In a World Run by Algorithms, Weirdness Is Our Best Weapon

By Douglas Rushkoff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

How anomalous behavior defeats the systems of social control.

The easiest way to break free of simulation is to recognize the charade and stop following the rules of the game.

No, cheating doesn’t count. Illegal insider trades and performance-enhancing drugs simply prove how far people are willing to go to win. If anything, cheating reinforces the stakes and reality of the game.

Transcending the game altogether means becoming a spoilsport — someone who refuses to acknowledge the playing field, the rules of engagement, or the value of winning. (Why win, anyway, if it’s only going to end the game?) In certain non-Western cultures, the spoilsport is the shaman, who lives apart from the tribe in order to see the larger patterns and connections. In a world where a person’s success is measured by career achievements, the spoilsport is the one willing to sacrifice commercial reward for social good. In a middle school where social media likes are the metric of popularity, the spoilsport is the kid who deletes the app or chooses not to own a phone at all. The spoilsport takes actions that make no sense within the logic of the game.

Such anomalous behavior challenges convention, breaks the conspiracy of conformity, and stumps the algorithms. A.I.s and other enforcers of social control can’t follow what they can’t categorize. Weirdness is power, dissolving false binaries and celebrating the full spectrum of possibility. Eccentricity opens the gray area where mutations develop and innovations are born.

We can assert our uniquely human sides through things like humor and pranks, music and magic — none of which can be appreciated or even understood by machines or markets. 

Authentic Disability Representation in the Movie “Run”

By Kris McElroy: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Disability representation matters and has been a long-time advocacy issue in the film industry, as actors without disabilities are far too often cast for roles of characters with a disability. As a person with multiple disabilities, I get excited when I see different disabilities represented in the media.

One of the first things I do is look up online if the actor playing the part has a disability in real life. If I find out they do, my excitement grows. If I find out they don’t, which happens a lot, I feel disappointed and unseen. I followed this same process when I first saw the preview for the film, Run, which starred a wheelchair user. I was ecstatic to find out that the emerging actor, Kiera Allen, was a wheelchair user in real life like me. At that moment, I set my alarm for the Hulu premiere on Nov. 20, 2020.

Run is directed by Aneesh Chaganty and written by Chaganty and Sev Ohanian. Kiera Allen stars as the main character, Chloe, a homeschooled teenager who begins to suspect her mother, Diane Sherman, played by Sarah Paulson, is keeping a dark secret from her. As a viewer, I experienced the film as a drama/horror/thriller movie about the relationship between a mother and a daughter covering topics such as disability, mental illness, trauma and grief.

Lawmakers Introduce Federal Legislation To Prevent Organ Transplant Discrimination

From The National Down Syndrome Society: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, applauds the introduction of the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act to uphold the rights of qualified organ transplant candidates who have a disability.

Introduced by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Katie Porter (D-CA), the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their disability when seeking an organ transplant. This legislation would uphold and enforce rights established in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“Despite federal protections, people with physical and intellectual disabilities are barred from receiving a life-saving organ in many states. This discrimination is a violation of their basic human rights,” said NDSS Director of Government Relations Ashley Helsing. “Passage of the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act will save countless lives of people in dire need of transplants.”

If passed, the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act will ensure that a person’s capacity to comply with post-transplant treatment requirements is not a significant reason to deny them a transplant procedure. Furthermore, this bill requires that health care providers make policies, practices and procedures accessible to qualified recipients with disabilities.

Rural Community Living Development CIL Partners Share Thoughts on Ongoing Project and Peer-Mentoring Curriculum

From RTC:Rural: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer-mentoring training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. This training will help CIL staff to identify community needs and develop sustainable groups to solve community challenges. The project’s aim is to help CILs across the country connect with community partners to better serve people in rural communities.

In October 2020, RTC:Rural Project Director Rayna Sage presented on RCLD progress-to-date to attendees of the 2020 APRIL Conference as part of a talk on “Strategies for Rural Outreach and Networking,” where she explained how the project shifted due to the current pandemic.

“We planned on being in a community, actually in a number of communities, to use community development strategies like coalition building and partnering with diverse groups to address issues around community living for people with disabilities – but COVID – so we shifted gears,” Sage said. “So we shifted gears to bring together a team, a development team, from across the U.S. to build this Peer-to-Peer Mentoring curriculum.”

We spoke to several of our partners about their thoughts at this stage of the project:

CIL partners from across the United States join weekly brainstorm video conference calls with RTC:Rural staff on curriculum content topics ranging from outreach strategies to community values. Partners bring Independent Living (IL) feedback from different communities, and also collect thoughts from stakeholder groups – such as IL consumers, the mental health community, and various service providers – to bring various perspectives into the developing materials.

Direct Care Workers on the Frontline of COVID-19

BY ARIELLE ALTMAN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, direct care workers have been on the frontline of this crisis, ensuring that older adults and people with disabilities—two of the most at-risk populations of COVID-19 complications—receive the services they need to manage this crisis.

Yet the persistent lack of poor job quality in direct care has meant that these workers have been risking their health in jobs with limited compensation, training, or other job supports to keep them safe. Our recent report—Would You Stay? Rethinking Direct Care Job Quality—examines how this pandemic reinforced and amplified the longstanding challenges facing these workers. In late October, PHI introduced a new framework for improving job quality in this workforce.

As part of The Direct Care Worker Story Project, PHI has been interviewing workers throughout the country about their experiences with COVID-19—what they are witnessing on the job, their fears and needs, and how this sector should be supported through this troubling moment and beyond. The following stories address these points. We hope they inform how policymakers and industry leaders support this essential workforce in the months and years ahead.

