Jeff Greene sues Miami Herald, St. Pete Times

Florida billionaire Jeff Greene sues Miami Herald, St. Pete Times for libel after campaign loss

(article: Jim Weaver, Miami Herald)

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene accused The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times in a libel lawsuit filed Wednesday (Sept 1, 2010) of orchestrating a "plan to assassinate [his] character" that cost him the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in Florida.

Greene, who lost to Miami U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek by 26 percentage points, said the newspapers published stories about his real estate dealings in California and his 145-foot yacht Summerwind that were "knowingly based on false information."

"Defendants . . . published the articles with the goal of destroying the personal, business and political reputation of Greene," the suit claims.

Greene, represented by prominent Atlanta lawyer L. Lin Wood, is seeking a total of $500 million in damages from the two papers.

"We don't have any comment on the lawsuit, since the case was just filed," said Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal. "But we can say that the coverage of this race and the candidates was fair, deep and thorough."

Said Times Editor Neil Brown: "It is our firm opinion that the allegations in this lawsuit are preposterous. We believe Jeff Greene is a sore loser and he's blaming the newspapers because he can't accept the verdict of the voters."

Greene's defamation suit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court, is unusual for a political figure. The news media enjoy strong protections of freedom of the press under the First Amendment. To win damages, Greene's lawyer would have to prove the two stories that allegedly defamed him were published by the papers with "actual malice."

The 55-page suit claims that The Herald and The Times "had actual knowledge of facts prior to publication that disproved their false accusations but nonetheless proceeded to publication in an intentional effort to harm Greene and his campaign."

Those First Amendment protections are meant for free coverage of events, not to give license to sneering turds who manipulate the impressions of "useful idiots". I wonder if these were protection-worthy articles? The more important question here is, who's Kendrick Meek? Har har har. Hopefully he'll be joining this race outside of the Miami area sometime soon.
- jR

Sen. Bernie Sanders says: hands off my beloved Social Security, you vicious, anti-government nuts!

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 16:  Sen. Bernie Sanders...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) comments on what he sees as right-wing "hatred" of Soc Sec. Hatred of it is going a bit far, except maybe some far-flung kooks. 

Opinion: We can't allow deep benefit cuts, including a steep rise in the retirement age.

Some of it (note: the links within it are mine):
"The White House deficit commission is reportedly considering deep benefit cuts for Social Security, including a steep rise in the retirement age. We cannot let that happen.
"The deficit and our $13 trillion national debt are serious problems that must be addressed. But we can -- and must -- address them without punishing America's workers, senior citizens, the disabled, widows and orphans.
"First, let's be clear: Despite all the right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going bankrupt. That's a lie!
"The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has run surpluses for the last quarter century. Today's $2.5 trillion cushion is projected to grow to $4 trillion in 2023. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, experts in this area, say Social Security will be able to pay every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary until 2039.
"Got that? In case you don't, let me repeat it. The people who have studied this issue most thoroughly and have no political bias report that Social Security will be able to pay out all benefits to every eligible beneficiary for the next 29 years.
"It is true that by 2039, if nothing is changed, Social Security will be able to pay out only about 80 percent of benefits. That is why it is important that Congress act soon to make sure Social Security is as strong in the future as it is today.
"The hatred of Social Security from the right-wing, anti-government crowd is based on the fact that the government program has been enormously successful in accomplishing its mission. For 75 years, in good times and bad, Social Security has provided financial security for tens of millions of Americans. ..."
(use link above to read the whole piece)

Disliking how Soc Sec's Trust Fund is borrowed from by a greedy government, and the balance of pay-ins versus pay-outs, is what is creating worries, as far as I'm aware. Pretty simple that is more money goes out than goes in, it's going to dry up! I don't recall hearing anyone suggest it was going to run out next year, but in 2039? The estimates have varied. Who said banish it? I think younger people just don't trust government with their retirement account.  

Sanders' crude calling of people "anti-government" leaves out a vital adjective. Anarchists and crooks are anti-government; right wingers who are neither of those are against a BIG, dominating, bossy, liberty-sucking federal government. They are not against government. 

Senator, Tea Party people, as far as I am aware and as far as I am informed, are merely against a massive, costly, too-powerful Big Brother government full of people who twist facts -- such as what they feel about Soc Sec. If that is not clear, senator, then you have a scant excuse for being a representative of any people. 

Senator, by the looks of this rant of yours, you are an agitator and extremist, not your right wing antagonists. Judging from the deviant language you used, in the opinion piece, about those who favor an affordable and liable government over a constantly growing, taxing beast, you're way off-center, to say the least. 

Your comments about Soc Sec history of success -- obvious stuff, isn't it? -- aside, your coloring of the right is juvenile, done with crayons, not informed nore sensible, as with fine art oil paint.

Shame, Vermont, for keeping this wacky man in power. He is way off-color.

- jR
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Yemeni men were testing flight security of U.S. with some abandoned luggage

This had to have been some sort of test run for something. Empty bottles with electronics attached? Really? What else would that be?
Airport Business, via the Virginian-Pilot newspaper site:

Two Yemeni men who arrived in Amsterdam on a flight from Chicago were arrested by Dutch authorities Monday and charged with preparing a terrorist attack after officials found suspicious items in their luggage, Dutch and U.S. officials said.

U.S. authorities requested the arrest after discovering that one of the men had checked his luggage from Chicago to Dulles International Airport in Virginia, then left Chicago on a different flight to Amsterdam, said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The luggage sent to Virginia contained a cell phone taped to a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, in addition to three cell phones taped together and several watches taped together.

The owner of the luggage, Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, a Yemeni citizen who lives in Detroit, also was carrying $7,000 in cash, said a Dutch official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

After sending his luggage to Dulles, al Soofi was joined in Chicago by a second man, Hezam al Murisi, and the two men flew on United Airlines flight 908 to Amsterdam. U.S. air marshals were aboard the flight.

Al Soofi's luggage was flown to Virginia and was headed for Dubai, then Yemen. But once authorities learned al Soofi had taken a different flight, federal officials in Virginia ordered the aircraft to return to the gate to remove his luggage. Another inspection revealed no explosives.

Click the link for the whole article as on Airport Business.
- jR (AirFarceOne on Twitter)