Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Complexities of Disability

The Complexities of Disability

Tomorrow is my day for 8 to 11 hours of immersion TASL.  My instructor has in E-mails to our deaf-blind listserv mentioned Christianity.  No problem.  But if she knew about my religious beliefs, would she still teach me?  I don't know.  One of the complexities of having a disability which forces one to depend on others is that you never know how much you can share:  of your personal history, religious or political belief, or what makes you laugh, with those you must depend upon.  This problem can come up just as much with an employee the person with a disability Pays, as with those who volunteer to help or those paid by social service agencies.  Why?  Because by simply Having a disability you are seen as the one Helped, and someone who helps is the Helper, regardless of whether or not You, the disabled person, are paying them or not.  So one may have a number of people in and out of one's life with whom one can share Nothing.

I am Very Fortunate to have a number of people with whom I can share most anything I want.  There are just a few with whom I must take care.

Another complexity is represented by the info. Below.

Tell Dr. Phil: Nothing About Us Without Us!
Please find below the final draft of the letter to the Dr. Phil Show, regarding the
segment that aired April 13, which presented the idea that parents should be able
to euthanize children with disabilities. The letter is directed to Dr. Phil himself
because he is his own producer. His sponsors will be copied. If your state, local,
or national organization would like to be added as a signatory to the letter, please
email Diane Coleman at
 by the close of business Friday, May 25, 2012.
Dr. Phil McGraw
Dr. Phil Show
5482 Wilshire Boulevard #1902
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dear Dr. Phil:
The undersigned organizations are sending this letter in response to the April 13,
2012 segment of the Dr. Phil Show which presented the idea that parents should be
able to euthanize their children who have intellectual disabilities. This outrageous
proposal was portrayed in such an extremely unbalanced manner as to amount to a promotion
of such a deadly proposition.
The show centered on Annette Corriveau, who has two adult children who have a progressive
genetic condition called Sanfilippo syndrome. The show opened with a brief introduction
of Corriveau, followed by an interview of her conducted by one of the producers.
Over the course of the opening which took more than half of the segment, viewers
were shown and/or told the following:
Video of Corriveau's two children from typical childhood to recent pictures as adults
with disabilities;
Depiction of intellectual and physical disabilities developed as a result of the
Discussion of the changes in their appearance as they got older, implying that their
“not normal” appearance is tragic;
The fact that Corriveau institutionalized both children when they were young; and
Video of one of Corriveau’s visits: she reported visiting them every two months,
but doesn't touch them, because they don't react to her.
Nothing about other aspects of the lives of Corriveau’s adult children is presented,
such as whether or not they react to staff people they see every day. After the opening,
Dr. Phil, you engaged in dialogue with Corriveau, admitted not knowing what the two
adults would want but also said that you wouldn't want to live "like that."
The second guest in the segment was attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who defended Jack Kevorkian,
the assisted suicide and euthanasia advocate who claimed to have assisted the deaths
of about 130 people. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, over two-thirds
of Kevorkian’s victims were people with disabilities who were not terminally ill.
During this recent segment, Fieger argued that a health care guardian’s right to
consent to or refuse medical treatment should be extended to include active euthanasia
such as a lethal injection. He asserted that what Corriveau wants is perfectly reasonable
and merciful and that existing law against this is stupid.
The third 'guest' was a woman identified only by her first name - 'Ruthi' - who was
described as having four birth children and three step children, three of whom were
described as having “special needs.” Ruthi spoke from the audience, rather than on
stage like Ms. Corriveau. There were no videos of Ruthi’s children. She was appalled
at the idea of killing people with intellectual disabilities, but was given no more
than a minute to speak.
Finally, Dr. Phil, you asked for a show of hands from the audience – how many agree
that Corriveau should be able to “mercifully” kill her kids? It should be no surprise
that an audience who sat through such a one-sided presentation would vote about 90%
in favor of Corriveau and her desire to euthanize her two adult children.
Every show is followed online by a feature called "Dr. Phil Uncensored." The one
for the show "Deadly Consequences" features you and your staff expressing surprise
over the audience vote and congratulating yourselves that "all the arguments were
brought to the table" and that "we got both sides out". Nothing could be further
from the truth.
This program was a horrific assault on people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities. By conveying social acceptance and approval of active euthanasia of
individuals with disabilities by their family members, the segment threatens their
very lives. People with disabilities are reportedly twice as likely to be abused
as their nondisabled peers. It is grossly irresponsible that the Dr. Phil Show aired
a segment that further promotes any form of violence against a group already subject
to discrimination, ridicule and gross devaluation. The idea that people with disabilities
are “better off dead” is deeply offensive and cannot be tolerated.
The undersigned call upon you and the Dr. Phil Show to publicly apologize for the
“Deadly Consequences” segment and to give equal time to individuals with intellectual
disabilities and organizations advocating their equal rights. We also call upon the
Dr. Phil Show’s sponsors to become part of the solution by joining us in this demand.
National Organizations
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
Not Dead Yet
The Arc of the United States
State and Local Organizations
The Arc of Illinois
Like NCIL on Facebook
Follow NCIL on Twitter
1710 Rhode Island Avenue Northwest
Fifth Floor | Washington, D.C., DC 20036 US

