Recommended Reading for December 31

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Action Item for Europeans: European Network on Independent Living: Free Our People Now! Signature Campaign

Across Europe, thousands of disabled people still spend their lives inappropriately and unjustifiably segregated from society. With a severe lack, or complete absence, of community-based services in many European countries, untold numbers of people with disabilities have no access to quality alternatives to institutional care.

The segregation of people with disabilities in long-stay residential institutions is in itself a violation of disabled people’s human rights.

meloukhia at this ain’t livin’: Whedon’s Brunettes

It’s not enough that the Disturbed Brunette be fragile and dependent on others, she must also be unstable, and that instability must reveal tremendous danger.

Mustang Bobby at Shakesville: 2-D or Not 2-D…

But seeing a 3-D movie with the glasses would be a lost cause; I suspect that it might even make me nauseous as my brain tries to process the image from one lens to the other.

So if I go see Avatar, it will be the 2-D version. At least the studio had the courtesy to release that version so those of us without the software upgrade can see it. I just hope they don’t decide that all movies have to be done in 3-D. I may just have to go back to my BetaMax.

Amanda Kloer at Change.Org: Should Disabled Workers Be Paid Less Than Minimum Wage?

The minimum wage might have been bumped up to $7.25 an hour in 2009, but that number means little to the over 300 workers with mental disabilities working at state-run homes for the people with disabilities in Iowa. That’s because they were making, on average, $0.60 per hour for their work. One employee was even making an average of a mere $0.11 per hour, a sweatshop-level wage in any country. Yet paying employees with mental disabilities piddling wages is legal in Iowa and the rest of the country.

IPS News: RIGHTS-LAOS: Lapses with Labour – Part 2

“Most workers have limited knowledge, ultimately you don’t know how many hidden killers are in your workplace. The boss knows, but he won’t tell you,” Wang Fengping, an engineer who was once employed by Hong Kong-based Gold Peak batteries at their factory in Guongdong, China.

In 2008, Wang was unable to walk. Her kidneys had failed and she was dependent on dialysis. According to medical opinion she was unlikely to make old age. […]

The expertise does not exist to monitor the factory, nor to test the workers. Exposure limits, and the protocols needed to achieve them, are similarly absent. Detailed sex disaggregated accident or exposure reporting does not occur. There is little outside the capital a worker can do if dismissed for illness. All that is known is that some women have complained of headaches and skin rashes.

Laos like many countries is prey to development imperatives that put investment before safeguards. The New Economic Mechanism of 1986 opened the nation to foreign investment, a consumer economy and the trappings of modernisation, particularly in the cities.

Stars and Stripes: USS Cole bombing survivor dies in Fla. home

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool lost his left foot when a bomb ripped a hole in the side of the USS Cole nearly a decade ago, but the injury was nothing compared with the mental torment that ravaged him almost daily. […]

One of the brothers he lived with found him dead in their home last Wednesday, just a week after his 31st birthday, Natala Gokool said. His cause of death was unknown, though she said foul play was not suspected. The family believes the seizures just became too much for his body to handle.

Cape Cod Times/AP Wire: Now hear this: Swim-proof hearing aids to get test

Today’s newest models range from the completely invisible – it sits deep in the ear canal for months at a time – to Bluetooth-enabled gadgets that open cell phones and iPods for hearing-aid users. Now the maker of that invisible hearing aid is going a step further – attempting a swim-proof version.

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