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Warning: array_key_exists() [function.array-key-exists]: The second argument should be either an array or an object in /home/content/d/b/n/dbnation/html/includes/module.inc on line 217 DisabilityNation Blog and Episode Feed
Blog and Episode RSS feedsenRoll with the Waves
<span class="inline inline-left"><img src="/files/images/Sea Princess.jpg" alt="Sea Princess" title="Sea Princess" class="image image-_original" width="492" height="150" /><span class="caption" style="width: 490px;"><strong>Sea Princess</strong></span></span><p>Cruising is one of the best ways to visit new and exciting places around the world. I've been on three of them now, the most recent ended a few days ago when I returned from a Princess cruise to Alaska. The cruise was 10-days long and featured shore time in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway Alaska as well as a day in Victoria British Columbia. Without a doubt, Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the world. However, for those of us with disabilities, the journey can be tricky at times.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/roll-waves">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/roll-waves#commentsAccessibilityCruisingTravelSat, 11 Jul 2009 15:32:43 -0700Larryw707 at http://www.disabilitynation.netReprieve for Ray Sandford
<span class="inline inline-right"><img src="/files/images/Sandford.img_assist_custom.jpg" alt="Photo of Ray Sandford. Photo by Daryl Trones of City Pages." title="Photo of Ray Sandford. Photo by Daryl Trones of City Pages." class="image image-img_assist_custom" width="250" height="250" /><span class="caption" style="width: 248px;">Photo of Ray Sandford. Photo by Daryl Trones of City Pages.</span></span><p>DisabilityNation has continued to follow the story of Ray Sandford for the past few months. Back in April you'll recall that <a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/ray-sandford-declares-guarded-victory-mindfreedom-ray-campaign">Ray's psychiatrist quit</a> giving hope that the forced shock treatments he was receiving would soon end. Last week an article appeared in City Pages that did an excellent job of describing what Ray has been subjected to because of these treatments. City Pages is the main weekly newspaper distributed throughout
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/reprieve-ray-sandford">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/reprieve-ray-sandford#commentsAdvocacyLegalMental IllnessNewsMon, 25 May 2009 16:28:24 -0700Larryw695 at http://www.disabilitynation.netTechnology Makes it Happen
<span class="inline inline-left"><img src="/files/images/Computer.img_assist_custom.jpg" alt="Photo of a computer monitor next to a desktop computer tower." title="Photo of a computer monitor next to a desktop computer tower." class="image image-img_assist_custom" width="255" height="230" /><span class="caption" style="width: 253px;">Photo of a computer monitor next to a desktop computer tower.</span></span><p>We've all been there, busily working through that to do list and then something completely unexpected gets thrown our way. That was exactly what happened recently at work. It was late in the afternoon and I was trying to get a number of things done before the end of the day. Suddenly, my boss stopped in with a gentleman who was in need of assistance. She explained that he was working up until about 2 weeks ago when he was let go due to budget issues. He was once receiving SSDI benefits and now wasn't sure what to do at all. Thinking that I could help him with the benefits issue and possibly assist him in finding another job, she left him with me. And, did I forget to say he was deaf and did not read lips?<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/technology-makes-it-happen">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/technology-makes-it-happen#commentsAccessibilityEmploymentTechnologyMon, 18 May 2009 20:59:38 -0700Larryw657 at http://www.disabilitynation.netTexas Fight Club Reflects Continued Failure of State Disability Policy
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<p>While some readers may find the above video shocking, anyone who has half-way paid attention to recent happenings related to disability issues in the state of Texas won't be surprised at all.</p>
<p>Several months ago we began hearing about the personnel issues with staff working at Texas state schools (institutions). it turned out that dozens of employees had once been fired or disciplined for abuse and or neglect of those living at state institutions and then were rehired again. And now videos surface showing staff at one of these state schools arranging for and carrying out fights between those living in the facility.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/texas-fight-club-reflects-continued-failure-state-disability-policy">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/texas-fight-club-reflects-continued-failure-state-disability-policy#commentsSat, 16 May 2009 22:08:20 -0700Larryw649 at http://www.disabilitynation.netSatire: Use Your Stimulus Check To Buy PWD An Agent!
I was lying in bed last night watching "Serendipity" which somehow misses being a good film, despite having a lot of my favorite actors in it. This gave me a lot of time to consider which tiny, or not so tiny, want or need from my ever-expanding list I might satisfy, using next month's extra stimulus money.Though the list was crowded, nothing really seemed like the One Thing. It was too bad, I thought to myself, that disabled people as a group were always so poor. Otherwise we could pool our money and maybe get a lobbyist that wasn't one of us with a touchingly handmade sign and a heart of gold. Though I believe in people power and that whole Margaret Mead small-group-of-committed-people-changing-the-world thing, and have some protest stories to prove it, some times it feels like taking a gun to a knife fight. Or maybe, it's just like America itself, and I have missed its best years.
