It matters Not That I Have Wheels And Roll In This Life, For In The Next Life I Shall Have Wings And Fly!


Amputees fight Medicare proposal to limit prosthetics

Mia’s thoughts- The story below is about in this case a man who fought for his country and lost both legs and is now being told by the goverment you get one set of prosthetics. Now to the uneducated that sounds right, but let me explain the legs made to look like normal legs made to look like flesh with toes shaped are for every day wear if you wear a suit to work and sit behind a desk they are what you would wear or if you were going out and wearing a nice dress and you want your legs to look like natural legs nit like engineered steel, but they are not engineered to take the stress if you decide to run a half marathon with them at lunch time. As a rock climber I saw many in my adaptive group who chnaged out their legs for climbing blocks. The goverment is not even just talking about running flippers or climbing blocks, they’re saying when an 18 month old baby with cancer has her legs amputated the legs for an 18 month old are all they’ll give? The average child who lives as an amputee will have over a dozen set of legs before they stop growing and they cost 75 thousand dollars a set in some cases.

do the right thing medicare amputees lives matter

Reposted from a story allready online By Nadia Kounang, CNN
Updated 5:13 PM ET, Wed August 26, 2015

(CNN)Amputee groups and prosthetic makers are rallying against a Medicare proposal they say will limit access to some limbs.

Under the new proposal, Medicare would establish more stringent requirements to obtain advanced prosthetics, reduce the role of the prosthetist who creates and maintains prostheses, and eliminate some of the universal codes that all providers use to cover prosthetic care.

The proposal could affect the 150,000 amputees in the Medicare system, but advocates worry that its influence could set the standard and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and private insurers would follow suit. If that happened, the nearly 2 million Americans without limbs could be affected.

Brian Mast undergoing therapy.
Brian Mast, 35, lost his legs above the knees while serving in the Army in Afghanistan five years ago when an improvised explosive device detonated. He also lost a finger. He was sent to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Brian Mast with then 6-month old Magnum.
“My oldest was 6 months when I was injured,” Mast said, remembering how he cried to his wife, worrying, “I will never be able to walk around carrying my son. I won’t be able to stand there and play baseball or catch. I won’t be able to play tag or kickball.”

But today’s technology in prosthetics allows him to do all that with his three children, and much more. He has waterproof legs that allow him to run in the rain and play with his kids at the beach.

“Probably the only thing I can’t do is get on my roof and clean my gutters,” Mast said.

But he worries it could all go away if the VA adopts the changes made in Medicare.

‘As stupid a rule as I’ve ever seen’
When asked why there was an effort to change the rules, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the decision came from the Medicare contractors who administer payment for prosthetic care — all companies that have ties to private insurance.

CNN has reached out to the main contractor behind the proposal, CGS Administrators, which is owned by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and has not received any comment.

A 2011 audit by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services found a 27% increase — from $517 million to $655 million — on spending on lower limb prosthetics between 2005 and 2009, even as the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving lower limb prosthetics decreased.

But that data is not reflective of the real picture, said Tom Fise, executive director of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. He called the data outdated, and noted the report only looked only at prosthetic feet. Fise said total prosthetic care spending has decreased 13% from 2010 to 2013.

Fise and other advocates are taking their fight to the contractors, who held a public hearing on Wednesday in Maryland.

“This is as stupid a rule as I’ve ever seen,” former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who lost his right leg while serving with the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, said during a press conference on Tuesday. “This rule completely ignores what’s going on with amputees.”

‘These are human body parts’
Many in the amputee community worry that if these changes go through, they won’t have access to technologically advanced prosthetics that are on the market or in development. Much of this advancement has resulted from the Department of Defense’s efforts to help wounded service members. There is concern this rule could stall development, because insurance will not likely cover more advanced, possibly more expensive, technology.

Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis crosses the finish line of the 118th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer and Boston Marathon bombing survivor, said to stop thinking of these as medical devices.

“These are human body parts,” said Haslet-Davis, who does not use Medicare. If these changes go through, she said it will deny “what I believe are human rights, to walk, dream, to be unstoppable.”

By getting rid of certain payment codes, Mast said, there’s concern that all amputees will have to use a basic level of service.

“It’s not just people who fall under Medicare. It’s anyone under civilian coverage as well. They will look to that code and if it’s not there, (private insurance) won’t cover it,” Mast said.

‘It’s not one size fits all’
Getting that right fit is something a prosthetist specializes in. Mast likens it to a mechanic.

“I’ve had numerous doctors, even after looking at the prosthetic leg, they’ve had to ask me ‘Are you an above or below the knee?’ Doctors are nowhere near as well proficient as prosthetists.”

A bad fit is a fear that mother Leigh Scott has for her 6-year-old, whose leg was amputated shortly after birth. “Amputees need access. It’s not one size fits all,” said Scott, whose child does not use Medicare.

