Archive for people with disabilities

Disability community shocked, hurt. Senate aide: "One of most shameful moments I've witnessed... utterly appalling."

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As I wrote yesterday, and as you can see in the video above, even Republican, 89-year-old disabled vet Bob Dole couldn’t sway 13 GOP senators to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty. And it was utterly shameful, a genuinely disgraceful episode. In fact, the outcome was so painful that it brought Lawrence O'Donnell to tears:

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Now it's becoming clearer than ever that Republicans don't value life at all, unless of course, they think they can squeeze votes from uninformed and gullible voters by saying they do. It's becoming clearer than ever that Republicans say one thing and do another. It's becoming clearer than ever that heartless far right hypocrites need to go.

As  Josh Rogin reports, the disability community was shocked and hurt:

David Morrissey, the executive director of the United State International Council on Disabilities, told The Cable in an interview that his group and many others had been assured by numerous GOP senators that they would vote in favor of ratification, but then disabilities groups were given no warning when those senators reversed themselves and voted "no." [...]

The scene both inside and just outside the Senate chamber Tuesday before and during the vote was heart-wrenching, several observers said. Wounded war veterans and other disabled people filled the gallery above the floor and the hallways outside the chamber, expecting to celebrate months of effort, only to have those hopes shattered as the roll call vote was read aloud.

"That was one of most shameful moments I've witnessed during my time in Washington," one longtime senior Senate aide said. "I thought it was utterly appalling."

"The reaction was one of emotional hurt. There was weeping in the gallery," said Morrissey, who added that disability groups will remember the GOP senators who torpedoed the treaty ratification effort and groups have labeled the 38 the "wall of shame."

As Morrissey went on to say, this is what happens when right wing crazies try to agitate home schoolers, "pro-lifers" [sic], and parents with disabled children.

Be proud, GOP. Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

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Even Republican, 89-year-old disabled vet Bob Dole couldn't sway 13 GOP senators to ratify U.N. disabilities treaty

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(Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images)

Being a well-respected, wheelchair-bound, 89-year-old former Senate majority leader and former GOP presidential nominee still wasn't enough for Bob Dole to convince his fellow Republicans to support an initiative to extend the rights granted to Americans under the Americans with Disabilities Act to citizens of the world.

Wanna know who had more influence than Dole did? Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation's advocacy arm, Heritage Action, and the Family Research Council, plus sympathetic, tenderhearted types like Glenn Beck and Rick Santorum. They got jittery over the idea of "U.N. overreach."

Or as I like to call it, good will.

Josh Rogin is reporting that Santorum's Patriot PAC sent out a fundraising e-mail shortly after the vote claiming credit for the defeat.

Here's what GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte, a supporter, said:

“Senate ratification of this treaty would reflect America’s leadership role in breaking down barriers for disabled individuals. It would take a step toward making it easier for disabled Americans to live and work overseas, without impinging on U.S. sovereignty or Congress’ authority to determine our disability laws. Veterans service groups are especially supportive of the treaty, which would help level the playing field for disabled veterans who are abroad.”

But Bob Dole couldn't get 13 Republicans to ratify the treaty. Per Roll Call, only seven "joined Democrats to back U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which would have expanded rights to disabled people globally." Those seven were Ayotte, John Barrasso, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Olympia J. Snowe, Richard G. Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain.

There were a few cowards who could have made a difference, but chose not to:

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., changed his vote from a “yes” to a “no” after it was obvious the treaty would fall short of ratification. Cochran is up for re-election in 2014 and could face a primary challenge from his right.

The other self-serving members of the Wussy Four who were skittish about being primaried were Saxby Chambliss, Lindsey Graham, and Lamar Alexander.

Happy holidays! 'Tis the season! Goodwill toward men (and women)!

Disabled men and women around the world will be eternally grateful to these compassionate "Christian" "pro-lifers" who will now have to live with their decision to deny people everywhere a little common decency. Be proud, Republicans.

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Rick Santorum Fights Against U.N. Treaty for People With Disabilities

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Yep, let it sink in. This twisted Tea Fart is fighting against a treaty aimed to improve people with disabilities lives simply because his Teabagger antennae are overtuned. And he hasn't ruled out running for President again in 2016.

