Friday, February 24, 2017

MT GOP Chair Afraid of Too Much Voting

RantWoman has not lived in MT for decades, but sometimes news stories from Big Sky Country just grab RantWoman's attention. Watch all the way through!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Standing Reasonable Accommodations Requests

RantWoman's vocabulary of the day, salient both in her community life and in her faith community, with particularly piquant notes in her faith community.:

Alternate formats

Public accommodations

Open government

Standing Reasonable Accommodations Requests

RantWoman is not a lawyer. RantWoman went looking at the NW ADA center for language relevant to what is on her mind. RantWoman is also trying to boil down her concerns in ways that she might be able to seek advice from Very Significant Advocate Law firm about what is on RantWoman's mind.

RantWoman really does NOT actually want to have to go seek outside help, but one of the threads frying her brain in her faith community is the phrase "I'm a lawyer and ..." That phrase together with other things in RantWoman's email is making RantWoman want to say "Well, if you were MY lawyer either we would come to a different understanding or RantWoman would get a different lawyer." As it is, RantWoman is figuring out what need to be said in the realm of "Either we figure out a better process than the one you are perpetrating to work on concerns ..."

RantWoman, alas, has previous life experience in this realm though and feels absolutely NO motivation to shield younger adults in their working lives from thinking about RantWoman's concerns. Should be fun times all around.

But back to documents and alternate formats.
RantWoman's preferred standard for documents in alternate formats is electronic copies either on a web link that can be shared with others who might also appreciate alternatives to paper or emailed in advance. RantWoman has various ways of coping when this does not occur. RantWoman also makes a distinction between things she goes to all the time and situations where things she goes to all the time involve outside speakers.

Yesterday RantWoman went to a monthly meeting. The Chair HAS gotten that emailing the agenda is a big help. He has NOT gotten that emailing the minutes is also highly on point. RantWoman considers this unfortunate since minutes are badly needed and RantWoman would be really happy first of all just to rely on a secretary who can take good minutes and failing that, to help nurture and encourage the development of good minutes skills.

RantWoman notes one handout, a purchase list that needed to be approved. RantWoman is unsure that was even worth reproducing particularly since the items were read aloud for the record and the approval was not in doubt.

For this meeting stream we will not even talk about whether the chair remembers to remind outside speakers of RantWoman's standing reasonable accommodations request which also includes provision for alternate formats.

SAMPLE: Standing request to outside presenters: we know there are blind people who attend our meetings, so if you bring handouts, please email an electronic copy to our chair and our chair will email to those requesting.

Come to think of it, RantWoman sometimes remembers to send out a similar reminder when she gets agendas for one of her transportation related habits. Probably RantWoman should send out the reminder more often or check to see what appears on a website. RantWoman should start using this request for one strand of activity at her faith community too! Oh joy!

When outside speakers do not intersect with RantWoman's standing Reasonable Accommodations request, RantWoman does have  alternate strategies, mainly aimed at contact information to facilitate followup contact.  RantWoman will have to use these strategies for yesterday's event. Luckily the Death By Powerpoint moment has one contact and RantWomans already knows info for two other documents referenced. Inclusion Matters.

Alas, RantWoman has another meeting stream where she gets to have a conversation of the form: getting the following categories of documents in alternative formats (posted to the organizational website really means a lot for Rantwoman's ability to appreciate an annual event. If you are too busy to see that this happens, who can you delegate the task to, either staff or another volunteer?

Add the term public accommodation. This term has been previously walked through around RantWoman's faith community regarding sign language interpreters and service dogs. The above request would be an example of RantWoman needing to walk through the matter in terms of  alternative formats so that for instance staff understand the value of getting this small but important task done.

Here we come to another topic likely to make people's eyes glaze over: RantWoman's position would be, yes RantWoman KNOWS that requirements for accessibility on the internet are a vexed topic but the website / electronic mail practices are part of the organization's public accommodations role AND there are accessible solutions that should meet the organization's needs. So responding to Reasonable Accommodations language about documents in alternate formats and the conduct of organizational email is part of one organization's public accommodations presence (and gosh dang it, actually interstate commerce too.)