Scott said the prosthetic’s fit has to be perfect, and some patients do better with certain materials because of irritation to the skin.

“If there’s any little scrape or friction that can cause a wound, she can’t wear her prosthesis at all,” Scott said.

Scott’s daughter loves soccer and running and wants to surf. “She’s grown up being able to wear a leg,” Scott said. “She’s grown up as being someone who can do anything anyone else can do

People get upset with any sentence that starts “you know what’s wrong with America?” They call you un-American

Every time someone having a conversation says “you know what’s wrong with America?” someone tells them “go to Iran” “there’s a plane leaving every hour catch one” or some other rhetoric.
But let’s get real folks isn’t it un-American not to say at least once a day”you know what’s wrong with America?”

In the last week we have had a supposedly educated news anchor refer to Africa as a country, we’ve had a politician say he would send swat teams to drag immigrants from their homes and put them on buses back to Mexico, and because of his rhetoric two thugs attacked a homeless Latino man almost kicking him to death and when the police arrested them they said they were just following Donald trump’s lead? Well morons he was an American citizen who had fought for this country and was a decorated veteran?
We had another politician who said illegal immigrants should be rounded up and sold to farms as labor? That would be slavery, last time I checked owning humans was illegal and immoral.
We had another politician saying he would send attack choppers with machine guns to round up immigrants and that is a man who is touted as one of the most respected brain surgeons in the world, although last year he made a comment that women could swallow a pill and it would end up in their vaginas? That’s an md who thinks the digestive tracts and the reproductive system are connected? wow I wonder what he thinks blows jobs can do then?
We have so called tea partiers who still say Obama wasn’t born here but they support ted Cruz who was born in Canada and marco Rubio who was born in Cuba? But hey there is one difference Obamas black!
We have people who think Obama care and the affordable care act are two different things, and when asked about them they said Obama care was “commy socialist trash” and they only use affordable care act?
We have states where you can carry a AR-15 bush master in the grocery store, but you can’t bring your skateboard in. You have towns where it is illegal not to be armed, you can be sent to jail for not carrying a gun?
Some southern state just issued a liquor license for the “gun range bar and grill” because who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to mix jack Daniels and Sig Saur?
We have republicans who think when they’re president they can overrule the Supreme Court and had to have the system explained to them by a reporter? and the others who think that the constitution can just be done away with.
We have a church saying that gay men having sex should be illegal so they can’t breed gay children? so one republican thinks a blow job can cause pregnancy and another who thinks two men having sex can cause a pregnancy? by the way both of those fools are actual qualified doctors!
So you finish the statement “you know what’s wrong with America?”
I’ll tell you what’s right about it, it’s beautiful, there are good decent people who understand it’s not about who you love but how you live.then there are those who understand that orphaned babies don’t care who the arms hugging them belong to as long as they don’t stop, and that two women or two men are just as capable of bringing up children in a loving way and that gay isn’t a choice and trans isn’t a punchline and disabled doesn’t mean broken. The trouble is most of them don’t vote.
So if I had to finish the sentence I would say, You don’t get the right to whinge if you don’t register to vote, if you have never raised a gun in anger or wore the uniform of this nation you should never have the right to send their youngest and brightest to war. and for christ sake If you break our soldiers you pay to fix them.
Just remember folks when Estonia beats you in science and Belarus beats you in mathematics you don’t get to brag you don’t get be racist. You need to stand up and say “no more will I put up with delusional geriatric fools who talk to burning bushes and are paid for by billionaires with only their bottom lines in their hearts, standing for the office of president of the united states and telling the world they speak for me.
What they have to remember is they work for us, and they serve at our pleasure and when what they back and preach about can no longer be connected to you and what you stand for in any way shape or form then they no longer serve you so they should no longer serve.
Remember America you either stand for something or you fall for everything.

Limb spasms? Why do my limbs get to move on their own, when I can’t move them?

Since 2007 My ability to stand and walk was in increments taken away, till by 2009 standing was an exercise in falling down and walking was a thing other people do. Doctors told me nothing other than stop work, stop anything that involves gross motor movement.
Then my legs developed a life of their own, and my arms and my face muscles and my torso jumped in on the fun. At first I thought it was my Epilepsy playing up but it wasn’t , top specialists has no idea, internists had no idea, basically anyone with an md after their name was clueless(enter mandatory “aren’t they all comment” here)
Then one day I went to a hospital for an MRI that I had to be fully knocked out for, and they twisted my arm while I was under and pinched a nerve. While I was in the ER after having it seen to, the spasms started and a surgical resident commented very off the cuff “how long have you lived with neuro spasticity?” neuro what I asked? Spasticity she replied, and went onto explain that when the brain sends multiple messages to a limb or group of limbs all at once it overloads the nerves and the limb spasms, common in people with spinal cord injury and paralysis caused by neurological disorders spasm uncorolably at will because of injury and denegration to the system caused by the original shock to the system of the original injury or diagnosis.

