Archive for the 'Access Issues' Category


Fairman in Rahm Emanuel Defense; Context Counts

I don’t blame Rahm Emanuel for this mess — I don’t.  Really we should have water-boarded Robert Downey Jr back in 2003 for his utterance of “retard” in the movie “Tropic Thunder.” Oh, wait;  he was just following the script, and it was just a movie.  No cleansing for Robert I guess.  This blog entry will review the controversy surrounding Emanuel’s remarks, situating a number of column with respect the derogatory term, and weigh in on the effort by disability advocates to propagate a word “ban.”  The disclaimer holds two parts: First this blog as follows, does not necessarily represent the views and official position of the university California State University Los Angeles nor is this blog entry affiliated  to said organ other than in providing, a personal view point, that of the entry by the author/editor/student, ibid.  Second, understanding the sensitivity of this issue, and rather hoping to avoid repeating attracting the heated and derogatory replies; EVERY reply is reviewed, spelling and phrasing (name-calling) checked — in short this blog is moderated.  That said, every reply regardless of viewpoint is assumed to be as valid as the last, and treated with the same yard stick for quality.  I (along with the senior editor) make mistakes, I don’t catch every mistake, and I don’t post replies looking remotely like spam or inappropriate in tone, e.g. threatening and/or just plain crazy.  The theme that guides this blog entry argument is liberty (Mill, J.S. 1859).  We should, as background, first briefly touch on the current fight starting with today’s column (February 14, 2010) by Christopher M. Fairman for the Washington Post, “The case against banning the word “retard.

Truth be told, as a general rule I got a problem with the articulation of every author to date, including my own scribe.  Even when I am in awe of the go-at-it textual effort, it’s only temporary.   After a few reviews, even Marx’s Capital becomes an insipid read – thus far only a few are the exception – thus far; Buckley, Douglass, Shelley, O’connor, Mill, Locke, and Peirce in particular.  Maybe, I’m tragically wound up and narrow-minded to boot, ergo finding most of the posturing equivocated to the point of being lame.  Or maybe, it’s just the result of getting older, and so I’m more discerning.  Maybe it’s all the above or something else completely.  The point is, we can look into the mirror only so much before it distorts into what ever dream or nightmare one dwells upon.  That’s why humans are social creatures, if for any reason – to tell each other how it is and lend to each other perspective.  An example, a good example of reflection, is by Fairman on the “retard” debate.  Before reading his take, “The case against banning the word “retard

..I was all for the removal of Rahm Emanuel.  Not anymore, though I still think Emanuel needs a water-boarding session.  Aside that linear /argument/ there’s more to the defense of Emanual built into the Fairman column, and it’s the focus of my argument as well; this notion of agency.  It isn’t possible for the accurate count of instances I wanted as ‘justice’ some reaction to an unpleasant experience, boding closure.  Countless instances, way too numerous to count, and I still cling to envisioning  John Yoo water-boarded, as example of unrealized pseudo-agency.  On that note of damnation demands, I can also attest to later better understanding, the context, of these unpleasant experience and while that improved awareness rarely changed the existing sentiments within me, this rethinking has time and time again reminded me of the blinders that emotions generate.  While it is certainly not in any way a dignified manner spoken by the White House Chief of Staff, on any level, and from any context the articulation at issue “f* retard”; the same, if not greater argument can be made about “banning” a word.  Are we so thin skinned?  A minor point made by Fairman should be considered here,  in so far as backlash to prohibitions; “As Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy described in his 2002 book on the subject, stigmatizing the word has elicited new problems, including an overeagerness to detect insult where none is intended and the use of excessively harsh punishment against those who use the word wrongly.”

Is it a brook of babbling whiners advocating policy changes, on behalf of people with disabilities?  Not a silly question.  That isn’t the same, as persons with disabilities, advocating change of policy — if we are to consider agency.  When did it become the job of public policy to propagate what we can and cannot say?  It falls onto our liberty as individuals to redress wrongs and reframe social norms – not public policy.  Part of liberty is the limit to freedom, as luck would have it for John Yoo.  I am not at liberty to subject him to a mock drowning (or any one else for that matter, whatever ‘kind’ of person in my control).  While I applauded efforts that foster the “inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities” ( );  I very much draw the political line in the sand, and deeply oppose, supporting “eliminate the use of derogatory speech” while I still reside in America.  In a world were subalternity has thrived, do we really need ‘word stopping’?  When did things lose the potential for context and connotation?  I missed that memo..yet another I missed, I tell ya!  That said, however, I would support water-boarding, the board of directors of the Special Olympics (creators of “Spread the word to end the word” campaign), starting with James Henry McClean (betrayal of a differing color), and any other person or party advocating coercion that further erodes free speech.  Level with me people; am I off my rocker on this — or do you agree, that these whiners need to chill?  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.


