Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ms. Margie's Fourth Grade Class urges that we Clean up tjhe Duwamish

Dear Washington MoveOn member,
I'm Ms. Margie, a teacher and MoveOn member in Wallingford, WA, and I started a petition with my 4th grade class to King County Executive Dow Constantine, which says:
Make Seattle's only river clean enough for locals to fish.
We are a 4th grade class in Seattle, Washington. We are petitioning Dow Constantine, King County Executive, to give enough money to clean the Duwamish River for citizens to be able to fish safely. The Duwamish River is one of the most polluted rivers in the U.S. and the only river in Seattle.

The Duwamish River is affecting peopleĆ¢€™s health. Residents who live closer to the river die 13 years younger than others who live in Laurelhurst.1 There are three tribes that eat fish from the river. It's in the tribes' culture to fish in the Duwamish and we shouldn't take that away from them, so we want King County to give enough money so that people can eat the fish without the risk of getting really sick.

The Environmental Protection Agency has already released a $342 million, 17 year-long cleanup plan to help.2 However, it is not removing enough toxins so that locals can fish from the Duwamish safely. Although it will cost King County a lot of money and time, people and animals around the Duwamish will be saved.

Our goal is to collect 3,000 signatures by June 1, 2015. June 2 we will be holding a protest and presenting our petition signatures. If you add your name, it will really make a difference to the people and animals that live or fish in the Duwamish River.

–Ms. Margie's 4th grade class
1. "The Duwamish: River of no return?" Crosscut, July 7, 2014
2. "$342 Million to Clean Duwamish River Superfund Site: EPA Finalizes Plan," Indian Country Today, December 4, 2014
This petition was created on MoveOn's online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. Ms. Margie's 4th grade class didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the list.
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 8 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Start a monthly donation here or chip in a one-time donation here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

College Reunion Shout-out: Animal Husbandry

In continuing observance of a Major Year College Reunion, RantWoman hereby salutes:

2 Dickinson St Co-op
--the 2015 members of the 2 Dickinson Street Co-op for inviting co-op alumni to brunch. RantWoman does not plan to come but really appreciates the invitation.

--Two of RantWoman's graduation year housemates for achievements in the world of animal husbandry.

Class of 1985 logoHousemate #1 majored in biology. She made RantWoman laugh very hard one time by offering to immediately lose perspective and become a political activist (in the RantWoman mold, alas) dedicated to the cause of turning the whole world into a Pine Barren. RantWoman is in no position to offer any commentary whatsoever about the Pine Barrens today. RantWoman does though celebrate the integrity of putting one's degree to work and moving to a goat farm in OR.

Housemate #2, aka Curmudgeon of the Weed Whackin Wenches rang RantWoman up recently to announce that her main activity of the day was going to be "refereeing chickens." The Wenches' suburban lifestyle includes a flock of chickens, currently 5 adults of various breeds and two youths ready to be introduced to the rest of the flock. RantWoman highly recommends fresh eggs, but is glad someone else handles the refereeing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

College Reunions Shout Out: Michelle Obama!

RantWoman went to one of those universities where reunions are a REALLY BIG DEAL. Really big deal means on graduation anniversaries ending in 0 or 5 one is supposed to return to the alma mater, put on some kind of outrageous costume in the school colors and PARTAY!

Class of 1985 logo

RantWoman is not that good at partying in the first place.

In the second place, RantWoman figures modest electronic participation ought to suffice on both time and carbon footprint grounds. So RantWoman is going to take this week to offer reflections and shout-outs on various themes.

First shout-out: Michelle Obama. RantWoman has no memory of meeting the future First Lady but the future First Lady worked in an office where RantWoman regularly visited when fundraising to invite speakers to campus. In other words, it's possible we met and have never realized it.

In any case, RantWoman thinks Michelle Obama is doing an amazing job as First Lady! Here is an example.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Issaquah. Sans Selfies

(Spoiler alert: RantWoman knows that smartphone selfies of all one's travels are just so The Thing. This is a 100% selfie-free blog post. Not even sorry. Use your imagination. Imagine green trees and the darkest purple rhododendron RantWoman has ever seen. And no selfies.)

RantWoman lives basically in the Rainier Valley. Recently RantWoman ran into one of her neighbors in the elevator.

Where  ya' been?

The Issaquah  Fred Meyer.

Why did you go all the way to Issaquah to go to Fred Meyer?

Because it's green and peaceful and I can go there on ACCESS!

Lightbulb went off in RantWoman's head.