I told her I had been to the best of the best and they has no idea, she told me she had just finished a two year fellowship in Europe studying neurological disorders affecting spinal cord injury patients, and had studied this for over a year.
So I went to another doctor and told him what she said, and he studied up and explained spasms was something that all para’s and quads live with but neuro spasticity was a more severe form as it effected all the limbs and the torso not just lower limbs.
Isn’t it amazing I can’t make them carry me upright but they can shake, kick, spasm, and even cause full blown seizures of their own choosing anytime they want.

I have built my life around them, at home I sit on a wide sofa or bed surrounded by pillows and when I’m out I know Manhattan like the back of my hand and only frequent places where I’m known and they know I have constant spasms and they look after me.
When you see someone in a wheelchair and their limbs move, no they’re not faking a disability, they’re spasming.
When you see it and you’re Christian, no you can’t lay hands on me and pray or I’ll lay hands on you and make you pray, don’t call 911 on total strangers were disabled not dead, paralyzed not paralytic.
This story will go on forever, or as long as I do but right now the very thing I’m writing about is making itself known and typing is difficult almost impossible.
So I have two choices at the moment, one stop, two throw some dirty clothes in the bath, jump in and be a human spin cycle so ooroo and Is it okay to mix colors with whites?

UBER’S BUSINESS ISN’T BUILT TO HELP DISABLED PEOPLE uber driver puts guide dog in the trunk

NADINA LASPINA IS looking up from under her wide-brimmed hat at the heavy grey rain clouds overhead, watching the blazing July sun play peekaboo behind them, and worrying about whether she’s dressed appropriately for the weather. It’s too hot and humid for a raincoat when the sun is out, but when the clouds break open, as they have intermittently throughout the day, the rain pours down by the bucketful.

What to wear? It’s a question that most New Yorkers—who spend so much of their daily commutes outdoors—ask themselves on a day like today. But for LaSpina, it’s especially important to get it right.

Unlike most New Yorkers, LaSpina can’t just duck into the subway, hail a cab, or hide under scaffolding until an Uber arrives. LaSpina had polio as a child and has used a wheelchair for most of her adult life. She can’t transfer herself into a regular cab, so she requires a taxi with a ramp. Those are pretty scarce, though, especially since she has to share them with the millions of other New Yorkers who don’t use wheelchairs.

So if the clouds part and let loose another one of those furious summer storms, the only way LaSpina can get back home is the same way she got here in the first place: “I just rolled.”

“Here,” as it so happens, is Uber’s New York City headquarters, which is located all the way on Manhattan’s west side, between 11th and 12th Avenues. It might as well be Siberia for the average Manhattanite. No subways run this far west, and it’s tough to find any taxi, let alone one that’s wheelchair accessible. Which makes it a fitting—if somewhat ironic—place for LaSpina and about a dozen other wheelchair users from the advocacy group Disabled in Action to gather in protest of what they say are discriminatory practices by the car-hailing giant.

Uber’s issues with the disabled community have been widely covered. Uber drivers have been accused of refusing to pick up wheelchair users, as well as blind passengers traveling with service animals. Stories have surfaced of Uber drivers putting guide dogs in the trunk, and both Uber and its smaller rival, Lyft, are now facing several lawsuits in states across the country.

But the protesters gathered at Uber’s headquarters say those admittedly awful stories of misbehavior by individual drivers mask a much deeper, much more complex, systemic issue that cuts to the very core of how Uber runs its business. The problem, as they see it, isn’t just that Uber drivers won’t pick them up. It’s that they can’t.

More Than Skin Deep
Few if any vehicles in Uber’s network are wheelchair accessible. That’s because Uber considers itself a technology platform, not a taxi company, and so it doesn’t require any of its drivers to have wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Instead, to accommodate disabled riders, Uber has begun partnering with third party groups who do operate these vehicles in select cities around the country. In New York City, for instance, Uber has partnered with the Taxi & Limousine Commission on a feature called UberWAV, which hails a wheelchair-accessible city taxi. But the protesters say there’s an issue with this approach.

New York City taxi medallion.
The fact is, as Uber has grown, the taxi industry has taken a major hit. In New York City, the Commission has seen a drop in the price of taxi medallions, which allow taxis to operate in the city, and a serious uptick in the foreclosure rate for medallion owners. And that, disability advocates say, is a problem because it’s only these medallion and permit owners who have any kind of mandate to put wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road.

Back in 2013, following a class action lawsuit that charged the TLC with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Commission agreed to make 50 percent of its taxis wheelchair accessible by 2020. Meanwhile, back in 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the release of 2,000 new medallions for wheelchair accessible vehicles. To people like LaSpina, who have been fighting this battle for decades, it felt like progress. And yet, now that Uber is making it less desirable to get into the traditional taxi business, the majority of these new medallions are going unclaimed.