Courting the Disability and the Classroom

It has been noted recently that blogging is losing its appeal among young people, and if you don’t grab the irony in that claim, chances are you aren’t cut from the gen-x age cloth.  Myself – I am new to the practice of blogging, less new to text thread posts in newsgroups and Facebook fan page threads, but that’s another blog entry.  What has struck me, maybe in a somewhat quasi-romantic fashion, is how small that blogging community actually  is.  Now, before plowing into the firestorm Ari Ne’eman (National Council on Disability) found himself in; I should first disclose, to the reader, an article I found in the research for this blog from journal Disability Studies Quarterly (Vol 28, #4, Fall 2008) available online

at, reference

The article, “Growth of Neurodiversity in Society and Academia” is everything an article should be and more.  For those that care to get a primer, some basics, on the American history (recent) of the disability known as “autism” – not extensive, but a good brief – this article is a must read.  It specifically touches onto the higher education dynamic, changing culture and the emergence of “neurodiversity.”  The article’s authors are Scott M. Robertson and Ari D. Ne’eman.  For me, I found some endearing humor in a passage at the thought of this “Autreat” conference, “where autistic people and non-autistic allies gather in a sensory-compatible and socially friendly atmosphere.  Participants of the conference wear colored badges (red, green, yellow) that indicate their communication preferences; the different the different colors convey whether autistic people don’t want to be approached (red), only want to be approached by people they know (yellow), or want to be approached by everyone (green).”  Man – if I could get that system going here at CSULA for everyone on campus…I’m just sayin; that non-coffee day – boom, out the door I go with my red badge.  Any way without further digression the article makes this point; “The growth of this autistic disability culture and the maturation of the autistic self-advocacy community have resulted in numerous implications for service delivery for autistic people”   Just like that, I’m glad to be an American, because evolve is what we do.  Now, that said; headlong into politics – and of fellow blogger Dana Commandatore.

February 5th 2010 brought the NJ Voices Public Blog, entry “Christie, Coast to Coast” by Ethan Ellis.  The implications of the issues surrounding the noted people, will, affect the health care reform debate – specific the ‘crossing-states’ coverage ideas, and even the ‘public option’ proposals.  Ellis’s blog,

as it should, treads lightly on the political scene of disability policy, and it makes no bones of at once tipping his hat to Dana Commandatore (son with autism),  in praise of Ari Ne’eman – this a reflection of the complications in any clear liberal or conservative views, as both Commandatore (“inclusive education” )   …and Ne’eman                                   (‘cure-is-for-cancer-not autism’ stance advocating “not at changing them into non-autistic people”  are pitted against, very, very different viewpoints, such as as both Jenny McCarthy (Solon suggests ‘she jump off a cliff’) and New Brunswick lawyer Harold Doherty (‘it’s a disease – find a cure’) represent.  Thus, those ‘numerous implications for service delivery for autistic people’ — namely a quality education is at stake.  Rather than, fielding my usual comment that avows this and ridicules that posture on the issue of identity politics (in part to dissuade emotive flame replies), this blog entry will simply ask the reader: What political party stands with people with disabilities? By that I mean, BEST, stands with advocating inclusion and cultural awareness — and why.  Unlike some respondents I won’t mention by name; if your reply is free from name-calling and/or berating, I will promptly post it (within a few hour from submission).  In particular I welcome CSULA students and Facebook fan page readers.  Is the GOP, less Sara Palin, considerate of disability rights, and does the democrats erroneously assume an allegiance from disability advocates?  Could the healthcare reform effort affect education?  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.


Is Education Going YOUTUBE?

The latest challenge for making an education accessible is working with the use of video lectures.  For those who aren’t aware, folks who are deaf or hard of hearing don’t get much from uncaptioned video.  But, because of the shift toward many institutions of higher learning to use these products that capture the faculty’s lecture, I expect we will be hearing from them!

In many ways, capturing lectures has positives.  First, you can replay the class and study from the lecture – taking notes again.  You can add extra education tools that develop or enhance content in the lecture using these tools. 

As long as you aren’t deaf, this is cool.


With adding captions (synched hopefully) gives the content to the deaf and hard of hearing.  I did watch a youtube with Stephen Hawking’s digital voice out of synch with the captioning – made for a bad video – I don’t been cool.

Better yet is a transcription – but transcription is expensive.  Tools exist for captioning materials for the web in Flash, Camtasia and Captivate.  I suggest folks in education use them.

