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Making 911 more accessible

The Federal Communications Commission today proposed rules to bring Americans

the ability to send text messages to 911 more rapidly and uniformly, and to inform consumers about the

availability and appropriate use of text-to-911. The Commission’s proposed action builds on prior

Commission initiatives and the recent voluntary commitment by the nation’s four largest wireless carriers,

with support of leading public safety organizations, to make text-to-911 available to their customers by May

15, 2014, with significant deployments expected in 2013. The Commission’s proposed action also seeks to

accelerate the nation’s transition to a Next-Generation 911 system that will use cutting-edge

communications technology to assist first responders in keeping our communities safe.

via FCC Proposes Action to Accelerate Nationwide Text-to-911 | FCC.gov.

Source: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-proposes-action-accelerate-nationwide-text-911

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Bipartisan group of senators announce support for disability treaty

May 25, 2012

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Tom Udall (D-NM) today announced their support for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Senate consent to U.S. ratification of CRPD will recognize the fundamental values of non-discrimination and equal access for persons with disabilities in all areas of life and help protect Americans with disabilities who work and travel abroad from discrimination, including disabled veterans.

“As a cosponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the ADA Amendments Act, I have long advocated on behalf of equal access and non-discrimination for all Americans, including our veterans and today’s disabled soldiers returning home from serving their nation in war,” said Senator John McCain. “I support U.S. ratification of the disability treaty, as it seeks to advance these same fundamental values of equality and human dignity around the world.”

“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities promotes independence, dignity and inclusion while protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities when they travel abroad,” Senator Dick Durbin said. “These basic rights should be promoted and emphasized across the world and that’s why I support ratification of this important treaty.”

“Each person has the inherent right to life and should have the opportunity to pursue happiness, participate in society, and be treated equally before the law,” Senator Jerry Moran said. “The CRPD advances these fundamental values by standing up for the rights of those with disabilities, including our nation’s veterans and servicemembers, and respecting the dignity of all.”

“The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities builds on the U.S. experience implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act and promoting equal opportunity and full participation for all people with disabilities in the lives of their communities,” said Senator Tom Harkin. “As a lead Senate sponsor of the ADA, I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to ratify the Convention and reaffirm our country’s commitment to improving access and opportunities for people with disabilities around the world.”

“The United States must remain the leader when it comes to providing opportunities and protections for individuals with disabilities,” said Senator John Barrasso. “This agreement will work hard to ensure all Americans with disabilities are guaranteed these same protections while traveling abroad.”

“America has long been a global leader in recognizing and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, and ratification of this convention is an essential step to ensuring disabled persons are protected globally,” Senator Chris Coons said. “All people deserve to be granted full and equal basic human rights, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities. I strongly support ratification of this critical treaty, and urge my colleagues to do the same.”

“The United States is a leader in advocating for the empowerment of disabled Americans, including our veterans who have returned home with life-changing injuries,” said Senator Tom Udall. “This treaty is an important tool to improve conditions for citizens living and working abroad and ensures that we remain a beacon for fairness and opportunity around the world.”

An American delegation under President George W. Bush negotiated and approved the Convention in 2006. The United States signed the treaty in 2009 and submitted it to the U.S. Senate this May for its advice and consent for ratification. The treaty requires no changes to U.S. laws or new appropriations.

via .: United States Senator John McCain :: Press Office :..

The Intouchables, a depiction of disability

Les Intouchables is interesting French movie portraying a quadriplegic aristocrat who was injured in a paragliding accident and a black Muslim man from the Parisian projects. Nine weeks after its French release Les Intouchables became the second most successful French film of all time in ticket numbers.

“The feel-good dramatic comedy has become a cultural phenomenon in France where it was voted cultural event of the year 2011 by 52% of the French.” (Source: Wikipedia)

The May 25 US release of the the movie will have limited distribution. A Variety review declared the movie offensive,

Though never known for their subtlety, French co-helmers/scripters Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache have never delivered a film as offensive as “Untouchable,” which flings about the kind of Uncle Tom racism one hopes has permanently exited American screens. The Weinstein Co., which has bought remake rights, will need to commission a massive rewrite to make palatable this cringe-worthy comedy about a rich, white quadriplegic hiring a black man from the projects to be his caretaker, exposing him to “culture” while learning to loosen up. Sadly, this claptrap will do boffo Euro biz

via: Variety

 

The dating world of disabled people

The British network Channel 4 has released a new TV documentary series on disability and dating titled The Undatables. Some early reviews of the show indicate parse for the quality and message, but question the marketing and other aspects of the television medium in conveying what is a complex component of life.

Channel 4s The Undateables features many people with learning difficulties and introduces us to a dating agency, Stars in the Sky, which helps put people in touch with each other.Lydia Jones is one of their chaperones – she makes sure that clients get to the date venue safely and that they meet the right person, but she also helps tackle lulls in conversations.Continue reading the main storyLove at no sightThough love at first sight may happen for people blessed with eyes, love after first discussion is the closest youll get to it if you cant see.Ive often thought that “sighties” might be just a little bit disabled by having vision. Ive seen friends chasing people for their looks yet getting hurt very badly because their beauty is only skin deep, their personality somewhat rotten.But good looks and attraction can be complex for blind people. And oh how Id love to be able to sit here and tell you that blind people are without prejudice: not caring if youre a prince or whether youre plug ugly and that we dont care about such superficial matters. Sadly, thats just not true.Read the full Magazine article by Damon Rose from 2009″Quite often, people with learning disabilities are forced into sharing relationships with people who they dont have a choice about being with,” says Jones. “Their peers are the ones they meet at a day service or in supported living accommodation.”

via BBC News – The dating world of disabled people.

The issue of marketing the series is taken up Francis Ryan

As marketing moves go, Channel 4 has hit a near impressive level of crass in its promotion of The Undateables, a series following people with disabilities in their quest for love. This is a title that looks bad on paper but even worse when put on a billboard, where towering images of people with a facial disfigurement or a wheelchair have the title Undateable emblazoned next to them. You do wonder why Channel 4 didn’t go the whole hog and just use the title “You’re weird and no one wants to have sex with you”..

But if The Undateables seems an offensive title for a show, then that was probably the aim: offence equals controversy, controversy equals ratings. Disabled people are hardly the first subjects to fall victim to such calculations (My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding remains a lesson in avoiding nuance) nor are Channel 4 the only station to have done the sums (BBCThree is now in titling territory that’s almost beyond parody).

via The Undateables? Disability rights, but Channel 4 wrongs | Television & radio | guardian.co.uk.

Not yet distributed in The US, the show’s trailer is available on YouTube

People with disabilities vote

Oregon was first in the nation to have all residents vote by mail. Now it’s pioneering another idea: vote by iPad.

Oregon officials decided to try iPads because their other equipment for helping disabled people vote is nearing the end of its life. The old tools, including laptops with various accessibility modifications, were hauled around in two suitcases and were difficult for election workers to set up.About 800 voters used it in 2010, according to the secretary of states office.Officials hope the iPads portability, simplicity and relatively low cost will make it easier to deploy to more places and reach more voters. People with their own accessibility tools like joysticks and paddles can connect them using Bluetooth wireless technology.”Some people want to vote independently, and theyre the ones that were talking to,” said Steve Trout, state elections director. “Others just want someone to help them, and thats fine too.”

via Oregon looks to iPads to help disabled people vote – Yahoo! Finance.

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