First, No One Wants to live with the disabilities they have, or very Few do.  But this has Nothing to do with whether people with disabilities Want to die.  I do Not.

Second, there is a problem sometimes deciding Who has an intellectual or developmental disability.  If I can't see you and can't understand your speech, it is Most likely that you will decide I am not Capable of communication; that I have an intellectual disability or a developmental delay.  Plenty of Dr.s Assumed this when my only disability was blindness, what will they decide if I must be accompanied by a TASL interpreter just to Go to the doctor?

Third, I am not wise enough to decide who should live and who should die and Neither is Dr. Phil.

Fourth, my own Personal belief as a survivor of extreme abuse is that if a parent or set of parents cannot love, or aren't willing to put in many years of hard work with an intellectually disabled child, oor one with serious developmental delays, they should have the Right to genetic counseling and abortion.  Many people in the Disability Rights Movement will disagree with me.  But personally, I think it is possible that being tortured is worse, or can be worse, than not being born.

Fifth, Every woman in this country Needs healthcare so she can Get genetic testing for the purpose of finding out if an embryo or first trimester fetus is carrying genes which will cause them to become severely disabled and to die young from those disabilities.

I looked up Sanfilippo Syndrome.  It is progressive, there is no cure, it effects children both physically and mentally, and the life expectancy of someone who has it is 20 to a Max of 50 years. 

Sixth, in other countries it is not uncommon to see amputees, people with Down's Syndrome, and all kinds of physical and mental disabilities.  I think the 90% vote for euthanasia referred to above has a Lot to do with how "neat and tidy" we like our citizens.

Well Get Ready America, Each time we send our young people to war we owe the wounded care for life.  No one would Dare, (and they Shouldn't) suggesting that intellectually disabled veterans should be killed.

So Why is it ok to Kill Adults with disabilities?  I know that in some countries of Western Europe (such as the Netherlands, at least in the past) it has been the practice to kill newborn babies with obvious disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome.  I couldn't do this.  And to kill an adult who either hasn't consented or cannot consent is murder.

I know I will die and have a will stating that I do Not want heroic measures taken if I cannot recover.  But, there are Also clauses in my will demanding that Many forms of communication (speech with my hearing aids in and their batteries working, Tactile ASL, and Braille) be tried Before such a decision is made.

And finally, I am not a patient person.  This and my upbringing are why I chose Not to marry or have children.  Having worked with blind people with brain injuries and also blind people with intellectual disabilities, I know I'm good at finding solutions to problems, but Lousy at having the patience to teach the solutions innumerable times to people who need to learn them.  I cannot judge this mother because I haven't lived her life.

What I can say is just because a person wouldn't want to live with a particular set of disabilities is NO reason for killing someone who Does live with them.  And I Do Know that some disability rights activists believe aborting an embryo or fetus which is known to have severe disabilities is Always wrong. They correctly point out that when Hitler was "engineering" his "super race" he murdered many hundreds of people with disabilities.  

While admitting that this is so, I  respectfully disagree.

I am sorry to say that I think this Dr. Phil segment reveals a bit about the True face of America.  We say we love our children, but some go to bed hungry and some should be killed as adults?  Wounded veterans have given all they can, yet we neglect them.  Anyone who is perceived as a drain on the economy is expendable?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Will Our Future Improve With More Student Debt?

Second Sunday Blog

Ok, some colleges are glorified high schools.  And some Aren't.  Regardless of this fact, shouldn't those students who have successfully graduated be given a Chance to repay their Student Loans?

Congress Failed to get enough votes to pass an act which would have held student loan interest rates at their present levels.  This means interest rates on student loans could Double in July of this year!

That is Why the info. Below is important.  I know one student making straight A's who wants to go into a scientific specialty.  I know another student who, against great odds, (she made eight thousand dollars last year at her Job, is going into the arts in an area also requiring specific skills.  For both of these people, a doubled student loan interest rate would be Disastrous.

