Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Friday, November 14, 2003
Year IV, Edition 176

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 29 more news items.

"To me, it's always much better to paint with a wider palette. And it's more truthful, too."

--Robert David Hall, who plays medical examiner Dr. Al Robbins on the crime drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", talking about casting actors with disabilities in television and movie roles. Hall and Robbins do not hide the fact that they are double-amputees (Fourth story)

"My hope is that we can move to a place where we don't, with a speed that's a little worrisome, move to starve someone to death."
--Florida Governor Jeb Bush, explaining why he continues to fight for Terri Schiavo's right to continue living (Second story)



Delta Is Tenth Air Carrier To Be Fined For Violating Federal Access Law

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2003

ATLANTA, GEORGIA--Delta Air Lines has agreed to pay a penalty of $1.35 million for discriminating against passengers that use wheelchairs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation assessed the fine based on the airline's failure to provide wheelchairs in some cases, to respond quickly to help passengers with disabilities, to keep passengers from being stranded on planes or in wheelchairs for extended periods.

The Atlanta-based carrier is the tenth airline since March of this year to be fined by the department for violating the 1986 Air Carrier Access Act.

Like the other carriers, Delta can keep from paying most of the fine by investing it in better service for passengers with disabilities. If Delta spends at least $1.25 million to improve services, and reduces the number of complaints from passengers, it will only have to pay a $100,000 fine.

A Delta spokesman said that the airline plans to spend $2 million on a computer training system to make employees and airport contractors more familiar with the federal law.

The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to help passengers on and off planes, to have space reserved on the planes to stow wheelchairs, and to promptly deal with complaints.

Related resource:
"Information for the Air Traveler with a Disability" (Federal Aviation Administration Office of Civil Rights)



Judge Sides With Michael Schiavo On Bush Request

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--A circuit court judge on Friday rejected Governor Jeb Bush's request to throw out a lawsuit by Michael Schiavo on the grounds that the suit was not filed properly.

Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird ordered the governor's attorneys to submit a brief by this coming Monday defending the constitutionality of "Terri's Law", which gave Bush the authority to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, six days after it had been removed under court order.

Michael Schiavo's attorneys, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed the suit against the governor the same day, claiming the legislature and the governor overstepped their legal bounds by passing the law which was written specifically to save Terri's life.

Bush's attorneys had asked for Mr. Schiavo's suit to be thrown out because the governor was not properly served papers in the case, and because the suit was not filed in the county where Bush lives.

Judge Baird said the governor's delays are violating Terri's right to privacy.

Bush's attorneys then filed a new round of appeals to the 2nd District Court of Appeal to reverse Baird's ruling.

Also on Friday, the governor met with Dr. Jay Wolfson, director of the Florida Health Information Center at the University of South Florida, who was appointed as an independent guardian to represent Terri's legal interests.

Bush said Wolfson asked him not to describe the conversation, but told reporters that he believed Wolfson understood everyone's concerns and was acting on Terri's behalf.

Terri Schiavo's case has been watched closely by disability rights advocates for several years. Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from an apparent heart attack in February 1990 at age 26. The courts have supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live. A local judge ordered doctors to remove the gastronomy tube that provides Terri with food and water on October 15.

Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, believe that she is alert and responsive and that she might improve with rehabilitative therapies that Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They also suspect that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry another woman with whom he has fathered two children, and so he can benefit from what's left of an insurance settlement that now pays for her treatment.

The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging, Governor Bush championed the bill that gave him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, and to appoint an independent guardian to review her situation and provide the governor with recommendations.

"Feminists for Life is the only feminist group to object to Michael's nearly total control over his wife's destiny," wrote Rosemary Oelrich Bottcher in Thursday's National Review. "Regardless of one's opinion about what course of action is in Terri's best interest, the courts' given Michael such unfettered control ought to be a cause for concern."

