Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Give One, Get One Program

I first heard about the One Laptop Per Child "give one, get one" program a few years ago. In a nutshell, founder Nicholas Negroponte's vision is to provide laptop computers to children in the most impoverished countries in the world. The Mission Statement reads: "To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future."

Last night on Charlie Rose, Negroponte said that he thought that the non-profit's ability to produce laptops for under $200 is one of the things that has driven down the price of consumer-oriented smaller laptops, which you can now find for under $500.

Negroponte has recently formed a collaborative relationship with Amazon.com as well. As I understand it, there are 2 options: 1) give one for $199 -- meaning you pay to give one of the specially designed laptops; or 2) "give one, get one" for $399, in which you give one of the laptops and get one to use for yourself. And no, you can't just get one for yourself.

This isn't cheap, but, if you are like me, and thinking about a different approach to Christmas for this year, you might want to check it out...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Guess I've Been Holding My Breath...

This morning, Nora Ephron's post at Huffington Post really resonated with me: Exhale.

I had a busy summer, which included a total hip replacement of my left hip (one down, one to go), but have been well enough to write for months. I had become obsessed with the presidential election, watching unhealthy amounts of MSNBC (I think it is overboard when you watch the same episode of Countdown or Rachel Maddow more than once...)

This election season could exemplify, I think, a large portion of my life, in that I became afraid to be too optimistic, too hopeful, that Obama would be elected. I have been (as have we all, I'm sure) disappointed by the behavior/decisions of others so many times. It feels like a personal risk to put aside my native cynicism and actually hope for and want something.

ADA Watch emailed me this excerpt from Obama's acceptance speech:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled [my emphasis]. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
President-Elect Barack Obama, November 4, 2008

I teared-up when he mentioned the disabled (and no, I don't care that he didn't say "people with disabilities -- in this framework, "disabled" is just fine). Not because I'm naive enough to think that someone else may easily have told him to put it in the speech, but just because it was there, as a symbol that we are to be included at his table.

So -- I am still cautiously hopeful for what Obama can accomplish. He is inheriting a boat-load of problems that will have to be addressed before he can do much about health care. I am heartened by the fact that he considers health care a "right", however.

His pre-election white paper on disability issues (BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN’S PLAN TO EMPOWER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES) addressed the fact that insurance (both private and governmental) has evolved to a point where it will only provide the minimum durable medical equipment (to enable you to get around "inside the home") to cut costs. (See page 7 on the Medicare "homebound" rule.)

I'm heartened by the idea that he is a thoughtful, reportedly "cautious" man. Unlike Bush, I don't think Obama will be unable to admit mistakes or missteps and accordingly change course as appropriate.

Time will tell. Join me in daring to be hopeful.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

ADA Watch -- Call for Action and Assistance

If you aren't already aware, new rules are under review for the enforcement of the ADA by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Unsurprisingly, some of the rules cut into access.

ADA Watch sent me the email below today. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can review the information they provide, and make detailed comments to the DOJ. If you don't, I think just a semi-generic email (if you go to the ADA Watch Action Center they provide instructions as to how to do all of this) certainly couldn't hurt -- particularly if they get a lot of them.

Check it out -- these rules have a real impact on the future of access in the United States, for things as basic as curb cuts at intersections:

National Coalition for Disability Rights
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004

Help Stop the Department of Justice from Implementing Rule Changes to the ADA that Will Profoundly Limit Access!

ADA Watch/NCDR previously notified you of proposed amendments to Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)'s federal regulations and called on you to make public comment.

We also forwarded Steve Gold's assessment of the proposed changes which will profoundly affect access to public facilities and to public accommodations and commercial facilities.

We still need you to take action!

The deadline for public comments is August 18, 2008.

Our coalition partners at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and other disability rights attorneys and advocates have put together a comprehensive Action Center so that we can work together to stop these harmful changes.

DREDF tells us: "Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities."

"However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities to accessible facilities."

For example, DOJ proposes:

  • A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
  • A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
  • An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules.
    DOJ must receive a flood of comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA.

Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions.

We must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and that reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.

Go to the Action Center now and stop the Department of Justice from rolling back our civil rights!

Click here to got to the Action Center:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Bad -- Angry Gimp's BAD Entry

I missed Blogging Against Disablism Day (May 1st) this year -- my real job is interfering with my "real" life these days...

