Patterico's Pontifications

10/1/2009

The Wisdom of Chris Rock

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:07 pm

Thanks to “Senso-Ring” (my hat-tips are starting to sound like Ace’s):

Indeed.

Sure, Polanski Did It Only Once . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:15 pm

. . . except that he admitted having sex with at least one other under-age girl, as Matt Welch reports:

Nastassia introdued me to her mother, who discussed her career with me […]. That was when I first learned Nastassia’s age. She was only fifteen.

We made love more than once during my three months in Munich. […] On the night we met I’d thought her a couple of years older than her friend, who was, in fact, seventeen.

The girl in question, of course, is Nastassia Kinski.

The girl he raped in L.A. is not the only underage girl he had sex with. And I feel certain that she is not the only underage girl he raped, either.

Meanwhile, Polanski defenders (few as they maybe) blame my employer, the L.A. County D.A., for supposedly dragging this out and causing suffering to the victim. Laying waste to their arguments, reader P.M. writes with this excellent observation that places the blame where it actually lies:

From the beginning, the victim and her family have sought to minimize the harm and stigma which (unfortunately) would attach to her based on Polanski’s rape. They agreed to a no-significant-jail-time plea deal in order to avoid the life-long scarring that having her identity publicly revealed would cause. Had Polanski not fled the country, we probably to this day would never have known her name. It would be a long-closed chapter. But because he chose to flee, she didn’t get the benefit she sought in agreeing to the plea deal. His flight guaranteed that this crime would remain a public issue for, as we see now, 30 years. By fleeing, he in fact caused significant additional harm to the girl he had already violated.

This episode began when Roman Polanski raped the girl you see depicted in these photographs, and was extended when Roman Polanski fled to France, where he lived it up and dined with French presidents. By raping her, he changed her life. By fleeing, he extended the agony for her — and caused additional agony to whoever else he raped after he fled.

But no, to answer your question, Steve Cooley hasn’t made any internationally acclaimed films that I am aware of. So I guess we know who the real low-life is here, don’t we?

Blackmailer Threatens to Publicly Discuss Private Sex Life of Old Man Who Enjoys Publicly Discussing the Sex Lives of Young Women

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:56 pm

Remember David Letterman’s hilarious joke about Sarah Palin’s daughter?

One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

See, it’s funny because the child had sex out of wedlock, and she’s famous. So it’s embarrassing for her — and therefore funny to the rest of us.

(Technically, the kid at the game — Willow, age 14 — didn’t have sex out of wedlock . . . she grew up in Alaska and never even met Roman Polanski. But Letterman later said he meant to refer to Bristol.)

As the lovely saying goes, karma’s a bitch:

In an uncharacteristically personal revelation for David Letterman, the host took to his “Late Show” stage Thursday to admit that he was the victim of an extortion attempt — and acknowledge that he has had sexual relations with more than one staff member.

According to a press release sent by Letterman’s PR reps, the host first received a package three weeks ago from someone who claimed to have information about alleged sexual relations he has had with female employees of the “Late Show.”

The individual threatened to go public with the allegations unless Letterman paid the person $2 million.

See, it’s funny because Letterman had sex out of wedlock, and he’s famous. So it’s embarrassing for him — and therefore funny to the rest of us.

Well, maybe a little funnier. Because, you know, Letterman is married, and Bristol is not. And Bristol and Willow didn’t really deserve to be ridiculed in public.

Ace says it well:

Blackmailers suck.

On the other hand, so does Letterman.

Well, at least Letterman apologized. And hey, maybe the blackmailer will too.

Contemporaneous Pictures of Polanski’s Victim, Or, Another Applebaum Lie

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

Unless she spreads even more falsehoods about Roman Polanski, I have said all I want to say about Anne Applebaum. Many of you have copied me on your e-mails to her editor, and I encourage you to share any response with me, which I will publish in this space. Other than that, I’m done with her.

. . . OK, I lied. I have one more thing to say.

In her latest e-mail to me, Ms. Applebaum said:

Yes, there is “evidence” that Polanski did not know the girls age – or that he was told but did not believe it: He has told people since that, anyway. Pictures of her from the time show a girl who could be anywhere from 12-25.

You don’t say.

