Saturday, March 29, 2008

Alrighty Then :: Olmstead Executive Order..

The White House website.. Last place I expected to end up this morning.. In doing so, came across President Bush's Olmstead Executive Order.. Since our tax dollars pay for the website, am taking great Liberties in providing the full press release below.. :grin:

With this juicy little tidbit refreshed in our Minds, how's it going in your neck of the woods these days..?



Affordable consumables..?


Feel safe, secure, and protected 24/7/365 in your neighborhood..?

High on the hog living the Great American Dream, right..?


Cyber hugs from the Hills of North Georgia..

Executive Order
Community-based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to place qualified individuals with disabilities in community settings whenever appropriate, it is hereby ordered as follows:

  • Section 1. Policy. This order is issued consistent with the following findings and principles:

    • The United States is committed to community-based alternatives for individuals with disabilities and recognizes that such services advance the best interests of Americans.

    • The United States seeks to ensure that America's community-based programs effectively foster independence and participation in the community for Americans with disabilities.

    • Unjustified isolation or segregation of qualified individuals with disabilities through institutionalization is a form of disability-based discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et. seq. States must avoid disability-based discrimination unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity provided by the State.

    • In Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) (the "Olmstead decision"), the Supreme Court construed Title II of the ADA to require States to place qualified individuals with mental disabilities in community settings, rather than in institutions, whenever treatment professionals determine that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such placement, and the State can reasonably accommodate the placement, taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with disabilities.

    • The Federal Government must assist States and localities to implement swiftly the Olmstead decision, so as to help ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to live close to their families and friends, to live more independently, to engage in productive employment, and to participate in community life.

  • Sec. 2. Swift Implementation of the Olmstead Decision: Agency Responsibilities.

    • The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration shall work cooperatively to ensure that the Olmstead decision is implemented in a timely manner. Specifically, the designated agencies should work with States to help them assess their compliance with the Olmstead decision and the ADA in providing services to qualified individuals with disabilities in community-based settings, as long as such services are appropriate to the needs of those individuals. These agencies should provide technical guidance and work cooperatively with States to achieve the goals of Title II of the ADA, particularly where States have chosen to develop comprehensive, effectively working plans to provide services to qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings. These agencies should also ensure that existing Federal resources are used in the most effective manner to support the goals of the ADA. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall take the lead in coordinating these efforts.

    • The Attorney General, the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration shall evaluate the policies, programs, statutes, and regulations of their respective agencies to determine whether any should be revised or modified to improve the availability of community-based services for qualified individuals with disabilities. The review shall focus on identifying affected populations, improving the flow of information about supports in the community, and removing barriers that impede opportunities for community placement. The review should ensure the involvement of consumers, advocacy organizations, providers, and relevant agency representatives. Each agency head should report to the President, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with the results of their evaluation within 120 days.

    • The Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall fully enforce Title II of the ADA, including investigating and resolving complaints filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they have been the victims of unjustified institutionalization. Whenever possible, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services should work cooperatively with States to resolve these complaints, and should use alternative dispute resolution to bring these complaints to a quick and constructive resolution.

    • The agency actions directed by this order shall be done consistent with this Administration's budget.

  • Sec. 3. Judicial Review. Nothing in this order shall affect any otherwise available judicial review of agency action. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal Government and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.


June 18, 2001.

Related: Fact Sheet :: President Bush Highlights Commitment to Americans with Disabilities..

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Disabilism :: SW Reporter Said *WHAT* About Housing First Project..?

And I quoteth....

If you want to change people's preconceptions about what it means to have a homeless addict move in upstairs, you need to let them know they have one.

Say huh.........?

I don't think so.. :frown:

If you're so inspired, feel free to email him or respond as a comment on his article..

Cyber hugs from the Hills of North Georgia (in the deepest, darkest of the Night for the first time in some ten months, YAY..!)..