In Rantwoman's rich fantasy life, having the above requested documents posted without reminders would be just thrilling. Plan B is RantWoman now knows to send remindrs of this request in a timely way before the event in question. Plan C is to decide whether rantWoman needs to salt the request with  the phrase "As a Reasonable accommodation."

Oh, and if RantWoman added Reasonable Accommodations languages to requests for basic email courtesies too, would this help or hinder the tidiness of emails? RantWoman really does NOT want to jump down everyone's throat about every single unsophisticated email user mistake. In fact, although RantWoman is happy to share tech support duties, rantWoman can OFTEN offer tips that make the email torrents much more manageable for other people too.

Sample message: RantWoman really appreciates it when some basic standards of email apply. You recently sent out an email with a long list of recipients that causes RantWoman to wonder whether you have the right tools to manage the email tasks associated with your job. As a reasonable accommodation will you please consider and RantWoman would be happy to talk to someone geekier about what to look for in tools. RantWoman has some pretty specific points in mind but would not mind using someone else's eyeballs to search faster.

RantWoman notes yet another basic email courtesy that RantWoman is thinking of phrasing in terms of reasonable accommodations: when forwarding email, RantWoman DOES NOT want to see the entire to list for every layer of forwards. RantWoman likes seeing the original sender, date and subject line of a forwarded message. RantWoman deeply appreciates it when people clean up the messages and forward only the meatiest content.

Alas, the first thing that has to happen is better conversations than are currently occurring. A REALLY GOOD START, besides recognizing seriously hurt feelings and dialing back about the word "bullying" as applied to assertion of rights would be something beside "Go away for six months and then maybe we'll think about it!"

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Plan for your Power Outage: How to Make a Parabolic Solar Cooker

RantWoman's building recently experienced an all-day power outage. RantWoman is unclear the ext cause but the resolution involved a Seattle city Light Truck working on something on a pole well toward 6 pm.

RantWoman's building has a generator and the generator seems to serve parts of some apartments and none of others. RantWoman did not in fact notice there was a power outage while working at her desk. It was only when RantWoman got up to make tea that she realized things were not as they should be. NO kitchen lights. No stove. No microwave. No fridge.

But it was a bright sunny day outside. RantWoman's disaster preparedness nerves kicked in and RantWoman started to think "solar cooker." RantWoman started to think this. Then she troter over to The Friendly Neighborhood Center For Extreme Computing unaffected by the outage and plugged various things into her YouTube search bar? Why Youtube? Youtube seems to be a faster path to usable information than unbounded search engine of choice. Here is one example of what turned up. Clearly rantWoamn should not wait until the next power outage if she wants something that will boil tea water and heat up lunch.



Friday, February 3, 2017

Search string of the week: Bladder Irritant Foods

Shhhhhhh!

Don't tell ANYONE except the whole freaking internet who reads RantWoman's blog.

RantMom is suffering from a condition affecting millions of women with her age and medical history. Shhhh, RantMom would like her name and identity never ever to be associated with this condition in any kind of public and realistic way. it is one of the conditions addressed in the parade of pharmaceutical company TV advertisements promising to treat various geriatric leakages and seepages. But no, out of deference to rantMom the exact name of the condition will not be mentioned.

Alert readers who are or know someone in a similar boat MAYBE can guess at the condition and RantWoman will be too happy to name it in any live conversation that does not involve RantMom --unless rantMom suddenly becomes more voluble and mentions it first.

Actually the RantWomen have been taking a WELCOME break from the ads and the sort of comical accompanying side effects warnings; the RantWoman have opted for classic KING instead of "Turn off the television you are more fun than oil spills" for our Sunday suppers. This means RantMom is going to have to either look for resources live or venture out ...onto...the internet.

After a recent medical consultation, with RantWoman along to cheerlead and ask pesky questions in front of the doctor  it seems the menus for Sunday suppers may have to change.

