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Archive for the ‘hearing impaired’ Category

Requiring Voters To Have Photo ID Would Exclude Disabled?

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by Treadmarkz

In my local paper today, I read an editorial on the debate over requiring voters to have a photo ID. It claims that 10% of eligible voters with disabilities, (27,000 people in Minnesota where I live) would not have photo ID and would therefore be excluded from the electoral process.
Okay, my first questions is why is this? Though I do not myself have a driver’s license so I have no right to question this, I do know that it is not too expensive to get a photo ID which can be used for every occasion except for operating a motor vehicle. I understand the economic problems disabled people face in the competitive work force, but if 10% of disabled adults in this state cannot afford to get this ID card, a one-time expense, then this state, this country really, has more problems than I thought.
If this is the case, then let me propose a solution, and then we can debate why it is not plausible so we can make sure nothing ever gets done about it. My solution is we reissue Social Security cards to all adults, but make it a photo ID rather than the flimsy proto-cardboard they’ve been using since the time of Plymouth Rock! Every legal citizen has one. In switching over from the old to the new version, we might just be able to weed out some of the illegally held Social Security numbers in the U.S. as well.
Tell me where I’m wrong.

Why I Am Offended By Leap Year (A Satire)

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by Treadmarkz

Every four years the Earth has an extra day inserted into the calendar so that it has time to catch up and make it around the sun before December 31. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some kind of special treatment.  Sounds like some of the special education programs I went through so I had more time to sit and think so I could get my math homework done.
You think Mars gets an extra day on its 687 day calendar every four years just so it can catch up? No. I bet it stays on its course, pays attention, and gets the task finished on time. It knows that its orbit is different from that of other planets, and yet it follows through.
This kind of lax attitude is exactly why the beings on other planets have the technology to visit, study and examine us and we’ve barely got a space program.
Nay! I say down with Leap Year. And while we’re at it I’m glad Pluto was stripped of its title as a planet. It was not qualified. Our solar system should never hire planets just to fill a quota to meet the laws on fair hiring practices.

 

It’s Not What You Got, It’s How You Use It.

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By Treadmarkz

For those of us with disabilities, it is easy to get down on ourselves for what we don’t have. Abilities, skills, functions. Whatever. If you have recently experienced this feeling of dejection, this observation recently made by my wife is for you.

We were thumbing through a book of “useless facts” when we stumbled upon something that turned out to be quite useful. “Leaches have 32 brains,” it read.

To which my wife blithely replied:

“How come they haven’t taken over the world yet?”

and

“It just goes to show its not the brains you have, its how you use them.”

and finally

“I mean they’ve got thirty two brains and all they’ve figured out how to do is suck.”

All this before I had mustered up the wit for a single observation of my own.

A Cure For Pity

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by Treadmarkz

I love this ad that Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is running. The theme is “Pity. It’s 100% Curable.” I think the ad hits the subject from the right angle.

I love it because I went to Gillette myself as a very young child with spina bifida and it was at that stage in my life when it was most crucial that I found out for myself that yes I had a disability and no there was no changing it, and that the only thing that needed adjusting was the way I saw myself and the way I worked with what I had. Of course I did not think of it in those words exactly, when I was five. But you get the idea.

And this ad works on more than one level really. It addresses the pity that the disabled child might feel for himself, and it also speaks to the fact that once that child cures his self-pity, he can start showing the world around him that there is absolutely no reason to pity him, nor is there, in fact, any room or time for pity. He’s got a life to start living.

The Next Big Questions for the United States of America

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Treadmarkz

One of the biggest, most deeply debated questions in the U.S. has been answered. Will we ever have a Black President? Well, Obama is half Black and half White. So I guess technically “Will we ever have a Black president?” is still the big question. But Obama’s election is considered to be a huge step in the right direction by millions of Americans as well as many millions of well wishers around the world. In many ways this has nothing to do with Obama’s race. The goodwill he is receiving certainly owes much to Obama’s ideas; his policies and his outlook for the future of this country and how it relates to the rest of the world.

But we also must keep in mind that his election has shown the world that the U.S., supposedly so far ahead of the rest of the world, has finally made a concrete statement to the rest of the world about its “open-mindedness.” After all there have been female heads of state all over the world, including many places in the supposedly-backward Middle East, for a long time. Not in the States, though.