Not long before the elevator encounter, RantWoman was at a meeting where Issaquah mayor Fred Butler made a point of coming over to shake RantWoman's hand. This has partly to do with RantWoman letting herself get appointed to the Service Guidelines Task Force, but today RantWoman wants to stick to Issaquah.

After the elevator encounter, a lightbulb went off in RantWoman's head. RantWoman has been to downtown Issaquah only a tine number of times but remembered it as green and peaceful and also walkable, the sort of place that has historically worked well when RantMom and her septuagenarian siblings and their spouses do their periodic reunion thing.

Among other holiday weekend activities, the RantWomen, RantWoman and rantMom meant to think about the next iteration of said reunion. So far the planning has been bumpy. RantWoman and RantMom between us are not doing so well with the Google and various financial and transportation constraints and the leap between paper and the electronic universe. Even if RantWoman could officially see any better than she does, there are just some mapping and visualization things one should not even try on a Smartphone too.

The RantWomen have gotten a reprieve: to RantWoman's profound relief Uncle Retired Bus Driver and Aunt Office Manager have taken the initiative to plan their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, something that would fall within the normal time window when reunions have usually occurred. Suddenly with the reunion postponed RantMom's desire to visit candidate locations in person seems doable! RantMom particularly expressed interest in some kind of holiday excursion and Little Sister's family tends not to be available on weekends.

Plus RantWoman remembers a couple bus options to Issaquah.

ACCESS (paratransit) is  theoretically also an option. Theoretically. Except many around RantWoman fill RantWoman's ears with tales of what a pain ACCESS is. Besides, although RantMom qualifies for ACCESS, RantWoman only qualifies for ACCESS by an accident of domicile and RantWoman wants to illustrate the use case (bear with the computer geek term, please) of people wanting to go someplace together but not necessarily both qualifying for ACCESS. Not to mention greater flexibility and better views from the bus.

RantWoman whipped out her Smartphone. Check the SoundTransit site for schedules. Elegant. The 554 holiday schedule means service both ways every half hour in the middle of the day. RantMom is a farm girl. She is up with the sun and would have been happy to bound on a bus an hour earlier than the RantWomen did. As it was, the RantWoman met earlier than we had agreed, rode the #kcmetrobus 7 downtown and had quality hang out on a bench and chat time until the bus came.

Among the chat topics:" the fare to Issaquah. RantWoman continues to find Sound Transit fares a bafflement, but RantWoman keeps money in her ORCA wallet to cope with the bafflement. RantMom says she carries quarters in case she needs to pay a student fare for Irrepressible nephew. In any case, the RantWomen got on the bus prepared to pay extra but the ORCA reader just beeped us on, no fuss, no muss! Score!

A purple Rhodie, in  case imagination is not enough

Eastbound traffic was very light. The RantWoman considered getting off at the Issaquah Park and Ride but thankfully the driver said the bus stopped in downtown Issaquah. Within half an hour, the RantWomen were stepping off a bus gazing at the most wonderful dark purple rhododendron RantWoman has ever seen and off on an adventure.

The adventure consisted of:

--identify and verify the location of the stop for the trip home.

--Peer down a couple streets and pick a walking direction. RantWoman really cannot see far enough to guess what will be interesting but is willing to walk there and find out. RantMom is more minimalist about walking and chose a route past city hall and several blocks W on Front Street.

--Watch RantMom be multiply charmed by the small town feel. RantWoman found Front St a little noisy even on a supposedly calm holiday. RantWoman was also completely charmed by audible pedestrian signals with VOICES, imperious voices, but still voices and clear street orientations instead of the chirps, tweets, and please excuse RantWoman, gunfire noises on some of the audbile signals closer to home.

--Contemplate the issue of places to stay and options for actually going to Fred Meyer. Contemplate, but not today.

--Attend to bus bladder and lunch. RantMom had in mind sitting down. We both like Mexican and had a wonderful meal with great service at Las Margaritas. If it were later in the day, RantWoman might also have had a margarita. Oh well.

--Find the fish hatchery! Thank you bus announcement. The rantWomen did not actually set out to find the fish hatchery but found our way there just by taking our last meander down a street.

--Listen to Issaquah Creek. Stroll around. We could have lived without the lawn mower, but the place smelled reliably fishy and there were plenty of places for green and quit.

By this time, RantMom was ready to go home and the ride back to Seattle was as calm and efficient as the ride out! And if we decide we need to go to Issaquah to Fred meyer we can plan another day!

Lexicography moment: the term "choice rider" refers to people who choose to ride the bus when they have the option of driving or choose to own fewer cars than there are drivers in the household. RantWoman has boundless respect for transit planners and transit managers who use the services they manage and would definitely consider such people choice riders.

