Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

I Just Don’t Care About Oscar Pistorius…Well, Now I Do, But It’s Too Late.

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by Treadmarkz

I blogged about Oscar Pistorius’ bid to enter the Olympics (not the Paralympics) in 2008. If you don’t know who I am talking about he is a runner who has both lower legs amputated but has been fitted with a pair of “blades” which have been found to mimic a set of human feet in such a way that they do not give him an unfair advantage. This was not the case in 2008 if I remember correctly, but anyway, he was in for 2012. I did not even know about it until the Olympics already started this year. Anyway, I have not been able to muster up the level of interest it takes for me to blog about a subject even though it is admittedly a big turn of events. Now that the Olympics are almost over, I can say, well done, Oscar. It is progress. It muddies the waters between the land of the able and the land of the horrible, mangled creatures they call “disabled.”. So I am happy about that. I just don’t care too much. Come to think of it, I don’t really care that the Paralympics are starting, and I think I mentioned why, in 2008. There are categories that allow pretty much anyone to get into the Paralympics as long as you have a chipped tooth or got your foot run over by a bicycle when you were six or something. Seriously the categories are quite inclusive. Look it up. The Paralympics, it seems, are less specialized than the Olympics. So it is quite exclusive company Pistorius was in when he made it into the Olympics this year.

Hmm..maybe it really was a bigger deal than I thought. See that is what blogging does for me. It allows me to take an issue, and talk it out until I’ve come full circle, back where, I started, but with a new outlook.

Shawn Beam The Only Known Person In a Wheelchair to Bowl a Perfect Game

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by Treadmarkz

Just dropping by to add a link to the story of Shawn Beam, who recently, as my title strongly suggests, became the only known person in a wheelchair to ever bowl a perfect game. My first reaction was “So what? he’s got arms, hasn’t he?” But then the part of me that is a history major kicked in and realized that this was a “first” and as such, deserved the press coverage.

Check it out:

http://www.yardbarker.com/all_sports/articles/msn/bowler_shawn_beam_bowls_a_perfect_game_in_a_wheelchair_video/10879748

Wow! Joan Rivers Actually Knows A Bit About Spina Bifida! Hmm…

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by Treadmarkz

Joan Rivers was the first female to (guest) host the Tonight Show. She has been very influential in comedy for the last couple of generations. I give her a lot of credit for that. She could have been the female equivalent of George Carlin. But I don’t currently see her as such, when I see her on every “red carpet event” my wife watches. I find her hard to listen to and I don’t particularly find her humor all that thoughtful, as I do Carlin’s.

So why do I respect her at the moment? I just watched a bit of her fashion-themed talk show with my aforementioned wife, and she was critiquing a dress that some celebrity had recently been seen in public wearing which had a wide-open back. Joan Rivers commented that “You don’t have a wide-open back like that unless you have spina bifida!”

I was impressed because, quite simply, hardly anyone I ever talk to seems to have any idea what the symptoms of spina bifida are. Though this comment was not necessarily funny, she did accurately describe my condition, at birth. She proved to me that she’d done her homework while writing her jokes.

So I cannot believe I am saying this, but well played, Joan Rivers. Well played. I salute you. Until the next thing I hear you say. 😉

“Imperfect: An Improbable Life” – The Story of Jim Abbott, One of My Childhood Heroes

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by Treadmarkz

I have not read the book “Imperfect: An Improbable Life” but I am well versed in the story of Jim Abbott, the Major League Baseball pitcher who pitched for the Angels, went to the Olympic Summer Games, and later threw a no-hitter with the New York Yankees. His story is all the greater when you consider he was born with one arm. His story surely will be an inspiration to any child with a disability. Any parent who is looking for examples to give their disabled child of proof that they can do anything, please read this book and tell your child all about Jim Abbott. I admired him so much from afar as a kid growing up with spina bifida and wishing like crazy that I could have been part of the little league team.

Nazis Got Their Ideas on Forced Sterilization From The U.S.A.

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by Treadmarkz

It is a very sad thing to see that your country was the inspiration for one aspect of one of the most horrific acts of “ethnic cleansing” in human history. But it is true. As Anderson Cooper reported tonight on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”, the Nazis took inspiration for their program of forced sterilization of Jews from the United States Government. The U.S. reportedly sterilized many thousands of people who were considered weak or not fit to procreate, including many with various types of what we would today merely call disabilities, but back then they were just defective quasi-humans, apparently. See the full story here.

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.

Couple of Links To Peruse

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by Treadmarkz

Just stopping in to drop a couple of links to my other blog. Normally I would keep the two blogs separate because of the wide gulf in subject matter. But these two posts, while related to my spiritual life, also have a lot to do with disabilities. So you may be interested. Have a look:

 

The Greatest Disability in the World

Yoga At the Pharmacy

Enough Outta Me, Let’s Have Some Discussion: No Child Left Behind

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by Treadmarkz

Since I am starting to re-develop a following here at “Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe” I’d like to pose a question to kind of get to know the readers a little better. So, leave me a comment and let me know what you think. So here is my question:

How do you think the discontinuing of “No Child Left Behind” in 10 states will affect school age children with learning disabilities?

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.