Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Lawmakers are demanding answers from the U.S. Department of Education after a key government special education website went down.

Source: Senators Want Answers On IDEA Website Outage – Disability Scoop

Betsy DeVos Confirmed, and IDEA Website Crashes.  Just a Coincidence? HMM!

Even before Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, despite protests from disability rights and education advocates, the link leading to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mysteriously crashed.  This begs the question, was the crash of this vital link, just a coincidence?  Or, was it a subtle message to the disability community that our needs are going to be giving no priority under the Trump administration?  Unfortunately, I suspect the latter option may be the answer.

One of the main reasons that such stiff opposition met the appointment of Betsy DeVos was that many people are concerned that her knowledge of disability issues, and other matters about public education, were sorely lacking.  When she was questioned during her confirmation hearings about the IDEA, she just drew a blank stare and tried to avoid the question.

It was very apparent to anyone who saw the confirmation hearing that Betsy DeVos was clueless about what the IDEA was, or its significance to people with disabilities.  When she was pressed on the question of the IDEA, Betsy DeVos tried to divert the questionnaire by saying, “these matters are best left to the States.”  This answer was ridiculous!

Anyone who knows anything about the IDEA knows that it was a federal mandate passed in 1974 that guarantees people with disabilities, an equal chance at an equal education.  To me personally, it was one of the primary reasons that I was able to attend college back in Pennsylvania in the late 70s.  She should’ve known that, especially since she is the person who will be in charge of educating this country’s children, even those with disabilities.

Betsy DeVos is nothing more than just another one of Donald Trump’s unqualified members of his cabinet.  She joins the ranks of quite a few others, in this respect.

 

Six astonishing things Betsy DeVos said — and refused to say — at …

Jan 18, 2017 At her contentious confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s nominee to be education secretary on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was asked a question …
Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America’s Schools to Build “God’s …

Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America’s Schools to Build “God’s Kingdom”. Trump’s education secretary pick has spent a lifetime working to end public education …

 

 

Donald Trump: Bad Business for People with Disabilities

The man who says he has given more to Americans with disabilities than anyone else has faced a slew of lawsuits over ADA compliance.

Source: Donald Trump’s War on People With Disabilities

Donald Trump: Bad Business for People with Disabilities.

Why am I not surprised that Donald Trump has a fucked up attitude about people with disabilities especially as he openly mocked a reporter from the New York Times, who has a disability.  When it comes to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), his attitude is equally fucked up.  Donald Trump, who touts himself as such a great businessman, apparently doesn’t appreciate the billions of dollars that are generated by a business by just taking a few simple steps to make sure of equal access for people with disabilities.

Studies have shown that when a company caters to the needs of disabled people by following a few simple steps, set forth by the ADA, it is good business for a couple of reasons. First, people with disabilities are willing to spend money just like other people.  This puts more money and profits into the coffers of businesses who comply with the ADA.  Following the ADA also creates a great Stopreputation of business because it gives them more of a “human” face.  Whenever a corporation enhances their reputation by at least seeming to care about members of the community, it’s alway makes them look good in the public eye.  A positive image is always good business because most people look at companies as cold-blooded, non-caring entities that are only interested in making money.

Donald Trump has been sued several times for violating the ADA by not complying with it.  Most notably, the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has been sued for noncompliance with the ADA.  The Taj Mahal has been shown to be an access nightmare, with many violations.  Other businesses, owned by Donald Trump, have also been sued for noncompliance with the ADA.

Donald Trump always likes to showcase his supposed great business acumen and skill.  To hear him tell it, one would think that his business sense is the biggest thing since sliced bread.  Since he has shown himself to be nothing more than a windbag, we should not be surprised that he is anything more than another big problem for people with disabilities.

 

American Association of People with Disabilities

The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change.

Disability Employment

Hiring people with disabilities into Federal jobs is fast and easy. People with disabilities can be appointed to Federal jobs non-competitively through a process  …

 

 

Victory for People With Disabilities in Los Angeles

Los Angeles will spend more than $200 million over the next decade to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the city failed to provide enough apartments for people with disabilities in its publicly funded housing developments.