Referenced article inspiring the above:

Your Neighbor's Last Roof Was the Viaduct: Does it bother you that the county is renting him a place next to you?
By Mark D. Fefer, Seattle Weekly, February 27, 2008

Must have been some *SERIOUS* mojo in my last post..

Some pretty wild news coming soon.. :wink:

Running out the Library door this moment in full pursuit of.......

One huge chunk of that, from since August, 2001, and up until now, ever evasive.......

American Dream..

Cyber hugs from the Hills of North Georgia..

P.S. Butterflies in my belly the size of elephants.. For all that has, some things never change.. :grin:

Monday, March 17, 2008

NCD :: Let PWPDs Become Part of the American Dream..

Oh, goodness, Mark.. Sending a great big cyber hug your way..

Your latest Council update COULD NOT be any more appropriate.. Goes to the aforementioned last Friday still..

And my stepping in where not asked and where others might not dare because others might not dare.......

Because others didn't dare.......

Because others might not ever dare..

Stepping in when one face truly listened, truly heard me, and spoke, "Hmm.." to my imposing myself on the situation..

And another's face (not words) tolerated but very definitely bore an unspoken, "Just what business of yours do you really think this is anyway..?"

Stepping in because persons with mental illness (PWMIs), persons with psychiatric disabilities (PWPDs) have long lived their Lives being made to feel it's over before it even gets started..

Because PWPDs are more often than not led to believe they mess up, and that's it, it's over, it's gone, it's done, and that there are no legal alternatives to transition away from the stereotypes, the stigma of many years gone by..

Even when we whoopsie in plain sight.......

Yup, Life supplied these very worn Shoes, but the Wind beneath this Butterfly's tattered Wings comes from Angels like you all there at the National Council on Disability forever moving forward so that we may All live together safely, inclusively as One in our respective communities through open doored, open armed support within the same..

Huge tears of Joy welling from the Hills of North Georgia..

From the National Council on Disability (NCD) emailing list..
Date: Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 10:20 AM
Subject: National Council on Disability Says Let People with Psychiatric Disabilities Become Part of the American Dream..

NCD #08–556
March 17, 2008
Contact: Mark S. Quigley

National Council on Disability Says Let People with Psychiatric Disabilities Become Part of the American Dream..

WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) today released a paper entitled Inclusive Livable Communities for People with Psychiatric Disabilities, calling on Congress and the Administration to fully include and integrate people with psychiatric disabilities into America’s livable communities. Let people with psychiatric disabilities become part of the American dream.

According to NCD Chairperson John R. Vaughn, "For the promise of full integration into the community to become a reality, people with disabilities need safe and affordable housing; access to transportation; access to the political process; and the right to enjoy whatever services, programs, and activities are offered to all members of the community by both public and private entities. Although previous NCD reports addressed people across the full array of disabilities, a main focus of accessibility was on environmental elements that primarily apply more to the 'obvious' disabilities than to 'hidden' disabilities like many psychiatric disabilities and mental illnesses. Information about the six identified elements of livable communities, other elements, barriers, and promising practices for people with psychiatric disabilities needs to be broadened to achieve all-inclusive communities."

This paper focuses specifically on expanding the livable communities framework and elements to people with psychiatric disabilities and supports full inclusion that leaves out no one. Grounded in the six identified elements, a livable community

  1. Provides affordable, appropriate, accessible housing
  2. Ensures accessible, affordable, reliable, safe transportation
  3. Adjusts the physical environment for inclusiveness and accessibility
  4. Provides work, volunteer, and education opportunities
  5. Ensures access to key health and support services
  6. Encourages participation in civic, cultural, social, and recreational activities

When the focus shifts specifically to people with psychiatric disabilities, it becomes plain that without expansion this framework is insufficient to ensure the full integration of all people who have disabilities. The main barrier that people with psychiatric disabilities face is that a community that eliminates all the physical environment barriers still may not be fully accessible to people with psychiatric disabilities because of ingrained attitudes toward mental illness. Before people with psychiatric disabilities can even begin to take full advantage of the elements of the livable communities framework, they must be able to surmount an attitudinal barrier.

