Showing posts from June, 2008

CBP on Laptop Searches

Customs and Border Protection has responded to the public and congressional attention it has attracted via searches of digital devices at the border. Customs' side of the issue is nicely presented here: Leadership Journal: CBP Laptop Searches

Can Lou Dobbs Define Sovereignty?

Yesterday, I dropped an angry comment on the blog in response to a Lou Dobbs video they posted there . That blog labels itself as "Exposing true rights for Americans and Canadians." The comment appears not to be making it past the moderator approval process, so I will reproduce it here. I admit that I was not clever enough to save a copy, so this will not be a verbatim recitation of that comment. Lou Dobbs is an idiot. CNN should fire him for that report. The report focuses on whether there is in fact a road construction project known as the NAFTA superhighway. It appears to be true that there are road and rail infrastructure projects going on in Texas. There is also even a surface transport hub proposed for Kansas City . Assume that is all true. What's the problem? Throughout the report, the title at the bottom of the screen reads, "NAFTA Superhighway: Threat to Our Sovereignty." But nothing in the report discusses sovereignty.

First Sale: Alive For Now

In an appearance before the Senate Finance Committee on June 24, Commissioner Basham stated that CBP would not proceed with its proposed reinterpretation of the value law to eliminate so-called first sale valuation. So, that's good. Whether CBP tries to do this again in 2011 is another and open question. In the meantime, CBP will be collecting data to provide to the ITC to do a report on the actual application of first sale valuation. Here's hoping that the data collection process does not turn into a big deal. Personally, I'd like to see FS as a Special Program Indicator and let everyone move on with their lives.

Blog Roll

I've updated my blog roll to eliminate some dead links and add a few new ones (primarily in the cycling section). If you have any nominations for others to add, please drop a comment below.

Laptop Searches Catch the Attention of Senators

Interesting article from PC World. Senators Question Border Laptop Searches A good portion of the article seems to have more to do with accusations of racial profiling and interrogations than searching digital devices.

Let's Go Down to the Warsaw . . .

so we can watch this excellent Drew Carey video from Reason.TV. Maybe Drew Carey will be replacing Ben Stein as America's witty smart person. I've seen Drew as a contestant on game shows; he seems pretty smart. Ben Stein has lost all sorts of credibility with me now that he is a pitchman for the movement to protect the alleged academic freedom to teach intelligent design as science. UPDATED (6/30/2008) to fix the link.

Contemplating Cycling Accidents

I've been able to ride to work a few time recently. That's been good; although, I am reminded that I have not yet had time to tune up the bike. It sounds and feels a little dry. My legs and lungs also require a tune up, but there is little I can do on that front. Yesterday, while passing parked cars on narrow city streets, I was thinking about riders in Chicago who have recently been killed or injured. See one story here . Having had my own slight accident with a car , I decided to head south on the path through the Skokie Sculpture Park . This took me past the statue of Gandhi and and otherwise odd collection of art and what someone thinks is art (which, I guess makes it art). Unfortunately, the path ends abruptly at Touhy. Standing there befuddled for a moment, I was joined by another cyclist heading to the Loop and wondering how best to hook up to the Lake Front Trail. I proposed heading south on McCormick to Devon and east to pick up the marked route to the lake front. We

Court Decisions

In reverse chronological order: Auto Alliance : Discovery disputes are pretty rare in the Court of International Trade. This one seem like it was a doosey. Who hasn't wanted to depose opposing counsel? Turns out that it is hard to justify. Optrex : Speaking of discovery disputes, this case also involved a contested privilege question. Here, the U.S. brought a penalty action against Optrex concerning the classification of LCD display panels. Initially, Optrex defended on the basis that it had sought the advice of counsel and, therefore, exercised reasonable care. That seemed to make sense until the Court of International Trade told Optrex that if its defense is based on seeking the advice of counsel, then Optrex had waived the privilege and must turn over that advice. Well, it now turns out that the advice to Optrex was that the classification it was using was probably wrong but that there was an argument that might possibly distinguish the products from the relevant Federal


