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calendar   Sunday - April 29, 2007

Travelers, You Have Been Tagged

I may have waited too late ... or I may be one of the last to get one of the old passports. I just checked my passport and the darned thing expires in May 6, 2007 so I better hurry and mail that sucker off for renewal or else I’ll get tagged too (and have to pay extra for a new passport, instead of a small renewal fee). According to the NY Times and the Department Of State (via Gizmodo, which calls the new design “high-tech, patriotic and ugly), the new passports are already being issued in large cities like San Francisco - where the usual whining liberals are complaining and singing the same old unpatriotic sung (see last sentence below).

And before you ask, the RFID chip is not in the little rectangle and circle on the front - that is just a symbol to easily identify one of the new electronically secure passports. The actual RFID chip is embedded in the last page according to Dept. Of State. My only question is will this sucker set off alarm bells when I leave Wal-Mart one day? We shall see. I figure the least they should have done was change the cover and put a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag and a few assault weapons below the Great Seal. Just a friendly warning to all those idiots at French customs. Mheh-heh-he-he ...

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Stars and Stripes, Wrapped in the Same Old Blue
(NY TIMES) - Published: April 29, 2007

When I went to collect my newly minted American passport, I discovered that it came with a radically altered design that included sheaves of wheat, the rather large head of a bald eagle plus the flag wrapped around my picture. And that was just one page. But the design overhaul wasn’t much noticed by people emerging from what they called the purgatory-length waits to obtain their new passports.

“Don’t you want to kill this guy right now?” Sharon Marks exclaimed to a fellow sufferer outside the Passport Agency in San Francisco. “What are you talking about, design? It’s such a tangled mess in there that we haven’t even looked at the thing.”

When Americans do open their new passports, they’ll see a document strikingly different from the old booklet. By July, all applicants will get the new design, with the State Department expecting to issue a record 17 million passports this year, up from last year’s record of 12 million.

The new passport, in the works for about six years, incorporates the first complete redesign since 1993. Given new international standards for post-9/11 high-tech security features, which transform the document into an “E-passport,” the State Department decided it was time for something completely different.

The new passport comes with its own name: “American Icon.” It’s hard to think of one that was left out. The inside cover sports an engraving of the battle scene that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner.” A couple of lines of the anthem, starting with, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,” are scrawled in what the State Department says is Francis Scott Key’s own cursive.

The short, 28-page version of the passport comes with 13 inspirational quotes, including six from United States presidents and one from a Mohawk Thanksgiving speech. The pages, done in a pink-grey-blue palate, are rife with portraits of Americana ranging from a clipper ship to Mount Rushmore to a long-horn cattle drive.

New passport bearers in San Francisco seemed divided. “It’s very patriotic,” said Cynthia Yacur of Folsom, Calif., relieved to receive one just days before leaving for Greece. “Cool pictures. An eagle. A bison. Nice. Every page is different. I like it.”

Another Californian, Candace Serona, was less convinced. “It seems to represent an idealized version of a country that is far from ideal right now,” she said, adding that the most positive thing was that at least the images embedded over her photograph hid some wrinkles.

- US Department Of State, “The New Electronic Passport”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/29/2007 at 02:48 PM   
Filed Under: • Science-Technology •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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