The attitudinal barrier is exemplified by outdated policies, programs, and beliefs about people with psychiatric disabilities as needing to receive all services within segregated settings in which mental health providers deliver housing, work, education, health care, and support services entirely within the mental health system. Abolishing this attitudinal barrier is necessary to ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities have access to the wider community and all that it may offer.

In this paper, by examining a variety of programs that show promise or have proved successful in achieving community integration for people with psychiatric disabilities, recognizes the need for major changes in public policies to support further efforts for full integration and participation. Five core recommendations summarizing some needed federal-level changes follow.

Core Recommendation One: Congress should ensure that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations continue to support anti-stigma campaigns and expand efforts to provide a funding base for self-help programs operated and run by mental health consumers and survivors, analogous to the funding provided under the Rehabilitation Act for operation of independent living centers. Consideration should be given to implementation through HHS/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reauthorization or other federal mechanisms. Consumers/survivors should be included in the evaluation of ongoing anti-stigma campaigns and the design, development, and expansion of self-help program funding.

Core Recommendation Two: Implement changes in federal and state funding and policy to encourage housing models that are integrated, in accordance with individual choice, and delinked from mandatory health services, while providing ongoing flexible supports. Several federal agencies should examine policies and practices through a partnership effort. The work can begin with congressional action to ensure removal of contradictory or incompatible federal paperwork burdens and policy barriers. Congress should provide the funding needed for initial joint planning and reporting by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HHS, and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Core Recommendation Three: Congress and HUD, HHS, and SSA should work to change federal and state funding and policy to eliminate the “benefits trap,” which discourages people with psychiatric and other disabilities from working, and to ensure that work opportunities are available for the full range of jobs, with ongoing flexible supports.

Core Recommendation Four: HHS should be authorized to change Medicaid policy and regulations as implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The agency should examine and consider the merits of existing models; for example, the Michigan state model reframes the definition of “medical necessity” to include "community integration," and shifts funding to services based on "person-centered planning." Such changes would allow a broader variety of recovery-oriented services to be eligible for Medicaid funding than is available currently.

Core Recommendation Five: Congress should ask the Government Accountability Office to assess and identify indicators of practices that seem to be working in HHS efforts to address cultural and linguistic issues through initiatives like the National Center on Cultural Competence (NCCC). In addition, Congress should allocate funds to expand the NCCC cultural and linguistic competence training model to ensure that as national demographics change, services to people from diverse racial and ethnic groups are provided in ways that meet their self-defined needs.

"By ensuring the expansion of the livable communities framework and recommendations to fully include and integrate people with psychiatric disabilities, American society can provide all citizens the opportunity to become part of the American dream," Vaughn concluded.

NCD is an independent federal agency and is composed of 15 members appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. NCD provides advice to the President, Congress, and executive branch agencies to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that-

  • (A) guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability; and
  • (B) empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

For more information, please contact Mark S. Quigley, NCD’s Director of External Affairs, at 202-272-2004.

Station Break :: "Chester Drawers"..

My stress level is absolute over the top right now.. Started Friday on a more personal level and just kept right on slamming through in the form of those thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped their way across the country and on into Atlanta, Polk County, and similar.. PTSD the entire weekend through, indubitably.. :frown:

Anyway, as my Mind does its dadgummiest to clear the dissociative fog so I may find appropriate resources to help [a friend], I came across someone looking for a "chester drawer" on a Freecycle listserv over the weekend.. Through your innocence and local colloquial, fellow Freecycler, you unknowingly brought a twinkle to a very saddened Heart today.. Thank you.. :smile:

And speaking of Chester Drawers, he is apparently alive and doing very well in Branson, Missouri.. Maybe some day we can tickle his fancy enough to coax him over our way for some disability self-advocacy function or 'nother.. :giggle:

Cyber hugs from Talking Rock..

