#CaptionTHIS, have you done your part yet?


If you are deaf and love captioned videos….please go to the above link.

I sent out emails to Amazon PRIME, CNN.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com, CBS.com, Comcast, PBS, and the NYT.



Is Daugaard really the devil? You decide.

There is an ongoing controversy regarding the National Association of the Deaf ‘s (NAD) invitation of South Dakota Governor Daniel Daugaard to present at NAD’s upcoming biennial convention in Lousiville, Kentucky. The controversy lies in whether NAD was acting on the best interests of its membership by inviting someone who was counter to NAD’s stated mission objectives. Everyone has their own opinion on this, but I wanted to dig deeper into the fact that Daugaard has been labelled  “Anti-Women”, “Anti-Muslim”, “Anti-Gay”, and is blamed for doing absolutely nothing to prevent the closing of the South Dakota School for the Deaf back when he was a Lieutenant Governor. I’d like to review each label/accusation one-by-one in depth below with google research I did on the subject:

ANTI-WOMEN (or Misogynistic):
I believe strongly in protecting the unborn. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” I have consistently supported pro-life measures to reduce the frequency of abortion and to inform mothers considering abortion about alternatives like adoption. I also signed the petition in 2008 to place the “abortion ban” initiative on the ballot, so that our state could lead the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade. -Governor Daugaard

Source: http://www.ontheissues.org/Dennis_Daugaard.htm

The above is Daugaard’s stance on abortion and his own quote. Daugaard has always been a pro-lifer. The people of South Dakota voted him in as a pro-life governor. The reason he has been labelled as “anti-women” is because of a controversial legislation he signed into law on March 5th, 2012. The legislation was a modification to legislation previously voted in and here’s a summary:

The Legislature a year ago passed a law requiring women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours and undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions. This year’s bill leaves intact those requirements, but it requires that the counseling sessions be done by licensed professionals.


Some extra excerpts from another article:
Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to wait three days after meeting with a doctor and receive counseling before undergoing the procedure, news agencies reported.

The measure brought condemnation from abortion rights groups. CBS News.com said that the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of South Dakota and Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced Tuesday they plan to file a legal challenge to the law, which is to take effect July 1.

“I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives,” Daugaard said in a written statement. “I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices.”

South Dakota is hardly alone in staking out new territory in the abortion battle. Many statehouses where Republicans have a majority are contemplating new abortion restrictions. “State bills are currently pending all over the country, and many states are considering multiple abortion-related bills,” according to CBS News, which published an in-depth story on the issue.

The counseling provision of the bill has attracted a good deal of the criticism. According to Planned Parenthood, the law has no requirements surrounding the qualifications of the crisis centers’ counselors. “Furthermore, the crisis pregnancy centers must have as their central mission a desire to dissuade a woman from having an abortion, no matter what her particular risks or circumstances,” the group says.

Abortion opponents, however, say the bill gives women thinking about an abortion “both sides of the story,” as the measure’s main sponsor puts it, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

“This bill would ensure that the woman…will have access to some personal support as opposed to somebody just pressuring her to get an abortion,” said Rep. Roger Hunt, the bill’s main sponsor. “It seems to me that spending a little time talking to somebody and waiting 72 hours is nothing unreasonable.”


My take from the above is that this is a conservative republican governor in a red state signing into law legislation to make abortions harder to obtain. The people of South Dakota voted him into office and he is simply advancing hisknown anti-abortion agenda. A far cry from, “anti-women”? You decide. Also, for later on, please make a note of the name “Rep. Roger Hunt” as the bill’s sponsor above.

ANTI-MUSLIM (or Islamophobic):

On March 12th, 2012, Governor Duagaard signed into law House Bill (HB) 1253 which simply reads, “No court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code. ” On the surface, it seems like a simple anti-religion bill, but it isn’t. It is rather indirectly an “anti-Sharia law” bill.

Here are some excerpts of interest from an article written on the website for the Council of American-Islamic Relations:

    “Before the State House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Hunt clearly stated the purpose of this biased bill when he said, ‘I would be less than fully honest with you if I didn’t also say that part of the purpose of [HB] 1253 is to deal with what I am going to say generally has been referred to as Sharia Law.’

    “HB 1253 unconstitutionally stigmatizes South Dakota Muslims by declaring that their faith and practices — encapsulated by the term ‘Sharia Law’ — is somehow a danger to South Dakota. What Rep. Hunt disparages as ‘Sharia Law’ is nothing more than the religious traditions that Muslims use to guide the practice of their faith. Much like other faiths, these religious traditions inform individuals in everyday decisions involving marriage, business transactions and estate planning. Proponents of HB 1253 can point to no example of the faith of South Dakota Muslims posing a problem.

    “If HB 1253 were signed into law today, it would be a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause. It would also communicate to the nation and the world that South Dakota does not welcome religious minorities as it unconstitutionally deprives them of their freedom to practice their faith. This bill not only discriminates against South Dakota Muslims but prevents persons of all faiths from incorporating into their wills, contracts and other legal documents provisions that reflect their religious traditions — a freedom protected by the U.S. Constitution and the South Dakota Constitution … .

    “While there is a readiness to vindicate in courts the constitutional rights that HB 1253 violates, we are hopeful that you will remain true to the founding principles of our nation’s Constitution and veto HB 1253.”

HB 1253 is one of more than 20 similar pieces of legislation introduced in state legislatures nationwide that prohibit any state court from consideration or application of any “religious code” or “foreign law.” These acts seek to marginalize Muslims from having the equal rights and access to the courts as other religious groups.