I just came upon The Angry Gimp's entry for BAD and it so resonates with my experience that I encourage you to go read it here http://theangrygimp.blogspot.com/2008/05/after-taking-peek-at-some-of-other.html

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Gimp Parade: RIP Harriet McBryde Johnson, 1957-2008

I missed this information, well covered by Kay Olson at The Gimp Parade.

Harriet McBryde Johnson was/is one of my heroes for writing so well, so accurately about the disability experience -- particularly of her youth. If you are of an age (I, too, am 50) and experienced a segregated childhood, I urge you to read Accidents of Nature. My review of that book is here: http://teriadams.blogspot.com/2006/06/novel-that-tells-it-like-it-was-and-is.html

The Gimp Parade: RIP Harriet McBryde Johnson, 1957-2008

Disability Rights Fund

I just read about this new grant-making organization at Rolling Rains. You can read all about it at their website: http://www.culturedisabilitytalent.org/index.html.

This, from the website:

"All 2008 grantmaking will be directed to DPO activities in the following seven countries: in Africa—Ghana, Namibia and Uganda; in Latin America—Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru; and in Asia—Bangladesh. Grants will be given to:

  1. Raise awareness about the CRPD [United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] and its implications for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
  2. Build coalitions and networks which increase the visibility and voice of all persons with disabilities (PWDs)
  3. Strengthen advocacy efforts in relation to ratification, implementation or monitoring of the CRPD

DRF will make grants to organizations and projects that demonstrate a clear ability and commitment to contribute to the advancement of the human rights of persons with disabilities. Grants will provide one-year, project-specific support. Cross-disability and other partnerships in-country are strongly encouraged, as are projects which address particularly marginalized sectors of the disability community."

2008 Superfest Internaitonal Disability Film Festival

I've been so busy with my "real" job and life in general that I almost missed this, a Crip Film Festival in Berkeley, California, June 20-22, 2008. I'm going to try and go on Friday -- if I make it, reviews to follow...

The link to their website, including the screening schedule, is above and here: http://www.culturedisabilitytalent.org/index.html.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ebates (Again)

I got my "big fat check" of $17.00 on Saturday -- my rebates of shopping through Ebates for the quarter ending April 30, 2008. They're having a special through the end of June:


My total of rebates since joining is up to $418!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Watch the Whole Speech

Obama made a speech this morning on the wider issues raised by his association with Rev. Wright. If you have the time, I urge you to watch, listen and/or read the entire speech. I am sure various news outlets of every political stripe will feature soundbytes of portions of the speech, but to really appreciate what he is saying, you need to experience the whole.

You can find it here: http://my.barackobama.com/hisownwords.

Someone told me that the pundits are already saying that the speech was "too nuanced" for the average voter to appreciate. I am glad he didn't dumb it down, personally. I think one of his attractions is that he is giving voters the benefit of the doubt about being able to grasp the subtleties of the issues.

I Can Relate

One thing that struck me, while I was listening to his speech is that as a "disability rights advocate" I have experienced hearing a so-called ally say things I vehemently disagreed with, or that merely made me uncomfortable. I call it the "don't be on my side" phenomenon. But, unless someone says something that I simply cannot allow to stand, I may remain silent. We need solidarity, or at least the appearance of solidarity in the face of all of the various forces that would weaken our perpetual struggle to equality.

The very title of this blog, "Crip Chronicles" offends some people -- for using the word "crip". But, as a young disabled person, particularly when I first started being integrated in high school, the words "crip" and "angry crip" was used by my older, disabled classmates to refer to US, who were struggling for equality.

I try to be politic about where and when I use the term. But, I know when I have found a brother or sister in the "disability rights movement" when they are comfortable with the use of "crip". And I also know that you can hear some pretty angry and hostile talk when a bunch of angry crips get together and talk about the wrongs done to them by TABs [temporarily able-bodied], the system and the man.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fly Me to The Moon...

In the course of web surfing, I found this link today: http://www.iflymat.org/index.html for Mobility Air Transport.

If they get this off the ground (pun intended) it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread for wheelchair users. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Got a Check from Ebates

I got my quarterly check from Ebates today ($22 and change), and saw that they're having a special deal until March 31st, so I thought I'd mention them again. Through March 31st, they are increasing their sign-up bonus to $10 from $5 (to get the "free" money, you have to place an order at one of their stores; if you don't order anything until after March 31st, you will just get the usual $5.)

