Dispatches > In Brief

In Brief

"In Brief" Continued...

Issue: "9/11 remembered," Aug. 17, 2002

That, however, may be changing. In Ohio, for instance, the former state senator who wrote a 1993 law earmarking millions for DARE now questions the program. Barry Levey, a former Republican senator, said that he serves as a trustee for a charity that is reevaluating its support for DARE programs. "DARE hit a slump," he said. "We are still supporting the program, but I must say the enthusiasm is not what it was, and there are a lot of questions being asked."

Miscarriage of justice

Linda Rosenthal of the Center for Reproductive Law called it a "campaign of harassment," but John Stachokus just wanted his child to live. The 24-year-old Pennsylvanian sued his ex-girlfriend, Tanya Meyers, to stop her from aborting their child. He lost the case on Aug. 5, and soon after Miss Meyers apparently suffered a miscarriage, making the issue moot.

Initially, the case swung in Mr. Stachokus's favor when a Pennsylvania state judge issued a temporary injunction against Miss Meyers. But another judge dissolved the injunction, saying the right to an abortion "is not subject to being vetoed by a woman's husband or partner."

Before the miscarriage, some fathers' rights advocates defended Mr. Stachokus. "We talk about fathers negatively so often, about how they don't want to be responsible for their children, and this guy is doing everything he can to be sure his unborn child isn't aborted," said Dianna Thompson, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.

Engine for growth?

America Online is hoping its new software will upgrade its financial situation. As AOL tries to overcome its economic woes, it is also preparing version 8.0 for release in the fall.

Over 35 million members currently use AOL, and the service is the only major Internet provider that still relies mainly on its own proprietary software. The new version's most promising addition is new search capabilities based on the popular Google search engine. Also in the works are better parental and junk e-mail controls, easier ways to organize digital photos, and improved online shopping.

But AOL's financial dealings are attracting more attention than its technology. The company's merger with Time Warner now has a large share of detractors, thanks to financial scrutiny and a flagging stock price. While stock analysts hailed the 2000 merger as an example of the Internet taking over the old media, it now looks more like AOL was trying to acquire a company with old-media value before the dot-com bubble burst.

Earlier this summer, the company confirmed that federal regulators are looking into its financial statements. Meanwhile, revenues have fallen thanks to increasingly scarce ad dollars and fickle subscribers. Microsoft is also breathing down AOL's neck; even though its MSN service is a distant rival, it launched a multimillion-dollar redesign to draw new customers.

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