Again, please make a note of of the name “Rep. Roger Hunt” above in red.

This anti-Sharia law movement has been around for a while now, is ongoing in many other red state, and not specific to South Dakota/Duagaard. The movement is allegedly spearheaded by a man named David Yershalmi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Yerushalmi) and supported by many republican candidates for president including Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachman.

Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times article on the anti-Sharia movement:

The message has caught on. Among those now echoing Mr. Yerushalmi’s views are prominent Washington figures like R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., and the Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, who this month signed a pledge to reject Islamic law, likening it to “totalitarian control.”


An excerpt from Wikipedia.org on Shaira law:

However, European and American courts have generally ruled against the implementation of Sharia law, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on Sharia’s religious background. Whereas groups within a number of nations are actively seeking to implement Sharia law, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.

Again I ask if Daugaard is Anti-Muslim or just a conservative republican governor signing into law a legislation brought forth in a red state? You decide.

ANTI-GAY (or homophobic):

I supported and voted for the constitutional amendment in 2006 that defined marriage in South Dakota as being between one man and one woman. The traditional family is the foundation of our society, and it should be protected. Although I do not support discrimination against any class of people, I also do not think that individual groups should be given special privileges or be allowed to redefine the centuries-old institution of marriage. -Governor Duagaard


While I think anyone who opposes gay marriage is an idiot, it is expected that a republican governor in a red state would sign into law any bill opposing gay marriages. Especially one that stated his opposition to gay marriages prior to being elected Governor by the people of his state. Is Duagaard anti-gay? You decide. (I am of the position that he is anti-gay because he is anti-gay marriage, but there are Christians/conservative republicans who will disagree with this though).


Here’s an excerpt about the closing of SDSD from the Rapid City Journal:
The School for the Deaf had an on-campus enrollment of more than 130 in the 1970s, but it dropped to five last year because technological advances such as cochlear implants and hearing aids allow students to attend mainstream classes.


As many people have already pointed out, Daugaard was the Lieutenant Governor at the time. So, it is in question how much influence on the decision Daugaard had. I cannot find any links online about how much influence Daugaard had. Nonetheless, when a deaf school only has an enrollment of FIVE students, I believe that no politician has enough “juice” to save it in our current economic climate. Of course, we could argue about why enrollment was down to five students in the first place or whose fault it was, but that is an argument for another day. Also, in addition at the time that the closure was recommended there were approximately 400 deaf students mainstreamed in South Dakota when there were only 30 students at the school (http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6375.cfm?Id=0,79467). That’s a tough battle to win in any state. The point here is that blaming Daugaard for letting SDSD close down is not based on facts at all. None of us knows how much input he had or whether he actively fought to save it or not. While I have my own opinions (Daugaard’s ex-boss, Governor Rounds recommended the closure), it’s still all pure speculation. Someone needs to ask Daugaard or any other parties involved with the school closure such as teachers, parents, students, and etc.. All I can find online is this vlog by “jlcart51” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1omcriFknY) in which he points out that then Governor Rounds cut 46 million out of the budget and that SDSD was one of ten agencies/funds cut (ranked 8th on the list “jlcart51” shows in the vlog).  In addition, a few years later we have Daugaard proposing a cut of 10% across the board here:

“Where’s the rest of the money coming from?” he asked. “We don’t have it. The gun is at our head. Using reserves sounds good, but it’s just kicking the can down the road.”

Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf said Daugaard’s proposal resembles something that would have originated with the tea party, and he said Daugaard took a more restrained view of the state’s budget problem in the campaign.

“If this passes in the Legislature, what signal does it send to employers and young working families in South Dakota?” Nesselhuf said in a statement. The message will be that state government is run by the tea party, and it doesn’t believe in public education and health care. Those two areas are the most important components of our quality of life.”


Basically, we don’t know what exactly happened with the SDSD being cut in a cash strapped red state where the then Lieutenant Governor happened to be a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults). In addition, please make note of the tea party references above for my next point.


Two of the above bills (the Anti-Sharia HB 1253 and the anti-abortion HB 1254), were sponsored or pushed through by state representative named Roger Hunt from district 10. Here’s his profile: http://votesmart.org/candidate/7491/roger-huntRoger Hunt is a representative of district 10 who is known for introducing controversial bills and claiming that he has financial support to fight any legal challenges to his bills (http://www.sdhealthyfamilies.org/2011/03/roger-hunt-exposed/).

The point here isn’t Roger Hunt, but rather the political climate in South Dakota in which someone like Roger Hunt can run amok in. South Dakota’s house and senate break down is 76% republican (http://votesmart.org/officials/SD/L/south-dakota-state-legislative) and it also has a republican governor in Daugaard as well as a judicial branch composed of five justices with AT LEAST three of them being selected by a former republican governor named Janklow. Now, you can see that South Dakota is a red state with a republican controlled executive, judicial, and legislative branches.

Daugaard is just adhering to his beliefs which is a far cry from folks painting him as some monster. Then again some folks consider all republicans monsters.


