Thursday, September 30, 2010

Backpedaling Part 2

Handwaving....Governor Arnold (sorry, I am not in the mood to try to spell his last name) vetoed on AB2072 - not necessarily in our favor nonetheless - for financial reasons.

Candy (Gina Sutton) and Mike McConnell verbally supported this bill saying parents should have full access to information but yet were perfectly okay with the original bill minimizing the information on ASL which was expected of them as they are supporters of oralism . When AB2072 was amended during the voting stage, both Candy and Mike backpedaled and said it was expected when the amended included ASL and made changes to the audiologist's role as "the gatekeeper." Candy claimed we should trust the system - that they would make those changes. Mike said the audiologist still had a role and chose not to comment on the role of ASL as a language.

Well, they are doing it again. They are claiming that Governor Arnold did the right thing, and that ASL STILL isn't recognized as a language in state of California without AB2072.

Governor Arnold did not veto the bill for the reason Candy and Mike were hoping for - to declare that ASL is not a language therefore the bill is not necessary. He vetoed it because there is already an existing agency that provides information for Deaf/HH programs provided by CDNIAS. He did not see the need to make changes because AB2072 means changes in the system and additional financial burden in which state of California is not the position in this recession.

What is good about vetoing this bill is the cochlear industry has no monetary control or interest in the current system without AB2072. AB2072 was financed by the cochlear industry including organizations of speech and audiology. Lobbyists from those organizations sponsored several senators, in particular, Senator Mendoza, for AB2072's passage into law for anticipated financial gain and control.

It was too bad Governor Arnold did not recognize the hidden motive for drafting this bill in the first place. He vetoed it solely to protect his state from unnecessary expenditure.

The anti-AB2072 taskforce would like to see the Deaf/HH information dissemination moved from CDNIAS to CDE which I feel would have been proper as the biggest concern in the deaf children is their LANGUAGE development, not health. THAT is where Candy and Mike dissented. They continue to support that deafness is a health concern therefore it is in the right branch of the state's government cabinet. The reason why the state put the Deaf/HH information dissemination under CDNIAS is because the initial diagnosis of deafness usually occur in hospitals, audiologist offices, and doctor offices and these are health arenas. While that is true, indeed, however deafness is not really a health concern, isn't it? Deafness is truly a LANGUAGE concern. Speech is about learning SPOKEN ENGLISH. Aural therapy is about HEARING SPOKEN ENGLISH. ASL is about learning VISUAL LANGUAGE. See the pattern? Nothing about health but language development. Thus anti-AB2072's wanting to move to CDE which was reasonable and proper. Now, does that cost money? I wonder about that...hmmmm.

Additionally, Governor Arnold did another surprising thing...recognizing that the information dissemination under AB2072 was NOT unbiased. Again, Candy and Mike dissented on that, too. Apparently, Governor Arnold, a foreigner, is smarter than them. He could see the blatant biases on that panel. Score one for him!

For the time being, however, it is best that it stays in CDNIAS and that AB2072 is DEAD. No financial flow to the cochlear, audiology, and speech industries.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Growth from Karma?

Several v/bloggers gleefully posted about the most hated vlogger's misfortune of getting arrested recently. I checked and found him in the Lundbergh Correctional Facility in Virginia. They do not reveal information on what charge he was arrested for - only where he is in their facility. His release date is May 2011. The time frame does appear to be a probation violation as some suggested. It does appear that he was arrested previously on an actual charge and violated his probation on that charge which put him back in jail.

Now, most of us know about his irrational fear of the cops. He has vlogged frequently about how we should never, ever, trust cops. He even told us if you have a serious emergency, we still are never to call the cops or 911. He was always telling us that cops are out there to "screw us over."

Interpreting from his messages, I had suspected he had a really bad experience with the cops that scarred or traumatized him, leading to his intense mistrust of cops. Now that I know he was arrested before - who knows how many times? I know of just this one, but recalling from previous blog posts, I believe he was arrested before this one, several years ago - which explains his irrational fear of the cops.

Alejandro Rea, the LA shoplifter who almost lost his life being choked by a security guard; the black deaf man in midwest who was shot to death by the cops when he did not put down his lawn rake in which the cops took as a "weapon"; Carl Dupree, Gallaudet student who was choked to death by Gallaudet's own security guard. The ASL teacher, Doug Bahl, of Minnesota who was pulled over by a cop and sequentially beaten up and jailed without due process. Those are just a few that came to my mind. A deaf person can't help to read all this and start fearing the cops.

