These thoughts are in no particular order.
I agree that tarring an entire group with the same brush is not OK. I also understand the frustrations of everyone who’s been posting using the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird. I read stories every single day from blind people and other people with disabilities, (deaf people, people who are on the autism spectrum, ETC.), expressing frustration and anger at the way they have been treated and are still being treated by people who don’t appear to be disabled in any way, and I think jumping to condemn them for expressing that frustration which is something I see quite often, is also the wrong take. So far I’ve only seen one objector to the #AbledsAreWeird hashtag offer something that would communicate the same message without tarring an entire group with the same brush, and I think that’s telling.
I found out about the #AbledsareWeird hashtag due to the corresponding reactionary outrage on the part of those opposed, and I’m wondering at the irony of the outrage against the outrage.
Several of the people I’ve seen reacting with outrage/disgust/objection to the hashtag and accusing participants of bigotry against abled people are also more than willing to tar, say, undocumented immigrants with the same kind of brush, and I’m thinking that they should take their own advice when it comes to what is essentially tone policing of anyone participating in the AbledsAreWeird hashtag.
Alienating abled people is I think the least convincing of the arguments against the hashtag. By that logic, we shouldn’t fight for web or physical accessibility, because it might piss people off.
More broadly, I think there has to be a balance between offense/outrage and just letting live, but the people who bitch about everyone being offended all the time are just as trigger-happy and contribute to the whole thing. In other words, everybody’s offended all the time, even the people bitching about social justice warriors or whatever, but the grievances depend on who’s speaking. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun.

Logs on after Shabbat. Oh look! Nazis! Looks at my social medias. Oh look! People in my timeline/newsfeed defending the nazis, because free speech! Time to visit the bank of fucks and purge more accounts, because as a Jew I will not tolerate this shit, and as a white person I will not stand by silently while this shit is defended, no matter what the reason, and I will not stand by while other white people look the other way and shrug their shoulders, wring their hands, and/or say there’s nothing that can be done about this. Now is not the time to be neutral, and it is not the time for nuance. If you are silent, you are complicit. If you’ve ever opened your mouth to condemn Black Lives Matter, or condemn Muslims when one of them rams a vehicle into a crowd, don’t you dare keep it shut now. This is not, (as our president says), about violence on the part of “many sides”. It’s about white supremacists coming out in force, and committing an act of domestic terrorism. You’re only as awesome as the things you tolerate, and if there are assholes in your community, it’s your fault. If you can’t muster up the courage to do anything more than role your eyes and wring your hands, or offer up thoughts and prayers, then whether it’s friends or family, we need to re-evaluate our relationship, because I am fucking done.

The below is from a pro-Trump interview, the full video of which is below. The quote in question, in text form, so everyone can read it.

GIULIANI: I’ll tell you the whole history of it! So, when
(Trump) first announced it, he said, “Muslim ban.” He
called me up. He said, “Put a commission together.
Show me the right way to do it legally.” I put a
commission together with Judge LMikeJ Mukasey, with
Congressman (Mikel McCaul, (Rep.) Pete King; whole
group of very expert lawyers on this. And what we did
was, we focused on — instead of religion, danger! The
areas of the world that create danger for us! Which is a
factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal,
perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on.

And the video, with the quote in its context.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9GKL6i38pI&feature=youtu.be&t=3m7s

Let that sink in for a minute. We knew we couldn’t have an outright Muslim ban legally, so we found a way to get around the law so we could ban an entire group of people based on their religious affiliation. There are zero ways you can defend this. Zero.

I am totally cool with friends who want to unfollow because they want to read different posts other than politics. I get it. I have friends whose tweets I don’t pay attention to for various other reasons for example, and I don’t take it personally when they don’t want to pay attention to mine. But “I don’t wanna get political” is how we got into this mess in the first place, and that applies no matter which side of the political divide you’re on. Elected officials need to be held accountable, and everything going on will have an impact on your life, whether you know about it or not. “Not getting political” won’t stop that, and you can’t make an informed decision when it’s time to vote if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on, before and after the campaigning. That also applies regardless of how you vote. None of us, (liberal or conservative), can afford to be single-issue or uninformed voters. My posts have gotten more political of late because I believe that what’s going on now is bad for all of us, not just liberals. Our president is doing everything the wait-and-see crowd reassured us he wouldn’t do, with a vengeance. And everybody who’s cheering this on is going to get a very rude awakening when their grocery bills get more expensive, because terriffs. So no, I’m not a fan of moving the country backward. But “I don’t wanna get political” is a form of sticking your head in the sand, and is the quickest way to not get what you want from your elected officials. And none of us can afford to stick our heads in the sand just because we want things to be positive or pleasant or whatever other means we use to avoid conflict and argument.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President Elect of the United States:

