Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"You must chop down the largest tree in the forest wiiiith... a herring!"

Proposed changes to passport regulations are raising a bit of a stir. Apparently certain applicants will need to provide a personal history far more detailed and rigorous than needed to get a security clearance (or a job in the Oval Office, for that matter.) Like, listing every address you've ever had and every employer and the name of your supervisor there.

Now, I understand that to a GS-whatever, who didn’t have a job until they interned with a congressman while they were at Yale and then were hired straight from there to their current gig at State, and had only the two addresses growing up, plus their college dorm, plus their first apartment in DC and now their condo in Georgetown, this is a no-brainer.

What they don't seem to understand is that there are people out there (myself among them) who couldn't even tell you to the nearest ten how many employers or addresses they've had. I was pretty rootless in my twenties, living la vie bohème, and I can understand if that precludes me from getting, oh, say, the nuclear launch codes, but I'll be damned if I'll let it stop me from going to see Pompeii.

These stricter regulations are apparently only supposed to apply to people who weren't born in hospitals or got a birth certificate issued more than a year after they were born, but you know how the government is: you hand 'em a hammer and you never know when they're going to stop pounding nails and turn around and whack you in the head with it.

36 comments:

Tango Juliet said...

but you know how the government is: you hand 'em a hammer and you never know when they're going to stop pounding nails and turn around and whack you in the head with it.

C'mon, admit it. You stole that line from those crazy founding father guys, didn't you?

Matt G said...

The net, she widens, you know?

The second cop job that I ever applied for, I was told that I couldn't get it because I had worked at more than five jobs in the previous five years. I was a college student, and of course would work odd summer jobs as well as multiple concurrent part-time jobs (I had worked three at once while going to police academy.) while putting myself through school. I asked, "So if I had continued to work ONLY at McDonalds for five years, I would be a better applicant than if I had worked these seasonal jobs to pay the bills?" Apparently so.

Huh.

Borepatch said...

Near as I can remember, I've had 16 residences (damned if I could remember more than ten addresses) and only ten or so employers. However, it's a cold dead certainty that I've had two dozen supervisors, and I doubt the form would have the room to fill that out.

None of that kept me from getting a clearance, Back In The Day. The Fed.Gov *did* send people to my home town to check up on me, but that's what it took to work at an Intelligence Agency.

If they're worried about you going to Pompeii, maybe they should send the Men In Black out to interview your neighbors.

Midwest Chick said...

In the last twenty years, I've moved at least twelve times, covering five states. Unless the address was on an income tax form, I've got no clue.

Julie said...

I couldn't do it either Tam :(

So hopefully they never check ....

BTW I think but you know how the government is: you hand 'em a hammer and you never know when they're going to stop pounding nails and turn around and whack you in the head with it.

is the best thing i've read today

Tam said...

It's a paraphrase of something Bobbi said yesterday. It made me laugh. :)

og said...

I have a piece of proprietary software I use that had a ten page questionaire I had to fill out, each question HAD to be answered, and it asked questions like "How many homosexual siblings do you have" and "What is the model year of the oldest car you have ever owned". They used this information to establish a password. I was a little wierded out.

Anonymous said...

Aw shucks, it's just like the tax forms. Put down something that seems plausible and trust gubmint incompetence to never check. If they come back and say you lied on the form and try to charge you with perjury, claim you had a head injury sometime in the past and you don't remember what you put on the paper.
They're like other predators, if you don't stand out and get noticed, they won't chase you.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Same requirement to list every place that took your Rent money has been on the Ohio CCW Permit Application for years. Sounds like the same Bureaucratic Slug who came up with that waste of ink got a job in the Beltway Play Pen. See? ANOTHER JOB Barry "Saved and/or Created"!

Besides, it's "Your Federal Tax Dollars at Work".

Kristopher said...

SO, we now have a procedure for people who were not born in the US, or naturalized, to get a passport?