"Judge says case of brain-damaged woman can proceed" (Associated Press via Bradenton Herald)
"'In Sickness'; The unfettered right to love, honor, and pull the plug" by Rosemary Oelrich Bottcher (National Review)
IDE Archives "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live"
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



Actors Work To Change Perceptions About Down Syndrome

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2003

MOSCOW, RUSSIA--The Russian government is not counting, but some groups estimate that around 2,000 babies are born with Down syndrome each year in the country. At least 80 percent are taken immediately to state institutions.

Organizations such as Downside Up are working to change the attitudes that Russians have about people with Down syndrome. The charity is educating members of the community -- especially doctors -- to dispel myths about the disability. Many people in Russia still believe, for instance, that children are born with Down syndrome as a punishment for their parents' poor behavior, such as alcoholism.

"I think it's our mentality, I mean the soviet mentality, to get rid of the problem," Downside Up's Irina Menshenina told the BBC News. "To pretend there is no need, that there are no people with disabilities that need special care and special attention."

To prove that the public perceptions of them are not true, a group of actors with Down syndrome have taken to the stage in a production of "The Tale of Capt. Kopeikin."

Inclusion Daily Express included a Washington Post story about that stage production in April 2000.

"Challenging drama in Russia" (BBC News)
"In Russia, 'Unteachable' Take Center Stage" (Washington Post -- April 19, 2000)



"'CSI' Star, An Amputee, Looks For Truth"

November 14, 2003

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--The following paragraphs are excerpts from a story that ran Thursday on

It's the corpses and not the medical examiner's crutch that get attention on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

That's just the way Robert David Hall, who plays Dr. Al Robbins, likes it.

Hall, a double amputee fitted with prosthetic legs, wants to see more disabled characters on-screen as a matter-of-fact part of life.

He compares casting the disabled in television and movies to using a 64-crayon box instead of one with a fraction of the choices.

"To me, it's always much better to paint with a wider palette. And it's more truthful, too," he said. The actor, 55, joined TV's top-rated series early in its first season in 2000 and has been a regular since.

"'CSI' star, an amputee, looks for truth" (CNN)



Group Concerned About Placement Of Hoardings Along Streets

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2003

DERBY, ENGLAND--A disability rights group is questioning the city council's decision to erect a number of billboards along city streets.

The seven-foot tall wooden billboards, called "hoardings", have been built by the city to give legitimate advertisers a place to post flyers.

Members of the British Council of Disabled People, however, are concerned that the hoardings restrict access and present a safety hazard for people with disabilities, especially blind people.

"It is going to take away people's access and that will affect a lot of people," the Council's Janet Seymour Curke told the BBC News.

The Derby City Council pointed out Friday that the hoardings are temporary at this point, and that the city will take into account people's views before deciding where to install them in the future.



Americans with Disabilities Act / Olmstead Decision (Center for Medicaid and State Operations)

In July 1999, the Supreme Court issued the Olmstead v. L. C. decision. The Court's decision in that case clearly challenges Federal, state, and local governments to develop more opportunities for individuals with disabilities through more accessible systems of cost-effective community-based services.

The Olmstead decision interpreted Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its implementing regulation, requiring States to administer their services, programs, and activities "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities."


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- Two years ago:


Person-Centered Approach Will Guide Transition to Community
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 14, 2000

LIMERICK, IRELAND--An official with the Mid-Western Health Board announced on Friday that plans are being drawn up to provide a "continuous life-cycle model of support" for people with intellectual (developmental) disabilities, while the nation closes institutions.

Mr. Ger Crowley, assistant chief executive, said the five-year plan involves increasing community supports and includes using "person-centered" services to help transfer people out of institutions and into the community.

"Current thinking favors the model that encompasses support in group homes or in individually-managed accommodation as the ideal form of provision," Crowley explained to the board. He added that supports need to be in place for children to experience an inclusive education. "Children with an intellectual disability should ideally be integrated into mainstream preschools," he said.

While the announcement is a clear indication of a move toward individualized, community-based supports for people who are "inappropriately institutionalized", one statement from Crowley would suggest that there are no plans are to eliminate institutions altogether. "Where home and community services are insufficient or no longer sufficient to meet assessed needs, campus-based services are provided," he told the Irish Times.


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