"But, Erika," I told myself. "You don't like lobbyists."
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/satire-use-your-stimulus-check-buy-pwd-agent">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/satire-use-your-stimulus-check-buy-pwd-agent#commentsFri, 01 May 2009 15:39:58 -0700ErikaJ620 at http://www.disabilitynation.netPop Culture Thursday: My Strange Fascination With "Breaking Bad"
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In a strange way, the most authentic representation of disability on TV right now is American Movie Classics' "Breaking Bad", and not just because the son is played by disabled actor R.J. Mitte, although that helps. Mitte's Flynn is a multi-faceted character who is doing his best to grow up and away as everything he's always known about his family comes apart. It's a strange claim to make about a family drama/dark heist comedy, but I can't miss it.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-my-strange-fascination-breaking-bad">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-my-strange-fascination-breaking-bad#commentsMediaPerceptiontelevisionWed, 22 Apr 2009 13:45:02 -0700ErikaJ517 at http://www.disabilitynation.netRay Sandford Declares "Guarded Victory" for MindFreedom Ray Campaign
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<p>Several months ago I posted news about Ray Sandford, a man from Minnesota who was undergoing forced electric shock treatments because of his mental illness. An organization called <a href="http://www.mindfreedom.org">Mind Freedom"</a> has been supporting Ray's efforts to end this involuntary treatment. This update comes via a press release issued by the organization late last week. The text of the release follows:</p>
<p>The bad news is that this morning, 15 April 2009, Ray Sandford of Minnesota had another involuntary, outpatient electroshock, also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.</p>
<p>The good news is today's forced electroshock could be Ray's last.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/ray-sandford-declares-guarded-victory-mindfreedom-ray-campaign">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/ray-sandford-declares-guarded-victory-mindfreedom-ray-campaign#commentsAdvocacyLegalMental IllnessNewsMon, 20 Apr 2009 06:59:03 -0700Larryw516 at http://www.disabilitynation.netWhere's the Podcast?
<span class="inline inline-right"><img src="/files/images/larrys_0.jpg" alt="Larry: Photo of Larry Wanger, founder and producer of DisabilityNation." title="Larry: Photo of Larry Wanger, founder and producer of DisabilityNation." class="image image-img_assist_custom" width="100" height="100" /><span class="caption" style="width: 98px;"><strong>Larry: </strong>Photo of Larry Wanger, founder and producer of DisabilityNation.</span></span><p>For the near 3 years that DisabilityNation has been on the web I have worked to bring together interviews, news and information that you, the reader and listener would find most helpful. And, over that time many of you have provided comments, suggestions and great ideas that have helped to make the program even better. However, producing, recording and editing a program like DisabilityNation takes time and a lot of effort. Both of which seem to be lacking at the present time.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/wheres-podcast">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/wheres-podcast#commentsAnnouncementsPodcastSite NewsSun, 19 Apr 2009 18:14:51 -0700Larryw515 at http://www.disabilitynation.netQuadriplegic Reaches Geographic North Pole: A Historic First
<p>The North Pole has now been made wheelchair accessible. On April 11, 2009 a disabled parking sign was raised at the North Pole on the 100th anniversary of the first successful polar expedition. David Shannon became the first person in world history with quadriplegia and in a wheelchair to reach the Pole. He along with expedition co-leader and fellow Canadian, Chris Watkins, developed "Team Independence 09" to promote breaking barriers to accessibility and greater community inclusion.</p>
<p>David upon reaching the pole stated, "This sign represents all peoples who have faced challenges or adversity in their lives and have dreamed of overcoming them. If we as people, work together in our homes, our cities, our countries and in our global village, there is no dream that cannot be realized."</p>
<p>Chris Watkins who himself was injured in 1988 stated, "David and our team represents the long-shot win of the underdog. But it shows that there is no dream too big to dream and no challenge to big to overcome. What David has left us with is a world of infinite horizons."</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/quadriplegic-reaches-geographic-north-pole-historic-first">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/quadriplegic-reaches-geographic-north-pole-historic-first#commentsFirstsRecreationSportsTravelSat, 18 Apr 2009 20:45:01 -0700Larryw514 at http://www.disabilitynation.netCommentary: How Old Is Too Old To Be A "Young Woman"?
My attendant-services file says I'm a creative, highly intelligent young woman.
In addition to the embarrassments inherent in having an attendant file, I'm feeling relegated to life's kids' table by that remark, although I suppose it was nice for the last worker to write in it to leave things on a decent note.
And I'm not an old woman, for sure, but at 35 years in this body that wasn't even supposed to leave the hospital, ain't I a woman? Full stop?
I ache like a woman, I want things like a woman, I 've got debt collectors mispronouncing my name like a woman.
Can we let "young lady," take her seat on the graveside of my personal history along with channels ceasing programming at midnight,3 1/2 floppies, and my regrets about not winning all those slamming MTV "Let A Rockband Take Over Your House" contests from back when?(I suspect if I had won, it would have created a huge PR challenge, though. Everybody wanting to trade places with the crippled girl. OMG.)
