from the local govt instead of the federal govt you'd be ok with it?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So you think that the govt shoudn't use databases, and keep all of its data in a ledger? Should they go back to abacuses to figure out math problems? Or do you think that the govt shoudln't compile any data at all?

Other than the numbers of people living in an area so that the PEOPLE can have adequate representation in the House of Reps for the population.....there is nothing else that they NEED to know. They don't need to know how much money we are making, how many bathrooms we have, how many people live in a house, what RACE we are (we are all human race), what foods we eat, how much or how little we drink..... and other intrusive things that have nothing to do with the government. Anything else is used to extort money from one group and give it to another so that the political powers that be can continue to buy votes.

The certainly do NOT need to have our DNA.

jr565 said...

Dust Bunny wrote:
Other than the numbers of people living in an area so that the PEOPLE can have adequate representation in the House of Reps for the population.....there is nothing else that they NEED to know. They don't need to know how much money we are making, how many bathrooms we have, how many people live in a house, what RACE we are (we are all human race), what foods we eat, how much or how little we drink..... and other intrusive things that have nothing to do with the government. Anything else is used to extort money from one group and give it to another so that the political powers that be can continue to buy votes.

The certainly do NOT need to have our DNA.


Well, the census bureau asks for a lot of this same data, and the Census is a requirement every ten years. Local areas get money appropriated to it based on the information from that Census. So having that information is critical for state govt to receive federal cash.
As to the idea that govt needs your DNA for some study on alcohol, I agree with you. I'm trying to think why they would need it and am at a loss. But, the distinction I would make is, that it's voluntary. You don't have to give your spit. YOu dont even have to answer the door. And if you give your spit they pay you cash.
It's not an invasion of privacy if you are volunteering it and getting paid.
Is it stupid, obnoxious, a waste of money? Yes.

David said...

Inga: "Very strange indeed and to pay a volunteer for this information, weird."

I don't think you have fully grasped the notion of volunteer, Inga.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Well, the census bureau asks for a lot of this same data, and the Census is a requirement every ten years

They can ask all they want. Other than the number of people, that is all they NEED to know.

Crimso said...

"I assume DNA, looking for a correlation between genes and drug/alcohol issues."

Having government employees go door-to-door, paying people in order to study genetic links to alcoholism simply does not pass the smell test. I don't think that's how that sort of research is typically conducted.

I don't think it is any sort of nefarious conspiracy, but I do think that they are seeing an opportunity to collect DNA that is voluntarily given to them. The DNA will then be compared to John Doe DNA profiles. Wonder how many people would need to give DNA samples for them to begin finding hits, and if they calculated what their "ROI" would be for this project and determined it would be worth the cost based upon the number of cold cases that would be cleared.

Inga said...

David, the "volunteer" gets paid for volunteering, not for the information or spit.

Inga said...

Or maybe they are paying for the spit, damn expensive spit.

Crimso said...

"As far as DNA collection - wasn't there a proposal to start collecting saliva/DNA samples from convicts, or arrestees, to look for linked crimes, and there was a HUGE outcry about the rights to privacy?"

There are states that automatically collect and analyze DNA profiles from any convicted felon. The state of Florida doing that was the means for solving the 10 year old murder in Seattle of someone I knew. The killer had no connection to the victim whatsoever. Just a random encounter.

GrandpaMark said...

Nomennovum said...

How can this survey be worth the paper it's written on? The only ones who would acquiese to the extreme invasion of privacy are the dopes and the very poor who are already on the government dole. The results will be radically skewed towards sheep-like nincompoops, and the results will tell us that sheep-like nincompoops do knuckle-headed things.

Disgusting."


Are the "dopes" very poor?

Are the"very poor" dopes?

Are the " sheep-like nincompoops"
dopes, very poor, or both?

Are the "knuckleheads" sheep like, very poor and/or dopes?

Are SS recipients dopes on the "Govt dole"?

Are people using cliches such as "sheep-like" dopes?

jr565 said...

caplight wrote:
I answered her questions and when it came to the one about race or ethnic identity, I asked her my options to which my response was, "American." she rephrased the question and I again answered, "American." I noticed she wrote down, "Other." I decided to leave it go. Nothing like a good government survey.

I'm not big on identifying people as African American as opposed to American, and dont believe in multiculturalims over say a melting pot.
That being said, even if you dont' personally want to identfiy yourself as anything other than American knowing the percentage of blacks and whites living in a certain community is not useless information for govt.