In 2012 – or 2016 when Obama is no longer eligible for the Presidency – will it be considered a step backward if a White male is once again elected president? Certainly it will not be a step backward if Obama makes good on his ideas and becomes a well-respected president, and the next president continues where Obama left off.

Is this the crossroads of history when we can start asking not if, but when will there be an Asian U.S. President? When will there be a Hispanic, “Native American” or Middle Eastern, or Jewish or Muslim or Atheist U.S. President, or a president who is a “little person”?

When will we have an openly homosexual President? (see James Buchanan). Certainly the debate over “gay” marriage in the U.S. right now makes this an unlikely atmosphere. But the Civil Rights movement came to a crescendo 40 years ago, and Barack Obama has been elected. Will we see a gay president in 2048?

When will we have an openly disabled U.S. President? (see Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Americans with Disabilities Act empowered millions in 1990. Will we see a president who is blind, or a president who will without reservations appear on television in his wheelchair, or, let’s say, without his prosthetic in the year 2032? John McCain has a minor disability due to a war wound which he spoke openly about when the issue came up about him not using the Internet. And he came close to the White House.

These are just some of the possibilities that the election of Barack Obama has brought closer to being a reality. Now all we have to do is watch how history plays out.

Why It Takes More Than A Disabled War Veteran and the Mother of a Child With a Disability To Win My Vote

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by Treadmarkz,

I have encountered fellow citizens of the U.S. who were shocked that I would not be voting for John McCain/Sarah Palin in this year’s election. Astounded, really.

“Don’t you think Sarah Palin, as a mother of a disabled kid, and John McCain, as a disabled War Veteran, would do everything they can for disabled people?”

I have endless respect for McCain’s sacrifice in War, and I know from listening to my mother talk about raising me what Palin must go through to get her child what he needs to live the life she wants for him. So this is a valid question. Sure Palin is the mother of a child with Down Syndrome. But I don’t know what she would do as a leader. I mean if my own mother were in the White House, I have a good idea of the laws that she would want changed and I would trust her judgement. But I don’t know enough about Palin to know if I trust the things that she would have pushed for as VP. And nobody can know what’s best for all the different kinds of disabled people. So you have to vote for the overall best choice you have available. And I believe I did.

And besides that, any change that was made on behalf of disabled people would have to be voted on by the law-making bodies of our government, not just installed by Palin OR McCain. I know that is how it works under Bush/Cheney but we are back to reality now. In that respect I know that disabled people are just as well off under Obama as we would have been with Palin or McCain.

I told the person that asked me this that sometimes it is better if people that have a little distance from the issue make the decision. And what I meant was that if we want this to be a fair and balanced country, the laws and “changes” need to be made by people without self-interest in the issues.

And speaking of self-interest, despite an earlier posting in which I noted that Obama was the only candidate that mentioned disabled people on his Web site, I know that there are issues that are infinitely more important to this country than whether I get accessibility to certain buildings, etc. Such as the issue of whether I get to keep getting my health care for free while others don’t have health care at all. Such as whether my president is going to stop or continue isolating us from the rest of the world. Whether he is going to take the time to read the CIA reports about potential attacks. Whether my president is going to make education a priority for everyone. Whether he is going to tax the people who have the money to spare (the facts don’t lie, if you actually paid attention to what McCain and Obama were saying). The list goes on and on.

The point is that I am a citizen of this country and I care about the things that everyone else does. So it took more than two people with direct connections with disabilities to get my vote. That is why I voted for Obama.

Disabled People: Don’t Vote Absentee Unless You Absolutely Must!

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by Treadmarkz

It’s probably a little late for this but I just read that absentee voting costs the county – at least the county that I am living in – about $10 per ballot, which is about twice as much as each ballot costs the county on Election Day. I don’t know why that is, but I also know that many of the people that are casting absentee votes are giving “disability” for a reason they need to vote early.

Since this election is about ceasing the unnecessary spending in government and getting back to pooling our resources into things that are important, I implore you if you are disabled, please do not vote absentee, unless you really need to, to avoid the crowds, which is completely understandable. And I ask that anyone else who may attempt to fabricate a reason why they need to vote early, to avoid doing so. Show that you really believe in changing the way we do things for the greater good!

Since there isn’t much time until Election Day, please pass this on to anyone you think should read this.

I am Treadmarkz, and again, I approve this message.

Got a Hangnail? You May Be Eligible For the Paralympics!!!

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by Treadmarkz

Of course you’ve got to be a great athlete too, but…

Does anybody else find it disturbing that to qualify for the Paralympics, all you need is a pair of contact lenses? Yes that’s right, apparently anyone whose vision is a little blurry can be a Paralympic athlete.

Granted, I have spent a good amount of time on this blog and on others reminding people that the definition of “disabled” can be extremely broad, even reminding my readers that, in fact, one could argue that those who wear glasses could be considered disabled. But isn’t the Paralympics supposed to be for athletes who cannot partake in the Olympics with fully functional walking athletes because of their disabilities? That was my understanding.

I was watching the Paralympic Judo and it seemed to me that the athletes who were squaring off in the competition had no visible disability. I thought “Did they add Tourette’s Syndrome to the Paralympics?” Because the athletes in the Judo competition definitely had no visible disability, and they had no ailment or disorder holding them back in any way, that is for sure. And this may sound narrow-minded as Hell, but if it is not a visible disability – if it does not visibly hold one back physically – then it has very little to do with physical competition. So I wanted to know what the guidelines were in the Paralympics. So I looked it up.
There are certainly many genuinely disabled people in the Paralympics, and the categories make a lot of sense, and they make it fair so as not to have a no-armed, one legged blind man with cerebral palsy fencing against a guy who is near-sighted. But contact lenses? Seriously?

How To Get Paralympics Coverage On Your Computer, In Color and In Motion

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by Treadmarkz

I have often heard disabled people deplore the lack of televised coverage of the Paralympics (and by the way, WordPress, Paralympics is a word even if your program underlines it in red when I type it). Even though the Paralympics are every bit as competitive and spirited as the Olympics, and share the same venues as the Olympic games, and the event was advertised on the cups at McDonald’s, the biggest fast food chain in the universe…and yet we do not have comprehensive coverage on network television. Evidently they are watching it in Australia on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), which goes to show how lacking things are in the States, comparatively, in terms of being progressive and all-inclusive.

By the way, if the Chinese government did not want disabled people in their country to be spectators at the Olympics, how the Hell are they coping with the Paralympics, what with all the cripples now swarming into Beijing? How can China justify fielding teams themselves?

But I digress…

While I still haven’t found any thorough coverage of the events on TV, I have found a site where you can watch 8 hours of coverage every day of this year’s Paralympiad. (That’s a word too, WordPress). Check it out by clicking HERE. The 2008 Games are already in full swing starting September 6th. You’ve got your ticket!

Gang Up For Accessibility

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by Treadmarkz

An organization in my hometown, called Arc Southeastern Minnesota has recently held it’s first annual Wheelchair Accessibility Awareness event. Basically what they did was they got a large number of people in wheelchairs, and their loved ones, to converge upon the city in groups to test the public establishments for accessibility. While putting them to the test, Arc was also driving home a point by having so many people in wheelchairs dropping by these establishments at one time:

Things MUST change!

The usual list of problems were found: those door-opener buttons taking forever to open in the first place in a lot of places, if they even have them. And have you ever pressed the elevator button, and then when it comes and you try to get in, the door closes on you? Yeah, that was another one of the key findings. Other problems discovered where narrow aisles and doorways, accessibility to restaurants and other every day establishments, and of course wheelchair accessible parking at these establishments.

Now its just a wait to see if their experiment made a difference in how the owners of the places they visited choose to run their businesses.

Do they want our business?

If they do they will make the changes necessary. Unfortunately most business owners will do the bare minimum required of them by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and even then they grumble about the cost. Maybe there needs to be a government subsidy for these businesses to make these changes, but I guarantee you the dollars spent by business owners to make the changes will be paid back in full by our dollars spent as their customers. There are more of us than they may imagine. They just don’t see us around much because getting into their buildings may be more trouble than it’s worth.

If you live in a town that you feel needs a little upgrade in accessibility in general, and you have a local disabled advocacy organization, please suggest conducting a similar experiment.