@realDonaldTrump I think, I’ll keep it . . . so I’ve got 46 million people right now — that’s a lot, that’s really a lot — but 46 million — including Facebook, Twitter and ya know, Instagram, so when you think that you’re 46 million there, I’d rather just let that build up and just keep it @realDonaldTrump, it’s working — and the tweeting, I thought I’d do less of it, but I’m covered so dishonestly by the press — so dishonestly — that I can put out Twitter — and it’s not 140, it’s now 280 — I can go bing bing bing . . . and they put it on and as soon as I tweet it out — this morning on television, Fox — ‘Donald Trump, we have breaking news’.

I’m going with: Whatever he tweets on either account will get posted on the other. Sheesh.

The Great Trumpkin has nominated Rudy Giuliani to handle our nation’s cyber security affairs. He owns and operates a full-service security, investigative and crisis management consulting firm whose website has the following outstanding cyber security related issues:

  • Expired SSL (certificate)
  • Doesn’t force https, (I suppose when you have an expired certificate that’s just icing on the cake),
  • Exposed CMS login information, both database username and password as well as weblogin username and password, (You’re a God damn moron if you do that, and you’re even worse if you’re selling full cybersecurity services and you’re doing that, and oh, did I mention the info is exposed in plain text files that live on the server and are browsable?)
  • Uses Flash (which has become so prone to vulnerabilities that modern browsers don’t support it, and Adobe, (its creator), recommends that you use HTML 5 instead
  • Using EOL’d (end-of-life, meaning it’s not even getting security updates), PHP version
  • SSL Lab grade of F
  • Using Joomla 3.1.1 (released in April, 2013 – current is 3.6.5)
  • SSH exposed to public access, (why don’t you just post your root password somewhere and get it over with)
  • FreeBSD 6 (released in 2008)
  • Open ports, so many open ports…

If Giuliani is confirmed, we are completely and totally fucked on the cybersecurity front. Terrorists aren’t going to need to fly planes into buildings, or run over people with trucks. They’ll just have to sick a bunch of toasters on the government and take it all down. All this talk about defeating ISIS, and with a Giuliani confirmation, they’ll be handed the tool they’re literally most effective at using, and winning with. Good job guys, good fucking job!

As I was scrolling through Twitter this morning, I came across a recommendation in favor of Press Forward, a free software alternative to closed-source tools for journalists that can also act as a self-contained RSS reader and Instapaper/Pocket replacement for use on WordPress-powered sites. The above is to provide context for those who haven’t been following this conversation. Plus, I’m still figuring out this crafting replies on my own site thing.

Anyway, I received some very helpful feedback from the author of the original post regarding my current installation, which included a link to the project’s Github. This is great, both because I’m really looking forward to using this since I really don’t like messing around with Pocket/Instapaper due to their accessibility issues, plus owning your bookmarks. So far the only problem I’ve found, other than the issue mentioned in the feedback, is one where the bookmarklet cannot be accessed with a keyboard. You have to use a mouse. So I’ll be filing an issue, and hopefully a pull request, because along with the Indieweb implications and uses for this, it also presents a great alternative for controlling the display of the lists of links we collect, allowing for the creatin of accessible user interfaces.

Also, Twitter’s 140-character limit is extra frustrating when you realize that you can reply to tweets from your own website, not be stuck trying to fit things in 140-char chunks, and keep ownership of the content, which is why I replied here. I need to finish getting customerservant.com switched over to a theme with complete microformat/microformat 2 support, and am looking at how to do this with the Genesis framework if possible.

I’ve been spending some time browsing through this list of posts about the indieweb, and I came across this post that details how the first loosely-federated comment thread got started. By loosely-federated, I mean there was no closed platform involved, (*cough the Facebook*), nobody had to follow anyone to interact, people just read something, commented on their own sites with their software of choice and it all worked together beautifully. This is how the web is supposed to work, and it proves that we can have social media without handing all our stuff over to someone else so they can make money off of it by building their advertising network on top of our stuff, (baby pictures on Facebook, anyone), and then not allowing us to consume the content we create however we want. It’s really cool to see this kind of thing in action. It’s one of those things that you know on a theoretical level at least if you develop for the web. But seeing it actually work is so cool. The original post seems to have disappeared, 😉 and it would have been cool to see the swarm in action. But still, the potential here is amazing.

