Recommended Reading for Monday, August 9, 2010

It looks like almost all of my links today (save the last) are mainstream media news stories or press releases. I haven’t looked at the comments because I like not being angry and hating people, but I have never found the comment section of these places to be awesome for nuanced discussion, so read with care.

Air Canada fixes ill boy’s broken wheelchair

A terminally ill boy whose specialized wheelchair was broken on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to New York has been given it back after the airline had it fixed.


Stratten said the Air Canada response has “so many lies it’s not even funny.

“They did not send an electric wheelchair last night, there was one sitting in the lobby this morning that was not adequate. We were never told it was there,” he said in an email. “They never called to say it, they never called after hearing it was inadequate and the replacement that just got here is a scooter people use to go shopping, and is worse than the first.”

Having traveled with AirCanada and helped Don deal with the subsequent broken wheelchair, I will just link back to this previous link round-up of ‘flying while crip’ fun times.

Canada: Provinces to Team Up on Drug Purchases

Canada’s premiers are joining forces to rein in ballooning health-care costs by pooling their purchasing power for drugs and medical supplies.

The premiers unveiled plans on Friday to set up a national agency that would be responsible for purchasing $10-billion in prescription drugs a year as well as medical supplies and equipment.

Having one entity responsible for drug purchases for all 13 provinces and territories would lower costs on a major contributor to the growing tab for health care.

I saw this as a good thing, Don saw it as a bad thing. What are your thoughts?

Canada: Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers Press Release:Access for Sight Impaired Consumers Board Backs Human Rights Complaint

In January 2008, the Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) Board approved a motion to back the filing of a human rights complaint against the City of Richmond. The complaint seeks to resolve the City’s unwillingness to provide access to public information in an audio format – specifically street names at controlled intersections equipped with an accessible pedestrian signalling (APS)device.
While the City is refusing to provide what amounts to public information through this audio or voice messaging format, it is also refusing to use similar voice messaging at approximately 60 “special” crosswalks which are already equipped with pedestrian activated amber warning signals. Without an APS device at these “special” crosswalks, pedestrians who are blind or sight impaired are unable to utilize such crosswalks in a safe and independant manner. Given there is no universally recognized tone to indicate the amber pedestrian signals have ben activated (unlike the well recognized “cuckoo” or “chirp” at controlled intersections), voice messaging is emerging as the accepted standard by other Metro Vancouver municipalities. For reasons unknown, the City of Richmond is unwilling to follow the successful practice of neighbouring municipalities.

Australia: Disabled Australians subjected to hate crimes

Dr Sherry says thousands of Australians experience disability hate crimes each year.

“Some of it goes back to social Darwinist ideas about survival of the fittest; some of them talk about their images of disabled people being smelly or dirty or bad karma, possessed by the devil,” he said.

AM spoke to a former Australian adult guardian, the statutory appointee who oversees the affairs of adults with disabilities.

He said he had not encountered the issue of hate crime against people with disabilities.

Dr Sherry says that is “exactly the level of ignorance” that allows it to continue.

UK: New report: Council websites are getting slightly worse

Using websites is now second nature to over 80% of the UK population, with web users going online to browse, shop, book tickets etc. So why is it in our latest annual council usability report, looking at the top 20 council websites, that there’s been a slight dip in the usability of council sites?

Leading councils in this year’s report included South Tyneside with a 70% usability score, South Holland with 68% and Chichester with 66% – not particularly top scores given these are supposed to be the best sites. Areas of disappointment included navigation, error handling, calls to action and progress indicators to support users when conducting online transactions.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Race/Gender/Media: Considering diversity across audiences, content, and producers [via Ithiliana]

Purpose: The third edition of this edited reader will present an array of scholarship designed primarily to introduce undergraduates to considerations of race and gender in the media. Though written so that lower level students will be able to engage with the content, I want the book to be interesting and sophisticated enough to also appeal to juniors and seniors, who may be the largest consumers of the text. Some lower-level graduate courses (specifically those that also enroll advanced undergrads) also may find this of value. The text will emphasize critical and reflective thinking about these issues, and will encourage critical consumption of mediated messages. The first two editions contained mostly original work, but revisions of recently published works are more than welcome. To get a sense of the very wide array of material I want this book to contain, I encourage you to explore the tables of contents for the first two editions, and other information available on the publisher’s websites.

Sorry to link & run, folks. Hope your day is being slightly more under control than mine! *grin*

3 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for Monday, August 9, 2010

  1. Australia negotiates drug prices as a nation, and pharmacies are nationally funded, though hospitals are state funded. The really good thing about this is that pharmacies and customers in rural areas (where I work) or remote areas aren’t paying more for their medications. We pay more for groceries and fuel here (and really remote areas pay far, far more), so it’s really good that we don’t get hit by the massive freight charges that we would otherwise incur for drugs. We do get fewer deliveries, but that’s mostly manageable.

  2. *nodnod* I can see how that would be good. One of the things about Canada is that our health care system is federally mandated, but the details are up to the provinces, and that includes what drugs are covered for discounted prices for people with long-term or “catastrophic” illnesses.

  3. An interesting point about the hate crimes article; I noticed when I read it a few days ago that the article seemed to take a tone implying that Dr. Sherry was a US academic coming in and telling ‘us’ what to do. What makes that implication more interesting is that a quick Google of Dr. Sherry brings us to his profile at UToledo, which tells us that Dr. Sherry completed his undergraduate degree and PhD at the University of Queensland.

    Given it was originally a radio interview, and not knowing whether Dr. Sherry has developed an identifiably US accent, it could have played differently there if he still has an Aussie accent, but I found the undercurrent of the write-up a bit odd.

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