Sigivald said...

Edutcher said: No, Ann, you should have gone out there and, in your best conlawprof schoolmarm, asked him for a warrant.

And... what's the point of that?

What do warrants have to do with a completely voluntary - and indeed paid - survey?

It's stupid and wasteful and creepy and none of it is remotely the proper business of the State ... but it also doesn't need a warrant.

Because it's simply not a search in the relevant senses.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That being said, even if you dont' personally want to identfiy yourself as anything other than American knowing the percentage of blacks and whites living in a certain community is not useless information for govt.

Explain why the government needs to know this information.....leaving out any reason that involves giving money to selected specially treated groups of people.

Nomennovum said...

Hi Grandpa!!!

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
You wish.

Amartel said...

Tax subsidized creepiness with a smile.

Crimso said...

I wonder if any parts of this "project" are subject to FOIA requests (such as the general locations of the "randomly" selected homes, the parameters of the supposed study, etc.).

Smilin' Jack said...

ADDED: Meade tells me the man said the saliva was for DNA, something about checking one's ancestry for alcohol (and drug?) related problems.

Hmmm...didn't the CIA do something like this to get Osama's DNA sample? I'm sure there's nothing to worry about...but you might want to make sure your will is up to date, just in case....

jr565 said...

Dust BUnny wrote:
Explain why the government needs to know this information.....leaving out any reason that involves giving money to selected specially treated groups of people.

Ok, what is the percentage of Blacks living in America. Is it growing or shrinking. What is the percentage of blacks living in various parts of the country. It gives an accurate display of demographics. it gives statistical data acout our populace and how its changing around the country.

jr565 said...

Why does the govt ask about age?
Well, how is our population aging? Is the average age of death going up or down? Are we living longer?

Why does the govt ask about salary?
What is the average salary in this country? Are we getting richer or poorer. Are peoples salaries going up or down.

Why do they ask for your phone number? What if they got the information wrong and need to contact you.

Why do they ask your name? What if you are no who you say you are. If you have a lot of people in your house its hard to say Person 2, person 3 and then keep track of what data belongs to what person.

Sorry if you find demographic information to be useless.

Matt said...

You get irked way too easily. Are you the same when a Jehovah's Witness comes knocking?

Darrell said...

The Jehovah's Witnesses wish they had knocked on Jehovah's door.

Edmund said...

I looked this up on Google. The study is a real one being done by NIH, and is fourth in a series that goes back to 1991. The surveying and collection is being done under contract by Westat, a company that specializes in running such studies.

They probably do strip off PII from the survey answers, since that gets them out from under HIPAA regs.

Spamf Roming said...

I think it may have been a confused Christian who thought he was supposed to be seeking salivation.

Inga said...

"Are you the same when a Jehovah's Witness comes knocking?"

4/9/13, 12:23 PM

I get very irked.

Nomennovum said...

Matt brings up a great point! There is no difference between a Jehovah's Witness at your door and the federal government.

It's so obvious. Ann, what was the point of this post.? Are you some kind of crank?

Inga said...

So some of these surveys were done under President Bush too?

Nomennovum said...

Oh, hell people. The Jehovah's Witnesses are totally harmless and unfailingly pleasant. You nod and thank them.

Only a Leftie would be more annoyed by them than by a Federale at the door.

RebeccaH said...

This government is getting creepier by the day.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I'm looking forward to when the public schools are completely funded by selling lottery tickets to poor people."

Don't even get me started on lotteries. "Let's squeeze money out of poor people and hand it out to the middle and upper classes." Hate, hate, hate it. Our state has spent nearly $1.2 million advertising these things to encourage people to gamble. And before anyone says, "What's the big deal? I like to pick up a ticket now and then," this has been studied, and it's poor people buying most of the tickets. You can see people do it n the gas stations; they'll come in looking down and out and lay down a twenty for worthless paper, sometimes much more. And the government encourages this!

jr565 said...

DUst Bunny you might want to read this:

How the Census works as it outlines why govt needs to know some of the stuff they ask.


•The federal government uses census numbers to allocate over $100 billion in federal funds annually for community programs and services, such as education programs, housing and community development, health-care services for the elderly, job training and many more.
•State, local and tribal governments use census information for planning and allocating funds for new school construction, libraries and other public buildings, highway safety and public transportation systems, new roads and bridges, location of police and fire departments and many other projects.
•Community organizations use census information to develop social service programs, community action projects, senior lunch programs and child-care centers.
•Businesses use the numbers to decide where to locate factories, shopping centers, movie theaters, banks and offices -- activities that often lead to new jobs.

