Currency Events

About a week ago I started feeling the symptoms of an influenza virus.  Since then, my wife has come down with a similar affliction.  In fact, a number of our friends have been struck down with this virus and we’re walking around with that vapid, NyQuil look on our faces.  My mind is blurry and everything around me seems to be moving very slowly.

I haven’t been able to spend much time paying attention to the news, in fact, paying attention to anything for too long seems far out of my reach and isn’t a skill I possess today.

I did learn, though, that Attorney General Al “Torture Memo” Gonzalez, head of our Injustice Department had ordered his minions to appeal the decision made by the courts that would have forced the U.S. Treasury to make our currency accessible.

So, for the second time in six months, the United States federal government stands apart from the rest of the world on issues involving disability.  First, the nation to which I pay taxes elected to opt out of the International Convention on Human Writes and People with Disabilities as John Bolton, presumably ordered by President Bush, refuse to sign the international treaty on people with disabilities.  Our government doesn’t believe that we deserve the same civil rights as afforded to us in the rest of the “free” world.

So, to add insult to injury, AG Gonzales elects to appeal the one good thing that’s happened for blind people this year.  The NFB case against Target was an excellent accomplishment this year but that battle was between blind people and the private sector — the Injustice Department is responsible for upholding the Constitution and in this case has chosen to ignore the equal protection under the laws section of the Bill of Rights as it applies to us blinks.

Nearly every other democracy in the world has accessible money.  To my knowledge, no nation outside of the US that claims to be a free and open society discriminates in this way but, then again, I don’t believe that any other democracy celebrates a genocidal maniac like Andrew Jackson on their currency either.
At least for not being rounded up and forced onto reservations.

I think it’s time for this country to wake up and recognize that people with disabilities have the right to be independent.  I admit that I rarely encounter a time when there isn’t somebody I trust around to identify my money for me.  What is missed, however, are the large number of jobs that require an employee to handle and sort currency.  Given an accessible terminal and accessible money a blink could work as a bank teller, in the counting rooms in Las Vegas and in lots of other cash-based jobs.

I recommend that BC readers write to the Justice Department expressing disgust with their decision to appeal this ruling.  On this matter, I respectfully disagree with my friends at the NFB and I strongly support my friends at ACB, I just wish we could all work together toward the common goals of achieving greater independence for us blinks and other people with disabilities

— End

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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

3 thoughts on “Currency Events”

  1. Hi BC. I, too, am disgusted with all that has happened to date concerning our country’s paper money. What really gets me though, possibly more than anything else, is how the NFB stands on this issue. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised, given their rather contradictory views on a lot of issues. However, are they not the ones responsible in large part for creating a Braille literacy program, and for seeing to it that talking ATM’s are installed everywhere? BTW, you might want to add to your list of blog-related links. Episode 17 of DisabilityNation covers the currency issue in great detail, and the host interviewed one person from each side of the fence. Happy holidays to you BC and may 2007 see even more activity on Blind Confidential and .

  2. Howdy Comrades!
    I hate the Bush Administration as much as anyone I know. W defeated Ann Richards, the politician I most admired and found to be a truly good soul. Moreover, Governor W. refused to meet with representatives of the NFB of Texas during his tenure. He was too busy preparing his run for the Presidency to bother with us. I also think that the rationale that blind people can use charge cards or debit cards is just stupid. Having said that, I think it’s feckless to insist that the Treasury change the currency to assist in tactile identification by the blind. All those accessible ATM’s we fought for would be junk, and we would alienate the Treasury at a time when we need their support for a more important campaign for Braille literacy with the upcoming Louis Braille coin. Yes, NFB holds some contradictory positions. These have been debated at NFB Conventions and that’s what we voted to do. We don’t need to waste our energy fighting this battle at this time. It will be interesting to see what the Judge comes up with now that he’s required to refine his ruling. Onward through the fog. Regards, Chairman Mal: Power to the Peeps!

  3. I just wanted to make another comment if that’s all right. I have to take issue with the notion of blind people using charge cards or debit cards being stupid. I happen to own a debit card, and my parents very graciously and willingly set it up for me when I first moved into this apartment in the summer of 2004. I have used my debit card on several occasions. it is labeled in Braille with the word “debit” on top, and my PIN on the bottom. Although not everything with which I used it was accessible, I feel that my ownership of a debit card inandof itself is a good step towards real independence. Sure there are those people out there who make total fools out of themselves by abusing other people’s credit cards although I don’t know any of these people personally. I guess I’m a bit mystified about the NFB’s definition of “independence.” I know that there are people who will define independence differently in terms of what each individual can and cannot accomplish by him or herself, but I guess my question is this. Where does the NFB draw the line and exactly how is that line drawn?

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