MAY, 1975




National Offices

Washington Office




Editor                                                          Associate Editor
PERRY SUNDQUIST                               HAZEL tenBROEK
4651 MEAD AVENUE                               2652 SHASTA ROAD
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. 95822                BERKELEY, CALIF 94708




If you or a friend wishes to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath unto NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, the sum of $_____(or, "_____ percent of my net estate", or "the following stocks and bonds: _____”) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."

If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney communicate with the Berkeley Office for other suggested forms.

MAY 1975























Costs for all editions of the Braille Monitor continue to rise. It is, therefore, necessary that the mailing list be cleared of those who have moved or otherwise departed from our scene without letting us know.

Sometime in the next few weeks you will receive a return post card asking you to indicate whether or not you wish to continue to receive the Braille Monitor. Names of subscribers whose cards are not returned promptly will be dropped.

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Although we came extremely close to securing final passage of the disability insurance for the blind bill in the 93rd Congress, we did not succeed due to a number of factors. During the first session of the 93rd Congress, the provisions of this bill were approved by the Senate, as a part of its consideration of a House passed bill which did not contain these amendments. Since there were substantial differences in the Senate and House versions of this bill (HR 3153) it was referred to a conference committee in late 1973. Despite repeated assurances to the contrary, the conference committee never met to reconcile the disagreeing votes of the House and the Senate, and HR 3153 died a natural death as the 93rd Congress adjourned sine die.

On January 14, 1975, the 94th Congress opened for business, and Congressman James A. Burke of Massachusetts introduced the disability insurance for the blind bill—HR 281. Congressman Burke is a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Congressman Al Ullman of Oregon, and Mr. Burke has been named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security of the Committee on Ways and Means.

In a recent release of the Subcommittee, Mr. Burke announced priorities for the 94th Congress and established three task forces, as follows: Pending Legislation chaired by Congressman Burke; Financing the Social Security Program chaired by Congressman Joe Waggonner of Louisiana and Legislative Oversight chaired by Congressman William Green of Pennsylvania Both Congressman Waggonner and Congressman Green supported the disability insurance bill in the 93rd Congress, and Mr. Waggonner has introduced an identical bill (HR 1147) in the 94th. These facts are indeed encouraging.

On February 26, Federationists from throughout the country, who had gathered in Washington, made a call on Chairman Burke. During that meeting he announced his intention to reintroduce the disability insurance for the blind bill and to ask all of his colleagues in the House to join as co- sponsors. During the following week the "Dear Colleague" letter was sent, and this event signaled the opening of the campaign in the House during the 94th Congress. Now it is up to all Federationists to follow through. Each member of the House of Representatives must be contacted and made aware of this vital legislation Mr. Burke will reintroduce the bill repeatedly, but to do so he must have a large number of cosponsors. Federationists must take action now and ask all members of the House to advise Congressman Burke of their desire to cosponsor the disability insurance for the blind bill.

Over on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana has again introduced this legislation. The bill (S 1183) has thirty-nine cosponsors, and the list is growing. All members of the Senate should be advised of Senator Hartke's bill and asked to inform the Senator of their desire to be added as cosponsors. Senator Hartke is, himself, a high ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Carl Curtis of Nebraska (the ranking Republican on the Committee) is also a cosponsor of this bill. Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania (Senate Minority Leader) is yet another cosponsor.

From all of the foregoing, Federationists can tell that we are in as good a position as we have ever been on this bill, and that the campaign is truly on with all flags flying high. We now know what we need to do, and it is up to all of us to act. 

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On the Floor of the Senate, March 13, 1975

Mr. President, since becoming a Member of the U.S. Senate I have introduced many bills to serve many purposes and to solve many problems, but the bills of which I am the proudest are those which would help to remedy the difficult problems confronting the blind in their efforts to achieve normal productivity and self-sufficiency. both the will and the capacity to rise from a traditionally subordinate status in society to a new and equal place. Mr. President, the road to equality for the blind has been a perilous one, but they have insisted on marching forward despite the many obstacles which society has erected in their path, often unintentionally.

Over the years I have endeavored to give a voice to the hopes and aspirations of our blind fellow Americans—to the difficulties, discriminations, and disadvantages experienced by them as they strive to lead normal, happy lives and to compete on terms of equality alongside their sighted brothers and sisters. So long as I remain in the Senate, Mr. President, I intend to continue my efforts on behalf of all blind Americans since it is right, and just, and since this group, above all, has demonstrated

The bill which I am introducing today with 37 of my colleagues is designed to remove one more of these obstacles, and a substantial one at that. This bill to amend and improve the Social Security Disability Insurance program for the blind has already received substantial support in both Chambers of the Congress. In the Senate, Mr. President, the disability insurance for the blind bill has been approved six times. During the 93rd Congress no less than 64 of our colleagues cosponsored this legislation and the bill was adopted unanimously.