Sorry if you think such considerations are worthless.

Fred Drinkwater said...

It doesn't matter what they tell you about their "privacy" policy. The fact is, these organizations have been historically so clumsy that they might as well be publishing all of it on the web.
For example, do you remember the case of the pilfered CD-ROMs and/or laptops in the UK, containing personal data about something like 30% of all children in the UK? How often do we hear about some friend of a cop getting unauthorized access to the driver's license DB? Anyone remember Joe the Plumber?
How often do we hear of another credit-card DB being hacked? Someone explain to this IT pro why that kind of data is floating around unencrypted?
Another anecdote about government attitudes toward security: Many moons ago I volunteered to do reading assessments among second and third grade kids at my daughter's public school. The second year, the district asked me to allow a criminal background check. Thinking about random district employees and unlocked file cabinets, I said, "Sure, if you send me a copy of your data privacy, retention, and security policy." Never heard from them again. (Amusingly, they eventually told me that under their policy, the check was unnecessary in the first place, since it was only required for adults who were expected to be unsupervised with kids. I did all my work in class with the teacher & aid right there.)
And quality of collected data? Don't make me laugh. When my wife was in Stanford hospital after labor & delivery, a clerk or nurse came by to ask, among other things, what our races were. I declined to state, which she seemed OK with. A minute later, I noticed that she had actually checked our races on the form, based solely on her eyeball and reading our names. Really reliable procedure. She got mine wrong, despite my Irish-looking phiz. If you note my family name, you can guess what the nurse wrote down.
Wow - I don't often rant like this. Must be the weak-ass Panamanian coffee this morning.

edutcher said...

Sigivald said...

No, Ann, you should have gone out there and, in your best conlawprof schoolmarm, asked him for a warrant.

And... what's the point of that?

What do warrants have to do with a completely voluntary - and indeed paid - survey?


Paid by the taxpayers.

Considering it's undoubtedly going to be used to justify another Constitutional breach under false pretenses, I'd say plenty.

Since Roe was decided on the presumption it violated the 4th Amendment, there's a fine conlaw point I would have thought the conlawprof would have loved to thrash out with the government snoop.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why does the govt ask about age?
Well, how is our population aging? Is the average age of death going up or down? Are we living longer?

Why does the govt ask about salary?
What is the average salary in this country? Are we getting richer or poorer. Are peoples salaries going up or down.

Ok, what is the percentage of Blacks living in America. Is it growing or shrinking. What is the percentage of blacks living in various parts of the country. It gives an accurate display of demographics. it gives statistical data acout our populace and how its changing around the country

What difference does it make, the ethnic percentages of people? People are people. We are all human beings and American citizens (supposedly) who deserve the same exact level of governmental services. Unless the data is being used to divide us, or to subsidize groups of people at the expense of other people, why are they gathering this information?

Why do they ask for your phone number? What if they got the information wrong and need to contact you.

Good question. I don't want them to contact me. If they can't count, "two people", then that isn't my problem.

Why do they ask your name? What if you are no who you say you are. If you have a lot of people in your house its hard to say Person 2, person 3 and then keep track of what data belongs to what person.

They don't need to know my name, although I will give them that. They only need to know how many people are living in the census area. It doesn't matter how we are related to each other. The NUMBER of people is what they need to know.

If I am doing a survey to determine how many cars are traveling on a road to calculate if the road is adequate for the traffic load.....I don't need to know what models of cars (although the weight of the vehicles would be of importance), how much the cars cost, how old the cars are, what color the cars are or what race the drivers of the cars are. The only thing I need for my survey is the numbers of cars, the weight of the vehicles for structural purposes and perhaps the peak times of use. All other information is extraneous.

jr565 said...

"•You can get help when you need it. Many 911 emergency systems are based on maps developed for the last census. Census information helps health providers predict the spread of diseases through communities with children or elderly people. And when floods, tornadoes or earthquakes hit, the census tells rescuers how many people will need their help."
All those annoying questions about how old you are or how much money you make end up having direct consequence on how govt divvies up resources.

jr565 said...