In other words, the protesters say, in New York City, Uber is using the taxi industry to serve wheelchair users, even as it threatens to overthrow the taxi industry altogether.

“Buying a medallion now is like buying a buggy in 1920,” says Jim Weisman, CEO of the United Spinal Association, who was part of the Uber protest and has been fighting for equal rights in the transportation industry since the 1970s. “You just don’t need them.”

It wasn’t long ago that Weisman and his organization were battling the taxi industry for similar rights. Now, he admits, the Taxi & Limousine Commission is a backer of United Spinal, which is aligned in its fear of what could happen if Uber is continues to take over New York City’s transportation industry. As Weisman put it, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Which is why Weisman and the others are here today, calling on Uber to stop relying on third parties to deliver services to the disabled and to start taking on the responsibility themselves. What disabled riders need, they say, are more wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road, not more access to an already limited supply. They want to see Uber offer incentives to new drivers joining the network, urging them to to invest in wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Until accessibility is baked into the core network, they say, Uber will never be truly equal.

Uber’s Armor
Of course, there is one tiny detail standing in the way of such a future: Uber’s entire business model. That model hinges on the fact that Uber is not a fleet operator capable of handing down mandates to its drivers. Rather, it’s a platform on which a loose network of independent contractor drivers can connect with riders. It’s this structure that enables Uber to compensate drivers as contractors, not employees, while also enabling Uber to skirt some of the laws that would apply to a traditional transportation company.

“Sometimes people from the outside think that Uber drivers are full-time drivers like taxi and limo drivers, that this is their career, and as you know, that’s not the case,” says Uber advisor and strategist David Plouffe, who managed President Obama’s 2008 election campaign. “The vast majority of our drivers come from every walk of life. They do it for a limited amount of time, in terms of hours per week.”

Uber’s strategy to accommodate disabled riders until now has been to partner with third parties who do this work full-time. And it does have a long list of initiatives to tout as outreach to the disabled community. For its UberASSIST product, for example, it’s partnered with a group called Open Doors Organization to help train drivers in select cities on how to accommodate drivers with folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. UberWAV, which hails accessible city taxis, is fully operating in New York City, and the company says it has an average wait time of 7 minutes. Meanwhile, another feature called UberACCESS is being piloted in Austin.

Meanwhile, Uber has updated its app so that it works with voiceover iOS to accommodate blind riders. The company is also testing a feature that uses light instead of sound to signal new ride requests for deaf and hearing-impaired drivers.

“The organizations we’re partnering with, they do this for a living, and what we’re doing is matching our technology and our efficiency,” says Uber advisor David Plouffe. “That’s pretty powerful.”

But for Weisman and other members of Disabled in Action, these small scale, one-off projects don’t suffice, especially for a company that now has a $51 billion valuation and seems to raise another billion dollars every few months.

“Uber’s quite sensitive to the disability issue, but it’s way more sensitive to its way of doing business and its bottom line,” says Weisman. “As soon as they give in, it’s a chink in the armor.”

A Community Divided
And yet, for all the enemies Uber has made in the disabled community, it’s also made plenty of friends, who say that Uber gives people living with disabilities flexibility in transportation that they never had before. Former Congressman Tony Coelho, one of the pioneers of the Americans with Disability Act, for one, says that Uber is “the technology advancement I dreamed would happen.”

Coelho, who has epilepsy, takes issue with the argument that Uber’s impact on the traditional taxi industry is bad for the disabled community. “If the medallions were doing the job, they wouldn’t be hurting,” Coelho says.

Uber isn’t perfect, he says, but the solution to its shortcomings isn’t to rely on an also imperfect taxi industry. “That’s the past,” he says. “The right way to go is to urge Uber, who is technologically advanced, to solve this problem.”

And, for at least some disabled riders, Uber already has solved a major problem. Christy Landefeld, for instance, who lost her vision due to complications with pregnancy, says that having access to Uber in the suburbs of Detroit where there’s no public transit and the nearest cab company is three towns away has been transformative. “Not having to call family and friends when I have to take my daughter to the library or gymnastics, all the things non-visually impaired mothers can easily do all the time, just has made a world of difference,” she says.

For D’Arcee Neal, a wheelchair user in Washington D.C., it was his many issues with Uber that actually inspired him to work more closely with the company. Neal says he takes an Uber two to three times a week, and most of the time, drivers greet him with a “deer in headlights” look. That’s the best case scenario. In the worst cases, he says, they prod him for information on his disability—Neal has cerebral palsy—or treat him like a charity case. Once, Neal says a driver told him and another friend with cerebral palsy to take the bus instead.

