Saturday, November 12, 2011

Byron Sonne: terrorist or just a computer geek?

Byron Sonne was the longest-held detainee from the Toronto G20 arrests — he was imprisoned for 11 months before finally being released on bail in May. The computer geek has pleaded not guilty to four charges of possessing explosive substances and one of counselling others to commit mischief. Four other charges were dropped after a preliminary hearing in February.

Sonne was arrested near his Forest Hill home on June 22, 2010, just days before the G20 was to begin. He had come under police suspicion the week before when he was seen taking photos of the security fence and was reluctant to give his name.

The Crown conceded that Toronto Police used a ruse in order to get Byron Sonne to hand over his ID on June 15, 2010. Sonne had been filming the $9.4 million security fence that went up before the international summit. A security guard called the police, and three officers stopped Sonne as he walked along Temperance St. One asked for his identification. Sonne refused, stating that he knew it was his right not to identify himself unless he was being detained for a specific crime. So, bicycle officer Michael Wong told Sonne that he was being investigated for jaywalking under the Highway Traffic Act. On November 10, Superior Court Justice Nancy Spies decided this ruse meant Sonne was unlawfully detained, and that his rights were violated under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

His lawyers argue officers quickly developed tunnel vision after reading Sonne’s blog, posts on Flickr and tweets from a Toronto Goat Twitter account and wrongly concluded he was dangerous.

Defence lawyer Joseph Di Luca told the court the flimsy evidence amassed against Sonne should be thrown out because police repeatedly violated his Charter rights and filed an affidavit filled with “falsehoods and inaccuracies” to secure search warrants for his home and Midland cottage.

At one point, police falsely claimed they’d found HTMD, an explosive substance, and a home-made detonator in Sonne’s Elderwood Ave. home so a judge would issue another warrant.

For its part, the Crown says police didn’t intentionally mislead the judge who issued the warrants and officers had good reason to suspect Sonne was up to no good.

So what was all this compelling evidence the police used to get their search warrants? Tweets from Sonne complaining about all the security cameras, advice on what Home Depot bolts to use to climb the security fence and a request for a photo of a G20 security pass that residents use. From that last post, police told the judge Sonne was seeking to forge one for himself to get inside the inner perimeter.

Investigators also came across photos of a homemade wave gun posted a full 16 months before Sonne’s arrest. After consulting Wikipedia of all things, police concluded Sonne must be assembling a HERF death ray weapon to fry security communication.

The officer also failed to include in his affidavit a blog entry a few months later where Sonne explains that after five unsuccessful tries, he’d given up on the homemade contraption.

Months before the G20, Sonne had posted a photo of a potato cannon on Flickr that police somehow concluded was not only operational but also “capable of firing projectiles” that “could cause grievous bodily harm or even possible death.”

“He posts these pictures a mere month before the G20,” the prosecutor said. “It looks like a weapon of some kind. It’s not something you see at Canadian Tire. It looks sinister in some way to the uninitiated for sure.”

But to much laughter, the judge said that from watching Holmes on Homes, Sonne’s alleged “projectiles” look to her household drywall plugs.

Spies is expected to rule early next week about the validity of the search warrants. If she tosses them, the poster boy for G20 terrorism may be one step closer to getting back to his true geeky pursuits.


Doug Gilmour's greatest moment as a Maple Leaf

The date was May 3, 1993 and I was fortunate enough to be at the game. In fact I was in the gold seats directly behind one of the nets. Unfortunately I wasn't behind the St. Louis net during the second overtime period so I had difficulty following the action at the other end. Back then there was no video screen in Maple Leaf Gardens. I didn't fully appreciate the skill involved until I got home to watch the replay.

It was very warm night for that time of the year and the Gardens had no air conditioning so it was a sauna by the second overtime period in the first game of the playoff series. The score was tied 1-1 with the Leafs outshooting the Blues 61-32 at the start of the final period but Curtis Joseph was at his best that night for St. Louis. Early in the period Gilmour had the puck behind the St. Louis net. Nikolai Borschevsky and Dave Andreychuk were jockeying for position in front of the net. Gilmour faked to his right and then to his left. Joseph committed on the second fake and Gilmour spun around followed by a wrap around tucking the puck in the open net.

Doug Gilmour was a game changer and deserving of an Hall of Fame induction.

National mental health week

Friday, November 11, 2011

What every politician needs...cheerleaders

Meet the Medvedev Girls, the Russian President's official cheerleaders. What better way to market a politician than with sex. Apparently the group was formed in opposition of a similar group of attractive females that encourages other attractive young females to strip in support of Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

Most recently, Medvedev's Girls to support Medvedev's ban on underage drinking they shed articles of clothing (see below) as people poured out their beers. There is nothing like Russian politics.