David Shanske has added location support to his site, complete with an open street map and the location name as a link. I’m eager to try it out and his releasing this reminds me to finish my own location support. I have the fields created, but I’d still like to get WordPress to automatically pull in the location associated with the browser, so that when I post from my phone I can effectively replace checking into Facebook or Foursquare. Foursquare’s cute for the points but that’s about it. I’ve copied this site over to staging so I can make code changes and tweak until I’m happy, or at least until I have something I can live with, until I decide to tweak again. The curse of being a developer, I suppose.

I was browsing Twitter yesterday, and saw that one of my friends was tweeting some comments about invocations at blindness conventions. “Invocation” is a rather fancy word to use in this instance, because these are usually just on-the-spot prayers of the evangelical Christian variety, but we’ll go with it. Anyway, these are pretty much a staple at blindness conventions, and I think this is a tradition that needs to die off. For one thing, none of these organizations are entirely composed of Christians, and these conventions aren’t Christian events. The rest of us, who are either believers of another faith, or not believers at all, shouldn’t need to sit through a public prayer as start to a convention that isn’t devoted to faith. If you want to open a convention, that’s what keynotes are for.

For another, let’s be totally honest. Half the crap that goes on at these conventions can hardly be called good Christian behavior, and it seems just a bit hypocritical to begin with a prayer, and then go on with the rest of what happens at convention. I’m all for Christians getting together at these events to fellowship and pray and hold the live, in-person version of Skype church. But it’s time we dispense with invocations and replace them with a proper keynote, which is what happens at every other convention that’s not a religious one. Well, unless that is, it’s a convention that takes place in the south, and originates there. But that’s a separate issue I think.

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, my ears are playing all kinds of havoc. So much, in fact, that I was making plans to go to the doctor again to figure out what’s going on. The findings could be said to be not good. Not good at all.

First, some good news. It’s not an inner ear infection, so I can safely say it isn’t wax created from all the time I either spend on the phone or with headphones jammed on my cranium. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news stops. I have matching outer ear infections. I also have matching limphnode infections, and my jaw is stiff. So they rolled out the big boy drugs: A shot of Rocephin, with another scheduled for Friday morning; another oral antibiotic, whose name I can’t remember right now, but it’s heavy-duty, three times a day with food for the next ten days; Prednisone, two a day for two days, and then one a day for three more days; Oh, and Hydrocodone, three times a day as needed. I’ll have to get the exact dosages reread because I can’t remember them right now. And if I go in on Friday for my next shot, and things aren’t clearing up or they’re getting worse, I get to spend some time in the hospital so I can receive I.V. antibiotics.

I think, given all this, I can say I’m in some serious shit without seeming overly dramatic. I’m not hurting now, but that’s solely because of the drugs. Before I left the doctor’s office, and before I had taken anything other than the shot of antibiotics, I wanted to rip my own face off it hurt so badly. I think I’ve earned the right to officially refer to myself as mansick. And I think I’m going to be seriously germaphobic for a while after this. I have no idea where I got it. I went to Toastmasters last week and I was fine, and everything started going south by Friday morning.

I haven’t decided if things are pleasantly hazy or just hazy. I think I talked to my sister earlier, but I can’t remember what I said or what she said. I think it was quick though. As I mentioned, things don’t really hurt now, but I can’t feel my face, so I’m sure I’m sporting some interesting facial expressions. I really hope this clears up without a trip to the hospital, because I really can’t afford that right now. I’ve already spent more than I should on meds and doctor’s copays, which in and of themselves aren’t expensive, it’s just that they keep adding up. I would also like to get back to working. But we’ll see what happens and hope and pray for the best.

Until next time, hopefully on the other side of this, or at least close to escaping from the labyrinth.

This has been one of those days. It’s the kind of day where you know before you even get out of bed that you are going to have a serious spoon shortage. (don’t worry, I’ll explain what I mean by spoons in this post, so keep reading). And not only is there going to be a shortage, it’s going to be severe, and it might even be a spoon deficit. When you wake up and you realize that getting out of bed is going to be hard today. And thinking is going to be hard. And so is eating, or reading, or paying attention, or anything else that would still allow you to classify yourself as a useful human being.

Why do I keep referring to spoons?