I have a bunch of substance to post. I have a couple comments on the UPS and Pomeroy decisions from the CIT and need to talk about the Optrex decision in some detail. But, I can't do it now. In the meantime, I give you these two items. First: Scooting Across the Border . Read that article. I'll wait because I have a question. Done? OK. Here's my question: Who decided that motorcycles and scooters get to cut ahead in traffic just because they can fit between two lanes of cars? I ask this because this very morning I rode my bike to work. While waiting to make a left turn at a light (off Western to Pratt), I waited behind a car with another car behind me. In other words, I acted like I was a car. While sitting there waiting for the arrow, a guy on a blue Schwinn with a basket on the handlebar and a chain guard sped past us and positioned himself at the front of the otherwise orderly line. Am I supposed to do that? I admit to occasionally hopping on the sidewalk to avoid a snar

Happy Belated Smoot-Hawley Day

I tried to do a mobile post of this yesterday, June 17th, the first annual Smoot-Hawley Day celebration. Enjoy the holiday. Now is a time to gather with your colleagues and be nostalgic about 25% rates of duty. If anyone in your office raises the question of whether the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act might have contributed to plunging the world into a global depression, tell them that the Tariff Fairy will not put a new HTSUS under the tariff bush this year. If anyone has ideas for SHD traditions, please put them into the comments. Perhaps a non-tariff barrier obstacle course, or the annual running of the phytosanitary measures?

EFF to be Amicus in Laptop Search Case

This news item from Slashdot says that the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives are filing an amicus brief in an effort to have the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rehear and reverse the three-judge decision in Arnold upholding the border search of a laptop computer. You can read the brief here . A previous post on the Arnold decision is here .

Export News

It's not exactly CROSS, but the Bureau of Industry and Security has finally produced an online database of guidance on exports subject to the Export Administration Regulation. Here's a link: U. S. Bureau of Industry and Security - Policies and Regulations Plus, while I am thinking about exports, a helpful e-mailer reminded me that I have failed to cover the long-anticipated actual implementation of mandatory electronic filing of export documents via the Automated Export System (or AESDirect ). The new rule requiring electronic filing takes effect July 2 although enforcement will be delayed until October 1, 2008. Census has put together some resources for the trade. Those can be found here . I know there is a segment of my readers who would like a detailed dissection of the new rule. I recognize that there is a place for that. It's just not here. I like to stick to the big picture or, where court decisions are involved, the excruciatingly small picture. More on that l

Honey Laundering

Here is a link to an interesting story from the Chicago Tribune . The article is about criminal cases pending here involving the transshipment of honey to avoid antidumping duties on honey from China. It's not very common for these things to break into the local media, but this story involves criminality, a hint of international intrigue , and just a bit of danger in the form of honey tainted by banned antibiotics. At no point in the story, though, is there a comment from the plastic bear with the pointy head .

On and Off Topic Nonesense

I have a small sailboat in Lake Michigan. It's just big enough to let me and my crew of two harbor hop up to Milwaukee or down to Chicago in fairly uncomfortable conditions. In my impractical dreams, I have a much larger boat and my harbor hopping shifts to the Caribbean. With that in mind, click this link . It graphically tracks the travels of a 51' yacht called Event Horizon . The crew of this boat blogs here . Cool. Somewhat related to Customs law is this news item . The article conveys the story of an attempt at smuggling cocaine pressed into the form of a Jesus statue, and I don't mean a former Cub's shortstop Ivan deJesus bobble-head. The article says CBP will test the statute to determine its purity. That seems sacrilegious to me, but I'll leave it to those of you in that camp to complain. Next, all the stars finally aligned and I road my bike to work on Monday. The ride in was fine, if a slow 1:30 (it's 20 miles). The ride home took about the