The anti-women, anti-muslim, and anti-gay labels applied to Duagaard are simply not based on facts, but rather a matter of opinion depending on who you ask. As for Duagaard doing nothing to prevent the closure of SDSD, that is not based on facts, but speculation. The facts here are that Duagaard is a mere conservative republican. Therefore, if you protest NAD’s invitation of Duagaard you are merely protesting the fact that NAD invited conservative republican to present at their convention. To me that is a far cry from some comparisons of this being akin to a “Neo-Nazi being invited to present at a pro-Jewish convention” or a “KKK Grand Wizard being invited to present at a NAACP convention”. It’s more like a fat guy like myself being invited to speak at a Weight Watchers convention about weight loss strategies. Not a great fit, but doesn’t mean that Duagaard cannot bring something to the table.

As for the argument as to whether NAD should invite a conservative republican to give a presentation, that is a different argument altogether. But remember that the ADA and the ADAAA both were signed by Bush and W.Bush both of whom were republican presidents. So, someone being a republican doesn’t automatically make them anti-Deaf or make their agenda different from the NAD’s agenda.

We all have our opinions, but here’s a comment by someone named “Cato” left on Deafpolitics.org under Brendan Stern’s post on 5/31 @3:28PM which reads:

Today I learned that apparently every single deaf person in America is for gay marriage, abortion, and filled with disdain for Islamophobia. Tsk. Tsk.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it- Evelyn Beatrice Hall


Well said, Cato. It is just like an excerpt from the NAD’s statement on marriage equality which reads:

The NAD has invited many presenters to its Conference to advance the rights of all deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and recognizes that there is diversity in their views with respect to marriage equality. Further, the NAD recognizes the need to work with a variety of people across the nation, including national, state and local policymakers and legislators, to secure equal rights for all deaf and hard of hearing individuals – including members of the GLBT community – as fully participating citizens of the United States.


While I’d be willing to wager that at least 75% of NAD’s membership leans towards the left and is pretty much anti-republican, nobody can tell me that EVERY member of NAD is against the NAD inviting Duagaard to present at the convention. So, where’s the respect for the diversity of the membership of the NAD? If you ask me, this decision by the NAD isn’t really controversial and in no way does it conflict with the NAD’s mission statement which basically is to advance the needs of Deaf Americans.

I never thought the day would come when I’d defend the views of a conservative republican….so pardon me while I go and take a shower.



If you are unaware about the controversy and need to read up on it, here are some blogs/links/vlogs/press releases below in rough chronological order from most recent:













Straight from the horse’s mouth….

Recently, we had a lively discussion over at Deaf Pundit’s “Deaf Edge” blog regarding the recent EDHI conference in St. Louis and whether ASL-Centric presentations were excluded due to biases. The lively discussion can be reviewed at the below two links:



During the discussion, I decided to shoot an E-mail, to the official EDHI E-mail address found on their website, asking a few questions to get the story straight. I honestly was not expecting a response, but to my surprise I received a DETAILED response from Karl White, the Director of NCHAM himself. The E-mail has been pasted below and I BOLDED/Underlined the relevant parts:


Re: Questions regarding presentations at the recent EHDI conference in St. Louis:

From: Karl White

To: me, (6 other people were copied, but I withheld their names for privacy reasons)

Dear Jerry,

Thanks for coming to the source to get answers to your questions. I have answered each of your questions in red below, but have also included a lengthier explanation of the process used for soliciting, reviewing and selecting presentations for the EHDI Meeting. I have also included several attachments you may find interesting.  Please let me know if you have further questions.



Karl R. White, PhD

Director, National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management

Professor of Psychology

Utah State University




===================================================================From: Jerry Puorro Jr. [xx@gmail.com]

Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:31 PM


Subject: Questions regarding presentations at the recent EHDI conference in St. Louis:


My name is Jerry, I am a deaf person who is interested in how the presentations were selected at the recent EHDI conference. Below, I have some questions that I hope someone will be kind enough to answer.

1.) How do people submit themselves for presentations/panels/Q&A sessions and etc.. at the EHDI? Is there an application form to fill out? Someone to contact?

As noted in more detail below, abstracts for proposed presentations or posters are submitted in response to an announcement that was posted on the website in late July. Abstracts had to be submitted by late September and a committee of people reviewed and rated them. 167 of the 201 submitted abstracts were accepted.

2.)     What is the criteria for selecting people to give presentations? (e.g. Must the topic have something to do with EHDI? Must    the presentation be at least 30 minutes long?)

The guidelines for abstract submission (see attached) outline the criteria. They do need to be related to EHDI in some way. Presentations could be 30 or 60 minutes long. Posters do not require a formal presentation.

3.)     Is there some sort of a selection committee? If yes, who is on the committee and how were they selected?

There is a selection committee as described in more detail below. Initial reviews were done by 27 people selected by the planning committee. The planning committee then made decisions based on those ratings. Names and affiliations of the planning committee members are listed in the program book available at http://www.ehdiconference.org

I ask because there are discussions on the Internet about how the EHDI was favoring non-ASL-Centric presentations. I figured I would ask for the facts straight from the horse’s mouth here.

As you will see in the detailed response below, there is no evidence of preference for non-ASL-Centric presentations. The goal of the meeting is to improve EHDI programs in general, so many of the presentations have nothing to do with language, communication modality, or deaf culture. Instead, that part of the meeting focuses on data management, screening and diagnostic procedures, personnel preparation, EHDI program management, etc. Of the presentations that are related to language and communication modality, a relatively high proportion is related to sign language and deaf culture. It is also important to note that the content of the meeting depends in large part on what people submit. If participants want to see more presentations on a particular topic, they need to submit more abstracts on that topic.

Any response of any kind would greatly be appreciated.

