America: A Nation of Trailblazers, Original stuff, and Food

Fellow Americans, Recently, I came to the realization that this country is something that most of today’s youth refuse to accept: we are a nation of firsts, trailblazers, and original foods and drinks, music, whatever. Let’s begin with … not Columbus because he was, in any form and fashion, an absolute atrocity to the Natives, the Taino people of the West Indies. If I could do anything, I would bring those people back. They were peaceful, but I’m not so sure. They had to have defended themselves. The big thing about Post-Columbian society before the Modern Era is this: we had problems with smallpox and other illnesses now being vaccinated against. We are a nation of trailblazers. And so it begins in 1607, when the 48 Contiguous states began settling in Virginia’s Algonquin nations. We all knew the story of Pocahontas, and believe it or not, she and others were trailblazers by encountering each other. One fascinating fact: John Smith’s original book about the powhatan clans and tribes won my heart when I read it, and it contained many interesting cultural aspects of the Natives in ancient Virginia. We have at some point all heard the song titled Shenandoah, and the tragic love story behind Arlo Guthrie’s ballad speaks volumes about his abilities to craft in song the telltale American style of country music, and the valley of Shenandoah has become a favorite spot for a friend of mine’s family. We jump ahead to the 1620s, when the new England colonies were settled by pilgrims. But yet these weren’t just ordinary people. They were the first big wave of settlers to go to great lengths to protect the families they loved. The men and women sailed here on an ocean liner called, we all know this one, the mayflower. Funny how these folks gave us Thanksgiving, and that was a real trailblazer. No matter how one feels about this day whether turkey or no turkey, it was originally a way to thank the residents of what is now massachusetts and other New England states from all over for helping the settlers learn and grow. There were many women who pioneered the way for us: we begin with Mary Musgrove, then fast forward to Sacajawea, who interpreted for the Western explorers. Yes, not all the native land dwellers were martial enough to throw us out. We are the nation of jumbalayas and coconut shrimp cocktail, like Louisiana has. We are like a blend of melting Cajun soup. Each of us melt in to the soup, worship whatever God we want, and constantly pioneer new technology.  For example, Microhell.  Okay, Microsoft’s former CEO Bill Gates was a real nerd.  He keeps making richest man in the world, of course.

I could say all that and more. and too much other stuff.

We have recently seen a lot more trailblazers in America.  But let’s remember our history and heritage.  We had a Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and yes, we had the NFB and other disability groups.  Disabled people are now making headway to total freedom and equality.  The first disabled person to overturn a guardianship and get all the media outlets involved for me was Jenny (Margaret Jeanne) Hatch.  I recently found out about it possibly two years ago.  Hatch is now blazing a huge trail for many young and disabled folks.  She has spelled out what being first class means.  We must end all forms of Custodialism.

Americans are a nation of trailblazers.  But we are also like all other nations.  We have feared many things,  but unlike other nations, we resolved all our fears, and up to this point, there are people hanging stupid signs in their offices reading NO GAYS ALLOWED.  There was a time before when the same state that has that sign would hang a sign up that read “whites only.”  Before then, when Morris Frank brought Buddy in to the stores, people would hang up signs, written and unwritten, saying “No dogs allowed.”  What about the guide and service animals?  Those are the best!

The fears we have faced as a country were all too familiar: differences.  Jamestown’s biggest fear was the “Indians” (notice that word in quotes because of historical significance of the people’s use of said word).  The First Nations in Jamestown and other places were the biggest enemy of the Colonies.  Sometimes, however, the british during the Revolution stirred them up to cause trouble.  However, the first Settlers would have to deal with warlike tribes, peaceable ones, etc.  Some tribes hated each other, others didn’t.  You never know when you see a new place.

The fears of the tribesmen and women however was a tiny microbe we all knew as smallpox.  That wiped out more than half the population of that whole continent.  European explorers and settlers and rich people did not help the situation because they, I kid you guys not, did not bathe, did not eat properly with forks and knives, etc.  That was a regular occurrence in society back then.  People back then blamed silverware for all the world’s troubles.  That was a European old style fear.

When Louis Braille invented the dot code I use to scare everybody with my … totally awesome reading skills, I know this for sure, but people were too afraid that the world for the sighted would end.  Well, it kind of has, if you know what I mean.  Braille has allowed the blind, with and without tiny bits of vision, to eventually function on their own.  What was all that about!

Another fear we had was the fear of emancipating slaves.  We got over that pretty quick, but then Reconstruction came into play.  Took us years to tell the Feds and others that Blacks are people, period.  Then what?

Vietnam and Russian Bloc (formerly known as the U.S.S.R.) countries brought the fear of Communism.  WE made a deal with the then Soviet Republics, and guess what?  “Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall!”