As promised, here is the spoon explanation. You can read the original exposition of the Spoon Theory here, but in case you don’t want to click the link, here’s a breakdown. This theory applies if you have one of those invisible illnesses. The ones that get you the “you-don’t-look-sick” treatment.

Imagine you start your day with twelve spoons. Some days you might have less, but we’ll keep it simple for now. Now imagine that there’s another person. A real hard-ass who will take your spoons without mercy. Each task you have to do during the day, (and this includes waking up), costs you a spoon. And because there’s this hard-ass waiting to take your spoons, once you use one, you don’t get it back. OK, so cracking open your eyes costs a spoon. Getting in the shower, shaving and everything that goes with showering costs you another spoon. Then you have to eat. And there goes another spoon. Work? Let’s not talk about work. Just know that you could end up using a lot of your spoons doing that. Then you get to the end of the day and you only have a couple spoons left. You still have to cook, then eat, then clean up, and possibly do stuff around the house. And you’d like to do something fun. But you’re limited on spoons so you have to make a choice about what you’re going to do. You can borrow spoons from tomorrow, but then you have to figure out how to get tomorrow done with les spoons.

So back to today. Today, there were very few spoons. Getting out of bed was hard, getting lunch was hard. By t, things had gone totally downhill. I ate some yogurt for dinner because I didn’t feel like doing anything else, and wasn’t really hungry. And bedtime will be in a few minutes. As soon as I finish this post. Which has taken me close to two hours to write, and not because of a serious amount of thinking. I really hope tomorrow is better. Wil and Denise are coming over, and we’re supposed to go out and have some fun, which I’m looking very forward to. And Pesach starts tomorrow night, and there’s the Seder. So I’m not canceling tomorrow. But for today at least, everything sucks.

I’m trying to be nice about this, I really am. Mainly because I don’t want to push away my sighted readers. But I came across something incredibly stupid today that I think demands a complete fisking. So today, we’re going to visit E-how and find out why this article is wrong on every single level. But first, let’s get some things out of the way. As I said I’m going to try to keep from offending my sighted readers. To that end, I will try to provide constructive answers, even though quite frankly I’m foaming at the mouth. So if I say anything offensive, let me know in the comments, but try not to take it personally. I really do love all of you guys. There’s going to be a little visualization exercise at the end of this, and a pop-quiz. (No, not really a pop-quiz). So let’s start at the beginning.

Having a disabled person in your life can be a challenge. Many blind people have never had sight, so they cannot relate to color, shape or perspective. Here are steps you can take to help a blind person live with his or her handicap.

The first thing that realy bothers me about this article is that it has one hundred and thirty-seven (137) likes on Facebook. Now, some of these could be simply because there isn’t a hate button, but I doubt it. And if it has that many likes, then there are a lot of uneducated people out there, and I sincerely hope that all those people go out, find and talk to actual people who happen to be blind for their own sakes.

And now to the meat of it. Specifically, this bit about blind people having no perspective about shapes, or just plain not having any perspective at all. Lots of blind people know about shapes. We can even identify some of them. Just because our eyes don’t work doesn’t mean the rest of us doesn’t work. We have working brains in most cases, get educations. Some of us even have degrees, and (gasp) jobs, which I’m pretty sure you can’t get if you don’t start out by being able to identify shapes. Some blind people, even though they’ve never had full sight, can identify colors, or at least the basics. And no, I don’t know anyone who has learned to identify colors by the way things feel. That’s a huge myth unfortunately perpetuated by the movies. So is that thing about blind people feeling other people’s faces to find out what they look like. I don’t know anyone who’s ever done that to strangers, unless you count the people who want to use that as an excuse to hopefully cop a much more involved feel.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4snGt8OzUV0]

This wasn’t the clip I was looking for, but it illustrates how the face-feeling myth gets propagated.

So by this point, we’ve established that

  • Blind people know what shapes are and how to identify them
  • And blind people really don’t feel people’s faces to find out what they look like. There are usually other motives, like sex.

On to the next bit.

Put everything back in the same place after cleaning. If you have someone help you clean, make sure they are advised to do the same.

This one isn’t actually a bad idea. But I assumed that this was just the decent thing to do. The only quibble I have with this is that, while there’s no problem with cleaning or getting help to clean, most of the blind people I know can pick up after themselves. We may need some assistance with things, (like cleaning glass), but generally blind people are perfectly capable of cleaning up, and should be doing that by themselves.

Keep everything on a blind person’s desk exactly where he or she left it. This applies to braille paper, CDs, radios, telephones and computer accessories.

