Personal Democracy Forum

Real ID post follow-up

I may have been a bit harsh in my last post about Real ID bloggers not pointing people to the text of the legislation. Seems that they were, at least one that Miguel was linking too. Whoops.

Personal Democracy Forum

So, yesterday I attended the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC.
Overall I give it an “eh,” but I think it accomplished pretty well what
it set out to do. It’s just that I was hoping for something a little
bit different. I arrived late (thanks to Amtrak delays) and left
early, so it was quite an expensive few hours for GovTrack.

part of the conference that I attended can pretty much be summed up as
“lots of people blog, and they blog about, and affect, politics.” It
was very retrospective. I would have like to see more discussion on forward-looking ideas, like Participatory Politics’s Internet TV platform, integrating blogs and the Semantic Web, bluring the distinction between bloggers and the mainstream media, and on.

More, including the things that I liked about the conference, on the GovTrack blog.

Real ID Act

Following up on Miguel’s post about the Real ID act that supposedly is passing through Congress via a clever hack, in fact the Real ID Act is its own act in its own right, and it’s not merely a hidden provision on a giant spending bill (although it seems to be attached to another bill now).

It also hasn’t exactly been slipping through Congress unnoticed. On Feb. 10, the House voted on the bill. It passed 261/161, with 96% of Republicans in favor and 78% of Democrats against. It was also discussed in the House on at least seven occasions.

Now, while it may be true that senators won’t get a chance to vote on the bill separately (and, yes, thanks to the Republican leadership), in all likelihood it wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

What I find most interesting about some of this Real ID debate is that no one is linking anyone to the text of the legislation itself (see the first link), as if everyone wants to be able to make wild claims about the bill that support their side without any factual evidence. In fact there’s no need to rely on their spin. Read the act and form your own opinion.

Here’s an excerpt from the official *summary* of the bill:

Title II – Improved Security for Driver’s Licenses and Personal Identification Cards

Section 202 – Prohibits Federal agencies from accepting State issued driver’s licenses or identification cards unless such documents are determined by the Secretary to meet minimum security requirements, including the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features.

Sets forth minimum issuance standards for such documents that require: (1) verification of presented information; (2) evidence that the applicant is lawfully present in the United States; and (3) issuance of temporary driver’s licenses or identification cards to persons temporarily present that are valid only for their period of authorized stay (or for one year where the period of stay is indefinite).

Section 203 – Requires States, as a condition of receiving grant funds or other financial assistance under this title, to participate in the interstate compact regarding the sharing of driver’s license data (the Driver License Agreement).

Section 204 – Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit trafficking in actual as well as false authentication features for use in false identification documents, document-making implements, or means of identification.

Requires the Secretary to enter into the appropriate aviation security screening database information regarding persons convicted of using false driver’s licenses at airports.

Section 205 – Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to assist States in conforming to the minimum standards set forth in this title.

Section 206 – Gives the Secretary all authority to issue regulations, set standards, and issue grants under this title. Gives the Secretary of Transportation all authority to certify compliance with such standards.
Authorizes the Secretary to grant States an extension of time to meet the minimum document requirements and issuance standards of this title, with adequate justification.

And, by the way, next time Miguel mentions Noam Chomsky’s political views, I’m going to follow up with a rant about his linguistic views. 🙂

mod_mono Control Panel

The latest release of Mono adds a little control panel to mod_mono, which I cooked up a while back. (Btw, thanks to Gonzalo for fixing it up and getting it in svn.) The control panel only lets you do one thing right now, which is restarting any mod-mono-server processes that it started. I use this whenever I update the code for GovTrack and need to have Mono reload the DLLs.

To activate the control panel at a URL, add something along these lines to your httpd.conf:

  SetHandler mono-ctrl  Order deny,allow  Deny from all  Allow from  [or your IP address]

The Order/Deny/Allow directives make sure that you’re the only one that can restart the server. You can also put these directives in a .htaccess file in the directory where you want the control panel to show up, but omit the tags. (Restart Apache after you put this in httpd.conf.)

Now you can visit http://yourservername/mono and you’ll see the control panel, with a link to restart the mod-mono-servers. Clicking the link immediately restarts the servers. (Not Apache, just the mod-mono-servers.)

For those running virtual hosts: If you’ve placed your Mono* directives for mod_mono all in VirtualHost sections, then you’ve already got separate mod-mono-server instances for each virtual host. The control panel will only see the mod-mono-server(s) for the virtual host that’s serving the page, so you could put different access controls on the control panel for different vhosts to allow different people to restart only the mod-mono-severs that they should be allowed to restart.