Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mann v Steyn

Being entirely amused by Michael Mann's reaction to Mark Steyn's NRO post on the hockey stick and comparisons to Jerry Sandusky, I sent Mann's lawyer a letter.  No reply as yet.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gates of Hell?

Rich Benjamin of Demos has a NYT Op-Ed on the evils of gated communities.  James Taranto of the WSJ calls Benjamin out.  I found the piece a tired leftist screed and I wrote Benjamin to say so:

“Under assault, I didn’t dream of harming my teenage assailant, let alone taking his life.”
What a money quote!
As you must know – you’re obviously a thoughtful and intelligent man, though I fear many things you think true are simply, tragically, wrong -- herein lies the difference between you and a responsible citizen.
When that young man robbed you, with a gun, threatening, whether you acknowledge it or not, your life, you were legally and morally entitled to take his. In any society worth living in, indeed in any society that hopes for long term survival, such must be the rule. Note that this does not equal "I wish that mugger were dead." I don't know, and neither do you, whether he went on with his career in armed robbery, or perhaps graduated to murder, so I can't opine on the harm your not having stopped him on that occasion caused. I wonder, if you knew he had subsequently murdered someone, perhaps a child, would you feel any guilt for your passivity?
I've never shot anyone and I don't wish to. I don’t live in a gated community, but my subdivision does employ an active security patrol which aggressively protects the lives and property of residents. Until burglary, robbery, rape, kidnapping, assault and murder drop to zero in my neighborhood, I'll cheerfully pay my share of the cost.
Since you shared a personal anecdote, I will too. About three years ago, the wife of my best friend, mother of three children under 7, was walking through our neighborhood at about 7 a.m. She was snatched off the street and placed in the trunk of a car. Luckily, the kidnappers were using a rented vehicle equipped with a safety release inside the trunk. My friend freed herself and escaped into the home of a neighbor. Subsequent investigation revealed that two masterminds cooked up a plan, to kidnap women from a rich neighborhood for ransom, while sharing a jail cell following another violent crime. Had my friend been armed, should she not have been able to shoot her kidnappers before they stowed her in the trunk?
Particularly given your association with Demos, I suspect the views you express go hand in hand with the tiresome narratives of the modern American Left: Marxist tropes about the unfairness of capitalism and private property; dissatisfaction with equality under the law leading to demands for equality of outcomes; more and more wealth redistribution (Query why those with contempt for wealth want to grab it for themselves and others); contempt for any non-governmental solution.
Your piece drips with contempt for those you deem provincial. Consider that the Left -- in academia, in journalism, in think tanks -- is more provincial than a backwoods moonshiner.
Joe McDermott
Houston, Texas

I'll post any reply I get.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Instapundit and Breslin

The defamation laws being what they are, let me lead this post with a disclaimer:  I have no personal knowledge of the sex lives of Glenn Reynolds or Susannah Breslin.  That said, Instapundit links to Breslin's rather pedestrian posts so often that I wonder if Dr. Helen needs to hire a PI to look into things.  Or maybe it's something innocuous like a kickback from Forbes, which needs the traffic.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


If you clicked through to this expecting to find a National Enquirer story about Casey Anthony and OJ Simpson, I have an Obama stimulus I want to sell you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

U Iowa Prof's Whine

Here's a letter I sent to Iowa professor Ellen Lewin.