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/commentary-how-old-too-old-be-young-woman">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/commentary-how-old-too-old-be-young-woman#commentscommentaryDisabilityWed, 15 Apr 2009 12:13:07 -0700ErikaJ512 at http://www.disabilitynation.net"Hands of My Father" Reaches Across Generations
Myron Uhlberg's memoir of growing up with deaf parents,<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Hands-My-Father_Hearing-Language/dp/0553806882"> Hands of My Father,</a> has already attracted a lot of attention in the mainstream press for its depiction of how much responsibility young Myron assumed, acting as his father's interpreter from about the age of six...he doesn't mention doing this in quite the same way for his mother...maybe the neighbor women were more patient at accepting handwritten notes or maybe she was content to allow her husband to be the public face of her family in the world...it's hard for a frustrated wannabe egomaniac like myself to believe there were ever women that domestically inclined, but that's material for another book.
It is hard to believe that only within one person's lifetime, there was no closed-captioning and no way for ordinary folks to get sign-language interpretation, even when their seizing second child needs a doctor.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/hands-my-father-reaches-across-generations">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/hands-my-father-reaches-across-generations#commentsbooksDeafTue, 07 Apr 2009 12:31:41 -0700ErikaJ511 at http://www.disabilitynation.netCooperation Sings in "Autism: The Musical"
I don't know what I was expecting from a film called "Autism: The Musical." It was just a title that attracted my attention, even as a dark-humored part of me wanted to suggest that it should be a rock opera to better accomodate all the head-banging. Yeah, yeah, I know. Elaine Hall founded the Miracle Project to use her theater-directing skills to enhance the journey that began when she found out her adopted son Neal was autistic. The miracle project is designed to help autistic kids express themselves through music, dance, and acting, which I started off being very skeptical of.
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<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/cooperation-sings-autism-musical">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/cooperation-sings-autism-musical#commentsAutismMediaMoviestelevisionWed, 01 Apr 2009 11:34:16 -0700ErikaJ510 at http://www.disabilitynation.netAwareness Day Simulations: On A Roll Without A Clue
In one way, I understand why schools and businesses continue to do disability-awareness day simulations. It can be difficult to talk about disability, and it seems that many non-disabled people are fascinated by our shiny assistive devices, so a day spent playing crip-for-a-day could only be in good fun, right?
At least, that's what I heard about the one I went to as a teenager. But I'm older now, and more political, so the idea that someone could learn what my life is like from strapping into a wheelchair for a few hours seems as ridiculous to me as trying on the male experience by gluing on a cut-hair mustache and calling myself "Hank'. Maybe I would even learn some tiny superficial truths about how guys relate to their world by doing that, but it wouldn't be like experiencing life as a guy. Tying on a blindfold and being shocked by sudden darkness is not like being blind either.
But I guess I could put it in a box with other related behavior such as people passing my wheelchair and cheerily asking "What's the speed limit on that thing?" or the urge people seem to have to try on each other's glasses. Dorky and incomprehensible, but harmless.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/awareness-day-simulations-roll-without-clue">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/awareness-day-simulations-roll-without-clue#commentsTue, 24 Mar 2009 15:02:52 -0700ErikaJ509 at http://www.disabilitynation.netPop Culture Thursday "The Rockford Files" and "Rescue Me"
Something old and something new for my pop-culture report this week. It really is heartening how much more of the disability experience can be found on DVD of late.
Watching childhood favorites can be a mixed bag, even when you aren't trying to be Social Security Cultural Critic. Some of them just don't hold up to informed scrutiny(Most of the Star Wars trilogy) the discovery of irony(Batman as played by Burt Ward and Adam West) or just the fact that watching vans blow up isn't your idea of a good time anymore(The A-Team) so even though Mom and I agreed to start watching <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rockford_Files">The Rockford Files</a> together about two years ago, I was kind of afraid of facing that same letdown, but Jim Garner, always and forever, turns my mom's crank, and it was a detective story, so what would be the harm?(It's where I learned about two things: The power of a wiseass' smile and the existence of machines that record phone calls, both things that would haunt much of my later life.)
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-rockford-files-and-rescue-me">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-rockford-files-and-rescue-me#commentsMediaPerceptionTVThu, 12 Mar 2009 12:44:32 -0700ErikaJ508 at http://www.disabilitynation.netCan We Finally Kill The Welfare Queen? Commentary on the Economy and Budget Strife
I haven't written about economic conditions yet here because I feel that it's beyond me(I'm no<a href=" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman"> Paul Krugman</a> although his <i>Conscience of A Liberal</i> changed my life.) I'm just a citizen of a nation who seems to have never been fully sure that I existed, and I have spent my life, from early childhood in the Reagan years, and been reminded of this fact. Mom used to drag me to school board meetings.