NCIL Mourns the Loss of Stanley Holbrook

From NCIL: For Complete Post, Click Here…

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Stanley Holbrook. Stan passed away last week on Thursday, December 17.

Stan was tireless advocate for disability rights and racial justice, and a longtime leader in the Independent Living Movement. He served on the NCIL Board for 14 years, including serving as the Diversity Chair and being instrumental in the development of NCIL’s diversity initiatives.

Sarah Launderville, NCIL’s President and long-time friend of Stan, said: “Stan was a man of honor. He gave of himself to make our movement stronger and was a trailblazer. He will be missed deeply.”

Until his passing, Stan was the owner of S. A. Holbrook and Associates, a management consulting firm offering organizational development, diversity and inclusion training, strategic planning, and capacity building training. He previously served as President and CEO of Three Rivers CIL in Pittsburgh, Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, and President of the Pennsylvania Council for Independent Living (PCIL). He also served on the board for the American Society of Aging, was a representative for the Network of Multicultural Agencies (NOMA), and served as a delegate on the White House Conference on Aging.

Stan trained and presented widely on the intersections of race and disability, including numerous trainings with NCIL, the IL-NET, ILRU’s Disability, Diversity and Intersectionality program, and presenting at a disability-oriented “Civil Rights in America” event at the White House.

Kelly Buckland, NCIL’s Executive Director, said: “Stan was an incredible leader and just a wonderful human being! Our movement and our society are greatly diminished by his passing. He will definitely be missed!”


By Brian Knappenberger: For Complete Post, Click Here…

ON NOVEMBER 16, the U.S. passed a milestone: the end of a window of less than nine months in which nearly 92,700 people came forward with shocking sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America. By way of comparison, in the last 15 years there have been some 15,000 credible child sex abuse allegations reported against the Catholic Church.

The allegations of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts include highly violent attacks. More than half of the claimants, according to Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has spent years representing victims of child sexual abuse, described behavior that would constitute a Class A felony — “the most serious child sex offenses,” Kosnoff said. Cover-ups by Scout officials were frequent. Instead of informing authorities, the officials told the subjects of the allegations to quietly leave the organization. Many went on to join other troops, only to face more allegations of child abuse. The young people targeted by abuse were often told by Scouting officials not to tell their parents.

There are few historical comparisons to the large-scale moral and ethical failure of the Boy Scouts organization. Arriving at our present moment — which in some ways has begun a process of healing — has not been easy.

Take the case of Adam Steed, a young man I met while directing the short film “Church and the Fourth Estate,” and the journalist Peter Zuckerman. Theirs is a tale of a long struggle for accountability, a protracted battle against the massively influential forces of the Boy Scouts, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and monied interests that went to great lengths to defend those institutions. Ultimately, it became a story of grave abuses, a story about getting a public hearing about those abuses, and about the freedom of the press to report on a massive string of alleged crimes against powerful interests.

163. Ten things you didn’t know about nursing home care plans

From The Nursing Home Abuse Podcast: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Care plans are required for every nursing home resident. Care plans are the blueprint for care and treatment. But what else? In this week’s episode, we shine the light on ten things you might not know about nursing home care plans.

Law banning “rental” fees for customer-owned routers takes effect Sunday

By Jon Brodkin: For Complete Post, Click Here…

New law also targets hidden cable-TV fees and lets users cancel without penalty.

Broadband and TV providers will finally be required to stop charging “rental” fees for equipment that customers own themselves, thanks to a new US law that takes effect on Sunday.

The bogus fees were outlawed by the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA), which was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2019. The law was originally scheduled to take effect on June 20, but Congress gave the Federal Communications Commission leeway to delay enforcement by six months if the FCC “finds that good cause exists for such an additional extension.”

The FCC in April granted the six-month delay to ISPs, claiming that providers needed more time to comply because of the coronavirus pandemic. That decision delayed implementation of the new requirements until December 20, 2020.

Frontier must finally stop bogus charge

The change is good news for customers of Frontier Communications, which has insisted on charging $10 rental fees to customers who use their own routers. As we wrote in July 2019, Frontier claimed it charges the fee to cover higher support costs for customers who use their own equipment. But Frontier said at the same time that it “cannot support or repair non-Frontier equipment,” contradicting its own justification for charging the fee.

Frontier took advantage of the six-month delay, telling Ars in June that it would “comply with the requirements when the law goes into effect” in December. Unlike Frontier, other major ISPs such as Comcast let customers avoid rental fees when they use their own routers.

Hearing Loss and Cognition: The Role of Hearing Aids, Social Isolation and Depression

From Young Investigators Review: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Cognitive impairment includes problems with memory, having trouble with learning new tasks, concentrating or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment, in the sense of, loss of memory, language and problem solving. Both conditions can limit an individual’s function and interfere with their daily lifestyle. Poor cognitive performance and dementia have a significant impact and financial burden on the individual, the individual’s caregivers, and society.

However, in a  study done by researchers at various institutions in the UK and the US, it was found that preventive measures of hearing loss may prevent poor cognitive performance and dementia.

Hearing aids may help prevent/reduce this decline in cognitive impairment but this is not because having a hearing aid reduces social isolation and depression. The purpose of this study was to examine the cognitive performance of individuals who use hearing aids and determine whether  there is a correlation between social isolation and/or depression. The researchers hypothesized that cognitive performance improves with hearing aids but does not reflect positive results related to social isolation and depression.