Source: L.A. to spend more than $200 million to settle suit on housing for disabled

Victory for People with Disabilities in Los Angeles

People with disabilitiesPeople with disabilities in the city of Los Angeles have won a significant victory with this latest ruling from the Courts. Hopefully, people with disabilities who need accessible housing will be able to have access to it finally. Also hopefully, these housing units will be accessible. By using the term “truly accessible, housing units” I mean that these homes will be fully equipped to handle whatever disability that a particular person has. Many homes are ruled to be accessible, even if they truly are not. There have been any times when the “powers that be”, (mostly able-bodied people) really don’t have a clear understanding of what the word accessibility even means. How many times have we people with disabilities see the situation where some architect or builder thought that something was accessible just because they stuck a blue symbol of access on it?

One of the biggest barriers faced by people with disabilities is finding accessible housing. For many disabled, they are trapped living in inadequate housing that doesn’t serve their needs. They are then put in the unenviable position where they cannot have the true enjoyment of life, as any other person expects to, or has the right to. Many times, housing that is termed as being accessible isn’t, and forces a person to live with the added burden of having to make do in a situation that most people would not tolerate.

In fact, there are nearly 2 million people with disabilities people trapped in nursing homes just because they cannot find accessible housing. Even though I applaud this decision, and think it’s wonderful, I am most other advocates for people with disabilities will not be satisfied as long as there are so many of our brothers and sisters trapped in human warehouses.

 

Information for Disabled Persons/U.S. Department of Housing and …

This page is designed to answer frequently asked questions on the housing rights of people with disabilities and the responsibilities of housing providers and  …
People with Disabilities – HUD

Definition of Disability: Federal laws define a person with a disability as “Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or …

 

 

These People at Wal-Mart Will Never Learn, Will They? 

A former Wal-Mart employee with intellectual disabilities will receive $90,000 from the company to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC said.

Source: After Firing Employee With Special Needs, Wal-Mart To Pay Up – Disability Scoop

These People at Wal-Mart Will Never Learn, Will They?

How many times does Wal-Mart have to be sued to know that The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law and does mean something? It has gotten to the point I have come to the conclusion that this is one company that is so arrogant they think they can go on discriminating against people with disabilities forever. These assholes still don’t get it, no matter how many times we sue them. But, that doesn’t mean that we disabled should abandon the fight against the biggest retailer in the United States.

As long as we people in the disability community keep accepting the situation, it will continue. Personally, I have never shopped at Wal-Mart and I never will. I have tried to discourage other disabled people from shopping there, but no success. If there was ever a company that disabled people should boycott, it’s Wal-Mart. I say that it’s well past time that we disabled would display enough dignity and self-respect that we will refuse to open up our wallets to a company that will not even allow us employment there. Why should so many of us go on patronizing a business that won’t even hire us, or feels free to fire us when we ask for a reasonable accommodation, as this man did?

In this particular case, Wal-Mart showed its arrogance and unwillingness to follow The Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to continue providing this man with an intellectual disability the simple accommodation of providing him with a list of tasks that he needed to do his job. They would rather spend $90,000 on a legal settlement than to give this gentleman with a very simple accommodation. If that isn’t the height of arrogance and contempt for the law, I don’t know what is.

I say that we should boycott Wal-Mart now! Why should we go on spending our money in a place of business that has so little respect for us that they would deny one of our brothers his job?

BOYCOTT WAL-MART NOW!

Related articles

Hollywood’s Latest Insult To the Disabled: “Me before You”

Disability rights activists have rallied against the normalization of suicide for disabled people in Me Before You. Protesters told BuzzFeed News the scope of the protest is unprecedented.

Source: The “Me Before You” Backlash Was Bigger Than Anyone Expected

Hollywood‘s Latest Insult To the Disabled: “Me before You”

Me Before YouAs a person with a disability, I greatly resent the Hollywood stereotypes of what it’s like to live with a disability and don’t even have a clue. Once again, Hollywood stereotypes are creating great harm to the disability rights movement and all disabled people with its latest insult, entitled “Me Before You“. This latest film, which is supposed to be a romance, instead becomes nothing more than just another “disability snuff film.”