By that point, Neal says, “I had had it.” He dashed off an angry email to Uber, threatening to spread the word about what had happened throughout United Cerebral Palsy, the non-profit where Neal works as manager of institutional giving. “You’re going to have a PR nightmare on your hands across the country,” Neal remembers writing. That was Thursday night. By Friday morning, Neal says he got a call from Uber’s headquarters in Washington. Since then, he’s been working with the company, inviting Uber to UCP conferences and connecting Uber executives to the roughly 176,000 people living with disabilities who are part of the UCP network.1

“I know people are very upset, and I can see the frustration. I think people have to keep demanding answers,” he says. “But I think, like any company, Uber needs an opportunity to adapt.”

Justice Intervenes
Of course, it may not be up to Uber (or Lyft, for that matter, which has taken a similar approach to serving disabled riders, but because it’s much smaller, has factored far less prominently into the debate). Earlier this year, the Justice Department intervened in a lawsuit that the National Federation of the Blind of California brought against Uber, which accuses the company of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. Uber moved to dismiss the case, arguing that as a tech platform, it’s not bound by the ADA. But the Justice Department didn’t see it this way, and in a statement of interest in February, the Department urged the federal court in California not to drop the case.

“The United States’ interests are particularly strong here,” the department said, adding that the lawsuit “goes to the very heart of the ADA’s goals.” In April, the court decided to let the lawsuit proceed.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office is currently looking into how both Uber and Lyft accommodate disabled passengers.

And yet, Weisman, who helped frame the ADA and has brought successful lawsuits against New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, says there are ways Uber could appease the disabled community without a court mandate. For instance, Uber already offers new drivers special discounts and financing options on vehicles from Toyota, GM, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Chrysler, and Volkswagen. It could do the same, Weisman says, with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

LaSpina, meanwhile, would like to see Uber start a program for disabled drivers who already have wheelchair-accessible vehicles. That way, it could offer not only rides, but jobs. Uber does have some disabled drivers in its network, but in most places, there’s no way for other disabled passengers to find them. According to one quadriplegic driver, Gabriel Garcia, Uber didn’t even know he was driving a wheelchair-accessible vehicle until he happened to pick up an Uber executive at the airport by chance.

For disability advocates, Uber shouldn’t need an order from a judge or government agency to fix what they believe is a cut and dry civil rights issue. “Would they need a mandate to pick up Jews, Blacks, gays? Of course not, because they’re aware enough to know it’s repulsive to deny them service,” Weisman says. “It’s only people with disabilities that their business model is set up to discriminate against.”

Stuck in the Rain
After about an hour, the protest is coming to a close. Save for a few bikers, there weren’t many spectators around to hear the group’s chants of “2-4-6-8, Uber discriminates” anyway. Looking at the shoestring crew, it’s hard to imagine how they’ll convince a behemoth like Uber to hear them. But that won’t stop them from trying.

It’s already started raining heavy droplets when the group begins to disband. The only cabs coming down the block are yellow sedans, and a quick check of Uber turns up the message, “No UberWAVs available.” Here, on Uber’s doorstep.

And so, left with few other options, a lot of the gang just rolled.

1. Correction 6:30 EST 08/14/15 An earlier version of this story misstated the number of members in UCP’s network

A bard from the bush

There is a tradition in Australia of story tellers from the bush, a tradition of” aussie battlers” tough hard working men with families who don’t whine, they don’t wimp out they have a wife and kids and responsibilities. So if they have to go walkabout “waltzing matilda” and work in the bush, thousands of miles from home sending what they earn back to family that’s what they do.

