Monthly Archives: March 2009

A TAste of LiFe- no criPples- AniMal FriEndly!!!!

looking for a vegan restaurant for dinner with friends. called “a taste of life” and asked about wheelchair access. they said “sorry, the best we can do is bring it to your car.” their web page says “animal cruelty free.” how kind: concerned for animals rights and discriminate against people! sadly typical. remember disability access is a positive thought!! so send them positive energy at: 323-669-0784. 🙂

Man with service dog arrested after refusing to leave courthouse

-Good idea to follow the link, watch the video, and read the horridly bigoted comments. Experiences like this are common place for pwds. I have to limit the number of errands I do in a day to what i can handle without losing my temper. I have to assume that there will be at least one indignity per location. More, if it’s some new age, think positive type of place, like Whole Foods or the Silverlake (dogs, not cripples allowed access!) dog park, or if it’s a human rights event or gathering, like the no bathroom for gimps, Country Federation of Labor (do they hire pwds?) or the UTLA Human Rights Committee (up the stairs) retreat, or the NEA Human Rights Awards Dinner, or an anti-war  demonstration . -Emma


Man says he was kicked out of courthouse because of his service dog 08:16 AM CDT on Friday, March 27, 2009 James Muñoz, KENS 5 Video Visually impaired Richard Pena filed a lawsuit after being denied access to the Bexar County Courthouse in 2007. Richard Pena went to the Bexar County Courthouse in July 2007 to do some research on his adoption. As always, he had Prissy, his service dog with him. He says he was denied access at the metal detector, but soon a supervisor arrived and cleared the way for him to proceed to the third floor. Pena says he even had documents from the Social Security Administration with him detailing his disability and need for a service dog. Pena survived a brain tumor in 1998, but suffered a stroke during surgery. He’s visually impaired and uses Prissy for balance, mobility and direction. To Pena’s surprise, a deputy approached him again and told him to leave the courthouse because of the dog. Pena refused and says he was physically removed, arrested and charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespassing and cruelty to animals. A lawsuit says six deputies were involved in the incident. They’re listed as John Doe 1 thorough 7. Attorney Vincent Lazaro says Bexar County has yet to provide the names of the officers involved. The lawsuit claims the incident caused Pena to suffer acute mental anguish, including extreme emotional distress and mental pain, low self-esteem, humiliation, belittlement and shame. Pena says Prissy is not the same either. He says she is reluctant to go out and somewhat fearful of strangers. Bexar County declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Oh Please, Obama! -“special” olympics comment critique misses the mark!

What’s missing in this entire dialogue is the recognition that “special” olympians aren’t goofy clutzes, performing a freak show for the public, but rather disciplined and talented athletes, marginalized by society to a “special” category.  Nonetheless, many of the “special” athletes, are ordinary olympians as well, participating in both games.
Even the protest of this comment focuses on the insult to the “special” games, and is rooted in pity and a mentality of separation.  It is the athletes and the rest of the”special” population that find our skills marginalized and under valued.  What is the collective loss when so much drive, skill and determination is placed on the side lines or restricted to freak shows and “special” events?
Gimp at large,0,7433169.story 

From the Los Angeles Times

Not bowled over by Obama’s Special Olympics joke

Despite the president’s apology, athletes and others say they are disappointed with his remark on Jay Leno’s show.

By Stacy St. Clair and John McCormick

March 21, 2009

Reporting from Chicago — When she met Barack Obama two years ago, Caitlin Cox proudly wore the two bronze medals she had won at the Special Olympics. The then-Illinois senator grinned as she showed him pictures of her signature bubble-gum-pink bowling ball and posed for photographs with her.

Cox, who has Down syndrome, excitedly recalls that meeting each time she sees Obama’s photo on a magazine cover or hears him mentioned on TV. Her ears perked up again Friday morning as her parents discussed the president at breakfast.

Her mother, Suzanne Thompson, told her that Obama had made a joke about the Special Olympics on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday and that it might have hurt a lot of people. Cox, 21, dropped her head on the table and, after a brief silence, said the news made her sad.

Thompson tried to console her daughter, telling her sometimes people do disappointing things.

But as a mother and special education teacher, Thompson said, internally she was crushed by the president’s insensitivity. She knows how destructive such stereotypes can be, and it infuriated her that an organization dedicated to empowering millions of people with developmental disabilities would be reduced to a late-night punch line.

“My heart just sank,” she said. “To have the president make a comment like that when we’re working so hard to change hearts and minds is just devastating.”

While appearing on “The Tonight Show” to tout his economic plan, Obama — who famously rolled a gutter ball while trying to woo primary voters last year — told Leno that he had been practicing in the White House bowling alley and recently scored an unimpressive 129.

“It’s like — it was like Special Olympics or something,” the president said, prompting laughter from the audience.

Obama called Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver after the show to apologize and to express his admiration for the organization. Shriver accepted the apology and later said he hoped the gaffe would serve as an opportunity to knock down myths about people with disabilities.