Courtesy of reader Kate C. comes a link to a site that has a gallery of pictures of the victim from the relevant time period. All are, of course, non-nude — or I wouldn’t be linking them. I do not know whether any were taken by Polanski; the victim appears to be in a jacuzzi in two of them (you see only her head). Here is a typical set:

Polanski Victim

Click here for the rest.

She was just a little girl.

File it under “More Crap Anne Applebaum Said That Isn’t True.” But file it away in your own cabinet, would you? My file is overflowing.

Standard disclaimer here.

Making Health Care “Pretty Clear”

Filed under: Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 8:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained at today’s Press Briefing why a monetary penalty for failing to purchase health care is not a tax:

QUESTION: Thanks. This morning there was a spirited debate in the Senate Finance Committee about whether the proposed fee on people who would refuse to buy health insurance under the proposed plan, whether that would break the President’s pledge not to tax individuals who make less than $200,000 or families that make $250,000. Do they have a good point there?

MR. GIBBS: No. I think this is, again, one more game that we’ve seen in the roadblock to getting comprehensive health care reform. There is an individual mandate in this piece of legislation that the President supports. But something that’s charged to an individual that doesn’t have and can’t afford health insurance is a little bit like if you’re not complying with the law and you’re speeding. And I don’t think anybody would say that if you’re going too fast on the interstate that somehow somebody has raised your taxes. So I think that’s a silly argument that we can easily dispense with.

QUESTION: It’s called a tax in the House bill and the Finance Committee bill. It’s referred to as an excise tax.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I would — maybe the analogy on the speeding isn’t — I think it’s pretty clear.”

So choosing to speed and getting a ticket is the same as choosing to breathe without health care and getting a health care ticket? Or not, because maybe it’s not a good analogy. But it’s still “pretty clear” because everyone at the White House agrees it shouldn’t be called a tax, okay?

Glad we got that taken care of.

— DRJ

Economic “Growing Pains”

Filed under: Economics,Obama — DRJ @ 7:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s bad economic news includes higher-than-expected unemployment numbers and weak factory output that suggests any recovery is a long way off:

“First-time jobless claims rose more than expected last week to a seasonally adjusted 551,000, the Labor Department said. Economists viewed it as a sign that employers remain reluctant to hire.

Economists think the economy lost 180,000 more jobs in September. The unemployment rate is expected to climb from 9.7 percent to 9.8 when the government releases its monthly jobs report Friday.

And factories are struggling to mount a rebound. A gauge of manufacturing activity came in at 52.6 for September, the Institute for Supply Management said — enough to signal growth for the second straight month but still down from August.”

The good news for the Obama Administration is that the media is willing to frame any discouraging news in the best possible light. The first sentence of the linked article is “The U.S. economy is having growing pains.”

On a related note, I don’t understand how jobless numbers are reported. The linked article makes it sound like there could be up to 3 million jobless individuals receiving benefits from federal emergency programs who may not be counted as unemployed:

“Unemployed workers are having a hard time finding new jobs. The number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits fell by 70,000 last week to the lowest level since April, but there were 6.1 million still on the jobless rolls.

When federal emergency programs are included, almost 9 million people were getting jobless benefits in the week that ended Sept. 12. That’s little changed from the previous week.”

Either way, I suspect John Stossel is right. No matter what the numbers show, the Obama Administration will call it a success.

— DRJ

Tasered Granny Offered Settlement

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

You may remember this earlier post about a May 2009 traffic stop in which a Texas constable tasered a 72-year-old grandmother. Here’s an update:

“Deputy Constable Christopher Bieze pulled over Kathryn Winkfein’s 2004 Toyota pickup on Texas 71 in western Travis County on May 11 for allegedly driving 60 mph in a 45-mph construction zone. Winkfein, of Granite Shoals, a 4-foot-11 great-grandmother, told Bieze in the video that she wouldn’t sign the citation.

That led to a confrontation in which Bieze threatened to use his stun gun on Winkfein unless she complied with his orders. She dared him to use it, and he eventually did.

Winkfein was later jailed, charged with resisting arrest and released.”

The charges against Winkfein are still under review but the constable was apparently cleared:

“The incident is still being reviewed by the Travis County district attorney’s office. The resisting-arrest charge is pending, said Precinct 3 Constable Richard McCain, who is Bieze’s supervisor.

