Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover
we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.
AP’s Today in History for March 19th
Breakfast Tune Adam Hurt and Tony Trischka Old Molly Oxford
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
Germany rejects Trump’s claim it owes NATO and U.S. ‘vast sums’ for defense
Andreas Rinke, Michelle Martin, Jason Neely, Reuters
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense.
“There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.
“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said. …
US diplomat ejected from New Zealand after police fail to get immunity waived
Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian
A US diplomat has been forced to leave New Zealand over allegations he was involved in a serious criminal incident in which he had his nose broken and sustained a black eye.
New Zealand police said they were called in the early hours of last Sunday in the community of Lower Hutt, just outside Wellington, where the US embassy is based.
Police said the US diplomat left the scene before officers arrived, and no arrests were made, nor “any person held in police custody”. …
Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry dead at 90
Bill Trott, Reuters
Chuck Berry, who duck-walked his way into the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll pioneers as one of its most influential guitarists and lyricists, creating raucous anthems that defined the genre’s sound and heartbeat, died on Saturday at his Missouri home. He was 90.
Police in St. Charles County, outside St. Louis, said they were called to Berry’s home by a caretaker and found him unresponsive. Efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at 1:26 p.m. local time.
Considered one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, Charles Edward Anderson Berry was present at its infancy in the 1950s and emerged as its first star guitarist and songwriter – a nearly 30-year-old black performer whose style electrified young white audiences and was emulated by white performers who came to dominate American popular music. …
As Trump Divides, One Lawmaker Remains Huuugely Popular with American Voters
Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
While it seems that the American public holds a dim view of most of its elected officials these days, a recent Fox News poll highlighted one lawmaker who has seemingly won over the majority of voters: Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The survey, published Wednesday, found that 61 percent of respondents said they view the Independent senator from Vermont, an avowed Democratic socialist, favorably.
At the same time, only 32 percent of respondents said they approve of the the job that Democrats are doing in Congress (60 percent disapprove), and even less (29 percent) agree with the work of the GOP.
Notably, the polling comes as Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats and lost in a competitive presidential primary bid to Hillary Clinton, has faced antipathy from the party establishment. …
- How Democrats Can Win Back the Working Class
Katrina vanden Heuvel
- God To Send His Son Back As “Refu-Jesus” To Teach Americans How To Be Christian Again
Political Garbage Chute
Something to think about over coffee prozac
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — It all came down to a missing comma, and not just any one. And it’s reignited a longstanding debate over whether the punctuation is necessary.
A federal appeals court decided this week to keep alive a lawsuit by dairy drivers seeking more than $10 million in an overtime pay dispute.
It concerned Maine’s overtime law, which doesn’t apply to the “canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of” foods.
There’s no Oxford, or serial, comma in the “packing for shipment or distribution” part. The drivers said the words referred to the single activity of packing, which the drivers don’t do. The defendant, Oakhurst Dairy, said the words referenced two different activities and drivers fall within the exemption.
Circuit Judge David Barron wrote: “For want of a comma, we have this case.”
The court sided with the drivers.
“Comma sense ain’t so common,” Jeffrey Neil Young, an attorney for the drivers, said Friday.
David Webbert, another attorney for the drivers, said the “fight for overtime rights has been vindicated” by what he called a “landmark” ruling made possible by an ambiguous exemption and a lack of a punctuation mark.
“Our argument was that it was a train wreck of a sentence,” Webbert said. “The tie goes to the workers.”
Oakhurst representatives said they plan to keep fighting the suit and declined to comment on the comma kerfuffle. A trial could follow. The company is well known in Maine for its line of milks, creamers and other dairy products.
Since the ruling, the internet has become a battlefield for defense — and derision — of the comma. News website Vox tweeted that the “Oxford comma is the world’s most controversial punctuation mark.”
Indeed, use of the Oxford comma has divided people for years. FiveThirtyEight and SurveyMonkey Audience polled more than 1,000 people about it in 2014 and found that more than half favored the extra comma.
The Associated Press Stylebook advises against the use of the Oxford comma, except when it’s needed for clarity. In this case, someone following AP’s guidance would include a comma if the packing and distribution were intended to be separate activities.
Other authorities are more enthusiastic about the serial comma — notably Oxford University Press, from which the mark draws its popular name. The Oxford style guide, published as New Hart’s Rules, states that it is Oxford style “to retain or impose this last comma consistently.”