This is also a good idea. Most of us, (and I’m sure that includes sighted people), hate it when other people move crap around, or don’t put things back, and blind people are no different in that regard.

Try to keep all hallway and cabinet doors closed. Warn the blind person if you plan to have a particular door open for a prolonged period.

Ooooooo-kay. I mean, if the door opens on the hallway, maybe I could see that. But just because there’s a door or cabbinet open doesn’t mean alarms need to start going off. Blind people learn their surroundings, learn where doors are, and pretty much learn to move around them when they’re open.

And here’s where it starts getting really stupid again.

Keep restocking supplies of anything the blind person uses regularly. This includes food and drink, bathroom items and paper towels.

Here’s a better idea. Take your blind housemate or spouse or friend to the store, Ask if they need anything if you’re going to the store by yourself. I suppose if you want to occasionally pick up something because you notice it’s running low, that’s fine. But blind people who are responsible, independent adults can and do make decisions about what they need and what needs to be replenished. I hated this part especially, and the items that come after it, because they assume an incredible patronizing tone which is extremely offensive, and will make most blind people I know foam at the mouth.

Take out the trash regularly. Check for food that has been accidentally dropped on the floor or not returned to the refrigerator.

No. Definitely no. We can, and unless there’s some other physical disability that prevents this involved, be expected to do this on our own. Same with food being put back in the fridge. In this case, if you wouldn’t do it for a sighted housemate, don’t do it for the blind one. But do make a point of remind that some food has been left out that needs to be put away.

Remember to turn off the lights before you leave, particularly if you are a part-time caretaker. Most blind people have limited incomes.

If this article had been entitled “How to take care of an elderly blind person” possibly with dementia, This might be relevant. But to assume that you should turn off lights because the poor thing is on a fixed income is just patronizing and stupid. Ask if they want the light left on. Most of the time, you’ll probably be asked to turn it off. But the point is, ask. Don’t just assume.

Help the blind person braille a list of important phone numbers, account numbers and any other personal information they might need to access when you are not available.

Once again, ask. Most blind people will take the initiative and ask for phone numbers and account numbers they need, and put them in their phones or wherever they keep other important information. But the important thing is to ask, and not assume.

Some blind people have problems opening doors with keys. You can buy a lock that requires both a matching fingerprint and a code for entry. It also comes with a standard key as insurance should it stop functioning.

OK, this is just stupid. Incredibly stupid. Unless there’s some other physical disability involved, we don’t usually have extra trouble opening doors with keys. Does this person really think we all live in apartments or houses with special locks?

And here’s my absolute favorite:

Keep all sharp objects like knives or scissors out of reach.

Damn. I was going to murder my guide dog, but they took my sharp objects away!

This evidences the “poor thing, she’ll hurt herself” mentality, which I hate with a passion. If every blind person were actually subjected to this sort of treatment, we’d never eat steak again. (which would be a special kind of hell, in my oppinion). But seriously, childproofing, (and that’s pretty much what this little nugget suggests), for people just because they’re blind is really demeaning. I’m surprised this idiot didn’t just go ahead and advise caregivers to roll out the potty chairs, because, you know, blind people are so incapable of taking care of ourselves. So what if we cut ourselves. If it really gets bad enough that it needs stitches, then maybe it might be time to worry. But most of us know how to clean a cut and put a bandaid over it like anyone else. And we need to shave. What are we supposed to do, get help bathing too?

Thankfully, this stops right here and we don’t have to go any further. And I hope I’ve made it easier to see why someone might get offended over this sort of thing. It’s patronizing and objectifying all at the same time. Just visualize for a minute how you would feel if someone seriously wrote an article on how to take care of a sighted person, and suggested that we put pictures on everything to make it easier for you to figure out what it is. I can’t think of anything dumber than that, because I don’t spend most of my time demeaning sighted people, unless I’m joking. If you have a blind person in your life, whether it’s a friend or spouse or colleague, talk to them. Ask questions. Hell, you can even do it in the comments, and I’ll try to answer as best I can. Just don’t go to eHow looking for advise on how to help blind people, because if you do that, and follow some of the advise you find, you really will make a complete ass of yourself, and whichever of us you’re dealing with will likely hate you for the rest of your life. OK, probably not for the rest of your life, but they will be really pissed. and hurt because you didn’t just ask. And if you’re that person’s parent, he or she could retaliate in your later years by putting you in a nursing home when you don’t really need it. (Just a joke. That probably wouldn’t happen. But they’d be tempted).

Until next time.