Saturday Night Open Thread

"Child's Pose" has won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Calin Peter Netzer's film is a tale of corruption and guilt in modern Romania. It follows a rich and controlling mother, played by Luminita Gheorghiu, as she bribes witnesses into giving false statements to save her son from jail after he accidentally runs down and kills a boy.

The film sounds like it's more about the unhealthy relationship between the mother and son than about the legal case or corruption. [More...]

From BetaCinema, the film's distributor:

Cornelia is 60 and fundamentally unhappy: her son, Barbu, 34, fights with all his might to become independent. He has moved out, has his own car, has a girlfriend who obviously doesn't meet Cornelia's standards and – most upsettingly – he avoids his loving mother as much as possible. When Cornelia finds out that Barbu was involved in a tragic accident, her motherly instincts take over and she uses all her skills, well-connected friends and money to save Barbu from jail. Then she expects him to once again become the dependent child he was before. This doesn't seem to be a very difficult task, given the state of shock Barbu is in. But it is a thin line between motherly love and self-serving manipulation. Will she be able to let go and unlock him from his child's pose...?

Sounds a little like Mommie Dearest. Speaking of foreign film/video, Netflix has Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter, a new series from Sweden. I've only seen the first two hour episdode so far, but I liked it.

On Showtime tonight, The Eagles Rockumentary Part 2. I missed Part 1 which aired last night.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    The story leaking (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:49:20 AM EST
    out of South Africa may have Oscar Pistorius needing a better attorney than first imagined.

    In addition to earlier reports that police were called to the house earlier in the evening on a domestic call...

    The first shot appears to have been fired (and the victim hit) in the bedroom with the remaining going through the bathroom door. There was a bloodied cricket bat seized and info that the victim's skull had been hit. It looks like Oscar called his family first, before police or medical personnel, and his father and sister were first on the scene.

    The leaked info comes from the The Mail & Guardian out of Johannesburg. The South Africa police and the  National Prosecuting Authority say the info didn't come from them.

    The police are not sure ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:37:18 PM EST
    ... whether the bat was used in the assault itself. The was some speculation that the deceased may have used it herself, in a desperate attempt to fend off her attacker.

    Sounds like Oscar Pistorius has issues with women, as do apparently no small number of South African men, too. There have already been allegations of past abusive behavior on his part toward women, plus indications of serious alcohol abuse. And according to the ANC Women's League, studies have shown that over 50% of the women who've been murdered in South Africa are victims of femicide, i.e., death suffered at the hands of their intimate partners.

    The ANCWL cited that particular statistic in calling upon the magistrate to deny Pistorius bail, and they have expressed their sympathies and condolences to the family of Reeva Steenkamp.


    Violence against women and girls in SA (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 07:31:41 PM EST
    is an epidemic, and has been for many, many years. Consider that in 2011, 1 in 3 South African women interviewed reported being raped in the previous year. That's 1 in 3 reporting it, so the real figure of incidence is obviously higher. Compare that with 1 in 6 American women who report being raped (with the real number considered to be closer to 1 in 3). South Africa also has one of the highest incidences of child rape in the world. And then there are the beatings and other forms of domestic violence...

    One of my best friends lived and worked in South Africa between 2006-2009. She loved her work and the overall experience of living there, but said in emails home that the hardest thing to deal with was the daily occurrence of violence against women and girls.


    The rate of "femicide," as you define it (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:26:36 PM EST
    is said to be about 30% in the United States, that is, of all women murdered in the U.S., about 30% are killed by an intimate partner (as compared with about 5% of male murder victims).

    That is true, Peter (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:35:26 PM EST
    The rates of DV are sickeningly high in this country. After working with poor kids of abused moms (now living in safe house shelters), I periodically need to remind myself that rich women are just as likely to be abused by husbands and boyfriends as their low-income counterparts.

    This is all so (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:35:34 AM EST
    sad and tragic on so many levels.  

