Why the Department of Homeland Security is a Really Bad Idea

There is no one more boring than the person you get stuck next to at

dinner who expounds at length on the subject of his or her treatment

at the hand of the Department of Motor Vehicles. We know it’s

a nightmare. In fact, we’ve been there ourselves. Tell us something

we don’t know.

Well, how about this. An English journalist who’s lived in New York

for over five years needs to do the following just to get a learner’s


  • Go through the same hassle of taking the written test that everybody

    else goes through;

  • Get two original letters (not copies) on official letterhead

    from the editor of his publication, addressed to two different people

    and saying two different things;

  • Persuade the British Consulate to write him a letter as well;

    and, last but not least

  • Get a fourth letter, this time from the Foreign Press Center (a

    branch of the State Department, for crying out loud – I’m sure

    they have better things to do at the moment) which can then be taken

    to the Herald Square office of the DMV (not any other branch)

    and somehow redeemed for the permit.

All this ridiculousness, needless to say, has only been implemented

since September 11. (And, of course, none of this information is available

on the DMV website; you

have to get shunted around four different desks at the DMV office to

find all this out.) The Foreign Press Center even still has a welcome

note on its website saying that ‘The United States has no central

office responsible for journalists, no "Ministry of Information."

Generally, journalists work without need of official permission.’ Well,

unless they want to drive, of course.

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2 Responses to Why the Department of Homeland Security is a Really Bad Idea

  1. james says:

    A random search of the Web nominates you as a major source of info on DMV Herald Square. When’s it open? How long will it take? Cheers, James

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