Friday Flashback: Five Man Electrical Band

Chevy Volt fire leads to federal investigation of lithium batteries

U.S. auto-safety regulators are scrutinizing the safety of lithium-ion batteries that power all plug-in electric vehicles after a General Motors Co. (GM) Chevrolet Volt caught fire, people familiar with the probe said.

The regulators have asked automakers, including GM, Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. (F), that sell or have plans to sell vehicles with lithium-ion batteries about the batteries’ fire risk, four people familiar with the inquiry said.

The Volt caught fire while parked at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing center in Wisconsin, three weeks after a side-impact crash test May 12, said an agency official. The official, as well as the three other people familiar with the inquiry, said they couldn’t be named because the investigation isn’t public.

The probe comes as automakers look to expand plug-in offerings beyond the Volt and Nissan’s Leaf, which went on sale in the 2011 model year as the first mass-market plug-in electric cars in the U.S. Toyota Motor Co.’s Prius, the world’s best- selling hybrid, uses a nickel-metal battery. A plug-in Prius and an electric version of the RAV4 sport-utility vehicle will use lithium batteries.

There have been a number of reported incidents of Volts catching fire. Great to know that your $40,000 care is likely powered by a highly-combustible, cancer-causing liquid stored in a thin plastic or metal tank just a few inches below or behind you. The alloys used in various components of that car contain lead, and you'll find kill-you-quickly acid just under the hood.


National mental health week

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is the game over yet?

One good thing came out of the Penn State scandal

The gut-wrenching Penn State child sex abuse scandal has one, minuscule silver lining. It got stupid Ashton Kutcher to shut up on Twitter for a while.

Last night Ashton Kutcher made a serious faux pas when he weighed in on the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, for his complicity in the Sandusky scandal. He wrote: "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste."

But Ashton quickly deleted the tweet, claiming he just didn't have any idea about a scandal that has been on the front page of every newspaper for days.


Rugby player has stroke, wake up gay and becomes hairdresser

A rugby-playing straight man claims he woke up homosexual after suffering a stroke. Chris Birch, 26, suffered a stroke during during a freak training accident when he attempted a back flip and broke his neck. But following his recovery he quit his bank job to become a hairdresser, grew to hate sport, called off his engagement and started dating a man.

"I was gay when I woke up and I still am," he said. "It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different. I wasn't interested in women any more. I had never been attracted to a man before - I'd never even had any gay friends. But I didn't care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings." Prior to the accident, Mr Birch was planning on settling down with his girlfriend and spent weekends playing sport and drinking with his mates.

He retrained as a hairdresser and now lives with his partner Jack Powell, 19, above the salon he works in.


Sign of the day

National mental health week

Don't shed a tear for Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach fired along with the university's president, Graham Spanier

Joe Paterno deserves no pity. Save your pity for the poor, innocent children who were victimized by Jerry Sandusky and were offered no protection or help by Coach Paterno.

Paterno is one of the most recognized and influential individuals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He could have marched into the Governor’s office and demanded that his ex-assistant be arrested and charged. But he decided not to. After Sandusky was arrested he could have set up a foundation to support victims of child abuse. Again he decided not to. Instead he protected a pedophile.

Firing Paterno was the right thing to do. People need to be accountable for the actions as well as inaction. Penn State should be applauded for finally doing the right thing. As for the Penn State students that rioted on the news – they need to look themselves in the mirror. Their protests are essentially defending the right to cover up pedophilia. Paterno’s body of work still exists and can be acknowledged. But there is a dark stain on his reputation that is well deserved.

Shame on you Joe!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Majority of college kids would turn down a job if Facebook was banned at work

One in three college grads said that access to social media sites like Facebook and the ability to choose their own devices was more important to them than salary when considering a job offer. This according to a study of 2,800 college students and young professionals worldwide conducted by Cisco. More than 40% went so far as to say that they would accept less money for a job that was down with social media at work on a device of their choosing if it also included telework.

The study was intended to determine what the Millennium Generation wants from employers and what they consider to be an equitable work/life balance. Not surprisingly, they overwhelmingly wanted flexible work hours and remote access, with about one-third of college students saying that once they begin working, it will be their right – not a privilege – to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

But the shocker was how strongly these young adults felt about limitations on their social media time.
  • Over half of college students globally (56%) said that if they were offered a job at a company that banned access to social media, they would either turn it down, or ignore it.
  • Two-thirds said they will ask about social media usage policies during job interviews.
  • 41% of those in the workforce said their companies convinced them to take the job by offering them flexible device choice and friendly social media policies when recruiting them.
  • At the same time, almost a third of the employees (31%) said their expertise with social media and devices actually helped land them the job -- employers believing that such know-how would give the company a competitive advantage.

