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Perhaps the only relationship in my life more complicated than the one with my mother was that which my father and I enjoyed endured.  For years, and until my father's death, I was completely estranged from my family.  But, for the past thirty years (nearly half my life to date), I have been blessed with a renewed relationship with my mother and siblings since his passing provided the opportunity for a rapprochement and the reacquaintance which developed thereafter, albeit with some significant continued tensions over differences in politics, notions of social justice, and even (if not especially) metaphysics.

Evening has fallen on that renewed bond, as my mother, whose somewhat prudish ways prevented her so much as ever having taken a puff on a cigarette, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Having in just the last twelve years survived a bilateral radical mastectomy for breast cancer, a stroke and its aftermath, and a leg fracture sustained in a fall so serious that it required a six-hour surgery the doctors did not expect her to survive, she's done.  She is fearful of what comes next, and deeply regretful she probably will not live to see her great grandchildren again (whom she adores despite or because of great geographical distance) let alone watch them grow up.  Nonetheless, she has decided to decline treatment, and has been discharged to hospice care in her assisted living apartment, where I spent the evening with her last night.  I was taken aback by how rapidly she is declining, her diagnosis being so recent.  It seems unlikely she will live to see her 94th birthday the 19th of this month, but the doctors are being especially vague with their prognosis.

After our visit, and still somewhat numbed by it, I went to Denny's for a late supper, it being one of the few places open in our small city after the more normal dinner hour.  I decided to log on with my tablet to post a quick note to the "Top Comments" thread, and on the front page, in an eerie bit of coincidence, found Auntie Neo Kawn's superb diary on the Rec List about the impending death of her mother.  I found in it both resonance and dissonance, painful parallels and reassuring contrasts.  Reading it in the harsh lighting and plastic ambiance of my surroundings with frequent interruptions by an over-attentive server was as odd an experience as were the preceding hours of sitting by my mother's newly installed hospital bed, straining to hear her weak voice.

Now, I dread her funeral nearly as much as her passing itself.  It will be held in a church whose narrow and judgmental approach to religion caused me great pain in my youth, and it is not an exercise in melodrama to say it nearly cost me my life at my own hands. I literally pray to God I am not called upon to speak, but if I were cajoled into delivering anything resembling a eulogy, it would go something like what follows "below the fold."

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Poor, poor, Rick Perry.  He admits he "stepped in it" when he compared members of the LGBT community to alcoholics the same week his state's Party adopted an odious anti-gay plank endorsing "reparative therapy."  What's a good ol' boy to do?

Why, change the subject, of course, and dismiss the whole thing as unimportant anyhow.  After all, we have so much more important things to be talking about, like creating good jobs.  Never mind that the "job creators" are still free to fire people for being gay, or seeming to be gay (even if only in the boss' imagination).  No, no, we don't need to be talkin' about that.  Why would y'all even bring it up?

Let's just leave it up to the states.  Yeah, the Tenth Amendment, that's the ticket.  What could possibly go wrong?  Certainly not gay dads being refused recognition of their parental status for their own biological children, despite DNA test evidence.  Say what?  Oh, that did happen.  And in Texas?

But, gee whillikers.  Didn't you hear me say "jobs?"  Everyone knows that's what Republicanism is all about.

Video of the very smart-guy-bespectacled Guv tapdance explain his way through this whole mess at a breakfast forum sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

Wouldn't it have just been easier just to apologize and move on?  Oh, I forgot.  That's unthinkable.

Update: Transcript of Gov. Perry's remarks added below the fold.

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Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM PDT

We Can't Keep Silent

by jgilhousen

The United Nations General Assembly is poised to elect tomorrow, Wednesday, as its President the Ugandan Foreign Minister, Sam Kutesa, an outspoken defender of his country's draconian anti-gay laws.  While the U.S. State Department insists in a statement to The Advocate, that "the United States continues to work globally to promote and protect the human rights of all persons, including LGBT persons," it has refused to join other western democracies in denouncing this appointment.

