Dwyane Wade, more important than “O Canada”?

Bleacher Report broke this story on Dwyane Wade’s apparent disrespect for the Canadian national anthem before the Miami Heat’s Game 3 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. Mr. Wade was continuing to shoot buckets during most of the opening verse of “O Canada.” Quoting the article:

Wade explained on Sunday how he didn’t mean it as a slight to Canada, saying, per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, “If anyone thinks I was being disrespectful, they don’t know who Dwyane Wade is.”

The 34-year-old veteran added, per the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser, “I understand whatever’s said about it, but I’m not a disrespectful person.”


Reynolds went on to explain how part of Wade’s pregame ritual includes making his last shot before lining up for the national anthem. He kept failing to convert that aspect of his routine, which explained the ongoing quest for a bucket before “O Canada.”

I don’t care what level of basketball you are playing or how much you are getting paid. If the event is of enough importance that a national anthem–whether your country’s or that of your opponents–is being performed before the game, the proper thing to do is be respectful and stop whatever you are doing. Respect is the most important part of any pregame ritual.

Mr. Wade’s comments only aggravate the situation. His words speak the exact opposite of his actions. And honestly, his words ring rather hollow. The video of Mr. Wade shooting baskets during the opening verse of “O Canada” will certainly make its way around much faster than any lame excuses he can offer up for his disrespectful and egomaniacal actions.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Wade is getting paid $20 million this year. Perhaps a large fine will get his attention that shooting extra hoops during a national anthem is something you Just Don’t Do. Shame on you, Mr. Wade.

An absolutely insane move by the Department of “Homeland” Security

Not too long ago, The Independent reported on an audacious request by the US Department of Homeland Security. That request was for British airlines to submit the personal data of British citizens flying to Cuba, Mexico, and parts of Canada to the US DHS.

From the article:

New rules require British Airways and other airlines flying to certain airports outside America to submit passengers’ personal data to US authorities. The information is checked against a “No Fly” list containing tens of thousands of names. Even if the flight plan steers well clear of US territory, travellers whom the Americans regard as suspicious will be denied boarding.

Yes, you read that right: even when the flights don’t go over US airspace, much less land in the country.

And it’s this kind of meddling in the affairs of other countries that makes me give pause to being proud to be an American. I don’t see how it is the business of the US government what citizens of another country are flying to, say, Toronto or Mexico City.

To make matters worse (again quoting the article):

Those who do supply details may find their trip could be abruptly cancelled by the Department of Homeland Security, which says it will “[m]ake boarding pass determinations up until the time a flight leaves the gate … If a passenger successfully obtains a boarding pass, his/her name is not on the No Fly list.” In other words, travellers cannot find out whether they will be accepted on board until they reach the airport.

So, a British citizen planning a vacation in CancĂșn could arrive at the airport, go through all the song and dance required by security, then find out at the gate that the US DHS has placed him on the “no fly list” and the vacation is off.

One also has to wonder how an American traveller in Europe would react if he were denied boarding on a flight from London to Rome because the German government had not received sufficient data from him.

And some still wonder why the rest of the world dislikes Americans and hates the US government. Well, things like this are why. This is a slap in the face to the rest of the world. This is, dare I say it, un-American. I don’t know what the DHS was thinking when they came up with this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this runs afoul of some international law somewhere.

Shame on you, DHS.

Redefining “work for hire”

A recent post to the ThinSkull Blog at advicescene.com highlights a case in Canada which takes the concept of “work for hire” as it relates to copyright and quite literally turns it upside down.

From the post:

John Hawley was sentenced to ten years in prison for armed robberies committed in his mid-twenties. After he was released on parole, John started a “successful commercial art and design studio in Toronto” (Hawley v. Canada, [1990] F.C.J. No. 337). When he served a part of his sentence in Frontenac Institution, a minimum security prison, he created a large painting entitled “Mount Whymper.” This work of art became the subject of a lawsuit he brought against the federal government claiming copyright in “Mount Whymper.”

