Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's easy to spend when it's not your money.

Well, here comes the new, revitalised Democratic Party -- same as the old Democratic Party.

One notes that they still think that any problem can be solved by wrapping Massive Amounts of Someone Else's Money around a Brand New Law and throwing the result at the problem.

Case in point: The Democrats -- and not a few Republicans who have seen which side of the bread holds the butter -- have rammed a bill through the House which mandates the full inspection of all sea and air cargo entering the United States.

Hey, it
sounds good, and that's what counts, right? As long as it looks and sounds good, why bother doing any research?

Here is the Official Port of Houston Authority website. Just out of curiosity, let us look for some statistics.

Here are some statistics of interest.

Bear in mind, these are for one port only.

In 2005, the Port of Houston handled
1,582,081 cargo containers. That's for one year. One year having about 365 days in it ... off come the boots, shift this little piggy ... about 4,335 containers per day, or 180 containers per hour.

If my math isn't totally off, that comes to 3 containers a minute, all day, all night, 365 days a year.

Now, I don't have any idea how long it takes to "fully inspect" a 20-foot cargo container, but I'm willing to bet it takes longer than a minute. I'd guess probably somewhere between 30 minutes and a couple of hours.

I wonder how many new Federal employees -- paid for with money gouged out of the American taxpayer -- will be required to "fully inspect" cargo containers coming off the ships at the rate of one every 20 seconds?

And that's one port on the Gulf of Mexico. I'm willing to bet that the East and West Coast ports can match that easily.

I guess it's easy to solve problems when you think you have the right to coerce -- I'm sorry,
tax -- all the cash you need out of the citizenry.

LawDog

17 comments:

aughtSix said...

I wonder how much of it is protectionism in disguise. I think the Japanese (at least, according to wherever it was I read this, or I could have made it up) have such a program: food imported is "quarantined" for a few days, and when you've got a society that has a serious thing for *fresh* food, that's a major barrier to importation. I wonder how much more expensive imported goods would be under such a plan. Unions get it both ways: union jobs inspecting the containers and protection from foreign manufacturers.

wolfwalker said...

It's not quite that bad. The page you linked gives volume in TEUs, or Twenty-foot Equivalent Units. However, the most common cargo container is not one TEU. It's two -- that is, forty feet long by eight feet wide by eight and a half feet high. If you want to know what that really means, close your eyes and picture a typical eighteen-wheeler box trailer. That's a standard two-TEU cargo container on wheels. So divide the TEU number by two to get the number of actual containers.

Even given that, however, it's gonna be a helluva job to inspect them all. And I think there's an even bigger problem than where the money's gonna come from. Bluntly put, where are the people gonna come from? You're talking about hundreds of new workers at a time when the labor pool is already very tight. Every one of them has to be security-cleared. Every one of them has to be trained. Where do the Dims suggest we find 'em?

Anonymous said...

Mexico, where else.

Cindi

Anonymous said...

And you can damn well bet every one of the new "inspectors" is goning to be a unionized federal employee.

Anonymous said...

While I agree, I still think something needs to be done. The thought of all this unchecked cargo heading into this country scares the excrement out of me. My imagination runs wild with what can be done to us.

If searching cargo isn't the answer, what IS?

hammer said...

Oh what the hell. Next thing we know we'll have to carry our own vaseline to the airport.

Will said...

Inspected HOW? These things are usually pretty full, depending on contents. They have a weight max. Think moving van full. Some are full of wooden crates, or pallets of cardboard boxes. Some are loaded by hand. Are they going to pull out every box and open it? Blow air into the container and measure what may come out?(think very expensive equipment). Who pays for damage and loss(theft)? They may have to redesign these things to have the top open also, for inspection purposes. Frankly, the smugglers have always been able to find ways around inspections. In fact, this really won't help much. If you set off a nuke of any size in a shipping harbor area, the surrounding city is toast. They only have to get the container or ship to the harbor. If it's set to go bang when opened for inspection, job done!

PubliusCicero said...

All they really need to do is drive every container through a geiger counter and a mass-spectrometer explosives sniffer (or run a dog by it quick). You can do that in 20 seconds... It'll still cost an arm and a leg, but the Dhimmicrats have spent our money on far worse things over the years.

And frankly our current cargo inspection procedures are a joke. Third-graders could cripple our trade with a nuke under the current scheme, if only they could get a nuke.

Mark@C said...

Wonder if the inspection process will be anything like the TSA baggage checkers in Chicago?
I have yet to fly through O'Hare and not have something missing from my checked baggage.

NRAhab said...

Your estimate on the time it takes to manually inspect one container is pretty solid, actually.

The Coast Guard inspects a lot of cargo that comes in. Local port authorities inspect a lot of cargo as well.

I can't even imagine how much money you would have to spend to get the Coast Guard and the local Port Authorities enough manpower to pull this one off.

Grape Ape said...

Don't forget the extra realesate they will need.

Using your figures and an inspection time of 30 minutes. They will need room to inspect 1,200 forty footers at a time. Throw in room for the trucks to swap containers and parking for a few thousand inspectors.

We're talking about a lot of land.

Flintlock Tom said...

Here's my favorite qoute from the article: "...declined to cite the bill's total price tag".

Stand by for the clincher: "If it saves the life of just one child..."

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawg,
If any one has ever heard of a picorad meter, very small doserate that will register on a meter. Thats on the order of a few disintentigrations a minute. Drive slowly past, inspection complete.
The rest of the stuff gets X-ray, modern X-ray equipment differentiates types of stuff, though you would have to look at a range of indications, and that would take for frickin' ever.

Ulises from CA said...

Finally, some job security!

Finally, a job!

With a pension!

But, seriously, folks: if this gets passed, China will call in its loans & we'll all be toast.

Tell that to Komrad Pelosi!

markm said...

"Wonder if the inspection process will be anything like the TSA baggage checkers in Chicago?
I have yet to fly through O'Hare and not have something missing from my checked baggage."

Seaports have always been worse - like 20% of high-value commercial cargo going missing. (Yep, the longshoremen are all unionized.) They thought containerization would slow the pilfering down (because containers are padlocked metal boxes), but now whole containers disappear, which just about has to be a group effort. What this plan sounds most likely to accomplish to me is to open up the opportunities for individual pilfering again.

RUSSELL W. LEAVENS said...

NO BODY EVER SAID THE POLITICAL DOGS NEEDED FACTS. FACTS JUST OBSCURE "TRUTH" I.E. THE TRUTH THEY WANT THE VOTER TO BELIEVE.

Anonymous said...

now whole containers disappear, which just about has to be a group effort

I used to work on a towboat on the Mississippi. Many barges were stenciled with a warning that the FBI investigates thefts on the inland waterways. I often pondered that, as the list of suspects has to be pretty constrained, given the necessary training and equipment involved in stealing a barge.