Monday, April 29, 2013

Disability News

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EEOC Seeks Damages for Disabled Iowa Plant Workers
Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press - April 22, 2013

Brian Wellner, Quad City Times - April 25, 2013

The only good thing that could possibly come out of this horrific case of long-term abuse is that the lawyers of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will have the opportunity to be really specific about exactly why this is a horrific case. Things like this are so shocking that we tend to stop at shock and never get to the rationalizations and assumptions that lead to this kind of abuse:
  • These "boys" aren't good enough for regular jobs, they're lucky to have us!
  • You have to treat "retarded" guys like children to get them to behave.
  • If it wasn't for kind-hearted us, they'd be out on the street or drawing a government check.
  • What we're doing must be okay, because we're a charity and we mean well.
The thing is, there are thousands of less dramatic examples of the same kind of abuse to be found all over the United States … from sheltered workshops where people with disabilities are paid less than minimum wage, to nursing homes that basically confiscate what little income you have, then give you an allowance. People can be bad, but systems are often evil, too.

There are two other things I'd really like to know more about. For one thing, why is this case focused only on the Americans with Disabilities Act? It sounds like there were multiple violations of OSHA and minimum wage laws, not to mention possible charges of indentured servitude (slavery). Second, I'd like to know how many stiff drinks that social services investigator, Natalie Neel-McGlaughlin, had to have before she could stop crying.

Associated Press / The Guardian, UK - April 24, 2013

I am personally opposed to the death penalty but it's a close call for me. It's not a close call to me for anyone with significant cognitive impairments. Apart from any arguments of law or even morality, the idea of solemnly, with legal sanction, killing someone who may not fundamentally understand what's happening gives me the most horrible case of the chills. Speaking of which, I highly recommend the film "Dancing In The Dark", but only if you have access to some sort of grief counseling afterwards. 

Don Dahler, CBS News - April 26, 2013

This woman's story shows the starting point of what I would call a healthy attitude towards disability. Brutally practical.


Note: This weekly feature isn't anything like a "complete" listing or even a summary of all disability-related news. It's just articles I choose for whatever reason. My comments on each article are my own opinion, but I will try to ask as many questions as I claim to answer.