Caveat: Recently I posted links to some video that was not captioned.  So the deaf were left out – but that shows how easily we forget our brothers and sisters who can’t hear. See…rom-disability/


picture of lecture online

Sample Lectures

Captioned (you will need to turn on captioning (far right button on bottom)

Earth the Common Heritage

Speech on Race


Dietrich  Bonheffer on Truth and Politics (1 hour)

Darwin’s Legacy (1 Hour)


20 years before they get it!

pctire of gavelThe fact that attorneys, judges and other legal pundits finally give up on discriminating against blind law students is amazing.  Some thought they would never release their bony fingers from the gavel.  The technology for making a bar exam accessible has been around for over 20 years, but discrimination takes years to kill.

Next on the horizon is Blackboard and other products that could be made accessible, but aren’t fully accessible.  The knowledge is there for making it work, but maybe technologists don’t really care.


After Disaster, Disability

Man on Stretcher photoIn Haiti over 200,000 people have died, but, how many people survived and will be maimed for life?  We never know when we in California will have our own disater.  The earth will quake, and how many will be killed or disabled?  If it hits a major city like LA, we will know more about grief, suffering and despair.  And, it will happen. 

In Haiti the community is more often on foot and using bicycles, so amputees will have a terrible time getting around.  In a recent article on CNN it reads:

“Their circumstances are pretty dire, because an amputee in Haiti is highly disadvantaged in terms of being able to be mobile, have a job and look after family,” said Eric Doubt, executive director of Healing Hands for Haiti International, which provides treatment and rehabilitation to people with disabilities.

Earthquakes are a huge monster that we walk over everyday, awaiting their ugly heads to burst up through the pavement, and their steely jaws to rip into our fleshly beings.  Most recently a quake hit the coast of California near Eureka (6.5).  It is said that LA in the next 20 years will experience a 7.0 plus quake.

Our lives are not over when we become disabled or after a disaster.  Disasters can bring us together.  We should just be prepared, and make the best out of every day.


I get by with a little help from my friends

The Beatles wrote a wonderful song about the importance of friends, calling it “With a little help from my friends.”  The receiving of help from others is often frowned upon by the America ideals of independence and stoic individualism.  But “in this every changing world in which we live in,” we need to have help (I need somebody), and we are certainly dependent on others.

Recently the recipient of the 1-800wheelchair scholarship wrote a nice piece about having to cope with her physical disability.  She has learned to ask for a little help from her friends.

Comment on this blog is you want to tell others about how asking for help opened the way for the start of a friendship, relationship or marriage.


Youtube Spot


Tablet, Slates or Rollerskate Computing?

Where are your rollerskates?  Did you make a skateboard out of them, buy a bike, move up to a motorcycle or get that Cooper you’ve been eyeing?  Well in the world of electronics, things change.  You have pcs, you have 8 tracks, you have cassette recorders, but things always change.  What’s cool and up and coming?  What about tablet pcs?  Have you thought about them?  Do you know they can be a benefit for persons with disabilities? 

The tablet computer is a lot lighter, making it easier to carry.  This factor will help folks who have back trouble, or lifting issues.  The weights are about half the normal laptop – getting the weight down under 4 pounds.  How will these computers affect the disability community?  For some, there is a great deal of uncertainty and apprehension.  The fact is that unless folks are forced to use a certain technology like a learning management system such blackboard which comes with inaccessible features, folks who are disabled should not worry, but for others who need the light weight features, this is a godsend.

From PC Magazine, you can read all sorts of reviews on these puppies.  The thing that you need to understand is that this may be the new future in computing.  “Tablet PCs are quickly making their way into the mainstream market, and consumers are actually buying into the idea of inputting data with a digital pen. But convertible tablets—ones with a built-in keyboard—are really the ones gaining momentum in the mainstream, whereas slate tablets (which have no keyboard) are more prevalent in specialty environments such as health care and field work.” (Written by Cisco Chang for

In some circles, the improvement that having a way to write into the computer outside of the keyboard has proven an interesting concept.  At Winona State University in North Dakota, faculty and students have been enthusiastic about using this technology:;col1

MIT has also experimented with the new technology  It is pointed out the “The built-in wireless capabilities and portability of the lightweight Tablet PC increased students’ productivity, simplified team work, and improved access to Web-based services, including an essential online peer-review process for completing coursework. Read the full article here:

For a computer review read the following:

Read the Motion Computing LE1700 Tablet PC full review

Motion Computing Inc

  • Price as Tested: $2,199.00 Direct
  • Type: Tablet, Business, Small Business
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo T7400
  • Processor Speed: 1.5 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Weight: 3.3 lb
  • Screen Size: 12.1 inches
  • Screen Size Type: standard
  • Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Storage Capacity: 60 GB
  • Networking Options: 802.11a/g
  • Primary Optical Drive: External


Is your next pc or mac going to be a tablet model?picture of rollerskate


Picture of french horn

Sound the Horn

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