The Rant Sisters now have a search string which we will be trying to steer rantMOm toward relief" bladder irritant foods.

This is going to be hard. RantMom likes practically everything on the list, starting with coffee and orange juice for breakfast. This should be Funnnn!

Here's a link to get started
Cleveland Clinic article on bladder irritant foods

And if we get REALLY carried away, the first page of search results served up an e-book available through Google books and a downloadable PDF, both of which will be new technological frontiers for RantMom. Time for RantSisters tag team tech support! Good thing the RantSisters are for now past one of our periodic sister snits. Less irritated bladder here we come.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nondiscrimination????

Staring into the whirlwind of reduced regulations about things like accessibility likely on the horizon, RantWoman has gone on an odd quest, in search of anti discrimination / equal opportunity statements on websites in the Restaurant Industry.

RantWoman started with site for Carl's Jr., the company headed by Trump Administration nominee for Secretary of Labor Andy Puzdar.

http://ckefranchise.com/

RantWoman found the site basically accessible. RantWoman considers videos that play automatically at a high volume kind of a menace to people's hearing. More importantly, RantWoman both poked around and used a search engine but did not find any non-discrimination statement anywhere. If there actually is one and someone leaves a comment, RantWoman will revise this post.

Otherwise, lack of any kind of  equal opportunity / nondiscrimination statement on a corporate website would definitely be something RantWoman would ask about during a confirmation process. But RantWoman would also think to ask: Do you suppose if the country were to  raise the minimum wage to $15 / hour nationwide more people will have money to eat at your restaurants?

The other company on RantWoman's mind is Cheescake Factory. Cheescake factory is on RantWoman's mind because of a recent lawsuit filed by the EEOC in Seattle. Here is the newsrelease.
https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-16a.cfm
More on the substance of the lawsuit in a moment.

RantWoman is happy to note that the Cheesecake Factory corporate website does have an equal employment / nondiscrimination statement of sorts.
https://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/corporate-information/employment-policy
EEO STATEMENT
Our policy is to provide employment, promotional opportunities, training, compensation, benefits, and all other conditions of employment, without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, color, religion, national origin, age, medical condition, marital status, citizenship, ancestry, military status, disability, familial status, gender identity, gender expression or any other protected class. We strive to hire and develop the best-qualified people, basing our judgment on job-related criteria.

RantWoman gives Cheesecake Factory points for at least having a policy. However RantWoman finds herself taken aback by the following item:

WEBSITE USAGE
Submission of information by an individual for a vacant position with The Cheesecake Factory via this Site does not necessarily mean and should in no way be construed as establishing the individual as an "applicant" for the purposes of The Cheesecake Factory's compliance with Executive Order 11246 or Federal Affirmative Action laws and regulations.  In accordance with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance's interpretation of the term applicant in Q&A 15 [44 Fed. Reg. 11996 (March 2, 1979)], each of The Cheesecake Factory's respective locations reserves the right to define the term applicant in a manner consistent with its specific recruitment and selection procedures.

OKAYYYY, so why were the equal employment statement and the above disclaimer not enough to keep the company from getting sued?

RantWoman is not a lawyer.

RantWoman is not in a position to comment about all events leading up to the suit.

RantWoman is not a super gee whiz expert about video production but RantWoman is a language geek. Providing captioning is a REALLY basic accessibility feature, and RantWoman thinks it should not be very difficult to use the script one develops for audio on a video and to load that as captions as well.

RantWoman also knows more than one person who started out with limited English and relied on the captioning in movies and on television to help them learn English. And furthermore, if the company is going to use the same training videos companywide, why the heck NOT take a simple step that gives employees another easy pathway to review material, that delivers content uniformly?

Please note: providing captioning is only part of the language access  issue in this suit. If a job applicant makes a reasonable accommodations request for a sign  language interpreter for training, the company is required to provide one! At least as of the filing of the lawsuit.

#cripthevote
#disablepoverty

FTA Shared Mobility Dialogue

This post includes:

1. The meat of an email which reached RantWoman on January 25, 2017 for a comment period that is supposed to have closed January 27. RantWoman will TRY to read far enough to see wehtehr there is a list she can sign up to for subsequent emails.

