Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Global Update: Australia, EU, Botswana

30 July 2008

ABCNews (AUSTRALIA) Australia is considering changes to allow more families to establish special disability trusts for their children. Currently trusts are not widely used because of restrictive eligibility and tax rules. The Australian Senate will make recommendations on new legislation in September. Carers Australia ( says the government should establish a program for families who are not financially able to put money into disability trusts.


United Kingdom Press Association, UK— The European Union (EU; has passed new rules giving more rights to passengers with disabilities. Under the new rules, which are now in effect, airlines and airports will assist travelers with disabilities free of charge. Other services, such as wheelchair transportation and transport for service animals will also be free of charge. Airlines cannot refuse travel to people with disabilities. The new rules apply to all flights departing from an EU airport and European arrivals in the EU.


Daily news Online, GABORONE, BOTSWANA - The National Youth Policy does not make provisions for young people with disabilities. During the recent Legislative and Policy Framework: Impact on Youth With Disabilities Conference, the acting executive director Anthony Morima said people with disabilities do not utilize available programs because they are unaware of them, or the programs are not accessible to them. In particular, Morima called for better sports programs for youth with disabilities. He requests development of a comprehensive report on program availability. Ms. Motsei Rapelana of the University of Botswana ( calls for the inclusion of people with disabilities in formulating programmatic and service plans.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Rejects Community Choice Act

July 29, 2008

WASHINGTON— Presidential candidate John McCain (R-Arizona) DOES NOT support the Community Choice Act (CCA), legislation allowing people with disabilities to choose home-based or community care with in-home services by increasing the percentage of Medicaid that goes toward in-home care. Past Chair of the National Council on Disability (NDC; Marca Bristo says McCain has a long history of opposing the CCA. However, McCain may be preparing to “flip-flop” on the issue. Barack Obama is a co-sponsor of the Act (

Bristo says the disability community can’t afford more failed policies or eight more years of the status quo, and so do we. Bob Kafka, President of the American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT; says McCain should be aware of the influence the disability community has in the up-coming election. Should we trust McCain if he changes his stand on the CCA? Will he simply flip back again if he wins the election? Most importantly, can people with disabilities afford to take the chance? McCain supports the VA and veterans with disabilities, but does not offer the same support for other people with disabilities. His personal experiences may be a factor but a President should not run a country based on personal interests alone—we have seen enough of that already.


Track the Community Choice Act:
Downloadable audio of McCain’s anti-CCA comments:
Audio and video of the Bristo & Kafka conference call regarding CCA/McCain:
Video of McCain speaking about the Community Choice Act:
Background on the Act from the National Council on Independent Living:
CCA talking points from ADAPT:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

DI Doc & DI Prof: "Hello Dolly"

Blog Authors (EDINBURG)-- Edinburg, Texas was directly hit last Wednesday by Hurricane Dolly. DI Doc and DI Prof weathered the storm well, despite 106 mile-per-hour winds. Their home sustained light damage, but the landscaping sustained moderate-to-heavy casualties. Power was out for some time, and the Rio Grande Valley is still experiencing widespread outages. Several key highways remain closed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Disaboom Asks, “Better Off Dead?”

21 July 2008
Reuters (NEW YORK) — Disaboom, an informational website and social network for people with disabilities, and Kent Research recently surveyed 1000 people to better understand public perceptions of disability. Overall, 52 % of participants chose death over severe disability. Other results varied by age, income, and area of the country. For example, among people ages 35 to 44, 63 % chose death over severe disability compared with 50% of people ages 55 to 64. Wealthier people also chose tended to choose death over severe disability, with 59% of people making $75,000 or more choosing death, while only 45% of people earning $25,000 did. While 61% in the Western U.S. chose death, people in the South were less likely to do the same, at 45%.
From CNN Money Market Wire:
Disaboom hosts the National Forum on Disability Issues, a nonpartisan forum at which presidential candidates will present views on U.S. disability policy ( The webcast will be live at on Saturday, July 26, 2008, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. To watch, viewers must register at A downloadable video will be available on the website after the live webcast.