This election will provide international validation of regimes which promote hatred against and impose cruel punishment on their citizens who happen to be gay.  In Uganda, failing to report a suspected "pervert" to the authorities is itself a federal crime punishable by seven years in prison.  Placing Kutesa in a position of honor which includes chairing the Assembly's committees severely undercuts the U.N.'s own stated goals of advancing human rights among the world's nations.

Since our government is choosing to maintain diplomatic neutrality with respect to this appointment, it falls upon us as individual citizens, to break that silence.  Please consider joining me in signing an online petition calling upon Secretary of State John Kerry and the General Assembly delegates to uphold the standard of universal human rights by opposing this nomination.

Uganda's policies of treating LGBT persons as criminals cannot be held up as a legitimate standard for the world.

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I'd like to think that HLN's Nancy "I've Never Met a Defendant I didn't Loathe" Grace as the epitome of irrelevancy.  I never watched her much, and not at all since the days when her current network was named Headline News, and she appeared at that time on what was then Court TV.  The few times I did catch her on the tube, she almost without fail got my blood pressure spiking.  It seemed her most common schtick was to "report" on a pending criminal case by reciting a litany of damning surmises, her tone escalating in fevered outrage with each bullet point.  On the rare occasion a guest would attempt to modulate the tenor of the "hang 'em high and soon" narrative, Grace would push back, often citing her own experience as a prosecutor, judge, and/or crime victim.  (As a young woman, she had suffered the admittedly tragic loss of her fiance' to a murderer, which explains much but excuses little.)

You might well ask, "So what does this have to do with Anita Bryant?"  In fact, gay bashing is so far afield from Grace's usual choice of scripts, that I have never even once wondered what her attitude on the rights of sexual minorities might be.  I suppose, if pressed, I would have assumed it to be one of flippant disregard, since such seems to be her attitude toward any and all civil rights and liberties.  After all, she not once, but several times produced and hosted televised specials with Joe Arpaio, lauding him as "America's Favorite Sheriff."

But as angry as she has made me in the past, she most recently displayed an alternate view of reality that is so foreign that it goes well beyond what I can regard as a rational point of view.  Using as a jumping off point, of all things, Brad Pitt's headlined prankster (whom she deemed a "stalker") she launched into a recitation of the 1977 incident in which Anita Bryant was struck in the face with a plate of whipped cream as a "pie in the face" protest.

I remember the incident well, and I'll tell you why, the reason I think Ms. Grace's version of history matters, and provide the clip of her program below.

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For the fifteenth time in as many years, shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corporation voted down a proposed resolution which would have added "sexual orientation" to their non-discrimination policy.  According to the New York Times ("Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Reject Gay Discrimination Ban"), the vote followed the Board's recommendation which asserted that existing policy "already banned discrimination of any type and did not need to add language regarding gays."

Curious about how unique Exxon's lack of specific protection for LGBT employees, applicants and customers might be in their industry (and not particularly anxious to patronize such companies), I did some checking.  The results of my inquiries follow the orange thing-a-ma-jig.

Spoiler alert:  I'll be buying my gas at Chevron stations whenever possible for the foreseeable future.

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I did the early registration thing, and was really excited about joining y'all for my first Netroots Nation next month in San Jose.  Ain't gonna happen.  Since registering, I got assigned to direct a small charity serving low income people in my hometown, and I just can't take off in the midst of our start-up phase, still continuing for awhile.

So, I checked with the organizers of NN13 to make sure it was cool, and then decided to put my registration up for auction on ebay to benefit my underfunded (is there another kind?) non-profit agency.

You can bid at: http://cgi.ebay.com/...

You'll help us help folks who are falling through the so-called safety net, and maybe get a bargain on your own registration.  Could anything be more win-win?

I'm just closing the office now, so this might look like a hit and run for awhile, but I'll pop in often to answer questions, or just chat.

Thanks for takin' a look at this.

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Our culture puts immense value on individual independence and work.  And, I think this is more than just a significant vestige of the puritan work ethic.

