Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

Archive for August, 2009

Gone fishin’

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

… Back after Labor Day. I’ll do a roundup when I return, so please do keep those emails coming in while I’m away.

Committee dumps ‘death panel’ provision

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

From the Los Angeles Times:

The decision was an apparent acknowledgement by Democrats that the proposal had become a lightning rod for critics of the proposed overhaul of the health care system.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had charged that the President wanted to set up “death panels” that would deny health care services to people like her parents and her son with Down syndrome.

Supporters of the plan said the provision was intended to pay doctors who counsel patients about end-of-life care.

The Palin claim about “death panels” was so widely discredited that the White House has begun openly quoting it in an effort to show that opponents of the healthcare overhaul are misinformed.

Palin has defended her claim with a new posting.

Commentary: ‘Eunice the Formidable’

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

An excerpt of a reminiscence by Scott Stossel, Sargent Shriver’s biographer, in the Atlantic:

She could be difficult, and she could be fearsome; though I grew fond of her, and she stopped actively making my life miserable, she never stopped terrifying me. She was, quite simply, the most formidable woman I have ever met. Her legacy is profound and inspiring.

Paying tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

(left to right) Chief Russell B. Laine with Special Olympians, Shawn Heffernan and Loretta Clairborne, Boston Globe photoFrom  Boston Globe (with video), Boston Herald, AP/Washington Post,and elsewhere.

Officials and Special Olympians, who were clad in ribbons, led the funeral procession carrying a Special Olympics torch to St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis yesterday, paying tribute to their champion, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Loretta Claiborne, a former Special Olympics athlete and longtime friend of Shriver’s, said in her opening remarks, “She was chosen to have a life to serve others, the weakest of the weak, the castaways, the throwaways of society, at the time they would say the mentally retarded, and I am one of those people.”

Shriver’s daughter, California First Lady Maria Shriver, said of her mother during the eulogy, “If she were here today … she would pound this podium … and ask each of you what you have done today to better the world.”

Other guests who attended the private two-hour funeral Mass included Vice President Joe Biden, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Shriver’s brother Sen. Ted Kennedy, who has brain cancer, did not attend the funeral.

See also:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver-Editorial in Cape Cod Times

Photos: Eunice Shriver’s Funeral Mass-New York Times: The Caucus Blog

Special needs adults mourn Shriver at funeral-Boston Globe Metro Desk

(Boston Globe photo)

‘Lose the Training Wheels’ sets kids in motion

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Volunteer Rachel Flynn helping Kelly McCowan of Scituate, with Kelly's mother, Sue, Boston Globe photoFrom the Boston Globe:

Lose the Training Wheels bike camps helped kids with disabilities across the nation learn to ride two-wheeled bicycles this summer.

The program boasts an 85 percent success rate in teaching young people with disabilities how to ride a bike.

“We take a huge ‘I can’t’ and turn it into a huge ‘I can,’ ” said Tom Hamilton, executive director of Lose the Training Wheels, who also served as bike mechanic … “Most parents discover that the success their children find here infuses them with confidence.”


Commentary: GOP, don’t use people with disabilities as ‘poster children’

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Writing in the Huffington Post, Lennard Davis says Republican concerns about “death panels” amount to “misinformation and downright lies” that use people with disabilities as “poster children” in an attempt to sink the administration’s health care proposal. An excerpt:

This rhetorical concern for the disabled is fascinating coming from the right, which has routinely worked against extending accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying that it would cost businesses too much to retrofit their environments.

… It is important that people with disabilities speak out against being used as the negative poster children of the Republican’s smear campaign. The reforms advocated in the health care bill would specifically benefit people with disabilities by stopping the current practice in which insurance companies can terminate people for their health status.

Davis is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Commentary: Disability ‘not a death sentence’

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Laura Hershey, writing in U.S. News & World Report, says the current debate over “end-of-life care” neglects to acknowledge the rich, vibrant lives lived by people with disabilities. She worries that health care rationing plans rely on discriminatory and erroneous views that ignore the experiences and value of people with disabilities.

An excerpt:

Tactless acquaintances have told me they would kill themselves if they became as disabled as me. More chillingly, the last time I was hospitalized for pneumonia, I had two different nurses ask if I had a DNR-a “do not resuscitate” order. I replied that I had come to the hospital to get better, not to die.

Unfortunately, that expectation of medical treatment can run up against physicians’ opposing views and hospitals’ rules.

… In this economic and social climate, we fear that medical practitioners will stop short of saving our lives. More and more, despite rhetoric about “patient autonomy,” the decision to withhold treatment is imposed upon patients. Especially vulnerable are those unable to communicate their wishes.

About the Site

More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

Join journalist Patricia E. Bauer as she seeks to bring you the best information about what's happening now and what it may mean for you and your loved ones.

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