Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights,
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.
Friday, April 12, 2002
Year III, Edition 072
This edition includes 7 news items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
QUOTES OF THE DAY:
"It's gratifying to see Kevorkian's deadly logic rejected by the courts . . . He holds both the law and disabled people in contempt."
--Diane Coleman, president and founder of disability rights group Not Dead Yet, on the Michigan Supreme Court's decision to refuse Jack Kevorkian's request for a new trial (First story)
"I think we need more public scrutiny of nursing homes, not
--Tim Harlan, member of the Missouri House of Representatives, arguing against a proposal that would have kept consumers from seeing certain nursing home abuse and neglect complaints (Fourth story)
Kevorkian Loses Latest Bid For Early Freedom
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 12, 2002
PONTIAC, MICHIGAN--The Michigan Supreme Court this week refused Jack Kevorkian's request for a new trial in the 1999 second-degree murder case for which he was convicted.
The decision was applauded by disability rights advocates that have long opposed Kevorkian's crusade to make physician-assisted suicide legal in the United States.
Kevorkian, 73, has admitted to "assisting" dozens of people to commit suicide. Nicknamed "Dr. Death", Kevorkian insisted that his "patients" were in the final stages of terminal illnesses and were experiencing intense pain. Studies have shown, however, that most of them were people with disabilities, or who were afraid of becoming disabled.
Kevorkian is currently serving a 10- to-25-year prison sentence for murdering Thomas Youk who had ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian video-taped Youk's death and then gave the recording to the television show "60 Minutes" to air nationally. The recording was instrumental in his conviction.
Kevorkian appealed his conviction on the grounds that he had poor legal representation. Last November, the state's Court of Appeals rejected his appeal noting that Kevorkian had gone against his attorney's advice and insisted on representing himself.
In a 6-1 decision, the high court declined to review the appeals court ruling.
"It's gratifying to see Kevorkian's deadly logic rejected by the courts," said Diane Coleman, founder and president of the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, in a press release.
"The basis of this appeal was laughable on constitutional grounds. But then, he has repeatedly made it clear that he has no respect for the law, and even less respect for people with disabilities. In fact, he holds both the law and disabled people in contempt."
The Detroit Free Press put together a special section related to
Kevorkian's crusade. It is available on their Web site:
"'Quad rugby' pushes limits"
April 12, 2002
DENVER, COLORADO--The following excerpts are from Thursday's Denver Post:
"Some of the country's most accomplished athletes are rolling into Denver this week to test their strength, strategy and speed in the fast-paced game of wheelchair rugby."
"'It's an entertaining game to watch even if you know nothing about it,' says Jason Regier, president of the Denver Harlequins, host of the 16-team national championship tournament, to be played Friday through Sunday at the Metropolitan State College events center on the Auraria campus."
"Wheelchair rugby, or 'quad rugby' as it's known to the quadriplegic men and women who revel in it, is played by teams of four on a basketball court, using elements of basketball, hockey and football. Games consist of four eight-minute quarters, with the objective being to cross over the opponent's goal line while carrying a volleyball."
Here is the entire article:
# ACCESSIBILITY / LAWS
Elections Accessibility Included In Election Reform Measure
April 12, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC--By an impressive 99 to 1 vote, the U.S. Senate Thursday passed a bill designed to reform the nation's elections procedures.
The Senate bill authorizes $3.5 billion in grants to help state and local governments replace outdated voting machines, upgrade election procedures and comply with federal standards, including those guaranteeing a secret ballot for voters with disabilities. The House bill would provide up to $2.65 billion.
Nearly twelve years after Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, a large percentage of voting places are not accessible to people who use wheelchairs, and do not have voting systems that allow people to cast a secret vote. Disability rights advocates have been pushing for changes in election procedures and equipment for years.
The measure now goes to a committee of Senators and members of the House of Representatives who will work out the differences between this bill and one passed by the House in December.
More details on the election reform package are available in this story
from Friday's Los Angeles Times:
Missouri House Puts More Controls On Nursing Homes
April 12, 2002
JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI--Under a bill that won initial approval in the Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday, the state would get tougher on abuse and neglect cases in nursing homes.
Under the current system, a nursing home can be repeatedly cited for serious health and safety violations, yet avoid fines by correcting the problems temporarily. HB1654 would eliminate this cycle by, among other things, levying fines of $10,000 a day even if the violations were later corrected.
The measure was nearly derailed when some House members proposed amendments that would have kept consumers from gaining access to complaints filed against nursing homes.
"The nursing home industry is very powerful in Jefferson City," said Tim Harlan, D-Columbia. "I think we need more public scrutiny of nursing homes, not less."
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, similar legislation has been passed by the House four times, but the bill has died in the Senate. This year, the Senate has passed its own version of the bill. Legislators have about five weeks to work out a final bill.
World's Largest Concert Promoter Sued For Disability Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 12, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC -- Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the world's largest concert promoter SFX Entertainment, Inc., for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Justice Department claims that SFX violates the ADA by refusing to allow people that have diabetes to take their blood testing equipment and insulin into a concert. The suit alleges that SFX's policy forces such concert-goers to choose between staying away from SFX concerts or risking their health.
"Individuals with diabetes are entitled to attend and enjoy community events, like anyone else, without putting their lives at risk," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in a media release. "SFX's policy is unnecessary and reflects outdated fears about individuals with disabilities. Our goal is to foster integration of the disabled into society at large, and this suit will further that goal."
SFX, which also does business as Clear Channel Entertainment, owns, leases, or operates approximately 110 venues throughout the United States, which present concerts, sports events, and other live performances.
Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as concert venues, from discriminating against any person on the basis of disability. The suit was filed after efforts by the Justice Department to negotiate a voluntary settlement failed.
# TODAY'S FEATURED WEBSITE
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP)
"The NADSP mission is to promote the development of a highly competent human services workforce which supports individuals in achieving their life goals."
"The NADSP believes that service participants and direct support professionals are partners in the move towards a self-determined life, and in complimenting and facilitating growth of natural supports. We recognize that people needing support are more likely to fulfill their life dreams if they have well-trained, experienced, and motivated people at their side in long-term, stable, compatible support relationships. We also recognize that well-planned workforce development strategies are needed to strengthen our workforce."
# ONE YEAR AGO (From the April 13, 2001 Inclusion Daily Express)
Children Who Shared FDR's Secret Disability Gather To Remember Him
April 13, 2001
WARM SPRINGS, GEORGIA--On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a stroke while sitting for a portrait. The world knew that he died at a home he had built at Warm Springs, Georgia. What most of the world did not know, however, was that the president had spent a great deal of time visiting the resort because it's pools of mineral-rich, 88-degree water helped sooth the effects polio had on his legs.
Yesterday, 164 people who knew of FDR's secret disability gathered to remember him and the impact he had on their lives. When they were children, they had been brought to the Warm Springs resort for treatment and therapy because they too had had polio. Many of them saw their country's leader wheeling around in his home-made wheelchair, and being lifted in and out of automobiles and pools by Secret Service agents.
"I think we understood him better than other people did, because we understood what he had to go through to get where he was," said Charles Dickens of Atlanta, who came for therapy in the thermal pools at Warm Springs when he was a teenager in 1942.
Here is a story from today's Washington Post:
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Dave Reynolds, Editor