Sounds convenient for someone, actually.

How about just not issuing them to people who do not have proof of citizenship? Like every other country on this planet?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'd never be able to list all my supervisors, much less phone numbers for them. Heck, at least four (that I know of) of the places I've worked have gone out of business and don't even exist anymore - how are they even going to verify anything I put down about those places?

The government shouldn't be allowed to require more information for anything than is required to qualify for election to Congress. Why should I have to be more thoroughly verified as "trustworthy" than the people chosen to manage the whole government?

Tam said...

Kristopher,

Why don't we just chip each baby born in an American hospital? That would be rock-solid proof of citizenship, and could even be used to replace the passport altogether!

Frank W. James said...

I've lived over half my life in the same place and worked for the same supervisor; myself.

If that ain't good enough for 'em they can Kiss My Ass...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Dan said...

If you get a question wrong, are you cast into the gorge of eternal peril?

WV: Badlex - What? I don't know what that means... Aaaaaiiiiiieee!

Guffaw in AZ said...

Before I held my last job (for 21+ years), from which I'm now disabled, I had 40 jobs! From bagboy @ 16 forward.
AND, it took me 4 months to reacquire a birth certificate, when mine was stolen.
I'm not thinking of traveling off-shore, but, I figure should I wish to, I'm pretty much screwed. That, and being a gun owner.

Tam said...

Guffaw in AZ,

"I'm not thinking of traveling off-shore, but, I figure should I wish to, I'm pretty much screwed."

I wasn't planning on it either, but, being an American, the quickest way to get me to want to do something is to tell me I can't.

"Oh, I 'can't', eh? Well, we'll just see about that, won't we?"

Ted said...

Actually, I got screwed over by the old system. For some reason (probably the seedy apartment I was staying in at the time) I had to provide 5 additional pieces of ID. 5.

Yeah, I still don't have a passport.

Jenny said...

Any country with stricter rules for getting out than coming in is in serious, serious trouble.

perlhaqr said...

Jenny: It's not really trouble "getting out". It's just that without a passport you can't get back in.

------

Tam: Yep. I'm a .milbrat and have done independent contracting for the last 10 years. I suppose it's concievable that I could do the addresses thing, but there's no fucking way I can get anyone a list of every supervisor I've ever had.

mongo78 said...

Any country with stricter rules for getting out than coming in is in serious, serious trouble.

Phrases like "exit visa" and "internal passport" start coming to mind.

Jim said...

Wouldn't it be some shit if the launch code was his birth certificate number?

Jim

Lergnom said...

Re: CCW applications.
Philadelphia got a new police commissioner a few years ago, John Timoney of New York, home of the Sullivan Law.
After settling in, he set out to change the (grudgingly allowed) LTCF application.
It required three pieces of .gov-issued ID, with your picture and signature.
How many people have three picture IDs issued by government? I have a driver's license and a passport, and I've looked old enough to get served in bars since I was 15, so I never bothered with the LCB card. Or you could substitute three months of utility bills. Oh, and it required three non-relatives as reference, who were asked on the application "If it were up to you, would you grant this person a license to carry firearms?"

Then he left for Miami, and the new application got a little more reasonable.

Stay safe

Kristopher said...

Tam: Slippery slope fallacy is a rhetorical trick, and not a proper argument.

I'm sorry, but I chucked that wookie suit out a long time ago. If we are going to continue with having government here in the US, then we need a means to determine who is a citizen, and who is not.

Expecting folks to have customary proof of citizenship ( a long form birth certificate, or naturalization papers ) in order to get a document accepted universally as proof of citizenship is entirely reasonable.

If the person claims he was born in commune or some such, I would expect that person to pony up some evidence.

BobG said...

Half the supervisors I've had are dead now; and one of the schools I attended no longer exists. Hope I never have to fill out one of those.

Word verification: redbeep
Are you serious?

loren said...