Whether they Go walkabout and sit around a fire at night telling stories of the great rides,the great men, or it’s in the lunch room at some dark dangerous factory somewhere this legend of hard men Is what our great country is built on.
These men aren’t restricted to an ethnicity, or a skin color or religion they’re just part of what makes Australia great. Rail road’s built by afghans, gold mined by the Chinese, wine made by the Germans and sheep farmed by the scots and English not to mention hydroelectric schemes built by Italians Greeks Yugoslavs and they all drove Holden’s built by ten pound poms.
Were a great nation of fighters “diggers” every time the British went to war the Aussie rode the horses and charged the foxholes and fought through the jungles and the deserts, from the heroes of Kokoda to the rats of tobruk to the diggers landing on Dunkirk you want a tough never say die fighter beside you in war you want a digger.
We have great writers “the bards of the bush” Albert “banjo” Patterson, CJ Dennis , henry Lawson, and in the tradition of these great story tellers aussie are known for spinning a yarn Bullshitting like a pro. When ten aussie get together with a beer the young sit quietly and they listen, as grandpa talks about mustering in Queensland or shearing on the overflow or jackarooing in outback new south wales these are the gentlemen of the bush, they can hold a beer with one hand and roll a cigarette with the other always log cabin.
My grandpa could weave a bullwhip, make a saddle and break a horse right up till his eighties. I lost grampy in 1986 and his bride a few later. My uncle Kevin is famous, he was called the king of the kimberlies by a famous Australian and he runs cattle stations the size of small countries where sheep are as big as Volkswagens and the cows are as big as Chevrolets!
Hard men work from sunrise to sun down, they work hard, drink hard,and fight hard and love hard, it’s just how they are or were.
They sent their kids to boarding school to the city “the big smoke” to learn how to be modern, the idea is they would come back to the property and take it over one day but sadly most are staying in the city and being weekend farmers or just running away.
I come from the bush, from a family that became broken so we went to the big smoke we became city folk, but our hearts were always in our sunburnt country.
I came from a pretty fucked up group of siblings, I had no one to turn to amongst the siblings so I clung to my grandparents and a few of my uncles. The cool one, the really cool one died today.
My uncle bill,He used to invent, he always had something wonderful in the works. To my mom he was the big brother, he didn’t have to love her ways but he loved her.
He instilled in me that you could be fighting like bitches with your siblings, but god help the fool that got in the middle or attacked one of you, you take on one you get the whole litter.
My earliest memory of uncle bill was him building a hovercraft in his back yard, he was a welder in a ship yard during the day and he made garden ornaments out of scrap metal in his spare time what little he had.
He had so many kids it was more like a mob but that was normal in our clan.
Anyway the sad thing is the generation that rode horses and worked the land and slept under the stars is dying out, these are the men who landed at Dunkirk and invaded Germany and beat general Rommel in north Africa in world war 2.
Tough as nails but family was everything, I have about a dozen uncles and aunts, well had I have lost my own mum and two uncles in under a year and another a few years before. Were losing that generation day by day, all I have left is the stories my grandpa told and the poems of banjo Patterson he made me learn. My most cherished memory om grampy is the sight of him on Anama station, walking across the paddock with his work hat on and a collarless shirt with his sleeves rolled up and braces holding his pants up as I stood there yelling all 4 years old of me “grampy, Granma says it tea time” he smiled yelled “right o” and his dog ran by his feet.
On a good day I can remember grandpas voice, that’s hard because he was a man of few words. I remember grandmas dresses and starched aprons, and I remember uncle bills wicked smile and when he wanted to show you an idea he had he squatted and drew it in the dirt.
One day I won’t remember their voices but by then I will be as old as they were when they passed.
If someone can remember me with as much reverence and respect as I remember them, then all the bullshit has been worth it.
So anyway uncle bill by now you’ve made a hydroponic system to grow herbs out of a an old washing machine motor and left over pvc pipe and your making home brew somewhere using old bottles, I miss your home brew and your smile. Any way I’ll just say ooroo I hope you know how much you were loved.

Waltzing Matilda (Carrying a Swag)

OH! there once was a swagman camped in a Billabong,
Under the shade of a Coolabah tree;
And he sang as he looked at his old billy boiling,
‘Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?’
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, my darling,
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Waltzing Matilda and leading a water-bag —
Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
Down came a jumbuck to drink at the water-hole,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee;
And he sang as he stowed him away in his tucker-bag,
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.’
Down came the Squatter a-riding his thoroughbred;
Down came Policemen — one, two and three;
‘Whose is the jumbuck you’ve got in the tucker-bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.’
But the swagman, he up and he jumped in the water-hole,
Drowning himself by the Coolabah tree;
And his ghost may be heard as it sings in the Billabong
‘Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?’
Andew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson

Deaf Woman Allowed To Sue NYPD For Arresting Her Without An Interpreter

Reposted from astory already online BY REBECCA FISHBEIN IN NEWS ON AUG 7, 2015 2:47 PM


photo by Matt Antonino
A Staten Island judge has ruled in favor of a deaf woman who is suing the NYPD for failing to accommodate her special needs during an arrest in 2012—the woman alleges that cops illegally arrested and detained her for 24 hours without allotting her an interpreter in 2011.
According to court documents, Diana Williams was arrested along with her husband on September 11, 2011 after allegedly getting involved in a dispute with a tenant in her Staten Island home. The officer who arrested her claimed he was able to communicate with Williams at the time, even though she is deaf and cannot speak—Williams, however, testified in court that the officer did not attempt to communicate with her and did not provide her with an American Sign Language interpreter even though she repeatedly tried to request one. “I have never been so terrified in my life,” Williams told the Daily News in May.
Court documents state that Williams was then held overnight, and “at no time did the NYPD provide her with an ASL interpreter or any other form of auxiliary aid to inform her why she was under arrest or how long she would be held in police custody.” She was released the following day and not charged with any crime.
Judge Valerie Caproni ruled this week that Williams can proceed with the suit, which was first filed in 2011 but met with resistance by the city, which claimed the NYPD doesn’t have to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act until the person being arrested is transported to a stationhouse.
“There is no dispute that Plaintiff is a qualified individual with a disability or that the City is a public entity and is subject to the ADA and Rehabilitation Act,” Caproni wrote in her ruling, adding. “It would be preposterous to believe that given the diversity of the population in the City of New York, the NYPD did not know full well that its officers would encounter persons with hearing impairments in connection with protecting and defending the City and that some of those people would need accommodation in order to interact with the police.”
The case is now able to proceed

Why isn’t Boston serious about wheelchair access?