The Iron Curtain is gone, but we still have new fears to conquer.  Fear of either of two things: disability and the end of Custodial antiquities with them and the fear of religious differences.  We have on one side the Christian camp, currently fighting to defund Planned Parenthood.  I agree with their zealous weird approach because, and this is the one and only reason, they have a right to.  However, how can anyone do research without the right materials?  Fetal tissue?  Come on!  Planned Parenthood may be the only place where I could possibly get a proper OB exam or Gynecological exam if I wanted to due to the fact that yes, I’m on CO Medicaid, or rather Denver’s little Medicaid thingy.  It’s sponsored by Denver Health places, including the Hospital campuses and stuff.

We have a lot of fears, and we fear the End Days.  We’ve always done this.  But one unique thing about our country is this: we fear the persecution of our unique and wonderful mixing bowl by such groups as the self-styled Isil or Islamic State or Isis or whatever you call it.  There is no negotiating with Terrorists, we say.  Well, here’s Afghans negotiating with those Taliban, the same people who shot my dear heroine, Malala.

One notable quote I will leave with here is this: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.  That’s a famous quote from FDR, who by the way, blazed the biggest trail for me even before I realized it.  He ran for President, even as a disabled man.  He led the country from his wheelchair.  With the barrier free housing being expensive, what would FDR say of those people?  FDR was the man who set the foundations for SSI up.  LBJ, depicted in the movie Selma, signed the Voting Rights Act.  Today, people are trying to roll back that law, and there still needs to be the law in place.

Where can this nation improve? I’ll cover that in a second, but did you know that we are also the home of jazz, spirituals, all that?  All that jazz started with a few different things: the field holler, ragtime, and stride.  All three of those come together, and then you get American Gospel.

Country music is downright awesome.  We’ve inspired artists around the world but country is a uniquely American genre made up of everything from Irish roots to some Norwegian and other types of music.  Before there was Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and way before Hank Williams Sr., we had fiddlers playing at parties and Solomon North, whose book Twelve Years a Slave inspired a recent film.  The Antebellum South was full of that sort of thing, but again, the Blacks and Whites trailblazed a lot.  Blacks developed a uniquely beautiful spiritual sound.  They used the “we shall overcome” attitude in their protests against the infamous “Jim Crow” laws.  This became a serious thing for them, and you can hear some of that in the Selma film.

The people who love country music are all walks of life.  The thing I loved about country from the start was the Irish telltale ballad sounds it brings.  One notable song, the Chain of Love, is akin to the way some Irish songs tell stories.  The storytelling artist who writes and sings of love, unrequited love, etc. is still akin to Irish folktales.  I have learned the roots of country music, and most instrumentation of such music is derived from the same stuff you get stories from.  Take a comparison of Allison Kraus for instance.  She can easily sing a Celtic song with a band, then flip right over the edge to country, and it makes almost no difference!

The differences though with country is there’s no pattern.  You can do more with it than you could with Celtic music.  Such artists like Jimmy Buffett come to mind.  HE uses his uniquely Island sound and puts it against another artist who sings uniquely country music.  Put that together, and you get something else altogether.

We have so much food to remember.  Try my old state of Florida for instance.  They’ve got way too many oranges, but the mainstay for me there is key lime pie.  Skip up to Georgia, and the South has such good fried chicken and, in some parts of Georgia, the Fried Green Tomatoes.  Mind the movie.

Go up to places like Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas, Texas and parts of the Midwest, and the food gets more diverse.  Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza.  Oh lord, those Chicago people reading this will perk up right when I say, “Sicilian deep dish pizza.”  Go straight up the midwest to Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, and it gets better.

The Southwest, for another thing, includes but is not necessarily these states: Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico.  Bowling for Soup would jokingly sing, “Besides, the Mexican food sucks north of here anyway.”  I admit, the best Mexican cuisine can be found in Colorado as well.  I would love to try real Mexican food though.  The best food, however, is from the best cooks, which today are hard to find.

Food is so wonderful here, but if you went to another country, you could see some modified McDonaldized places, some Burger Kings, etc.  However, in Muslim countries, it’s not the same.  We are loved, hated, feared, worshiped, reviled.  It’s hard being here in America, but it is hard for us in the world.

We are continuously improving the state of our nation.  IF I could speak with the President or give a State of the Union address, I could say this statement: over 90% of blind children are illiterate.  I wish it was 9%.  We need to really improve the way we educate blind children in the Information age.  We desperately need a better way to show our blind children a way to read Braille, and we need to do this, and then we’d do Louis Braille proud.  He invented that system, even though in France, he still made it.

We also need to improve our tolerance of the religions that promote peace.  For instance, a child in Louisiana was bullied by teachers and discriminated against in a school for being Buddhist.  Buddhism for a lot of people is a good thing.  I see Buddhists as a gateway for peace.  Now, I would not discriminate against Muslim students, either.

The biggest thing we must do is what FDR told us to do so many years ago.  We must fear fear itself, and that’s all we have.

