United States Senate Greenlights Marrakesh Treaty and Implementing Legislation

National Federation of the Blind Applauds Senate Vote

Washington, DC (June 28, 2018): The United States Senate today provided its advice and consent for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The chamber also approved the treaty’s implementing legislation (S. 2559), which will make modest adjustments to US copyright law to fully comply with the treaty.

 “For more than six years, the National Federation of the Blind has worked tirelessly toward this historic day for the blind of America and the world,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We applaud the United States Senate for providing its advice and consent for ratification of the treaty, as well as for passing S. 2559, the ‘Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act’. We urge the US House of Representatives to join their Senate colleagues in swiftly passing S. 2559, so that the door to expanded literacy and access to the world’s knowledge will be unlocked for millions of blind Americans.”

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 About the National Federation of the Blind

 The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.

National Federation of the Blind Receives Grant from National Science Foundation

Five-Year Grant Will Allow Blind Youth to Explore Engineering and Yield Innovative Research in Informal Education

Baltimore, Maryland (February 13, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that will allow blind students to explore the field of engineering and provide useful educational research.

Working with researchers from Utah State University and educators from the Science Museum of Minnesota, the National Federation of the Blind will gather blind high school students from across the country to attend weeklong summer programs called “NFB EQ” (Engineering Quotient). These programs will teach engineering through hands-on activities and connect students with blind adult mentors. The NFB and its partners will research the spatial abilities of blind youth and develop model practices and nonvisual tools to strengthen those abilities. Toolkits based on project activities will be produced so that other parents and educators will be able to use these practices. Continue reading

Blind People Condemn Nepal’s Ban on Blind Everest Climbers

National Federation of the Blind and World Blind Union Call for Rescission of New Ban on Blind Mountaineers

Baltimore, Maryland (January 2, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the World Blind Union (WBU), which represent the United States and global blind communities respectively, today stated their opposition to a new ban on blind climbers participating in expeditions on Mount Everest, recently announced by the government of Nepal. Continue reading

As Airlines Try To Monetize Seat Assignments, Are Disabled Passengers Being Left Behind?

I was mentioned in this blog post by BY | June 5th, 2017
 

Flying with a disability is never easy, but in the past, airlines have lightened the burden a little by offering passengers such as Scott Nold advance seat assignments.

Nold, a retired bus dispatcher from Madison, S.D., who has multiple sclerosis, travels in a wheelchair. “So he requires an aisle seat,” says his wife, Deb Nold.

But on a recent American Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Dallas, their airline balked when she requested one. He could have a confirmed aisle seat in the front of the aircraft, she was told, but he’d have to pay another $36.

Not so long ago, passengers with disabilities were practically guaranteed better seats at no additional cost — usually an aisle or bulkhead seat near the front of the plane in economy class. Continue reading

Blind Californians and Advocates Sue Greyhound

Lawsuit Alleges Blind People Cannot Use Greyhound Website or Mobile App

Greyhound’s new buses include the MCI D4505 (above) and Prevost X3-45. (PRNewsFoto/Greyhound Lines, Inc.)

San Francisco (June 12, 2017): In February of 2015 Tina Thomas, who is blind, was planning a trip from her home in Los Angeles to Las Vegas to visit family and friends. She tried to book the trip on Greyhound.com, but her text-to-speech software couldn’t interpret Greyhound’s website. She called Greyhound to book her trip, explaining that she could not use the website, but Greyhound still charged her a “convenience fee” for booking by phone. She tried to use the website again earlier this year, but the experience had not improved.

Ms. Thomas and four other blind Californians, along with the National Federation of the Blind, have now sued Greyhound in federal district court. The lawsuit alleges that Greyhound has designed its website and app so that they cannot be used by the blind. This violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and state laws, the lawsuit says. Continue reading

How Do You “Unkill” a Lion?

Cecil the lion - laying downThe recent execution of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by dentist Walter Palmer has created a media firestorm and a general outcry of anguish and anger throughout the world. If you were to ask most people they would like to raise Cecil from the dead and put him back in his protected reserve to live out his happy life. Unfortunately such is not to be the case. Continue reading

Wired Magazine Article – “Meet the Team That Makes It Possible for the Blind to Use Facebook”

Recently Wired magazine published an article entitled, “Meet the Team That Makes It Possible for the Blind to Use Facebook”.  In the article the author, Cade Metz, introduces Wired readers to the team of software engineers within Facebook that help bring the world’s most popular social media system to persons with disabilities.  We also meet Users who extol the virtues of the access available to blind and other individuals with disabilities.  Facebook has done much to bring about access to its product.  Continue reading

Observation About Living In Our Changing World

Earlier this week I wrote an article in which I discussed the changing world in which we live from the standpoint of terror and uncertainty.  I suggested that one of the things that each of us can do is to relax and go within ourselves to overcome fear and terror.  I realize that this is easy to say and many will feel that it is hard to accomplish.  Continue reading

Our Changing World

My wife and I spend a lot of time talking to each other.  We enjoy lively discussions and we do really communicate.  What I admire most about Karen is that from time to time during our discussions she says something that is not only profound, but it changes our whole discussion for the evening.  I look forward to these tidbits because they make me think and because they remind me of why I love her more each day.  Continue reading

Thoughts On Difference

Like many I sat glued to my television last week as the Grand Jury decision was read in the case of the shooting of the unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson Missouri earlier this year.  As the decision unfolded I realized that no matter how the jury voted there would be great dissatisfaction.  Finally we learned that Officer Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting.  Immediately the protests began.  We have seen much violence and some destruction.  Even the St. Louis Rams got into the action when the Rams receivers all gave the now famous hands up gesture as they marched on the field prior to the Rams game yesterday.  The gesture has become the sign of solidarity for those opposed to the Grand Jury decision.  Continue reading