Australian Disabled forced to sue to get funding

Reposted from a story from Australia from the Network Syndicated News




The federal government is set to part fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme by requiring those whose disability is acquired through an injury to sue for compensation. Source: HWT Image Library

Legislation underpinning the NDIS introduced into parliament last week says the government will then require any compensation a person is awarded for care and support be handed back to cover the cost of any NDIS services.

If a person refuses the direction to take the legal action their care and support under the NDIS will be “suspended”, the legislation says.

The measure has been described as “disconcerting” and against the fundamental no-fault principle of the NDIS by former AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce, who advised the Productivity Commission which drafted the NDIS, and now advises the government on aspects of the scheme.

“Everyone was working on the idea that with an NDIS we were moving from having to sue to a statutory no-fault scheme,” he said.


“This is a very unexpected development and if it goes through it will be a fundamental change to what people were talking about,” he said.

Greens Senator and disability spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said the clauses are “potentially quite contentious” and she will be having the concept closely examined as part of a Senate inquiry into the legislation.

“The way it is worded at the moment I think could leave open a loophole in the future to forcing people into expensive, destructive drawn out legal cases,” she said.

“This is stressful for the individual and the family,” she said.

Opposition disability spokesman Senator Mitch Fifield said he had “serious reservations” about a government agency having the capacity to compel an individual to take legal action.

“It may be appropriate for the individual to be able assign to the NDIS agency their right to take legal action on their behalf, but it is a big step for there to be a requirement that a vulnerable individual take legal action,” he said.

He too wants the issue examined closely by a Senate inquiry.

A spokeswoman for Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin said the legislation ensures that people with disability don’t miss out on opportunities to claim compensation where reasonable.

“We don’t want to create an incentive for employers, for example, to soften their approach to workplace safety because they will no longer have to pick up the bill for any injuries or disabilities caused at work,” she said.

“This is not an either or. It’s about giving people access to the scheme and any compensation they are entitled to and people can still be covered by the scheme while pursuing compensation.”

It is expected a person will only be asked to pursue compensation where there is a reasonable prospect that a claim would be successful and where taking that action would not cause an unreasonable financial burden.

National Disability Services chief Dr Ken Baker said the clauses are intended to make sure someone who is entitled to funding for their disability outside the NDIS gets that money.

“It’s so that other systems don’t transfer their costs and obligations onto the NDIS,” he said.

However he says the legislation would have to ensure that people who could not afford legal action were not forced into it and the stress and hardship a legal case would have on a persons disability should also be considered.

In its blueprint for the NDIS the Productivity Commission was critical of using the common law to pursue compensation, showing that up to 70 per cent of the payout often ended up covering legal costs.

Many accident victims had to wait between 4 and 23 years to get their compensation, it found.

Over 20,000 Australians currently suffer from a catastrophic injury and another 1000 are injured each year.

Almost half these injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents, eight per cent are work related, 11 per cent arise from medical incidents and the remaining 32 per cent are due to sporting injuries, criminal assault or accidents in the home.

While four states – NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory – have no fault motor vehicle accident schemes that could provide compensation without an ugly legal battle, other states do not.

The government is still examining the Productivity Commission’s call for a national no fault National Injury Insurance Scheme that would cover these types of injury funded from insurance premiums

Mallory Owens, Alabama Lesbian, Allegedly Attacked By Girlfriend’s Brother During Thanksgiving Dinner (GRAPHIC)

Posted: 11/26/2012 4:57 pm EST Updated: 11/26/2012 5:06 pm EST

Mallory Owens

An Alabama woman is recovering after allegedly being attacked by her girlfriend’s brother over Thanksgiving weekend.

Though details of the case are continuing to emerge, NBC affiliate Local 15 reports that 23-year-old Mallory Owens is being treated for injuries following a Nov. 22 assault by Travis Hawkins Jr. Owens, who was reportedly attending Thanksgiving dinner at the family home of girlfriend Ally Hawkins (Travis’ sister) at the time of the attack, suffered multiple skull fractures and crushed bones, and had metal plates put under her eyes because of her injuries, according to reports.