What’s there to be afraid of in passing a law to help Muslim girls in crisis?  Or any girl in crisis and forced to undergo harmful cultural practices?  I’m sorry, but the Republicans must stop putting conditions like, “Don’t pay for abortions.”  There is no right or wrong answer, but if the person chooses, we must go along with it.  I would never abort any child, but if God forbid I was trafficked as a woman, I would probably be hard pressed to decide what to do if my child was the product of daily rapes by some guy I was not allowed to know but had to service.

I would keep the child in the end, and I would hopefully screen the child for further mental problems because some of those fathers or people the trafficked humans are forced to service are probably different kinds of disenfranchised peoples.  But whatever that case may be, it’s not the same.

What we also need to do is stop the nation’s largest Kindergarten class, also known as Congress, from honing in on stuff they don’t like and threatening government shutdowns.  Tea Party people I admit have our best interests at heart, but they are literally dumping the most toxic tea into our media outlet, our sea of newspapers and news television stuff.

That my friends is a critique of our nation.

Beth

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All Dogs Go Up to Heaven

Hi, all.
So I saw a photo of a man and his dog. I have fond memories of the dog, and this dog served his blind master for so many years. Randall, you will be missed. I will always remember him barking every time the Mineral Station was announced on the bus system. So I dedicate this poem to all dogs out there, and yes, this includes guide and service animals.

God put me here on this earth to lead,
Yet I followed him at his heals.
I’ve never felt more at home with you,
But now I can’t wait in the wheels.
Heaven’s time turns, so slowly, but I’m waiting
For you to come back to me.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,
All there was to know of being your best friend,
I was loyal till the end,
So when God calls your name
As he did mine,
I’ll bring back the ball for you
Every day and every night
Till the day we see there is no such thing as light.
Until the end of the world itself.

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Man V. Woman; Pros and Cons of Each

It occurred to me to look deeper into the issue of man versus woman. I am a woman, and I know plenty of men. Here are the benefits of both genders, and yes, the drawbacks.

For the men, there are the following advantages:
1. Well, you can grow to over six feet tall, well, maybe more than nine feet as set by the Guinness Book of World Records.
2. You don’t have to worry about pregnancy symptoms.
3. You can play football.
4. You can wear jockstraps.
5. You are more likely to be selected by your parents/loving guardians to do the action required tasks such as sports and outdoor work.

some drawbacks to being a man
1. If someone kicks you in the wrong place, yeah, you get the picture. It hurts like Hell.
2. Unzipping your fly to go in the bushes is not a pretty sight to see, and even if you call it a plus, even if there’s no one around, where would you rather put the products of your bushes excursions? Really!
3. You can get multiple girls pregnant, and while this is again an evolutionary plus, it’s not when you count then number of times you have to, for one, pay for a child’s expenses, and then in polygamy, how many of the wives you have? Like, how many did you take in in the last year?
4. You are pressured to provide, and that can lead to bigger problems.
5. Too much testosterone equals … you get the picture when a man flips you off on the road. Yeah.

Women have the following bits of awesomeness:
1. We have the most awesome and sacred role in the family: to bring you into this world. We don’t often wish to take you out.
2. We don’t have any weird body parts in the way. And we don’t often go in the bushes, eh, guys?
3. We are oftentimes seen grazing while pregnant.
4. We are relationship driven as women.
5. We can be creative with hairdos.

The drawbacks of women include:
1. i confess this is the top drawback; Aunt Flo, don’t ask.
2. Doing excessive amounts of laundry because we’re so conscious, at least I am, about the slightest or the biggest stains on stuff/clothing.
3. Menopause.
4. The PMS symptoms for me are a huge drawback.
5. All that belly fat after pregnancy along with pain and weird symptoms.

The big thing about our culture I hate the most is we’ve kind of gone too open with sexual advertisements. Like, oh, Viagra and other kinds of stuff we use to have our fun. I hear ads and go, “Uh?” “Huh?” Wow. I’m like, “this is so inappropriate that it should not be brought into an arena where the kiddos are watching the same crap as you are.
Each gender has notable drawbacks and advantages, but I’d personally be a woman all my life! Yep. That’s me.

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Never Say No

When five years ago, we had met on the town,

I found myself dreaming of chasing you down

In that playful young moment, lost in the dream,

Like it suddenly happened like light from a beam.

When I hugged you so tight, I could feel your hands go,

I could never have thought you would never say no.

The promise you kept was a promise well spent,

But I promise my heart is not a tree so bent.

When you held out your hand, I took it to hold,

And I felt like I was more value than gold,

But now it seems my heart beats its last every day,

But never say no to a day left in May.

I never said no to a golden sunset,

I never said no to a gambling bet

That people are having that we will not last,

But I’ll never say no to what we had let pass.

Today, I would feel better if I was joyous

Celebrating with friends

A day that I would think brings love and cherished treasures

A life that seemingly never ends.

