Category Archives: Travel

Sex with a minor. Should Roman Polanski be Extradited to US?

It’s been 32 years since film director Roman Polanski was tried and convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. In 1977, the case drew worldwide attention, with many commentators at the time using it to show the depravity and excess of Hollywood. Polanski, fearful a judge would back out of a plea agreement and send him to prison, left the country prior to his sentencing to live in France.

roman.polanski.arrest

It must have come as quite a shock when he was arrested in Switzerland this past weekend. He was there, after all, to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. He’d traveled there many times before, and even maintains a home in Switzerland. Yet the ghosts of 32 years past won’t go away. It’s possible Roman Polanski will be extradited to the US to face the sentence he ran away from all those years ago.

Ironically, it could also mean freedom. A lot has happened since Polanski was convicted, and his legal team has been fighting his conviction based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Those were chronicled in a documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” released last year. Regardless, Polanski’s arrest has set off not just a legal tussle, but a diplomatic storm involving the Swiss, French, US, and Polish governments.

Polanski has spent the past 32 years as the world’s most celebrated convicted child molester. Despite the time facing him in the US, he’s directed films around the world apparently without fear of getting busted and sent back. He’s now a French citizen, and France has no formal extradition treaty with the US. He even received an Oscar in absentia for the 2002 film “The Pianist”. Despite having to be careful about where he went, Polanski hasn’t exactly lived as a wanted man.

Roman Polanski 2009

Which leads to a few questions. How badly over the past 32 years has the US actually wanted him back here to do his time? There are reports US marshals came close to busting him on several occasions, but for one reason or another, Roman Polanski eluded their grasp. Then there’s the question of whether Polanski’s obvious and extraordinary talent and his tragic past mitigates his original crime.

For those who may have forgotten, the guy was originally charged with drugging a 13 year old girl, then having sex with her. The original charges could have landed him in prison for life, but he plea bargained down to a single count of having sex with a minor.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, publicly identified herself a long time ago, and has forgiven Polanski.

Samantha Geimer
Samantha Geimer

She also sued him, and received an unspecified settlement. So the question remains, what to do about Roman Polanski?

Should he be brought back here to serve the typical 16 months to three years he’s avoided all this time? Should the protests of France and Poland be heeded, and Polanski released from custody in Switzerland? If he does come back here, is there a good chance the original case will be thrown out? What’s best?

Take my poll on the left and post a comment here!

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So Long, Sarah?

So Sarah Palin officially quit as Governor of Alaska Sunday.

One wonders if the people of that state feel cheated. She hadn’t even served two years when John McCain made her his running mate. One also wonders, all this time down the road, how he feels about that one. Anyway, the choice was Palin’s to make, and no one thinks she’s simply going to write a book while making moose casserole for the family. In case you hadn’t noticed, Sarah Palin has ambition.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that ambition. In fact, in these times it’s difficult to get ahead without it. The question for Palin is, how to leave all those ethics questions, along with those about her fitness for high office, behind her.

And, the question of whether or not she’s a quitter? My good friend starlil363 sent me an e-mail the other day that chronicled Palin’s seeming inability to stay focused on one gig.

She quit five different colleges before graduating from the sixth, she quit her job in television, she and husband Todd quit their snow machine dealership, she quit her job as Mayor of Wasilla to run for Lt. Governor, she quit as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and now she cuts and runs from being governor.

Nice. Yet from the moment McCain picked her, Palin has found she likes the limelight. She enjoys jousting with David Letterman, enjoys dogging out the father of her grandchild, enjoys instant celebrity as much as any reality TV show star. She thinks it’s her ticket to the White House, and there are those on the right (and left) who will feed her delusion. On a certain level, Sarah Pain being taken seriously is the best thing that could happen to the Democratic Party. That’s why much of the criticism you heard when she announced her resignation came from the GOP.

So what really is next for Sarah Palin? Fox News must be keeping some kind of contributor’s chair warm for her. She can go around the lower 48 [states] without anyone saying she’s neglecting her duties as governor. She really could star in a reality TV show, but that’s not likely.

Maybe, and I don’t think it’s likely either, she’ll use this down time to pursue some of that intellectual heft so many thought she was lacking on the campaign trail. Every now and then it’s nice to know what you’re talking about.

But then, if she works for Fox, that won’t be necessary. So what is Sarah Palin’s future? You tell me.

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Is It Okay for Obama to see Paris?

So where exactly can the Obama family go without being criticized for it? Let’s see now, they go to New York for dinner and a play (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, mind you), and the Republican National Committee calls it a “Joyride on Air Force One”.

Of course, it wasn’t the big, jumbo jet, but a 12 passenger plane. Somehow the RNC forgot that any plane the president uses is called Air Force One. They tried to make this look like one night of Sodom and Gomorrah while the American people are suffering through a recession.

Okay, so that one really didn’t work so well. After all, GW Bush jetted off to Texas for many a weekend during the Iraq war, didn’t he?

Flustered-Bush-R

Perhaps it would have been better if the Obamas had gone to Chicago and waited for the road company of “Joe Turner”.

Anyhow, now the GOP has cooked up a new mountain out of a molehill. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, apparently forgetting Obama was in France to commemorate D-Day, lashed out at him on Twitter.

normandy

Ah, don’t you just love social networking? The silly musings of a politician suddenly become national news. To wit, Grassley’s first tweet. “Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.” To which he added a second. “Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”

Now at the same time Grassley is grousing, reporters across the pond are upset with President Obama are upset because he and the family didn’t do enough sightseeing in the City of Light. Amazing, isn’t it? Grassley, of course, is upset that the president is trying to nudge the Congress on healthcare reform while at the same time he’s overseas. Does he think this president is unable to chew gum and walk at the same time?

Televangelists Finances

Maybe some in the body politic agree with Grassley and the RNC. Maybe President Obama will have to simply lock himself in the Oval Office and not leave until all the problems that began on their watch are magically solved. Never mind the trips here involve family, something the Republicans are supposed to revere. Never mind that Sunday was daughter Sasha’s 8th birthday. What matters is Republicans are trying their best to derail the Obama agenda.

Wouldn’t you think they could do better than a couple of lame posts on Twitter?

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