The Hollywood stereotypes erect a type of barrier that is far harder to correct that a physical barrier. “Me Before You” creates what we call an attitudinal barrier, which is far more difficult to correct that a physical barrier. A physical barrier can be altered or done away with by constructing something differently, such as installing a ramp, widening a doorway, or some other type of construction work. On the other hand, an attitudinal barrier is far harder to correct. It can only be changed through informing and educating people about what it’s like to live with a disability; something that Hollywood executives haven’t got a clue about. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be keen to listen to us or what we have to say about films like “Me Before You.”

However, since the disability rights movement and people with disabilities, in general, have turned out with a huge protest that could severely damage profits, which is what Hollywood executives care most about, they might finally take some note of us. Unfortunately, any changes probably won’t happen very fast. The only thing that happens quickly in Hollywood seems to be pocketing the money they make from films that exploit people like “Me Before You”.

A few years ago, there was also a considerable controversy about the movie, “Million Dollar Baby“, a film that has the lead actress begging to be killed after she has a severe spinal cord injury that leaves her paralyzed. This time, disabled people are even angrier and insulted and are turning out in large numbers to protest “Me Before You”. Hollywood executives have been caught off guard by the scope of the current protests which in many places is still ongoing. I’m pleased to say that these protests are growing and getting bigger and more vocal. We have succeeded in drawing the attention of some of the largest newspapers and news outlets in the country.

 

Me Before You (@mebeforeyou) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from Me Before You (@mebeforeyou). On June 3rd # LiveBoldly.

Me Before You: Dear Hollywood, Why Do You Want Me Dead …

Jun 2, 2016 Me Before You comes out tomorrow. I’ve never read the book, but my mom told me about it and I read the reviews online. It’s the story of a guy …

 

DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED – 26 YEARS LATER

LEAD: More than 100 protesters in wheelchairs were arrested today in the Capitol Rotunda after they boisterously demonstrated for swift passage of a civil rights bill for the millions of Americans with physical and mental disabilities.


Saturday March 12th marks the 26th anniversary of the largest act of civil disobedience in the Rotunda of the US Capitol.  300 ADAPT activists protested to support the passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Over 100 were arrested
This historic event followed another chapter in disability rights history – The Capitol steps crawl up on March 11th.
Approximately 50 ADAPT activists got out of their wheelchairs and crawled the 82 steps to the Capitol entrance to send the message to Congress – Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights

Don’t Mourn…Organize, Register and Vote!

Onward to November 8, 2016
Make the DISABILITY VOTE Count

Source: DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED

DISABLED PROTEST AND ARE ARRESTED -26 YEARS LATER

Disabled people crawling up the steps of the US capitol buildingI really regret that I was unable to be part of this demonstration by disabled people on the steps of the US Capitol building. I remember seeing this on TV, and I know at the time that I felt very proud to be a disabled person. When I saw this story, over 26 years ago, I remember I swelled with such a feeling of disability pride that I actually started to cry with happiness because I truly felt that I was actually part of a group of Americans that I was extremely proud to be part of. I had finally found a place where I belonged.

These people, my people, had finally had enough of systemic oppression that they were willing to fight for their rights as equal citizens. My people had finally taken a stand in the same true sense that our founding fathers had taken a stand against the British. These disabled people were exercising their First Amendment rights in the most sincere American tradition, protests and civil disobedience. And they were using the finest examples set forth by people like Thoreau, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In my opinion, the disability rights movement in the United States needs to start once again following this fine tradition of protest. The disability rights movement in this country is staggering around lost with no real direction. Too many younger disabled people seem to be more into  pandering to the establishment and have lost their sense of disability pride. We really need, as proud disabled people to once again unite, as these disabled people did run the risk of having our movement die on the vine. We, as disabled people need to stop trying to be part of the status quo. After all, the status quo is a broken system that is ruining this entire country.

Home Care Workers Benefit, But at Whose Expense?

A federal appeals court has upheld a rule requiring that in-home care workers assisting people with disabilities be paid minimum wage and overtime.

Source: Wage Protections For Home Care Workers Reinstated – Disability Scoop

 

Home Care Workers Benefit, But at Whose Expense?

