Monday, June 22, 2015

Weekly Reading List

Illustration of a stack of books of different colors.
A collection of disability-related articles and blog posts I read last week, but didn’t have a chance to link to or discuss. It’s an opportunity to catch up with some of the good stuff that’s out there, but doesn’t fit neatly into the week's “big stories.”

Dr. Peter Rosenbaum, Bloom - June 18, 2015

Cheryl M. Jorgensen, Swiftalk - November 10, 2014

Rachel Kassenbrock, The Mighty - May 16, 2015

Three straight-up advice lists, all from writers who I am pretty sure don’t have disabilities. Ordinarily I would be skeptical, and I was at first, but these articles all include good ideas worth reading.

Beth Parker, KTTV Los Angeles - June 18, 2015

Stuff like this will continue to happen much more frequently than can be explained by pure happenstance. These are unfortunate omissions, not deliberate exclusions. But they happen more often because people continue to treat disability concerns as “special” issues and afterthoughts. My guess is that someone thought of accessibility the night before, called the company, and the company said “no” because nobody had asked them about it earlier. Or, someone at the company originally said, “of course we’ll accommodate a wheelchair user,” but kinda forgot to write it into the contract or work order or whatever. Plan it all out, then, if you remember, ask about accessibility. That’s the way things happen, and it does say loud and clear where disabled people come on most peoples’ and organizations’ priority lists.

Ari Ne’eman, Autistic Self Advocacy Network - June 18, 2015

No offense to our many great leaders, but I wish the disability rights movement as a whole had a few more leaders as eloquent as Ari Ne’eman is for the autistic community. It’s a real bonus that he often includes the broader disability community in his statements of principle.


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What Does The President Think?

Old-fashioned microphone with American flag behind
This morning I listened to the interview with President Barack Obama on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast. I enjoyed it. I didn’t hear any potential headlines, (Ooops, forgot about this), but it was interesting to hear President Obama discuss how he manages to remain calm in the face of constant annoyances and disappointments. He certainly convinced me that his supposed “aloofness” isn't because he’s never annoyed and disappointed.

The most interesting moment was probably unplanned. Marc asked the President what about him irritates the  First Lady, Michelle. He cited the habit of being late. And then he explained that Michelle is a stickler for being on time or early for things because her father had Multiple Sclerosis, and always had to get ready for things well in advance. He had to get up hours before most people, just to get dressed on time, and he always arrived at big events, like a basketball game, long before start time because of how long it would take him to get to his seat. President Obama name checked the Americans with Disabilities Act, too, suggesting that this kind of advanced prep was even more necessary before the ADA improved accessibility.

It was a nice moment, where disability was mentioned as both a personal and a systemic issue, but casually, without making a big deal out of it, and seemingly off the cuff.

I would still love to hear President Obama talk at length and in detail about how he views the broad scope and direction of disability issues. I don’t even know if he has personal views on disability policy, beyond the  positions and endorsements we expect from a moderate Democrat in high public office. Maybe it should be a goal for our community … for President Obama to make a major disability policy and vision address before he leaves office.