Thank you,

Jerry Puorro

Following is a more detailed explanation about the procedures used to solicit, review and select the presentations and posters made at the annual EHDI Meetings. Because so much of the content for the EHDI Meeting is based on presentations and posters presented by participants, the co-sponsors and planning committee members have tried to create a process that is open, inclusive, and results in high quality material being presented.

To understand how presentation and posters are selected, some background information is important. The 2012 EHDI Meeting in St Louis was the 11th such meeting and was attended by almost 1,000 people of diverse backgrounds and experience. All participants are encouraged to submit abstracts for presentations and posters. As a part of the registration process people are asked to indicate their primary roles related to EHDI (more than one could be checked) and the following groups of people were represented at the St Louis Meeting

  • 182  people were from State and Local Health Departments
  • 56    people were from Hospitals or Birthing Centers
  • 65    people were medical providers
  • 182  people were audiologists
  • 72    people were from Part C Early Intervention programs
  • 138  people were family members of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • 56    people were from Advocacy Groups
  • 15    people were from federal agencies
  • 167  people were faculty or staff at Universities
  • 157  people were from non-profit agencies
  • 78    people were from a State Education Agency
  • 111  people were graduate students

We do not ask people to indicate whether they are deaf or hard of hearing, but we do know that 61 people indicated that they needed ASL interpreting services.

A planning committee consisting of 19 people (in addition to the 4 co-sponsors) met monthly for the 10 months preceding the Meeting to organize and plan all aspects of the Meeting, including how presentations, posters, plenary sessions, and pre-sessions would be solicited, reviewed and selected. Names and affiliations of the planning committee members are listed in the Program Book available at http://www.ehdimeeting.org. The 2012 group included:

  • 3 parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • 5 people who were themselves deaf or hard of hearing (these people were from the National Association of the Deaf, Gallaudet, CDC, and Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Maryland School for the Deaf
  • 3 state EHDI coordinators
  • 2 physicians
  • 3 representatives from the co-sponsoring agencies
  • 1 early intervention provider
  • 1 graduate student
  • 1 university faculty member

The process for soliciting, reviewing, and selecting presentations and posters is summarized below

  1. An announcement was posted on the Meeting website (www.ehdimeeting.org) and the NCHAM website (www.infanthearing.org) in late July inviting people to submit abstracts for proposed presentations or posters to be presented at the Meeting. At the same time an email was sent to about 2,000 people who have attended a previous EHDI Meeting, another training session sponsored by NCHAM, or who have requested to be on the NCHAM email distribution list. Members of the planning committee are encouraged to have their organizations post copies of this material on their own websites and to “spread the word” in whatever ways seem appropriate.
  2. Guidelines for submitting abstracts were posted on the websites and planning committee members were encouraged to distribute them further. A copy of the guideline is attached. The guidelines include the criteria used to review and select abstracts for presentation.
  3. The deadline for submitting abstracts (using the online submission tool) was inlate September. This means people had approximately two months to submit an abstract.
  4. 201 abstracts were submitted. Each abstract had to indicate which one of 9 “tracks” (e.g., EHDI Program Enhancement, Medical Home, Family Perspectives and Support, etc) was most appropriate for that material.
  5.  The planning committee organized 9 different review teams (one for each track) consisting of 3 people on each team. Each team reviewed and rated the submissions in their track and assigned from 1-30 points according to criteria outlined in the Submission Guidelines. Members of these review teams included

a)       11 EHDI State EHDI Coordinators

b)       5 people who were deaf or hard of hearing

c)       4 people from co-sponsoring agencies

d)       4 parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing

e)       2 physicians

f)        1 university faculty member

  1. 6.) Using the ratings submitted by the review teams, 123 of the 148 abstracts submitted for presentations were accepted and 25 were rejected. There is no evidence that abstracts that focused on sign language or deaf culture were rejected more often than others. Of the 25 rejected, only 3 (12%) were related to sign language or deaf culture or had authors who were probably deaf or hard of hearing (based on the fact that they had requested an ASL interpreter). Submissions from other groups were rejected far more often. For example, rejected proposals included 7 submitted by EHDI coordinators, 3 by NCHAM staff, 2 by CDC staff and 2 by physicians. Five of 49 abstracts submitted for posters were rejected and none of those dealt with sign language or deaf culture.

Some people have suggested that presentations and posters that dealt with sign language or deaf culture were under-represented or even systematically excluded. This is not true. Although there is admittedly some subjectivity in deciding which presentations and posters qualify as being about sign language or deaf culture, the attached summary shows 27 presentations that were about sign language and/or deaf culture or were presented by people who are themselves deaf or hard of hearing. Based on the people who requested ASL interpreting services, we estimate that about 6% of the participants at the2012 EHDI Meeting were deaf or hard of hearing, but 27 of 167 (16%) presentations and posters were about sign language or deaf culture. So papers about sign language and deaf culture were over-represented based on who attended the Meeting.

2 attachments — Download all attachments  

                2012 Abstract guidelines.docx

20K   View   Download  

Here’s a link to the document on google docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1e_mnJ-J4vgaT7Swi6asbhtn3zJ12yiYJ4w29H8wpO2o/edit

Presentations-Posters Relevant to Sign Lanuage or Deaf Culture.xlsx

29K   View   Open as a Google spreadsheet   Download  

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet on google docs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgcZrBXGDeA-dExpVTlDbnhkcm5XaWdweFVLOGJoYVE

NOTE: Karl White BOLDED the relevant terms such as (ASL, Sign Language, and etc..) as well as relevant names in the spreadsheet he sent to me, but the formatting did not upload to google docs.



