Ragged Edge 




See our Election 2004 Vote News


Oct., '04
Sept., '04
August, '04
July, '04
June, '04
May, '04
Apr., '04
Mar., '04
Feb., '04
Jan., '04
Dec., '03
Nov., '03
Oct., '03
Sept., '03
August, '03
July, '03
June, '03
May, '03
April, '03
March, '03
Feb., '03
Jan., '03
Dec., '02
Nov., '02
Oct., '02
Sept., '02
August, '02
July, '02
June, '02
May, '02
April, '02
Mar., '02
Feb., '02
Jan., '02
Dec., '01
Nov., '01
Oct., '01
Sept., '01

Breaking News Ticker  |  Yahoo Full Coverage on disabilities

Honor Student Sues Over LSAT Accommodation
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2004 -- A Phi Beta Kappa honors student from the University of California/Berkeley has filed suit over a refusal to provide him acccommodation for taking the LSAT law school admission test. The student, Joshua Davidson, a quadriplegic, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in undergraduate school, but the LSAT has refused to provide him with an electronic version of the test, insisting that he "rely upon a human attendant to mark up the test booklet and cross out incorrect answers," according to his attorney.

"Such an 'accommodation' is slower, less effective, and less independent than the technology Davidson has requested."

The testing council has also denied his request that he be given additional time to complete the test.

Davidson is seeking accommodations for the test to be given in December -- the last time he can take the test if he wants to be in the law school class of 2008.

He is being represented by the Employment Law Center in San Francisco.

AL Woman At Risk Over Medicaid Bureaucracy
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

MOBILE, AL, Nov. 16, 2004 --The state's Medicaid Medical Director recently decided, based on medical records and nursing notes, that 13-year-old Lauren Rainey does not need the 10 hours of daily in-home nursing care she currently receives.

Lauren is deaf, and has asthma, an enlarged heart, scoliosis, and other medical conditions. She has a very small airway and relies on an oxygen machine and humidifying mist machine.

"That's why she is constantly suctioned," said her mother, Laura, who added that Lauren's airway has to be suctioned several times an hour to keep her from suffocating.

"She is always getting plugged up," she explained.

Medicaid's Dr. Mary McIntyre told a WPMI-TV reporter that only people whose medical conditions are worsening can be eligible for in-home nursing care. Laura's condition is stable.

"I have to make it (decisions on Medicaid clients) based on the medical information that is provided, the documentation that is submitted, and whether or not they actually meet the criteria," said McIntyre.

Lauren's doctor, Lawrence Sindel, said Medicaid officials clearly don't understand her situation or "they decided taking care of her is not worthwhile."

He explained that waiting for her condition to worsen could be fatal.

"I think if she were to get the flu, it would be very difficult to help her through that," Sindel told WPMI. "If she were to catch a pneumonia, it would be very difficult to help her through that. So the likelihood she could die is very high."

Lauren's family is currently appealing the state's decision.

Lauren's nurse, Carolyn Yates, said, "It's just sad. It's sad that our government can, you know . . . it's like throwing kids away."

In March of 2001, Nick Dupree, another Alabaman who uses a ventilator, launched a successful campaign to get Medicaid to pay for his in-home services after he turned 21, along with those of 29 other people in the same situation.

"Medicaid threatens to terminate girl's nursing care" (WPMI)
"Nick Dupree's Crusade Pays Off" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

Deaf UPS Workers' Win Put On Hold by Judge
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15, 2004 --Deaf UPS workers have yet to get a shot at applying to be drivers, following Monday's action by U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson. In October, Henderson ruled that United Parcel Service's policy barring tdeaf and hearing-impaired workers from driving parcel delivery trucks violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. But Monday he issued a "stay" -- which means that UPS does not need to change its policy until after has won its appeal.

UPS is appealing last month's decision to the 9th Circuit Court.

More from the Associated Press.

CA Lawmakers To Launch Assisted Suicide Bill
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

SACRAMENTO, CA, Nov. 12, 2004 --The same week the Bush administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt assisted suicides under Oregon's 1998 "Death with Dignity Act", two California lawmakers announced that they are drafting a similar measure in their state.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Sherman Oaks, and Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Sebastopol, plan to introduce their bill to the California Legislature next month.

The wording of the bill is based on Oregon's voter-approved law. The drafters said Monday that they would be joining Compassion in Dying, an organization that supports voluntary euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses, in its campaign.

Oregon is the only state that allows physician-assisted suicide. Efforts by other states, most recently New Hampshire and Hawaii, have been rejected, in part because of efforts by disability rights groups.

In 1992, California voters rejected a similar measure, and a 1999 proposal never got out of the state's Legislature.

Representatives for Levine and Berg said they believed public sentiment has changed enough in in recent years that such a measure would now pass.