2. Some practices that enhance RantWoman's ability to participate in Shared Mobility efforts. RantWoman recognizes that helpful practices as far as process access are not the same thing as best practices for shared mobility, but part of the helpful practices is to get more blind people into jobs related to shared mobility and to facilitate participation by blind people and people with other disabilities and the design, planning, and operation of different transportation services.

3. The text of an email RantWoman wrote to an official with whom RantWoman has many shared mobility conversations.

1.
Don’t miss your chance to contribute to FTA’s Shared Mobility Online Dialogue, which closes Friday, January 27. This is your chance to offer suggestions for guidance, best practices and other ways we can support the public transportation industry’s efforts to explore shared mobility options that improve and expand transit service.
Advancements in smart phones, web applications and related public transportation technology innovations are driving the growth of shared mobility concepts and on-demand solutions like bike-sharing, car-hailing, and innovative demand-response bus services. As the transit industry embraces partnerships with these shared and on-demand services, transit agency staff and others have sought FTA guidance regarding funding eligibility, civil rights requirements, and other conditions for receiving FTA support.
In response, FTA has published a set of Shared Mobility frequently asked questions clarifying formula eligibility for FTA grant programs and compliance with other federal requirements, in addition to hosting the Shared Mobility Online Dialogue to allow the public to share ideas, ask questions and comment on issues raised by others. For more information, contact transitinnovations@dot.gov.
Links:
Shared Mobility Online DialogueShared Mobility FAQsFTA’s Shared Mobility guidance



2.
Best practices that I have found helpful
--citizen participation boards that reflect community diversity. In King County just one volunteer gig after another has led me to learn A LOT about different pieces of what here is called Alternative Service delivery.
--Remembering to make reasonable accommodations requests in advance so that I get copies of materials I can use and refer back to later.
--Accessible websites
--just showing up and continuing to show up.

3.

Dear ....
Thank you so much for participating in the January 24 conference call
with other members of the WA Council of the Blind. Thank you also for
the links you sent. I distributed them with the email about the call
and I think we will refer to them further.  I am including the people
who were on this call and a couple other people in blind copy and
invite them also to distribute as they see fit and to  contact you if
they have additional questions or comments. Please include these
comments as part of public comment for this funding cycle and I also
look forward to further comments in the Coordinated Plan update
process.

I had hoped to have someone from Pierce and maybe Kitsap counties on
the call but I am glad people from King and Snohomish County
participated. I was also glad to learn that people in Snohomish County
know about the Pay a Pal mileage reimbursement program recommended for
continued funding.

I really appreciated your explanation of current biennium cycle the
Coordinated Grant Program for the Special Needs Transportation Fund
serving King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. I would like to
understand better how things work for the separate funding in Kitsap
County. For one thing,  besides I think two WCB chapters, know there
is one WCB member who is very interested in transportation. He lives
two miles and no sidewalks from the nearest bus stop but would
definitely be interested in opportunities to participate in Special
Needs transportation related discussions by phone.

I appreciate the work that has gone into the application and review
process and definitely endorse forwarding the recommendations for next
steps. Thank you also for the explanation of how ADA compliance works
as the funds move toward the different funded programs.

Commenting as one private citizen, I want to repeat a couple concerns
from my experience or that I heard yesterday on the call.

--I personally had one STAR Center customer  with multiple
disabilities who is a wheelchair user who complained that the DAV vans
are not wheelchair accessible. Honestly I think there could be several
ways of accommodating the needs of wheelchair users in that program
and perhaps incremental steps could be considered as funding rolls
through for that program.

--Thank you for the information about the expansion and change in
operation of special shuttle programs in King County. As I said on the
call, a STAR center project involving transition age youth from
several language communities relied very heavily on the Hyde Shuttles
for transportation partly because the timing of the project made the
length of time to qualify for ACCESS services untenable. The project’s
linguistically competent staff wound up spending really a lot of time
arranging transportation and then the project did not continue for a
number of reasons. Still the experience is important to consider as
new approaches are used to meet people’s transportation needs.