 

March 1st, 2011:

Even though I feel that home care workers are grossly underpaid and deserve to receive overtime pay, it still begs the question, “who pays for it?”  The reason I say this is because those of us who are dependent on state-funded programs, such as, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) here in CA are refused badly needed funding for these types of programs.  We can’t even get a supposedly “liberal” governor like Jerry Brown to restore a 7% cut in IHSS, made by the previous governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite the fact that our state will accumulate an estimated 4 billion dollars in a budget surplus over the next 4 years.

Home care workers deserve to receive higher wages and overtime pay, just as the Department of Labor (DOL) ruled last year because without them we disabled that seniors would not be able to continue living independent lives in the community, instead of nursing homes.  For most of us, our home care workers are the primary focus of our daily lives.

In some ways, most of us agree with the DOL ruling even though DOL hasn’t made a solid suggestion is about who pays for these wage increases and overtime for home care workers.  They don’t tell us how those of us who live on state-funded programs are supposed to pay for this, especially when neither the governor nor the state legislature will not cooperate with us on helping us to find the money.  They had put consumers of home care services in a Catch-22 position.  We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

The only way Governor Jerry Brown proposes to “help us” is to make a lame suggestion that our hours of home care service be reduced; something that he refuses to acknowledge is impossible for nearly all of us.  He acts as though we are awash in home care hours, even though the reality of the situation is that most of us have been dealing with a shortage of hours for many years.  Jerry Brown simply prefers to live in a state of denial about how inadequate our present home care service already is, and has been for many years.

US Court Reinstates Home Care Pay Rules

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated regulations drawn up by the Obama administration to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to almost two million workers who provide home care for the elderly and disabled.

Study Projects 2.5 Million More Home Care Workers …

As the nation’s senior population is projected to swell to enormous proportions in the coming years, the need for home care workers to serve this aging demographic will have to increase by the millions, a recent report …

Social Security Disability Benefits Face Cuts

Eleven million people face a deep cut in benefits next year if Congress fails to replenish Social Security’s disability trust fund, the administration said.

Source: Social Security Disability Benefits Face Cuts in 2016, Trustees Say – The New York Times

Social Security Disability Benefits Face Cuts

 

social securityWhen I first read this story about Social Security, I was totally outraged.  Sometimes, I believe that our so-called “leaders” in Washington DC are in the process of eliminating disabled people altogether by starving us to death.  How are we supposed to survive on the paltry sum of money that we currently get, let alone if they impose a 19% cut.

Personally, I live on straight Social Security so I probably won’t be as affected by this proposed cut as people hold them on SSDI or SSI.  Those people, at least here in CA, only receive about $845 per month to live on.  They are barely scraping by, as it is.  Expecting them to survive on less money is nothing less than an atrocity.  Multiply this amount by 12, and you can easily see that people on SSI or SSDI are currently living on starvation wages.

It’s hard enough for those of us on straight Social Security to get by with about $1145 per month, the amount I receive per month, so the politicians actually expect people on SSI and SSDI to survive?  What a bunch of bastards!

In January, when I received my earned income statement from the Social Security Administration (SSA), I found out that last year I received the whopping total of $14,644, well below the poverty limit.  To think that my disabled brothers and sisters who live on SSI and SSDI are forced to live on far less, makes me absolutely livid. We deserve to be treated with respect and provided enough money to live on.  Instead, we have a system that treats us like we were beggars instead of equal citizens.

The thing that really gets me is the fact that the politicians always act like there’s not enough money to properly fund the Social Security Trust Fund.  As anybody who has been around the block a couple of times knows, this is total bullshit.  After all, the U.S. Congress is always more than willing to throw a bunch of money across the river to the Pentagon, every budget cycle.  If there is enough money to maintain our bloated military, why isn’t there enough money to maintain funding that people rely on to survive?