If adopted, this bill would make it possible for blind people who have worked a year and a half under social security covered employment to qualify and draw disability benefits so long as they remain blind and regardless of their earnings. The present law with its more restrictive and discriminatory length of work requirements and its earnings limitations fails to take account of the fact that blind people find it difficult to secure work in a society which has so far not fully opened its doors of opportunity to them. The economic disadvantages of blindness are too often substantial and overwhelming. Employment opportunities available to the blind are usually limited in number and short in duration. Seldom are they able to exercise their full talents and capacities in the labor force but this condition can be remedied by the adoption of the improved disability insurance program.

Presently, those who are blind and receiving social security disability insurance benefits are confronted with the reality that they may lose financially through their efforts at employment. Under the current law, the only true feeling of long-range economic security belongs to those beneficiaries who remain idle rather than productive. This, Mr. President, is clearly not as it should be, and the bill which has repeatedly gained acceptance by our col- leagues would correct this inequity by guaranteeing disability insurance benefits to and a half.

Mr. President, enactment of this legislation at this time is unquestionably in the best interest of the Nation. The bill as proposed would place maximum encouragement and support behind the efforts of blind persons to be self-supporting. Of course, those who become gainfully employed will pay social security taxes, thus contributing to the fund rather than only draining benefits from it. Also, they will contribute through the payment of income taxes, thus reducing the drain on general revenues. In addition, many of the blind who are recipients of supplemental security income and their families who benefit from various Federal, state, and local welfare programs, will be able to transfer into the improved disability insurance program, thus realizing a cost savings in the welfare category. With the positive incentive factors of the new plan—encouraging employment of the blind—we can anticipate a substantial reduction in welfare payments to the blind over a period of time after enactment of this bill.

Mr. President, for all of these reasons I am today once again introducing my improved disability insurance for the blind proposal, and I commend it to the attention of our colleagues in the Senate. It is my hope, Mr. President, that the 94th Congress can be known as the most important of all Congresses for the blind. It can achieve this distinction if we enact the disability insurance for the blind bill which I am introducing today—a bill which will serve as a true insurance against the adverse effects of blindness.

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New York, New York, March 14, 1975

National Federation of the Blind
Des Moines, Iowa

DEAR DR. JERNIGAN: The National Accreditation Council maintains a roster of volunteers on whom we can call to serve as members of on-site review teams—the teams that help to assess the management and programs of agencies and schools applying for NAC accreditation or reaccreditation.

On each team, we endeavor to include one or more persons who have not previously served. For this reason, we continuously welcome suggestions of additional persons who, because of their training and experience, could be invited by NAC to make themselves available for this volunteer service. In particular, we are seeking persons who are competent in the various administrative functions and services encompassed by NAC standards and evaluation instruments.

We therefore hope that at this time you will assist us in the on-going process of updating our roster by sending us the names and addresses of such persons to whom we may write directly. We would expect that persons whom you nominated would be informed and concerned consumers in addition to their other competencies.

About 100 persons a year are utilized as members of on-site review teams. However, we need to maintain a large panel of persons in order to fill places on particular teams at the times they are scheduled. Thus, a person on the roster may not be called on in the year, should his specialty or his location not fit the requirements of specific teams. On the other hand, we do not ordinarily ask any one member of the roster to serve more than once or twice a year.

As noted, team members are volunteers. They are reimbursed for out-of-pocket travel and living expenses related to a team visit but receive no honorarium or fee.

Each team member is sent detailed information in advance of a visit. Each review takes from three to four days including travel time and is under the leadership of an experienced team member who is designated as chairperson.

An invitation to serve on a particular team is extended as far in advance as possible so each team member will have an opportunity to adjust his regular schedule accordingly.

Persons who have served as team members tell us that this activity has been a useful and constructive experience. Of course, the entire team visit is an integral part of the process by which agencies and schools are helped to upgrade their management and services in order to qualify for accreditation—and thereby to carry out the basic purpose of NAC: to improve services for blind and other visually handicapped persons.

We look forward to receiving your suggestions.


Commission on Accreditation


Des Moines, Iowa, April 1, 1975

Commission on Accreditation
National Accreditation Council
New, York, New York

DEAR DR. BIRCH: This will acknowledge receipt of your letter of March 14, 1975, requesting that I provide names of people who might be asked to serve on NAC onsite review teams. At the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind last summer, detailed discussions were held concerning problems involving two NAC accredited agencies—the Minneapolis Society for the Blind, and the Kansas State Services for the Blind. The Minneapolis case involved Lawrence Kettner. It was documented in detail and indicated multiple violations of basic standards of ethical conduct and good services.