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hong Kong School Closings :: Shades of Pandemic Flu Meetings Conclusions..

Running to catch MATS, but wanted to toss this one out there (albeit very quickly without much Time for fine tuning).......

Hong Kong closes schools as flu surges..
By Theresa Tang and Kyunghee Park; Bloomberg News; Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hong Kong will close all kindergartens and primary schools for two weeks after the death of three children admitted to hospital with what the city's government today called influenza-like symptoms.

Brought back fond memories of a very long Saturday a couple of years back when, purely by a slip of Fate, I attended the Atlanta installation of the Public Engagement Pilot Project on Pandemic Influenza.. Rather than reinvent the cyber wheel, below is a post I based on that wonderful exposure and left over at the People First of Georgia listserv a while back..

**Please, please, please: The following is not meant to alarm or distress but to inform and instigate our thought processes further on the survival of our people when we will need to rely on each other the most..

The Seed: End of last year, I participated in the Atlanta pandemic flu community forum sponsored in large part by CDC.. Small workgroups of individuals from all walks of Life were given scenarios then told to bring in each their own Life experiences to show what would and would not occur, work, etc, based on what the CDC and related professionals predict as reasonable to anticipate as entirely possible during a pandemic flu outbreak..

Personal opinion of privacy as it applies to disability-specific public "database(s)", whether or not phone banks and email would even be available for communication (would they be shut down to, say, stem off rumor mills?), and our nation's current overall mental health system's (in)ability to handle the PTSD aftershock for *everyone involved* were my particular focuses of feedback that day.. Well, that and that, without programs such as Meals on Wheels, which would very likely be shut down during a [pandemic flu disaster], some untold number of our vulnerable population would not have access to food, period..

One major, MAJOR factor during the pandemic flu discussions was that, in contrast to other disaster scenarios, direct human-to-human contact would (understandably) be removed to stem off disease spread for the safety of all.. Home health care, food delivery programs, any other home delivery and service programs imaginable that persons with disabilities rely on for full inclusion in their communities, those feasibly could, would be cut off completely.. Six weeks or more of massive halts to everything, territorially being from regional to nationwide, was given as a speculatory anticipated duration..

Simultaneously to our conscious planning for survival during future times of natural disaster due to the elements, now is the time to also be thinking, "How would we replace Life-sustaining door-to-door services when they are shut down completely due to a [pandemic flu outbreak] so our people don't die because others are literally afraid to reach out to each other for fear of loss of their own Lives due to the genuine threat of disease..?"

Please again, this is not meant to be anything more than to put it out there because it is something that needs to be a part of our considerations as we continue to strive towards full community inclusion for All today, elsewise there (theoretically) wouldn't even be forums such as the one I attended that Saturday not too long ago..

PS.. If anyone there had never heard of CILs before that Saturday, as many as humanly possible knew of them by the time we wrapped.. ;)

More later, fer shur, but, for now we need to be forever thinking forward to our independence such as is possible, along with healthy alternatives that mitigate as closely as possible in consideration of that, one Day, some Day will be the Reality of what Hong Kong is facing this very moment in Time..

Warmest cyber hugs from North Georgia..

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Congressman John Lewis :: "Phone-Out" Town Hall This Evening..

Accidentally checked in on an old, a very old inbox a few moments ago, and found an announcement from Congressman John Lewis' office regarding an unusual approach to a telephone town hall..

From what my Mind is grasping, it appears that they will be using one of those automated dialer systems that normally are abused by telemarketers.. Only, in this instance, you will be offered the opportunity to alert Congressman Lewis as to what are your most important Life-affecting concerns at this very moment..

Taking great liberties in reprinting his correspondence (our tax dollars did pay for its creation after all :grin: ):

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday evening, March 11th, around 7:30pm, I will be calling about 40,000 residents of the fifth Congressional District inviting them to join me in a Telephone Town Hall Meeting. If you receive a call, you will hear my voice asking you to stay on the line to be connected to the call.