--I was glad to hear that in Pierce County the services funded through
this grant program are listed in the Pierce County 211 system. As
blind people, getting information about what services are available is
always a challenge and knowing that a county 211 system is a good
place to look would be very valuable. I do not have time this
afternoon to check what information about ongoing programs to be
funded by this process shows up in the King County or Snohomish county
211 system, but again, making information available there and also if
possible in the widely used transportation related apps would be a
valuable step that I think could easily fit into say the mobility
management work.

--I personally have found the opportunity to participate in person in
meetings of the King County Mbility Coalition extremely educational. I
appreciate that the meetings are held in locations easily accessible
by public transit, and I am always energized by the opportunity to
make connections in person at these meetings. At the same time, for
people who face huge transportation barriers, increasing ways for
people to participate by phone in the three county and king county
subregional coalition meetings would be another valuable step toward
greater inclusion. I am not a super expert on PA systems or phone
technology, but I think it could be very worthwhile to explore
options.

--Access to health care is a continuing concern for blind people.
Yesterday’s email stream included information from a blind woman I
know who moved with her wife because of high housing costs in the
Seattle area out near a relative in rural Skagit or Whatcom county.
Both partners have many physical challenges and even arranging help
let alone needed healthcare visits is a huge challenge.

In general I would be glad to help different individuals and chapters
within WCB think about additional points of engagement:

--I think some articles in our quarterly newsletter would be very
valuable and will look at timelines and think about options. Typically
articles are 750 words

--I think it would be great for local chapters to invite someone from
your office or from the different county mobility management programs
to come speak at our monthly chapter meetings. I will include that
thought either in a newsletter article or in an email but some of that
I need to leave up to local chapters to decide.

--I do not know whether others besides me would be interested in
participating in the meetings of the different county mobility
coalition meetings or in any of the 3 sub bregional coalitions in King
county. That might be something for people to think about if they
invite speakers to chapter meetings.

--I would be very glad to distribute info about opportunities to
participate in the upcoming coordinated plan review process. The
intersection of transportation, housing costs, and access to work are
huge concerns for blind people, many of whom are entirely dependent on
public transportation, not just on standard commuting cycles but 24/7
365 days a year. I think the plan update process has already received
feedback about this point not only from me but from other voices and I
look forward to working further with this reality as part of the plan
update process.

I look forward to seeing whether we can have you and / or or someone
from WSDOT speak about Special Needs Transportation issues at the WCB
state convention in October.

Thank you again for your time and I look forward to helping expand
collaboration between PSRC and different chapters and individual
members of the WA Council of the Blind.

Best Regards
(RantWoman)
One of RantWoman's titles.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lexicography

RantWoman desperately wants to consider herself a patriotic believer in democracy, peaceful transfer of power and other concepts straining RantWoman's soul in the face of present realities. At a minimum RantWoman would SO like to find something positive and constructive to say 4 days into the new regime.

To hell with such aspirations.

RantWoman is going to receive the new regime in her capacity as language geek.

1. NO REPORTER who cannot do interviews in at least two languages EVER gets to make fun of the current Mrs. Trump's accent or her imperfect English. RantWoman would consider it sporting to look up how many languages the current Mrs. Trump speaks / has studied , but tonight RantWoman is not that sporting. Stay tuned.

2. RantWoman is pretty sure that if asked, famed sex advice columnist Dan Savage would advise the current Mrs. Trump DTMFA. RantWoman has no opinion about the likelihood of Mrs. T doing so but mentions the term in the interest of linguistic propagation. RantWoman recommends readers unfamiliar with the acronym use search engines.

3. As a public service RantWoman has resolved to compile and catalog terms she observes being used in reference to @realdonaldtrump  @potus

Tonight's entries:

The Cheeto

The thin-skinned small-fingered Cheeto

The Orange One

Orange Foolius

The White House Occupant