In a letter from me the Kettner case was officially called to NAC's attention last July. You and three other NAC Board members who were present in Des Moines promised that the Kettner case would be investigated and that we would receive a report of your findings. That was in September. It is now April. No report has been forthcoming.

With respect to Kansas, the irregularities seemed equally glaring. You will remember that complaints were made and that NAC's Executive Director "investigated" by writing a letter to the head of the Kansas agency. In effect the letter asked, "Did you do it?" and the head of the Kansas agency replied, in effect, "No." It was one of the briefer investigations on record.

You and the other NAC Board members present in Des Moines expressed surprise and said that it was an incomplete and improper investigation. You said that something would be done about it and that we would know the results. That was September. It is now April. We have no report.

In view of the Kettner case and the Kansas case, one wonders what would be accomplished by providing names to NAC What do the review teams review? I am reminded of a mediocre piece of doggeral which goes:

The cat is in the parlor;
The dog is in the lake;
The cow is in the hammock;
What difference does it make?

Very truly yours,

National Federation of the Blind

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New York, New York, March 4, 1975

Editor, The Braille Monitor
Sacramento, California

DEAR MR. SUNDQUIST: We have read with interest the January 1975 issue of The Braille Monitor. Since you have made a practice of publishing many of our letters to officers of NFB, we hope you will publish this one, too.

First, by way of clarification of your "NAC Update" article, here is a factual summary of the actions emerging from NAC's membership and board meetings on November 6 and 7, 1974, that pertain to NAC's reaffirmation of the principle of constructive consumer involvement in NAC at all levels, especially of men and women suggested by national organizations of blind or other visually handicapped persons:

1. At least one-third of NAC's directors elected each year will be persons who are members of or recommended by national organizations of blind or other visually handicapped persons.

The board activated this at its meeting the same day by declaring seven vacancies now exist, bringing the board to its maximum strength of thirty-five. Terms of the positions to be filled would be staggered to bring them into regular rotation of NAC's Board. The Nominations Committee was directed to request suggestions from national organizations of the blind of qualified persons to fill the vacancies.

As you know, NFB—to our regret—has refused to suggest candidates for our consideration.

2. The Commissions on Standards and Accreditation were directed to review comprehensively their policies and procedures in the light of the principle and report their recommendations at the next board meeting.

3. The next meeting of the board was held February 27, 1974 (within four months rather than the usual six). Election of new board members and recommendations of the commissions were the major items of business at this accelerated meeting. Seven new directors were elected at this meeting. Three had been recommended by ACB and three by BVA. At the Annual Meeting later this year, three of these terms expire and about one-third of all directors rotate off the board. This will provide further opportunity for strengthened consumer participation. We hope that it will be possible to consider NFB candidates at that time.

4. As a matter of policy, the Nominations Committee will henceforth notify national organizations of blind or other visually handicapped persons of board vacancies and request their suggestions for candidates.

Also as a matter of policy, the president of NAC will ask national organizations of blind and other visually handicapped persons to suggest qualified candidates when vacancies on the commissions occur.

5. A revised personnel statement spelled out NAC's commitment to affirmative action in recruiting, placement and promotion of qualified blind and other visually handicapped persons and other handicapped persons, as well as all others covered by equal opportunity provisions.

6. The Long Range Plan, providing for increased emphasis on working with consumer organizations, was approved.

7. NAC's Board established a new class of voting Sponsors-organizations of national or international scope having responsibility for quality services to blind or other visually handicapped persons, not eligible to apply for accreditation but wishing to be involved in NAC's work. Upon acceptance as a Sponsoring Member, and payment of dues on the same basis as an Accredited Member, an agency would have one vote at any NAC membership meeting.

8. A motion, made on behalf of NFB, for predetermined quotas on NAC's Board to be filled by representatives of the three organizations, received no second representatives of ACB and BVA stated such quotas were not Acceptable to their organizations.

We regret that in "GAO Reports on NAC," The Braille Monitor did not urge its readers to send for copies of the GAO Report so they could acquaint themselves with it. Individual copies of the full report, B-176886, may be obtained from the U.S. General Accounting Office, DHEW, 330 C Street, S.W., Room 1126, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20201.

We have awaited positive action from NFB in response to our invitation to suggest persons who might be nominated for membership on NAC's Board. We have been pleased that other organizations of the blind have responded positively and we still hope that NFB will do so.

