It’s time to say goodbye to 2007 and so I assembled a top 10 list of stories from 2007, some that got too much coverage, and some that didn’t get near enough.
1. Scientists Cracking the Stem-Cell Code. OK, OK … we know the drill. Some day stem cells will cure everything from ALS to zits. But not today. Still, it’s thrilling to watch scientists surge forward on turning mouse skin cells into what looks and acts like embryonic stem cells, as they did back in June. And, most recently — be still my MS-infested mind — did again in November with human skin cells.
2. Accessible voting machines may or may not count votes. Oh electronic voting machine controversy, I wish I could quit you! A most recent search in the Google news engine for “voting machines decertified” pulled up hundreds of stories about jurisdictions shunning unreliable yet often accessible machines for such retro technology as a piece of paper and a pencil.
3. ADA Restoration Act picks up supporters. This is a hard story to follow, since it’s weighed down with references to law suits and other boring stuff like that. So let’s see if we can simplify it: The ADA sucks when it comes to employment discrimination and so the good folks over at AAPD, ADA Watch and CCD are trying to make it, er, unsuck. …
4. Darius Goes West and keeps going … and going. … This is a coming-of-age movie about a teen with muscular dystrophy, his friends and his video camera going on an epic journey into the heartland of America and discovering that life is … well, life is life. At last count Darius Goes West won 25 awards. Those who’ve seen the movie wonder why it won so few.
5. Marcelo Cruz hangs out in Minneapolis. Sometimes a story's more about what’s not covered than what is, as the best part of the media coverage surrounding Cruz’ dramatic escape from the stricken bridge in Minneapolis is how unsurprised everyone was that he has a life. There was, of course, some sensationalization of Cruz’ disability, but no reporter asked why he was allowed out by himself or if he should be allowed to drive his own van or even that ol’ chestnut question, “hey, how do you make your lift go up and down?”
6. Special institution to be transformed into special resort for very special people. The state of New York plans to sell off the former Syracuse Developmental Center to a developer who plans on turning the grounds into a $300 million resort that — get this — is only for people with disabilities. Kinda makes you wonder why they just didn't just keep it a state institution.
7. ADAPT kicks bureaucratic ass. But this isn’t really news, as it happens all the time. From Money Follows the Person grants awarded to more states than not to the Community Choice Act (more-or-less formerly MiCASSA) slowly becoming incorporated into policies across the nation, ADAPT’s work on personal assistance is almost done.
8. Whether she knows it or not, Ashley X lost her ovaries. Yeah, her parents are probably messed up for giving a small child a complete hysterectomy, including having her breast nubs removed, with the goal of keeping her child-sized. But then I keep having these heretical thoughts … like since Ashley’s brain damage is so profound that she’ll never miss the parts she didn’t know she had, what harm has actually been done?
9. Jerry Lewis has a potty-mouth. And this time he spewed at some other group besides the disability community. In the 18th hour of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, Lewis, 81, goofed off with his camera man. “Oh, your family has come to see you,” he said, improvising a make-believe scene. “You remember Bart, your older son,” he said. And then he sneered, “Jesse, the illiterate fag.” Then, “No.” ah, but it was too late. Gosh, I sure am proud Lewis is seen as a spokesman for our community.
10. Kevorkian goes free. But it’s OK, he says he won’t kill anyone else. And he really really means it this time.
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