Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

U.S. Grant and I would like to take this time to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas. We hope that you all are able to spend this day with those closest to you. As we celebrate this joyous day, we ask that you keep in mind those who are experiencing difficulty: those suffering from ill health, those experiencing job loss, and those who are missing a loved one. Most importantly, we ask that you all keep in mind the reason for this special day: the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas!

W. Sherman

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proof That Detroit Could Be Replaced Over Time.

I am fired up, you should be too. The reason?... Carbon Motors Corporation an Atlanta based company that may represent the perfect example of what the free market solution to the auto industry crisis could look like. You can learn more about them at I recently learned about this break through company in a Fox News article back on December 12, 2008. After doing a little follow up research it became apparent this is clearly worth writing about here.

This new auto industry participant specializes in the manufacture of new state of the art fuel efficient police motor vehicles. It is the company’s hope to have orders for up to 50,000 new vehicles in the coming years with the first models going into service in 2012. Based on reported responses from members of the law enforcement community these new specialty cars could have a very strong market.

The development of this new product is significant for our purposes at DMRightSide because this is proof positive we can soon see in action that shows the Big 3 can, and are going to be replaced. Keep in mind that it has been shown that law enforcement agencies purchase upwards of 70,000 vehicles or more per year. These often are either General Motors of Ford products. If the E7 can take even a small percentage of that figure in its first year of mass production a clear message will be sent that the times are a changing.

Furthermore as reported by Fox once this company hits the production stage not only will they need to choose a state to build the plant in (creating a new mini-economy in effect) but also creating up to 10,000 new jobs along the way. Many of these jobs may likely be ideal for the soon to be displaced UAW workers at the Big 3. If a few more of these new innovating companies take off we may be looking at a genuine redistribution of this area of the industry and after that who knows?

I would be the first to admit that this one lone company is not going to sink a company the size of General Motors or Ford, these companies will likely take care of themselves. At the same time many small entities like Carbon Motors taking the time to innovate and chip away at the “way it has always been” will translate in to an expedited fall of companies that frankly deserve some “street justice”.

In the process of doing so these new little entities are going create new jobs, wealth, and bring about the sort of innovations that make our nation as great as it is. Keep in mind this company in the future and others like it. They may be the saviors of our future.


U.S. Grant

Friday, December 12, 2008

Small Government: A Powerful Tool in Fighting Corruption

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D). Need I say more? By now we’ve all heard how he was trying to sell Barrack Obama’s vacant Senate seat in a less-than-discrete manner. At a press conference, the U.S. Attorney said that what Blagojevich did would “make Lincoln turn in his grave.” Illinois residents are upset about this, yet they re-elected this guy while he was the subject of three federal investigations. What should they expect? Additionally, there is speculation regarding whether the Obama team may have had any involvement in this matter. It sounds like there wasn’t any active involvement, yet this event does provide another telling indicator about media bias; John Fund’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal sums this up well: “[T]he media devoted a lot more time and energy to investigating the inner workings of Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska, than it has looking at Mr. Obama's Chicago connections.” Reality is now confirming for us Mr. Fund is quite correct.

As someone who is an advocate of small government (heck I used to work for an organization whose website is, I find corruption scandals an instructional tool for the value of small government in promoting clean government. This lesson is especially important at a time when small government is being blamed for the current recession, and at a time when some are advocating more government control of our healthcare and banking systems.

When government is small, the opportunities for corruption are reduced. There are fewer agencies to be run, which means there are fewer opportunities to dole out Cush Government Agency Positions as rewards for campaign contributions, personal loyalty, or other non-meritorious reasons. In the Illinois situation, if Governor Blagojevich was taking bids for Obama’s seat, what are the odds that he was doing the same (or at least could easily do the same) for positions in the State Department of Education, Human Services, etc. The point is, the fewer government agencies, the fewer government positions the Governor can “sell.”

Along the same lines, a smaller government means that there are fewer special interests clamoring for favors. In addition to fewer people seeking agency jobs, there are also fewer entities trying to get government contracts (with certain legislators and executives getting cuts of the profits), and fewer people seeking appropriations for pet projects.

A small government is also easier to monitor. When government employs millions of people to work in millions of agencies, corruption is hard to catch. By contrast, when there are fewer employees and fewer agencies, government accountability offices have a much easier time monitoring the situation, as do media and ordinary citizens.

Smaller government means more services provided by the private sector, which, in turn, means less motive for corruption. How many businesses will sell jobs for $500,000? (None that I know of.) While there may be nepotism in both the public and private sectors, a private business cannot expect to make a profit if they allow utterly unqualified individuals to run said businesses; government, on the other hand, can get away with it (remember Brownie?). Finally, unlike government, in order for a private business to stay afloat, it must earn the dollars of its customers. That means producing better and safer products, providing quality customer service, and efficient operation. Government agencies, unfortunately, seem to get funded regardless of performance.

The Illinois scandal is a reminder that not all of those who go into public office are angels. Regardless of their motives when first running (Blagojevich ran as a “reformer”), having the ability to appoint people to high level positions and having access to taxpayer dollars sometimes leads people to make bad decisions (or in Blagojevich’s case, ones that are just downright stupid). This scandal should remind we the people of our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable and throw out the ones that abuse their positions. This weighty task could be made easier by reducing the number of people whose acts we have to monitor.