I also know some part-time college instructors whose jobs may be lost if those who become students are the small minority who Don't Need Loans.

We mouth off all of the time, or politicians and media people do, about how the children are our future.  But even Closer to your future well-being and mine are those Now in college.  
So please check this out.

Rebuild the Dream

Have you ever heard of Sallie Mae? They're the nation's largest student lender --
and they aren't as sweet and innocent as their name suggests. In fact, they're downright
Case in point: when we asked the Rebuild the Dream community to share stories about
their student loan debt, Barbara H. from Tennessee said this about her son:
"He's not been able to find a decent job, is barely making ends meet, so has not
been able to start paying his loans. He's talked to Sallie Mae regarding this, but
they continue to call him daily, including Saturday and Sunday. Then they started
calling me daily, since I was listed as a secondary contact.
When I complained to their representative that this was harassment, I was informed
that they can call each contact number up to eight times per day.
And Rose (not her real name) shared this:
"I encouraged my grandson to pursue a college degree, because I thought as a Black
male, his chances of landing a decent paying job would be much improved. Because
I co-signed, I now use a great portion of my Social Security check to pay the loans.
When I called Sallie Mae to work out a payment plan, the representative told me to
tell my grandson to sell his plasma to pay the loan.
That's right -- Sallie Mae told Rose that her grandson should
sell his blood
to keep up with his loan payments. Sallie Mae doesn't offer alternative payment plans
for students. As it turns out, this is just the way they do business.
Click here to tell Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord: Shame on you! Stop exploiting student loan borrowers, and instead offer new repayment plans.
Next week Sallie Mae is having their annual shareholder meeting in Delaware -- where
we will personally deliver this petition to CEO Albert Lord.
Right now, Sallie Mae gives students who are struggling with payments very few options,
none of them good: defer their payments (and accrue interest), default on their loans
(and wreck their credit), or put loans in forbearance (and pay huge fees and interest
costs). College graduates are facing the worst job market in generations -- punishing
them for a bad economy and soaring tuition isn't good business.
What would good repayment options look like? Sallie Mae should modify loans to lower
interest rates, provide income-based repayment plans, and stop charging forbearance
fees and interest for those who need time to find jobs.
Apparently, Sallie Mae doesn't understand good customer service.
Let's gather thousands of signatures to tell Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord: We won't sell our blood to pay our loans. Work with student loan borrowers to come up with new repayment plans.
Next week at Sallie Mae's shareholder meeting, we're going to call out Sallie Mae's
predatory practices and take a stand for student loan borrowers, with allies like
the Student Labor Action Project.
Many people think of Sallie Mae as the old, trustworthy, government-sponsored lender.
But in fact, CEO Albert Lord led the charge in 1997 to privatize the company, which
then purchased the name "Sallie Mae" for $5 million to give the impression that it
was an agent of the government. Sallie Mae has spent millions every year lobbying
 students, just so they can make fatter profits
. It's time to put a stop to Sallie Mae's exploitative and abusive practices.
Thanks, and be well,
Molly and the Rebuild the Dream team
p.s. The New York Times
 is doing a big series on student debt called "Degrees of Debt," starting with
this piece from Sunday's front page
. It's a must read.
Forbearance: How Sallie Mae Makes Money By Jacking Up Fees And Billing Taxpayers
Center for Responsive Politics: Sallie Mae Annual Lobbying, 2011
NY Times: Lobbying Imperils Overhaul of Student Loans (Feb 2010)
Rebuild the Dream is a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help
fix the U.S. economy. You can
follow us on Twitter
, and
like us on Facebook

Sunday Blog

Sunday Blog

I am getting used to typing blogs up in Word, then Pasting and Copying them into Blogger.  Wonder how much longer this will be possible.

The Braille Display is great, allowing me to proofread my own writing in my own language.  BUT,  if I don't use the screen reader of the company which Makes the Braille display, My screen reader will Not allow me to write in Braille, my own language, and have what I've written come up in print characters.  Bummer!  I will write the company making my screen reader, Window Eyes, by GW. Micro, and request that they catch up with their competitors.  I Like Window Eyes and don't want to switch to another screen reader unless I have to, if my hearing should deteriorate to the point where I Must write in Braille. 

This is a problem for people with disabilities, in my opinion.  We are a captive market and must often settle for higher prices and less quality than others, when it comes to adaptive equipment, or what is Sold as adaptive equipment.  For instance, I can go to a beading and leather shop and buy "split eye needles" for about a buck apiece.  Or I can buy them from a catalog selling appliances for people with disabilities for $5 Each. 

