Thursday, December 20, 2012
Bingaman, Udall Seek Answers on REAL ID
From Senator Udall:
U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide New Mexicans with immediate assurances that their travel plans early in the new year will not be disrupted by a federal law governing drivers' licenses.
While the senators support strengthening the standards governing IDs, they are concerned that as many as 38 states - including New Mexico - will not be able to meet the January 15, 2013 deadline to comply with the law. DHS has previously told the senators that New Mexico drivers' license holders will still be able to travel domestically and enter federal buildings using the state licenses but has not made a public announcement of its plans regarding REAL ID implementation.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the senators said enforcing the January 15 deadline could cause a significant disruption in air travel. In their letter, the senators urged DHS to quickly clarify its plans regarding the implementation of the REAL ID Act:
"The lack of guidance by the Department of Homeland Security is causing a great deal of anxiety for our constituents, who are seeing news reports that they may need a passport in order to fly on domestic flights after January 15. We have been expecting an announcement that your Department will extend the deadline or delay enforcement of the Act, but to date there has been no statement either way. Such delays mean that many people may alter or cancel their travel plans or bear the expense of obtaining a passport they do not need," Bingaman and Udall wrote.
In 2005, Congress passed legislation -- called the REAL ID Act -- requiring states to tighten requirements related the issuance of drivers' licenses because they are used as a standard form of identification for a variety of federal purposes, including air travel. In 2009, DHS extended the REAL ID Act compliance deadline until January 15, 2013.
"If the Department intends to extend the deadline, please make such an announcement immediately. If the Department does not intend to provide such an extension, please issue a public statement as soon as possible to reassure the traveling public that you will work to mitigate the adverse impact of REAL ID," Bingaman and Udall wrote.The full text of the letter is available here.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Netroots Nation 2012 in Rhode Island Here I Come
A while back I was begging for people to go vote for me at the DFA website. I was asking for your vote for me to be one of the people who would receive a Netroots Nation (NN12) scholarship for this year 2012. Well I did receive a scholarship for NN12 and I am psyched. I fly to Rhode Island tomorrow to begin the greatest convention of bloggers.
Arshad Hasan, the Executive Director for Democracy for America shared the following excitement about the scholarship winners: "And I can’t tell you how excited I am to share with you that we’re providing a scholarship for Mary Ellen Broderick a grassroots activist out of New Mexico who co-founded Democracy for New Mexico. Her partner of 23 years, Barbara Wold, passed away last year. Mary Ellen saw Barbara commit her life to being a grassroots activists and the backbone of their community. Mary Ellen wants to honor Barbara now that she was gone by running for the New Mexico House of Representatives. I cannot wait to have you all meet her. She is incredible." *Blushing*
A plug for DFA; they are major in Netroots Nation. DFA is the democratic wing of the democratic party! DFA put many people on the ground and $ behind the recall of Walker in WI. They are fighting on the front lines of our democracy, and I am so proud to be attending NN12 as one of their scholars! Thank you to all the great folks at DFA.
Barb and I attended the Netroots Nation when it was called YearlyKos in 2007 in Chicago. And we went again in 2008 in Austin TX. Both times were fabulous and you can read more about the NN history here. So much to learn, so many excellent teachers. Panels that included the presidential leadership forum having the primary prez candidates of 2007 to nuts and bolts about blogging at that time. We listened to excellent candidates for congressional races and state races.
So here I am 4 years later, running for office myself, and not having Barb at my side. I would never have guessed this even last year. But I move on and I am so excited about going back to NN12. I am putting a link here to the schedule here for those that are curious about this great convention.
My goal is to learn more about how to earn money on a blog, better blogging, all info to make this blog better and to try to earn enough money to live. Our own NM blogs are working tirelessly to bring us the citizen's great information that the bought off main stream media no longer publishes.
I also go to NN12 as a candidate for NM House District 30. I plan on sharing all our collective concerns about the difficult general election ahead. And to be sure to get help for my race here. I recently received Democracy for America's endorsement for my HD30 race as well. I am filled with pride to recieve their endorsement. More on that later.
Stay tuned for blogs and images and videos of the exciting NetrootsNation 2012.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sen. Tom Udall Guest Blog: Protecting Privacy at the Airport
This is a guest blog by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), who is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Around the holidays last year, we saw significant public concern about personal privacy at our nation's airports. At the time, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had expanded screening measures at security checkpoints in airports like the Albuquerque Sunport.
The new standard became Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or whole body scanners, which produce highly revealing body images of the individual being screened. If you refuse an AIT scan, the alternative is a full body pat-down -- also hardly ideal for personal privacy.
I asked New Mexicans to share their thoughts with me on this issue. In more than 7,000 email responses, my constituents overwhelmingly expressed concern about these TSA screening procedures.
To address these concerns, I've put forward a practical proposal that meets current airport security standards while helping travelers maintain personal privacy.
New software can be installed on existing scanners to replace passenger-specific pictures with a generic, non-identifiable outline of the person being screened. I have offered an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill that would require this software to be installed on existing scanners nationwide within a year.
Advanced Imaging Technology Currently In Use
The body images produced at airport checkpoints are highly revealing and many passengers are justifiably uncomfortable being screened by the technology. Today, this is the kind of image AIT screening creates:
Proposed Automatic Target Recognition Software
I propose a deadline of Jan. 1, 2012, for Automatic Target Recognition software to be installed nationwide on existing AIT machines. This software enhances privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images and instead detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of the individual being screened, like this:
This month, the TSA is beginning to field-test the program in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C., and similar software is already being used abroad.