An internal investigation was conducted, McCain said. No violations were found, and Bieze, who is the Taser instructor in the constable’s office, was not disciplined, McCain said: “He hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Winkfein reportedly has demanded compensation for “pain and suffering, her medical expenses and the humiliation she suffered.” She also wants the county to “review its policies and guidelines for the use of Tasers on elderly people and others at higher risk.” Her last demand of $135,000 was rejected by the Travis County commissioners but yesterday they offered to settle for $40,000, describing it as a fair settlement compared to similar cases.

— DRJ

Anne Applebaum: Telling the Whole Truth Now Would Be Too Confusing

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

Anne Applebaum has become the Big Media equivalent of Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men,” sending me an e-mail whose message is fairly summarized as: My readers can’t handle the truth!

Here is her e-mail:

Many thanks. Okay, you win:

– I used the word “trial” in the layman’s sense – trial meaning a judicial investigation, court proceedings etc – and see no need to correct, as it would confuse the matter further.
– I have re-read the blog and I do not find a sentence where I state that Polanski is not a Polish citizen.
(Though – for the record – I am not sure that he is a Polish citizen, despite “multiple sources” saying so. He is certainly Polish of course, but I don’t know if he holds a Polish passport: At the time he left the country, most people had to give up their passports. Following your query I asked my husband the foreign minister and he said that he does not know whether Polanski has a Polish passport either.)
– the victim called her mother to ask for permission to have her picture taken before getting into the jacuzzi, during a photo session with Roman Polanski. Amounts to the same thing, I’m afraid. What apalled me about that story was the mother’s reaction, which should have been “I am coming to get you right now.” There is more than one adult who bears responsibility here, which is part of what makes the story so far from straightforward. Though I don’t particularly want to start shouting about it after thirty years, I’m sure the mother felt bad enough.
– Yes, there is “evidence” that Polanski did not know the girls age – or that he was told but did not believe it: He has told people since that, anyway. Pictures of her from the time show a girl who could be anywhere from 12-25. “There is evidence” is a broad expression and I see no need to correct that either, as again it would simply be confusing. The Washington Post blog is not really suited to constant updates, for better or for worse.

In any case, none of these particular issues has much to do with my main point, which were that this was a confusing story and that it’s very peculiar that the Swiss suddenly decided to arrest him now. I do not condone his original action in any way, and didn’t write that I did, either: However, I dislike the reduction of complicated stories to simple facts. And please don’t write back that “he drugged and raped a child” because that is not an accurate description of what happened.

As for the “Big Media” and its lies and distortions: You are welcome to include me in your condemnation of the MSM, though do note that at least three other Washington Post columnists have written columns or blogs agreeing with you, not me. This morning’s paper includes an editorial which also agrees with you, not me. So at least we are not monolithic.

best,
AA

I have bolded the parts I found most amusing, namely Applebaum’s repeated contention that giving her readers the most accurate set of facts “would simply be confusing” — yet, she claims, she dislikes “the reduction of complicated stories to simple facts.”

Allow me to dismantle her feeble arguments one by one:

I used the word “trial” in the layman’s sense – trial meaning a judicial investigation, court proceedings etc – and see no need to correct, as it would confuse the matter further.

Applebaum here concedes that she was inaccurate to claim Polanski had a “trial,” but claims the full truth would be too confusing. She essentially implies that I am being overly technical. Not at all. Here is what she originally wrote:

There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial . . .

This passage implies that there may be some doubt about Polanski’s guilt. If there is evidence of judicial misconduct during a “trial” — coupled with evidence that the defendant may not be guilty — then the defendant’s guilt is questionable. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Polanski pled guilty, and testified under oath that he knew the girl was 13.

I certainly can understand why Applebaum would want to withhold these facts from her readers. Telling readers these facts might muddle Applebaum’s message that Polanski is a poor put-upon old man who survived the Holocaust and may well be innocent. But it wouldn’t be confusing to tell readers the truth. It would merely detract from Applebaum’s ridiculous position.

Let me skip ahead briefly to Applebaum’s related contention that it would be too confusing to tell readers that Polanski swore under oath that he knew the victim was 13:

Yes, there is “evidence” that Polanski did not know the girls age – or that he was told but did not believe it: He has told people since that, anyway. Pictures of her from the time show a girl who could be anywhere from 12-25. “There is evidence” is a broad expression and I see no need to correct that either, as again it would simply be confusing. The Washington Post blog is not really suited to constant updates, for better or for worse.

