Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Holy crap -- Digby and Glenn Beck (or at least Glenn Beck's Blaze) actually agree on something. What is it? The fact that this is nuts:

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers' and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any "religious ceremony" around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, "failure to provide the information requested may result in ... the denial of your U.S. passport application."

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

I'm happy that it's not just lefties who are reacting to this with horror; it means there's a chance this could die the death it deserves. (Lefty anger alone wouldn't mean a thing.)

Commenter at Digby's site:

The plutocracy's long-term plan is the creation of a police state.

Commenter at Beck's site:

This is just one more means of control for the masses by the progressives and the socialist utopia they are wanting to make us into.

Well, I guess this moment of comity goes only so far. But let's see what we can do with the surprising degree of common ground we have.


UPDATE: In comments, Aimai says:

This turns out, I believe, to be a complete nothing. There was a huge discussion of this over at Baloon Juice and it appears that far from being a crazy intrusion into civil liberties this is actually a streamlining of the process of getting a passport for the few people who can not produce one of the ordinary forms of acceptable ID. If you do not have access to your original birth certificate, for example, or its not relevant to your Passport since you were born a citizen of another country, you can adduce a variety of other pieces of information including testimony from previous employers or neighbors or baptismal or circumcision records....

Ah, I see.

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