- Feds threatened universities that used Kindles, claiming they violated the civil rights of the blind
Posted by Kim Priestap
Published: August 10, 2010 - 7:51 PM
Come on, this is so preposterous that it has to be the brainchild of the Onion, right? Nope, the feds really did threaten to sue the universities that allowed students to use Kindles for textbooks. Byron York wrote about it last week
Did you know the Justice Department threatened several universities with legal action because they took part in an experimental program to allow students to use the Amazon Kindle for textbooks?
Last year, the schools -- among them Princeton, Arizona State and Case Western Reserve -- wanted to know if e-book readers would be more convenient and less costly than traditional textbooks. The environmentally conscious educators also wanted to reduce the huge amount of paper students use to print files from their laptops.
It seemed like a promising idea until the universities got a letter from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, now under an aggressive new chief, Thomas Perez, telling them they were under investigation for possible violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Why would the federal government get so upset about something as innocuous as the Kindle? It goes to the heart of what makes the Obama administration tick:
The Civil Rights Division informed the schools they were under investigation. In subsequent talks, the Justice Department demanded the universities stop distributing the Kindle; if blind students couldn't use the device, then nobody could. The Federation made the same demand in a separate lawsuit against Arizona State.
This is what drives the Obama administration's redistributionist policies. If the poor don't have money, then the feds will just take it from the rich and give it to them. Same thing with votes for felons. However, since the feds can't seize the eyes from the sighted and hand them over to the blind, then the feds will just make sure the sighted are denied products the blind can't use. It's all done in the name of "fairness."
But as York noted, the market was at work and solved that problem on its own:
One obvious solution to the problem, of course, was to fix the Kindle. Early on, Amazon told federation officials it would apply text-to-speech technology to the Kindle's menu and function keys. And sure enough, last week the company announced a new generation of Kindles that are fully accessible to the blind. While the Justice Department was making demands, and Perez was making speeches, the market was working.
But don't worry, the feds under the Obama administration will find some way to punish the haves in the name of delivering justice to the have-nots.
Cross-posted at KimPriestap
About The Author: Kim Priestap is a freelance writer, blogger extraordinaire, columnist, and all around cool gal. Married to Steve for twelve years, they have three wild and wacky kids. Kim splits her time between south central Michigan during the school year and northern Michigan during the summer, where she and her husband own and operate a canoe livery and fly shop near the banks of the beautiful and historic Au Sable River.
In addition to blogging at Wizbang, she also writes at her personal political blog KimPriestap: No-nonsense conservative opinion.
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