A blog that is “is not really suited to constant updates” for full accuracy is a blog that should not exist. Recall what Applebaum originally wrote:

There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age.

It is simply beyond me how someone can be in the business of journalism and feel that they have discharged their duty to their readers with that sentence — and feel it is too “confusing” to tell readers that Polanski admitted under oath that he knew her real age:

MR. GUNSON: On March 10, 1977, the day you had sexual intercourse with the complaining witness, how old did you believe her to be?

(Pause in the proceedings while a discussion off the record ensued at the counsel table between the defendant and his counsel.)

THE DEFENDANT [Polanski]: She was 13.

MR. GUNSON: Did you understand that she was 13 on March 10, 1977, when you had sexual intercourse with her?

(Pause in the proceedings while a discussion off the record ensued at the counsel table between the defendant and his counsel.)

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

I have encountered one other journalist who employed the argument that the full truth would confuse his readers. That was Chuck Philips, who wrote a front-page story touting a murder defendant’s alibi — but deliberately omitted the facts that the defendant had contradicted his alibi in taped statements to police, and had lied to Philips about other aspects of the case. When I asked Philips about that, he told me these details were omitted because they “muddied up” the story and would take too much space to explain. As with Applebaum, Philips’s attitude was: my readers can’t handle the truth. It’s too confusing.

Philips had a slipshod respect for the facts, and was fired from the L.A. Times for spectacularly botching a story. Take note, Ms. Applebaum.

I have re-read the blog and I do not find a sentence where I state that Polanski is not a Polish citizen.
(Though – for the record – I am not sure that he is a Polish citizen, despite “multiple sources” saying so. He is certainly Polish of course, but I don’t know if he holds a Polish passport: At the time he left the country, most people had to give up their passports. Following your query I asked my husband the foreign minister and he said that he does not know whether Polanski has a Polish passport either.)

Applebaum got me there — she didn’t make that statement on her blog. Instead, as I reported here, she made it to a colleague who repeated it in an online chat at the Washington Post:

I have disclosed that [the marriage] before, more than once. Also, when I wrote the blog I had no idea that my husband, who is in Africa, would, or could do anything about it, as Polanski is not a Polish citizen. I am not responsible for his decisions and he is not responsible for mine.

Evidently, when she said “Polanski is not a Polish citizen” she meant “despite multiple press reports that say Polanski is a Polish citizen, I am not sure that he is a Polish citizen. My lack of certainty, coupled with my lack of respect for accuracy, allows me to confidently assert with certainty that he is not.”

Whatever.

the victim called her mother to ask for permission to have her picture taken before getting into the jacuzzi, during a photo session with Roman Polanski. Amounts to the same thing, I’m afraid. What apalled me about that story was the mother’s reaction, which should have been “I am coming to get you right now.” There is more than one adult who bears responsibility here, which is part of what makes the story so far from straightforward. Though I don’t particularly want to start shouting about it after thirty years, I’m sure the mother felt bad enough.

No, Ms. Applebaum, the victim did not testify that she called her mother to ask for permission to have her picture taken before getting into the jacuzzi. Nor did she testify that she “ask[ed] permission to be photographed in Jack Nicholson’s jacuzzi,” as you originally claimed. In her testimony, the subject of permission does not come up at all. As I have previously reported, the full testimony on this subject is as follows:

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.

As I said before, 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. Now I have told her about it, and in true arrogant Big Media style, she is sticking to her guns, and damn the facts.

Why she finds it so important to try to lay blame on the mother, anyway, I don’t know. Polanski is the one who provided champagne to a 13-year-old. Polanski is the one who provided part of a Quaalude to a 13-year-old. Polanski is the one who licked the vagina of a 13-year-old, and had vaginal and anal sex with a 13-year-old. Maybe mom was wrong to leave her child alone with this cretin, especially given his reputation. So flipping what?

Sorry if I have “confused” readers here too much by providing facts rather than falsehoods, or incomplete and misleading statements. But, you know, I dislike the reduction of simple facts to falsehoods.

Anne Applebaum thinks you can’t handle the truth. I wonder if her editor agrees. His name is Fred Hiatt and he can reached at hiattf@washpost.com.


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