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Message 188349 - Posted: 12 Nov 2005, 22:54:05 UTC
Last modified: 12 Nov 2005, 23:36:03 UTC

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Message 188362 - Posted: 12 Nov 2005, 23:49:45 UTC

Cuts by Congress spare TV converter boxes

By William Neikirk
CHICAGO TRIBUNE

November 12, 2005

WASHINGTON - While considering slashes in Medicaid and student loan programs, Congress is about to set aside up to $3 billion to help millions of Americans with old non-digital television sets buy converter boxes.

Each converter box is expected to cost the government $40 to $60, but supporters of the legislation don't want to take chances of being accused of denying Americans their right to a TV picture when broadcasting goes all digital.

Depending on how much money is allocated, the funding would buy as many as 60 million "set-top" electronic boxes to make it possible for old, broadcast-only TV sets to continue receiving a picture when the broadcasting industry converts to all-digital transmission.

Conservative groups have criticized the proposed expenditure as a giveaway, but the plan has received less attention because it's included in deficit-reduction legislation that has generated an uproar in the House for its spending reductions in programs affecting the poor, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

The GOP leadership yanked the budget bill from the floor Thursday because it had failed to gather enough votes to pass it, and its outlook is uncertain. Some of the House's spending cuts could be killed to make the bill more palatable, but there is no indication the converter box provision is in jeopardy. The Senate has passed its budget measure.

James Gatusso, a technology expert at the Heritage Foundation, called it "a subsidy for old TV sets," and not the wisest use of federal money at a time of large deficits.

Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget-watchdog group, said that helping poor people buy converter boxes appears justified. But, he added, "When the government subsidizes anything, it usually goes to people who don't need it. I suspect that will be the case here."

The money would be doled out without regard to income, although families that have broadcast-only sets tend to be poorer, industry officials said.

Both the House and Senate bills would require the industry to convert to all-digital broadcasting by a specific date – on Dec. 31, 2008, in the House bill and April 7, 2009, in the Senate measure. Old "analog" or non-digital sets won't receive a picture unless they are hooked to a cable or satellite system.

Rather than risk an uproar by millions of Americans, including an estimated 21 million households that have non-digital sets, lawmakers decided to pre-empt the complaints with a purchase plan similar to one tried in Berlin when it recently switched to all-digital.

"The potential for consumer outrage over one day waking up and finding out that you are simply incapable of receiving local news, . . . or entertainment programs, is enormous," said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.
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Message 188364 - Posted: 12 Nov 2005, 23:51:13 UTC
Last modified: 12 Nov 2005, 23:51:50 UTC

7 postal carriers canned for obeying bulk mail refusals

By Tom Zucco
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

November 12, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - They found out they were being fired by letters that were never delivered.

Instead, seven veteran St. Petersburg mail carriers were summoned to the station manager's office through a side entrance. As an armed postal inspector stood by, the letters were read to them.

They were losing their jobs, they learned that day in September, for failing to deliver bulk mail advertising to a handful of customers on their routes who had specifically asked them not to.

Citing improper conduct, the Postal Service alleges the carriers didn't perform their duties. The companies that produce bulk mail had paid to have it delivered to every address, the Postal Service maintains, and the seven didn't do it.

The carriers don't dispute that.

But they weren't trying to shirk their duty, they say. They were doing what their customers had asked them to do.

Those customers side with their carriers.

"Who is the post office working for, the customers or the advertising industry?" asked Ed Vaughan, a condominium resident.

The case of the seven carriers spotlights a larger issue of whether Postal Service customers who do not want to receive bulk mail can put themselves on something akin to the national do-not-call list for phone solicitations.

The stakes are high. The Direct Marketing Association said companies from banks to grocery stores to pizza delivery services will spend about $31 billion in noncatalog direct mail advertising this year.

That's money the Postal Service depends on. Close to a third of the Postal Service's annual revenue comes from bulk mail. "Our revenue doesn't come from the government or from tax revenues," Postal Service spokesman Gary Sawtelle said. "It comes from the people who put postage on mail."

The carriers - Tanya Gillespie, Michael FitzGerald, Candace Lester, Richard Crowder, John Hyers, Jody Vaccaro and Buddy Venuti - work in and around southwest St. Petersburg and represent more than 150 years of service. They all have clean records, including letters of appreciation.

Most are working while their cases are being appealed through their union.

FitzGerald, who has spent nearly 19 years with the Postal Service, explained five or six of the 560 customers on his route asked him not to stuff their mailboxes with unwanted ads.