I missed completely what some people seem to view as some golden age of Clinton prosperity, but I don't really write this out of personal bitterness(although college might have been different if I had known that Uncle Sam would wave the cookie plate in front of my face and jerk it away before I'd selected my own personal nummy treat)
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/can-we-finally-kill-welfare-queen-commentary-economy-and-budget-strife">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/can-we-finally-kill-welfare-queen-commentary-economy-and-budget-strife#commentscommentaryeconomyPoliticsThu, 05 Mar 2009 15:11:20 -0700ErikaJ507 at http://www.disabilitynation.netGuide Dogs & Getting Hired - The March Issue of DisabilityNation
<img src="http://www.disabilitynation.net/files/images/chair57.jpg" align="left" height="200" width="200" alt="photo of a man using a laptop computer"><a href="http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.disabilitynation.net/files/audio/dn76.mp3">The March issue</a> of DisabilityNation is finally here and features coverage of the latest news and interviews focusing on issues important to people with disabilities.</p>
<p>If you're looking for work right now you know that finding employment is difficult because of the downturn in the economy. Fortunately, if you're a person with a disability there is a new web site that might be able to help. <a href="http://www.gettinghired.com">GettingHired</a> launched just over 3 months ago and is already providing an outstanding service for those of us in the disability community.</p>
<p>The GettingHired Mission is to create sustainable employment growth and opportunity for people with disabilities. The GettingHired portal accomplishes its mission by serving and connecting job seekers with Disabilities, committed Employers, advocacy Organizations and service Providers.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/episode/guide-dogs-getting-hired-march-issue-disabilitynation-0">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/episode/guide-dogs-getting-hired-march-issue-disabilitynation-0#commentsEmploymentNewsPodcastservice animalsWed, 04 Mar 2009 21:10:57 -0700Larryw506 at http://www.disabilitynation.netUK Children's Host's One Arm Creates TV Controversy
<p>I was slow to hear about the situation with <a href=http://www.bbc.co.uk>BBC</a> children's television host Cerrie Burnell. Several online friends had mentioned some parents' tendencies to want to sanitize kids' lives from all but the most Disney-fied realities, but that could apply to anything from a racy web page to blowback from an appearance on an adult television program, as when the actor who used to star on Blue's Clues appeared on the gritty crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street. (Not as Steve; I could see why that'd be upsetting.) Check out the following video.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/uk-childrens-hosts-one-arm-creates-tv-controversy">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/uk-childrens-hosts-one-arm-creates-tv-controversy#commentsMediaPerceptionTVUKFri, 27 Feb 2009 11:29:21 -0700ErikaJ502 at http://www.disabilitynation.netPatrick Goldstein Stands Up For Us, Film, in Opposing Jerry-as-Humanitarian
<p>I think I might be in love again, with another writer who doesn't know I exist. But seriously, Patrick Goldstein at the L.A Times, let me buy you a libation of your choice if I ever get to L.A. again. <a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/2009/02/oscars-scariest.html”>Your column about Jerry Lewis</a> encapsulates so much of my disgust at seeing this glad-handing, crocodile-tear-leaking relic receive any kind of prize from anywhere, except possibly a partial credit for inspiring Krusty the Clown. This saves me from having to write an entire post on my own behalf, which I almost didn't want to do, because any disabled person who has been at all thoughtful about this issue has been to <a href=http://www.thetroublewithjerry.org>The Trouble with Jerry</a>, and has read the brilliant analysis on this from Laura Hershey and others. So, you don't really need to hear what a pop-culture lightweight like me says about it, but it's interesting, isn't it, that for a community that often has no unifying force, how unified we've all been against this choice by the Academy.<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/patrick-goldstein-stands-us-film-opposing-jerry-humanitarian">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/patrick-goldstein-stands-us-film-opposing-jerry-humanitarian#commentsFilmMediaPerceptionpop-culturetelevisionThu, 19 Feb 2009 13:17:16 -0700ErikaJ501 at http://www.disabilitynation.netWhy I Really Didn't Like "How's Your News?"