RantWoman would also argue that perhaps the term "choice rider" could be used for people who qualify for paratransit but choose the regular bus for at least some of their trips.

Further concept RantWoman is massaging: RantWoman thinks the rantWomen might not be the only people who would go occasionally out of central Seattle on excursions to the 'burbs. RantWoman wonders about options for group travel to accommodate this among people who do not own cars.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Legally Blind Girl wins pole-vaulting medal

A Mighty Girl
After years of hard work, 17-year-old pole vaulter Charlotte Brown finally made it to the medal stand at the Texas state high championship on Saturday. Charlotte's bronze medal win at the
state-wide competition is impressive for any athlete but what's even more extraordinary is that Charlotte can't see the bar she vaults over. She is legally blind and uses a special beeper to guide her to the planting box for the jump. Her guide dog Vador joined her on the podium when she received her medal, after which she told the AP: "I finally did it. If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way.”

Born with normal vision, Charlotte developed cataracts as a toddler. A series of operations stabilized her vision until age 11 and then it continued to deteriorate until she became legally blind several years ago. This fiercely independent Mighty Girl from Emory, Texas decided to take up pole vaulting in the seventh grade because she wanted to pursue a sport that was "dangerous and exciting." She attributes her fearlessness and positive attitude to her parents’ refusal to treat her differently and her two brothers’ competitiveness.

At Saturday's competition, Charlotte missed her first attempts at 10-0 and 10-6 but cleared both on her second try. She also cleared 11-0 and 11-6 on her first attempt and received a standing ovation from several hundred fans. With the season over, the high school senior is looking forward to new challenges at Purdue University where she is heading on an academic scholarship and plans to try out for track.

 Charlotte knows that many people view her as a role model, especially for athletes with disabilities. She told Sports Illustrated last year, "If I can inspire people by doing what I think is easy, that's
awesome... Whatever obstacle is in the way, I want to get over it, to win and to achieve something great." As she reflected on her long sought-after medal this weekend, she asserted, "This story... really wasn’t about me. It was about everybody that struggles with something.”

 To read more about Charlotte's medal-winning championship, visit

-- for an ESPNW infographic showing how she pole vaults without seeing, visit

 To inspire your children with the stories of more female sports trailblazers, visit our “Sports & Games” section at

 For several books starring Mighty Girls who are blind, check out
"Walking Through A World of Aromas" for ages 4 to 8
"Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village" for ages 4 to 8
(, and
"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" for ages 9 to 12

 For an assortment of books about the famous deaf-blind author, lecturer, and activist Helen Keller in our "Helen Keller Collection", visit

 For a selection of books about Mighty Girls with a range of disabilities, visit our section on "People with Disabilities" at

 And, for many stories about girls and women who persevere even in the face of adversity, visit our "Resiliency" section

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2015: May 21!

RantWoman invites readers to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2015.

1. Tidings from the official #GAAD website that henceforthe the day will be observed on the third Thursday in May. RantWoman particularly invites readers to check out the events listed for Bellevue WA!

2. Last year RantWoman devoted her Global Accessibility Awareness Day observance to ... howling about a frustrating accessibility fail. RantWoman also forgot to include the disclaimer that she is not the most sophisticated user of her assistive technology tools ever to lay fingers to keyboard. When RantWoman encounters a spectacular fail, she sometimes hand the issue off to people who are more adept with the tools. RantWoman has no idea why she did not do that last year.  Consider RantWoman disclaimed in retrospect.

3. RantWoman is shamelessly reprinting an entire item that came to her in email. RantWoman attended on Deque Systems webinar and was very impressed by its honest and practical orientation. RantWoman heartily recommends the webinars offered below and will TRY to attend to the one about accessible documents herself! Enjoy!

Deque Systems
Dear (RantWoman)

Deque Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness

Live Webinar Events

This year we are featuring all-new, free webinars to be broadcast live on YouTube — no registration required! We will be covering the following topics:

Deque is Giving Free Website and App Consultations

How accessible is your website or product? Deque is offering free website and application consultations with an assistive technology power user. This invaluable experience will reveal the challenges and roadblocks users may experience when interacting with your content or completing a task.
Contact Alicia Bourne or call 703.225.0380 to schedule an appointment at our Herndon office, or virtually.New Product Releases

Product Releases

Our new Accessibility 101 Mobile App is available for iOS at the app store — and will be available for Android May 21! For every download of the Accessibility 101 app (on iOS or Android) we will donate $1 to Knowbility's AccessWorks project. AccessWorks is Knowbility's Document Accessibility and User Experience Testing initiative that employs people with disabilities. Learn more from the Knowbility website.
Deque Systems
Deque Systems 2121 Cooperative Way Suite 210 Herndon VA 20171

Saturday, May 16, 2015

AFB Accessible Player: HTML5

 AFB Accessible Player

Developed by AFB, this fully accessible, embedded video player with HTML5 controls includes the following features:

.         Users can select the size and color scheme they prefer.