-Mad props to Karl White for sending a detailed E-mail when he did not have to do so. Thanks, Karl.

-Per Karl White, only 3 ASL-Centric presentations (remember he said that there is some subjectivity as to what is “ASL-Centric” and what is not.) were rejected.

-The names and affiliations of the 27 members on the abstract review committee (3 for each of the 9 tracks who scored on a scale of 1-30 for each abstract) can be found here:


(page 4 of 86)

-The numbers are:

201 abstracts submitted and 167 accepted.

148 of 201 were for presentations.

123 of 148 presentations were accepted with 25 being rejected.

Of the 25 rejected, only 3 were considered “ASL-Centric” (again “ASL-Centric” is subjective here)

Of the 167 presentations/posters, 27 were considered “ASL-Centric” (again “ASL-Centric” is subjective here)

-The math:

27 “ASL-Centric” abstracts were submitted with 3 being rejected = 11.11%

Compare that with:

171 “Non-ASL-Centric” abstracts (201 minus 30) submitted with 31 being rejected (201 minus 167 minus 3 “ASL-Centric”) = 18%

Take it for what it is worth, but this is straight from the horse’s mouth.


Note: If there are any corrections to be made or errors to point out here, please let me know and I will correct as needed.


Another way to search for subtitled Netflix instant streaming movies:

This link was given to me by a friend a few days ago. I wasn’t sure if it was already posted on DR. Here you go:


It filters out things by HD/Non-HD, Years, Ratings, Canada/Non-Canadian, and etc..



Time to do away with Text Relay services?

I live in San Diego and I often pick up a copy of the “Reader” which is a free magazine offered in San Diego. The magazine covers local events, stories, has a lot of ads, and etc..

This story was in its recent issue: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2010/mar/31/city-light/

Summary of story: Scammers were using text relay to place large orders at a Thai restaurant, but gave the owner a credit card number to use..then they also wanted to charge fees above what the meal would cost (usually for transportation and spending $$$ for the large party coming into town) then have the restaurant owner send a money order to an, “agent who would take care of things”. I am not exactly sure how it works, but I assume that the credit card was stolen or something and the scammer wants cash sent to him..probably in Africa or something…

When I used to use text relay, I would frequently get hung up on. When I switched to video relay full time in maybe 2007…I have only got hung up 1-2 times since then. I like the speed and effectiveness of VRS…for example I can request a male interpreter to accompany my voice (male here)…I can request that the VI not announce that it is a relay call (helpful with calls to banks and etc..who are paranoid about security even if I have all the correct security question answers..duh!)…and I could even request another interpreter if I wasn’t satisfied with an interpreter. [Begin shameless plug in from an ex-ZVRS independent contractor] I use ZVRS and I love their service. [/End shameless plug]

Who uses text relay anymore? I don’t…I used to use it on my T-Mobile sidekick…but I hated it so much that I’d rather drive home to use VRS..or take my laptop out and find a wifi spot to make a VRS call. I hate how you cannot control the operator selection or give specific instructions to the operator…I also hate the time delay between each side of the conversation..seems to be 10-15 secs with text relay…with VRS it’s only 2-3 secs off at worst. Text relay is probably 90% used by scammers these days..or stupid kids having fun on the Internet (a rough uneducated estimate).

Who still uses a TDD? In 2010??? I am sure there are still a FEW deaf people…especially those who live in desolate areas without high speed Internet (yes, there are still some…I know from experience). However, nowadays..most businesses have a website…and some of them even have agents ready to chat on the website…(I know that Bank of America & At&T do…and I always chat with them online…however..there’s a limit to their service for some reason). Also, you can text your order to many restaurants these days…I do it all the time for lunch at work…or I even order food online…(Chili’s accepts online orders…so does Papa John’s pizza…am sure the same goes for Pizza Hut/Dominoes…etc..).

Other than what? 5,000 or so deaf Americans that still use text relay….is there still a NEED for text relay? IMO, if we got rid of text relay…there could be less money spent on it…I wonder how much the TRS fund spends on scammer originated text relay calls? Don’t deaf people have to register for text relay local numbers? How’s that coming along? Is the registration process fool proof? Do you have to show an audiogram proving your deafness?

Forcing everyone to switch to VRS would cut down on the scammers…or increase enrollment in ASL classes all over the world…win win.



Patriots Hall of Fame to offer mobile captioning!


The greatest football team on the planet is now offering a mobile device to caption everything on display at their hall of fame at Gillette Stadium.

I have not been to the hall of fame before, I tried to go recently..but it was closing in 5-10 minutes after I got there so I did not go in. However, I have used a similar hand held system at Disney World in Orlando. I hope that this catches on.



Rachel, Ella, Deafread, and Me….

My name is J.J., for those who don’t know…I was one of the six Human Editors for Deafread. This blog will be about my perspective on ALL key issues with Deafread and my experience as a Human Editor. Before I begin this lengthy blog entry, I want to first issue TWO public apologies to two v/bloggers. They are Rachel Chaikof and Ella Mae Lentz.

Rachel, I sincerely apologize for my role in banning you from Deafread. I should have fought harder on your behalf, but I did not do so. I screwed up here, no excuses. I am officially in disagreement with Deafread now over this and this is why I am stepping down as a Human Editor. More about that later….