The Federal Court denied his claim. It found that John was an employee of the Crown at all material times…

According to the court, if you’re in prison, you are [a federal employee], at least for the purposes of IP ownership. It ultimately doesn’t matter that your employment is forced and that your spare time is artificially limited and controlled.

Prison has two separate and distinct roles: punishment and rehabilitation. Unless a defendant is serving a sentence of life without parole or a sentence which will not expire until after the defendant does, rehabilitation cannot be ignored. Yet that is exactly what has happened here.

I find the notion that John was considered “an employee of the Crown” (what they call the government in Canada) ludicrous. The money John made from selling that painting would certainly help his rehabilitation quite a bit. It would also teach him a valuable lesson about making money in the world of honest people and decent society, a lesson that I wish more ex-felons were eager to learn.

Instead, the Canadian government has chosen to stunt John’s rehabilitation using a quite elastic interpretation of “work for hire” as it relates to copyright. The chilling effects here will be obvious: prisoners will simply resort to concealing their artistic works while serving their sentences and will be more clandestine about pocketing the profits. In short, the Crown is encouraging known criminals to keep acting like criminals, a dangerous and short-sighted move.

Shame on you, government of Canada. This galactically stupid leap of “logic” is due to set criminal justice back decades if not over a century.

Oops, wrong Sydney

The Daily Mail reports on a Dutch man and his grandson who got a most unpleasant surprise when the travel agency booked him on a flight to Sydney. The only problem was that it was Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, instead of where they really intended to go, which would of course be Sydney, Australia. From the article:

They flew into Nova Scotia in the east of the country from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with Air Canada on Saturday.

They even managed to board to a connecting flight to the wrong Sydney at Halifax on the east coast of Canada without realising their mistake.

Ordinarily, I’d say the first clue something is amiss would be the airline the flight is on. However, Air Canada does fly to and from both Amsterdam and Sydney, Australia. It would appear the flights out of Amsterdam may actually be operated by other airlines (Lufthansa, LH City Line, or BMI when I looked).

To be fair about it, were I not a US native and thus in relatively close proximity to Canada, I may not be completely sure just where Halifax is in relation to Australia. I’ll admit it, I failed world geography the first time I took it, and I usually at least get the continent right (and sometimes even which part of it) when given the name of a country. I don’t think Australia has a Halifax, much less a major city with that name where an airport would be located.

Anyway, after the dust settles, the travel agency is almost certainly on the hook for what can only be described as a first-class foul-up, even if the travelers were booked into coach for their voyage of error.

And they aren’t the only ones: the article mentions two prior known cases of misdirected travelers winding up in the much chillier climate of Canada as opposed to the warmth of Australia when booked on flights to Sydney.

The moral of the story: don’t trust your travel agent to be perfect. Mistakes happen. If you’re headed to Sydney, Australia, check your tickets against the actual IATA airport code for Sydney, Australia (SYD), instead of Sydney, Canada (YQY). Check the details of the trip and the duration for sanity: Houston, Texas, USA, to Sydney, Australia, should be a fairly long flight, definitely more than a little longer than a flight to New York City.

And to travel agents: remember, the only thing worse than lost luggage is lost passengers. Double-check your work. The embarassment you save may be your own.

Take the money and, er, investigate

Is it really illegal to carry around large amounts of money in Canada?

CBC reports on the story of CA$29,000 and a man who claims he raised that money collecting cans in the town of New Westminster, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver). According to the story:

The car smelled of marijuana, according to the release, so the officers searched the vehicle looking for drugs. Instead, they found $29,000 in two plastic Baggies, which they seized as they investigate where the money came from.

I personally do not think the presence of a large amount of cash is prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed. And the same goes for the mere smell of marijuana smoke, or even both put together. I will conede that it is not exactly intelligent to be carrying that kind of cash around. But, at least as far as I know, it’s not unlawful.

I hope this guy gets his money back. The cops are sworn to uphold the law, not use it as an excuse to commit larceny. And without proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the money is tied to a crime, for the crown (government) to keep the money does amount to larceny.

(Note: I’m assuming the amount is in Canadian dollars, given this is a Canadian news article.)