Here we go again - Leafs goaltending stinks

I look at the number of Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens and all I can think about is haven't we been here before? Along with management excuses and teammates defending their goalies. It's Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala all over again.

In 2007-08 Raycroft had a GAA of 3.92 and SAV% of .876.

In 2009-10 Toskala had a GAA of 3.66 and SAV% of .874.

Right now Gustavsson has a GAA of 3.78 and SAV% of .878 while Scrivens has a GAA of 4.05 and SAV% of .867.

Yes it's deja vu. Except now it's like having both Raycroft and Toskala in the line up at the same time. Brian Burke, don't let another season implode again over goaltending. You failed to act in the summer. Admit a mistake and fix the problem - now.

National mental health week

Hump Day Hottie

Kendall Jenner

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

British woman craves roadkill during pregnancy

Alison Brierley, 42, collects roadkill — for a meal.

A taxidermist from England has developed a craving for roadkill during her pregnancy.

Professional artist Alison Brierley says she has recently experienced an overpowering urge to eat the meat from dead animals found on a roadside instead of her usual habit of making jewelry using their hides.

“Usually, I eat really healthily, but now I'm pregnant I get strong cravings for roadkill,” she told the Daily Mail.

“It’s more gamey than other meat and I love the taste.”

Brierley, 42, from North Yorkshire, is expecting a baby boy in February with her partner, Marcus Speer, 44.

She admits to having eaten roadkill before, but says her urges have becoming much more intense since expecting a child.

“I'm craving junk food, which is really unlike me and I am eating a lot more roadkill and red meat in general,” she explained.


NCAA should shut down Penn State football


Joe Paterno has been the head football coach at Penn State for 46 years, since 1966, and is the only coach in FBS history with over 400 wins (he has 409), but now the New York Times is now reporting that the Penn State board of trustees is forcing him out within “weeks or days” due to his involvement with the Jerry Sandusky scandal. As well he should be. Actually I don’t even get what the delay is. He knowingly protected a guy who was raping children. He was an active part of the cover up which allowed Sandusky to prey on even more kids. That overrides everything good he’s ever done at Penn State. He deserves nothing now but contempt.

I hope find something to charge him with along with some of the other Penn State administrators. This is all about the money and the safety of little boys never seemed to concern anyone. The Penn State football program should be shut down.

Ironic typo

Terrible Typo of the Day

National mental health week

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Toronto's tent city is growing

The number of protesters have certainly grown since October15. Even if we aren't clear on their objectives, the protesters are a resilient bunch. I would expect their numbers will dwindle with winter quickly approaching.

Occupy Toronto Day 23

You see some people like Rob Ford

Sign of the day

Free Lindsay Lohan!...umm never mind

Celebs who benefited from jail overcrowding

I can't recall anyone so totally disregarding the authority of the courts the way that Lindsay Lohan has. She has ignored every single court order and obviously realizes that nothing will happen to her. She clearly demonstrated how different the rich and poor are treated by the judicial system. On 5 occasions over the past 4 years she has been incarcerated yet not even spent an entire week in jail. A combination of pricey lawyers and overcrowded jails guarantees that justice will never be served and she knows it.

Her latest sentence was 30 days but she was out on the street in just 4 1/2 hours. Less time than one of her photo shoots. Not only is she make a mockery of the judicial system but is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. All those court appearances, the probation supervision and and jail processing is extremely costly.

She is only dangerous to herself so why bother. She will pay the price eventually.

National mentialmental health week

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Surfer almost swallowed by whales

A woman floating on a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California almost ended up on the lunch menu for a humpback whale over the weekend.

A pod of humpback whales has been hanging out off the Santa Cruz coast, snacking on anchovies that flock to the area to feed on plankton. The woman found herself in the middle of a feeding frenzy called lunge feeding, which occurs when whales herd anchovies and shoot straight up out of the water with their mouth wide open to catch the fish.

Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from the feeding area.

Streaker at the MTV Europe awards

I'm assuming that the streaker was staged despite the shock exhibited by Hayden Panettiere. Their was no security showing up on stage to tackle him and drag him off. Instead he was allowed to dialogue with Hayden. Definitely fake.

Overzealous cleaner ruins artwork that she thought was dirty

An overzealous cleaner in Germany has ruined a piece of modern art worth £690,000 after mistaking it for an eyesore that needed a good scrub.

