Recommended Reading for December 16

* The Big Picture’s 2009 in Photos [click through for much larger image]:

wheelchair on the beach

caption: An empty wheelchair belonging to quadriplegic Patrick Ivison, 15, sits idle on the beach while Ivison, his mother, and friends prepare for another surf ride at the Cardiff State Beach in San Diego, California on October 6th, 2009. The photo has the focus on the empty chair at the edge of the beach, with people in the waves, some standing, one on a board. The people are out of focus so you can’t see anyone distinctly. There is scattered seaweed in the wet sand.

* very filled with dreams: “yeah so this got too long for a quote post

[…] i guess i am saying that there’s a limit to how actually subversive a blonde skinny white pop star can be. that isn’t a reflection on gaga (or any other blonde skinny white pop star) herself at all – it’s a reflection on a culture that marks some bodies as acceptable and some bodies as inescapably transgressive. for gaga, the grotesque is a costume, an act.

* ABC News: Minister grilled over disability accommodation

ACT Disability Minister Joy Burch has been grilled over the treatment of disabled people who are stuck in hospital while the department tries to provide supported accommodation.

The ACT Liberals have used an Assembly committee hearing to highlight the case of one woman who has been in a Canberra Hospital bed for nearly three years.

* Ireland On-Line: Cowen rejects call for reversal of budget cuts on carers

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has rejected opposition calls for the budget cuts on the blind, the disabled and carers to be reversed.

Mr Cowen said the Government has to create a sustainable social welfare system next year.