<p> I really hoped I would dig <a href="http://www.howsyournews.com">How's Your News?</a>, even if liking the <a href="http://www.mtv.com">MTV</a> chatfest puts me on the same side as curmudgeonly media critic Tom Shales, who has failed to spot a trend or have an original thought since Poppy and Bar went back to Kennebunkport.</p>
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<p> I didn't have to worry about that, since I found every moment of <i> News</i> more painful than the one before, despite my generally positive feelings about people with disabilities doing man-on-the-street interviews.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/why-i-really-didnt-hows-your-news">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/why-i-really-didnt-hows-your-news#commentsMediaPerceptiontelevisionMon, 16 Feb 2009 17:38:51 -0700ErikaJ500 at http://www.disabilitynation.netDefining Moment Defines Depression, Roosevelt's Rise
<p>How could someone who began his life as the sort of kid his own cousins made fun of end up one of the most iconic and beloved leaders of the free world? How could a politician known for flip-flopping and careless dabbling end up setting the modern standard for both leadership in a crisis, as well as hitting the ground running? These are some of the questions historian and cable commentator Jonathan Alter sets out to answer in his history of Roosevelt's first hundred days, <i>The Defining Moment</i></p>
<p>Alter seems to believe that FDR's disability ended up as an asset, because his experience with the treatment of his own polio(the doctors made some bad initial treatment decisions) taught him the folly of always listening to experts and of sticking hard to conventional wisdom. Roosevelt's approach to the Great Depression was a high-stakes improvisation, in part fueled and informed by his earlier experiences developing what I suppose we might call a "wellness community" at Warm Springs, Georgia.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/defining-moment-defines-depression-roosevelts-rise">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/defining-moment-defines-depression-roosevelts-rise#commentsBook reviewsMediaPoliticsMon, 09 Feb 2009 14:39:40 -0700ErikaJ499 at http://www.disabilitynation.netSaturday Night Live Strikes Again
<p>It looks like SNL is at it again. This past Saturday a skit poking fun at Governor David Paterson of New York ran as part of the regular Weekend Update segment. (Click on Read More and watch the video at the end of this post). Like the previous skit that ran in the fall, this one too made jokes about Paterson's blindness, made him look incompetent and portrayed him as a coke addict.<p>
<p>When I wrote about the previous skit I heard from several people who felt I was too sensitive and that the skit was funny. Further, those critical of my views said that as a public figure, Governor Paterson becomes subject to such attention in the media and on the comedy circuit. While I agree entirely with the second point, I can't accept that its okay to portray blind people as incompetent as these two skits have done.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/saturday-night-live-strikes-again">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/saturday-night-live-strikes-again#commentsMediaPoliticstelevisionTue, 03 Feb 2009 20:15:07 -0700Larryw498 at http://www.disabilitynation.netRemote Thoughts
My remote died the other day, a loss which I realize would not generally occasion the tone that my fake boyfriend Keith Olbermann might use to eulogize fixture of Negro League baseball Buck O' Neill or anything like that.
It bugs me though, because I'm feeling kind of helpless this week and like my plans tend to count for nothing, and it's hard enough to cope with the fact that my idea of excitement in the bedroom is knowing that King of The Hill is on Adult Swim at eleven. If I were able-bodied, I'd like to think I'd hardly notice, and the truth is, if I got magically cured today, I probably wouldn't for a day or two, just because I'd be standing up and sitting down randomly(Because it's there!) or running gratuitous showers
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/remote-thoughts">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/remote-thoughts#commentsbooksMoviesPerceptionPop CutureTue, 27 Jan 2009 13:38:37 -0700ErikaJ497 at http://www.disabilitynation.netDVD Review-- Tropic Thunder
Am I a bad disabled person if I admit that I thought "Tropic Thunder" was kinda funny? I mean, not hilarious, that would make me a bad moviegoer, but I laughed, and I hate feeling that I should feel bad about that, being as how life is so difficult and I love laughing at stuff.
It's true "retard" doesn't ping me as hard as maybe it ought to. Mea culpa, as a smartmouthed sportscaster who had his own sins of temperament to confess to once wrote, but I was well into college before I stopped using it myself, and my mother has worked with people with cognitive disabilities off and on for years.
But which is the greater Hollywood atrocity? Ben Stiller playing an idiot who says "retard" or Hollywood conventional wisdom that says Sean Penn + jawbreaker=Oscar gold. Much as I admire Mr. Penn, he's not telling our stories when he does that, and that was the point of the "Simple Jack" sequence.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/dvd-review-tropic-thunder">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/dvd-review-tropic-thunder#commentsPerceptionPop CultureWed, 21 Jan 2009 14:10:37 -0700ErikaJ496 at http://www.disabilitynation.netStereotypes Mar "T is For Trespass"
I loved and was chilled by the latest entry in the Kinsey Milhone Alphabet series.<a href="http://www.suegrafton.com/titlepage.asp?ISBN=0399154485"><i> T is for Trespass</a></i>
Any disabled person with an attendant should find a special resonance in this tale of elder abuse, identity theft, and one of the greatest fictional private eyes in history getting into a cat-and-mouse game with a dangerous sociopath.
I'm really pleased to see how the twenty-year-old Alphabet Series has been invigorated in the last few outings, but I've still got a problem with this book on disability grounds.
The villain, known for most of the book as Solana Rojas(I can tell this because it's not a whodunnit, unlike much of the Milhone oeuvre) has an absolutely loathsome developmentally-disabled son who's huge and jokingly named Tiny. I hope Grafton didn't intend him as a sign of Solana's evil, but he has a pile of super-disgusting traits including a tendency towards violence and a fascination with huge, hairy spiders.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/stereotypes-mar-t-trespass">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/stereotypes-mar-t-trespass#commentsMon, 19 Jan 2009 17:46:04 -0700ErikaJ495 at http://www.disabilitynation.netPeter Singer Reflects On Harriet McBryde Johnson's Life--With Commentary
My editor found
The thing that struck me most is how political, or at least, philosophical, opposition can evolve into such great personal respect.Of particular interest to me was the fact that these two heavyweights could have such vigorous ethical debates and still have civil, even friendly, dinners together. Maybe it's this form of unity, rather than bland agreement, that Obama speaks about so passionately.