April 20, 2011

Ellen Lewin
Denizen of the Humanities Intellectual Ghetto
Department of Worthless Sinecures
Dear Dr. Lewin:
 I though I’d take a short break from work that actually means something to write you.  Not to express disapproval, much less shock.  Not even to marvel at the tone-deafness of your complaint at being addressed by your first name by someone you’ve just told to fuck off.  Perhaps the irony center in your brain was fried in a freak mushroom accident.  In any event, a lack of deference to a professor outside of the hard sciences and maybe law and business should hardly surprise anyone with a pulse.  The emperor’s clothes are at best see-through.
 No, I’ll skip the low-hanging fruit and instead  invite you to consider that the entire humanities project, as it is practiced at the modern university, has devolved into a masturbatory shambles.  What, madam, may I ask, have you or any of your academic cohorts ever done to “relieve man’s estate?”  Yes that’s Bacon – one of those dead white males you no doubt view with contempt.  Still, the question stands.  What does your “work” do to enrich or advance the life of anyone?  Not that exploration of the hard questions of human existence is not worthwhile.  However it’s a far leap from that premise to finding value in an analysis awash in warmed-over Marxism, “queer theory,” or “feminist theory.”  Again, I ask you, what have you done besides advance yourself through the Bizarro universe of humanities academia?
 Your email attempting to justify your initial tantrum touches so many bases of the leftist catechism that I was tempted to think you were engaging in a self-deprecating parody.  Then I remembered your unfortunate brain injury.
 You bray that persons outside your orthodoxy have taken a protected phrase, “coming out,” in vain.  Do you propose to redress this through inflicting a plague, or perhaps the slaughter of Republican firstborn?  Your righteous indignation at this “obscenity” rivals the provincialism of a backwoods moonshiner.
 Now let me say I’m not picking on you because you’re gay.  Who any adult sleeps with, marries, or otherwise screws is not my or the law’s business in any cogent society.  I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts, however, that you’re not so tolerant of those who would reserve the right to criticize your sexuality, or even those who embrace tolerance but don’t want their kids taught, if they’re on the fence, it’s OK to jump to either side.  Note that the foregoing is a legitimate parental response even if one believes that sexual orientation is only rarely driven by choice.
 I would have thought an educated person would know better than to invoke animal “rights.”  Animals have protections, not rights.  Those protections derive from sound economic principles and from an appropriate revulsion at the deliberate infliction of unnecessary pain by human beings, not from any rights-based claims of the animals themselves.
 Your confusion about the Wisconsin situation is understandable.  Given your background, I doubt you understand enough economics to balance a checkbook.  Let me break it down for you.  A productive economy driven by voluntary transactions can only support so much dead weight – i.e., government workers whose wages are out of proportion to their value.  Due to changing demographics, global shifts, and the growth of government payrolls and pensions, changes have to be made.  And the place to make those changes is in non-market priced employment.  If you want to make more than the producers can pay for government employment, get a real job.  I really think you should resign your government funded post and let the price mechanism establish your worth in the private marketplace.  Such an experience might provide you with some actual insight, and even, one imagines, some humility.

        Very truly yours,
        Joseph A. McDermott, III

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CNN Diversity Police Journal

So, Lisa Respers France of CNN has a "cover story" wailing about the lack of women and minorities among this year's Oscar nominees.  BTW, nice use of a hackneyed cliche in the lead sentence, Lisa.  According to the myriad experts Ms. France quotes, there's a real problem with under-representation of diversity-regime beneficiaries in award nods.  Takes me back to a story I read years ago, in Sports Illustrated, I think, about Packer victim Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, producer of many blaxploitation (sp.?) films.  Distribution (and respect) for Fred's work was in such short supply that he handled theater deliveries out of the back of his car, if I recall the piece correctly.  Now there's many an outfit devoted to promoting black, female, black female and even Asian film makers.  Fred would be on easy street.  Course, some of his stuff was entertaining even to us white folks.  Guess self-distributing and making movies people enjoy is what you have to resort to when you rely on the marketplace for revenue instead of government/NGO/foundation troughs.  Speaking of parasitic enterprises, one of the organizations cited in the article is the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, headed by one Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, PhD from Maryland in Advanced Play-Doh Modeling (lawyers for Martha and UM, please do read Hustler against Falwell before writing).  Apparently one of the chief jobs of this Center is to conduct a yearly (or bi-yearly, didn't read it that closely due to uninterest) audit of who's hiring women for movie jobs.  The publication of this audit, no doubt, operates as a Jesse Jackson-like shakedown on the movie studios.

All unremarkable, save the following.  I'm reliably informed that the State of California, propietor of SDSU, is flat busted (a condition found only metaphorically in the Golden State, based on my observation of women there).  Yet, there's apparently money to fund the vital work of the Center.  I hope someone mentions that in the next round of California's budget hearings, or in the Congress if, God forbid, a bailout is floated there.