Dust Bunny wrote:
If I am doing a survey to determine how many cars are traveling on a road to calculate if the road is adequate for the traffic load.....I don't need to know what models of cars (although the weight of the vehicles would be of importance), how much the cars cost, how old the cars are, what color the cars are or what race the drivers of the cars are. The only thing I need for my survey is the numbers of cars, the weight of the vehicles for structural purposes and perhaps the peak times of use. All other information is extraneous.

According to you.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DUst Bunny you might want to read this:

How the Census works as it outlines why govt needs to know some of the stuff they ask.


I told you to give me a reason that the government needs to know these things (race etc) that DID NOT INVOLVE HANDING OUT MONEY. Taking from one group or area and subsidizing other specially treated groups.

You can't.

Inga said...

What did the Bush Admnistration use the info for? The survey has been around since 1991 as a commenter upthread pointed out.
------------------------------

"I looked this up on Google. The study is a real one being done by NIH, and is fourth in a series that goes back to 1991. The surveying and collection is being done under contract by Westat, a company that specializes in running such studies.

They probably do strip off PII from the survey answers, since that gets them out from under HIPAA regs."

4/9/13, 12:26 PM
-----------------------------------

jr565 said...

Dust Bunny wrote:
What difference does it make, the ethnic percentages of people? People are people. We are all human beings and American citizens (supposedly) who deserve the same exact level of governmental services. Unless the data is being used to divide us, or to subsidize groups of people at the expense of other people, why are they gathering this information?
You're confusing the idea of the individual and the community made up of individuals.

Individually people are people. YOu shouldnt hire people based on race or sex, but on competency. But govt allocates money to communities based on their needs, which are determined based on their population makeup. Knowing that one area is extremely poor or has more old people than average determines what resources need to be appropriated for those districts.
If you are for govt not being big, but instead being efficient, you still need to know this data as it allows you to appropriate money where its's needed.

Leit Bart said...

Here's one question on the survey (and it was pretty hard to find; if anyone can find the entire survey, please post a link):

"Earlier, the computer recorded that you have never used methamphetamine. Which answer is correct?"

God help us all.

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11MH_FindingsandDetTables/2K11MHFR/NSDUHmhfr2011.htm#AppB

jr565 said...

Dust Bunny wrote:
I told you to give me a reason that the government needs to know these things (race etc) that DID NOT INVOLVE HANDING OUT MONEY.

So your argument is the govt should not hand out money to states?

Darrell said...

And when floods, tornadoes or earthquakes hit, the census tells rescuers how many people will need their help

That's why everyone got all the help they needed SO FAST when Hurricane Sandy hit.

EMD said...

David, the "volunteer" gets paid for volunteering, not for the information or spit.

The paid people are the spitters. The volunteers, as far as I can tell, get nothing to swallow.

EMD said...

All those annoying questions about how old you are or how much money you make end up having direct consequence on how govt divvies up resources.

What kind of Federal funds do liars get?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So your argument is the govt should not hand out money to states?

Pretty much. The FEDERAL Government has limited powers. Handing out money from one State to another is not one of them.

Nomennovum said...

I'm sre it would be even more relevant to the privacy issue if we found that this survey goes back to the administration of George Washington.

Darrell said...

If they get a full hair sample down to the root, they can do a complete drug workup on you that covers the years of growth.

And they can link those DNA violence/mental illness propensity studies with that DNA they just took from you and they can ban you from gun ownership and probably many other things. What's not to like?

jr565 said...

Dust Bunny wrote:
Pretty much. The FEDERAL Government has limited powers.


You obviously haven't been living in this country in the 20th century.

Seeing Red said...

I remember 1 of the reasons for the long form, they wanted your medical history so they could pull it up if they had to send an ambulance.

They could map each home.

jr565 said...

Demographic data is important irregardless of what money is divvided up soley on the grounds that we need to know how our country is made up and how its changing.

Population characteristics (urban versus rural, number of housing units, etc.). Why is knowing this information bad?

- Social characteristics (age, citizenship, education, race, language, marital status,
sex, etc.), Why is knowing this information bad?
- Economic characteristics (commuters, income, occupation, employed versus
unemployed, poverty level, full-timers versus part-timers, etc.),
- Housing characteristics (type and size of households, owned versus rented Why is knowing this information bad?
housing units, value and year of housing units, etc.). Why is knowing this information bad?
IF you want to say that govt shouldn't be bloated it should at least be efficient, and it would STILL need this information to properly govern.

