Patterico's Pontifications

9/29/2009

Stopped Watch: Steve Lopez Has Excellent Column on Polanski

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm

I once said of the L.A. Times‘s Steve Lopez:

He upsets you when you disagree with him, but when you agree with him, there’s nobody better.

I have whapped Lopez across the chops many a time on this blog, but today, he hits it out of the park with his column on Roman Polanski. As usually happens when I encounter an excellent Lopez column, I have to resist the illegal temptation to just cut and paste the whole thing, it’s so good. It should be required reading for Polanski apologists.

In the column, Lopez extensively quotes excerpts from the grand jury testimony — and while Patterico readers have read all these quotes in recent days and in the past, it is heartening indeed to know that these facts are going to be brought to the attention of Lopez’s much wider audience.

Here are some excerpts so you can see why you should read it all:

I wish the renowned legal scholars Harvey Weinstein and Debra Winger, to name just two of Polanski’s defenders, were here with me now. I’d like to invite Martin Scorsese, as well, along with David Lynch, who have put their names on a petition calling for Polanski to be freed immediately.

What, because he won an Oscar? Would they speak up for a sex offender who hadn’t?

To hear these people tell it, you’d think Polanski was the victim rather than the teenager.

. . . .

I’d like to show all these great luminaries the testimony from Polanski’s underage victim, as well as Polanski’s admission of guilt. Then I’d like to ask whether, if the victim were their daughter, they’d be so cavalier about a crime that was originally charged as sodomy and rape before Polanski agreed to a plea bargain. Would they still support Polanski’s wish to remain on the lam living the life of a king, despite the fact that he skipped the U.S. in 1977 before he was sentenced?

Indeed. I’d like to know one more thing, myself: what they would say if evidence emerged that Polanski had done this to other girls? (Yes, I have been sounding that theme quite a bit lately, haven’t I?) [UPDATE: I should make it clear that I have absolutely no inside information from my office about the handling of this case.]

The closing is a stirring helping of common sense:

Polanski stood in a Santa Monica courtroom on Aug. 8, 1977, admitted to having his way with a girl three decades his junior and told a judge that indeed, he knew she was only 13.

There may well have been judicial misconduct.

But no misconduct was greater than allowing Polanski to cop a plea to the least of his charges. His crime was graphic, manipulative and heinous, and he got a pass. It’s unbelievable, really, that his soft-headed apologists are rooting for him to get another one.

Well done, Steve Lopez. Well done.

*

UPDATE: Ace says it pretty damn well too:

Oh, and also incidentally — his legal team floated the defense that the girl wasn’t a virgin before he raped her, so he was willing to go full-on Whore Deserved Exactly What She Got on the little girl he raped.

His defenders don’t talk much about his artistry in that respect.

And he drugged her, and even as she resisted, he raped her. And then, figuring, I guess, “Ah, what the hell, gone this far, might as well run the table,” he sodomized her.

13.

But he made The Pianist. So — no biggie.

Well said. It’s just that, well, you expect that from Ace. So Lopez’s great columns have that prodigal son quality about them.

Polanski May Be Locked Up for Months

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:04 pm

Polanski may be looking at months in prison in Switzerland if he is not released on bail — slightly more than the 48 extra days that crazy judge threatened him with back in the day. But his lawyer has another idea:

The director does own a residence in the Swiss resort town of Gstaad, and his attorney in France, Herve Temime, raised the possibility that Polanski could be confined there instead of in prison.

He has a chalet in Switzerland. He would naturally accept to be placed under house arrest,” Temime told reporters in Paris.

That’s mighty decent of him. From the L.A. Times web site, here is the prison he would be rotting in were he given house arrest:

Polanski Prison
Above: Roman Polanski “would naturally accept” imprisonment at this detention facility.

But does it have a jacuzzi? How can he have sex with underage girls without first taking them to the jacuzzi?*

It’s all so unfair.

*Oh, wait, I’m sorry. The rape he did here in L.A. was obviously the last time he ever victimized a young girl. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Disclaimer.

McIntyre Out at KABC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:35 pm

[To my national readers: apologies for this very Los Angeles-centric post. -- P]

First Larry Elder is kicked off KABC, and now they’ve lost Doug McIntyre as well?

