Protesters Ignore People They Purport to Represent

The trouble with protesters is that most of them are either blind or stupid.

Tim Blair writes:


April 10, 2017 5:49pm
It’s always about Trump, even when he’s supported by Hillary
It’s always about Trump, even when he’s supported by Hillary

Anti-war riff-raff were chanting and screeching during a London protest against Syrian bombing on Friday – and then an actual Syrian turned up.


Hassan Akkad, from Damascus, asked why the group was not protesting against President Assad instead, but was drowned out.

He said: “British people not letting a Syrian say something about Syria in a protest about Syria. It’s mad.”

The 29-year-old said he had wanted to be the voice of Syrians who were still in the country but left the protest “livid”.

After a video of the encounter was shared widely online, Mr Akkad told the BBC: “I didn’t see them protesting against the chemical attacks, I didn’t see them protesting against Putin bombing Syria for the last two years.

“I wanted to go to that protest and I wanted to observe.

“I went to the protest and I saw a group of 30 people with placards, not a single mention of Assad.

“All the placards are against Donald Trump and they’re repeating baseless slogans with their megaphones.”

He added: “I went to them respectfully and said, ‘Listen I’m a Syrian refugee who lives here and I have an opinion, it’s a protest about Syria I want to say something’.

“They didn’t even address me, they ignored my existence.”

Poor fellow. He didn’t fit the narrative.


From “The Babylon Bee

Skeleton Of Preacher Still Waiting For One More Person To Come Forward Discovered

WOODLANDS VALLEY, TX—The perfectly preserved skeleton of a pastor still waiting for one more person to come forward was discovered at an abandoned church building once belonging to First Baptist Church, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Dated to around 1996, the skeleton was reportedly discovered by a group of youths exploring the church’s abandoned sanctuary on Main Street. The pristine skeletal remains were still standing next to the church’s pulpit, hands outstretched as if waiting for just one more person to come forward.

According to church historians, the skeleton belonged to Pastor Mark, who gave an extended altar call at the end of the church’s final service at the old building in the autumn of 1996, and was never heard from again.

“We always thought he had simply moved on to another church after he didn’t get that one more person to come forward,” deacon Jon Wilder told reporters. “We had no idea he stood there for days or even weeks before he finally passed away, frozen to the spot.”

“If I had only known he was so determined to get that last person to make a decision for Christ, by golly, I’da gone up myself,” Wilder added.

Sources also confirmed that a cassette tape playing “Just As I Am” was still looping indefinitely when the skeleton was discovered.

Book Review. “The Halo Effect” by Anne D. LeClaire

51ZanlM1XLL._SS130_I downloaded this book thinking it was a murder mystery, and it is, but the story starts after the murder and focuses on the way that the murder affects the victim’s family and friends.

Lucy, a teenage girl in a small seaside town is murdered, and naturally her parents are devastated. The father, an artist, becomes angry and turns to drink. The mother eventually leaves him. Her best friend, Rain, becomes obsessed with security and starts cutting herself to let the feelings out. And Father Gervais, tasked by the bishop with commissioning Lucy’s father to paint representations of the saints for a new cathedral, has his own long-buried grief to work through.

This is a well written narrative. The smells and scenery, the people and their surroundings are described so well that you can put yourself into Port Fortune and “see” the people clearly.

TV crime shows like “Midosmer Murders” and “NCIS” rarely examine the effect that death has on the community around the victim. You can’t do that in 50 minutes. This is a book that deals with grief in all its messiness and still appeals as a great story in its own right.




Grammar Nerds, Rejoice! The Power of a Missing Comma

I remember being taught at school that you don’t need a comma before the last item in a list if you use and to separate the last two items. But sometimes you do, especially if you live in Oxford, and now, apparently, in Maine.

From Quartz

A court’s decision in a Maine labor dispute hinged on the absence of an Oxford comma

March 14, 2017

A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it hinged on one missing comma.

Delivery drivers for local milk and cream company Oakhurst Dairy have been tussling with their employers over whether they qualify for overtime. On March 13, a US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers have won their lawsuit against Oakhurst, and are eligible for unpaid overtime.

The profoundly nerdy ruling is also a win for anyone who dogmatically defends the serial comma.

The serial comma, also known as the Oxford comma for its endorsement by the Oxford University Press style rulebook, is a comma used just before the coordinating conjunction (“and,” or “or,” for example) when three or more terms are listed. You’ll see it in the first sentence of this story—it’s the comma after “milk”—but you won’t find it in the Maine overtime rule at issue in the Oakhurst Dairy case. According to state law, the following types of activities are among those that don’t qualify for overtime pay:

The canning, processing, preserving,
freezing, drying, marketing, storing,
packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.

There, in the comma-less space between the words “shipment” and “or,” the fate of Kevin O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy was argued. Is packing (for shipment or distribution) a single activity that is exempt from overtime pay? Or are packing and distributing two different activities, and both exempt?

If lawmakers had used a serial comma, it would have been clear that distribution was an overtime-exempt activity on its own. But without the comma, wrote US appeals judge David J. Barron, the law is ambiguous as to whether distribution is a separate activity, or whether the whole last clause—”packing for shipment or distribution”—is one activity, meaning only the people who pack the dairy products are exempt. The drivers do distribute, but do not pack, the perishable food.

The debate over the serial comma has long raged and remains unresolved. Proponents of its use (like Quartz, which breaks with the AP Stylebook on this vital matter) say that, when listing things in writing, a comma before the last item is paramount. It separates the sentence “He ate dessert, fries, and ham” from “He ate dessert, fries and ham.” Opponents say that it’s redundant, aesthetically displeasing, and potentially more ambiguous.

Oakhurst, for its part, had argued that “distribution” was separate in the language of the law, meaning its drivers did not qualify for overtime.

In an impressively geeky retort, the drivers responded that all the other exempted activities were listed as gerunds, words ending with “-ing”: Canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing. The word “distribution,” they argued, was therefore not intended to be one of the items in the list.

The first court to hear the case ruled in the company’s favor, but the appellate court disagreed. Wrote Barron, since Maine’s overtime laws are meant to have “remedial purpose,” that is, to help the state’s workers, they should be read liberally. He and the appeals court therefore sided with the drivers, ruling that they should receive their unpaid overtime.

Maine has a style guide for legislation, and Oakhurst had argued it expressly instructs law-writers not to use the serial comma:

Do not write: Write:
Trailers, semitrailers, and pole trailers Trailers, semitrailers and pole trailers

But, as the appeals court argues—and the style guide shows—clarity is of the utmost importance when a list is ambiguous. From the appellate court ruling:

The manual also contains a proviso—”Be careful if an item in the series is modified”—and then sets out several examples of how lists with modified or otherwise complex terms should be written to avoid the ambiguity that a missing serial comma would otherwise create.