But alas, that party will never come my way

Because I don’t get it, it’s just me.

Perhaps it’s the air I breathe, the clothes I wear,

Or perhaps it is the load I bear.

This is what I have to deal with every day,

But I swear I want to feel your heart glow

When you see me, so I promise I’ll never say no.

A Rant On Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act Part II: The World Costs Too Much for the Blind

Dear Readers,

Let’s return to our story with Blind John who goes to work at Sheltered Place Inc.  Let’s pretend, for a second, that John has a wife, Lisa, and their two small children.  John, remember, has to work at Sheltered Place Inc. because his voc rehab counselor said so.  He was supposed to go to a training center for the blind, but saw that the Counselor said “no.”  Let’s see, John wants to read a book to his little boy, but can’t, because why?  He doesn’t have the money to purchase “Twin Vision” books from the NFB.  What this does is affect his food and water budget.

So where would John, his wife, and kids, all live? What would they do?

What would their budget look like because of the mere pennies per hour that John earns trying to provide for a family?

Because John earns, let’s say, about $1.50 an hour trying to make his life better as well as his family’s, he has to factor in paratransit service, which costs, for example, $4.50 per trip.  This is more than John can earn in a day.  The total cost of paratransit is $9 here in Denver.  So what else?  SSI for both him and his wife is only so much, and because of the marriage penalty (see The Love Life Problem) he has only so much less.  Lisa got pregnant twice in this example, and her two kids, Jake and Susan, are both eight and six, both in school, both in need of food and water.  Because of the costs affected by John’s low wages, let us pretend that for a moment, the budget looks like this:

The rent takes up all of the SSI payments.

This means the two bedroom or three bedroom house the family is renting has a rent of $600.  The couple earns $900 in SSI, and the kids are also on SSI because the blind couple is on SSI.  Social services have made it impossible for John and Lisa to do things together because of the kids and lack of safe babysitting options.

Paying for a sitter is also not an option, so John’s mother sits sometimes for the children, which then frees up what John earns per day.

Unfortunately, that amount of $350 is not enough to pay for the children’s toys, books, and food.

Also, imagine for a moment that John and Lisa want to watch an adult movie.  They can’t.  Not that the movie is pornographic, but let’s say they do not want the kids to watch.  They put the kids to bed, but imagine this: they won’t be able to watch the movie because it’s not available.  They are forced to use an antenna television that doesn’t contain descriptive content.  AS a blind couple, John and Lisa know how important it is to have things like this, but the budget doesn’t cover it.

John and lisa’s budget does not even allow for the children and them to go out for a day of fun.  Families enjoy going out, and because John earns less than the average person, he may not even get much more in SSDI because of marriage.  Guys, what I’m showing you is this: we need to repeal the 14c amendment or throw it out altogether because Johns and Lisas out there will not get what they need as blind people.  If Lisa wanted to read a book to her little kids, how can she if she doesn’t have Braille books with print?  You have to buy those.

You might say, what about free Braille books?  How can you get those?  Book clubs cost still, so yeah.

Getting rid of 14c might do something like this:

John, our blind guy in this case, is working as a music teacher at a high school.  Amid the weirdness, the boring children, the naughty teenage boys, etc., John earns a mere $30 per hour.  That is the minimum wage he could earn as a music teacher.  Let’s also say that John is allowed to work weekends playing piano at a bar.  HE earns the same wage as everybody else, plus tips from the weird people who throw money in a jar and try to stump the piano player.  I’ve seen that done.

John comes home with $5000 in a week, and guess what that does?  He can pay the house mortgage, and Lisa can read books, paid for by John, to her little kids.  Jake and Susan can buy their school lunches, can buy clothes, food, etc.  One day, in the summertime rather, John comes home to lisa and says, “We’re going on a vacation.”  John and Lisa have saved up enough to get theme park tickets or tickets to a national monument for their family.  Lisa, with the help of John’s provisions, is now healthy and happy as a mom, and decides she wants a third child.  In this example, they have a five bedroom house if that’s what they can afford.

Like ordinary citizens, we don’t always know the budgets of John and Lisa couples out there, but we do know one thing.  Section 14c will disable a lot of blind people from reading books on a real Brailler display.  The average Blind John cannot get a Braille machine, Braille display, etc.  What my church pastor does not understand, will never get, and does not see in my life, is that I need to be able to read like everybody else.  Literacy comes through Braille, and I will write something else about how important Braille is.  In fact, let’s go on to Braille anyway.

Now, back to John.  He could have never worked at all, but let’s say that his TVI, Mary, knows and teaches Braille.  One of three things could happen in young John’s life: Mary could teach him Braille.  Period.  Or she could find anything to excuse John from reading Braille.  Ugh.  Or John could not be literate.  Braille is important so that we can spell out words, learn the phonemes of words, etc.

Let’s try a different example and different case names for this one:

Jason is five years old.  HE is totally blind and doesn’t have additional disability as stated by the ADA.  HE is a smart kid, learns quickly, and wants to read a book.  When he goes to school, the teacher shows him how to decode the dots on a page or a display later on.

Fast forward twenty years later.  Jason marries Jessica, and they have a child.  Jessica and Jason are both Braille readers who want to read to their children.  The child, that is, is about four years old.  The problem is that Jason and Jessica also want to read stuff when they form their own business.  Jessica wants to read recipes and cook in the kitchen.  Jason wants to read, using Braille, an instruction manual for putting together the latest gadgets.  The big problem is that the average Braille display or reading device costs about $5000 or maybe around $4000.  HumanWare’s BrailleNote Apex battery is so much to do.  It’s not something I can deal with.  HumanWare has the worst prices along with Hims and other companies who supposedly want you to be able to buy their products.  Let’s say our Jason buys a Freedom Scientific Focus Forty Blue.  Had he paid for it himself, and had he had to pay for Jessica’s eventual purchase of a Braille Note Apex QT, the budget would have been badly affected, and the kids would not get the food, water, and clothing they need to survive.

Just what do these companies think we are?  Voc Rehab is not a cash ATM.  They make you justify, justify, justify every cotton picking thing you want.  Life isn’t a justifiable purchase.  I want to have kids because … justify it.  I want to live in a house because … sighted people get that.  But that isn’t justification.  What is justification?  How would it make you better as a blind person?  Well, as a blind person, I want to be treated like a human being.  I don’t care what diagnosis of whatever I might have, it’s not funny.  I am not happy with the average price of a Braille device.  Recently, work has been under way to get a device under $500.  However, Blind SSI recipients can still not get a Braille display.  I personally am not happy that only 10% of my community is literate.  This includes my boyfriend, some friends, some counselors I’ve even had.  I’m sorry, but literacy is a right, not a privilege, and this goes for my church pastor.  He reads a Bible and notes he takes himself.  Imagine if my good pastor turned blind.

I’m wondering if this would help.  I’ve also been ridiculed for wanting to live with my boyfriend because it appears sinful.  Here’s something to think about, those who do this.  Bus transportation adds up, adds up, adds flippin’ up.  Do you know, as far as I know, what the average cost of bus fares in places like Denver, Phoenix, and god forbid New York are?  NYC may have the highest cost of bus fares in the nation.  L.A. also does as well.  My boyfriend would have to use buses to get to me, and what if he’s stranded in the middle of a street?  Even the best travelers get that way.

I personally am not the best traveler, and I don’t want to be at the moment.  Paratransit for personal trips would also add up.  The only things you can buy with paratransit tickets according to DVR in Colorado are trips to the places you work at, places they approve.  I can’t, for instance, if my boyfriend moved here, say to my counselor, “I want tickets to see my boyfriend.”  They’d say, “Go on the bus or take a cab, that’s it.”  Do you know that even the free bus transit I get with my ADA card is not enough?  I need to be conscious of time.  Why should that ruin the romance?

Because of the illiteracy rate among blind people, my pastor assumes I can’t buy it.  In his mind, if you can’t buy it, you can’t buy it.  Period.  Well, because he’s not blind, he’s not conscious of the fact that as a blind person, you have to use either audible means or other nonvisual means, mainly touch, which costs more, he doesn’t seem to understand.  If my pastor had to be blind, what would he use?

Let’s imagine that any Reverend is blind.  Suppose the pastor had to pick up an audio bible.  That’s one.  But think about the things he does as a sighted man.  HE scribbles notes.  We can’t do that.  So what does he use?  He has to use a BrailleNote with editing capabilities.  With my BrailleNote, flat as it is now, I can edit things right from where the mistakes occurred.  The pastor would have to use alternate means to highlight passages.

Also, Braille would become the way he reads Bible passages aloud to the congregation.  Think about it.  This is something the Pastor needs to think about.  I’m not naming names here.

Disclaimer: All names and case studies here in the post are all fake.  If any of them resemble real people, this is a coincidence.  All names should be considered John Dohs unless otherwise stated.

Ugh, My Upgrades Can’t be Purchased! Ugh!

Talk about budgetary requirements.  How in the heck can I possibly go further with my blog?  I’m really a bit floored that anyone would mess this up.  I can’t budget all the crap I need in here.  Excuse me?  … Where the hell … great.

If anyone supports the blog, consider it your home for weirdness.  But let’s get to some more meat and potatoes.  See next post

A Rant on 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Dear readers who are disabled, those who work in sheltered places, etc.,
This is a post just for you all. But first, a disclaimer.
All names in this post are the names of people who’ve worked or currently worked or work in sheltered workshops. I have to mention Henrys Turkey Service. I will explain later in the post.
First now that I’m done disclaiming stuff, let’s just say in brief what 14c would do and still does today.
As a disabled person, John goes to work every morning. He stacks boxes, puts things on an assembly line, and plays video games after a hard day at work. John is blind, and he works with others who have intellectual disabilities, Fragile X, and other syndromes of the brain that would make one think, “How could these folks work?” John gets paid … ready for this? … less than a dollar a day working at Sheltered Place Inc.
The above case study I just presented has fake names for a reason. John represents the blind and physically handicapped frequently pushed into the sheltered workshops, and Sheltered Place represents the real life places like Goodwill, Arc, and other places whose CEO makes too much more than the so-called “workers” who earn anywhere from mere pennies to $5, which is less than today’s federal minimum wage. What is going on in the sheltered places is anybody’s guess. There are stories of blind people forced to wear glasses, and I don’t want to walk all over anyone who wears them, but for some people, glasses ain’t cool. Some of us wear glasses because it’s protective, and I truly understand that. But if you’re a workshop worker and your supervisor makes you wear any kind of badge that not only designates you as a worker, but as a “blind worker”, according to some it’s humiliating.
The best example of a long term and abusive sheltered workshop is that of T. H. Johnson and Kenneth Henry, the founders of Henry’s Turkey Service.
The story begins in Texas “state schools.” Intellectually disabled men were trucked to Atalissa in an effort to get their stuff out there and get the men doing something. But what Henry didn’t expect was that the company was mismanaged by Randy and Drew Newbauer, and they ruined the town’s relations to management at the “Bunkhouse” where the boys stayed. Later on, they were found among squalid conditions, rodents and feces everywhere, mice and rats, think of anything squalid. These men were rescued by a social worker in that county, and it was later found that the men were a major case of 14c Mania.
Some of the men only had $80 or less in life savings. I heard this and thought, oh my hot diggity dog! How could any coward do something like pay any working person less than ten a week? I don’t know.
Section 14c must go, either by phaseout, or immediately. Section 14c is evil, pure and simple.
I have a real friend in Iowa who works and doesn’t get paid his monthly minimum, and doesn’t get his daily wage as he should. This guy has dreams of being married and his girlfriend living with him, the whole bit. But they live in group care homes or apartments that do not accommodate pair living arrangements! The man is forced to endure life in a group home while his woman seriously has no room for the man to stay because her apartment is small, albeit an independent living arrangement for her.
With Section 14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act, they will never obtain the American Dream.
Let them do it, I say.
Let them obtain the American Dream of home ownership now! Dear President and Congress, take out 14C and don’t listen to the Arc and other sheltered places where the disabled languish on and on.
I’m currently dating a guy who is blind, and he has the ability if not more than that to get a job. I watch all my friends try and get job after job and fill out application after application and no results, but I know why my friends are rejected for jobs so much: liability, expense, and lack of education on the part of the employer. I know my blind other half will overcome every battle, fight every war, and get his job but he must be paid minimum rates or higher as specified by the Federal minimum Wage. If 14C is invoked, when will my boyfriend and I buy a house? Or a condo? Hire handy men to put some things in the house? When? How will we save up for that laptop we want? Or the cable bill? It’s an endless cycle of save up, buy, save up, buy! It’s inconveniencing us as a community for life! We don’t deserve it, don’t like it, and want to be treated as human.
As I speak, if 14c is phased out, we disabled people will take over your neighborhood and your housing street. We will be the good tenants in a safer living arrangement, a better selection of houses is open to us, and we will own property. Get rid of Section 14C!!!!!! If not, then say goodbye to your so called American Dream. It’s riddled with inequality and doesn’t recognize disabled people as able to maintain themselves. See this and get rid of Section 14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act today!

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After Reading Bary’s Book, We Need A Solution

Disclaimer: All names are classified as either generalized or assumed and do not reflect the actual names of Muslims or Americans affected by crime. All real names are well known persons who exist, but are not friends or family relations. Dear Readers, I have a political request for our future presidents to consider. Let’s just say that we need to solve the problem of Isis recruiting young people, of course.  But we also do not have a solution to the problem of keeping Muslim girls in some form of school or college. How do we do this? First, we must recognize what the Reverend Pat Robertson and son Gordon have said on and on again, “Islam is not a religion that always follows a maxim of peace. It tends to hurt women and groom males or men to do the worst things to their daughters, nieces, wives, etc.” Robertson hasn’t said this yet, but he would always point to Islam as a religion of twisted principles, not realizing that such zealous “worship” of Muhammad is bad for American values. We also have to recognize that immigrants who are identified as Muslim have frequently been loyal to these principles, which lead to forcibly marrying girls off at an age deemed as that  of a child, under eighteen; honor based violence; or forcing the girl to undergo FGM, female genital cutting/mutilation. Such radical practices are becoming more and more synonymous with immigrants and with Islam most frequently. The second thing we need to do is set up a few ways for girls in crisis to get the legal help they need. For instance, the well publicized  case of Rifqa Bary, the Sri Lankan immigrant who was threatened for practicing Christianity, sheds light on this issue. We also know of Muslims like Nurr Al-Maleki who was honor killed in Arizona, along with others in Texas, New York, and Illinois. All of the women I just mentioned were in real danger. Here’s what I propose. We need several statutes in federal law recognizing the threat of Terrorism, which I believe we have, but we also have to recognize its impact on females, especially young women. The statute would read something like this: We, the people of the United States, recognize the plight of oppressed women and girls. Let it be recognizable and proper that, if in good faith, a girl under the age of eighteen is under any real danger, and her parents plan to kill or dispose of her by way of marital trafficking, (arranged forced child marriage), that girl is offered the following rights in order that she may pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by our federal Constitution. 1. A child is any person under the age of eighteen (18) years of age, therefore the person has an automatic right to life, especially a female. 2. Any female child, under the statute specified here, may invoke this bill in order that she receive immediate protection from early marriage, especially if justified by the Holy Books of any established religious practice, 3. The female child may leave her home if her parents express a threat against her life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness without due process as stated in the U.S. Constitution, 4. Any evidence must be used to corroborate the case, and 5. Any threat of honor based violence, especially killing, will result in attempted Murder of the First Degree charges filed against the parent. A. Any failure to cooperate with law enforcement on these provisions will result in automatic charges of child abuse based on gender, attempted murder of the first degree, or child trafficking according to Federal and state penal codes. B. Punishment for noncompliance with the law will result in the same charges and when charged, offenders will face jailtime, fines, and a restraining order against all offending parties to keep the female child safe. Such a statute would lower the numbers, make America safer, and girls would be able to dream. We’d also need to recognize the educational gaps between males and females in these Muslim families. Input is always welcome. Beth Posted from WordPress for Android

Prediction of the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial

I’m sorry, folks. I believe James Egan Holmes will be sentenced to death. Why? Because the victim impact statements are going to move the case along. We’re in Phase II in the sentencing or death penalty phase. Mr. Holmes was found guilty on all counts of murder and attempted murder of more than 70 wounded and 12 dead. Please pray the judge and lawyers do what is wise. Whatever the jury decides, that will likely happen.
This trial fdepressed me, and all the paperwork involved! Whoa.  Ok, crash!

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Book Review: Hiding In the Light by Rifqa Bary

Hiding In the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus by Rifqa Bary.  Random House Publishers, 2015.

Notice how formal I wrote that first line.  Here’s a critique of this book, but first, let me tell you how overjoyed I was to find Rifqa in a book!  I first came across Rifqa’s stuff in 2009.  I was in college, cohosting Voice of the Pacific, a radio show with an Aussie guy who was biting in tone in some places, a bunch of Conservative.  Sonnabend was what we called him online, and he’s disappeared, but sadly, really disappeared.  I did a piece explaining that Islam was dangerous, but boy was I ignorant of the fact that it does have more danger than I realized.  I did not have enough research or language to say for certain that Islam is dangerously close to cult as it was to an established religion.  First off, I did very little research but found a wealth of information about Sharia law in Islam, which was supposed to grant rights to women, but the Ottoman version of such codified law said otherwise.  Rifqa’s story is proof that Islam is real and dangerous and can hurt young women as well as the men in the family.

This is not only a review of Rifqa’s book only, but other books of Islamic women who’ve escaped, found their own lives, and done what they wanted with them.  Unlike Ayaan Hirsi Ali, however, and several other authors who’ve escaped cult life, whether it be Christian or Muslim, Rifqa’s story is that of forgiveness, something I struggle with on a daily basis.

The book opens with Rifqa as a young child in Sri Lanka.  Rifqa’s story really began after she got injured while playing with a metal airplane.  She was thrown the toy from her older brother, but did not realize the sharp edges would change everything.  Her right eye, or at least one of her eyes, became blinded by the metal fragments that stuck there.  As a Muslim family, you should think they would realize this is God’s or Allah’s plan, and just move on.  But their treatment of Rifqa was so different.  Rifqa’s uncle violated her at seven or so, and then the family moved to America.  She was introduced to Christianity after 9/11 especially, which at first she ran from in haste.  Over the years, however, you can tell when Rifqa goes into a passionate plea for God to save her that she is full of that light, that little candle light that Christians seem to have.  She is full of passion, full of forgiving love, but then again, she has to survive.

To clear up the case, Rifqa wrote her story down, composing her narrative of the childhood, but she is very matter of fact, passionate, and best of all, chronological.  Rifqa ran off at sixteen, and her parents, according to her, had wanted to kill her.  What I found disturbing about her parents was that they wanted to kill her or send her back to Sri Lanka to an asylum.  That, thank Goodness and thank the grace of God, never has happened.  She was transferred to Ohio, but these days, she stays far away from her family.

I see a contrast between Rifqa’s case and those of authors like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  While Ayaan writes her books about bitterness, a need to push the system to reform, Rifqa realizes the contrast and comparative differences between Christ and Muhammad’s Allah.  Rifqa’s narration of the book adds to the scenery, and I could just feel her warmth and passion throughout the whole book, and when she made it clear her dad didn’t like her conversion, she clearly imitated what I believe to be what her parents were like when they were stern with her.  Her parents felt the Honor Code and its obligations all around them, and Rifqa, due to rape and violations, due to blindness in one eye, was to her family used goods.  Hirsi Ali was right about this, and the contrasting treatment of Bary’s family toward their only daughter is evident.  I remember reading Hirsi Ali’s writings and thinking, oh no, do all Muslims do those things?  What do Muslims have against women?

What really troubles me is the way Rifqa had to sneak away and lie repeatedly to her parents.  Yes, honoring one’s parents means not to lie, and I don’t lie most of the time, but seriously, I’m not trying to dishonor anyone when things come up.  Certain things I know Rifqa had to do to survive spiritually.  I feel like I’ve taken my freedom to go into and leave Rifqa’s old faith for granted.  Muslims will say to a non Muslim, you leave and we kill you.  Isis has been known to strike down Christians at the neck.  Thankfully, Rifqa is here in the U.S. where according to the first Amendment of our federal Constitution, “Congress shall make no law establishing the free exercise thereof …” (United States Constitution, 1786)  That document still applies even in Rifqa’s case.

I won’t give away the very end of Rifqa’s book, but I will say this.  She’s a much more tender person by the sound of her narrations.  I personally think she’s worth a try at seeing more books and articles written down.  I liked the chronology of the book, how Rifqa pronounced all the Arabic words with precision and grace, but yet really showed us how a double life was hard for her to lead.  After her Baptism into Christ’s family, Rifqa was risking her life, but with an “I don’t care” attitude, she could’ve lost it all.  She had to think, pray, and live and love fast and in between.

I will only say this once, she did have a bout of cancer that almost killed her.  She has since survived it, but I won’t give more than that away.  I will say when I read that portion, I was like, oh God, her faith is tested here.  You find yourself when you pick the book up in a state of bliss, her tender expression of forgiveness rampant in the end.  I could hardly make sense of why any parent would kill their innocent child over rape or conversion to a religion viewed as the Devil.  Her mother and father, while abusive, should have probably been investigated earlier.  Had a hotline in some place where Rifqa lived at one point been in place, she probably would have received help and no legal crap would have been all over the news.  For one, even at sixteen, she had a reason to live.  IF her dad had killed her, I would’ve never heard her read the book.

I found this particular title while browsing Bard, and sadly, my Bard Mobile app is being a special little thing.  It likes to not retrieve books, and where the hell is my wish list!  God, I’m so mad because I gotta reinstall the Bard app, and maybe remove the stuff the Bard thing left behind.  Ugh.

What can I do!

Anyway, if you are blind, and if you have Bard services, do go check out this book.  It really rings true for me as a person who had a faith journey.  Rifqa Bary’s faith journey is every girl’s faith journey.  According to some research I did in the AHA Foundation emails I get so much of, so many girls this summer will be transported overseas for what they call “vacation cutting” or they will have to marry an old man at an early age.  Rifqa chose something that went viral, but I think it should get any Muslim girl’s attention.  While I know that not all Muslims are bad, some people honestly use the Qur’an as an excuse to abuse and marry off their daughters.  Case in point, Bary says her brother, at one point while she was standing there, pointed a knife at his own mother and said, “Make me food, woman.”  While I know that isn’t right, that pointing of a knife at your mom is one way to get yourself an assault or intent to murder charge on you.  God, I would never put up with that much male dominance in my family but because Rifqa’s mom was brought up to do what her son and husband asked, she had to do it.  I sometimes take my freedom for granted, but as a Christian, I do listen and will continue to listen to God’s voice on the matter.

Honestly, if Rifqa was in my presence now, I woud want to know more about her.  Waht does she do in her spare time?  What food does she really like now she is converted?  What does she really like music wise?  What non Christian songs can she tolerate?  Does she like country?  I wish I knew.

Now, I did not put a price in the top line there, but I imagine you all can buy the book, if you are sighted or so inclined, at Barnes and Noble.  Kindle I personally boycott because they have repeatedly failed and failed and … failed to provide full access for blind users to all the books they have in store and on the Kindle stand alone tablets.  I have a friend whose sons have the Kindles but face it, those things aren’t accessible.  I would’ve never wanted one myself.  A Nook tablet isn’t accessible either, but I praise Barnes and Noble for making the app worth a try.  I’m going to post a really short review of this book on Goodreads, so you all can check it out.

Remember, books are a flight in fantasy.

Beth