Obeying their wishes, he didn't.

A single parent whose 20-year-old son is a Marine serving in Iraq, FitzGerald said his supervisors accused him of failing to deliver the mail and throwing mail away. "We have to deliver the mail," he said. "But according to the (mail carrier's) manual, we're supposed to deliver mail according to the desires of the customer."

As for throwing mail away, "Once the customers refuse this bulk mail," FitzGerald said, "it becomes undeliverable bulk business mail, and we disposed of it in the undeliverable bulk mail bin at the post office."

Although direct mail companies are not mandated by law to remove anyone's name from their lists, spokesman Sawtelle said it would make good business sense for the companies not to send mail to someone who doesn't want it.
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Message 188375 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 0:42:19 UTC

Murder Suspect's Google Searches Spotlighted In Trial

By K.C. Jones
TechWeb News

Fri. Nov. 11, 2005

Prosecutors claim a Mac specialist on trial in connection with the killing of his wife did a Google search for the words: "neck snap break" and "hold" before she was killed.

Robert Petrick, who is defending himself in Durham, N.C., cross examined a computer forensics expert this week. The expert testified about digital footprints he said the state discovered on several hard drives in Petrick's home.

Prosecutors claimed that Petrick, who stands out in his Christian North Carolina community as a self-professed Pagan, left behind a trail of digital evidence including a visit to a site called bloodfest666. Investigators are also focusing e-mails to women they said Petrick was having affairs with and a download of a document entitled "22 ways to kill a man with your bare hands."

Authorities claim that Petrick looked up the depth and topography of a lake where the body of his wife Janine Sutphin was found -- before he reported her missing.

Google's press office did not respond Friday to an email inquiry about the case, but a lawyer standing by for Petrick said he believes the evidence was all culled from the hard drives and he has no information that Google participated in the investigation.

Mark Edwards, who Petrick dismissed to represent himself, said that he believes he could have argued several legal points more expertly than the defendant but he may not have been as adept at cross-examining on computer forensics.

"He's a computer geek," Edwards said in an interview Friday. "I think he knew more about MacIntosh computers than the state's witness did. I'm not sure how much the jury caught, but he seemed to be pretty pleased."

The state's laws require that Edwards attend the trial in case he is needed.

Edwards said the Google searches just came up, though the investigation began nearly two years ago. He said that there was a massive amount of information on all of the hard drives. Edwards said investigators also retrieved emails Petrick's wife sent before her death.

Edwards and local television journalist Julia Lewis of WRALsaid Petrick apparently supported himself by running a computer business. Lewis said he seemed to know a lot about Linux and operating systems.

Prosecutors could not be reached Friday because of the holiday.

More computer forensics information is expected to come up during testimony as the trial wraps up next week. WRAL has been carrying live streaming coverage on its Web site.
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Message 188512 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 17:23:35 UTC
Last modified: 13 Nov 2005, 17:27:39 UTC

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East, retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar said, "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veterans health care."

"Earlier this year, his administration admitted that they were $1 billion short in funding for critical health care services," he said. "They also repeatedly tried to increase the cost of prescription drugs and health care services for veterans nationwide."

The Veterans Affairs Department acknowledged in April that it had underestimated medical care costs. Congress reacted by approving an additional $1.5 billion in emergency funds for the current budget year.

Hoar also said, "Thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will require mental health care, yet the Bush administration has not taken action to deal with this emerging problem."

In contrast, Democrats are working to improve the current health care system and strengthen mental health care services, he said.

"As a veteran and a former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, I have seen first hand the kind of sacrifices they are making for us. It's a debt we will never be able to repay," he said. "But we have a special duty to make sure our veterans receive the benefits they have earned and deserve when they return home."



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Message 188513 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 17:36:09 UTC - in response to Message 188512.
Last modified: 13 Nov 2005, 17:37:51 UTC

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East, retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar said, "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veterans health care."

....

"As a veteran and a former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, I have seen first hand the kind of sacrifices they are making for us. It's a debt we will never be able to repay," he said. "But we have a special duty to make sure our veterans receive the benefits they have earned and deserve when they return home."


And it's not only the veterans from the Middle East, I'm sure there are several veterans from Vietnam, who can't get the treatment they need either! The long term effect of being in war are severe!



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Message 188523 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 18:32:26 UTC - in response to Message 188513.

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East, retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar said, "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veterans health care."

....

