The story of Eric Keroack’s brief stint as director of family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services brings together three familiar Bush administration themes: a disdain for women’s reproductive health and rights, the sacrifice of science to ideology and incompetence.
Appointed in November, Dr. Keroack was always a disturbing choice to lead the federal office that finances birth control, pregnancy tests and other health care services for five million poor Americans. He previously was the medical director of a private network of pregnancy counseling clinics in Massachusetts that views the distribution of contraception as “demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness,” according to the group’s Web site.
Its program for dissuading women from having an abortion has included spreading the medically inaccurate claim that having an abortion greatly increases the risk of breast cancer. In speeches and writing, Dr. Keroack has promoted the scientifically bereft notion that sex with multiple partners alters women’s brain chemistry in a way that makes it hard for them to form relationships.
It turns out these were not the only reasons Dr. Keroack was unsuitable. Last month he resigned after the Medicaid office in Massachusetts took action in connection with his private medical practice. The details of a continuing investigation (which someone in the White House should have discovered) are still murky, and Dr. Keroack says he plans an appeal. In the meantime, the administration’s ideological blinkers and shoddy process for vetting appointees has produced yet another embarrassment.
Computer makers have been told they’ll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems.
By early 2008, Microsoft’s contracts with computer makers will require companies to only sell Vista-loaded machines. “The OEM version of XP Professional goes next January,” said Frank Luburic, senior ThinkPad product manager for Lenovo. “At that point, they’ll have no choice.”
Despite Microsoft’s relentless promotion of Vista, manufacturers are still seeing plenty of demand from customers for systems preloaded with XP, especially in the finicky SOHO market.
If IPRED2 passes in its current form, “aiding, abetting, or inciting” copyright infringement on a “commercial scale” in the EU will become a crime.
Penalties for these brand new copycrimes will include permanent bans on doing business, seizure of assets, criminal records, and fines of up to €100,000.
IPRED2′s backers say these copycrimes are meant only for professional criminals selling fake merchandise. But Europe already has laws against these fraudsters. With many terms in IPRED2 left unclear or completeley undefined – including “commercial scale” and “incitement” – IPRED2 will expand police authority and make suspects out of legitimate consumers and businesses, slowing innovation and limiting your digital rights.
The entertainment industry spent millions suing the makers of the first VCRs, MP3 players and digital video recorders, trying to use copyright law to kill those innovative products because they threatened old business models. Fortunately, the industry was unsuccessful.
IPRED2′s new crime of “aiding, abetting and inciting” infringement again takes aim at innovators, including open source coders, media-sharing sites like YouTube, and ISPs that refuse to block P2P services.
With the new directive, music labels and Hollywood studios will push for the criminal prosecution of these innovators in Europe, saying their products “incite” piracy – with EU taxpayers covering the costs.
Under IPRED2, these same entertainment companies can work with transnational “joint investigation teams” to advise the authorities on how to investigate and prosecute their rivals!
Criminal law needs to be clear to be fair. While IPRED2 says that only “commercial scale” infringement will be punished, the directive doesn’t define “commercial scale” or “incitement.” Even IP lawyers can’t agree on what are “private” and “personal” uses of copyrighted works. One step over that fuzzy line, however, and anyone could be threatened with punishments intended for professional counterfeiters and organized criminals.
How can ordinary citizens feel safe exercising their rights under copyright and trademark law when serious criminal penalties may be brought against them if they cross the line?
The excesses of IPRED2 need to be reined back. Sign our petition now!.
A federal bankruptcy judge Wednesday ordered an external audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego amid accusations church leaders are trying to hide assessts to avoid payment to sex abuse victims.
Some typing mistakes are just too good to be true..