However, in addition, I'm always shocked to find smart people(and whatever you may think of Dr. Singer's application of his gifts, there's no denying he's got a fast processor up there,) who think since I've got a disability, the only thought I can possibly have is "Fuck! Can't walk today, either," but that's kind of what he implies in the last paragraph or two.
Of course, yes, I have that thought(even though the independent-living movement would like everyone to believe that nobody really does. They lie, too. Because sometimes lack of mobility just sucks.)
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/peter-singer-reflects-harriet-mcbryde-johnsons-life-commentary">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/peter-singer-reflects-harriet-mcbryde-johnsons-life-commentary#commentsFri, 16 Jan 2009 11:55:43 -0700ErikaJ494 at http://www.disabilitynation.netQuestions in Wake Of King Seclusion Suicide
There is a dirty little secret going on in special education today. I hadn't known about the extent of the problem, despite considering myself a well-informed civilian when it comes to education issues. And I, as a former special-ed student, spent my share of time away from the class to chill out or think about my "transgressions"(which, even when isolation is properly applied, more or less, left me feeling more punished than mellow.) And I was not locked in the time-out room, nor denied access to a bathroom and/or attendant services. Even so, I doubt it was effective.
But I had no idea about the extent to which the seclusion(or time-out) rooms have been misused in school districts around the country, culminating in a case in Georgia where thirteen-year-old <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/17/seclusion.rooms/index.html?eref=rss_topstories">Jonathan King hung himself,</a> ironically with a belt that a teacher had provided for him to keep his pants up.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/questions-wake-king-seclusion-suicide">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/questions-wake-king-seclusion-suicide#commentsChildrenEducationTue, 30 Dec 2008 13:21:08 -0700ErikaJ493 at http://www.disabilitynation.netSNL Drops Gov. Patterson Parity, Who's Laughing?
<p>I must admit that prior to the Presidential Election this year I began watching SNL again with the same anticipation and excitement that I did years ago when it was actually worth my time. And, as many Americans probably have, I've not watched it once since November 4th.</p>
<p>If I needed any confirmation that my decision to spend my Saturday nights on more useful activities was the right one, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh06zRI01JU">this skit</a> provides just that. Sure, for those of you who will tell me to get over it, there are certainly a few funny points in this skit. Yet, most of what the SNL writers hope that we will find funny are attempts to support stereotypes and false perceptions that some people have about those of us who are blind. For more reaction to the parity, check out <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081215/ap_on_en_tv/snl_paterson">this Associated Press article.</a> You decide. Watch the video and leave your thoughts.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/snl-drops-gov-patterson-parity-whos-laughing">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/snl-drops-gov-patterson-parity-whos-laughing#commentsMediaPerceptionPoliticstelevisionMon, 15 Dec 2008 18:06:32 -0700Larryw492 at http://www.disabilitynation.netThe December Episode of DisabilityNation
<img src="http://www.disabilitynation.net/art/dnlogo.jpg" align="right" width="175" height="175" alt="Logo of DisabilityNation"><p><a href="http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/www.disabilitynation.net/files/audio/dn121408.mp3">DisabilityNation</a> returns with a new episode featuring the latest news from around the disability community, an encore of an interview focusing on the Adaptive Sports Association, an update on future episodes of the show and some new features that are now part of the DisabilityNation phone portal. Download and tune in to this fast-paced information packed episode of DisabilityNation.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/episode/december-episode-disabilitynation">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/episode/december-episode-disabilitynation#commentsNewsPodcastSportsSun, 14 Dec 2008 16:26:30 -0700Larryw491 at http://www.disabilitynation.netEmpowering Iraqis With Disabilities
<p>Bruce Curtis is a for-real role model, using his years of living with his disability and his job with Berkeley's <a href="http://www.wid.org">World Institute on Disability,</a> to provide mobility training and adaptive devices to newly disabled people in war-torn Iraq. Even more than the challenges of an inaccessible environment, <a href="http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_11103490">Curtis told Oakland Tribune correspondent Barbara Grady</a> that attitudes and not picturing a future for people with disabilities are the biggest barriers to success for Iraqis.</p>
<p>Curtis is a quadriplegic who trains disabled Iraqis in how to handle the daily challenges of their disabilities. He helps them with using wheelchairs and learning how to advocate for their rights in a country where the disabled have few opportunities.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/empowering-iraqis-disabilities">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/empowering-iraqis-disabilities#commentsEmpowermentGlobalIraqMon, 08 Dec 2008 11:12:41 -0700ErikaJ488 at http://www.disabilitynation.netMore Retailers Featuring People With Disabilities in Spots