One of the first questions I was asked when being introduced for the first time (before I started wearing a "uniform" which made the answer fairly obvious), more often than not, was "So, what do you do?"

For many of us, our vocation is not just "what we do," but very much wrapped up in our very identity, a huge portion of "who we are."

It's not just a matter of ego, although seeing the fruit of our labors is certainly important to a sense of self-esteem.  There's the not inconsequential matter of contributing to the communities of which we are a part, and of finding meaning in our lives.

I was not surprised, then, when I began my now fairly long (though recently interrupted) career in inner-city mission work, mostly with people living in poverty, that a near universal goal was finding work sufficient to become not only fully self supporting, but beyond that, to make a difference in the lives of others.

For those of us with disabilities, there are even more obstacles to reaching such a goal, and many pitfalls.  Now that I've "sat on both sides of the desk," I've come to appreciate even more the importance of meaningful work in our lives.  And, yes, I've returned to my career, with both excitement at the many possibilities, and some trepidation with respect to the risks.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
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Twenty-two years ago, historic and liberating legislation, comprehensive in scope, was enacted as the culmination of decades of work by activists, politicians, and professionals.  Clearly a bipartisan effort, although disproportionately moved forward by Democrats, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by Pres. George H. W. Bush.  Doors were opened for American citizens living with disabilities that had been not only literally closed, but effectively locked, in virtually every imaginable aspect of life, from employment and public accommodations to housing and health care.

Implementation was slow and spotty at first, and often required lengthy and costly litigation to enforce.  Activists have remained vigilant and continue to work toward realizing its promise of equal rights, access, and opportunities for all of our citizens regardless of their health or how they have adapted to physical or mental limitations.  I've had reason to think about the ADA again in a particular way this week.  In the absence of our scheduled author, for this week's KosAbility, newinfluence, who has been called away for medical tests of her own, I decided it might be a good time for us to revisit the ADA.  I'll start with a few experiences, thoughts and links across the fold, and then I'd like to read some of yours.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
Poll

What impact has the ADA had on your life?

3%1 votes
37%12 votes
34%11 votes
25%8 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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DailyKos.  This place is freaking amazing.  Kossacks just plain get it.  "Yes we can" isn't just a slogan from the last election cycle.  We can and do walk and chew gum.  We work on campaigns, keep each other informed, involve ourselves in our communities.  We address not only our own pet issues, but support the efforts of our allies.  We're going to answer the call of our convention to finish what we started by securing a second term for President Barack Obama.  At the same time, we're not going to neglect other projects, big and small, which advance our common goals.

So, I'm posting this here today to support the fundraiser begun Monday by peregrine kate in her diary, Community Fundraiser: Let's help Scottie Thomaston get the most out of his White House invitation!  Kossacks dug deep and pitched in $719.00 toward the needed $1500 above and beyond the generous support the Courage Campaign is providing for the trip.  That leaves us $781 to cover the remaining expenses of travel and lodging by next Tuesday.  (Courage Campaign is covering his airfare and a couple days lodging -- he needs to cover an extension of that stay, meals, and various incidentals.  It adds up, and he doesn't have an account in either Switzerland or the Caymans.)  We've come almost to the half-way point.  We need to finish what we started on this one, too.

Yes, I know your inbox and mine are filling up with campaign contribution requests in this especially important election season.  I am aware that there is an ongoing and very worthy "blogathon" to keep Bill in Portland Maine's voice alive on these orange pages.  And, of course, we are all doing what we can to catch people we find falling through our tattered "safety net."  But, I'm still going to ask you to join me in digging a little deeper, and to contribute what you can to help us meet the remaining $781 goal.  And we need to do it before his plane takes off on Tuesday.  Follow me across the squiggle, and I'll tell you how and why.

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Anyone who reads these orange trimmed pages with any regularity has to be aware of the frontal assault on democracy for partisan purposes well underway by the GOP in the form of voter suppression in the guise of election reform.  Voter ID laws, registration purges, absentee ballot restrictions, undue constraints on voter registration efforts, reduced polling hours, all have been employed to disproportionately reduce the numbers of qualified voters among natural Democratic constituencies.  In some cases, the attack on voting rights is even more overt.