Seeing Red said...

If you are for govt not being big, but instead being efficient, you still need to know this data as it allows you to appropriate money where its's needed.


Short translation

Buy votes.

Fr Martin Fox said...

If Jehovah's Witnesses offered me $90--or even $45--to answer questions. I'd happily invite them in and we could talk about Scripture. For $90, I think they could have an hour. Does that sound reasonable? Same deal for Mormon missionaries.

Sadly, they never come by. Could be the house I live in, attached to a Catholic church, that looks every bit of it.

PianoLessons said...

Ann asks "Is this a federal jobs program to tide over erstwhile census workers?"

I like her policy of waving off people with clipboards at the door. We live near UW Campus in Madison and have always been more Meade-like but this is totally creepy stuff.

Who are these folks and who's paying them and for what reason do they want your DNA?

I think the DNA part is actually the key here. Imagine - Madison WI as a target place (of how many other places) for the government giving people money to offer their DNA.

Imagine how many college kids will be willing to do it for the money.

Used to be blood bank - I see a future of DNA banks and I really - really - worry about the uses of that collected DNA.

Darrell said...

Government bennies have to be applied for. The government will gte the information then--as needed. They don't go out signing you up automatically. The 911 is told the reason for the call. They don't have to attempt a guess based on info in some database that may or may not be current. All the reasons given are bullshit.

What it will be used for is for some asshole gov't employee to sell to the Press when you have been accused of a crime, say. Or when you speak to Obama about Socialism and the Press and Dem apparatchiks want to smear you--like Joe the Plumber.

Seeing Red said...

Hmmm, it would seems some of those you list are kept on top of every month, like housing. It's not like we just had a bubble or something.

Leit Bart said...

@mrs. e, the TSA went to great lengths to assure us that its agents couldn't see us naked. Do you also believe the "no-more-bailouts-needed" ECB?

Anyway, here are the results from the 2011 survey. It all ties into mental illness, apparently . . .

http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11MH_FindingsandDetTables/2K11MHFR/NSDUHmhfr2011.htm#A.1

traditionalguy said...

In the age of paper records, classifying people was bad enough. It was done to purge/kill off/ exterminate enemies of the people by identifying them by associations, such as Kulaks, small businessmen, and owners of property.

Stalinism is Marxist rule of The Party that classifies enemies so they can kill them all.

The age of computers is giving the Marxists another opportunity at killing us, as soon as we have been classified.

Anyone who knows the history of Stalinism understands that is not paranoia. That is reality. But they forget that the Party gets purged too, because murderous thugs fear other murderous thugs.

damikesc said...

I don't either, but I thought I was the only one. I think others find mildly eccentric.

I answer the door...but not always fully dressed.

Hey, you're disturbing me.

Research on public health problems is one of the core functions of the National Institutes for Health and an appropriate way to spend federal funds. Our increasing life spans do not come about by magic.

Anybody shocked that ARM feels it is reasonable?

You WILLINGLY give away your DNA to the authorities? Really? Are you fucking insane?

jr565 said...

Darrel wrote:
What it will be used for is for some asshole gov't employee to sell to the Press when you have been accused of a crime, say. Or when you speak to Obama about Socialism and the Press and Dem apparatchiks want to smear you--like Joe the Plumber.

they can smear Joe the plumber even without getting his spit. But even though I agree that the result is stupid I'm not sure if agree the they are doing it for the 911 call.
Because they are tearing this like a poll and not asking this of the whole country.
I generally don't trust polls as being representative of actual trends in society, but if they are using this as a supposed snare to catch people for crimes they may commit it doesn't help that the sample size is so small.
In other words they only have the DNA of a tiny tiny tiny portion of the population who might commit a crime. What about the vast majority of people who may commit crimes but who they have no DNA for.it wouldn't actually address the reason you say they are doing it for.

Darrell said...

The best thing about such programs is that it is welfare for the middle class. Just think about the high five figure (and few six figure) salaries going to the peeps in the office doing the research. Grifter paradise.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jr565,

Demographic data is important irregardless of what money is divvided up soley on the grounds that we need to know how our country is made up and how its changing.