Here's the link:


I promote this for a couple of reasons -- one is that, yes, I also get a bonus when someone signs up through my link. But also, I post it on "Crip Chronicles" because I think that if you have any kind of mobility impairment and you're not doing the bulk of your shopping online, you're really missing a great boon to your quality of life.

Secondly, who needs a little extra money more than we do? They've got so many store listed now, that it is easy to get a little cash back on a lot of things -- just this month, I got rebates on my groceries at Safeway.com (yes, it is only 1%, but that's 1.15 I didn't have before), on filing my taxes at TurboTax, and on slippers from FootSmart.com.

'Nuf said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Elected Representatives Respond re: ADA Restoration Act

The day that I posted the call (from AHEAD) to write to our elected representatives to ask for support for the ADA Restoration Act, I did just that -- sending 3 very similar emails to my senators and congresswoman.

While I have signed petitions in the past, I believe this is the first time I'd actually written to my elected officials, and was surprised to get a response from each, via email, over the course of the following 10 days.

If you're keeping score, both Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Anna Eshoo both said unequivically that they were in strong support of the ADA Restoration Act. Eshoo is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Senator Diane Feinstein said, after saying that she understood my concerns, "Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind should this legislation come before the full Senate." Sounds like a variation of "science is looking into it", and a strong reluctance to make any promises.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tell your Representatives to Support the ADA Restoration Act

In the interest of time, I quote an email I received today (I am a member) from AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability):

"On January 29th, 2008, the Education & Labor Committee of the US House of Representatives held a hearing on The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (H.R. 3195). This bipartisan legislation is widely supported by members of Congress and organizations nationwide and holds the promise of restoring the original intent of the ADA.

As an organization committed to the ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, AHEAD endorses H.R. 3195 and encourages its members to become informed about this vital, pending legislation and to take action to support its passage (see below). This is particularly important as organizations that oppose the passage of the Restoration Act are coming out with outrageous distortions of its consequences.

The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (H.R. 3195), introduced by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would restore the original intent of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act.

Excerpts from testimony given at the hearing include:
"The bill does not seek to expand the rights guaranteed under the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Instead, it seeks to clarify the law, restoring the scope of protection available under the ADA," said Hoyer. "It responds to court decisions that have sharply restricted the class of people who can invoke protection under the law. And it reinstates the original Congressional intent when we passed the ADA."

"Despite our progress, the courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court—have narrowly interpreted the ADA, limiting its scope and undermining its intent," Hoyer continued. "We could not have fathomed that people with diabetes, epilepsy, heart conditions, cancer, and mental illnesses would have their ADA claims kicked out of court because, with medication, they would be considered too functional to meet the definition of 'disabled.'"
Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said that the initial promise of protecting disabled workers under the ADA has largely faded as a result of Supreme Court rulings.

"In 1990, the ADA was heralded as an 'emancipation proclamation' for people with disabilities," said Imparato.

"Seventeen years later, on account of judicial activism, we are far from having a law that can be counted on to safeguard the fair treatment of people with disabilities in the workplace."

The AHEAD Board of Directors encourages members to learn more about The Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act, http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/h3195_ih.xml and to contact their representatives in both houses of Congress to support this legislation. To contact your members of congress go to: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ "

I used the site above to get the links to my representatives, and it only took me about 10 minutes (using cut and paste) to send an email to each of them. I kept it short and sweet: people with disabilities are losing ground in many arenas -- support the ADA Restoration Act in an effort to keep us from losing more and more...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Approve this Political Message...

February 5th is just around the corner, and last week, I found a reason to pick a specific candidate.

I have known for a long time that I would be voting for one of the Democratic candidates, but was having a difficult time deciding between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for a variety of reasons.

The reason I found was that Obama was the only one of the two candidates that addresses and acknowledges disability issues on his campaign website. To be precise, he has a 9 page PDF position paper which you can read for yourself, found at http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/. There is also a beautifully captioned video on this page which is worth watching, particularly if you don't feel like reading the position paper.


Whatever you do, vote. Whomever you decide to vote for, do it. Particularly in the General Election, come November. More and more states are making it easier to vote by mail, so whether or not it is a hassle for you to get out to the polls physically, you can still vote.

If you're not already registered, it is too late for a lot of the primaries, but register NOW so you can vote in the General Election.

It matters. People with disabilities have issues that are especially meaningful to us that are being discussed widely in this election, particularly the availability of health care. If the millions of people with disabilities ever made a concerted effort to be heard, we would be.