"As a veteran and a former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, I have seen first hand the kind of sacrifices they are making for us. It's a debt we will never be able to repay," he said. "But we have a special duty to make sure our veterans receive the benefits they have earned and deserve when they return home."


And it's not only the veterans from the Middle East, I'm sure there are several veterans from Vietnam, who can't get the treatment they need either! The long term effect of being in war are severe!





OK I speak from personal experience here. If any veteran needs medical care
in the U.S. all they have to do is ask. Even if they do not have service related health problems.

If they are service related the Veteran has top priority. It may not be perfect
but what government services are. Some times it's a royal pain in the ass, but you will get the help you need.

I do realize there are some service relaited problems that there are no fixes for. Post tramatic symptoms sometimes will take years to rear thier ugly head. Yes war is hell and it's sad that we have wars.





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Message 188549 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 19:37:34 UTC

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Message 188623 - Posted: 13 Nov 2005, 23:56:34 UTC

Residents of White Settlement perfectly happy with town's name

By Simon Romero
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

November 13, 2005

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas - "A dynamic city," the city seal of this North Texas town of 15,400 proclaims, "on the crossroads of progress." A crossroads - well, yes.

The towers of downtown Fort Worth can be glimpsed from White Settlement, which abuts the Lockheed Martin plant, formerly General Dynamics, that has produced bombers and fighter jets since World War II, including B-24s, the Liberator bombers. Interlopers from Tennessee and Kentucky settled here in the 1840s, when this was Comanche country. It's not quite dynamic, however.

Many of the small, ranch-style homes are run-down, and the lunch crowd at Ricky's Burger and Shake on White Settlement Road complains of a police force stymied by rising crime. Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and The Home Depot have recently left for communities with more land, causing sales-tax income to decline.

So when the mayor and members of the Chamber of Commerce decided that the very name of the city might be limiting its allure to outside investors, they asked voters in White Settlement to approve a change to something a little less provocative, like, say, Liberator Village or, simply, Settlement.

The residents of White Settlement responded Tuesday by defeating the measure by roughly a 9-to-1 ratio among about 2,500 who voted.

At the counter in Ricky's, Konnye Wilkerson, 21, a cashier, explained: "You shouldn't be afraid to be white. It's like showing we're not proud of our history."

The history of this area, often bloodied by skirmishes between whites and American Indians, did give the town its name, said Norris Chambers, founder of the White Settlement Historical Museum. "Because this area was inhabited by white settlers only, it was logical to call it White Settlement," said Chambers, 88, a retired technician at Otis Elevators.

The town's population is now about 85 percent white, according to the most recent census figures. Nonwhites in White Settlement sometimes look at the discussion over the town's name with resignation.

"It's been this way for years, so why change it?" said Paris Ray, 37, who owns a store with his wife, selling imported products from the Philippines.

But in a modest neighborhood, Monique Marshall had a different opinion. "They say it's not racist, but it is," said Marshall, 23, a black woman from New Orleans who, with her 1-year-old son, was displaced to Texas by Hurricane Katrina. "I never thought I'd live here. I'm going home."
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Message 188637 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 1:09:50 UTC - in response to Message 188512.

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East, retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar said, "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veterans health care."

...

In contrast, Democrats are working to improve the current health care system and strengthen mental health care services, he said.

...

US veterans have been getting the short end of the retirement benefits stick since the American Civil War in the 1860s. For Democrats to suddenly decide that it is a crisis is a bit disingenuous.

Virtually every general in the US Armed Forces believes as General Hoar does, but only those with no ambition for elected office every say these things in public.

Veterans can get healthcare for the asking, but veterans like myself who didn't stay in till retirement and have no service-connected diability are pretty low on the priority list. An aging one-tour vet from Vietnam with a geriatric condition is going to wait in line after the War on Terror vets getting fitted for artificial limbs. Most vets who have the means acquire private health insurance.