The sculpture by the German artist Martin Kippenberger, widely regarded as one of the most talented artists of his generation until his death in 1997, had been on loan to the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund when it fell prey to the cleaner's scouring pad.

The work, called When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling (Wenn's anfÃĪngt durch die Decke zu tropfen), comprised a rubber trough placed underneath a rickety wooden tower made from slats. Inside the trough, Kippenberger had spread a layer of paint representing dried rainwater. He thought it was art: the cleaner saw it as a challenge, and set about making the bucket look like new.

A spokeswoman for the museum told German media that the female cleaner "removed the patina from the four walls of the trough".

"It is now impossible to return it to its original state," she said, adding that it had been on loan to the museum from a private collector and was valued by insurers at €800,000 (£690,000).


Dentist puts genitals in patient's mouth

A male Chinese dentist has been detained by police for putting his genitals into the mouth of a female patient while carrying out surgery in a Shanghai hospital, officials at the hospital have said.

The incident occurred in the Qinpu Zhongshan Hospital on Friday in the city's Qingpu District when the male dentist told his female patient to close her eyes and open her mouth, which was considered to be normal for an oral surgery, but he suddenly put his genitals into her mouth, hospital official said. An official surnamed Wang said that further details of the incident could not be released as the case was still under investigation.

Wang said the dentist was about 28 years old, held a masters degree and had worked at the hospital for two years. He "has been an excellent dentist who never showed any signs of behaving like this," Wang added. She said the man had a girlfriend and the couple had already applied for a marriage certificate.

Some hospital officials assumed that the dentist was suffering from mental problems, such as depression, but the exact reason for his actions was still unknown. Wang said the incident happened in the hospital's department of dentistry, which is not totally enclosed and has rooms connected to each other. The hospital alerted the police when relatives of the woman fiercely protested against the dentist's behaviour. Police are still looking into the case.

I'm just trying to visualize how Dr. Wang was able to get his genitals into the patient's mouth while she was on a dental chair. He must have been practicing for months. No wonder dentists complain of back problems.

Sign of the day

National mental health week

Southwest Airline is at it again

Muslim woman removed from Southwest plane to sue

A Muslim woman is suing Southwest Airlines for being kicked off her flight after a flight attendant reported hearing her say "it's a go" into her phone — though according to the suit, she was just saying "I've got to go" as the plane was preparing to take off.

Irum Abbassi alleges that on March 13, Southwest Airlines employees unlawfully removed her from a flight from San Diego to San Jose, where she was headed to finish research for her Master's thesis. According to the complaint, Abbassi "was readily identifiable as Muslim by what she wore: a long shirt, pants, sweater and hijab, or Islamic headscarf." She was detained at security for a second screening, but was allowed to board.

When boarding, Abbassi says she was on the phone with a Verizon representative in order to activate her smartphone. When the plane was getting ready to depart, Abbassi alleges she told the representative "I've got to go."

Soon after, there was an announcement that an "administrative delay" would hold up the flight, at which point a TSA agent came on board and asked Abbassi to get off.

What percentage of Southwest passengers actually make it to their destination? I'm guessing about 15%. How does this airline actually find passengers still?


Baristas laid off because of their age

Business has been bad at a coffee stand in Kent lately, but are wrinkles the reason?

Former baristas Shirley Stagner and Tina Holcombe say they were laid off, and losing their jobs didn't just hurt their incomes, it hurt their pride.

"I'm not a sexy young thing," Holcombe said.

Stanger, 47, and Holcombe, 48, believe they're not "hot" enough anymore to work at the "Hot Java Hunnies" coffee stand.

"I have to lay you off and I have to have younger girls in here," Holcome said she was told by her boss.

The baristas claim their boss wanted to perk up business with steamy young barista babes.

But owner Jim Honnies says age has nothing to do with it.

"When I put an ad on Craigslist, there's nothing on there about age or anything," he said

Honnies says with Stanger and Holcombe serving the coffee over the past couple of years, he's not making any profit and business trickled down to a third of what it was previously.

"I want to try new blood," Honnies said.

Regardless of what the business owner says, the women filed an age discrimination claim. But the business has only two employees, and a business needs eight before the state will investigate.

"What are we supposed to do?" Stanger said.

Losing her job is especially painful for Stanger. She originally started this business as a young woman, where she later worked there as an employee.

Let's face it, to be a successful barista in today's competitive market, you have to be twentysomething and very sexy. Of course the boss at Hot Java Hunnies will tell you it doesn't matter if applicants are in their 80s, as long as they look not a day over 23, in other words.