I didn’t always agree with him, but he is quick-witted and entertaining.

Good thing this iPhone connects to Internet radio.

Patterico Banned at the L.A. Times???

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:19 pm

In response to a moronic L.A. Times Polanski-related blog post that said:

Even his victim speaks out about the injustice of this trial in this acclaimed documentary.

I tried to leave a comment . . . and look what happened:

Banned at L.A. Times

Are they banning all Deputy District Attorneys? Or just the ones that make them look like fools on a daily basis?

P.S. I know, I know. There’s probably some innocent explanation for this. But do we know that for sure?

UPDATE 12-31-09: Revisiting this for my Year in Review, I see the comment was eventually published.

A Good Day at Black Rock

Filed under: Law,Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A New York appellate court today dismissed Dan Rather’s $70M lawsuit against CBS and its former parent, Viacom:

“Rather filed the suit in 2007, claiming CBS made him a scapegoat when the network came under intense criticism over a September 2004 “60 Minutes II” story challenging then-President George Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
***
The appellate division of the state Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, found “the complaint must be dismissed in its entirety and that a lower court erred in failing to do so.”

“Rather claims that, in effect, CBS ‘warehoused’ him, and that, when he was finally terminated and paid in June 2006, CBS did not compensate him for the 15 months ‘when he could have worked elsewhere,’ the ruling said. “This claim attempts to gloss over the fact that Rather continued to be compensated at his normal CBS salary of approximately $6 million a year until June 2006 when the compensation was accelerated upon termination, consistent with his contract.”

Rather’s claim of lost business opportunities because CBS failed to release him was “insufficiently supported,” the court said.”

The LA Times’ ShowTracker elaborated on the court’s finding regarding Rather’s inability to prove lost earning opportunities:

“Rather never identified a single opportunity with specified terms that was actually available to him and which he declined to accept because of CBS’ actions.”

Rather plans to appeal, something that will undoubtedly be expensive. The ShowTracker report notes Rather has “personally financed the suit for the last two years, casting it as an effort to rein in the influence of corporations on news organizations.”

– DRJ

Robert Harris: Polanski Did It, But It’s YOUR Fault

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:36 pm

The repeated message of this New York Times op-ed by Polanski pal Robert Harris is: Roman Polanski did it, but it’s your fault.

First, we have this: Roman Polanski failed to turn himself in . . . but it’s your fault he was not arrested before now:

My second response, when the shock wore off, was to wonder, why now? I have worked several times with Mr. Polanski in Switzerland, where he owns a house in Gstaad. He travels back and forth from France a dozen times a year. If Mr. Polanski is such a physical danger and moral affront to civilized society that he must be locked up, even at the age of 76, why was he not picked up earlier, when he was 66, or 56 — or even 46? It would not have been hard to grab him at his home: his name is on the doorbell.

Then we get: Roman Polanski stuck his erect penis inside an unwilling, drunk, and drugged 13-year-old girl and ejaculated despite her repeated protests — and it’s your fault for repeating those details:

I make no apology for feeling desperately sorry for him. The almost pornographic relish with which his critics are retelling the lurid details of the assault (strange behavior, one might think, for those who profess concern for the victim) make it hard to consider the case rationally.

I feel terrible for the victim, who obviously wants to move on with her life. That is why my office gave Mr. Polanski such a ridiculously lenient offer despite his sick actions, and that is why she wants this all to go away now. Her life took a terrible turn after he anally raped her.

But you know what? The terrible turn that her life took is not my fault. It’s Roman Polanski’s fault. And here is the biggest fault I find with the piece:

He is no threat to the public.

Again I ask: how do you know that?? How do you know that, right now, somewhere in the world, there isn’t another woman thinking that this is the moment to come forward and reveal what Polanski did to her? This is a man who said: “Everyone wants to fuck young girls!” Do you really think this was the only such case?

If you find out you’re wrong, Robert Harris, I want to see your op-ed in the New York Times then.

P.S. Standard disclaimer here.

Polanski in 1979: Everyone Wants to Fuck Young Girls!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:08 pm

From an interview Roman Polanski gave in 1979 (h/t Eric Blair):

If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!