Update: On November 21, I posted on whether Senator Grassley would be the next victim of hte Democrat wave. In that post I mentioned the possibility of a Vilsack-Grassley showdown in 2010. DailyKos has conducted polling on this matchup, and supposedly Vilsack is giving our Senior Senator a run for his money. Krusty has the story. I still stand by my earlier predictions that 1) Vilsack won't run, and 2) even if he does, he won't win.
By W. Sherman

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Desperation brings new antics in this crisis of ours…

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but like all things in this world, such actions, even in times of the greatest despair, should be balanced with temperance and prudence. Clearly our nation and the rest of the world has forgotten this concept.

There are two events of recent that clearly show why this is the case.

Let us first consider the ever growing hysteria surrounding the impending death knell (a death knell anyone with a pulse was aware of long before now) of the American auto industry as we currently understand it. While the hype and rhetoric of late seems to want us to believe that the “Big Three” only in recent years really hit hard times, the bottom line is that these guys were officially screwed long before they actually thought vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade had staying power and made sense.

If this was where the current situation ended, things would be bad enough but manageable. Of course, like all things American, though, this obvious crisis had to be moved up to the next level. This is evidenced by the outrage that followed when the leaders of these corporate entities had the “nerve” to fly on private jets to appear before congress. Why this stuns anyone frankly stuns me. Executives, especially of large companies use private jets; this is true for companies that succeed or fail. It is not a crime, it saves time, and let’s face it, if the company is really going to fail that quickly, it is more likely due to crap products, poor marketing, and abusive union contracts- not a private plane.

Subsequently, this past weekend brings us to the greatest of all insults the actual placement of three hybrid sport utility vehicles on an alter at a large metro church in Detroit. It is official: our society is become the butt of even the crappiest jokes in the world. If I have read correctly with these newly added features of the alter came free blessed oil anointment for auto executives and workers. (It is only a matter of time before people start selling popcorn and hot dogs out side the door at this point.)

Adding insult to injury, though, now after a Chicago employer had to make the surely difficult decision to close down and layoff countless employees the recently dismissed workers are staging a sit-in to protest their release. I have only one question: When in the hell did it become acceptable to protest getting fired? The Reverend Jessie Jackson compared these fools in denial to heroes in the way of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. I can only wonder whether he is actually serious. These people are neither heroes nor making a difference, nor stopping injustice. They are a bunch of disgruntled workers who find delusion preferable to reality. If that makes a hero, we should sign up 95% of the disgruntled fast food workforce in this nation for a national merit award.

This laid off worker sit-in is even getting attention from Congress and the head of the FDIC. Why is the FDIC (they regulate banking you know) sticking its nose in this anyway? These people couldn't even keep a lid on the ARM crisis, and getting them into labor relations makes zero sense.

The bottom line is this whole “economic crisis’ is terrible; no one disputes that. Yet our response as a nation is out of hand and not getting us to a better place. The media frenzy to cover this garbage certainly is not helping either. My closing message to you: please just pay your bills, try to stay employed, and above all else, do not go buy an Escalade. If you can manage to not screw these things up, I have faith we will all still survive.


U.S. Grant

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thank you, Counsel, your case is submitted ...

Well, not yet. For starters, things have been busy around here, and unfortunately, I haven’t had time to do a lot of blogging. But I did want to take the time to let you all know that on Tuesday, December 9, the landmark case of Varnum v. Brien will be argued before the Iowa Supreme Court. In this case, the 7 justices of the Court will get to decide whether Iowa can constitutionally prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.

For those outside Iowa, this case brought before the Iowa District Court for Polk County in 2006. In August 2007, the trial court granted summary judgment to the Plaintiffs, and ruled that Iowa law, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional. The case has been appealed and is now before the Supreme Court.

The Iowa Supreme Court has previously been presented with two cases tangentially related to marriage rights of same-sex persons. This past January, the Court entered a ruling in the case of Schott v. Schott. In this case, the female Plaintiff adopted the children of her partner, also a female. After the couple decided to end their long-term relationship, the Plaintiff filed a petition to determine the custody status of the children. The Polk County District Court ruled that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over this matter. The Supreme Court reversed this decision.

In 2005, the Court ruled in Alons v. Iowa Dist. Ct. for Woodbury County. The underlying controversy in this case arose when the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County granted a decree of dissolution of marriage to Kimberly Jean Brown and Jennifer Sue Perez. The couple had entered into a civil union in Vermont and sometime thereafter, relocated to Iowa. Ms. Brown filed for divorce from Ms. Perez on August 1, 2003, and the Court entered the above-referenced divorce decree on November 14. The Court ultimately amended the decree, declaring the rights of the parties, but revoking the dissolution of marriage.

Despite the issuance of an amended ruling, the Plaintiffs in Alons—a church, a pastor, a few Iowa Legislators, and a Congressman—brought a suit against the Court, claiming that it didn’t have jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage that is not recognized in Iowa. The Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of standing.

Neither Schott nor Alons directly address the issue of whether the State of Iowa can constitutionally prohibit same-sex marriage. Both cases are cited by the Plaintiffs-Appellees in their brief, and will likely be used as support for the argument that same-sex marriage should be allowed in Iowa. But the cases could just as easily be cited for what they are: a case where a parent can file a petition to determine custody of her children, and a case where the Court declined to hear a Third Party’s challenge to court decision. When asked to read the tea-leaves, and predict how the Court might rule, the only prediction that I can make is that this decision will make some people very happy and others very upset.

For those who are so inclined, the parties’ briefs and the District Court are publicly available (I was unable to read them, given the busy time of the year). Additionally, the oral argument can be seen live online. U.S. Grant and I will be watching this case, and will provide our thoughts when the opinion comes down.

BY: W. Sherman