Ella, I sincerely apologize for publishing Ben Vess’, “Coward” post. I was the one who put it on the front page, the responsibility lies with me and only me. I should have done my job better and recognized it as a direct personal attack on your character and put it into Extra or at least discussed publishing it with my co-Editors. There are no excuses, I screwed up there and I accept full responsibility.

Now to fully extrapolate on Deafread and its many intertwined issues….we have to start at the beginning…way back in the summer of 2006… (Albeit mere 2 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago doesn’t it?) Deafread was set up primarily to serve the needs of everyone following the Gallaudet “Better President Now” protests. It was merely set up to “fill a need”. Deafread never set out to be a leader in the deaf community or some sort of a movement. It was set up to be a “one-stop-meeting-place” for all things deaf-related. That was the original intention and that intention has never changed despite Deafread growing bigger than Tayler and Jared ever envisioned when they set up the aggregator.

Despite setting out with the goal of being a “one-stop-meeting-place”, Deafread’s roots stem primarily from the signing community as it started with the explosion of blogs following the May protests at Gallaudet. The only hard of hearing/oral/CI person I truly remember from the beginning was McConnell. He has been with us since day one and even before us. Otherwise, I do not remember many hoh/oral/CI v/bloggers until later on…even if there might well have been a few I am forgetting here. I am sure that my perception is shared by many. This is one of the root causes of the issues within Deafread. The capital D crowd has always had this feeling of, “Why do they want to v/blog with us?”, “What do they have in common with us?”, and/or, “Aren’t they happy and busy in the hearing world by themselves anyway?” So, in short the original signing community crowd on Deafread felt that they were “invaded”…so much of the anti-diversity undercurrent in Deafread stems from this. This is a perfectly natural behavior I have seen in every forum that I have posted in on the Internet. I have been frequenting one sports board for over a decade now and this happens there too. We would be there discussing our favorite team and someone fan from a rival team would come along and post with us and would be welcome by most of us, but alienate a few at the same time. Then more rival posters would show up and a “war of words” would inevitably ensue. It is nothing new…the same thing happens in the real world…I have seen some popular bars in Los Angeles react unfavorably to a “new crowd” overtaking the bar. It’s perfectly natural, people are territorial by nature. Some people will always see the CI/Oral/hoh crowd as “invaders” while most moderates do actually embrace and welcome diversity.

The problem is that those who do not embrace diversity and/or engage in combative v/blogging will unfortunately draw the most attention. I mean, come on…none of us watch those boring TV shows or movies where everything is all rosy…it is human nature to be drawn towards conflict, like we all slow down and look at an accident on the side of the road. Just take a look at the front page of Deafread and the number of hits for each v/blog…those numbers are VERY telling. A post entitled, “Deafread SUCKS” will always get more hits than, “Deafread is the greatest thing since sliced bread”. It is my opinion that everyone should from time to time take a step back and realize that most of the problematic issues are driven by less than maybe forty v/bloggers out of about fifteen thousand v/bloggers and readers (a rough guess here). The truth is that most of us are moderates stuck in the middle as spectators. Trust me, the moderates far out number everyone else…why cannot the moderates lead the way?

The reason the moderates cannot lead the way is simply because none of them feels that passionate about the issues as the extremists do. (Note: When I use ‘extremist’ here I mean anyone who strongly believes in or strongly opposes a particular issue.) There is no way to control this…just like most of us aren’t like Sean Hannity nor Michael Moore…most of us fall in the middle and may lean one way or another a bit slightly. However, make no mistake…the moderates are the greatest force in Deafread. They are the ones that drive up the hit counts and allowing Deafread to remain popular. (FYI, traffic is VERY HIGH this summer and summer is usually a “down season” for Deafread.) They are the ones that provide the extremists with an audience. If you really wanted to hurt a v/blogger…the best way to do it is to not visit their v/blog. I have seen some v/bloggers die a slow death after “shooting themselves in the foot” with their audience because their audience stopped coming back. In short, the moderates need to speak up more or stop visiting those v/blogs that “stir the pot”.

This brings me to my next point…. (Yes, there are a lot of points…but bear with me…I want to keep on track here) it takes a VERY BRAVE person to start v/blogging. It really does…imagine Deafread as a theater with a stage and a HUGE audience in which ANYONE can have their time on stage…there are no auditions…everyone is welcome to speak on stage. The great thing about the Internet is that anyone can express their opinion and it is also the worst thing. This is the reason many v/bloggers feel unprotected, but it is my opinion that you are solely responsible for everything you sign, say, or write on the Internet….this is the power that the Internet gives us and we all need to be responsible for the content we offer. With Deafread we all can reach an audience of eight thousand plus people on any given day and usually even more. In short, anyone who v/blogs on Deafread will always have a huge audience.

Now, there’s one huge difference between an actual theater and Deafread…in an actual theater you can see who is on stage and who is in the audience. On Deafread, it is not always possible to see everyone as anyone could blog anonymously and/or comment anonymously (even vlog anonymously like “Deaf Who”). This is one of the roots of the problems on Deafread. Those who v/blog and/or comment anonymously do not need to take responsibility for the content that they offered unless someone actually tracks them down via their IP number. This is why v/bloggers who do not v/blog anonymously feel “unprotected”. They need to take responsibility for their content while the anonymous v/bloggers/commenters do not have to do so. There are ways to combat this like the v/blogger Carl Schroeder (of Ka’lalau’s Korner) does, he never allows anonymous comments. Personally, I always allow all kinds of comments because I do believe that anonymous comments can be a significant tool. Sometimes there will be people afraid to comment on something publicly in fear or reprisals when they do have something significant to share. Also, it allows people to express their true feelings while NOT exposing their identities. Yes, it is a bit coward-ish…but a valuable tool nonetheless like how many corporations and/or governmental organizations have adopted an anonymous whistle blower policy to prevent illegal activity from occurring within their company/organization.