But one group of voters gets little attention when these issues are discussed: Americans living with disabilities.  Consider some numbers for a minute, if you will, then please follow me across the fold.

  • 33,700,000 — The number of Americans of voting age living with a disability. ("People with Disabilities and Voting," The Center for an Accessible Society)
  • 10,000,000  — How many additional votes would have been cast in 2008 had the same percentage of people with disabilities voted as did the population as a whole.  (Ibid.)
  • 11% — How much lower voter turnout is among people with disabilities than among the typically abled. ("Sidelined or Mainstreamed? Political Participation and Attitudes of People with Disabilities in the United States," Shur, et al., Rutgers Univ., [PDF])

   KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
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I had not planned to move from my cozy little cottage to my mother's home to care for her on a live-in basis.  A fall had resulted in her sustaining a particularly nasty fracture necessitating a 90-mile transport from our local hospital to a big-city medical center for a six-hour surgery which included placement of a titanium plate nearly from knee to hip.  The orthopedic surgeon has a national reputation in the field of treatment of catastrophic fractures and declared the surgery a success.  With inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient therapy, he assured us there was no medical reason why she couldn't regain her independence.  Her attending physician at the rehab unit echoed these sentiments, and went even further, suggesting a timetable of three to four months of requiring some in-home support upon discharge before returning to "if not the same level of functioning as before the accident, damn close to it."

So, after a few weeks in the Medical Center and a month in rehab, the plan was for her to be discharged to home with the following supports in place:  the hospital's visiting health services would provide weekly R.N. visits to monitor her status and coordinate her care, and continuing in-home O.T. and P.T. while necessary, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) would be provided by the family (that's me) and caregivers we would contract through a private agency.  Since she was both non-weight-bearing (and thus non-ambulatory) and on a urinary catheter at discharge, the plan was to have two full 8-hour caregiver shifts each day, with me covering the overnight.

It was mid-December, and she was expected to be up and around again by Easter, so this all seemed reasonable and doable.  After all, I had taken care of her after her stroke for more than a year, six months of that sleeping at her home (Background in last week's Part I).  Piece o' cake, right?  Guess again.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic.  There are two parts to each diary.  First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
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An important part of learning to live with a disability is determining for oneself what limitations one's condition imposes, and how to adapt to those changed circumstances.  Occupational Therapy can be of enormous assistance, but as in all disciplines, the expertise, skills and, yes, prejudices of individual practitioners can vary wildly.  I have had some who pushed me beyond my limits, and others who tried to convince me that a particular goal was unrealistic.  Others could not appreciate my personal priorities because they were at such variance from their own.  Ultimately, it fell upon me to find the right balance for me between the cost and benefit of particular activities, and to define for myself what constituted a full, meaningful and productive life despite my limitations, some profound and some subtle.  I also had to decide what level of pain was an acceptable price to pay for some things in my life I was unable or unwilling to give up.  And as one's condition progresses, further adjustments must be made and some decisions reevaluated.  It's a process of frequent adaptation, sometimes "on the fly" which includes a good deal of trial and error, and necessarily a good measure of both success and failure.

All of that is fine and dandy in the abstract.  Real life, however, does not come at us in a logical or carefully measured manner.  We are often confronted with situations which fall outside the boundaries of even the most carefully crafted personal priority system.  Prevalent among these are family responsibilities, as spouses, parents, or, as in my case and that of many of my contemporaries, as children of aging parents.

For the past several years, in addition to dealing with managing my own condition and rehabilitation, I have been primary family caregiver for my 92-year-old Mother.  I have made some major mistakes in that role, but experienced a level of emotional intimacy with a parent previously unknown to me.  I hope sharing some of the high and low points will be of some use to others, and perhaps prompt some discussion of others' experiences.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic.  There are two parts to each diary.  First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.
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