Hawkins, Local 15’s report notes, has been charged with second degree assault, though it remains unclear what may have prompted the attack. cites Owens’ sister says it wasn’t the first time Hawkins had attacked Owens, noting: “He never liked Mallory and Ally to begin with. Mallory would never do anything to hurt anyone.”

Avery Godwin added, “He should’ve been charged with attempted murder.”

A photo reportedly showing Owens in the hospital has since been posted on Facebook. “It is reported that the accused attackers family stood by, did not intervene, and have threatened the [victim’s] family,” the user wrote.

Many take personally burglary of disabled veteran

reposted from a story By Howard Altman

To whoever broke into Apartment 515 at the Bristol Place apartment complex in New Tampa: If you are the least bit tech savvy, you’ve probably already seen the pictures on the MacBook Pro you stole, the ones with the guy in the wheelchair missing a right leg.
The guy in the picture is Thongpane Thongdeng. His friends call him TD.
Let me tell you about Thongdeng, just in case you saw his picture and were wondering what happened to his right leg, which was amputated below the knee. Once you hear the story, you might want to bring the stuff you stole back right quick. Because there are a lot of people who are taking your act very personally.
A St. Petersburg High School graduate, Thongdeng joined the Army in 2007.
“I wanted to jump,” said Thongdeng, now 33 and sitting in his wheelchair, wearing a 101st Airborne Division baseball cap.
Thongdeng’s journey led him to Forward Operating Base Connolly in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan, near Jalalabad.
On the night of Dec. 2, 2010, Spc. Thongdeng and his comrades went to a village to find out what supplies the local police outpost needed. Then they went to another village to speak to elders there.
“We were the third truck in the convoy,” said Thongdeng, who was riding in a lumbering tan vehicle known as an MRAP. “After leaving the village, we came to two semi trucks that seemed to be broken down.”
After talking to the drivers, the convoy drove by. It didn’t get very far.
About 200 meters away from the semis, there was a tremendous explosion.
Not that Thongdeng saw it or heard it.
“I remember waking up and the truck was upside down,” said Thongdeng. “We were in a ditch. Everyone was yelling for help.”
He passed out, waking up more than two weeks later at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
His right leg was mangled. His spine was badly injured, confining him to a wheelchair. The concussive blast gave him traumatic brain injury.
Eventually, Thongdeng and his family made their way back to the area, with Thongdeng an inpatient at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital while his wife and five kids lived with her parents in St. Petersburg.
Doctors tried to save his leg, but the damage was too severe and he underwent an amputation at Tampa General Hospital.
Though his condition was improving, Thongdeng was forced to rent a one-bedroom apartment in New Tampa to be near Haley, where was still getting treatment. He couldn’t live with his in-laws because the house wasn’t wheelchair accessible and it was too far. His family had to stay behind because, on his salary, he couldn’t afford a place large enough to accommodate seven people.
A few weeks ago, Thongdeng went back into Haley. Still in a great deal of pain, he had to stay there as doctors tried out new medication.
That’s where you come into the picture, whoever it was that broke into the apartment.
While Thongdeng was in the hospital, you cut the screen to his apartment, walked in, tipped over his big-screen television, stole his new MacBook Pro, his Xbox, lots of other electronics, jewelry and even food from his refrigerator.
“I came home and saw I had been broken into,” said Thongdeng. “I was angry.”
So was Connie Trigoe.
A 14-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, Trigoe was the officer who came to investigate the burglary on Nov. 17. When Trigoe arrived at the apartment, saw Thongdeng in his wheelchair and 101st Airborne hat, she knew this was more than the usual burglary.
“My dad was in Vietnam, my brother in Desert Storm, my brother-in-law is still in the military and has been in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Trigoe said. “I grew up to respect veterans.”
Trigoe said that, “admittedly, I was a little angry over the situation. He sacrificed, lost his leg in Afghanistan and someone came into his apartment. That angered me.”
Wanting to do something for Thongdeng, Trigoe organized her fellow members of the 242nd Squad in District 2 and gathered up enough money to buy a new Xbox for the wounded soldier.
“When we gave him the Xbox, I shook his hand and thanked him for his service,” said Trigoe. “What humbled me the most was that he said, ‘No, thank you for protecting us on this side.’ That kind of caught me off guard.”
Thongdeng said he was surprised and joyful at the outpouring of support.
Following the police donation, Operation Helping Hand, an eight-year-old charity group that helps the wounded at Haley, made a $2,000 donation to Thongdeng, who police say lost about $6,000 worth of items in the robbery.
“The man is very quiet and somewhat embarrassed by the situation,” said Bob Silah, a retired Navy captain who heads the organization. “He needs help but was too embarrassed to reach out.”
Operation Helping Hand is ready to offer more help so Thongdeng and his family can find an apartment until another group, Homes for Our Troops, can build the family a new home once it finds land and a building partner for the project.
Those wishing to contribute can make checks payable to Operation Helping Hand. Mark check for “TD” and mail to Operation Helping Hand Inc., Attn: Bob Silah: PO Box 6383, MacDill Air Force Base FL 33608.
To whomever broke in and stole Thongdeng’s belongings – keep looking over your shoulder. You have made the police, the MacDill community and a member of the Screaming Eagles extremely mad.

