Patterico's Pontifications


Tom Shales: I’m Shocked to Be Told I Minimized Polanski’s Crime!! Here, Let Me Do It Again!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 pm

From a Washington Post chat with Tom Shales today (thanks to several readers):

Dunn Loring, Va.: Just wondered if you’ve noticed your habit of apologizing for media figues? For example, Polanski rapes and sodomizes a drugged 13-year-old and you write a flattering article that falsely understates his crime; Letterman jokes about the statutory rape of the teenage daughter of a conservative politician and you call the joke inartfully phrased but otherwise fine; Letterman admits to affairs with subordinate employees and you state it’s alright because he’s just a media personality. Do you ever condemn anything done on TV unless it’s done by a conservative?

Tom Shales: Hello, Dunn Loring, I didn’t want to sign off without trying to answer your question. I didn’t realize I had written a column defending Roman Polanski and minimized his crime – are you sure it was me? I mean, I? There is, apparently, more to this crime than it would seem, and it may sound like a hollow defense, but in Hollywood I am not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old.Do I ever condemn anything done on TV unless it’s done by a conservative? Honestly – I don’t think you could build a very strong case against me on that particular charge. I’d have to go back and read dozens and dozens of columns from the past several years – UGH! You can do that if you want. But remember, I am a critic, I don’t have to be “fair and balanced” and critize every faction equally. I swear to you I do not do it on ideological or political grounds, not consciously. I would hate to be that predictable. Thanks for dropping by…….

I’m sure it was you, Tom Shales. Evidently you need the citation, so here it is, from a column of yours dated June 9, 2008:

Polanski, diminutive director of “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and other creepy classics, did indeed have sexual intercourse with Samantha Gailey, who was 13 at the time, back in 1977. He was never charged with rape but with “unlawful intercourse.”

That is, of course, false — as I demonstrated in this post from the following day, which linked, and published a screencap from, Polanski’s indictment charging him with rape by use of drugs:


It took about three weeks and half a dozen e-mails to the ombudsman (then Deborah Howell), but the Post finally ran a correction, which you can see at the tippy-top of the linked Shales column:

Correction to This Article
This preview of the HBO documentary “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” incorrectly said that Polanski was never charged with rape. The charges against Polanski included rape; he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

So Shales not only wrote an article minimizing Polanski’s crime, but he even suffered the professional rebuke of a correction. But he doesn’t remember it! Let’s further remind him of his portrayal of Polanski as a man “hounded” by my employer, the Los Angeles County District Attorney:

Polanski belongs to a rarefied subculture: celebrities hounded by the state. His case brings to mind that of Charles Chaplin, pestered for years with sexual allegations, including a phony paternity suit, and otherwise hounded by authorities for his political beliefs.

Let’s quote Shales again from today: “I didn’t realize I had written a column defending Roman Polanski and minimized his crime.”

Realize it, Shales.

P.S. I can’t end this post without making an observation about the other portion of Shales’s comment from today, for this is perhaps the stupidest thing he has said yet on this topic: “it may sound like a hollow defense, but in Hollywood I am not sure a 13-year-old is really a 13-year-old.

You know what? That, to me, sounds like more than just a “hollow defense.”

To me, that sounds like a quote that, in a year or so, Tom Shales will not remember even having made.

Southern Border Status

Filed under: Crime,Government,Immigration,Obama — DRJ @ 7:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

El Paso, Texas, businesses are being threatened by Mexican cartels or victimized by scam artists imitating the cartels:

“This week alone, at least two El Paso businesses reported to police calls they had received from a man identifying himself as a Zetas commander working for the Gulf cartel.

One man, in a “bullying voice,” called an El Paso businessman and demanded “$50,000 immediately, or the next time we’ll see you, it will be at the funeral of a loved one,” the businessman said.

The businessman spoke on condition of anonymity, citing concerns for his safety and that of his family. The family said it reported the incident to police.

Police said the caller may have been someone posing as a cartel member, hoping to use the fearsome reputation of the drug-trafficking groups operating across the border in Ciudad Juárez to extract money from businesses in El Paso.”

Police won’t say how many businesses have received calls but it raises concerns that El Paso, like its sister city Juarez, is at risk of becoming a Mafia town:

“But as Mexicans flee the growing insecurity and move to U.S. border cities, American business owners have said they fear that the cartels, with members living on both sides of the border, will also prey on them and demand “protection” fees.

Such demands have wrecked hundreds of businesses across Mexico, particularly in cities such as Ciudad Juárez, where the cartels are most active.

Juárez is considered the most dangerous city in the Americas. So far this year, more than 1,800 people have been killed in criminal violence, including more than 300 in September alone.

But the destruction in Juárez is measured in more ways than body counts.

In downtown Juárez, burned-out businesses have become a common sight, many of them victims of organized crime carrying through on threats to destroy shops of owners who refused to pay protection fees, authorities say.”

The Obama Administration announced last month it is reducing the number of Border Patrol agents on the Southern border. According to the Border Patrol, only 697 miles of the 1,954 mile U.S.-Mexico border is under “effective control” while 1,257 miles are not.