We invite all members of NFB to work with us to improve services to blind people through the application of standards. NFB members are cordially welcome to participate in the current revisions of standards (regularly announced in the standard-bearer), in advising us of cases in which the standards are not being observed, and on any other matters of common concern. If your readers would like to suggest persons who would be qualified to serve on NAC's Board if elected and who can express the needs and points of view of other NFB members as well as their own, we should be glad to have their suggestions for consideration at the next opportunity this fall.



cc: John Brademas
      Dr. Andrew S. Adams
      Dr. Kenneth Jernigan

Office of the Editor
Sacramento, California, March 24, 1975

DEAR DICK: In accordance with your request, the Braille Monitor will print in its entirety your letter to me dated March 4, 1975. We will do this even though I think some of your statements are not factual and that others are misleading. I also think your invitation to NFB members to recommend to NAC names of persons who might be elected by NAC to serve on its board and who might speak for other NFB members is transparently unbecoming. The blind of the Nation are more likely to be amused than impressed by what you have written. However, as I say, we will publish your letter in its entirety.

Are you willing to give as much as you ask? In other words, will you give the Federation space in your publication, the standard-bearer, to publish a letter of equal length—uncensored and in its entirety? If the answer is no, what does this say about your protestations? If the answer is yes, I doubt that the reaction of your readers will be to your liking. I also question whether you will be pleased with the results of the publication of your letter in the Monitor.

The blind of the country are thoroughly knowledgeable and determined concerning NAC. Despite any protestations to the contrary, they know that NAC is dying. In fact, the final curtain on the NAC story is coming down. It only remains to be seen whether NAC will go gracefully or end in the same manner in which it began.

Very truly yours,

The Braille Monitor

cc: John Brademas
      Dr. Andrew S. Adams
      Dr. Kenneth Jernigan

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Baltimore, Maryland, February 1975

National Federation of the Blind
Des Moines, Iowa

DEAR FRIEND JERNIGAN: As you may know, the regulations on the change of category for aged/blind supplemental security income recipients have finally been published. Your personal interest and that of your California group had a tremendous influence in making this possible. This is the item that I referred to as the "Jernigan amendment" at the last Convention of the National Federation of the Blind. I had secured affirmative decisions from both the Secretary and the Commissioner regarding this change prior to my going to the Convention. As I explained at that time, the pre-regulation process would take some months to complete. However, we did instruct our field personnel to retain the names of blind/aged applicants so that, where appropriate, we could retroactively correct their individual situations.

Although this particular change was early approved, there was greater delay than we had anticipated because the regulations included other related items of considerable significance which had to be extensively re-written You may also recall that one of the requirements for implementation was that the States approve the change; at this time all of the States which are affected because of a State supplementation differential between aged and blind SSI recipients have given their approval. A last-minute accounting difficulty caused an additional delay in implementation, but from this time forward the procedure should begin to work reasonably smoothly.

I am sure you must be pleased by this important achievement. We are very pleased that you pointed out the need for change to us so that we could better assist the blind among our constituents. Thank you for your continuing dedication and concern for our less fortunate citizens.

Warmly and sincerely,

Bureau of Supplemental Security Income for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled

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[Reprinted from Public Affairs, published by Management Services Associates, Austin, Texas]

We seem to be in an age that places undue emphasis on formal credentials. To speak out on education matters, one must seemingly have degrees in education to criticize hospital care one must be a hospital administrator; to do significant social research one must have a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences, and so on.

Many of our friends look first at the formal credentials and then at the age, marital status, and health status and finally at the candidate's employment experience. Rarely do they really look at the person and that person's "track record."

We like to think there is still a very real place in this world for thinkers—those independent souls who have the courage and capacity to challenge existing thought and come up with new approaches, granted such thought required hard work much long and careful study and, above all, discipline; but it does not depend on formal credentials. Regretfully, there are far too many credentialed persons who resist all thought and have yet to make a contribution in their chosen field. Credentials, like clothing, cannot make the man!

In his book, Earth in Upheaval, Velikovsky relates this interesting incident that happened to him:

Once, in the twilight hour, a visitor came to my study, a distinguished looking gentleman. He brought me a manuscript dealing with celestial mechanics. After a glance at some of the pages, I had the feeling that this was the work of a mathematical genius. I entered into conversation with my visitor and mentioned the name of James Clark Maxwell. My guest asked: "Who is he?" Embarrassed I answered: "You know, the scientist who gave a theoretical explanation of the experiments of Faraday."

"And who is Faraday?" inquired the stranger. In growing embarrassment I said: "Of course, the man who did the pioneer work in electromagnetism." "And what is electromagnetism?" asked the gentleman.