Lisa Biron, Anti-Gay Christian Lawyer, Arrested On Child Pornography Charges

A New Hampshire lawyer associated with an anti-gay Christian defense group was arrested on federal child pornography charges after allegedly taking a teenager to Canada where she reportedly convinced the girl to engage in sexual activity and let it be filmed.

Lisa Biron, a Manchester, N.H., lawyer associated with the Christian litigation group, Alliance Defending Freedom, was arrested by FBI agents on Friday morning on charges of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, possession of child pornography and five counts of sexual exploitation of children, according to the Concord Monitor.

Federal prosecutors said Biron transported a teen girl from Manchester to Ontario, Canada, on May 25 and coerced her into engaging in sexual acts with another person that were then recorded, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

According to the Concord Monitor, prosecutor Helen Fitzgibbon made the case for Biron to be held without bond because other juveniles have been subjected to Biron’s sexual activity and drug use; witnesses have testified to seeing Biron in possession of ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine; and Biron texted a friend saying she may flee to Cuba.

Police had been investigating Biron since Sept. 29 after receiving a tip she had child pornography on her computer, according to the Union Leader.

She was first arrested in Manchester last month on charges of possessing child pornography, according to Police said the videos and photos on Biron’s computer depicted a teen girl. Federal authorities were alerted when police determined the porn was manufactured out of state.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-gay group Biron is associated with, is “a group of reactionary Christian attorneys lawyers pressing litigation to curb reproductive rights and block the freedom to marry,” according to Queerty.

ADF was founded in 1994 by more than 30 prominent Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and American Family Association’s Donald Wildmon, among others, Queerty reports. The group has been fighting against gay rights for over 18 years.

ADR recently made news for sending a memo to state officials in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, urging them to discriminate against gay couples by refusing to grant marriage licenses,

Jose Santiago Accused Of Hiding Crack In Prosthetic Leg

The Huffington Post  |  By  

Jose Santiago

Jose Santiago is accused of hiding 2.5 grams of crack cocaine and 2.8 grams of marijuana in his prosthetic leg.

A man accused of drug possession may not have a leg to stand on in court.

That’s because authorities say they found crack and marijuana hidden in his prosthetic leg.

Police in Wilmington, Del., arrested Jose Santiago on Friday after responding to a 911 call for a disorderly subject. When officials arrived on the scene, they saw Santiago, 51, in the middle of the street, reported.

Santiago seemed to be intoxicated and was yelling obscenities, but was taken into custody without incident, Officer Mike Ivey told Delaware Online.

Upon booking, the cops discovered Santiago had several outstanding arrest warrants. He also allegedly had 2.5 grams of crack cocaine and 2.8 grams of marijuana hidden inside his prosthetic leg, the Associated Press reported.

Santiago was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of crack cocaine and disorderly conduct, and is being held at police headquarters pending arraignment

US: Transgender woman sues after taser incident

Mia’s thoughts-  To those people who think this is an isolated event, I  beg to differ.Once I was assaulted in a pizzeria  by the owner because qoute”faggots aren’t welcome” when I awoke in the ambulance I was handcuffed and a police officer said if I charged the owner with assault they would claim I was robbing the register! even though there was a glass wall between customers and staff. So it turned out the pizzeria was where all the local  cops ate, so the deal was I the victim was being blackmailed, a phoney robbery charge  would be trumped up if I insisted on charging their pal? I have dozens of anti trans stories , sadly this a every day occurrence.

Reposted from a story by for  13 November 2012, 4:07pm
Brook Fantelli (Photo: Peggy Peattie)
Brook Fantelli (Photo: Peggy Peattie)

A transgender woman in California has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of excessive force after a taser was fired at her groin.

UT San Diego reported Brooke Fantelli said on Monday that the ranger involved in the altercation was polite until learning of her gender transition.

In a lawsuit filed last week at a federal court in San Diego, Ms Fantelli accused Ranger J Peters of excessive force during an incident in the Imperial County desert in October of last year.

Ms Fantelli and a group of people were on a photo shoot when the ranger approached and requested identification.

Ms Fantelli’s licence still listed her as male, and after Mr Peters saw it, she claims he became rude and stunned her twice with a taser.

The device hit her as she stood standing still with her hands in the air.

The lawsuit said the ranger arrested Ms Fantelli for being drunk in public.

Although she had consumed two beers, she said she was not intoxicated, a blood test taken later showed Ms Fantelli had no alcohol in her system and no charges were ever filed against her.

Video of the incident then appeared on YouTube.

Stephen Razo, a BLM spokesman, said yesterday that the agency needed to review the lawsuit before making any comment.

Ms Fantelli builds and races off-road cars and has won 46 such races in her racing career.

Man with no hand was abused because he wouldnt take the hand he didnt have out of his pocket then tasered for resisting arrest but was told he wasnt under arrest?


When the police were called to settle a family dispute, the officer repeatedly screamed take your hand out of your pocket? trouble is the man doesnt have a hand. Read on the police brutality combined with stupidity is astounding.

Accused tells of taser agony

Michael Inman, Christopher Knaus

File photograph of police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser stun gun.File photograph of police officer demonstrating the use of a Taser stun gun. Photo: Craig Abraham

A disabled man – with one good hand and leg – has told a court he endured ”excruciating pain” while being tasered by police, describing it as the ”most frightening experience of my life”.

Anthony Bruce Gilkes was tasered by police as they responded to an altercation between Gilkes and his father.

The 35-year-old is on trial in the ACT Magistrates Court accused of assaulting his father, causing actual bodily harm, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

He has pleaded not guilty and gave evidence to the court on Monday.


The court heard police were called to the scene after allegations of an assault.

Gilkes, from Newcastle, said he had been asleep when two police officers entered his room and ordered him into the dining area.

The court heard he did as requested and was seated when he saw his father enter a room accompanied by another officer.

Gilkes said he stood to follow his father when he was blocked by the officers and ordered to sit down.

But he was informed he was not under arrest.

The accused told the court an officer then repeatedly ordered him to remove his hands from his pockets. Gilkes said he could not react as instructed as his arms were by his sides and told police they weren’t in his pockets.

