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Why's the Census Web Site So Lame?

How many of you submitted your U.S. Census form as soon as it arrived in the mail, only to receive a reminder saying that you need to fill out the form? How many haven't got a form yet? How many watch Glenn Beck and are convinced that Census information is being collected for some nefarious purpose?

Well, good luck getting any Census questions easily answered on www.Census.gov, yet another poorly designed government Web site.

The site has hopped on the social-media bandwagon, though. The YouTube site has "Census message" videos from Miss America, Karl Rove and (we're not making this up) rapper Ludacris (census name: Christopher Bridges), all explaining why the government won't be "up in your business" if you fill out the form. And on the Census Facebook page, one of the most often-asked questions is: Where someone can submit their Census information online?

Strangely, it's this last point that is given short shrift on Census.gov. Instead of an answer prominently placed on the homepage, I had to Google "why can't I fill out a census form online?" only to be redirected back to a tiny box on the Census site which said: "No. Not this time. We are experimenting with Internet response in the future."

So our tax dollars have gone to make a Ludacris video instead of the government spending five minutes on SurveyMonkey.com?

Hopefully, the U.S. Census Bureau can figure this out in time for the next go-around ... in 2020.


The Range noted poll numbers that show a 15-point gap between U.S. Sen. John McCain and his GOP challenger, J.D. Hayworth; filled you in on Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' entry into the attorney general's race, where he's expected to face Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne in the GOP primary; and caught you up with some of the action at the Arizona Legislature.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Mari Herreras shared a story about her son's trip to the Grand Canyon with his schoolmates.

We passed along another free live Calexico download from the Secret Files of Jim Blackwood; and delivered dispatches from the Festival en el Barrio Viejo, the KXCI FM 91.3 street party that reminded us why we love downtown Tucson.

In sports, we covered the end of spring training in Tucson and talked about the ray of hope that The Show might go on with Japanese teams next year.

On the science beat, we picked up the local angle on the launch of the Large Hadron Collider; and brought you the first batch of photos from HiWish, a UA Lunar and Planetary Lab program that lets you pick the spot on Mars that you want photographed.

In Artistic Range, we took a look at the David Tineo retrospective at the Tucson Museum of Art; Lynn Taber's work at Etherton Gallery; and Tom DeMoss' work at the Tubac Center of the Arts. We also shared the bad news that Conrad Wilde Gallery was the victim of a heist.

We also shared links to Charles Bowden writing about the border; snapshots from UA journalism students Alex Budish and Joshua Morgan; details on local roller-derby action; and so much more!

Visit this week for a chance to win endangered-species condoms!


More nuttiness from the state Legislature! This week, watch as a discussion about the state going nuclear devolves into a discussion about whether the state should have its own nuclear bombs. Here's Sen. Frank Antenori's logic: States can make anything they want, provided they don't export it. A nuclear bomb is a type of thing. Therefore, states should be able to make their own nuclear bombs! Genius.

In other news: Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson was recently in town to screen his movie Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy. While here, he gave a lecture on what gets lost in communication about science issues. See a clip of him talking about a pair of ocean-awareness public-service announcements, one of which stars Jack Black, at TucsonWeeklyTV.com.


"Oh, Tucson Weekly, you almost tricked me! I would have mentioned what an intense article and truly embarrassed myself! Thank god for the symbolic names."

TucsonWeekly.com user "ebo," in response to our April Fools' Day article "A Mythic Proposition" (April 1).


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