    Interesting fact about Kentucky whiskey (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:52:22 PM EST
    Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world's bourbon supply, according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association. There are 4.9 million bourbon barrels aging in Kentucky, which outnumbers the state's population. link

    As an aside, I wish the politicians in D.C. listened to their constituents on not cutting SS, Medicare and Medicaid as well as the producers of Maker's Mark listened to their customers on not cutting the alcohol content of their product.

    Actually, "Child's Pose" sounds ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:24:40 PM EST
    Jeralyn: "Sounds a little like Mommie Dearest."

    ... a lot like the critically acclaimed 2009 Korean crime drama, "Mother," in which a protective middle-aged woman insists her intellectually challenged son is innocent of murder, and is willing to go to great lengths to prove it -- very, very great lengths.

    "Mother" is a superb thriller, but honestly, I wasnted to take a shower after seeing it. It's got some real twists, and the relationship between mother and son is not a healthy one.

    "Child's Pose" (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:19:45 PM EST
    to me, is a Yoga pose.  And a very relaxing pose, at that.
    Nothing like what either you or Jeralyn are thinking about, Donald.
    I prefer my version.

    From our "Whiter Shade of Pale" file: (none / 0) (#3)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 03:59:20 AM EST
    Honestly, I have to wonder what some white people are thinking. In this particular instance, the deed was done in front of a full planeload of passengers:

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 15, 2013
    FBI: Man slapped crying 2-year-old on Delta flight - "A Delta Air Lines passenger faces a federal assault charge after allegedly slapping a fellow traveler's crying 2-year-old son to quiet the child as their flight arrived in Atlanta, according to an FBI affidavit. Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, was on Flight 721 from Minneapolis, Minn., to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Feb. 8 and sitting next to Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis when her son began crying from the change in cabin pressure as the plane descended, Bennett told FBI Special Agent Daron Cheney in the Feb. 12 affidavit. Bennett said she was trying to get the child to stop crying, but he continued. 'According to Ms. Bennett, a male passenger next to her in Row 28, Seat A, later identified as Joe Rickey Hundley, told her to "shut that ni**er baby up." Ms. Bennett stated that Joe Rickey Hundley then turned around and slapped [the toddler] in the face with an open hand, which caused the juvenile victim to scream even louder.'" (Emphasis is mine.)

    Mr. Hundley is not only facing federal charges, he's also been suspended from his job as president of an aircraft parts manufacturer by the firms board of directors. No doubt, he'll probably be characterizing himself as the victim here to anyone who'll listen. Personally, I think he should also be charged with a federal hate crime.

    All I could think when I heard this is (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:39:49 AM EST
    "if you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about!" that has never in a million years made sense to me.

    Why on earth anyone thinks that slapping a crying child will make the child stop is beyond me.

    Clearly, this person was operating from a deep well of ignorance, but I have no doubt that, had the child been white, he or she would have suffered the same treatment, albeit without the n-word.


    Assault on a child, resulting in injury (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:22:25 PM EST
    on an aircraft is a five-year federal felony. If the prosecutor can prove the crime was committed "because of the race" of the victim, the maximum penalty would be ten years.  Would you really want a drunken a**hole to be sentenced to more than five years in prison for flipping out at a crying child on an airplane, because on top of that he is a racist? If not, then why create the additional burden of proof on the prosecutor by charging the "hate crime"?

    Do the parents, (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 09:08:18 PM EST
     or guardian(s), of the child have any say in the matter? What I mean is, can the perpetrator and the parents reach a financial settlement thus negating a criminal charge? Or, is this a "State vs. drunken a**hole" situation?

    The latter. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:19:39 PM EST
    In federal criminal procedure, the victim (or parents of a minor victim) have a right to be heard on the prosecutor's charging decision, but not the right to decide. And even if they reach an out-of-court settlement, the defendant (if convicted) will still be ordered to pay the victim full restitution, which may be for a larger amount.