Minnesota Beats Detroit in the 12th

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 7:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Twins beat the Tigers in the AL Central tiebreaker game:

“Alexi Casilla’s one-out single in the bottom of the 12th inning scored Carlos Gomez from second base and the Minnesota Twins beat Detroit 6-5 in the AL Central tiebreaker Tuesday night, completing a colossal collapse for the Tigers.

The Tigers became the first team in baseball history to blow a three-game lead with four games left. The Twins went 17-4 to pull even on the final weekend, then emerged with their fifth division title in eight years.”

It’s been said that sports is a metaphor for life. If so, the Tigers’ meltdown is the perfect metaphor for the Motor City this year.


Ayers Admits Writing “Dreams from My Father”??

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:28 pm

I’m not quite sure what to make of this.

Then, unprompted he said–I wrote Dreams From My Father. I said, oh, so you admit it. He said–Michelle asked me to. I looked at him. He seemed eager. He’s about my height, short. He went on to say–and if you can prove it, we can split the royalties. So I said, stop pulling my leg. Horrible thought. But he came again–I really wrote it, the wording was similar. I said I believe you probably heavily edited it. He said–I wrote it. I said–why would I believe you, you’re a liar.

He had no answer to that. Just looked at me. Then he turned and walked off, and said again his bit about my proving it and splitting the proceeds.

Sarcasm? An unprompted admission? Something else?

I don’t know anything about the blogger’s background and have no basis to judge.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: Allahpundit says Ayers was clearly goofing on the blogger. That sounds right. (I wrote Ayers to ask but I don’t expect to hear back.) In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, I’d have to say it’s likely that anyone who unquestioningly bought this story probably fell into what Xrlq calls the “sarchasm.”

Obama’s Iran policy is unpopular… with Democrats

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:55 pm

[Posted by Karl]

There is not much love for Mister Softee on the Hill today:

Lawmakers grew increasingly frustrated with the Obama administration on Tuesday as a State Department official refused to endorse a new package of sanctions on Iran that is expected to speed through Congress this year.


“I find it troubling that the administration is not looking to support the toughest sanctions possible,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

 “You don’t want Congress to pursue the legislation, but you don’t give us a verifiable timeframe. That makes us very uneasy,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). “Regardless of what is said, we need real action.”

He’s pressing his “Present” button as hard as he can, Bob. 

Democrats off the Hill are even less happy.  A majority of Democrats want to prevent Iran from obtaining nukes, even if that means taking military action.


AP: Swiss Will Hold Polanski in Custody

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

The AP reports:

The Swiss Justice Ministry says it has rejected an appeal from Roman Polanski to be released from prison pending his possible extradition to the United States.

Ministry spokesman Folco Galli said today that the government maintains there is a high risk that Polanski might flee if released from custody.

Ya think?


Obama: Nobody Has More Credibility on Health Care Than a Bunch of Doctors Wearing White Coats That We Just Hastily Lent to You

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:40 am

From Obama’s speech on health care:

Thank you so much. Thank you, guys. Thank you. Please, have a seat on this spectacular day here in the Rose Garden. I want to welcome all the doctors who gave joined us today at the White House. . . . I am thrilled to have all of you here today and you look very spiffy in your coats. (Laughter.)

Indeed, as DRJ noted yesterday: “It was an impressive event, in part because the doctors all wore their white coats.”

Some of which were handed out by the White House.

Handout Coats

From the New York Post:

The physicians, all invited guests, were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image.

But some docs apparently forgot, failing to meet the White House dress code by showing up in business suits or dresses.

So the White House rustled up white coats for them and handed them to the suited physicians who had taken seats in the sun-splashed lawn area.

Back to Obama’s speech:

And I want to thank every single doctor who is here, and I especially want to thank you for agreeing to fan out across the country and make the case about why this reform effort is so desperately needed. You are the people who know this system best. You are the experts. Nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do.

Indeed. There’s nobody more credible than people claiming to be doctors at a meeting called by a Democrat to support health care reform. Oh . . . except:

Roxana Mayer -- Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Roxana Mayer at Jackson Lee’s town hall meeting

Should have given her a coat, Sheila. It was the lack of a coat that was a dead giveaway!

DRJ noted yesterday that at least one doctor was invited who doesn’t support ObamaCare — a fact that was easily learned with a simple Google search:

As the doctor says:

I think it should draw into question, frankly, necessarily, the degree and level of commitment of some of the physicians who will be standing behind the president in the Rose Garden.

I don’t see your coat in this video, “doctor.”

But let’s assume that the people who attended this event in their spiffy coats were all doctors — and let’s even assume (though it’s likely untrue) that they all support ObamaCare.

Just one question: these doctors endorsing the product of health care — who were lent their surface veneer of credibility in the form of those spiffy coats — are they required to declare that loan to the American people? You know, in the interest of full disclosure?

Hang on one second. [Arm extends into screen holding piece of paper. Patterico takes it.] I’ve just received this ruling from the FTC on the matter. It’s OK, they don’t have to declare the loan!

They’re not bloggers.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times has the obligatory shot of the doctors in white coats, and the obligatory quote from Obama about their credibility . . . but there is no mention of the spiffy doctor costumes in their article.

Why am I not surprised?

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