<p>With the holiday season upon us there are all kinds of new advertisements making the rounds. And, I've noticed a couple that prominently feature people with disabilities.</p>
<p>The following ad comes from Best Buy and describes the experience of a Best Buy employee who helped a customer who is blind.</p>
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/gTVY5Fh7LV0&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/gTVY5Fh7LV0&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
<p>Another commercial being run by Kay Jewelers features someone who is deaf.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/more-retailers-featuring-people-disabilities-spots">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/more-retailers-featuring-people-disabilities-spots#commentsMediatelevisionSat, 06 Dec 2008 09:49:09 -0700Larryw487 at http://www.disabilitynation.netBeing a Quadriplegic is Punishment Enough
<img src="http://www.disabilitynation.net/files/images/scales.jpg" align="right" width="150" height="300" alt="photo showing the scales of justice"><p>Okay, I warn you now, this isn’t going to be a pleasant, friendly post. So, if you’re not up for ranting and some serious anger, its probably best that you turn away. However, in this case, I think <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/509797.html#">the justice system screwed the people of Belmont New York,</a> the people of the United States and the entire disability community. This cuts to the heart of societies perception of what the quality of life for those of us with disabilities must be like and is a slap in the face to our dignity.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/being-quadriplegic-punishment-enough">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/being-quadriplegic-punishment-enough#commentsChildrenJusticeMediaPerceptionTue, 02 Dec 2008 10:11:14 -0700Larryw486 at http://www.disabilitynation.netExample vs. Activism
<p>While I don't have children myself, I've been noticing lately families where one or more of the kids has a disability. I think the impetus for this was an experience I had recently.</p>
<p>I was traveling last week and, while waiting for a bus in front of the hotel, my wife and I noticed a family; mom, dad and three kids. One of the children, a little girl, appeared to have Cerebral Palsy. What was interesting was the deliberate efforts of the entire family to include her in everything and to hold her to the same expectations that everyone else had to follow.</p>
<p>The family was headed out for a day of fun and dad arrived on the scene with the little girl before mom showed up with the other children a few minutes later. And, in keeping with the stereotypical things that parents notice, mom immediately caught on that daughter was shoeless. Instead of asking dad why he forgot to get her shoes, she asked the girl why she didn't remind her father to put them on for her.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/example-vs-activism">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/example-vs-activism#commentsChildrenPerceptionSun, 30 Nov 2008 17:01:48 -0700Larryw485 at http://www.disabilitynation.netBattle for Inclusion in Michigan
<p><img src="http://www.disabilitynation.net/files/images/Micah.jpg" align="left" width="300" height="200" alt="Micah Fialka-Feldman in front of the Oakland University dormitory - photo from Charles V. Tines/ The Detroit News">Micah Fialka-Feldman has been a pioneer in inclusion for many years. He has been taking classes, participating in clubs, and currently pays full tuition at Oakland University, located just outside of Detroit Michigan. In 2007, the university gave Micah a tour of the dormitory, accepted his deposit, confirmed his "move in date" and then said no. In the last 60 days, the student body, the local media and people from across the country have expressed support for Micah's dream and the right of all Option Program students to live in the dormitory.</p>
<p>I first became familiar with Micah and his family when I interviewed them on <a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/episode/through-same-door">episode 44 of DisabilityNation</a> a little over one year ago. The interview covers a documentary focusing on Micah's battle for inclusion called <a href="http://www.throughthesamedoor.com">Through the Same Door.</a></p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/battle-inclusion-michigan">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/battle-inclusion-michigan#commentsEducationInclusionFri, 21 Nov 2008 14:03:26 -0700Larryw484 at http://www.disabilitynation.netPop Culture Thursday "House" and "The Office"
I really didn't watch <a href="http://www.tv.com/the-office/the-injury/episode/589084/summary.html?tag=ep_guide;ep_title;11"> The Office</a>when I first saw "The Injury" but it still totally made me laugh anyway. True, the opening sequence about the Foreman grill only makes sense if you follow Michael Scott's particular combination of brashness and neediness, but the midpoint, featuring Michael as the clueless able-bodied person who "finally understands" about disability issues should provoke rueful laughter in all of us, as should Dunder-Mifflin's pathetic effort at a disability rights presentation(especially Michael's including a poster of Forrest Gump.) Once again, Steve Carrell deserves an award for putting some real humanity into the biggest jerk in the world.