This kind of needle is very thin and sharp at both ends.  But the middle opens up into a large loop into which beading thread or fishing line can be easily inserted.  The needle is thin enough to slide seed beads along for sewing them onto something.

New Subject:  I feel very lonely today.  Lots of Fine people come through my life, but I miss having someone to talk to about what is going on inside.  I am the only deaf-blind person I know who lives alone.  Perhaps that is why this blog is so important to me.  I have always had a Desperate desire to communicate, even when I had normal hearing.  But I'm not willing to burden people who come to my home for specific purposes, with my inner emotional turmoil.  So, do I have to find the funds to pay a counselor?  Where?  Don't know.  I will remember that feelings come and go like waves in the ocean, but I may have to find someone to talk to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Braille Display, What Does it Mean?

A Braille Display, What is it?

I tried typing this post directly into Blogger because I am so excited about the possibilities.  But of course it didn't work, so am going back to Word and will copy and paste into Blogger.  Thanks a Heap for being So accessible!

Today I began working on my own with a device called a Braille Display.  It hooks up to my computer and literally displays both everything I type And everything written to me in an E-mail!  No more time wasted feeling angry and helpless, with my ear glued to the speaker, going Over and Over a word or letter I can't understand.  I just check the DOTS, Yeah!

But the most exciting possibility of all is that If I can figure this out I will be able to Write in Braille and you will see it in Print.  They are two different languages of literacy. 

I'm already having a problem "thinking" in Braille.  I keep trying to find the keys which make up the ING sign in Brl, woops, that's Braille.  It's like being deprived of the language you know best for years and years.  You still use it for yourself, of course, making grocery lists, writing appointments on the Braille calendar, but no one else knows it.  So for Every communication with a sighted person, the language they use must be Read to you, (a translation process) and you must always write in Their language.

Braille is so much more contracted, short-form and for me, Easier to write and read.  I can't Wait for the day when I can write in my Own language and we'll leave the translating to the machines so You can read what I write in Your language!

New subject:  Did I say that instead of ASL I'm learning TASL?  I like that word, my computer's speech pronounces it Tassle.  So maybe someday I can communicate in TASL, (Tactile American Sign Language, too!)  I have a couple of sighted, hearing friends who want to learn ASL, so we practice communicating in it.  I walk around the house at night signing to myself.  So far, have remembered Not to do this outdoors alone.  Probably it wouldn't matter, but sometimes people do not understand things.

Now I'm going to turn off the computer speech and reread what I've written in Braille.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Memory Triggers, Politics Again, and Granola

Newest Blog

Tonight I watched the last episode, a movie, of Deep Space Nine, my favorite Star Trek spin off.  At the end of it Quark, the bartender, says, "The more things change the more they stay the same."

But I was crying, thinking of Ann, and the fact that I know we watched this movie together when it was first on TV, but I couldn't remember doing so.  Also, on some cosmic scale what Quark said is probably true, but Not for the individuals involved.  It wasn't the same for Captain Sisco's pregnant wife, for Colonel Kira when her partner left, not the same for Jake Sisco, never knowing when or if he would ever see his father again, and not the same for Any of the Millions who lost families, cities, and homes.  And not the same for me either.

The death of my father at age 15 changed my life permanently in ways no one could have guessed.  It changed the lives of my sisters too.  The death of Ann's identical twin by drowning when they were both 17 left a hole in her heart that no human ever filled.  It hurt her younger sister and parents deeply.  After Ann's death someone went through some of her paintings and drawings with me.  One she never told me about, even though her twin's death came up in conversation fairly often showed someone sinking in water and was titled:  "I Should Have Looked." 

We who are left behind when there is a sudden death seem to feel that we Should have Known, somehow, that the person we loved was in danger.  Rationalizing may put a stop to going over and over it, but I'm not sure that feeling Ever completely leaves.

A person goes on, stays busy if possible with beneficial activities, but they Are changed.  Those changes can make one kinder or more cruel, bitter or forgiving, but they Do occur. And things are Not the same.

New subject:  Logically I knew that someday I would get Through most of the pain of Ann's death.  I have thought about checking out but decided to try doing something I wanted to do, instead.  It won't replace Ann at all, but making doll clothes and finding out if I can sell them is fun, and Certainly a challenge.  And although I get thoroughly Sick of being political, my hope is that the small activities in which I take part will help other people in Mo., too.