Then I am going to talk for a few minutes about what I do in Washington, what I am working on on your behalf, and some of the issues that are facing us as a community. But I want to spend most of my time hearing from you and answering your questions about my work in Congress. In the past you may have received other automatic calls or “robo calls” which used the advances in technology to ridicule and divide. This is a positive opportunity, a chance for you and me to meet and talk to more people in the District than ever before. Together we can engage in an open dialogue about the issues that are important to us -- the economy, healthcare, job security, education, the environment and much more.

I feel very honored to serve a district with such vitality, diversity and vigor. We will face many obstacles in the months ahead but, if we pull together and believe in each other, together we can build a more perfect union. I look forward to talking to some of you on Tuesday.


John Lewis
Member of Congress

If you happen to be on the receiving end of one of the 40,000 anticipated "robo call" phone dials this evening, please do not hesitate to respectfully speak your mind as to what works and/or is not working for you re the State of Life as it is Today..

Me..? Just in case my little ol' house in Talking Rock is not on the automated agenda this evening, have already responded through the email contact form on his website..

Affecting me personally just this very second..?

It was very.. very cold inside when I got up to start yet another Day in the Life of Cindy Sue.. I unabashedly asked Rep. Lewis to please help very openly remind others in the elected seats around him that every day in our Land of Such Plenty, many, many citizens still go without the very most basic of Life-sustaining necessities..

Never 'oits to ask.. :wink:

Warmest cyber hugs from the Hills of North Georgia..

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Congratulations, Georgia Voices That Count, Class of 2008..!

A special email from the fingertips of Linda Pogue at disABILITY LINK in Decatur..

And I quoteth (with just the teensie, tiniest of editables).......

GVTC#6 graduates (and supporters),

Congratulations upon becoming Georgia Voices That Count graduates! We think of you as members of the GVTC family from the moment you first signed on - now you are official! You join over 75 GVTC graduates, advocates from across Georgia who have made a commitment to working in your communities for improved access, inclusion and self determination for people with disabilities.

Thanks to ALL the supporters, presenters, sponsors and others who helped create the GVTC experience and especially to those who joined us for the GVTC graduation (and those who would have been there if they could) to add their power to the GVTC family. There were some wise words spoken at the meeting and graduation. While I am not claiming the following words to be "wise," I do want to make sure you heard them loud and clear.

I have a multiple choice question for the GVTC graduates.....

I applied for GVTC because:

  • a. Someone I know said it would be good for me
  • b. I thought it would be interesting
  • c. You get to hang out with a great group of people
  • d. I like to be involved
  • e. I have a passion for justice, I want to make a positive difference in the world, I know I have a responsibility to do what I can for the disability community and I need help and support to be the best advocate for myself and other people with disabilities

Any of the answers are right, but of course (e) is the real point of the exercise!

I want to tell you something straight - ready?

Keep busy , having fun, and being involved are all very well, we all need those elements in our lives, but, if you do not make the move from taking part in training meetings to taking part in the disability movement, then who will?

  • Who will advocate if not you?
  • How will things change for the better if you are not going to try to make it happen?
  • Who will speak to the elected representatives if not you?
  • Who will reduce stigma and pity for people with disabilities if not you?
  • Who will help people move out of nursing facilities and other institutions if not you?
  • Who will make our communities more accessible if not you?
  • Who will make our communities more inclusive if not you?

That's right - it is all about YOU!

Please think about it:

  • The Georgia Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) recognized the need for more people with disabilities to become advocates, activists and leaders - and so they fund GVTC as part of their work
  • disABILITY LINK supplied expertise, organizations, passion, resources, etc. to create and administer GVTC
  • Then many people, representing many different organizations, donated their time and energy to make presentations to you at the GVTC meetings - to help you learn and consider important topics
  • Plus many people donated their time and energy as supporters during and between the GVTC meetings - to help make it easier for you to participate
  • Current leaders and activists have supported and encouraged you to make the next move in your advocacy career
  • All these organizations and people do this because they see the need, and believe you are the right people to fulfill the role!

