October 16, 2010

Court makes a mockery of “freedom of speech” in bail conditions

Filed under: Cancon, Law, Liberty, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:30

I’m not particularly fond of the organizers of the G20 protests (see the general tone of my posts during the G20 meetings for proof), but this court decision is obscene:

Alex Hundert’s words will not appear in this story.

Unlike other Canadians, he’s not allowed to speak to the press.

At least that’s how a court interpreted the new bail conditions placed on Hundert, an accused ringleader of violence during the G20 summit in June.

“It’s staggering in its breadth,” said John Norris, Hundert’s lawyer. “I’ve never heard of anything as broad as that.”

Hundert, 30, faces three counts of conspiracy pertaining to G20 activities, and was released in July on $100,000 bail with about 20 terms, including not participating in any public demonstration.

Shortly after his release, the Crown filed an appeal to revoke his bail. Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme ruled against that appeal.

On Sept. 17, shortly after Ducharme’s decision, Hundert was arrested for participating in a panel discussion at Ryerson University — which police deemed to be a public demonstration.

On Wednesday Hundert agreed to the new, more stringent, bail conditions.

They include a clarification of the no-demonstration rule, to include a restriction on planning, participating in, or attending any public event that expresses views on a political issue.

This is just wrong. No government or court should have this power: he’s an accused criminal, but he has not been convicted of a crime. This is an unjustifiable restriction of his freedom and should never have been imposed.

H/T to Darian Worden for the link.

The 21st anniversary of the NFL’s biggest trade

Filed under: Football, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:17

Remember the Herschel Walker trade? Where the Vikings gave up just about everything to obtain a top-flight running back? It was such a big trade that Minnesotans joked that the NHL’s North Stars moving to Dallas was the final part of the deal (“joked” in the gallows humour style). The trade happened 21 years ago, and it gutted the Vikings for at least five years:

[T]he Vikings of 1989 vintage believed they were a running back away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Cowboys, under first-year owner Jerry Jones, were going nowhere. Yet, they had a marketable star named Herschel Walker who, as it would turn out, could fetch a king’s ransom in trade. The Vikings had nine Pro Bowlers on their roster — even though guys like Wade Wilson, while a Pro Bowl selection, weren’t really Pro Bowlers in the truest sense of the word — and all that was missing was a big-play guy who could make a difference.

What followed was the NFL equivalent to a burglary. The trade cost the Vikings five live bodies (RB Darrin Nelson, CB Issiac Holt, DE Alex Stewart and LBs Jesse Solomon and David Howard) and three first-round, three second-round and two third-round picks in return. It hamstrung the Vikings organization for five years and turned Dallas from a joke to the kingpin of the NFL. Walker, although talented, wasn’t anywhere close to being worth what the Vikings gave up to get him. That trade transformed the Cowboys from a 1-15 team to a Super Bowl champ and set the Vikings back for years, denying them the top draft choices that could re-stock their own shelves.

For all their bravado and claims to be “America’s Team,” the Cowboys’ rise to the top of the NFL in the early 1990s was a direct result of the Walker trade. They were more Minnesota’s team, or at least Minnesota’s former players and draft picks, than anything.

The trade was so big that I still find it incredible that the Vikings ownership were willing to give up so much for a single player, no matter how talented. They gambled that Walker was the missing ingredient to a SuperBowl team, and lost . . . big.

The Wikipedia entry for Walker includes this information:

In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL. Nicknamed the “HWT” (Herschel Walker Trade), Walker’s trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him, and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team’s history. The Vikings coaches reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never totally used the tool they had been given. Scout.com says, “Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust.” “Herschel the Turkey,” a mocking “honor” given out by the Star Tribune newspaper to particularly inept or disgraceful Minnesota sports personalities, is named for him.

Walker played for the Vikings for two and a half years, never amassing 1,000 rushing yards in a season. His rights were then acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles, and, subsequently, the New York Giants. Eventually, he was re-acquired by the Cowboys, where he was used not only as a running back but as a flanker and other offensive positions as well. In addition to running and catching passes, Walker was also often used to return kickoffs throughout his career.

[. . .]

While Herschel Walker’s NFL career was certainly notable, it was also a disappointment from the standpoint that he never played on a championship team. High expectations were placed on him due to his extraordinary college career and the dollar amount of his trade to the Minnesota Vikings. Many of those expectations were never realized. The move to Minnesota was the turning point in his NFL tenure. In 2008, the trade was selected by SI.com as the number one worst sports trade of all time. It was also the subject of an episode of ESPN Classic’s The Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame…

“Officer Bubbles” sues YouTube for defamation

Filed under: Cancon, Law, Liberty, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:15

The Globe and Mail reports that police constable Adam Josephs has launched a suit against YouTube in an attempt to force them to divulge the identities of posters and commenters:

A Toronto police officer whose stiff upper lip made him an inadvertent YouTube sensation and a symbol of police heavy-handedness at the G20 protests has launched a $1.2-million defamation lawsuit against the website.

Constable Adam Josephs was nicknamed “Officer Bubbles” after a video surfaced of him online admonishing a young protester during the summit for blowing bubbles.

[. . .]

The original video shows Constable Josephs and a number of other officers holding a police line near Queen Street West in front of a crowd of protesters, when a young woman begins blowing bubbles in front of them.

“If the bubble touches me, you’re going to be arrested for assault,” he tells her sternly. When she questions him about the warning, he continues to warn her.

“You want to bait the police. You get that on me or that other officer and it gets in her eyes, it’s a detergent. You’ll be going into custody.”

The video of “Officer Bubbles” intimidating the dangerous bubble-blower:

Update, 18 October: By way of the Twitter feed of Colby Cosh, here’s the link to the actual document.

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