Now to the new subject, I cannot Believe the Arrogance of some of our state legislators!  Ok, many states are fighting the Affordable Care Act, saying it's unconstitutional to Force people to carry health insurance.  But Not Car insurance?  Maybe they have money enough to take care of themselves, regardless of their possible illnesses, but don't want to get stuck with a bill if they get hit by an uninsured motorist.  I mean a bill for Car Repairs, got to get those priorities straight, don't we?

There is a bill in the Mo. Senate to make it illegal for ME and Any Other Citizen of this State to take Advantage of the Affordable Care Act.  Hello, WHO put YOU in office?  Who do YOU think you have the right to let die when help might be Available?  Just Who do they Think they Are? 

If you can keep from Hurling, check this out!  The bill is stuck in the Senate but if it should become law before the session ends . . .

More Pleasant Subject:  I decided that if I was going to try and live I had better take care of my diet..  I have learned what foods promote cancer, what foods have lots of antioxidents, etc.  My whole diet and lifestyle changed when I got cancer the first time, thanks to a Cherokee healer and a wonderful pharmacist who did supplement research for me.  The second time an Irriquoi lady who knew a Great deal about herbs spent Hours in the library researching what to take and what to avoid with my particular chemo. drugs.  It is thanks to them, Ann, and many others that I have been cancer free for seven years.

I make sugarless granola.  Those granola bars and cereal from stores can have brown sugar, honey, and dried fruit or maple syrup all in One bar or box.

Things I put in my granola are Old Fashioned, slow cooking rolled oats, raw, with walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, (but they are too expensive, even IF they are high in protein.  (Maybe it costs a lot to get the THC Out of them.) pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut, peanuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, (lots of cinnamon which lowers blood sugar and is sweet) and some kind of dried fruit, raisins, currants, whatever you like, but Not Sugared dried fruit. 

Throw everything unroasted into a baking pan spread out no more than an inch and a half deep. Mix with spices.  Coconut oil Can be added for flavor and sweetness, but isn't necessary.  Roast at about 325 F. until done.  I tell "done" by smell and taste.  Then add dried fruit, (small fruit or fruit cut into small  pieces will sweeten granola better as will spread through it more evenly) and any roasted ingredients such as pumpkin seeds or peanuts.  Put back in oven until all is hot through and pre-roasted stuff has mixed enough to pick up spice flavors.

I have also added ground parched corn, a friend adds rice checks cereal, you can be creative. 

I made some Omega 3 and protein rich sugarless granola tonight, I was out.  Kept me up late, but was something Pleasant to do, which I needed.

Good night!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Has Everyone Become Somebody's TERRORIST?

I'm getting very Tired of the word "terrorist" being thrown around as a slander for anyone who doesn't agree with a particular person or group's point of view.  It has gone Beyond the argument about who is a Terrorist and who is a Freedom Fighter.  Below is a ridiculous example.  Terrorism, the murders of civilians in one's own country or by someone of another country is a Very Serious Crime.  And the example below isn't about the atrocities  which Always accompany War either.

New billboard links those concerned about climate change to terrorists
Support by Pfizer, Microsoft, Comcast and others funded the creators of this disgusting
Heartland Institute billboard equating belief in climate change with terrorism.
Tell corporations to stop funding Heartland's climate change denial smears.
click to sign the petition

Are you part of the “radical fringe”?
According to an ad campaign by the Heartland Institute, if you believe in climate
change, you’re a radical on par with the likes of Osama bin Laden
, the Unabomber, and notorious mass-murderer Charles Manson.
An ad campaign planned by the corporate front-group the Heartland Institute --
which is funded in part by Pfizer, Comcast and Microsoft
 -- features the faces of these notorious killers alongside the phrase “I still believe
in Global Warming. Do you?”
Tell Comcast, Pfizer, Microsoft and Heartland’s other funders to stop funding Heartland and its dirty climate change denier smears.
Even as people are literally dying from increased flooding, drought, freak storms,
and other climate impacts around the world, the fossil fuel industry continues to
deny that climate change even exists. Their strategy has been incredibly effective
-- they've stopped the US government from taking any serious action to end its addiction
to oil and coal, which in turn has made it impossible for the world to reach a global
climate treaty. And
 Heartland, a key climate change denier, also depends on
 Pfizer, Comcast, Microsoft and other corporations who claim they believe in climate
change out of one side of their mouth -- while simultaneously funding an organization
that runs despicable ads like these out of the other side.
That's why we're joining up with our friends at Forcast the Facts to call for corporations
to stop funding Heartland.
The Heartland Institute has a long history of playing dirty.
Last year, Heartland was caught trying to sneak industry-written pro-coal propaganda
into elementary schools
, and previously they have acted as hired guns for the cigarette industry, distributing
a paper titled “Joe Camel is Innocent!”.
Corporations have begun fleeing from Heartland.
 In March, General Motors announced it would no longer fund Heartland. Earlier this
week, Diageo -- the company behind Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnny Walker, and other brands
-- and State Farm also announced they were pulling funding. Now is the time to give
Microsoft, Pfizer, Comcast and Heartland’s other funders -- many of whom have explicitly
stated they care about fighting climate change -- a push to follow GM, Diageo, and
State Farm’s lead.
Help us stand up to the business of climate change denial, and call on corporate
America to pull its money out of the Heartland Institute.
Sign our petition to Pfizer, Comcast, Microsoft and others corporations: Stop donating to Heartland.
Thank you,
Taren, Claiborne, Kaytee and the rest of us.
 SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations
accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.

