It wasn't the "critics" or the political commentator who brought this to court. It was Mann who sued them, opening the way for discovery subpoenas against him, not FOIA requests. This blocks the defendant from getting to a public employee's communications that may possibly be used to defend one's self against a suit by that employee. This could be a very bad precedent. And don't confuse this with the FOIA stuff, nor with critics/skeptics using it to harass Mann: Bottom line is that if Mann had not sued in order to silence a political columnist, none of this would ever have been necessary.
That is what worries me more than anything else - if a public employee sues you in a matter of free speech (to silence you from criticizing him, via use of libel laws), this precedent gives that government employee a huge shield to hide behind and resist your attempts to discover information to defend yourself with against his lawsuit. This is a terrible precedent because it will provide for government coverups and denials of FOIA requests in the long run. Imagine this being used by a public employee you do not like politically, for a libel suit for your criticism of him - whether justifiable or not, it limits your ability to defend yourself. These folks are public employees, and their correspondence should as a general rule be available (excluding classified information, or personal privacy redacted info). A blanket limit on discovery when defending against a lawsuit from a public employee is a bad thing
With that uid you have been around long enough to remember the AOL invasion of Usenet and the massive chaos that imposed on users. However, unlike Usenet back then, we now have plenty of alternatives, and this place will become quickly abandoned if a similar impact happens. I wonder if those pushing this have read Santayana...
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
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There is always further to fall (I didn't think we could get worse than Reagan... And yet we continually managed).
Yeah bringing down "stagflation" ( inflation averaged 12.5%, compared with 4.4% during Reagan's last year in office, unemployment rate declined from 7.5% to 5.4%) , then starting one of the biggest economic booms, initiating the START treaty (actually eliminating nuclear weapons and reducin warhead counts for the first time ever), and setting up the fall of Communism without the horror of a war or bloody revolution in Europe. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew during his eight years in office at an annual rate of 3.85% per year; Nobel Prize winners Milton Friedman and Robert A. Mundell, argue that Reagan's tax policies invigorated America's economy and contributed to the economic boom of the 1990s. That Reagan was really terrible, yeah? I suggest you learn a bit more of the real history of that era. I was a kid, and I remember Carter and the misery, and how Reagan (and the Dem Congress, truly bipartisan) worked to repair the damage done.