Well, then, Mr. Polanski, you should have gone to trial. If you’re right, any jury would doubtless have approved of your actions in drugging and anally raping a 13-year-old.

But you pled guilty (something the dimwits at the L.A. Times still don’t understand).

And you Polanski defenders think he didn’t do this to anyone else, huh?

I think you’re wrong.

P.S. Standard disclaimer here.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a list of Polanski’s defenders.

I wonder how they would react if it turned out that this wasn’t his only offense?

Selling Health Care

Filed under: Government,Health Care — DRJ @ 7:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today two Senate committees the Senate Finance Committee refused twice to include the government-run “public option” in the pending health care reform legislation. Meanwhile, another hot-button health care topic — health care mandates — has lawmakers in more than a dozen states pressing for state constitutional amendments to “outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that nearly everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.”

I don’t think this will prevent Congress from passing some version of health care reform as long as Democrats control Congress. I also doubt it will stop liberals and the White House from continuing to push for both the public option and mandates.

Liberal Democrats clearly believe Americans want and need the public option and mandates but that sounds like a hard sell to me. When even blue state health care workers object to government-mandated swine flu shots, how do you successfully sell letting government run all American health care?

– DRJ

Anne Applebaum: Patterico Is “Not Quite As Offensive” As Reader Who Expressed a Wish to Rape Anne Applebaum’s Daughter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:49 pm

Almost as offensive, you see. Just not quite as offensive.

Anne Applebaum today responds to my post noting that she failed to disclose her husband’s official governmental actions on behalf of Roman Polanski. She prefaces her response to me by nutpicking a comment from some random guy who suggests that he would like to rape her daughter. Applebaum then falsely claims that I implied that she is a “spokesman for [her] husband” and says that implication (which I didn’t make)

while not quite as offensive as the implication that my daughter should be raped — is offensive nevertheless.

Get that? I’m “not quite as offensive” as someone who talked about raping her daughter! Thank goodness for small favors.

Applebaum explains why she claimed ignorance of her husband’s actions in a post that linked a story about her husband’s actions — she says an editor added the link later. OK. I’ll take her at her word on that. Chalk up another victory for self-publishing bloggers: we know what we’re linking.

Applebaum quotes (but does not link), not the post where I actually discussed her omission, but rather an earlier post that I updated to include a link to that post. That allows her to say:

Well, well, it turns out that the person who wrote that works for the Los Angeles County district attorney, as he points out in an “update.”

By mentioning the wrong post, and failing to link it, Applebaum accomplishes several goals:

  • She refers readers to a post that merely mentions her omission, rather than one that shows in detail why the omission is so egregious.
  • She manages to draw a false moral equivalence between myself and her. Had she linked the proper post, she would have seen my disclosure in the body of my post.
  • By characterizing her disclosure as part of an “update” but not linking it, she manages to obscure the fact that the observation I made about her omission in that post was also part of an update. You see, the whole issue was an afterthought to that post, because it was not the relevant post about her omission.

But you know, I’m glad she showed me that she read that post, because that is the post where I took her to task for falsely stating that Polanski had a trial. Applebaum has nowhere corrected that error. And now we know beyond all doubt that she is aware of the error, because she quoted my post where I pointed it out.

Having failed to correct one error, incredibly, Applebaum goes on to tell readers yet another falsehood about the Polanski affair:

Of course, there were some very legitimate disagreements, including two excellent ones from my colleagues Gene Robinson and Richard Cohen, and I take some of their points. But to them, and to all who imagine that the original incident at the heart of this story was a straightforward and simple criminal case, I recommend reading the transcript of the victim’s testimony (here in two parts) — including her descriptions of the telephone conversation she had with her mother from Polanski’s house, asking permission to be photographed in Jack Nicholson’s jacuzzi — and not just the salacious bits.

Uh, I read the transcript, Ms. Applebaum, and the portion regarding the telephone call with the mother does not say what you claim (and so what if it did???):

Q. What happened out there after he indicated he wished to take pictures of you in the jacuzzi?

A. We went inside and called my mother.

Q. When you say “we called,” did you call or did Mr. Polanski call?

A. He told me to and I talked and then he talked and then I talked again.

Q. What did you tell your mother?

A. She goes, “Are you all right?

I went, “Uh-huh.”

