On my morning stroll through the blogosphere I ran across this at We, Like Sheep (where curmudgeonly snark is served, somewhat obliquely on a regular basis).
The issue of the new passports really, really infuriates me. My first passport (issued in 1985) was a standard, international type passport -- a perfectly acceptable, useful, document. The renewal in '97 saw a distinctly more colorful version, but still altogether acceptable. This, this travesty of a new passport looks like a fast trip to the bottom of the design barrel.
A passport is meant to facilitate the quick and secure negotiation of a national board, either alone or in conjunction with a visa. It should not be a tool for agitprop. What, you're gonna convince a North Korean border officer of the virtues of "democracy" when he flips through your passport on the way out of the Pyongyang airport? I don't think so.
You want a secure, non-tamperable passport? Establish a global standard for identifying an individual, then install a write-once ROM chip with suitable encryption in the passport, and write the individual's identity to the ROM when the passport is issued. End of story.
I'll save my rant on United States' currency for another time.