Joining Santorum was Tea Party favorite Sen. Mike Lee from Utah and members of the Home School Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of parents who home school. The treaty, which was negotiated during the George W. Bush administration and signed by 126 countries, will be taken up by the Senate during the lame-duck session. The document essentially requires signatories to update their laws for persons with disabilities, and supporters say it could effect real change for those facing mistreatment around the world.

But Lee said he had "grave concerns" about the treaty's impact on the authority of America, and that he had gathered signatures from 36 Republicans who opposed the ratification of the treaty for similar reasons.

Mike Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said he worried that the treaty would give the government "unilateral ability" to impact people with disabilities while parents should "get the choice of what's best for their child." Earlier, the association had expressed concern that the treaty would allow the federal government to require children with disabilities be enrolled in public schools and not be home schooled.

"We have set leadership in the world for people with disabilities. Adopting this treaty will do nothing to improve that, or people with disabilities overseas," Santorum told Whispers. "This is undermining parents, and adopting a standard that is something that folks are justifiably afraid of—which is the state having priority over the parent as to what's in the best interest of the child."

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Protesters in wheelchairs arrested, demanded rejection of Ryan budget

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As I started to type up this post, I heard a representative from the group ADAPT on the Thom Hartmann show, and was so gratified to see that they're getting some attention.

This was pretty much what I heard during that segment, and kudos to the American Independent for writing it up:

Advocates for people with disabilities flooded the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., Monday to protest the GOP 2012 budget proposal (PDF), authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which includes approximately 35 percent in funding cuts to Medicaid and a complete overhaul of the program by turning the states’ federal shares into block grants.

Mike Ervin, an organizer for the national disability-advocacy group ADAPT and founder of its Chicago branch, is one of about 300 protesters from 25 different states who traveled to Capitol Hill to tell congressional leaders how Ryan’s proposal would impact the disability community.

The idea of block granting really scares us, because a lot of people with disabilities rely on Medicaid in order to stay out of institutions,” Ervin said. “Block granting … gets rid of the idea that people are entitled to a minimun amount, no matter what their situation is. Now there will be less money available.

And 200 of those 300 protesters were in wheelchairs. As you can see, ADAPT is concerned that Medicaid recipients with disabilities would have to give up their homes and move into institutions or nursing homes because they don't have steady work and/or enough money to make up for what the GOP plan would cut.

To say a protest was in order is an understatement.

Ryan sent out his chief of staff to speak to the protesters but, ahem, John Boehner refused to speak to anyone. Surprise!

However, Democrats John Lewis, Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky, and Barney Frank all spoke to them, and just as importantly, listened to them.

And of those 300 protesters, so far about 100 have been arrested. They were chanting “I’d rather be in jail than in a nursing home! "Good visual, huh?

Please read more here.

And here is an article about one of the ADAPT founders... who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.

H/t: @Peary85

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Video- President Obama Signs 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act (Big Deal)

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Must read slinkerwink's diary at DKos about this - This Is A BIG F***ing Deal For The Deaf Community!

For starters, it makes the Internet accessible to the deaf community by requiring television programming to be captioned on the Internet, a closed-caption button on television remotes, and hearing aid compatibility for smartphones.

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Video- President Obama speaks to the Disabled American Veterans convention in Atlanta

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Very warmly recieved.

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Gay student & developmentally disabled sent to fake prom

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By GottaLaff

So many words come to mind after reading this: Cowards. Discrimination. Hate. Ignorance. Pain. Shame. Wrong. Segregation. Tears. Reprehensible. Deception. Sneaky. Bullies. And several others that are unprintable....

To avoid Constance McMillen bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a "fake prom" while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.

What must this be doing to Constance? I can't even imagine, even though I can actually relate somewhat, because I went through a lot of bullying when I was a teeny, skinny, shy teen. But she seems to be one strong kid, stronger than most:

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn't much to keep an eye on.

This next part will add to your current nausea:

Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls.

I work with special ed kids all the time. They are wonderful, sweet, and do nobody any harm. These are people, with feelings, who are being treated as if they have none, who are being looked on as less important, as something so offensive, so contemptible, that they have to be hidden away.

I can't imagine how "branded" these seven students must feel, and what an indelible imprint this has made, regardless of how courageous they may seem to us, or how big her smile is in that photo (go read the whole piece; Constance is an amazing, positive teen).

They hurt.

And I hurt for them.

H/t: BetseyB, Greg Ostravich

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