Maybe you are already stepping out, taking risks, becoming leaders, doing what needs to be done? I am now encouraging you to take it further.

No one can do it the same as you - you are the best people for the job - others can only encourage and support you - you have to do it - it is you who other people are looking to - do you really want other people to make the decisions for you? - you are the future - it is a huge responsibility, but you are up to it because you are GVTC graduates.

Thank you from me - from the disability community - from everyone!

Like James Allen says, "How do you eat a whale?" - one bite at a time!

So work hard, be well, keep in touch - thanks and best wishes, Linda

Oh, Linda.. A WHALE..? Really..? :wink:

To my fellow graduates, PLEASE never forget the crescendo of empowerment that welled through you as each, your different Georgia Voices training years progressed.. PLEASE find some way to pay it forward to others around you in your respective communities..

Warmest cyber hugs of celebration from a fellow graduate,
Cindy Sue Causey, GVTC#3, Class of 2005..

United In Advocacy..!

Disability Vote 2008 :: Get To Know Project Vote..

Short and sweet, Project Vote was something I had the pleasure of attending last year as part of an annual People First of Georgia weekend.. We held it down at Camp Dream there within the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute grounds at Warm Springs, Georgia..

Fun.. Lots of fun.. And, woo, what a nice, relaxing drive down and back, too..

Saw lots of seasoned disability self-advocates, most of whom I knew very well.. Met many more I didn't, including those straight across the top of the state over in and around Helen and White County.. Looking forward to eventually getting a second blast in the form of voting and accessibility, BTW.. :hint, hint, wink:

Absolute single most important bottom line I got out of the experience :: Unless, for example, mandated by the courts that you are [mentally incompetent] to register and vote or are currently in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, you have *THE RIGHT* to vote, and, nothing but nothing should in any way impede the process it takes you in registering AND voting..

If someone in, say, a long term care (LTC) facility such as a nursing home or rehabilitation center, or, goodness forbid, it really happened to someone I know, a county registrar in your local voter registration office tries to restrict your Vote in any way, shape, or form.......

Re-emphasizing that part.......

If someone in, say, a long term care (LTC) facility such as a nursing home or rehabilitation center, or, goodness forbid, it really happened to someone I know, a county registrar in your local voter registration office tries to restrict your Vote in any way, shape, or form.......

Get someone like your state's disability advocacy office on the line..


For us here in Georgia, for example, it's the very cool folks down at Georgia Advocacy Office down in Decatur that we might call:

Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc. (GAO)
One Decatur Town Center
150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. S 430
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404-885-1234

Rather than count on that someone like our advocacy offices are going to be available just when we need them, though, because, after all, the closer we get to various voting dates, the thinner everyone's available time allotments become, the best voting rights self-advocacy will come from spending a little time getting to know your voting rights yourself.. Consider starting maybe right off the bat with something like Project Vote's Voter ID Requirements webpage..

Speaking from personal experience, the more you read and get involved in something like what Project Vote presents, the ever more increasingly empowered and self-determined you become because you discover.......

No matter what it may feel like just this very second, you are never, ever actually alone through any of this..

Cyber hugs from Talking Rock..

Get involved..!
Get out the Disability Vote..!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Memory Loss :: Not Like *THIS*, You Don't..

Forgot how to take a dadgum shower the other day..

Stepped into the shower..

As always.......

Turned on the hot water first..

As always.......

Turned around and pulled the shower curtain to while the hot water perked its way through to the faucet..

As always.......

Turned back around, and.................




Stood there for what seemed like an Eternity without a bleeping, flipping zip of a clue as to what came next in the process..

Couldn't remember that next came reaching out to turn on the cold knob to level out the temperature of the hot water already coming through..

Couldn't recognize the objects in front of me as knobs and a faucet, as parts of a shower stall that needed something done to or with them..