Not disagreeing with any of the above but if you're old enough not to remember your past and you still don't have a passport, you might not need one. Americans have to be the least traveled (and naive) Westerners there are.

Tam said...

Kristopher,

So you've already backed off from your earlier position of: "How about just not issuing them to people who do not have proof of citizenship? Like every other country on this planet?"

Larry said...

That's on par with the background info needed to get a Top Secret security clearance twenty-mumble-mumble years ago. One thing that was a big worry to me and a few others in my group was the requirement to list 3 (I think) close friends that I was related to that I had known for more than 5(?) years. I was a Navy brat -- I had never known anybody for more than 3 years and more often less than 2. Other military brats were in the same boat. But we were ordered to fill out some names for the FBI to check, under penalty of law for knowingly providing false information.

Larry said...

Err, friends I was not related to.

Preview is your friend, as assuredly the government bureaucrat is not.

Word verification: essph. Isn't that the sound Bill the Cat made?

Steve Skubinna said...

Tam: Slippery slope fallacy is a rhetorical trick, and not a proper argument.

Horse shit. If you are discussing government overreach, then it is not only a proper argument, but a statistical inevitability.

And before you start, spare us the "So you libertarians all want to live in Somalia, huh?" argument.

Tam said...

Steve,

I see what he's saying, I just disagree with the "like every other country on the planet" argument.

If every other country on the planet had gun control and internal passports, does that mean we should too?

America's supposed to be the place you go when you're sick and goddam tired of "every other country on the planet".

Kristopher said...

Tam: Proof of citizenship, as far as I'm concerned can be affidavits, if needed. I'm not going to hold out for absolute proof, as no one ( including myself ) has that.

Requiring only a mere list of addresses bothers me. If that makes me Joe Stalin Jr, I'm sorry.


Steve: How is the argument: "So you libertarians all want to live in Somalia, huh?" not similar to the argument:"[ this is logically the same as support the notion of ] just chip each baby born in an American hospital?"

Both are an example of assumed slippery slopes.

Tam argued that my support for proof of citizenship can be reduced to the absurdity of supporting chipping infants.

People that have a hate-on for libertarians have argued that support for less government can be reduced to the absurdity of support for living in Somalian conditions.

Both arguments are flawed, in my opinion.

Kristopher said...

As for "America is supposed to be better than other countries", I agree.

I would be more than happy to support relaxed immigration laws ( similar to the ones in the 19th Century ), like: let everybody who wants in in, deport anyone who commits victimed crimes.

Kristopher said...

BTW: If this constitutes backing off of my previous position, then I guess I must be some kind of ultimate internet loser, and must wear the giant L of shame on my forehead from now on.

Tam said...

Kristopher,

I certainly didn't mean to imply any of that.

Kristopher said...

Sorry ... Forgot the smiley on the last post.

Deadpan sarcasm and humor is dangerous on the internets ....

Anonymous said...

Several people here seem to be assuming that if you were not born in a hospital, you must have been born outside the US or "in a commune". Fortunately, the US has not yet made it illegal to give birth outside a hospital, even if ACOG would like them to...

Our second child was born at home, in a planned home birth, as are several thousand other children a year. And that's not even considering the kids born in the back of a taxi...

Its perfectly possible to get a birth certificate if you were born at home, or in the woods, or in a taxi...

I don't have a problem with them requiring birth certificates for passports, or that they required me (naturalized citizen) to send in my certificate of naturalization when I first applied. But 10 years of addresses and job records is ridiculous. I'd be really annoyed if they asked that of my son if he 1st applied aged 18 or something, just because he was born at home.

As it happens, it won't matter to him, because as a multi-national family (all my immediate family are in the UK still), we travel fairly frequently and both our kids had passports before they were 6 months old...

Now if you really want to think about something ridiculous, ponder the requirement for photographs on a 5 year Passport issued to a 3-month old...

EnglishIowan