He vlogged about each of these bad arrests/interactions with the cops. These case are enough to scare us into mistrusting the cops. For most of us, I think we know to be cautious with cops when we get ourselves in a situation where we have to deal with them. For him, it is an irrational fear.

Now some of the v/bloggers and their commenters stated that they hoped he will come out humbled and changed. That he would learn from the experience.

Sorry, folks. I think not. He will come out and blame the whole thing on the cops and the whole system. That is his way. He won't accept any responsibility or be accountable for his actions. He even might go as far to say he was framed. But will he sue? No. Because deep inside, he knows the truth.

He is the Howard Stern of the deaf blogsphere. He says inflammatory things to get attention including topics about cops. But he knows that half of things he says is not true or at most embellishments.

He will come out with a stubborn upturn of his chin and say, "I am innocent" and then vlog on how the whole thing was the cops' fault. Never mind why he was arrested in the first place or what circumstances led to his arrest. These are not important. It is always the cops' fault.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eh? Ahem. Megan Malzkuhn?

Megan Malzkuhn is a wonderful advocate for the deaf and a staunch activist in opposing the AB 2072. She has vlogged on this issue several times. I am impressed with how she presented information in her vlogs.

My problem with Megan? I cam across this blog with a link to an article that Megan wrote and was published by a publication which apparently have afflictions with Nazi and Israeli Militancy?? This is not to say her article was under scrutiny... it was great, factual, well written, and informative. Why is it published in such a controversial news media?? Did she knowingly allowed it? Did she submit her article to that news media source? The topic of her article had little to do with Nazis or Israeli militants except they are anti-politicians in which Megan's article included - that Senator Mendoza is a sleazy politician with many special interest groups in his pockets. That much is obvious.

I am hoping she submitted it to that news media outlet in hope of other news medias picking up her article. I just wish it wasn't published in that one which people may come to associate deaf people with extremist groups like Nazi or Israeli militants. I realize some situations such as AB2072 call for dramatic measures but is publishing it in such news media a wise move?

I guess we will see....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why Was That Shocking? Moms Exerragate Children's Speaking Skills

Mike McConnell posted that he was bewildered about a mother's refusal to share email or phone contact for her son whose speaking-on-the-phone abilities were bragged to him upon which McConnell wondered whether she exaggerated and wanted to find out for himself. As many of us know, SOME profoundly deaf can speak on the phone that has the volume control feature and most often with familiar people such as family members or people they had spoken with before. This mother insisted her son could "gab" on phone with just anybody....and like McConnell, I also question that claim. But this is not what I am discussing about....

Why is this even surprising? Mothers are always bragging and exaggerating about their deaf children's abilities to speak, especially on the phone, even the deaf parents whose children are deaf. Parents have this tendency to desire to "normalize" and "hearize" their deaf children, and this is as old as time.

I especially liked one commenter who said a CI surgeon was puzzled as to why his patient was upset when he warned her that she may not be able to speak on the phone using CI because he read in her file on her hearing stats and in that range, she wouldn't be able to speak on the phone. He decided to inquire her family and found out she couldn't actually speak or hear on the phone - she only made calls to talk to the person on the other end what she wanted to say and hung up - unquoting this commenter - "like an answering machine." Apparently her parents labeled this as "ability to speak on phone," and gave her that impression.

Hearing parents are often the bane of the deaf's existences. They want so much for us to be like them and will go to lengths to do so. Some commenters said they are profoundly deaf and still could hear and speak on the phone (with volume control, they all emphasized upon) with most people, even strangers. I am still skeptical about that because often the hearing people will not tell truthfully whether they could understand them on the phone. They rather to give the impression they could understand them as to encourage them to continue using the phone. And many deaf also admit not hearing most of the dialogue and filling in the blanks, a skill they developed over time, depriving from life experiences.

The hearing people need to be more truthful as not to give the deaf a false sense of abilities they do not actually have. The ability to speak with family members and some familiar people on phone is already a skill in itself and why isn't that enough? This skill requires dedication and a lot of training. This accomplishment is to be commendable.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DeafNation World Expo: Thumb Down

I went to Las Vegas to attend the DeafNation World Expo thinking it would be an awesome experience. Thousands of deaf people converged to one place from all over the world. It'd be one huge party.

The reality:

The expo itself was just the same as all the local city expos that DeafNation travels to every year. There was nothing special about it with exception that Purple HOVRS had drawings to give away several netbooks. There was also a drawing to win Apple Iphones but that's by registration only without public drawings.

The main hotel was Treasure Island. The nightly social pool party was held in its pool. The guests were required to display either pink pool band or Expo band to get in at certain hours. The first night, I arrived to an insanely long line to enter the pool area. The hallway to the pool area was so congested one cannot navigate through. So I detoured to a bar off the hallway to wait out the line. It never moved. The capacity reached to its limit in the pool area so they closed the doors.

During one afternoon, the pool was open to the public, I walked in and was surprised to see a rather small pool area. What was DeafNation thinking using this pool area for nightly social party when they knew to expect THOUSANDS of us coming??

Granted, DeafNation selected Treasure Island as the headquarters hotel for its prime location and the connecting bridge to Venetian which also had a connecting building to Sands Convention Center where the Expo was held. HOWEVER, they should have had made VENETIAN the headquarter hotel because it had a bigger pool - three or four times the size of the pool at Treasure Island hotel. My guess is DeafNation did not select Venetian due to its pricey room rates. Despite that, they could have negotiated with Venetian to use its pool instead of Treasure Island by perhaps asking for room rate discounts for DeafNation guests to match the rates at Treasure Island.

Had they done that, most of us would be able to get into the pool party and have had a better time than standing and sweltering in a hot hallway in a line.

There were many special events which catered to a limited and certain people or by invitations only. Most workshops took place only in the first two or three days so those who arrived later in the week missed out on those. I think DeafNation could do better by scheduling the workshops throughout the week such as two times a week for one workshop, perhaps Tuesday and Thursday, so people who arrived later in the week could attend the Thursday workshop. I arrived on Wednesday, for instance. The keynote speakers also were scheduled to speak only an hour on one day of the week. Of course, I missed them all. They all were scheduled around 11 AM to noon. Many guests stayed up until wee hours of the morning and slept in late in the morning. They could do better by moving the keynote speakers to later in the day.

Many guests wanted to watch Blue Men performance. Guess what? There was no discount for the tickets. DeafNation could do better by negotiating with the concierge to give discounts for the DeafNation guests. They did for Cirque du Soliel's Mystere - 20% off which was not that much but indeed "better than nothing." I know Blue Men DO give discounts because I know as several of my friends who went to LV for a wedding got $12 tickets for Blue Men through the concierge. Cirque du Soliel is not everyone's cup of tea....more people would prefer Blue Men, so I wonder why DeafNation negotiated discounted tickets for Mystere and not Blue Men. Go figure.

There were also no discounts for Stratosphere and other featured tourism in LV.

So what most of the guests did? Of course, converge to Treasure Island and talk in their hallways and casinos. That was basically it. Guests walked into the bars to buy drinks and wandered through the hallways drunk. That was all they could do or afford to do. There were MANY underage young adults there who were DRUNK. Needlessly to say, they had their legit friends supply them with drinks. Ugh! How fun do you think it was to be in crowded hallways with drunken kids?

Many found the experience to be "fun" perhaps because they had never been to anyplace where the deaf was the majority as it was at Treasure Island. Everyone signed and monopolized nearly all the free space.

Hey, that'd sort be like being at Gallaudet. If anyone had gone to Gallaudet or NTID, they missed nothing at LV.

I did not attend the Deaf Universe Pageant as I don't care for it, however, I was told by those who attended that they were not impressed as they observed that the contestants did not appear prepared or composed to compete. Miss France won, by the way. I also did not attend the Friday social party at Mandalay Bay hotel of which I apparently did not miss out on as I was told it was too dark, crowded, and did not have enough tables for everyone - a waste of $20. Again, DeafNation missed the boat on the capacity.

While at a buffet, I passed a table seated by DeafNation people...they talked without signing. They were surrounded by mostly deaf and ASL users at that buffet. How rude was that? I learned that most of the DeafNation people were CODAs. No wonder they spoke, but they knew better. They should know it is taboo to speak without signing when in presence of deaf people - even in a public buffet.

So what did I enjoy at LV? Seeing some old friends, of course. I also missed MANY because of the sheer number of DeafNation guests. I saw pictures of those I missed seeing in pictures on Facebook. Sigh! Watching Mystere was an enjoyable 90-minute experience. But hey, I got to see it only once. The casinos were not nice to me - I lost money. But that's gambling for you. It was to be expected and I enjoyed the anticipation of winning money for a short while. I loved my hotel room - it was a double suite with its own mini kitchen, bathroom and TV - total privacy. Two complete suites for my friends and myself shared by a connecting kitchen and living room. It had a washing machine so I brought clean clothes home rather than the traditional smelly laundry bag. It had nice sofas for lounging which I did a bit due to excessive walking.

Overall, the Expo and its events earned a thumb-down from me. My hotel earned a thumb- up.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My God. That's Going Too Far.

Mike McConnell posted an entry claiming that Deafhood is classified as an extremist group and lumped it with the likes of Church of Scientology according to Wikipedia, an internet source where anyone can enter a post on a topic or make revisions, hence often unreliable as a source.

Linda decided to play detective. Here is what she found:

Editing to "Extremist Groups" Wikipedia page was done under the IP address

Full-screen IP-Adresse:
Provider: Time Warner Telecom
Organisation: Valley Telephone Coop - Tucson
Region: Cochise (US)

Cochise, AZ, is the suburb of Tucson where Barry Sewell lives.

That is going too far, Barry. You entered this basely solely on your personal opinion on Deafhood. You are trying to spread misinformation to the general public. This is not based on fact. Wikipedia is supposed to be a factual (at least, as close as possible) source, not a personal opinion of a person hellbent on discrediting a certain group of people.

Barry IS entitled to his opinion that Deafhood is a cult, that it is full of nonsense, that people who support the ideology are extremists. In fact, it is perfectly okay. However, in this case, it is going too far. Barry even said "it was fun." Literally a confession.

One MUST respect the beliefs and opinions of others without going all-out to discredit or harm the reputations of others. Is this not a free country? Last I knew, it is. If Barry truly believes Deafhood is a cult, then he ought to stay out and keep out.

WHAT did Deafhood ever do to Barry or Mike McConnell for that matter? Oh yes, I forgot. Barry once upon a time supported DBC and was on the board. They removed him for political reason. Barry became bitter. Now he is doing his damnedest to discredit the people who rejected him from DBC.

It is time to move on. It's been 3 years now. It is a well known fact you loathe DBC. We get it. Ok?

As for Mike McConnell entering that post - one has to wonder if he was in the cahoots with Barry or did he swallow a big fish when he saw the entry on Wikipedia and excitedly published it? It is the best policy to check your sources or for facts before you do anything, Mike.

Profound thanks to Linda for her suspicious nature. She smelled a rat and dug it out.

Deafhood people can go into Wikipedia and revise the entry Barry made. Please do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rogue Bloggers Backpedaling On AB2072

Sheesh! The rogue bloggers are trying hard to put wool over our eyes AGAIN. They claim that the opponents of AB2072 didn't win because they wanted the bill KILLED and that did not happen therefore there is no victory.

Any logic in this??

The opponents has always been about biases in this bill and the source of information being from audiologist. Senator Mendoza, THEIR hero, actually overthrew the original bill and REWROTE it. This new bill was presented to the Deaf group who was actively involved with AB2072 to review it. This group gave them 3 DEMANDS to be amended to the NEW bill. View David Eberwein and Ella Mae's vlogs for in-depth recaps. These 3 demands are what WE wanted.

1. Monitor system - who oversees the program?
2. ASL
3. No audiologist

Those 3 demands were ACCEPTED and amended to the bill.

We managed to get Mendoza to re-write the bill in our favor. Mendoza was the one who got the health committee to accept the 3 demands amended WITHOUT requesting for extension to discuss the amendments and immediately put AB2072 on floor for vote.

The table flipped against the rogue bloggers' favor, actually. Mendoza, their hero, did a 360 turnaround. Romero, who was OUR hero, voted against the bill on her own integrity of her own principle as a supporter of the deaf. I believe had she have the time to discuss with the deaf group, she would have voted in favor once she knew they were in favor of those 3 demands.

Ella was not exactly thrilled. Really, there is no bill that will fully satisfy everyone. There is always compromise and give/take situation when it comes to politics. I do wish Ella is content with what we can get.

So, rogue bloggers, enough already.