In summary, Deafread was primarily set up to fit a need during a turbulent time in the signing Deaf community, saw an influx of v/bloggers from the non-signing segment of the deaf community, and started out innocently as a place for everyone in which anyone could make a contribution publicly or anonymously. That sounds like a recipe for disaster now doesn’t it? To me, it came to no surprise that we, the Deafread community, do periodically experience an uprising. However, Deafread has tried VERY HARD to please its community. I have read where some have pointed out that Deafread cannot be everything to everyone. This is where I am in complete disagreement. It is true that Gallaudet couldn’t be everything to everyone, but Gallaudet is a brick and mortar institution whereas Deafread exists solely on the Internet while on some server somewhere in San Diego, California. The Internet makes it possible for web sites to be everything to everyone, just look at Ebay.com, Amazon.com, and etc…those sites serve everyone without problems (I know, they sell stuff…big difference, but the point remains…the Internet makes it possible). I feel that Deafread has already provided the necessary tools to make it work for everyone.

In the beginning, Deafread would not publish non-deaf related posts and many in the community complained about this. This led to the creation of the Deafread Extra page in which Deafread provides transparency in what it does or does not publish by putting non-deaf related entries on the Extra page. Then this led to the creation of the guidelines to assist v/bloggers in creating entries that would be published on the front page. Then this wasn’t enough and Deafread instituted a system in which people could vote to have entries on the Extra page moved to the front page. Then at the conference in San Francisco there was an outcry for a “safe haven” for the signing segment of the deaf community. Deafread heard these people LOUD and CLEAR, but after a lengthy internal discussion and numerous of discussions with experts in the deaf community, Deafread came to the conclusion that as a mere v/blog aggregator on the Internet it was in no position to make that type of decision in which it would effectively decide how the deaf community should be broken up into different segments. So, Deafread instead introduced the filtering function in which you could choose to not view some v/blogs by simply clicking on “hide this blog”. This still did not satisfy the signing community and Deafread then floated the idea of “DeafSide” an entirely new aggregator for the signing community only with a panel of three moderators to determine what qualified as “a pro ASL entry”, but that never got off the ground because of lack of participation. (FTR, I never liked the “DeafSide” idea.) Trust me, there were times that I felt like asking for Deafread to just shut down and post a list of v/blogs and post detailed instructions on how to utilize your RSS feeders. Deafread is effectively trying to be a RSS service so that you all do not need to create your own RSS feeds to keep it technologically simple.

In short, Deafread has already bent over backwards to accommodate everyone’s needs and the tools are already there to make it all to work for each one of you. There have been arguments to remove the Human Editors and just allow everything to be published on the front page and I, for one, do not agree with this option. I personally approved only about half of all entries each day and trust me there were a lot of irrelevant entries that would just have drowned out the deaf related entries. Remember even Digg.com has Human Editors (http://valleywag.com/346263/diggs-secret-editors); Human Editors are a necessity until computers become smart enough to evaluate “gray areas”. I also believe that Deafread must maintain its niche which is being a one-stop-place-for-all-things-deaf-related. As for the need for a safe haven for the signing community, can someone tell me why everybody in the signing community hasn’t utilized Deafvideo.tv? Do you all realize that a non-signer could never participate there as everything is done on video including the comments? And best yet, it’s nearly impossible to be anonymous on Deafvideo.tv as you would need to wear a mask. In addition, you can talk about ANYTHING…there’s no Extra page and there are no Human Editors. I don’t get it, use Deafvideo.tv if you need that “safe haven”. By the way, the traffic there is even higher than Deafread also.

Deafread has bent over backwards for the signing community as well as the non-signing community. From day one, Deafread has REFUSED to eliminate the non-signing v/bloggers despite a massive outcry from some in the signing community. Deafread does not believe in censoring anyone at all. It never has. It is true that every editor is primarily a member of the signing community, but that’s understandable given Deafread’s origins during the Gallaudet protests. However, to characterize Deafread as anti-hoh/oral/CI/whatever else would be erroneous at best. I believe that Deafread has done right by its community for the most part. It has truly remained neutral for the most part.

However, I am in complete disagreement with Deafread over banning Rachel Chaikof’s Cochlear Implant Online blog. I think that this is the biggest error Deafread has made to date and that it needs to be rectified. You see, I am at fault for this error as well. I am not innocent here at all. When it was first revealed that Chaikof was a member of Cochlear America’s volunteer awareness group, I went along with banning her believing that the evidence was damning enough. Then later on after examining the evidence Deafread used and the evidence that Deaf Pundit (of the Deaf Edge blog) posted against the guideline that Chaikof was in violation of, I changed my mind. You see, I was never a huge fan of Chaikof’s site (nothing against her or anything…just a matter of taste), so I never defended to death her right to blog on Deafread. This is where I made a serious lapse in judgment and here I apologize for doing so again. I believe that Chaikof at the very minimum deserved due process. She was simply sent an E-mail informing her of her banishment after the evidence was reviewed. However, it should be noted that when Chaikof made the E-mail public that probably pushed the issue beyond the point of no return. While I do have my doubts about Chaikof being completely and totally innocent in light of the evidence, I still feel that she never directly violated guideline #6 which reads as:


6.) Commercial Sites

We do not link to commercial sites for the purpose of generating profit, other than our own (we have expenses to cover!).