Couldn't remember I was even trying to take a shower, for that matter..


Brought to Mind once again all the well-meaning folks who have on regular occasion instinctively answered my despair regarding ever-increasing memory loss with what I know from deep down inside is a most genuine, heart-felt,

"Oh, EVERYONE forgets things, Dear.. Why, just the other day, I forgot where I had set my keys down again.."

To which reverberates silently within the ever more forgetful Mind,

"No, not like this, you don't.. Please trust me that everyone does not forget things in quite this same way.. It's just 'slightly' more Life-affecting than misplacing that durn set of car keys..


Moral of the Meandering :: Next time we're all sitting around in a disability independent living conference, casually giggling, joking over forgetting each other's names and where we met last, this half of the joke will be simultaneously secretly crossing everything not tied down that she'll be able to remember how to drive all the way back to where she lives, let alone even drive, oh, crap, let alone even drive one of those great big 1,000 pound chunk of metals meant to get her there in one piece...........


Warmest cyber hugs from the Hills.. :wink:

Monday, March 3, 2008

CBS News Investigation :: "Disabled and Waiting"..

Call it Fate, if you will, in flipping channels one evening a couple of months ago, caught the news feature teaser just getting ready to lead into CBS News Investigation's Disabled and Waiting: Backlog In Disability Benefits System Leaves Thousands Of Vulnerable Americans Stranded story (January 14, 2008)..

And for some reason, I watched..

And (predictably) ended up absolutely in tears before it was over..

Was this part in particular that did it:

A two-month CBS News investigation has found that over the last two years, at least 16,000 people fighting for disability benefits died while awaiting a decision.

Having spent as long as I have with my cyber heels dug deep [1] into some of the best disability (self-)advocacy Internet sites around since my own psychiatric survivor label-garnering experience, I've seen my share of horrible, horrible stories of people with disabilities going through the social security disability payments ordeal and losing everything, everything in Life they have, are, and were while enduring the seemingly ceaseless process..

Up to and including the "s" word.......


The tears shed over Disabled and Waiting come also in part from consciously recognizing every moment I'm still here that there but for the generosity of an ex-boyfriend for the extremist of Life-sustaining staples go I..

Life being what it is, nay, more what the thunderstorms predict it could be in the near offing, I, too, once again entered the Social Security junket just a couple of weeks ago.. While the despair that arises with each attempt is no less than before due to being forced to openly relive everything disastrous that has been the Life these fingertips have seen, this Time very admittedly seems almost pleasant as the wonderful SS lady on the other end of the phone has herself seen Life from this side..

And she knows what it's like walking in these Shoes..

And, more importantly than anything else sometimes, she really does give.......

A rat's patootie about the Human Life within these same worn Shoes..

To the government entities who each have their Hands in the Beastie that is the social security disability payment process, you obviously can access the file that is mine.. That lady there helping me..? She should be one of the Standards others strive to achieve..

And she already works right there within your, our system..


As much as anything else, if you don't proactively do something to help, you play a part in that "s" word as it applies to some part of those 16,000 people CBS reports..

If you don't proactively do something to help create change, you play a part in all of those some 16,000 precious Lives lost as CBS reports..

If you don't proactively do something to help create change, you play a part in some untold number of persons with disabilities right this moment..

Living on the street.......

Literally starving.......

Them, too, right this very, very second contemplating the unthinkable a forever untold number of others have already done before them for the exact same reasons..

This very, very second as you read this.......

Cyber hugs with a special one going out to the very kind and understanding Mrs. * currently helping me work through the SS process..

.......This time..

[1] A little sidebar on the referenced blurb.. Thanks to the very first opportunity I had to speak totally by accident with Yvette with PAIMI over at GAO back in 2003, I had in fact introduced myself to as "a person with mental illness".. Editorial license being what it is and thus wholly out of our control the precise moment the "Send" button is clicked, WHOOPSIE, I became a person who "[has] a mental illness"..