People Pusher Beliefs

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King

Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. - John F. Kennedy

Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake. - Henry David Thoreau

The Mission of the People Pusher

It's about the people, stupid.

That's a campaign slogan I wish someone had adopted. In our world today, so much is focused on "platforms" and ideology that is not about the people. The People Pusher wants you to think about that.

At the end of everyone's life, what are they thinking about? Some are seeking redemption for the things they know they did that were "bad." Others are thinking "did I leave my mark on the world?" Still others haven't figured out yet that you can't take the bank account, high profile career, McMansion, or any of that with you.

In the end, the hope is that we are all thinking about who was loved, who we helped, and how we behaved in the community of humanity.

This blog is focused on people issues. And the mission of the People Pusher is that you will think about the people, too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Disability Advocates Respond to Palin's Disability Plan

Breaking news...

As advocates for, and parents of, children with disabilities, we appreciate the visibility that Governor Sarah Palin has brought to our community. We understand that it will take strong leadership to build a world free of unnecessary barriers and discrimination for people with disabilities.

However, falsely attacking Senator Barack Obama's policies and unfairly suggesting that they will hurt families who have children with disabilitiesis not leadership. It is nothing more than an attempt to divide people and exploit a serious issue for political purposes. Senator Obama has a comprehensive plan to support people with disabilitiesand their families. His plan will provide all Americans with disabilities the educational opportunities they need to succeed, end discrimination andpromote equal opportunity, increase the employment rate of workers withdisabilities and support independent, community-based living for people withdisabilities. And Obama has a strong record of support for policies and programs that support families who have children with disabilities, including full funding and enforcement for the Individuals with DisabilitiesEducation Act, early intervention and developmental programs and expanded college opportunities for students with disabilities. He has also championed legislation that would allow individuals to make their own choices for living arrangements, and supports strengthening our health caresystem, lowering costs and shoring up the solvency of the Medicaid program. Whether it's his work to pass a bill providing mental health parity in the state of Illinois or his advocacy on behalf of veterans with disabilities inthe U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has demonstrated a commitment throughout his career to ensuring that people with disabilities live lives free of barriers, stereotypes, and discrimination.

This commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities has been on display from the beginning of this campaign. Over the course of this 22-month campaign, Senator Obama has laid out his comprehensive Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities: (a plan thatdevoted substantial attention to children with disabilities), established an interactive website on disability policy issues and another to fostergrassroots organization among people with disabilities:,
held a national conference call with members of Congress and disability advocates:,
and recorded a video message outlining his plans for the community:
to ensure that all Americans with disabilities have full and equal access to the American dream. He took these steps precisely because empowering Americans with disabilities - particularly children - will be a priority in an Obama-Biden administration. And that's why leading disability rights advocates, both Republicans and Democrats, like Tony Coelho, Ollie Cantos, Marca Bristo, and Bob Kafka have endorsed his campaign. We must come together in order to make progress on these critical issues and we must not be distracted by untrue political attacks. We are heartened that Governor Palin has committed to be a leader for families who havechildren with disabilities if elected, but believe these false, divisiveattacks do little to support people with disabilities.

Polly Arango, Co-Founder, Family Voices
Hon. Loranne Ausley, Florida House of Representatives
Marca Bristo, Executive Director, Access Living
Ollie Cantos
David F. Chermol, Former Special Assistant United States Attorney for SSA
Tony Coelho, Former Majority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives
David Ferleger, Disability Rights Attorney
Bob Kafka
Paul K. Longmore, Professor of History and Director of the Institute onDisability at San Francisco State University
John G. Pari, Jr., Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives, NationalFederation of the Blind
Harold Pollack, Faculty Chair, Center for Health Administration Studies and Associate Professor of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
Jeff Rosen, General Counsel
Marcie Roth, Executive Director, National Coalition for Disability Rights
Sue Swenson
Katherine D. Seelman, Ph.D., former U.S. Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
Lucy C. Spruill
Dr. Ann Turnbull, Co-Director of the Beach Center on Disability at theUniversity of Kansas
Dr. Rud Turnbull, Co-Director of the Beach Center on Disability at theUniversity of Kansas
Jonathan Young

Palin Disability Plan Update

Almost as if she read my mind, Sarah Palin today announced her new plan for children with disabilities. Here are two articles about her 4 point plan:
Palin outlines plans for special needs children

The problem is this: 3 out of 4 of her plan points are already in the 8-page Obama plan:
Obama's Plan
and have been since he put out his plan months and months ago.

Here's the big problem with her school choice proposal, as noted in the MSNBC article:
"McCain senior policy advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin said the plan would not mandate private or parochial schools to accommodate children with special needs."

Private schools do not have to accept kids with disabilities - and many don't. So even with a voucher in hand, parents will get turned away. How do I know that? Because I tried to get my own son into several private schools - some of them were parochial schools - and I was willing to pay out of pocket. They said they couldn't handle him. So this is just another case of "that sounds pretty."

Obama's plan covers so much more than Palin's plan including mental health parity, Medicaid Waivers, and more. I particularly like the concept of the government hiring more people with disabilities-which brings them stable jobs with great benefits.

It is clear that Obama was thinking about people with disabilities long before Sarah Palin ever came on the scene to claim her "special" place on this issue. The playing field is not leveled by Palin's new plan - a plan which is coming just days before the election.

Sarah Palin: What the Puck?

Sarah Palin swept into Colorado recently and decided to weigh in against Colorado's solution to ending decade-long waiting lists in Colorado for kids like her son, Trigg through Amendment 51.

Read the story

I just have to say to this hockey mom: what the puck?

Well, the truth is Sarah Palin, because of her wealth, will never need to use Medicaid waiver services for her son - so why should anyone else? Right? If it can be done in Alaska (where, by the way they DO have a waiting list!), why not Colorado? After all, who on earth would have thought of trying to find that funding some other way in Colorado when we didn't have Sarah Palin, "the knower of all things disability," and the "expert" on balancing state budgets?

Somehow, even without her highness, people actually thought of that before she ever arrived. Parents and advocates went to the legislature. All last summer the legislature worked in an Interim committee to figure this out. They tried hard, and some bills that improved the lives of people with disabilities went through - but not the funding to end the waiting lists because there is NO MONEY.

You have to understand that Colorado has the Taxpayers Bill of Rights - which prevents the state from keeping excess revenue. You have to understand that our state budget has extremely limited discretionary funds. People who do this work know this.

The question remains: exactly what is Sarah Palin proposing to do for people with disabilities anyway? Or is it enough for her to say she is our "friend?" Readers, you need to know I have dug into this issue very far. I have actively sought information from the McCain campaign about their disability policy and what Sarah Palin is proposing.

It does not exist.

I am personally insulted that she gets to wave her son around as a flag representing all of us parents of kids with disabilities. She is no friend to us.