My main beef is that Chaikof never DIRECTLY marketed a single product or a company. She may have intentionally or unintentionally indirectly served as a propaganda site for the cochlear implant industry, but she never once blogged something like, “Oh! Look at this new CI product by Cochlear America! You must buy it ASAP!!!” She mainly blogged about her life as a CI user, other successful CI users, the benefits of having CI’s, and offered links to CI sites for those who were curious to learn more about CI. I learned a lot from her site though.

I felt that Chaikof never violated the SPIRIT OF THE RULE. The spirit of the rule was to prevent competition with Deafread’s sponsor Sprint because Sprint paid for the right to advertise exclusively on Deafread. Also, I felt that rule six cannot be properly enforced unless someone is in DIRECT violation of the rule. The rule cannot be enforced uniformly the way that Deafread enforced it. The rules should cover black and white areas, not the gray areas. I believe that if I looked hard enough, I could find twenty or so more blogs in violation of the rule in the way Deafread interpreted it.

I truly believe that Deafread made a major error here and needs to rectify this error, but I am in the minority here and I am speaking up too late. I have discussed this issue in depth with my fellow editors, many personal friends, and fellow v/bloggers yet many do still support Deafread’s decision. I cannot do so and I cannot remain silent on this issue anymore and it is why I am stepping down as a Human Editor. I cannot go on as if it never happened. It is because of this decision that Deafread is not what it used to be to me anymore.

However, I must note that Deafread never had a sinister agenda to one day remove Chaikof from Deafread. Deafread actually fought against the outcries to remove Chaikof and other non-signing v/bloggers on numerous occasions. The Deafread team truly believes they are on the right side of the argument here and so do many intelligent v/bloggers and I respect their opinions here. I do think that the rule could be interpreted differently by everyone and that it is all relative. Additionally, Deafread is actually perfectly in within its right to determine what content is to be accepted on Deafread, it even says in the guidelines near the bottom that they “reserve the right to make a final decision”. It is also mentioned that Deafread can also change the guidelines to adapt to ever changing scenarios. So, in short…nobody is right or wrong here, it is just that I disagree on Chaikof’s banishment and cannot continue as a Human Editor because of this.

Despite this one error, Deafread is really a great place to visit on the Internet and serves a larger purpose. It is easy to dwell on the negativity and forget the positives. Deafread allowed the signing community to effectively communicate during the Gallaudet protests, helped a young girl named Tara find a place to live, served as the beginning of a great concept behind the Deaf Bilingual Coalition, taught a lot of people…myself included about cochlear implants, increased awareness about Deafhood, covered the protests at schools for the deaf in North Carolina and Mississippi, showed us all different sides of being deaf, gave us many laughs from the likes of Gary Brooks/Seek Geo/Cohen Brothers/JohnABC, gave us thought provoking posts from a wide variety of people, and so forth…just to cite a few examples. I still believe in Deafread and its purpose and mission.

We all need to remember that we all are humans here and we all make mistakes. Being a Human Editor has been a mentally draining experience for me because we had to constantly make decisions on the fly on what to approve and what to not approve. Also, we always thought about ways to improve Deafread and took all suggestions to mind as well and the suggestions were numerous to say the least. Every time a conflict occurred it would be mentally draining for me even if I were on vacation like I was at the time of the Chaikof banishment. I did not even really talk to people, I was glued to my sidekick somewhere in a corner reading everything on Deafread and E-mailing people. During the latest DBC brouhaha I was just going through the motions literally when I published Ben Vess’ vlog when I should have been paying attention more intently. I also hated the fact that I was usually unable to respond to a lot of the ongoing arguments because of my role as a Human Editor. At the end of the day, I am just an unemployed accountant…not some true leader or a professional in the deaf community. Remember, I only came on board to help out during the Gallaudet protests because I lived on the east coast and was able to publish entries early in the mornings. I truly did consider myself a moderate and a responsible Human Editor and yet I still made the error of publishing a vlog that questioned the character of a highly respected member of the ASL community and participated in the banishment of a highly respected young member of the CI community….and managed to piss off both ends of the deaf community in the process. I clearly do not feel like I should be a Human Editor anymore…the responsibility is just too great…

Last, but not least, the Deafread team is filled with people well intentioned people that I still do consider my friends. It is just that I am terminating our professional relationship today based on the Chaikof issue and the mental draining experience of being an editor…I do ask you all to take it easy on the Deafread team and also when you all complain about something, please do at least try to offer a CONSTRUCTIVE solution. That’s one thing I hated as an editor, people who just complained, but never recommended changes to improve Deafread. Sure, there were a few recommendations that we disagreed with, but the Deafread team does listen to each and every recommendation despite how numerous. Additionally, please do not complain about things that Deafread actually cannot control (i.e. comments on someone’s blog).
Whether you all like it or not, Deafread is truly representative of the deaf community at large. And the deaf community is not perfect…it never has been…it has always been divided by language methods and the fact that deaf people are also members of every race and ethnicity. It has always been inevitable that these uprisings would occur. It is unavoidable given how the community is made up…

It is not perfect….it is what it is…..


ChestBuzz’s Tweets

November 2017
« Jun    

%d bloggers like this: