Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Actor Seth Rogen testifies to U.S. Senate Committee on Alzheimer's Disease

by Tamara Lytle | Washington Watch | AARP Blog

"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" Los Angeles Premiere

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more U.S. health care spending than any other disease, and that share will skyrocket as the nation’s population ages, experts told members of a Senate health subcommittee on Feb. 26.

Research shows that 14.7 percent of Americans 71 and older had dementia in 2010 and that the condition, on average, was associated with $41,685 a year in medical and informal-care costs, said Michael D. Hurd, director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. Dementia — the vast majority of which is Alzheimer’s — costs the nation more than $109 billion a year, more than heart disease or cancer, he said. By 2040, as the nation ages, Hurd continued, the annual cost will be more than $379 billion.

Comedian and actor Seth Rogen spoke about Alzheimer’s from a personal perspective. His mother-in-law, he said, couldn’t speak or manage basic functions by the time she was 60 because of the disease. “The situation is so dire,” he said, “it caused me — a lazy, self-involved, generally self-medicated man-child — to start an entire charity.

Rogen founded Hilarity for Charity to support families and research. Rogen says on the organization’s website that that he aims “to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s among a younger generation.” The site adds, “For far too long, Alzheimer’s has been wrongly categorized as ‘an old person’s disease’ and it’s time for a change. With the rapid rate at which the disease is growing, it’s time to get the younger folks, who will be the older folks before too long, involved.”

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is critical to reining in health care costs. Of every $27 the nation spends through Medicare and Medicaid to treat Alzheimer’s patients, he noted, only $1 is spent on research. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s by an average of five years, he said, could save the nation $447 billion by the year 2050.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, talked about advances in Alzheimer’s research but hastened to warn: “This kind of science is not a 100-yard dash; it’s a marathon.”


Chicago's 177th Birthday Celebration on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - Daley Plaza - a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party

The City of Chicago is throwing a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party and food truck rally to celebrate Chicago’s 177th birthday on Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington Street) on Tuesday, March 4. Starting with a short program at 10:30am. to kick-off the event, FREE cake will be available (while supplies last) along with packzis, music and much more from 11am–7pm.

Throughout the day, Chicago food trucks will provide both lunchtime and after work dining options as well as a designated area for beer from Goose Island and wine to be purchased and enjoyed, plus musical entertainment from DJ Lisa René from 11am–7pm.

Also included in the celebration will be a “Fat Tuesday” tradition, packzis from Delightful Pastries.

Prior to the celebration kick-off, a brief program will be held in the lobby of the Daley Center featuring a native drum interpretation of “Happy Birthday” by the American Indian Center of Chicago as an entertaining reminder of Chicago’s heritage. Additionally, children reading entries submitted to an annual essay contest sponsored in partnership with the Friends of DuSable will honor Chicago’s first permanent resident, Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable.

The program will conclude with a Mardi Gras-style parade onto Daley Plaza led by The Big Shoulders Brass Band & Mystic Krewe of Laff to kick of the Food Truck rally and day-long celebration!

And what’s a birthday without cake? Eli’s Cheesecake is a Chicago institution and has become a worldwide ambassador of the city’s culinary scene. It’s a popular treat, and supplies are limited – so don’t miss out! Finally, Chicagoans born on March 4 can celebrate their shared birthday with the City of Chicago, and receive a special commemorative certificate while supplies last.

Participating food trucks include:
  • Bridgeport Pasty
  • Flirty Cupcakes
  • Gino’s Steaks Truck
  • Haute and Ready Chicago
  • Husky Hog BBQ
  • Jerk
  • Ms. Tittles Cupcakes
  • Porkchop
  • The Cheesie’s Truck
  • Windy City Patty Wagon
 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington). A short official program kicks things off at 10:30 a.m. inside the lobby of the Daley Center. Chicagoans celebrating a birthday on March 4 can receive a special commemorative certificate (while they last)

For more information visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

The whole family also can learn more about the city at the Chicago History Museum’s “four-star day of fun” at the museum, 160 N. Clark. Visit chicagohistory.org.

Public Transportation:
For travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com

People with Disabilities Nearly Three Times More Likely to Be Victims of Crime: 2014 report

 Bureau of Justice Statistics
 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


WASHINGTON – An estimated 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occurred against persons with disabilities in 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. While the annual number of victimizations increased from 2008 to 2012, the number in 2012 was not statistically different from 2011.

These findings are based on BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which classifies an individual’s disability according to six limitations: hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care and independent living. An estimated 14 percent of the U.S. household population age 12 or older had one or more disabilities.

In 2012, the rate of violent crime against persons with disabilities was 34 per 1,000, compared to 23 per 1,000 for persons without disabilities. Because persons with disabilities are generally much older than those without, the age distribution differs considerably between these two groups, making direct comparisons misleading. To compare rates, each group was adjusted to have a similar age distribution, making the age-adjusted rate of violent crime against persons with disabilities (60 per 1,000) nearly three times higher than the rate for persons without disabilities (22 per 1,000).

The age-adjusted rate of serious violent crime—rape or other sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault—against persons with disabilities (22 per 1,000) was nearly four times higher than that for persons without disabilities (6 per 1,000) in 2012.

Among persons with disabilities, those with cognitive disabilities had the highest unadjusted rate of violent victimization (63 per 1,000). During 2012, about half (52 percent) of violent crime victims with disabilities had more than one disability. Violent crime against persons with one disability type increased from 2011 (37 per 1,000) to 2012 (53 per 1,000), while the rate among persons with multiple disability types remained stable during the same period.

Other findings include—
  • In 2012, persons with disabilities experienced an estimated 233,000 robberies, 195,200 aggravated assaults, 838,600 simple assaults and 80,100 rapes or other sexual assaults.
  • Among persons with disabilities in 2012, whites were more likely than blacks to experience a violent crime.
  • In 2012, Hispanics with disabilities had a lower rate of violent victimization than non-Hispanics with disabilities.
  • Among persons ages 12 to 15, the unadjusted rate of violent victimization was nearly three times higher for persons with disabilities than for persons without disabilities.

The report, Crime Against Persons with Disabilities, 2009–2012 - Statistical Tables (NCJ 244525), was written by BJS Statistician Erika Harrell. The report, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

# # #
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Page last revised on February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chicago's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Applauds Illinois Accessible Fuel Pump Law

as shared by the City of Chicago Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) ....

February 22, 2013

Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Applauds Accessible Fuel Pump Law

New Law Will Increase Accessibility for People with Disabilities
Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD) supports the signing of Bill HB 4866, which will require gas stations to provide and display at least one ADA compliant gas pump with a direct telephone number to the station that allows a disabled operator of a motor vehicle to request refueling assistance.  MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley attended the bill signing for accessible fuel pumps signed by Governor Pat Quinn on Friday, January 25.

“This bill will greatly increase the accessibility of gas stations for people with disabilities by providing a means for two-way communication, allowing motorists to directly contact the person operating the gas station,” said Commissioner Tamley. “This law will further enhance the independence of Chicagoans with Disabilities.  “In the past, a motorist with disabilities was expected to honk his or her vehicle’s horn until the gas station operator came out and provided assistance.  However, without any two-way communication, it was impossible to know if the gas station operator heard the horn, heard the horn but couldn’t  provide assistance at that moment – or if he was ignoring the driver altogether.”

If the gas or service station does not have at least one ADA compliant motor fuel dispenser, the station must still provide a direct telephone number on at least one fuel pump allowing a disabled motorist to request refueling assistance.

The bill goes into effect June 1, 2013. Violations of this Act will result in station owners to pay an administrative fee of $250.

Mayor Emanuel has worked to make Chicago the most accessible city in the nation. Included among the administration’s key achievements is the establishment of a committee working to amend the City’s accessibility code requirements to ensure that Chicago has the strongest, most productive accessible code in the nation.

To date, the administration has also installed approximately 10,000 ADA complaint curb ramps;  is working to increase the accessibility of the City’s technology, particularly web accessibility;  established a Veterans Outreach Center to ensure the delivery of comprehensive, quality services to disabled veterans;  installed a new accessible ramp to the City Council that will enable people with disabilities to attend Council Meetings and better participate in the City's legislative process;   proposed legislation, since enacted by City Council, to increase fines and penalties for vehicles fraudulently displaying disabled placards; participated in numerous enforcement actions with the Secretary of State’s Office to crack down on parking placard abuse;  announced the arrival of new purpose-built accessible and green (CNG) taxis to the Chicago market;  worked to ensure that the City’s Emergency Plan is ADA compliant and inclusive of people with disabilities; enacted a City-wide policy that requires all emergency-related press conferences to include sign-language interpreters;  and  distributed 200 accessible smoke detectors in the homes of people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and held four fire safety trainings for 160 CPS students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.