Several disability rights groups have opposed efforts to make assisted suicide legal. Such laws are designed primarily to protect doctors, rather than people with certain disabilities, they claim. Safeguards built into such laws are often ignored while people with significant disabilities are made to feel that they are burdens on society and their families.

Related: "Assisted suicide here?" (Los Angeles Daily News)

PA Activists Sue over Sidewalk Problems
MEADVILLE, PA, NOV. 15, 2004 --Disability activists have sued the city of Meadville, PA for failing to fix its sidewalks to allow wheelchair access. Voices for Independence, who filed the suit, said curb ramps were too steep or had lips at their bottoms. And many sidewalks are broken and cracked.

The group says the city ignored federal accessibility guidelines when it made new sidewalks as well.

"It's a civil rights issue. It's the right to access the community as anyone else has that right," Voices for Independence Director Shona Eakin told reporters.

More from the Associated Press.

Supreme Court refuses to take sidewalk case (D. R. Nation, June, 2003)
Wheelchair "scooter" users nationwide press case for sidewalks, safer highways (Ragged Edge Online)

One Man's Vote Could Determine State House Leadership
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

POLSON, MONTANA, Nov. 8, 2004 --The next time you doubt that one vote makes a difference, remember this story.

The vote of one man, who happens to have a mental disability, could determine the leadership within Montana's House of Representatives, the Missoulian reported.

As of Monday, Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore led Democrat Jeanne Windham by one vote in last Tuesday's election for the District 12 House seat.

It has already been determined that Republicans will have 50 members in the House. If Windham wins in District 12, Democrats will also have 50 members in the House, which means that the newly elected Democratic governor will name the Speaker of the House. If Jore wins, however, Democrats will only have 49 members there, and the leadership will remain with Republicans.

An election judge had challenged the competency of the one voter, who works at a Ronan sheltered workshop, after a case manager signed for the man on his provisional ballot.

The county election administrator on Friday decided that the case manager provided legitimate assistance to the voter.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires state-funded programs that provide services to people with disabilities to have voter registration forms, to assist people in completing the forms, and deliver the forms to elections officials. Actual assistance in the voting booth, however, can be provided by poll workers.

The right to vote is guaranteed to adults by the U.S. Constitution. A mental disability does not prohibit an adult from voting, unless if the person has been deemed incompetent by the courts.

Election officials were expected to check court records Monday to determine whether the man had formally been ruled incompetent.

Related: "HD 12 hinges on provisional votes" (Missoulian)

Supreme Court Again Rebuffs Kevorkian
WASHINGTON, DC, NOV. 2, 2004 -- Jack Kevorkian will remain in prison, where he is serving time after being convicted of second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk. Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday denied his appeal. They did the same thing two years ago, when he claimed his prosecution was unconstitutional.

Although Youk's murder was the one that finally got him convicted, Kevorkian "assisted" in the "mercy killings" of, by his own count, over 100 people. Youk's death was videotaped and shown on CBS's "60 Minutes." But Kevorkian had gained notoriety years earlier with his flamboyant "right to die" crusading.

More from the Associated Press.

More about Kevorkian from Ragged Edge.
Best general history of Kevorkian's killings: "The Suicide Machine" (Detroit Free Press)

NYC Taxis Must Follow Access Rules, Says Appeals Court
by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2004 --An appeals court last week ruled that New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission has the authority to require livery cab companies to provide wheelchair-accessible taxis on demand.

According to a brief item by NY1, Time Warner's 24-hour news channel in New York City, livery cab owners and drivers had argued that the commission's rules violated their right to equal protection, and that private property cannot be taken for public use without providing reasonable compensation.

Disability rights advocates have been pressuring the city to provide more cabs. The Associated Press reported in April that the city had only five accessible yellow cabs, out of a fleet of 12,187, and three accessible livery cabs, out of about 40,000.

Earlier this month, the city set aside 27 new medallions (registrations) specifically for accessible mini-van cabs.

"It's a very big issue," said Rafaela Puerto, a member of the Taxis For All Campaign, who staged an April "roll-in" at the taxi stand in front of Pennsylvania Station.

While sedans cannot be made accessible, minivans can be built with wheelchair ramps, or can be retrofitted to include them. The advocates said accessible taxis cost about $2,000 more than regular ones.

See also: Taxis for all fact sheet (from unitedspinal.org)

Last month's news


More news can be found at these sites:

The "Disabilities and the disabled" news from Yahoo Full Coverage provides news stories from mainstream media

A running "News Ticker" of stories is online at http://www.acdd.org/news.htm#search

For disability movement news, visit the JFA Newsgroup


© Copyright 2004 The Ragged Edge

This Website produced by Cliffwood Organic Works