Time doesn’t change the nature of the crime

I am sick to death of the glitterati and their silly defenses of child rape.  Yes, Roman Polanski has made a great film or two (and a lot of mediocre crap).  That doesn’t change the fact he’s a child rapist.

Kate Harding calls it well.

The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.

*****

The reporting on Polanski’s arrest has been every bit as “bizarrely skewed,” if not more so. Roman Polanski may be a great director, an old man, a husband, a father, a friend to many powerful people, and even the target of some questionable legal shenanigans. He may very well be no threat to society at this point. He may even be a good person on balance, whatever that means. But none of that changes the basic, undisputed fact: Roman Polanski raped a child. And rushing past that point to focus on the reasons why we should forgive him, pity him, respect him, admire him, support him, whatever, is absolutely twisted.

Rooting out the evil

My friends at Cadillac Tight discuss the corruption in the Bush Justice Department.  Read it.

It is difficult to imagine any practice more deeply corrupt than a presidential administration distorting the criminal justice system in order to use it as a partisan weapon against its political enemies.
Newly released documents, including thousands of pages of White House emails, show that Karl Rove, Harriet Meiers and other high-ranking political figures in the Bush White House were deeply involved in using the federal criminal justice machinery to further their partisan political goals — including successfully orchestrating the firing of a top federal prosecutor who failed to bring criminal prosecutions against Democratic politicians because the evidence did not support bringing criminal charges. And, not surprisingly, Karl Rove also lied to Congress about his role in this corruption.

The real problem with Cambridge

Great piece in Reason.

The conversation we ought to be having in response to the July 16 incident and its heated aftermath isn’t about race, it’s about police arrest powers, and the right to criticize armed agents of the government.

By any account of what happened—Gates’, Crowleys’, or some version in between—Gates should never have been arrested. “Contempt of cop,” as it’s sometimes called, isn’t a crime. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It may be impolite, but mouthing off to police is protected speech, all the more so if your anger and insults are related to a perceived violation of your rights. The “disorderly conduct” charge for which Gates was arrested was intended to prevent riots, not to prevent cops from enduring insults. Crowley is owed an apology for being portrayed as a racist, but he ought to be disciplined for making a wrongful arrest.

He won’t be, of course. And that’s ultimately the scandal that will endure long after the political furor dies down. The power to forcibly detain a citizen is an extraordinary one. It’s taken far too lightly, and is too often abused. And that abuse certainly occurs against black people, but not only against black people. American cops seem to have increasingly little tolerance for people who talk back, even merely to inquire about their rights.