It would be wonderful if the federal government would step up to the plate and either fund the VA health system with serious dollarage or find a way to slash costs to get better service for about the same money. For instance, I'm sure that there's something that could be done for nationalizing medical malpractice insurance for VA employees. The VA already pools its massive buying power for drugs and supplies and equipment, but it could probably do it with half the Bureaucracy.
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Message 188709 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 3:54:00 UTC - in response to Message 188637.
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 3:55:14 UTC

but veterans like myself who didn't stay in till retirement and have no service-connected diability are pretty low on the priority list. An aging one-tour vet from Vietnam with a geriatric condition is going to wait in line after the War on Terror vets getting fitted for artificial limbs. Most vets who have the means acquire private health insurance.


es Terror Vets are First in line and that is understandable, But the rest of your
statement is in my experience simply not the case. The Vet Docs are stretched but if you need medical attention the VA is there for you and you wont be turned down...
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Message 188717 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 3:59:25 UTC - in response to Message 188709.

but veterans like myself who didn't stay in till retirement and have no service-connected diability are pretty low on the priority list. An aging one-tour vet from Vietnam with a geriatric condition is going to wait in line after the War on Terror vets getting fitted for artificial limbs. Most vets who have the means acquire private health insurance.


es Terror Vets are First in line and that is understandable, But the rest of your
statement is in my experience simply not the case. The Vet Docs are stretched but if you need medical attention the VA is there for you and you wont be turned down...

My last encounter with the VA: I needed to jump through a thousand hoops to get any medical attention. They told me I had to get an outside private care giver to get help. I grabbed my card from the guys hand and yelled all the way out the door. My shoulder was killing me and I could hardly move it. It's still hurting, but not as much, and this was about 5 months ago. >:-| |-:<

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Message 188761 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 4:24:41 UTC - in response to Message 188523.
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 4:31:02 UTC

Speaking on the Veterans Day weekend, the former U.S. military commander in the Middle East, retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar said, "President Bush has consistently refused to provide enough money for veterans health care."

....

"As a veteran and a former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, I have seen first hand the kind of sacrifices they are making for us. It's a debt we will never be able to repay," he said. "But we have a special duty to make sure our veterans receive the benefits they have earned and deserve when they return home."


And it's not only the veterans from the Middle East, I'm sure there are several veterans from Vietnam, who can't get the treatment they need either! The long term effect of being in war are severe!





OK I speak from personal experience here. If any veteran needs medical care
in the U.S. all they have to do is ask. Even if they do not have service related health problems.

If they are service related the Veteran has top priority. It may not be perfect
but what government services are. Some times it's a royal pain in the ass, but you will get the help you need.

I do realize there are some service relaited problems that there are no fixes for. Post tramatic symptoms sometimes will take years to rear thier ugly head. Yes war is hell and it's sad that we have wars.






You want experience, I'll give you experience...I will not have a doctor who's name I can't understand, who's diploma is written in a language I can't read, who won't listen to me but who acts like he's god, doing any further surgery on my leg and turning me from merely handicaped to a total cripple. But what the hell, they closed down the new VA clinic (hugh complex only four years old), and the militarty hospital (O'Callahan) where I live, because of financial constraints. Thanks but not thanks. I just get my check and let it go at that. Semper Fi!

A vet is cheaper and not as likely to incur a malpractice suit (that's a laugh with the VA).

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Message 188810 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 5:58:38 UTC
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 6:05:48 UTC






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Message 188883 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 13:51:23 UTC
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 13:52:51 UTC

I'm moving this over from the Troll thread see here because I don't want to feed the troll ok?

Moore is preparing to sue critics of his film
From the New York Times (reg required):

Mr. Moore is readying for a conservative counterattack, saying he has created a political-style "war room" to offer an instant response to any assault on the film's credibility. He has retained Chris Lehane, a Democratic Party strategist known as a master of the black art of "oppo," or opposition research, used to discredit detractors. He also hired outside fact-checkers, led by a former general counsel of The New Yorker and a veteran member of that magazine's legendary fact-checking team, to vet the film. And he is threatening to go one step further, saying he has consulted with lawyers who can bring defamation suits against anyone who maligns the film or damages his reputation.


It's a case of those that live in glass houses?



I'm not sure what your point is here. People on the left are used to being censored and attacked by the mainstream. Can you blame him? He is trying to get a serious message across to people that is not usually tolerated in the media.

Think for a moment who controls the media and who's interest it serves. If you want to express an alternative viewpoint you may have to take extreme measures to do so.
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Message 188886 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 14:10:19 UTC - in response to Message 188883.



Think for a moment who controls the media and who's interest it serves. If you want to express an alternative viewpoint you may have to take extreme measures to do so.


So who really controls the media?

It would be O.K. to present a alternative
viewpoint if it wasn't full of innuendo and unsubstantiated claims.
The extreme in considered nut cases and fruit loops.

Extreme measures can be emotional Terrorism.
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Message 188891 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 15:04:56 UTC - in response to Message 188886.
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 15:10:15 UTC


So who really controls the media?