Social Security’s support for people with disabilities faces challenges in …

Stanford economist Mark Duggan suggests that the Social Security Disability Insurance program could benefit from new reforms. His research shows that inconsistencies exist in how the program determines if a person is sufficiently disabled to qualify
Senate Bill May Kick 200,000 Off Social Security If They …

The large transportation funding bill moving through the Senate would end Social Security benefits for 200,000 people who have an outstanding felony arrest warrant—but have never been convicted by a court, or have a …
GOP Plans To Hold Social Security Hostage — And ‘Phase Out’

I get really impatient with the lazy “there’s no difference between the two parties” trope. One big difference is that the majority in one party is trying to expand Social Security, and the majority in the other is trying to destroy it.

The IFA: Newest Enemy Of the Disabled and Seniors

Can workers centers and unions create a movement strong enough to fight back?

Source: The Anti-Union Bosses’ Group Fighting Fast Food Organizing Is Now Going After Home Care Workers – In These Times

 

The IFA: Newest Enemy Of the Disabled and Seniors

 

It seems that the disability and senior communities have yet another enemy; the IFA (International Franchise Association).  They are the group who is fighting against SEIU to keep homecare workers wages down and substandard.

As a person with a disability who depends on homecare workers for my survival, I thank “In These Times” very much for this article, documenting a battle that basically revolves around the issue of who controls the lives of people with disabilities and seniors.  The last thing we need is for another corporate entity like the IFA to impose itself into our lives. This entire battle conveniently leaves out that we disabled our equal citizens, and have every right to decide who takes care of us, and who touches our bodies. The IFA needs to back off and stop interfering with the independent lives of the disabled and seniors.  We are the ones who have the right to decide our destiny, not a large, highly financed organization such as the IFA. Disabled people and seniors are not commodities, we are people who have for far too long been denied our independence.  The IFA serves no real purpose here, other than to make an issue that should be very clear-cut into a cluttered mess where the independence of people disabilities is trampled on.

However, I strongly question why no representatives from the senior or disability communities were not interviewed for this article to have some balance.  Why was our perspective left out?  There is no shortage of disability and senior advocates who could have contributed a lot to this story.

There is an old saying in the disability rights movement that says, “Nothing about Us, Without Us.”  Isn’t our perspective important enough to “In These Times” to include us in this story?  One would think that a magazine that is well-known to be liberal and progressive would leave out of an important story, the largest minority group in the United States; people with disabilities.

We have been working together for many years with SEIU to raise the wages for home care workers because when our workers are paid what they deserve, everybody wins; the disabled, seniors, and our workers.  Why was this very pertinent fact left out of this story?

We in the disability community have fought against the “for-profit” homecare industry probably longer than SEIU or any other union. We consider it as yet another battle for our civil rights as equal citizens, and for the chance to live in a free society, just like everyone else.

For us, it’s a matter of personal autonomy and who controls the lives.  For-profit agencies don’t give a damn about independent living, personal autonomy, or personal control that we disabled advocates devote our lives to because it is our civil rights that are being violated by for-profit homecare agencies.
[paypal-donations]
 

New Federal Rule About Sheltered Workshops

New Federal Rule About Sheltered Workshops

 

Feds Take Aim At Sheltered Workshops – Disability Scoop.

The Obama administration is proposing new regulations that would go far in helping to stop sheltered workshops from exploiting their disabled workers. And it’s about time!

Far too long have workers with disabilities been employed at places like Goodwill Industries and other employees for a fraction of the wages that able-bodied people are paid.

Workers with disabilities deserve to be paid as much as able-bodied workers.  Just because a worker has a disability does not mean that their labors are somehow worse less that the labors of someone who is able-bodied.

Hopefully, this new rule will eliminate the current wage discrimination committed against workers with disabilities by sheltered workshops.  To me, sheltered workshops has always meant sweatshops for the disabled.  The time has come for this deplorable situation to be stopped.

Feds Take Aim At Sheltered Workshops

Leslie Winkler repackages plastic sprayers at Job One, a sheltered workshop for adults with disabilities in Independence, Mo. Proposed regulations would set new limits on who would be eligible to work in such environments. (Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City …
Niagara Gazette Article on Sheltered Workshops – Arc of …

EDITOR’S NOTE: March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and in support of the disability community and sheltered workshops in his district, New York State Sen. Rob Ortt is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the …