Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘hearing impared’ 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.

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.

What Would America Be Like For the Disabled Under McCain? Here is a Preview.

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by Treadmarkz,

I saw this video on another person’s blog so I just linked to it because I think it is important to people to see this. Click the link and then play the video that comes onto the screen. I think it is telling of John McCain’s attitude toward the disabled and the issues we face. Listen carefully to what the woman in the video is asking and of course to McCain’s response.

The woman is asking McCain to support a bill giving disabled people more complete freedom of choice when it comes to public housing.

Surely I don’t expect him to say yes to everything he is asked, just so he looks good to as many people as possible, so I respect him for being honest. But he shot down the legislation the woman referred to, and then was not very specific about alternatives. Did not give the issue a lot of time. By “continue to upgrade the Americans with Disabilities Act” I just wonder, for whose benefit will these “upgrades” come?

“Music Within”: Not Your Typical Cinderella Story of “Overcoming Adversity with a Disability”

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by Treadmarkz

A while back I mentioned a movie I’d heard of, “Music Within” and I promised to write more about it once I’d actually seen it. Well here ya go!

I know I am wrong but sometimes when I read a movie review by someone who was not paid to do it, I feel like they are just doing it to show off their taste in “film” whatever the hell that is. Is that worse than people doing it because they are paid to? I don’t know. But I can never seem to get into writing a standard review of a movie, with full-blown analysis of characters and their motives and historical accuracy, narrative flow, etc. I just can’t do it.

So this isn’t going to be a “review” of “Music Within”. Sure it was a great lesson on how disabled people broke the doors wide open into the workforce. But you can read about that in a lot of other places, and frankly I am tired of mentioning the ADA. (So what do I go and do right away?)

Anyway, I have just a few observations on “Music Within.”

What stood out for me, in “Music Within” is that if you really search, or even if you just open your mind, you will find that you have a lot more in common with the people around you than you may think upon first glance. People without a disability may look at this film and see a character with cerebral palsy, played by Michael Sheen, and be startled by a few things:

– He has a crude sense of humor. I think people don’t realize that people with cerebral palsy have the mental capacity to have what is the common conception of a sense of humor. And if they do, they certainly couldn’t be crude and R-rated could they? Yes, they could. And I think this misconception gets applied to many different types of disabilities (let’s say, oh I don’t know, spina bifida). But it’s wrong. Ask my wife. She has to listen to me, for example, when we are watching a movie that I “object” to for any given reason that I make up on the spot.

– He has the capability to be rude, and abrasive. Well of course he’s rude and abrasive and angry and standoffish, he’s afflicted!!!…No…that’s not why. It’s because he’s human. And if you are rude to someone in a wheelchair or not in a wheelchair, they just may choose to be rude back to you. They may choose not to say anything about it, and that may be perceived as letting it happen, or it may be perceived as being above responding. It’s all relative, I suppose.

– He has a sex drive. I know, “duh!”, right? But some people just don’t understand that people with disabilities are sexual beings. The fact is that many people with disabilities, especially paralysis, depending on their level of paralysis, may experience repression to an extent that others simply can not understand, because they do not have the same level of freedom of expression of love, passion, lust, what have you. For some, this repression is expressed through the way they talk to the people they are attracted to, or how they “hit on” people. There are some great examples of this in the movie, where in Sheen’s character openly invites several women to partake in…certain activities with him.

But above all, to all three of these things, I say…Duh, he’s a guy. We’re like that. Crude, bi-polar, sex junkies. Can I get a witness?

Okay that’s a cheap stereotype. I got much more out of this movie than this, but I don’t want to write a book. And I don’t want to pontificate (too much). Take a look for yourself.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode VII: Mars, 2008. What the…!

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by Treadmarkz

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of NASA, I’d like to tell a story of a recent travel of the Time Machine with Hand Controls. You see, I am working with the space-time continuum here, and sometimes things just get a little screwed up. Sometimes the time machine with hand controls gets shot through space and not through time.

Which is how I recently ended up on Mars.

I don’t know if you know this but there are just as many disabled people on Mars as there are here. Only, I was able to ascertain (again, through my vast knowledge of the Martian language) that the governments throughout the planet are so focused on space travel, so focused on studying earth that they have in no way spent any time focusing on building a civilization. That’s why we’ve never seen any evidence of it on photos of Mars’ surface. And along with that, the governments of Mars have also neglected developing technology for the disabled to improve accessibility.

Except for the hoverchairs.

Yes, that’s right, using the same technology they’ve used to build their nifty “UFOs” as we call them, they’ve found a way to avoid any debates over wheelchair ramps etc. But its all just showing off because like I said, they haven’t built up a concrete jungle like we have so I think they are counting their chickens before they’ve hatched a little bit with these hoverchairs. Although I can see how they’d be nice to avoid the rocky terrain on the surface of Mars.

I think they may have went too far with the chairs’ built-in commodes which have a hatch that releases the contents into space. But hey, they probably got that idea from NASA. And it solves the problem of accessible bathrooms. No need for an ADA here.

Except for the issue of equal treatment in the workplace. No problem there either. Everyone on Mars is required to work for their space program. They are serious about finally being able to prove once and for all that there is life on Earth!

A Chance to See How the Disabled Other Half Live

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by Treadmarkz

I recently wrote a posting imploring disabled people in Canada to let me know they were there and that they were reading “Treadmarkz”. This led me to look at the rest of the map and realize that my readership in Russia is almost zippo. I was doing some research to see what topics I could tackle to try to reach out to my Russian disabled friends. That led me to a great blog that really sums up everything that I’d been attempting to do with the Canada posting and the planned Russia posting. It is all about what its like to be disabled…outside of America.

I added it to my blog roll and I’d like to direct your attention to it. It is called “Outside America.” Give it a look. For those of you who are in the States, it will be eye-opening I am sure. And I guess for anyone on the planet it may be eye-opening to see how the disabled live in any other country which “Outside America” covers. And it covers a lot of ground, I can see. Check it out, in my blogroll on the right.

A Time Machine with Hand Controls, Episode VI: 866 A.D., the British Isles

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by Treadmarkz,

Time for the long-awaited sixth installment of the Time Machine with Hand Controls, in which our hero finds himself in the perilous position between a Viking long bow infantry and the treasure the Vikings sought out on the British Isles.

Just outside of York, England, 866 A.D. – The Time Machine with Hand Controls came to rest in the middle of a field. I got my chair out and popped the wheels on, and as I approached the village center, the locals began to stop what they were doing, and the cry of “Ivar!” began to grow louder. I, being well-versed in ninth-century Anglo-Saxon speech quickly determined that the locals thought that I was a Viking raider known as “Ivar the Boneless.” I did not do anything to make them think I was Ivar, but I did not deny it at first either. It was a powerful feeling.

I learned that the dreaded Vikings had just attacked York and were beginning to lay waste to surrounding areas, and news had made its way around that the raiders were led by a “legless demon” who was carried on an armor plated pallet.

According to the stories, Ivar either had no legs, or he had what is now known as osteogenesis, or brittle bones leaving him unable to stand. Whatever his affliction, he did indeed lead his army into battle, carried on a shield, which I found out when, not long after I arrived, who should appear but Ivar himself on his shield, at the head of an infantry of Scandinavian pillagers on horseback barraging the village with arrows from longbows and torching everything in sight.

He shot a long bow from his “chariot” while screaming out instructions to his front line. In the Scandinavian military culture of the time, a Viking leader was expected to lead his troops into battle, and by God, Ivar was clearly driven to the point of inhumanity to do so. What I witnessed was an attack which was no less merciless than any other great siege in world history.

I had seen the movie “The Butterfly Effect” so I was not going to affect history one way or another by taking up arms for or against Ivar. Instead I headed for the woods, far out of range of the longbow, and watched with binoculars. I was unable to determine which story of Ivar was the true one, if either, but the Brits ran from Ivar and his band as though he were a minion of the devil himself. The Scandinavians quickly laid waste to everything in sight, so I sneaked through the brush back to the Time Machine with Hand Controls, and got the hell out of dodge, having satisfied my curiosity about one of the most mythical, yet very real, figures in disabled history.

Top 11 List of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am (Bless Their Dippy Hearts)

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by Treadmarkz

Why 11 and not 10? Well…it’s complicated but I think it’s in the Americans with Disabilities Act somewhere. I get 11 automatically because I am in a wheelchair. Anyway, on with the list of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am.

PS: I’ve got spina bifida, in case you are new to “Leaving Treadmarkz Across The Universe”. Okay, here’s the list, and in no particular order, because I didn’t have the heart to place any higher emphasis on any of these people in comparison to the others.

1. People who find themselves using text message language in legal documents out of habit. (U no wut I mean?) These people just bug me and I wanted to put them on my list.

2. People who begin their fast food order with the word “gimme”. Usually it’s men, but not always. But regardless, I always wonder if they talk that way at home and what it gets them.

3. The two geniuses in the story at this link. Clearly human life means very little to them, and I don’t want to make them out to be representational of their entire generation, so I won’t, but I worry. (Sorry this link no longer valid but it originally linked to a story about two teenage girls who refused to give up screwing around with their cell phones and pagers even though the story they were interviewed for was about deaths resulting from such behavior.)

4. People who have a quote from one literary great or another to punctuate or sum up every conceivable real life situation they encounter.

5. Larry King, for two reasons that come to mind right off the bat:

I. He asked Paul McCartney if he ever wakes up in the morning and pinches himself.

II. He asked Ringo Starr “What’s it like being an ex-Beatle?” Seriously

When is this guy going to retire?

6. People who walk up to the front door of the mall and press that little “Door Open” button with the little blue guy in the wheelchair on it, knowing full well that pressing that button will make getting the door open take about three times longer than it would to just walk up to it and fling that sucker open! Some people who are not in wheelchairs really need to empower themselves by using the physical abilities they have.

7. Jesse Jackson/Don Imus: These guys should have a “Saying Stupid Things In Public” contest. Not that this has anything to do with the conventional understanding of “disabled”, but these guys clearly both have cloudy perception of common sense which holds them back, disables them.

8. This guy has more problems than I am qualified to discuss, not being a licensed therapist.

9. Anyone who puts all the energy of their youth into building up their bodies, at all costs to their mental, emotional and physical health, including the use of steroids. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are good examples. These guys are all clearly unstable and willing to say anything that will allow them to continue their lifestyles. These people are like shooting stars and when they burn out, man, it’s gone. They won’t have anything left but a shell of a body with nothing upstairs to back it up. These four men were like the golden boys of Major League Baseball in the late 80s and they did well with it, but, all four ended their careers in disgrace.

10. People who spend more time figuring out what to call themselves than they do being themselves.

11. World leaders who use the word “nucular”. I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry.

THERE…how’s that for self-righteousness!