His sister, California First Lady Maria Shriver, issued a statement expressing disappointment with the president’s comments, as well as the laughter that followed it:

“While I am confident that President Obama never intended to offend anyone, the response that his comments have caused, coupled with the reaction of a prime-time audience, demonstrate the need to continue to educate the non-disabled community on the issues that confront those with a developmental disability.”

Obama’s comment also hit close to home for David Axelrod, the president’s top political guru and a senior White House advisor.

Axelrod’s daughter, Lauren, is a longtime Special Olympian who has competed in swimming and track and field events. His wife, Susan, was part of a delegation led last month by Vice President Joe Biden to the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho.

“I think he was trying to make a comment about himself and his own skills, more than putting anyone else down,” Susan Axelrod said. “We have been with him with Lauren, and he is nothing but totally respectful.” Still, she called it an unfortunate comment.

“Knowing the president the way I do, I would assume that he is horrified that he said this, and I think he will make every attempt to make something positive out of it,” she said.

But the president’s joke was more than just the perpetuation of a cruel stereotype, Special Olympians said. It was factually incorrect as well.

A 129 score would keep the president off the medal stand at several Special Olympic bowling events, according to recent results.

Brothers Rich and Ted Olson have participated in the Games for more than three decades and don’t have enough space in their suburban Glen Ellyn, Ill., home for all their medals and ribbons. The Olsons, whose scores typically run in the 140s and 150s, didn’t find the joke offensive, but Rich laughed when he heard the president’s score.

“That’s not very good,” he said. “It wouldn’t beat us. He needs to practice.”


One-armed TV host scares kids, parents say
Experts say that adults’ wariness of BBC TV show host is ‘old-fashioned’
By Mike Celizic contributor
updated 5:46 a.m. PT, Thurs., Feb. 26, 2009

When the BBC hired a pretty young actress to co-host a daily program for toddlers, it never expected viewers to complain that the young woman might give their children nightmares.

“I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on the bedtime hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems,” wrote one viewer in an e-mail to the British television network after seeing Cerrie Burnell play games and read children’s stories.

The viewer’s problem? Burnell was born with an incomplete right arm that ends in a stump below her elbow.

According to a BBC report, most viewers have been supportive of Burnell, who took over a daily slot on the BBC’s children’s network, CBeebies, at the beginning of February with Alex Winters. But a handful have written to the station complaining about her disability. Some say she may frighten the children. Others accuse the network of going overboard in the interests of diversity. Some say they don’t want to have to address such issues with very young children.

Burnell, who has a 4-month-old daughter, seems unfazed by the controversy. “Children come up to me in the street every day and say ‘What’s that?’ I wouldn’t say they’re frightened but certainly they’re inquisitive,” she told BBC magazine. “I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. They want to know ‘What’s that?’ and ‘What’s happened?’ and ‘Why are you different?’ And then they will move on.”

Barbara Otto, the executive director of Health & Disability Advocates, a national American organization that lobbies, said in a phone interview that she would be surprised if a person like Burnell caused a similar reaction in the United States.

The Americans with Disabilities Education Act has mainstreamed as many disabled children as possible into regular schools. “We have community inclusion of people with disabilities,” she said. “Kids are going to school with people with different abilities. In the United States, this would be unheard of.”


In England, experts have noted that small children do not normally have difficulty dealing with people who are different. Where adults may turn their heads away from someone in a wheelchair, toddlers will walk right up to them and ask them about their chair. They don’t ask what’s wrong, but rather what it is.

“They acknowledge it, they don’t look away,” Otto said of small children. “They ask what happened, not out of horror or disgust or fear. The want to know what happened. A responsible adult tells them: ‘Here’s what the situation is.’”

Are adults the problem?
England has non-discrimination laws similar to those in America. The problem isn’t with kids but with adults, Sir Bert Massie of Great Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission told the BBC.

“I think what’s happening is a number of adults do have prejudices, do have very negative views about disabled people, and instead of admitting the views are their own, they’re projecting them on to their children and saying the children are doing this,” he is quoted as saying.

Otto agreed. “It’s the adults,” she said, noting that Baby Boomers were raised in an era when the disabled were excluded from mainstream society. “People with disabilities were ‘the others.’ They were went away to live in institutions. A lot of that changed starting in the 1970s and 80s. It’s an old-fashioned notion.”


Otto said the reaction to Burnell is symptomatic of a larger issue some parents today are trying to cope with. 

“This situation really speaks to an issue we’re seeing in parenting today,” Otto said. “Given the challenges of being a parent and the inability to control what our kids are exposed to, some parents are having a real drastic reaction. Maybe this is a part of it. Some people strive to shelter their children as long as they can. I suppose you see that everywhere. You see people home-school their kids because they don’t want them in an environment where they can’t control what they’re doing every minute of the day.”

Although the target of complaints, Burnell did not attempt to tell parents how to raise their children. “I’d never comment on anyone’s parenting or the time for them to have a discussion with their child about disabilities,” she told the BBC. “It’s a totally personal thing and people have to do it when they feel comfortable to do it. But I would just hope that, I guess, me being on CBeebies would present an opportunity for them to do that in the comfort of their own home.”