I am importing a fairly expensive art clock from Germany. It hit Fedex in Memphis yesterday, then apparently hit a snag. The US government demands that certain data on imported clocks be submitted to them before it can clear customs. Fedex had to pay someone for about half an hour of work (to track me down, interview me on the phone, and submit the paperwork) so that this critical data could be submitted to the Feds:
I kid you not. This would be one of the dumbest things I have seen from the government had it not been for the egg licenses I have to hold. This data was probably critical for some program pushed through by a Senator to protect some business in his district that does not even exist any more. I wonder if anyone in the government even remembers why this data is so vital (seriously, per question 11, how many wind-up clocks are coming through customs nowadays). Probably part of a program to protect America's essential capacity to manufacture clock movements over 12mm in thickness.