Population characteristics (urban versus rural, number of housing units, etc.). Why is knowing this information bad?
- Social characteristics (age, citizenship, education, race, language, marital status,
sex, etc.), Why is knowing this information bad?
- Economic characteristics (commuters, income, occupation, employed versus
unemployed, poverty level, full-timers versus part-timers, etc.),
- Housing characteristics (type and size of households, owned versus rented Why is knowing this information bad?
housing units, value and year of housing units, etc.). Why is knowing this information bad?
IF you want to say that govt shouldn't be bloated it should at least be efficient, and it would STILL need this information to properly govern.


There's a remarkable amount of information in your litany that "government" at some level already has. If you are registered to vote, the state has your address, and probably can figure out whether it's "urban" or "rural." If you file tax returns, the IRS also has your address, and knows your sex, your marital status, your citizenship status, what you make, how many dependents you have, and what you do for a living. Who owns a property is a matter of public record, so "government" can tell whether you are an owner or a renter. "Government" has a copy of your birth certificate if you were born in the US, so it knows your age.

As for the rest: "Race," IMO, is none of the government's business. It can ask for my race when it gets around to defining the concept -- which it won't, because, well, we don't want to go all Wannsee Protocol, do we? "Language"? As in "Can you speak any English?" or as in "How good is your Italian?" "Commuters"? You mean as in "do you work from home, or is your workplace somewhere else"? Why in tarnation would the government need to know that?

All in all, it seems like most of the data you mention are already in government hands at one level or another, and those that aren't don't need to be.

AReasonableMan said...

damikesc said...
You WILLINGLY give away your DNA to the authorities? Really? Are you fucking insane?


Levels of paranoia vary considerably within the community, just like alcoholism. No one is being forced to participate.

Ex-alcoholics, children and relatives of alcoholics are likely to be happy to participate. Alcoholism is a major public health problem. Reducing alcoholism is in everyone's interest. If you have had a friend or relative killed by a drunk driver, as I have, you are likely to be pretty sympathetic to attempts to reduce alcoholism.

And yes, public health issues are an important function of the National Institutes of Health.

jr565 said...

Traditional guy wrote:
In the age of paper records, classifying people was bad enough. It was done to purge/kill off/ exterminate enemies of the people by identifying them by associations, such as Kulaks, small businessmen, and owners of property.

so your argument is the conservatives are better because they keep lousier records?
They said of Mussolini that he always got the trains to run on time. In other word he was efficient. But getting the trains to run on time wasnt a flaw. It was perhaps his sole redeeming feature.
Repubs who are always talking about how govt should be leaner and meaner should not be pooh pooing keeping adequate records.
Classifying people is bad if you are using the classification to divide them or murder them. But classifying people as a means of increasing efficiency isn't an evil into itself.
So say you are trying to track the number of people on unemployment or out of work to see how your economic recovery is doing. How are you going to know, but for your classifying people?

Darrell said...

You know how easy it would be to link you to a crime if they had your DNA? No, they wouldn't have to physically plant your DNA in the evidence room. All they would have to do is substitute your DNA analysis for the DNA profile that came up when the sample from the unknown donor (perp) was tested.

How much do you think it will cost you to clear your name if that happens? How long do you think you will be under the microscope if that happens? Certainly long enough to totally discredit you during an election campaign. Certainly long enough to totally ruin your life--at least financially.

jr565 said...

Under Obama home ownership has declined by x% and the housing market is off from last years number by x%.
That's stuff we as conservatives should know. It's certainly what we are holding Obama to. Can we do better? Well of course, but if we are going to prove t we have to track the progress.
That's where keeping databases and records and tracking demographic data comes into play. We can't make the argument about efficiency if we think finding out the number of old people living in neighborhoods is too much if a bother.

Shanna said...

Our state has spent nearly $1.2 million advertising these things to encourage people to gamble.

@Freeman, I agree with you. I hate the lottery stuff. I guess the only good thing is that it is a voluntary tax, but it's pretty sad.

How the Census works as it outlines why govt needs to know some of the stuff they ask.

People just disagree on the ‘need’. You can get demo’s without using the census through surveys. Census demo’s are generally many years out of date anyway.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jr565,

Why do they ask for your phone number? What if they got the information wrong and need to contact you.

And they would know they had the information wrong ... how? By cross-checking it with ... what?

Ok, what is the percentage of Blacks living in America. Is it growing or shrinking. What is the percentage of blacks living in various parts of the country. It gives an accurate display of demographics. it gives statistical data acout our populace and how its changing around the country.

Again, the government, IMO, can ask for race only after strictly defining it. Which it, quite rightly, will not.

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