Assistive Technology Gives Independence to People with Disabilities: By Guest Blogger Fred Tchang


From Disability.gov Blog;

Telling AT Stories
Telling AT Stories

CATEGORIES: Technology
fred tchang hi res cropped
By Guest Blogger Fred Tchang, Director of Assistive Technology Services at Advancing Opportunities
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela
It seems impossible to many people that a person who is blind can use an iPhone, that a person with a significant physical disability can drive himself to work, or that a person who can’t read can go to college. Impossible, until they see it done.
Throughout the years, I’ve spoken with people who are unsure that their child/student/client could achieve a life goal, even with the support of assistive technology (AT). They might think that AT is just for people with physical disabilities or those who are good with computers or for anybody else but themselves.
Even people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities need to learn what’s possible. Sometimes it helps to see examples of other people, who are just like them, actually using, benefiting from and explaining their AT to convince them that, yes, this could make a difference.
Which of the following AT examples do you find the most compelling?
  1. Reading an explanation of how word prediction works: “Word prediction is a specialized writing software for people with learning disabilities. As you type, it presents a list of words that it thinks you are trying to type.”
  2. Listening to me give an example of how a student can benefit: “Students who have a lot of difficulty with spelling can use this software to help them spell words that they would otherwise not use because they cannot spell them.”
  3. Watching a video of Brody, a 6th grader, tell you himself what a difference AT has made in his life.
While the ideal situation is to learn about AT from someone else, YouTube provides the next best thing with videos of real people using it in various ways.
Below are examples of videos that illustrate how AT can be used to help people with disabilities live more independently.
Yes, it’s true – people who cannot see the iPhone screen can still use it. Nothing seems more inaccessible than a touch-screen device like an iPhone. But fortunately for us, Apple has been committed to accessibility from the start and built in the use of gestures and computer speech to make their product accessible. But it’s much easier to see how this works by watching the video, How Blind People Use Twitter & YouTube on the iPhone 4S, to understand what I mean.
Nothing frightens parents more than seeing their teenage children behind the wheel of a car. So you can imagine parents of children with physical disabilities not even considering the idea of adapted driving. But for adults with disabilities, transportation is a significant issue that can make finding a job that much harder. Videos such as this one, Assistive Technology in Action – Meet Nick, in which a parent’s emotions move from fear and disbelief to amazement and pride, can help convince other parents to take that journey with their children.
People with learning disabilities, who have difficulty reading, can be just as successful in college as other students. Having a learning disability doesn’t mean you can’t learn – it just means you learn differently. Certain learning disabilities make it difficult to visually decode words and read with fluency. However, there are computer programs which can read the text aloud as an alternative. The video, Kurzweil 3000: Helps Tracy Brookshire Achieve in Collegedoes a good job of not only demonstrating how AT can work, but also telling the story of how effective it can be in changing lives.
If you would like to help share what’s possible with AT:
Fred Tchang is the director of assistive technology services at Advancing Opportunities based in Ewing, N.J.  In addition to running the department, Fred is also a hands-on assistive technology specialist. He and his staff help consumers, with all types of disabilities, understand, experience and implement assistive technology in their everyday lives. They also work with employers and school districts to help make classrooms, curricula and work sites accessible.
Fred is active in RESNA (the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America), NJ CART (New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Rehabilitation Technology) and NJ CIE (New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education). Currently, Fred serves on RESNA’s Professional Standards Board, which provides oversight of the Assistive Technology Professional, or ATP credential.