The Olympics would have required an accessibility revolution in Boston. We can’t abandon that goal.


One of the tougher streets to navigate on Beacon Hill.

Reposted from a story in the boston globe By Carol R. Steinberg AUGUST 05, 2015

My family returned from a fabulous visit to Barcelona in mid-June. A month later, the news broke that the US Olympic Committee had pulled the plug on Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games. This is an enormous missed opportunity  for people with disabilities who live and work in Massachusetts.

The 1992 Summer Olympics transformed Barcelona, and that transformation has endured. Whatever our feelings about losing the Olympic bid, it’s important to know that the Games would have required our city to be far more wheelchair-accessible.

Boston still has an opportunity to learn from Barcelona. There, historic preservation was not an excuse for keeping barriers in place. We rode elevators in Gaudi-designed 19th-century buildings and in the middle of Roman ruins. Flat pavement has replaced cobblestones on all the winding roads in the historic neighborhoods. Beacon Hill residents should know that this did not diminish the neighborhoods’ charm, but only made us feel welcome.

For eight years I have proudly served on the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board, which was created in 1968 to ensure that buildings are accessible to people with disabilities. Improvements are required in renovated buildings unless the board grants a variance, and historical significance is only one factor in that decision.

A building should not remain unwelcoming just because it is old. Nonetheless, those renovating historic buildings with grand front staircases — town halls, libraries, churches, colleges — constantly ask for variances, fearing that a ramp will destroy the structure’s aesthetics. They want wheelchair users to enter another way. It is time for this segregation to stop. Some talented architects have designed sweeping ramps that fit historic buildings perfectly. Look at the beautiful entrances at the Museum of Fine Arts and the John Adams Courthouse. The numbers of architects who do this must grow. Historical commissions must support them.

In Barcelona, the Olympics brought improvements that meant we could easily travel on buses and subways. Here, I fear using the T because a train may be misaligned with the platform or an elevator may be broken. Instead, I drive my hand-controlled van downtown and pay $36 to park. The facts say that my fear is rational and that improvement is essential: More than 70 rapid transit and commuter rail stations still lack access.

Snow isn’t a factor for Barcelona. If it were, would the city handle it the way Boston did last winter? Often I rolled to the end of a shoveled sidewalk, only to find the curb cut blocked with snow. Kind strangers would attempt to hoist my wheelchair over the piles or stop traffic to help me cross at a driveway. We must handle the snow so that everybody can get around.

A recent experience in Cambridge was all too typical. Before leaving home, I called the restaurant and said I was coming in my electric wheelchair. Because the chair is too heavy to be lifted over steps, I wanted to confirm that the entrance was accessible. My daughter had already done so when she called to make my husband’s birthday reservation, but I knew I should be certain. With some annoyance, the employee on the phone said that I would be able to get in.

Our family approached the restaurant with excitement that evaporated when we saw the high stone step in front. My daughter confronted the manager, who replied, “It is what it is” and offered us a $50 gift certificate — which we obviously couldn’t use. Instead, we enjoyed a meal at a welcoming place with a ramp, but the evening was clouded. This happens too often.

A major problem is that businesses aren’t honest about access, whether because they don’t see the barriers (maybe the manager really thought the step wasn’t a problem?) or because they’ve always gotten away with it. I’d like to believe it’s the former, but in the summer of 2015, the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, we need to get real.

It’s time that establishments not say they have a portable ramp when the customer will hear “What portable ramp?” upon arrival.

It’s time that establishments with a wheelchair lift warn callers if it is broken — and have repairs done immediately — rather than apologize for the lack of access after the wheelchair user shows up.

And, of course, it’s time to get better about actually providing the access that people need. There are two bills in the Massachusetts Legislature that, if enacted, would show our commitment to accessibility for all.

House Bill 1021 would require medical facilities to purchase equipment — examination tables, chairs, scales, X-ray machines, and so on — and follow procedures that meet patients’ accessibility needs. Wheelchair users often do not have access to proper health care. This legislation would help.

Senate Bill 1323 would improve employment opportunities and increase the supply of accessible housing. It would expand the jurisdiction of the Architectural Access Board, which currently has no say over workplaces unless they are open to the public. This means that people with physical disabilities are cut off from potential jobs. For example, a university that was spending $7 million on a renovation didn’t have to put in an elevator leading to the fourth floor — space that included the diversity officer’s office.

It’s well past time to admit that people with disabilities deserve full lives in this state. And making sure it happens shouldn’t need an Olympics.