    Still a little confused (none / 0) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:33:10 PM EST
    It sounds like you're saying that even though the charge might be " a five-year federal felony,"  the prosecutor has the discretion to offer a cash settlement as punishment, rather than a prison sentence. Is that right?

    And, one more thing that's confusing: How would The Court determine, in dollars, what is "full restitution" in a (presumed) assault/battery case?


    No; very sorry for ambiguity in pronouns! (none / 0) (#17)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 11:51:32 PM EST
    I meant that if the accused and the victim (or victim's family) reach a private, civil settlement, but the government still chooses to prosecute, the judge will not be bound by that settlement in determining the amount of restitution to be imposed at sentencing. To answer your second question, what counts in determining restitution in an assault cause is detailed in the statute I linked to, at subsection (b)(2).

    Ah, didn't see the link (none / 0) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:56:15 AM EST
    got it now....thanks

    Point taken. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:17:21 AM EST
    Why create additional hurdles, indeed? But, nevertheless, given that I can't go all Gene Hackman / Mississippi Burning on crackers like him, I'm all for making a firm legal example of this clown as an incentive to others like-minded for better public behavior, especially on expressions of racism. If I had my way, we'd have a zero tolerance level for this sort of nonsense.

    While sports media obsesses with ... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 04:00:58 PM EST
    ... the nature of Danica Patrick's personal relationship with fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse, as though it's really any of their business, they seemed to have ignored the fact that she's a pretty darn good race car driver.

    To wit, Danica just beat out Jeff Gordon to win the pole position at next weekend's Daytona 500, the first woman ever to do so.

    Now, if she can actually break through and somehow win the race next Sunday, look for her marketing potential to go through the roof.

    I dont follow racing however (none / 0) (#11)
    by nyjets on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:09:38 PM EST
    I dont follow racing. However, is Danica Patrick a good racer? I have heard she is overrated and mediocre.

    She was good enough to win today. (none / 0) (#14)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:29:36 PM EST
    Winning the pole position at Daytona is nothing to sneeze at.

    She has also won an Indy car race ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:21:48 AM EST
    ... (the Japan 300), and has both a 4th place (2005) and 3rd place finish (2009) at the Indianapolis 500 to her credit. That's hardly mediocre. Can you do better?

    No I can not (none / 0) (#21)
    by nyjets on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:23:36 AM EST
    However I have heard other people say she is mediocre. That is all I was asking.
    I admit I know nothing about racing. Other than Patrick I do not think I could name ANY race car driver.
    That is why I was asking.

    I have to reluctantly give her (none / 0) (#22)
    by brodie on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 10:30:46 AM EST
    her historic due despite the fact I find that "sport" boring and ridiculously commercialized, as with the sponsorships woven all over their jackets and the sponsor decals plastered all over their cars.  

    And to her credit, when some knucklehead starstruck CNN host (one Don Lemon) tried to lead her to suggest that she sets a sterling example for women to succeed in Nascar motor racing, DP replied instead that she hopes she's a good example for women to succeed in any undertaking they choose.

    Btw, I'm still more impressed by the success and example set by ex Wonder Years star Danica McKellar -- someone I always think of and confuse with when I hear Danica Patrick's name --in her ventures trying to interest girls in math.


    Ahhhh (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by CoralGables on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 11:12:22 AM EST
    that first day of school walking to the bus stop. What young male could ever forget Winnie.

    racecar drivers worldwide. Not that any kind of ranking system is the final word on this sort of thing.

    Since Jeff Gordon has been mentioned by another commenter, we should probably point out that he has 87 wins compared to her 1. She's only been racing about 7 years though, compared to 21 for Gordon, but he did also get 42 of his wins in his first 7 years. She did race Indy for a number of years, while Gordon did not, afaik.

    The bottom line, imo, is that she's a decent, but not a top driver, at this time. She can certainly improve as she gets more experience driving in circles, and she is also good for the sport.

    Go get 'em Danica!