Below is a letter of reply.

I have lived for more than fifty years.  I live in the Heartland of the U.S. and grow a garden for Food.  I also frequent a farmer's market.  Whether you call it "global warming" or not, I have no doubt that the climate is changing.

In April this year it was in the upper 80's for a few days.  In May we had frost.  Tornadoes come earlier than ever before in my lifetime, (january through March) and they sometimes either come in larger groups or are more severe than they used to be.

Many species of pests we haven't had before, Army worms, Japanese beetles, and other animals and plants are migrating North from their former Southern homes or are able to be more prolific than ever before. 

I love and appreciate my country.  I believe in our constitution, including the separation of Church and state, the freedom of religion, and tollerance for those who disagree with me, even when they call me names.  I am Not willing to murder those who disagree with me, as a "terrorist" would be.

My father served in Korea and my uncle in Vietnam, which helped to shorten his life.  Would you also call Them "terrorists" if they believed in global warming or climate change?  I don't like your use of a very Serious word and accusation against those who disagree with you.  Please stop.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Keeping Dolls in Boxes

I had a large and diverse collection of dolls in boxes once.  Some of them were worth $50 or more.  For a person on Disability who saves up for dolls that is a LOT of MONEY.

  Of course these days I've quit buying most dolls, as I'm waiting to see if Medicaid will be cut out for me and a lot of other disabled and dying people who need Medicaid for Hospice Care.  The Mo. House passed the cuts, the Senate restored some, Now it's in a conference committee, dominated in the House by members who advocated the cuts in the first place, Nice!  The Senate part of the Conference Committee is dominated by Republicans who tend to be more fiscally conservative than Democrats.  When someone disabled says "We're ok" I tend to think, "I'll Believe that After the Governor signs off on the budget and After the fiscal year starts July 1st.

$10 per doll is about my limit.  Anyway, back to boxed dolls.  My house was hit by a tornado and I had the doll collection down in a nice dry, sealed basement.  I did, until the house  was rocked on its foundation which then developed a crack and drenched my collection thoroughly.  Ann and I had to evacuate the basement that night, we didn't know how high the water would rise.    It was amazing, shooting out of the basement walls like two or three geisers at once!

When I went back down all I could do was strip sodden dolls Out of their boxes and Away from their Brightly colored graphics as quickly as possible.  By the time I got to some of the older dolls the boxes they lived in were already starting to mold!  Pew!

Ann and I fought with my insurance company for six months and though part of the roof was de-shingled, and water had forced its way over the front steps and porch, then under the locked front door with the force of the wind, soaking part of the livingroom floor, the damage was ruled "ground water seepage."  But they fixed the roof, go figure.

The tornado was in Jan. the floods came right through the foundation cracks in March.  Mold was making me sick.  The stuff we used to try and clean it made it hard to breathe when either the heat or AC was on. 

Ann and I finally decided we wanted health and peace more than to win.  Besides, we had already hired people whose reports disagreed with our insurance company's decision and had been struggling to get help from our state's insurance commission.

By July of that year we moved.  After having cancer twice, I wasn't willing to trade my health for money.  Ann was physically Totally exhausted from the effort of trying to deal with the basement, (we took it in turns)  she was not using a wheelchair at that time.

As for the dolls?  I was told that they had lost their value without their boxes, certificates of authenticity, graphics, stickers, and in some cases, their original hairdos. 

Miss Alice, of whom I've spoken before, graciously helped me put together a list of doll prices, as they would have been in the box, so If my insurance company Had repaired the damage, I could prove some of my loss by the estimate of an authorized dealer in Mattel, especially Barbie, who had sold Ann and me the dolls in the first place.