Justice Department Clarifies Service Animal Rules

Reposted from a story already online By MICHELLE DIAMENT
July 31, 2015

Selah, a 23-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, listens during service dog training at the Operation Freedom Paws' training facility in Gilroy, Calif., on February 12, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Selah, a 23-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, listens during service dog training at the Operation Freedom Paws' training facility in Gilroy, Calif., on February 12, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Selah, a 23-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, listens during service dog training. The U.S. Department of Justice is detailing what rights people with disabilities have under federal law when it comes to service animals. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

Federal officials are further clarifying the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities who rely on service animals amid continued confusion.
Four years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice issued revised rules on service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But the agency has received so many questions since that time that it’s trying again with a new 8-page technical assistance document.
The latest effort includes 37 questions and answers covering everything from what type of work a service animal might perform to how they are trained and what sort of animals qualify.
“The ADA requires state and local government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make ‘reasonable modifications’ in their policies, practices or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities,” the Justice Department states. “Accordingly, entities that have a ‘no pets’ policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities.”
The document defines a service animal as a dog that has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability” that is directly related to their disability. No certification, licensing, identification or documentation is required.
Service animals can accompany people with disabilities in a wide variety of circumstances including at salad bars or other self-service food lines, in ambulances and hospitals and at hotels where they should not be limited to or charged extra for “pet-friendly” rooms, the Justice Department said.
Under federal law, businesses looking to assess if a dog is a service animal may only ask if the animal is required due to a disability and what work or task the dog is trained to per

Settlement requires Carnival cruise lines to improve ships for disabled passengers

reposted from a story online By Tom Stieghorst / July 24, 2015

The Justice Department and Carnival Corp. have entered a sweeping civil settlement that will provide increased rights for disabled cruise passengers.
The agreement requires Carnival to modify 42 existing ships and seven ships under construction following a survey of their compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act.
Three percent of the cabins on 49 ships will be accessible according to three levels of accessibility: fully accessible cabins, fully accessible cabins with a single-side approach to the bed, and ambulatory accessible cabins. Another 13 ships will be subject to possible remediation if they continue to be in service in U.S. ports four years after the agreement is entered.
The ships sail for Carnival Corp.’s three largest North American brands: Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line.
In addition, Carnival will provide ADA training for its employees.
Carnival’s reservations systems will be modified so that disabled passengers can reserve accessible cabins and suites with specific available options and amenities, and to guarantee reservations for accessible cabins.
The settlement says Carnival’s website and mobile apps will meet a particular standard for disabled access. Also, Carnival will appoint several ADA compliance officers shoreside and have an ADA shipboard officer for each ship.
Finally, Carnival will pay a $55,000 civil penalty to the government and $350,000 in damages to “individuals harmed by past discrimination.”
The settlement results from an investigation of complaints by the Justice Department. Carnival officials cooperated throughout the process, the department said.
Among the complaints were allegations that the company failed to properly provide and reserve accessible cabins for individuals with mobility disabilities; reasonably modify policies, practices and procedures to accommodate individuals with disabilities; afford individuals with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in programs and services, including embarkation and disembarkation; and provide effective communication during muster and emergency drills.
In a statement, Carnival said it was pleased to reach the agreement in a cooperative effort with the government.
“We have historically maintained a strong focus on accessibility and have a longstanding track record of meeting the needs of all our guests,” Carnival said.

Children With Disabilities Handcuffed as a Means of Punishment, Lawsuit Alleges

Reposted from a story already online By ALISON KENWORTHY and CARISSA TJIA via GOOD MORNING AMERICA


A deputy sheriff in Kentucky allegedly violated the rights of two children with disabilities by handcuffing them as a means of punishment, according to a federal lawsuit.

Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner and Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The Kenton County Sheriff’s Department says it will not comment until it reviews the lawsuit.

The children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to the lawsuit.

One of the incidents – involving an 8-year-old boy – was captured on video released by the American Civil Liberties Union. The third-grader could be seen crying out in pain in the video after the handcuffs were locked around his biceps. The video was recorded in the fall of 2014.

A second student, a 9-year-old girl, was also handcuffed twice in the fall of 2014, according to the lawsuit.
The children “experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities” as a result of being handcuffed, according to the ACLU and attorneys for the children’s parents.

Kenyon Meyer, an attorney for the boy’s family, said the boy’s behavior is related to his ADHD.

“Handcuffs have no place in schools with little children who are having discipline issues,” Meyer said.

The ACLU is calling for an end to shackling children, saying it does more harm than good.

“Using law enforcement to discipline students with disabilities only serves to traumatize children,” Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement.

“It makes behavioral issues worse and interferes with the school’s role in developing appropriate educational and behavioral plans for them.”

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a declaration that handcuffing the children violated their rights


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