Have you heard the term "he who pays the piper call the tune?" Television, newspapers, magazines are all funded by advertisers. If they don't like what you are saying then they withdraw their money.

Also, the govenment is careful about what it feeds to the press. If you are a jounalsit who asks difficult questions or is too critical of government policy then you won't get the interviews and you won't get invited to press conferences. There is a very cosy "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" relationship between most journalists and government.

It would be O.K. to present a alternative
viewpoint if it wasn't full of innuendo and unsubstantiated claims.


If that is the case then it will all come out in the court case when Michael Moore sues his critics.
There are other voices, not given airtime, that can supply the evidence. Michael Moore is just the one that is pushy and annoying enough that he gets heard.

The extreme in considered nut cases and fruit loops.


I agree, but sometimes it is easier to brand someone a nutcase or a fruitloop than listen to what they are saying. Some truths can be very uncomfortable

Extreme measures can be emotional Terrorism.


I agree. (that's a lovely turn of phrase by the way, is it your own?) However, don't be blind to the emotional Terrorism that you are inflicted with everyday.
Does it mean that you are unpatriotic because you don't support the war in Iraq?

[Edit]That's a general you, by the way, not you in particular. "emotional Terrorism" - I like that, I shall use that all the time now :-) [/Edit]
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Message 188895 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 15:11:53 UTC - in response to Message 188883.
Last modified: 14 Nov 2005, 15:34:03 UTC

I'm moving this over from the Troll thread see here because I don't want to feed the troll ok?

Moore is preparing to sue critics of his film
From the New York Times (reg required):

Mr. Moore is readying for a conservative counterattack, saying he has created a political-style "war room" to offer an instant response to any assault on the film's credibility. He has retained Chris Lehane, a Democratic Party strategist known as a master of the black art of "oppo," or opposition research, used to discredit detractors. He also hired outside fact-checkers, led by a former general counsel of The New Yorker and a veteran member of that magazine's legendary fact-checking team, to vet the film. And he is threatening to go one step further, saying he has consulted with lawyers who can bring defamation suits against anyone who maligns the film or damages his reputation.


It's a case of those that live in glass houses?



I'm not sure what your point is here. People on the left are used to being censored and attacked by the mainstream. Can you blame him? He is trying to get a serious message across to people that is not usually tolerated in the media.

Think for a moment who controls the media and who's interest it serves. If you want to express an alternative viewpoint you may have to take extreme measures to do so.



Calm down Es, Calm Down, my point was that Michael Moore is fine with the ideals of free speech when it serves the interest of his making a buck, but when he gets a new one ripped out of him for peddling his half truths and innuendos, he's soon on the defensive, lets face it where was he when Clinton was blowing the crap out of Iraq during Ramadan in 1998?

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Message 188897 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 15:52:32 UTC - in response to Message 188891.



Extreme measures can be emotional Terrorism.


I agree. (that's a lovely turn of phrase by the way, is it your own?) However, don't be blind to the emotional Terrorism that you are inflicted with everyday.
Does it mean that you are unpatriotic because you don't support the war in Iraq?

[Edit]That's a general you, by the way, not you in particular. "emotional Terrorism" - I like that, I shall use that all the time now :-) [/Edit]


Thanks I own it! my own words good or bad I don't like to just cut and paste
someone else's veiws. right or wrong it's all me. :-)
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Message 188898 - Posted: 14 Nov 2005, 15:56:21 UTC - in response to Message 188891.

It would be O.K. to present a alternative
viewpoint if it wasn't full of innuendo and unsubstantiated claims.


If that is the case then it will all come out in the court case when Michael Moore sues his critics.
There are other voices, not given airtime, that can supply the evidence. Michael Moore is just the one that is pushy and annoying enough that he gets heard.

There is a principle in US public discource called "fair comment." For example, if a company releases a new software package and a magazine shreds it in a review, it is not slander or libel if the comments made were reasonably true at the time they were made. The publisher cannot sue the magazine simply because it didn't like what was said. This is a specific application of the First Amendment rights to "free speech" and "freedom of the press."

Okay, let me re-phrase that. In the current US court system, one can launch a suit against anyone for any reason... but the law is clear that the plaintiff has no prima facie case if the complaint is about a fair comment, and the suit should then be summarily dismissed.

The plaintiff is then responsible to cover the defendant's legal costs because the case had no merit and the plaintiff should have known this before filing the suit.
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No animals were harmed in the making of the above post... much.

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