I had only owned that house for six months, the damage was thousands of dollars, the company was not interested in my "ground water seepage" problem.

As for the dolls, only a few were not salvageable.  I still have those I haven't given away, still recognize their faces and hair by touch and their clothing.  I still enjoy them.

After that experience I was forced into bankruptcy, not being able to pay both rent and a mortgage and for the money I borrowed to do repairs on the house Before the tornado.  But my mortgage was Not subprime and Ann and I were paying all of our bills on time with a good credit rating until then. 

Now I have no insurance, rent, and refuse to touch credit cards.  Good thing, too, the way the economy has gone.  

I keep a few really classy or fragile dolls in boxes, just to keep them clean and the feathers in their hats, etc.  But most are in cupboards or trunks where I must go and get them to play.

Boxes do keep dolls more monetarily valuable, with all of the paperwork included.  They do keep dolls dust free, but so will any good closing container.  They don't enhance play.  I had to enjoy touching many of  my dolls In their boxes until the tornado freed them.  Now I move them around, put them in vehicles if I feel like it, etc.

I will be selling them soon, I hope, most of them, with original outfits in addition to what they came with.  But I will keep some just because they are unique.

Monday, May 7, 2012

 Two Subjects: God and Afghanistan

 Someone commented about "greedy God grabbers" who thought They knew All Truth.  I've been wondering, if the "grabbers"  Really believe that there is a God who is all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can they think He can be Grabbed, or Cornered by Any group of people?  How can they think Anyone can Own their God and that They know all of His plans and intentions?  Pretty sad and untrue, I think.

Subject two, Afghanistan.

Because we invaded Afghanistan I am conflicted.  As the Taliban was SO oppressive to SO many, I was glad to see them out of power.  They harmed artists and some musicians, music and art, any differing understandings of Islam, (God grabbers in All religions, I guess,) and Especially Women and Girls.  I wish we had found Osama Ben'Laden and left, but we didn't.

I cannot glory in the death of anyone, even though some people must be Stopped.  So I didn't dance for joy when he was killed under President Obama's term in office.

I have read the books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" with Ann, some time ago.  I'm All For building schools, Especially for girls, in Afghanistan.

Really, I don't care if the author of those books, Greg Mortonson, lied about being injured while mountain climbing and meeting kind local people who cared for him.  I DO care if some of the schools he claims have been built do Not actually exist and If he was ripping off the Central Asia Institute in any way.  Mr. Mortonson has agreed to pay back a million dollars to the charity he founded, the Central Asia Institute, according to Charity Navigator.

I feel we owe something to the country of Afghanistan.  We and the former USSR. Fought over it, and we armed the fighters who fought Russian troops, then became the Taliban.

Then we invaded, trying to kill the Taliban for harboring Osama Ben' Laden.  And now President Obama says that up to 25000  troops could be there until 2016.

This is an election year.  Neither the Democrats Nor the Republicans can afford to "look soft on national security or terrorism."  I do not Want to be "soft" on those who kill Americans or attack our country.  But with Afghan police and troops Knowing that when we leave the Taliban will reassert itself, Are we doing any good?

By 2016 President Obama will, if re-elected, have completed his second term in office.  And Afghanistan will be inherited by the Next President, just as Both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were inherited by President Obama.

I heard a BBC report which said "training Afghan armed forces" meant things like teaching all officers to read at a third grade level, and all soldiers to read at a first grade level.

A person Can be both highly intelligent And illiterate.  I have seen this among blind people, so I'm Not putting down the people of Afghanistan. 

But my heartache comes with the following ideas.  1. Training the military forces of Afghanistan is a Huge task!  2.    I have NO problem with increasing literacy among Afghan military forces.  3.  But if the media can be believed, both fighting and intergroup killings, (Afghan soldiers killing U.S. soldiers and U.S. soldiers killing Afghan Civilians)  are increasing.   then 4.  How many people must Die to get Either a Republican or a Democrat President elected (until 2016?)   And where does the Unical Pipeline profiled by Michael Moore in his film "Fahrenhight 911" come into all of this?

Once again, hope this is legible.  It was typed into Word, then pasted here.  Sorry, it is best I can do for now.  Hoping a switch in browsers (still sounds like cattle or deer) will help.           