.         Controls are labeled with text and include keyboard commands, so they work with any kind of assistive technology, and can also be used with a mouse.

.         Video can also be expanded to a full screen, which is helpful for users with low vision.

.         Can be used as an embedded YouTube player or as a standard player.

.         Custom control layout supports English and Spanish languages.

Transcript of Video

Voice Over: Crista Earl, Director, AFB Web Services, describes the AFB Accessible Player.

Crista Earl: One of the problems with video in general on the internet is players are not all accessible and people have trouble getting to the controls with the keyboard on some of them. Some of them, if you have low vision you can't tell what's what. They're just little gray patches. All kinds of issues with the player.

So, we created an accessible player using HTML5 technology so that it would work with a lot of platforms, works with lots of browsers and cross-platform whether you are using a Mac or a PC, whether you're using a mobile device. And, it has this great change colors so if your website has a color scheme, a high contrast color scheme or various high contrast color schemes, the player will change with your website. So, users with low vision can make the controls more visible and users who use screen readers can find the controls easily.

We added keyboard shortcuts so in the middle of the video if you want to pause it, you can just hit the key command. It varies slightly from browser to browser to pause the video. You can make it full-screen or make it small on the page. the user has that option. So, we really think we put in a lot
of nice features to make playing videos easy, fun, and took all the hassle away from the user. And, a lot of hassle away from the web designer, too.

You don't have to build your own player. Now, your job is to make accessible content and put it in the player.

Downloading the Accessible player can be carried out by following the steps

1.  Visit the link/URL shown below.

2.  If using screenreading software,

a.  once arriving at the link shown above, enter "links list mode."

System Access, JAWS  and NVDA - insert plus f7

Windows-eyes - insert plus f7 or insert plus f6 opens the page navigation dialog since Windows-eyes has no separate interface for linklists, page elements, etc.

b.  Type in the word zip and hit enter.

c.  The cursor is placed on a link labeled as  "downloadable zip file containing the AFB Accessible Player files and instructions."

d.    Press the application key. 

e.  Arrow down to "save tarket as" and hit enter.

e.  Navigate to where you wish to save this file.

f.  Press alt plus s and the zipped file is saved in your chosen location.

3.  If you are using a mouse to download the file:

a.  Access Click on the link below or copy the url to the clipboard.  Then past the link to your browser's address bar.

b.  click on okay and off you go to the site.

c.  Move down to the link labeled as"downloadable zip file containing the AFB Accessible Player files and instructions."

d.  Click the right mouse button.

e.  Click on "save target as."

f.  Navigate to where you wish to save the file and then click on save.

Below is the complete set of instructions entitled as "read me.txt" that is
found in the folder once uncompressing the downloaded folder. 

AFB's Accessible Video Player

***What Is It?

A lightweight, responsive HTML5 video player that includes support for
keyboard and screen reader accessibility. Its appearance is
stylesheet-driven so it can support the user's size and contrast choices.
The video can also be expanded to a full screen, which is helpful for users
with low vision.


* It can be used as an embedded YouTube player or as a standard player.

* The custom control layout supports English and Spanish languages.

* Provides a responsive HTML5 video player with custom controls.

* Uses labeled controls for volume (range input) and progress indication (progress element).

* Accessible to screen reader and keyboard-only users.

***Language Support

* This accessible video player support custom controls in English and Spanish languages.

***Preparing Your Videos

For the videos to work across as many browsers as possible, you'll need at least the following formats:

* .mp4

* .webm

* .ogg


* Unzip the Accessible Video Player folder. There will be four other folders inside the main one.

* The "include" folder contains the main script files for the video player.

* "media" folder (optional) can be used to serve the media files in the supported file formats.

* The "Standard Video Player" folder has the standard player with English layout.

* The "Spanish Video Player" folder contains video player with custom controls in Spanish.

***Linking Videos to the Player

* Open the "Standard Video Player" or "Spanish Video Player" folder. Inside is the main player html file.

* Open this file and look for

    (Oops. Something got lost; RantWoman will try to find the complete directions, but good intentions and all...)