He told the court he then held up his right hand – effectively a stump – and said, ”I don’t have a f—ing hand”.

The father-of-two alleged Sergeant Steven Harris then smirked at his colleague and said ”He’s only got one hand.”

Gilkes said he was humiliated and reacted by slapping the officer on the face using the open palm of his good hand.

The court heard a struggle then broke out between Gilkes and another officer in the room.

The accused said he was grabbed from behind by the officer and dragged backwards before both men fell onto the ground.

Gilkes said he was then flipped onto his back and restrained by the officer placing knees into his abdomen.

He told the court the sergeant then yelled ”taser, taser”, before the second officer moved from on top of him.

”Then it was the other guy standing over the top of me with the taser,” Gilkes said.

”I just sort of froze … I didn’t make any movements.”

He said the feeling of being tasered was ”hard to put in words”, but described it as ”excruciating” and as the most frightening experience of his life.

Gilkes was told he was under arrest for resisting arrest, but argued he could not resist arrest if he hadn’t been formally detained.

He was then placed in a police wagon and taken to The Canberra Hospital for examination before being taken to the ACT Watch House.

The hearing continues next month

Read more:

Transgender woman found dead, burned in France

Photo of the Roumere Forest where “Cassandra’s” burnt body was found

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — The dead woman, reportedly migrated from Peru, was found October 4th in a forest near Saint-Martin-de-Boscherville. The body appeared burned and while authorities are investigating and have made no official announcement as to the cause, trans activists fear “Cassandra” may have been burned to death.

News reports say she most recently a sex worker living in or near Rouen. Trans activists say a recently enacted law that is forcing sex workers to operate under more dangerous conditions. They also say they’re concerned about the lack of legislative action to head off the murders of trans people


Insurer cancels deputy’s homeowner policy; police dog at home deemed too risky



Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Woodward, with Diezel, a Belgian Malinois. Woodward recently had his homeowners insurance canceled.
Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 7:55 am | Updated: 4:04 pm, Thu Oct 25, 2012.

Insurer cancels deputy’s homeowner policy; police dog at home deemed too risky By Christopher Burbach WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Kearney Hub | 0 comments

A national insurance company is canceling a local K-9 officer’s homeowners insurance — because he keeps a police dog in his home.

In what appears to be a local first and a national rarity, American Family Insurance told Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Woodward last week that his insurance would be terminated in December. The company apparently was not swayed by arguments that the county insures the dog and that Woodward is required to live with it.

The issue arose after an insurance company worker, while conducting an on-site review of the deputy’s home, spotted Woodward’s marked K-9 cruiser in the driveway. American Family subsequently learned that Diezel, the deputy’s Belgian Malinois canine partner, lives at the house.

American Family notified Woodward by letter Oct. 15 that his homeowners insurance coverage would be terminated.

“Due to the additional liability exposure of your police dog, we are unable to continue your homeowner coverage,” the letter said.

Diezel is insured by Douglas County. Woodward, like his fellow K-9 officers, is required to keep his dog at home.

The company gave Woodward time to procure insurance from another company, which he has done. But that doesn’t make it all right with him, and the matter raised concern among law enforcement union leaders in Douglas County and Omaha.

“This is infuriating that I’m getting dropped because of my profession,” said Woodward, 36, who has been a deputy for eight years. He said the company’s decision amounted to bias against his profession.

“He’s my dog,” Woodward said. “He has to go home with me.”

The dog is well-trained — including daily training with Woodward at home and a full day of training with the deputy each week, Woodward said. The two have state and national certifications. Diezel is restrained in a large kennel with high fences and a concrete pad, Woodward said.

Jim Maguire, president of the deputies’ union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 2, said he had never heard of an insurance company dropping a K-9 officer because of his dog. Maguire plans to inform union members about the matter.

He and Sgt. John Wells, president of the Omaha police union, expressed concern that it might set a precedent.

“This just doesn’t seem right, for a company this size, to do this over a police dog,” Maguire said.

Added Wells, “Today, it’s a K-9 guy. Tomorrow, is it a SWAT guy because he has a high-powered rifle? … It’s a very unfair decision that seems solely based on his occupation.”

An American Family spokesman, Steve Witmer, said the company has nothing against law enforcement officers. The decision was based on the dog, not its owner’s occupation, Witmer said.

“It’s a big issue. Dog bites, or dog attacks, are the largest single cause of homeowners’ claims since the 1990s,” he said.

American Family has underwriting guidelines that restrict certain breeds of dogs, as well as trained guard or attack dogs, Witmer said. Woodward’s dog doesn’t fit the former category. The company’s prohibited breeds are Akitas, American pit bull terriers, Chows, Rott-weilers and wolf mixes, Witmer said.

But, to American Family, the deputy’s dog fit the latter.

Witmer said someone from American Family asked Woodward, “What would happen if somebody wandered into your yard?” and Woodward replied that the dog would attack.

Woodward said no such conversation occurred.

Witmer confirmed that Woodward told the company that Douglas County covers the dog. He said there was discussion of the county certifying in writing that it has liability coverage of the dog. Witmer said he isn’t sure what happened in that regard.

Normally, such certification would resolve any problem with a K-9 officer’s homeowners insurance, said Terry Fleck, a nationally known canine legal expert based in Nevada.

He called the insurance company’s action ludicrous.

“In 30 years of doing this, I’ve heard of this happening once, in Florida, and it got resolved immediately,” Fleck said. “It’s the owner of the dog who’s always held liable for the actions of the dog.”

The owner is the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The Belgian Malinois, a type of shepherd dog that is increasingly popular as a military and police dog, can be dangerous to bad actors when on duty. It has been widely reported that Cairo, the canine member of Navy SEAL Team Six on its mission to kill Osama bin Laden, was a Belgian Malinois. Diezel is a dual-purpose dog, working on patrol and narcotics detection. There have been no problems with him.

Mark Langan, director of field operations for the Nebraska Humane Society and a former longtime narcotics officer, said he had never heard of an attack locally by a Belgian Malinois or of an unprovoked attack by a police dog on a person.

For his part, Woodward said the insurance company asked if the county would sign a letter verifying that it provides liability insurance for Diezel, and he said the county would.

“I was told that they were going to send a letter and have the county sign it,” Woodward said.

Instead, he said, another letter arrived — a cancellation notice

Tea Party group trying to deny transgender voters

reposted from a story by SDGLN Staff November 5th, 2012

WASHINGTON — A right-wing Tea Party organization devoted to electing Republicans called “True the Vote” is training its volunteer poll watchers to target transgender voters.

True the Vote’s training manual features a transphobic image [seen above] that claims transgender people are fraudulent voters and should be denied the right to vote.

“It is disgraceful that True the Vote would try to thug anyone into not voting. True the Vote’s true agenda is a shameful attempt to scare trans people away from participating in our democracy,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality.

Until this point, the concerted effort by right-wing, Tea Party groups to restrict voting rights with new Voter ID laws only inadvertently affected transgender voters. Only hours away from Election Day, the discovery of True the Vote’s training manual marks a shift by right-wing groups to explicitly target transgender people and deny them a right to vote.

“Trans people are resilient,” Keisling said. “For trans people, voting is not just a right and a responsibility, for us it is also an important part of how we are winning our equality. Scare tactics like this won’t keep us from that.”

NCTE urges all transgender and gender non-conforming voters, regardless of their party affiliation or political beliefs, to ignore True The Vote’s shameful and un-American attacks, and vote this Election Day.

In case you are challenged, be prepared by bringing NCTE’s “Voting While Trans Checklist” with you when you vote. The Checklist includes a message from NCTE to poll workers clarifying possible questions they may have about your identification.

If a poll worker or poll watcher attempts to deny you a ballot, call the National Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) immediately