Savage Disability Hate Speech

21 July 2008
PRNewswire-US Newswire (WASHINGTON)—Talk Radio Network ( must fire host Michael Savage (, says ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights. Savage has once again attacked people with disabilities, calling children with autism frauds and brats. The outrage is just the latest in a long string of attacks on people with disabilities and the disability community disguised as commentary or comedy. For example, Savage developed a “comedy” routine about employees with disabilities at a café, saying they drool and put feces in food. Savage has also labeled members of the disability rights community “The Wheelchair Mafia”.

ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) are local disability, civil rights and social justice organizations working together to protect and promote the rights of children and adults with all types of disabilities.
“Talk Host Michael Savage in Hot Water with Parents of Autistic Children”:

COMMENT: MSNBC fired Savage in 2003 for his vicious anti-gay comments, but Savage has continued to call gay-rights groups the “Homosexual Mafia”. Apparently, Savage isn’t clever enough to change his shtick, since he frames disability rights groups in the same way. Go back far enough, and you’ll see that Savage is neither clever nor original. He simply finds new groups to hate and then uses an “insert-group-name-here” approach. Yes, Talk Radio Network needs to fire him. But the 350+ radio stations playing him in syndication also need to drop his program, and listeners (heads up, UltraCons) need to tune out, fast.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TX State Schools Failing

15 July 2008
The Dallas Morning News (AUSTIN) — Seventy percent (70%) of State School residents wanting to live in the community in 2007 were not permitted to do so, according to a new audit report (View: Texas leads the nation in number of people with severe disabilities living in large, state-run institutions. The audit also reports 10 state school workers have records of abuse or neglect making them ineligible for hire. Complaint investigations are also under scrutiny in the report.

Texas Has Hired People with Abuse Records…:

Disability Rights Activist Dies

14 July 2008
The San Francisco Chronicle (BERKELEY) — Dona Spring, a national leader in disability rights died Sunday at age 55 due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis. Ms. Spring served as a Berkeley City Councilwoman, and was known for her “progressive advocacy”. She was especially active in supporting and promoting access to recreational and athletic facilities for people with disabilities.
A Tribute to Dona Spring:

UK Disability & Beauty: Good TV?

15 July 2008
The Guardian (UNITED KINGDOM) — Popular British TV show, “Britain’s Missing Top Model” ( is a UK reality program searching for a top model with a disability. But can TV effectively debate society's attitudes to beauty and disability, or is it just exploitive? As with most reality TV, the contestants cry, fight, and bare their souls, while snarky judges ponder their merits. But in this show, the debate includes whether a deaf contestant has as much right to participate as a contestant with paraplegia.

Models Defy Disability:
Disability Downplayed for “BMTM”:

Monday, July 7, 2008

US House Votes for ADA Restoration

6 July 2008
The Washington Post (WASHINGTON, DC) — The US House voted to expand protections for people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Business and disability rights advocates engaged in a “remarkably cooperative effort” to broaden the definition of disability and redefine the “substantial limits” concept. The Senate is expected to pass the changes, and President Bush is likely to sign

7 July 2008
The Michigan Daily (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) —ADA Restoration legislation rejects court rulings that narrowed definitions of disability and changes limiting language. University of Michigan officials say changes should have little impact on services to students with disabilities. However, it is too soon to tell what impact the changes will have on University employees.

5 July 2008
Spero Forum— The House of Representatives passed the ADA restoration Act last week. The new bill may place undue burden on businesses, disrupt business activities and lead to legislative abuses. By “defining disability down”, resources and support for people with “genuine disability” may be lessened.

COMMENT: Public figures and pundits are expressing many of the same concerns expressed with the initial passing of the ADA in 1990. Yet, few to none of the dire consequences predicted for businesses and the economy came to pass. Only time and litigation will tell if the ADA Restoration Act is a boon or bane for the public and for the most critical stakeholders— people with disabilities.


Increasing Global Disability Rights

Kenya, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and China recently ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), joining a global community supporting legislative disability rights. The CRPD Convention was written in 2006. It supports individual autonomy, independence, non-discrimination and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

CRPD ratification is an important first step toward a global climate of inclusion of people with disabilities. Many social and environmental challenges remain. UN organizers are now planning for International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2008, which will focus on the CRPD Convention.

Sources and Resources: