The entries on this site are organized by category and date. These are the entries made in 2012. Content is posted within each category in chronological order, with the most recent entries first. For a complete list of categories and sub-categories on this site, visit the categories page. You may also find content by using the search feature or the site map. Consult the archives for content organized by date and title.
Senator Kerry was eloquent. 89-year old Bob Dole emailed from Walter Reid hospital and made it to the Senate floor to urge a yes vote. Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng wrote a supporting letter. Veterans, disability and civil rights group lobbied, tweeted, and organized. But it wasn’t enough. On December 4, at 9:29 a.m., thirty eight Republican Senators voted against the United Nations Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities (#CRPD). Thirty eight votes is all it took to deprive the majority of the 2/3 vote needed to ratify a basic human rights treaty already approved by over 120 countries around the world. Yesterday at 9:29 a.m. human rights lost. The victors, to quote the New York Times, were “purveyors of paranoid politics.”
On Tuesday December 4th, the United States Senate can join over 120 other countries and ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Supporters of the treaty span almost the entire political spectrum – President Obama, Senate Democrats, the U.S. disability community, 21 faith organizations, 30 veteran organizations, movie critic Roger Ebert, and the U.S Chamber of Commerce and former president George HW Bush, to name just a few.
Who’s missing? The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Led by Rick Santorum and Tea Party front group Patriot Voice, the far right threatens to derail years of work by human and civil rights activists around the world. The CRPD vote will be a showdown between Tea Party activists and those who believe people with disabilities around the world deserve education, employment, and basic human and civil rights.
CINEMARK ANNOUNCES GREATER MOVIE THEATRE ACCESSIBILITY FOR CUSTOMERS WHO ARE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED
September 27, 2012 - Plano, Texas Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors, today announced that it is providing an audio description option for people who are blind or have visual impairments in all of its first-run theatres. Cinemark is installing audio description systems on a rolling basis across its circuit in conjunction with the chain’s conversion to an all-digital format. Installation is already well under way, and all of Cinemark’s theaters in California already have audio description capability. Cinemark will be able to offer audio description at all of its first-run theaters by mid 2013.
The settlement agreement posted here is a result of Structured Negotiations between the California Council of the Blind, Cinemark patrons with visual impairments, and Cinemark, a leading domestic and international motion picture exhibitor. Linda Dardarian, of the Oakland, California civil rights firm Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen and Dardarian, and the Law Office of Lainey Feingold worked with the blind community on this initiative.
Audio Description provides vocal description of key visual aspects of a movie, such as descriptions of scenery, facial expressions, costumes, action settings, and scene changes, described audibly during natural pauses in dialogue or critical sound elements. Narration of these elements is then woven into the soundtrack of the program or film, so that the finished version is a mix of program audio and descriptive narration. The description, which is provided by movie studios, is available only to members of the audience who choose to receive it via personal headsets and a receiver provided at the theater.
The article posted here about NCR’s Talking ATMs in India first appeared in the Hindu Business Line. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold, and Linda Dardarian, first engaged with NCR in the mid-1990’s as the Talking ATM initiative was getting underway in the United States. This story about NCR’s Talking (and solar-powered!) ATMs demonstrates yet again that accessibility is an international issue. Accessible technology that starts in one country is bound to make its way around the world. The technology corporations are global, advocacy needs to be too. Blind advocates are not mentioned in the story below, but no doubt they played an important role in efforts to bring independent access to financial services to India.
Those who believe that web content should be available to everyone regardless of disability received welcomed news on Tuesday, June 19. On that day, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to web-only businesses. The ruling came in a case brought by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) against Netflix for the streaming video giant’s faiure to provide closed captioning on most of its “Watch Instantly” programming streamed on the Internet.
Netflix had tried to get the case thrown out of court, arguing that the ADA only applies to physical places, and not to a web-only operation like Netflix’ streaming video service. The Judge rejected this argument, and the case will now move forward. The U.S. Department of Justice also played a significant role by entering the case in support of the plaintiffs’ position.