Friday, May 4, 2012

More on "The Help"

May 3, 2012

More on "The Help"

I remember when the movie of this book came out there was a lot of criticism because the book's author was white.  I wonder about her history.  Was she raised by an African American maid?  How did she research the book, did she interview the daughters of those who had been maids?  I am not wise enough to know whether the book "should" or "should not" have been written.  Another of the criticisms was that it was written in what one of the African American actresses who played a maid in the movie termed "dialect."  I do not see How the book Could have been written with African American maids in Mississippi as major characters Without writing it in their voices.

Another thing I remember is what Maya Angelou said about Joe Lewis standing in the boxing ring for, among others, "Every Negro Maid who had ever been slapped by her employer"  . . .

None of the maids in "The Help" Were slapped, shoved, or shown nonsexual physical  violence in any way by their white employers.  The fact that Maya Angelou said what she did as though the slapping of black maids by white employers was fairly common lead me to expect some reflection of this abominable behavior in "The Help."  Without first hand knowledge I think the book probably got some things very right; the fear and prejudices  of white women about their maids carrying disease or not being clean, (if they Really believed this, How could they let these women care so intimately for so many years for their children?) the humiliation of segregation, the laws in place, and the extreme shunning of Constantine, by Everyone,  especially when she and her daughter were together, the unjustified accusations of thieving and the way an innocent maid could be kept from getting another job, along with all of her family, by some former employer bent on revenge.

  But how common Was physical violence of white employers against their maids?  Is the lack of such incidence in "The Help" because the author was unaware of it, because she is white and no one interviewed wished to discuss such humiliating incidents, or what?

 This relationship seems Incredibly complex, painful, and intertwined, Especially for the maids!  What a horrible thing to raise a child who might remember you lovingly or at least happily, and still look down on you as a second class human

I hope this is legible.  Doing my best but you know who, Blogger Isn't helpin!.

(labels) More on "The Help"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doll ID. and "The Help"

I hope this works, at least for a little while.  A friend set Blogger back to old format, while it lasts.

First, anyone have any luck identifying the blond, blue eyed Hasbro doll I gave numbers for?

Second, I found the book "The Help" in audio and am about halfway through it.  I had a personal reaction to it which was Thank God I wasn't born in Mississippi!  My familly worked to ignore Native blood, wouldn't have fit in with Choctaw people.  They deny any African American heritage and are Probably right, though I wonder, so we would have been "poor white trash" looked down on by both the maids interviewed and who carry the plot of the book, and the upper class white people they worked for.  But worse, it is likely that my grandparents would have taken part in racist activity.  And the state school for the blind their would have been segregated.

I am thankful to have gone to the state blind school I attended, (awful as it was) because I had African American room mates, we shared a communal shower, hung out together, read books about African American young people together, etc.  I am not claiming that there was no racism on the part of staff or students.  I am just Thankful for growing up knowing that African American kids were just blind kids, like me.  Yes, they used different hair care products than me, spoke differently, and had some different issues to cope with.  But I listened to African American Church services via the radio on Sundays, (music was a lot better and the way the preacher and choir worked together was interesting) and learned things I simply would Never have known growing up Either in the Ozarks, Or in a segregated state.

We had a Japanese care taker and I had the chance to meet different kinds of people Because I went to state blind school in St. Louis.

I love the land here, Hate many of the attitudes, and try to Confront the prejudice I do encounter against Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, and African Americans.  There are also Wiccans here, quietly going about their business.  I try confronting That prejudice, too.

Ann, who came from Fort Wayne, Ind. where race relations were Much better than here, said this was the South.  I said it was the Midwest and she had come from the upper Midwest.  But in reading "The Help" I know this Isn't the South, it's more an extension of the Appalatians.  Because reading "the Help" is like visiting a foreign culture.  Growing up, I remember the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Dr. King.  And when I was older I felt Horror at those murders.  But this book has given me a much better picture of what life was like on a day to dday basis for a large group of African American women in the South while I was growing up.

Hope this is Legible, tried to publish it yesterday without sighted friend's help and with old format.  Computer wouldn't speak and it ended up in "drafts".

Guess we people with disabilities are maybe last to know, Microsoft is supporting Windows XP for just Two more years.  Ok, Will their Next Windows Program be speech and disability friendly?  Vista was buggy! 

Finished "The Help."  The courage of those women and their kindness to children who would grow up to look down on them is amazing!  We all do what we must to survive, but to do it with so much Heart and Bravery!  I know there is much I don't understand about being so busy one Needs Help running a household.  But I feel thankful to be able to do my own dishes and laundry and Not to have any Silver to polish!  And I am Thankful for the Kindness of my healthcare aide, I respect and admire her and am Grateful for her help in dealing with printed stuff and other such problems.

Well, second time today to try and publish this.