And she says, “Do you want me to come pick you up?”

And I went, “No.”

And he said that we’d be home kind of late because it had already gotten dark out.

Q. When you said “he said,” did he tell you or did you hear him tell your mother on the phone?

A. He told my mother.

Q, Did he tell your mother any other things?

A. Not that I was listening to.

Q. After talking to your mother on the telephone, what happened?

A. We went out and I got in the jacuzzi.

There is nothing in there about asking the victim’s mom for permission to have pictures taken in the jacuzzi. Applebaum made that part up. [UPDATE: Not that it matters. The suggestion that the mother's consent to jacuzzi photographs would amount to consent to her daughter's anal rape is perhaps Applebaum's most amazing and offensive contention yet.]

It is amusing to read her commenters. They are having none of it.

For a different take on my criticisms of Applebaum, you’ll have to look to another Washington Post writer named Howard Kurtz, who writes today in his Media Notes column:

[Anne Applebaum's] column draws this rebuke from Patterico’s Pontifications:

“Applebaum failed to mention that her husband is a Polish foreign minister who is lobbying for Polanski’s case to be dismissed:

“In Polanski’s native Poland, President Lech Kaczynski and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said they would appeal to US authorities to drop proceedings against Polanski. The PAP news agency said Sikorski was consideri[ng] a direct appeal to US President Barack Obama to end ‘once and for all’ the proceedings against the filmmaker. Radoslaw Sikorski is married to Anne Applebaum . . .

“So at the same time that she was giving readers a fact-challenged screed in support of Polanski, she was failing to disclose that her husband was a Polish official who was lobbying for Polanski’s freedom.

“I work for the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, which is seeking Polanski’s extradition; that is no secret to anyone who reads this blog.”

Fair point.

Thanks, Howard. It’s nice to see that someone at your paper thinks so.

Obama: Giving cookies to war criminals?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:40 pm

[Posted by Karl]

While the more unhinged elements of the left believe that the Bush administration should have been tried for war crimes, the Obama administration now looks to appease the only country in the world led by a president indicted on war-crimes charges.

That country is Sudan, where Pres. Obama has sent retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration as a special envoy:

While Gration describes the approach as pragmatic and driven by a sense of urgency, his critics here and in the United States say it is dangerously, perhaps willfully, naive. During a recent five-day trip to Sudan, Gration heard from southern officials, displaced Darfurians, rebels and others who complained uniformly that he is being manipulated by government officials who talk peace even as they undermine it.

Still, at the end of the visit, Gration maintained a strikingly different perspective. He had seen signs of goodwill from the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, he said, and viewed many of the complaints as understandable yet knee-jerk reactions to a government he trusts is ready to change.

“We’ve got to think about giving out cookies,” said Gration, who was appointed in March. “Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”

As Michael Goldfarb notes:

This from the man who took it upon himself to declare the genocide in Darfur over — mere “remnants of genocide” remain he told reporters in June — at a time when even our push-over Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, was still accusing the Sudanese regime of that precise crime.

Goldfarb goes on to note that the Obama administration’s flip-flop is of a piece with their general foreign policy of sucking up to dictators and authoritarian regimes over a chorus or ten of “Kumbaya.”

Gration is the personification of this larger policy. He was called the “most mystical believer in Obamaism” in The New Yorker and accused of worshipping Obama by Newsweek — which is not unlike two pots calling the kettle a black hole from which light cannot escape. Before getting scotched from consideration for the top job at NASA, Gration was primarily known for sharing Obama’s pipe dream of worldwide nuclear disarmament — a position that seems even more laughable today than it was last year. Gration compares Sudan to a child while displaying the diplomatic skills and realpolitik of a third-grader.

Although a few human rights activists are critical of Gration and Obama for their Darfur flip-flop, the establishment media that was so keen to bash Bush on the issue (despite his pressuring the government to reach a peace deal with southern rebels in 2005) has predictably gone AWOL.

–Karl

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