With existing technology, we can enforce airport security without sacrificing our personal privacy. By imposing a deadline for the transition to this software, we will ensure that the TSA and manufacturers have ample time to test and make any necessary modifications while preventing unnecessary delays for its implementation.
This is a guest blog by Sen. Tom Udall. To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, click on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We're still on break but we'll be back soon.
Click on images for larger versions. Photos by M.E. Broderick.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Notes for the Aurora Society: New Mexico Author and Blogger Publishes First Book
Wilderness and falling down, theoretically, have nothing to do with each other. In my case, however, they are intimately intertwined.
I slipped and fell straight out of the door of the Kalamakaltion wilderness hut north of Nunnanen, Finnish Lapland. It was late August, 2003. I had over 1500 miles of walking behind me and over one hundred left to go before the Arctic Ocean. When I fell, I hit my head on a rock and felt dizzy. I fell again five minutes later and cut open my hand on another rock. The wet had turned the ATV trail to glistening mud, slick as ice. The rain fell in a steady drizzle......
New Mexico author and blogger Jim O'Donnell has just published his first book NOTES FOR THE AURORA SOCIETY.
I passed through stands of dwarf birch, partly colored for autumn. The land was swampy and moist, cut by intermittent ridges of glacial till. There were thousands of streams and ponds that interspersed velvety turf and dark Arcadian copses. The ground was covered in alpine clubmoss, mountain bearberry, downy willow, common butterwort, several saxifrage species. I passed a number of small lakes and the ATV trail ploughed through swamps and streams, as if nothing could get in its way. It stretched all the way through the Puljun Wilderness Area and into the western wilderness of the one thousand one hundred square mile Lemmonjoki National Park five miles to the north. It was used by the reindeer herders, whose camp was beyond the Peltotunturi.
I slipped and fell several more times, once face first into a shallow brook.
The Peltotunturi was a long, low table situated above the tree line. It ran northwest-southeast extending into Norway, only five miles distant. The wind was fierce there and on top I got caught in a squall of rain and snow. The visibility dropped to just a few feet. The rain actually hurt when it hit my face. I saw a mountain plover and was sure it was shivering. Fearing I might lose the trail, I pulled out my maps and compass to take a bearing on the Wilderness hut where I hoped to spend the night. That was dumb. The wind tore my 1:50 000 topo map from my hand, launching it into Norway. It also took my general 1:100 000 area map, but that, I recovered, torn, wet and shredded, from a reindeer fence a half mile across the rocks. I stuffed it in my pocket and made for the tree line below and to the north. I was soaking wet when I arrived at the reindeer camp.
Notes for the Aurora Society is the story of a 1500-mile walk through Finland. Leaving from the southernmost point of Finland, O'Donnell crossed the Finnish countryside interviewing Finns about their relationship to nature and exploring the land and the history that made modern Finland. His journey deposited him, five-months later, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Blending a naturalist’s ecosystem knowledge with an anthropologist’s ability to elicit unique insight into the process of culture, this work of travel literature is the first book to look at the Finnish people through their connection to the natural world.
The ferry left Turku at eight in the morning. The sea was perfectly still, but the ice had heaved and broken and patches of gray appeared through the crinkled crust. A Spanish bird watcher said that the ice was closing behind the ferry and it made him feel as if the world were closing behind him. He watched for migrants from the outer deck.
We passed through a field of large, flat, geometrically shaped ice sheets and then into open sea. The water was gray, the sky was gray and only the thin line of white ice in the distance separated the two.
The ferry had three decks. One was below the water line and used as sleeping quarters for the crew. The second was a dark hold with six small windows, a television and seventeen reclining chairs. A black Labrador retriever was curled asleep in a wire cage near the stairs. On the third deck were the sitting areas, with tables and chairs and benches. Those on the outside were bolted to the ship. From the third deck, the crew served coffee and pastries, sandwiches, beer and liquor.
In the corner of the indoor sitting area sat a group of five people: two men, a boy with an unfortunate bowl hair cut, and two women. The women were mother and daughter and they drank beer for breakfast. You could tell the women were mother and daughter by their makeup. Each had caked it on lavishly but neatly and a pronounced line under their chins marked where the makeup ended. Their bleached hair reached for the ceiling like a forest ant hill. When they stood, they reached and danced, adjusting their tight pants and tucking in their acrylic blouses. They were happy and they slapped each other’s hands to make a point. They winked at the younger men on the boat, not yet aware that their beauty had failed. Their men were sullen and silent and ashen-faced. The men drank beers too but they drank faster than the women.
Jim O’Donnell writes from Taos County where he helped lead the campaign to pass the Valle Vidal Protection Act of 2005. An expert in natural resource planning, Jim has developed watershed restoration partnerships between communities and land management agencies. An author, gardener and archaeologist, Jim holds a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional planning and is certified in Permaculture Design. He is a principal in Collaborative Green, a sustainability consulting firm based in Taos.
Jim is a frequent contributor to DailyKos and Unbossed and is an occasional contributor to DPNM. His other written work has appeared in Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why, Catch 2, Wild, Suomen Luonto and Conceptions Southwest.