'Humiliating' Houston incidents highlight problem of easily faked service dogs

by Heather Alexander, Houston Chronicle | February 24, 2014

Service dog owners and training organizations are calling for new rules to stop the sale of fake service dog vests and badges after two war veterans were refused entry into Houston restaurants in as many weeks.
Yancy Baer said he has "never felt so humiliated" as when he and his service dog, Verbena, were refused entry into a Memorial-area Starbucks with an employee calling out to the store, "You're not blind."
Baer lost his leg to bone cancer, which developed after an injury he sustained in the Iraq War. Verbena was trained to help him by Canine Companions for Independence.
CCI is petitioning the Department of Justice saying the sale of fake service dog vests should be stopped so real dogs can be clearly identified.
Jeanine Konopelski, national marketing director for CCI, said fake dogs are causing big problems.
"In many cases the dog is not highly trained, might be eating food off the floor in a restaurant, barking or being distruptive. That is causing a prejudice against the real dogs," said Konopelski.
Baer goes further and says that there should be a national agency where service dogs are certified, something that doesn't exist now.
"Businesses' hands are tied right now. Owners don't need a special vest or any papers, the only thing businesses have are the two questions they can ask," Baer said.
Under the American Disabilities Act, business owners are not allowed to ask someone what their disability is, and there is no centralized system for certifying dogs so there is no universal ID card.
The only questions a worker can ask are, "Is this dog a service dog?" and "What does the dog do for you?"
Managers can, however, ask dogs to leave if they are misbehaving. The law states that if the dog barks, bites, snarls or goes to the bathroom in a public place, it can be asked to leave.
Just a week after Baer's refusal at Starbucks, Gulf War veteran Don Brown and his service dog Truman were refused entry into River Side Inn Marina in Channelview with the manager also questioning his disability.
"He came out saying, 'Who needs a service dog?'" said Brown. "When I said I did, he said, 'Can you see?'"
Brown's dog is a rescued doberman, trained to help him ease symptoms for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Train a Dog, Save a Warrior.  He agrees something needs to change.
"I put a lot of effort into getting him (Truman) trained, there needs to be some sort of licensing agency," said Brown.
Right now, anyone can train a service dog and there is no standardized testing. At Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, dogs are put through what's known as a Public Access Test, which ensures dogs are well behaved in the face of a wide variety of situations.
Program director Bart Sherwood said current rules are adequate and what's needed is more education and harsher penalties for offending busniess owners. The currect fine is around $300 for service dog refusal. Sherwood said a fine of $1,000 would motivate owners to find out the rules.
"More ID's and vests is not the issue. If you go that way, you might as well put badges on people saying 'I'm disabled,'" said Sherwood. "This wouldn't be any kind of problem if you ask the right questions."
Sherwood also said there is limited knowledge of the different kinds of service dogs, from hearing dogs to PTSD dogs to those that alert their handlers to an oncoming seizure.
Sherwood argues a real service dog is obvious because of its excellent behavior.

for previous posts on Fake Service Animals:  CLICK HERE

FREE 2014 Chicago White Sox Kids Club Kit

Registration is now open for the FREE 2014 Chicago White Sox Kids Club Kit The 2014 Slugger membership kit includes White Sox eye black, a White Sox player wall cling, a White Sox beach ball, four game tickets coupons and more fun items!

The tickets are also honored for accessible seating locations! After receiving the  2014 Chicago White Sox Kids Club Kit, contact :

Services for Fans with Disabilities

The staff at U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, prides itself on providing the best in customer service to White Sox and Major League Baseball fans.

U.S. Cellular Field has been specifically designed to accommodate baseball fans requiring special assistance or attention, and every staff member is trained to respond to your needs. Please contact the nearest park employee if you require special assistance.

If you have any questions regarding the accessibility of the facility, contact Guest Relations at 312-674-5225; (TDD) 312-674-5188. To purchase accessible seats call 312-674-5244; (TDD) 312-674-5235. Guest Relations personnel will assist with any special arrangements necessary for your visit to U.S. Cellular Field. Also, feel free to e-mail us atfanfeedback@whitesox.mlb.com with any questions or comments

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Disability Discrimination over Inaccessible Housing Complexes

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Monday, February 24, 2014
Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination at Nine Multifamily Housing Complexes in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee
The Justice Department announced today that a federal district court judge in Jackson, Miss., approved a settlement of the department’s lawsuit against the original owners and developers of nine multifamily housing complexes located in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.  The complexes contain more than 800 ground-floor units that are required by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to contain accessible features, and eight of the complexes contain leasing offices that are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to contain accessible features.  The lawsuit alleged that the defendants failed to include important accessible features at these properties.

Under the settlement, defendants The Bryan Company, Bryan Construction Company Inc., Steve Bryan, Mid-South Houston Partners, Mid-South Development LLC aka MSD LLC, The Vineyards Apartments LLC, Windsor Lake Apartment LP and Cypress Lake Development LLC must make extensive retrofits to meet FHA requirements.  These include reducing door threshold heights, replacing excessively sloped portions of sidewalks, installing new and properly sloped curb ramps, installing cane detection at stairwells, installing accessible door hardware and ensuring that there are a sufficient number of accessible parking spaces at the properties. 

“The Justice Department is deeply committed to ensuring equal access to housing for persons with disabilities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “This comprehensive settlement will ensure that individuals with disabilities will have an equal opportunity to live in and visit these nine apartment complexes.”

“ The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with the Civil Rights Division to ensure that those who design and construct multi-family apartment complexes comply with the Fair Housing laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act ,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis for the Southern District of Mississippi.  “This office remains vigilant in its efforts to eradicate discrimination and ensure that persons with disabilities have accessible accommodations in which to live.”

In May 2013, as part of the same lawsuit, the court approved a settlement resolving the department’s claims against nine architects and civil engineers who were involved with the properties.  Those defendants paid a total of $865,000 toward accessibility retrofits and $60,000 to compensate aggrieved persons harmed by the inaccessible conditions alleged in the lawsuit.  The following complexes will be retrofitted: Houston Levee Apartments in Cordova, Tenn.; The Vineyard at Castlewoods Apartments in Brandon, Miss.; Windsor Lake Apartments in Brandon, Miss.; Sutton Place Apartments in Horn Lake, Miss.; Twin Oaks Apartments in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Oak Hollow Apartments in Southaven, Miss.; Spring Lake Apartments in Jackson, Miss.; Cypress Lake Apartments in Baton Rouge, La.; and Pelican Pointe Apartments in Slidell, La. 

The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability.  Title III of the ADA requires, among other things, that public accommodations comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards to ensure accessible public and common use areas.  More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at the website.  Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the department or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

Civil Rights Division

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jimmy Fallon to take Polar Plunge with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago Sun March 2 and benefits Special Olympics Illinois.

View image on Twitter
Jimmy Fallon didn't get cold feet after Mayor Emanuel challenged him to take the plunge.
By Mick Swasko | Chicago Redeye | Feb 24, 2014

Jimmy Fallon tweeted Monday that he'd accepted the Mayor's challenge to take the Polar Plunge, which occurs Sunday and benefits Special Olympics Illinois. It all began Feb. 19, when Fallon said Emanuel has an open invitation to appear on his new "Tonight Show" because he's "scared" of the mayor. 
In response, Emanuel said he'd agree, under the condition that Fallon join him in the Polar Plunge March 2. Fallon initially worried in a tweet that it was a "set up," to which Emanuel responded that the "city of big shoulders" would have his back. 
Both Fallon and Emanuel continued to trade tweets on the topic, using #swimmyfallon and #jimmyplungewithus during the exchange. 

Read more at http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/redeye-jimmy-fallon-polar-plunge-with-rahm-emanuel-20140224,0,7428512.story#9iv6fRPfP2Lt5xAk.99

U.N. Disabilities Rights Treaty (CRPD), the Right Fights With the Right - article

By ALBERT R. HUNT | BLOOMBERG VIEW| The New York Times|FEB. 23, 2014
WASHINGTON — Any suspicion that the political right, after suffering a defeat on the debt ceiling and facing threats from business donors, is losing its clout can be dismissed by the fight over the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

The treaty has been ratified by 141 countries. In the United States, it is backed by the White House, former President George H.W. Bush, the major disability and veterans’ advocacy groups, and businesses.

Senate Republicans, however, already defeated the treaty in 2012, and it now faces an uphill slog to get the two-thirds vote needed for ratification. Right-wing critics — led by former Senator Rick Santorum, the Heritage Foundation and home-schoolers — said that adopting it would allow global enforcers to determine the treatment of Americans with disabilities and the permissibility of home schooling, and that it would ease access to abortion.

In reality, the treaty is modeled on the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. It states that nations must ensure that people with disabilities get the same rights and are treated with the same dignity as all others. It might well pressure other countries to adopt American standards.

Proponents say American leadership is important, a demonstration of the soft power of ideals and values. If passage emboldens other nations to elevate their standards, it will make life easier for Americans with disabilities, including veterans, when traveling outside the United States. Despite strong opposition from Senate Republicans, led by Tennessee’s Bob Corker, the treaty has a distinctively Republican flavor. The Americans With Disabilities Act was the signature domestic achievement of Mr. Bush’s presidency, and the treaty was negotiated and supported at the United Nations by his son’s administration. The most important champion of the treaty is former Senate Republican leader Bob Dole, a disabled World War II veteran; it is supported by another former party leader, Bill Frist, a physician. Its chief backers in the current Senate are John Barrasso of Wyoming, another physician who is one of the most conservative members of the chamber, and John McCain of Arizona, a disabled veteran.

Veterans’ groups backing the treaty include the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and the Wounded Warrior Project. It is embraced by the United States Chamber of Commerce and companies like Nike, Walmart Stores, Coca-Cola and IBM.

The opposition from Mr. Santorum, the Heritage Foundation, a slice of the home-schooling movement and a few right-wing Catholic organizations would seem a mismatch. Yet these groups are vocal, and they capitalize on many Republicans’ fears of challenges from the right. The disabilities community is not that well organized, nor does it rank among the big campaign contributors.

Mr. Corker says his opposition is based solely on the dangers the treaty would pose to national sovereignty and the threat that it would supersede United States law and states’ rights. He cites a 1920 Supreme Court ruling on a migratory-bird treaty as precedent.

In the Senate, supporters are writing in “reservations, declarations and understandings,” attesting that nothing in the treaty would affect current law. This is a common practice, The Economist magazine notes, for treaties ratified by the United States and other countries.

It makes the Corker argument specious, says Richard L. Thornburgh, who was attorney general during George H.W. Bush’s administration and is an advocate of the treaty. “These reservations attached to a treaty are part of the treaty,” he says. “There is nothing in this treaty that would allow what critics allege.”

Mr. Dole says that ratification is such an easy call that when he ran the Senate, it “would have passed by voice vote.” He remains optimistic it will pass, though he says he is worried because “a few senators aren’t returning my calls.”

This astounds Tim Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics. “What values here do these opponents not believe in?” he asks. “This treaty brings to the table a place where America is the shining light on the hill.”


U.S. Access Board Webinar: Open Question and Answer (March 6, 2014) - RSVP

laptop with Access Board logo

The next webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place March 6 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session with Board accessibility specialists on the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards, the Section 508 Standards, Medical Diagnostic Equipment and other Board rulemakings or activities. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance of the session through the webinar site. Questions also can be posed during the webinar.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit:  www.accessibilityonline.org.

New FCC Rules to Improve Quality of TV Closed Captioning ensuring deaf or hard of hearing have full access to television programming.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved new rules for TV closed captioning that will ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have full access to television programming.
 The new rules state that all television programming with closed captions must accurately convey dialogue and sounds in the program. Captions must also be timed so that they do not lag behind the program’s dialogue and must not block important information on the screen.


Disability Studies: Curricular Cripistemologies, Or, Every Child Left Behind - Chicago - free program Friday, March 14th,

Access Living Presents

Curricular Cripistemologies, Or, Every Child Left Behind

Friday, March 14, 2014
6:30-8:00 pm

115 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL
2nd floor

Talk by David T. Mitchell, The George Washington University

Through developing educational content, Disability Studies can help restore an understanding of disability as historically pervasive, trans-national in scope, and culturally significant to the ways in which populations imagine themselves.  As a pedagogical approach, Disability Studies offers up ways of legitimating the lives of those occupying peripheral embodiments - alternative, non-normative modes of being-in-the-world.

David Mitchell and his partner Sharon Snyder co-authored four books and more than 30 essays on various aspects of disability culture, art, education, and history.  In the mid-1990s they founded the independent production company, Brace Yourselves Productions, and are the creators of 4 award winning documentary films.

Sign language interpretation and personal assistance will be provided.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency; This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sandie Yi
Artist-In-Residence at Access Living
Website: http://www.accessliving.org/
Email: syi@accessliving.org
Personal website: www.cripcouture.org

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Linda Mastandrea on finding her athletic potential in the Paralympic Games

By LINDA MASTANDREA February 19, 2014 | Chicago Sun-Times

As a child growing up with cerebral palsy, physical education, sport and recreation were seemingly out of reach for me. I sat on the sidelines, was picked last for teams if at all and was sent to study hall or the library instead of PE.
When I got to college at the University of Illinois, my whole life and the direction my future would take were irrevocably changed when I was introduced to wheelchair basketball. It opened the door to a whole new universe of opportunities I hadn’t known existed — a new way of looking at myself, my future possibilities and potential.
After learning that I could actually be a competitive athlete, I got involved in wheelchair track and road racing. Over the span of a decade, I raced my way around the world to 15 gold and five silver medals, including gold and silver in the 1996 Paralympic Games.
Though I no longer compete, my involvement in disability sport and my status as a Paralympic champion continues to open the door to opportunities for me, including a career in disability law and advocacy, working with people with disabilities to help them gain access to education, employment, housing, transportation sports and recreation.
Another amazing opportunity that came about as a result of my Paralympic participation happened in 2006, when I got involved in Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. After promoting the bid around the nation and the world for three years, in 2009, I was selected to be part of the delegation that would present Chicago’s case to the International Olympic Committee on why we should be awarded the honor of hosting the 2016 Games alongside President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and then Mayor Richard M. Daley. What an honor!
More recently, my Paralympic sport background led to me getting involved with Variety, the Children’s Charity of Illinois. Variety helps children with disabilities become active and involved through the Kids on the Go! Program, which provides adapted sports equipment — like sports wheelchairs, handcycles and adapted bikes — to children whose families can’t afford it. This allows children who are often relegated to the sidelines like I was to participate, and play with their families and friends. We also promote youth getting involved in the highest levels of sport through our Live to Achieve grant program, which offers up to $1,000 toward travel, training and competition expenses for youngsters with Paralympic potential.
I know firsthand the importance of sport in the lives of young people with disabilities. Without it, I would not have developed the self-confidence to pursue a career in law, the opportunity to travel and speak around the world or the ability to help create the next generation of successful young people with disabilities both on and off the field.
To learn more about the Variety organization, programs and fundraising events — including how to buy tickets for their upcoming Academy Awards viewing parties — visit Varietyofillinois.org.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Support Federal Housing Funding: PETITION for Highest Possible Funding for Housing Programs in FY15!

from our colleagues at Housing Action Illinois ...

Housing Action Illinois

Sign National Letter To Support Federal Housing Funding: Help Ensure THUD Appropriations Subcommittees Have Highest Possible Funding for Housing Programs in FY15!

Last year, over 2,400 organizations signed a letter to support increasing the federal allocation for housing, transportation and community development funding.  Members of Congress noted the significance of the letter, and it made a positive impact on the amount of funding available for housing and transportation programs. Please join this year’s effort!


The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations will soon decide how much funding each appropriations subcommittee will receive in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). This funding allocation for subcommittees, called the 302(b), will determine how much funding is available for HUD programs in FY15.

Why This is Important

It is critical that the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittees in the House and Senate receive 302(b) allocations that are at the highest possible levels. Adequate 302(b) allocations will help ensure that the THUD Subcommittees have the resources they need to fully fund all housing programs, including Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 contracts, public housing, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME, homeless assistance funding, housing counseling, senior housing and housing for people with disabilities.

How You Can Take Action

House and Senate appropriators need to hear from you! Please join housing, community development, and transportation advocates around the country by signing a letter urging the highest possible 302(b) allocations.
  • Please click here to sign your organization onto the letter.
  • To view the letter to the House and Senate Chairs and Ranking Members of the Appropriations Committees, visit http://bit.ly/1gAmxvP.
  • Please share the letter and encourage organizations in your network to sign.
The deadline to sign the letter is March 12.

Questions or Comments?

Please email bob@housingactionil.org.

Thank you for your support!

Housing Action Illinois 
11 E. Adams #1601
Chicago, IL 60603

Long Term Care Related Asset and Income Rules of Individuals for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)

Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a guidance letter to states about the application of liens, adjustments and recoveries, transfer-of-asset rules, and post eligibility income rules to individuals who are eligible for Medicaid under Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) eligibility rules and receive coverage for long-term services and supports. 
For more information, please access the letter online at http://www.medicaid.gov/Federal-Policy-Guidance/Federal-Policy-Guidance.html.

NY - 3 hospitals failed to help dying deaf patient Alfred Weinrib, 82

3 hospitals failed to help dying deaf patient: suit
Alfred Weinrib died of cancer but never knew his diagnosis after 3 Long Island hospitals allegedly did not have sign language interpreters on staff.

By Kathianne Boniello | New York Post | Feb 20, 2014

A cancer-stricken deaf man died without ever knowing his diagnosis after three Long Island medical facilities failed to get him sign-language interpreters — for seven months, his family charges.
Alfred Weinrib, 82, even attempted suicide after nurses at one geriatric rehab facility ignored his desperate pleas for help getting to the bathroom because they couldn’t understand him, his children claim in a Brooklyn federal court lawsuit.
The nightmare began in September 2012, when the longtime Flushing, Queens, resident went to Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, LI, with seizures. A doctor there allegedly told the family the hospital didn’t provide interpreters for the deaf.
Nothing changed after Weinrib, a printer by trade who once wrote for Silent News, a national newspaper for the deaf, was transferred to the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack, his children say.
And a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, where Weinrib was also treated, laughed when the family showed her a sign in the facility encouraging deaf patients to request interpreters, according to court papers.
“Diagnosis and treatment options were not explained in a meaningful way to Alfred Weinrib or his family,” allege Lance and Melinda Weinrib, who are “Procedures were performed . . . without fully and clearly explaining . . . the risks and benefits.”
Videophones, which should have helped Weinrib communicate, were broken, his kids — who are also deaf — claim.
He died in April of malignant melanoma.
“This is one of the worst cases of it’s kind that we’ve seen or read about,” family attorney Eric Baum said.

Dr. SATHISH NARAYANAPPA BABU Arrested for Allegedly Illegally Dispensing Oxycodone and Falsely Billing Medicare in Undercover Probe: Chicago Feb 2014

The United States Attorneys Office - Northern District of Illinois

Physician Arrested for Allegedly Illegally Dispensing
Oxycodone and Falsely Billing Medicare in Undercover Probe

CHICAGO — A southwest suburban physician was arrested yesterday on federal charges for allegedly conspiring to illegally dispense a prescription medication and health care fraud, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, SATHISH NARAYANAPPA BABU, the owner of Anik Life Sciences Medical Corp., allegedly conspired to illegally dispense oxycodone and fraudulently billed Medicare for services he purportedly provided.

Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the FBI yesterday executed federal search and seizure warrants at Bubu’s residence in Bolingbrook and Anik’s offices in Darien in connection with the ongoing investigation of alleged prescription drug diversion and health care fraud. Agents seized more than $100,000 from Anik’s bank accounts. Anik Life Sciences was located in Arlington Heights before relocating to Darien last fall.

Babu, 47, was charged with one count each of conspiracy to illegally dispense a controlled substance and health care fraud in a criminal complaint. He was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond and prohibited from writing any prescriptions or submitting any claims to Medicare by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan. Babu was ordered to return for a status hearing at 9:15 a.m. next Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

According to the complaint, between November 2012 and December 2013, Babu issued five prescriptions, each for 60 doses of 80mg strength OxyContin, to a patient who was actually an undercover agent, despite never having seen or examined the patient, and Babu permitted unlicensed personnel associated with Anik Life Sciences to issue prescriptions to the patient. During the same period, Babu allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare for services purportedly provided to the patient that were not rendered by Babu or another medical professional licensed in Illinois.

The undercover agent posed as a healthy individual purportedly covered by Medicare and seeking physician services to obtain prescription medication, including oxycodone. The agent further purported to have shoulder pain from a previous injury and to be on disability. On approximately 10 occasions, representatives from Anik Life Sciences, none of whom were licensed as physicians, nurses, or other medical professionals in Illinois, visited the undercover agent in his purported apartment.

Babu allegedly caused unlicensed personnel from Anik Life Sciences to provide purported medical care ― including prescriptions issued under Babu’s name and DEA registration number for controlled substances ― to the undercover agent and then billed Medicare for that purported care. Furthermore, the approximately 300 OxyContin pills that Babu allegedly prescribed to the undercover agent were paid for in large part by Medicare.

The arrest and charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the HHS-OIG; and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker.

Conspiracy to illegally dispense oxycodone carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.