<p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-house-and-office">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/pop-culture-thursday-house-and-office#commentsMediaPop CulturetelevisionThu, 20 Nov 2008 14:31:33 -0700ErikaJ483 at http://www.disabilitynation.netCommentary--Why PWD Need To Care About Prop 8
<p>I have often thought that people with disabilities and people who are gay should be natural allies, even before all of the No on Proposition 8 protestsand the subsequent rallies after election day started across the nation. The protests bring back memories of ADAPT actions I've been involved with in the past. I feel that we have many shared experiences in our battles for acceptance in life. Consider how many of us grow up in, but not of, the dominant culture,and often have to look outside our families of origin for role models and inspiration. The fact that we only rarely get the guy or girl in Hollywood productions is only a bonus. Also, all kinds of people think it's icky to contemplate members of either group having sex.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/commentary-why-pwd-need-care-about-prop-8">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/commentary-why-pwd-need-care-about-prop-8#commentsElection2008PerceptionPoliticsReligionSexualityTue, 18 Nov 2008 13:33:39 -0700ErikaJ482 at http://www.disabilitynation.netCity Threatens Woman Over a Penny
<p>Just when you think you’ve heard everything, <a href="http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/11/city-threatens.html">a story like this</a> reminds us just how ridiculous government can be.</p>
<p>Eileen Wilbur was one penny short when she paid last year's water bill. Now the city of Attleboro, Mass., is threatening to take action. In a letter they paid 42 cents to mail, city officials say they'll place a lien on the blind 74-year-old's house unless she coughs up a penny by Dec. 10, according to the Associated Press. City Collector Debora Marcoccio tells The Sun Chronicle that Wilbur should have paid the balance on her account when they sent out the original bill. She says the lien notices are automatically printed. "It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to have staff weed through the bills and pull out any below a certain amount," she says, according to the paper. " And what would that amount be?"</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/city-threatens-woman-over-penny">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/city-threatens-woman-over-penny#commentsGovernmentLighter SideTue, 18 Nov 2008 13:07:44 -0700Larryw481 at http://www.disabilitynation.netFreedom for Thousands in Illinois
<p>People with disabilities across the country and specifically those in Illinois <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/1279443,CST-NWS-disabled14.article">won a huge victory</a> last week when a <a href="http://www.equipforequality.org/news/pressreleases/ligasmaramfiles.php">tentative settlement</a> was reached in a class action suit. The settlement requires that thousands of people with disabilities living in institutions must be offered the option of living in the community. Residents of institutions across the state of Illinois will have the option of moving to small group homes and living in their communities.</p>
<p>Under the terms of the agreement, the 6,600 residents now living in state-funded residential facilities must be given the option to move into small group homes in their own communities. Another 15,000 people waiting for residential services would also be affected by the agreement.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/freedom-thousands-illinois">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/freedom-thousands-illinois#commentsADAPTInstitutionsLegalSun, 16 Nov 2008 13:32:14 -0700Larryw480 at http://www.disabilitynation.netInvoluntary Shock Treatment, Still Happening in America
<p>I received the following announcement from a friend. Please consider how you can speak out in support of Ray and others who still face involuntary treatment.</p>
<h4>Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock</h4>
<a href="http://www.mindfreedom.org/">MindFreedom International</a>
November 7, 2008
<p>by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International</p>
<p>The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were you doing? I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing. Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis. Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital. There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis. And it’s been going on for months.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/involuntary-shock-treatment-still-happening-america">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/involuntary-shock-treatment-still-happening-america#commentsAbuseAdvocacyLegalMental IllnessSun, 16 Nov 2008 11:59:48 -0700Larryw479 at http://www.disabilitynation.netThree Blind Mice, on Ice,,
<img src="http://www.disabilitynation.net/files/images/coyotes.jpg" align="left" width="225" height="250" alt="Logo of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team on a black background"><p>Its not too often that I get to mix two of my greatest passions in life when I sit down to write a blog entry. Those two being sports and disability activism. But, today is my lucky day I suppose. And, because the sport is hockey, its even better.</p>
<p>Occasionally I write about perception and instances where society is exposed to the disability experience either in a movie, print media, television program or through some other way. Sometimes this exposure is positive and helps people to come to a better understanding about life with a disability. But, there are many other times where I’m left scratching my head wondering just what the producers were thinking.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/three-blind-mice-ice">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/three-blind-mice-ice#commentsMediaPerceptionSportsTue, 11 Nov 2008 13:33:14 -0700Larryw478 at http://www.disabilitynation.netRevising Labels
<p>Once in a while I get asked to participate in forums or discussions about disability issues. This was the case a few weeks ago at work when I was asked to participate in a presentation for a class from <a href="http://www.asu.edu">Arizona State University.</a> There were several of us on the panel who shared some very personal insights regarding our disability. Part of the discussion required us to give the official medical label or diagnosis for our disability and then to explain it in simple English.</p>
<p>I find it fascinating sometimes when I meet people who have disabilities who feel its important to make sure I know their label. That is, what professional or medical speak is used to explain what some in other circles might call their condition or impairment.</p><p><a href="http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/revising-labels">read more</a></p>http://www.disabilitynation.net/blog/revising-labels#commentsMediaPerceptionThu, 06 Nov 2008 21:44:29 -0700Larryw477 at http://www.disabilitynation.net