"What is your name?" I inquired. He answered "Isaac Newton."

I awoke. On my knees was an open volume: Newton's Principia.

The story is told to illustrate the point that one can make important discoveries, significant contributions, and critical breakthroughs many times without knowing the technical aspects of a field. In fact, the lack of these details and the bias they often generate permits the very breakthroughs so important to new thought.

Facts are important and one should never persist in his point of view when the facts are against it. If, however, the facts gather on your side of the issue, accept the challenge. It well may be you are on your way to an important contribution.

Bear in mind that one of the greatest American mathematicians, Simon Newcomb, proved in 1903 that a flying machine carrying a pilot is a mathematical impossibility. That same year, the Wright brothers, with limited knowledge of mathematics, proved him wrong.

Challenge existing thought when you feel you have something better to offer. Remember the truth of today was the heresy of yesterday!

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In its Vending Stand Report for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1972, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare indicates that there were 3,142 stands in operation in the country, managed by 3,583 blind persons. Only eleven of the fifty states do not impose a "set aside" or service charge fee on the gross sales of the operators.

The purposes for the use of this service charge can be many and varied. If a service charge must be levied, it should be limited by statute to expenditures for maintenance, repairs, replacement of equipment, additional equipment, construction of new vending facilities, loans to operators for initial stock, premium payments on retirement or pension funds for operators, health insurance contributions, and provision for paid sick leave and vacation time. There should be a statutory prohibition against the use of any part of the service charge for the payment of administrative salaries of the state licensing agency or for the establishment or subsidy of marginal income facilities. Also, of course, the precise percentage of the amount of the "set aside" should be spelled out in the law.

However, it is extremely doubtful if any service charge at all should be levied on the sales of operators who feel that the practice is basically unfair to them, that it is in effect penalizing their efforts to earn a decent living. It must be remembered that thirteen states presently operate successful small business enterprise programs for the blind without the use of any service charge. If they can do it, so can others.

Now that the 1974 Amendments to the Randolph-Sheppard Act have become law, it seems essential for each state affiliate to push hard for changes in its own vending stand law governing state, county, and city buildings so that it may parallel the real breakthroughs made for vending facilities in Federal buildings—especially those provisions relating to the arbitration of grievances and the giving of vending machine money to the blind operators.

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[Reprinted by courtesy of The New Beacon, publication of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, London, England]

It is a not unusual occurrence for users of the ordinary long cane to be stopped by sighted passersby who have been observing their competent progress and asked "Is that thing electronic?" The question seems to be prompted partly by the unusual appearance of the cane (with its rubber golf grip), partly by genuine admiration at the smooth gait of the user, but no doubt largely by the universal and ready acceptance of the wonderful achievements of technology and electronics in everyday life.

Almost invariably, the disappointment of the questioner can be sensed when he receives the reply "There aren't any electronics. It's just an aluminum alloy cane a bit longer than the usual. But there's quite a lot of training and experience behind it." To this could be added "And the number of users has expanded tremendously over the past few years." Basing the estimate on the sale of canes and on the results of a questionnaire sent out last April from the National Mobility Centre, it would seem reasonably accurate to put the current number of long cane users in Britain at not less than 2,500—a vast improvement on the mere handful of nine years ago.

The assessment is the more likely to be accurate because of the policy which until now has restricted the supply of long canes by official organisations to trained users. This was a policy dictated in the first instance by real concern for the welfare of blind people, who should receive trained instruction if they are to travel with maximum ease and safety.

The failure of so many to appreciate the real complexity of the seemingly simple use of the long cane can be matched by the real lack of appreciation on the part of most long-cane users of the enormous amount of research, experiment, and experience, both scientific and otherwise, which lie behind the continued preference for the aluminum alloy long cane fitted with the rubber golf grip and replaceable nylon tip. What's in a cane indeed!

Although Biblical precedent can be cited for its use by blind travelers, it was not until the closing years of the Second World War that truly appropriate, purpose-built canes were made for them. These were to operate the principles of mobility practice elucidated by Richard E. Hoover at Valley Forge Hospital, Pennsylvania, which have proved so effective. He and his fellow pioneers, such as Warren Bledsoe and Russ Williams, owed much to the ingenuity and originality of their engineer friends at the Summerhill Tubing Company, who, in spite of wartime shortages, produced the first metal long canes for the Valley Forge trainees.

Numerous different types were tried during the next twenty years. The Veterans Administration of the USA, which, with its three rehabilitation centres, was the largest single user of long canes, found it necessary in February 1965 to issue a set of Specifications for the long cane (Typhlocane). This document embodied practical experience with canes gleaned over twenty years and confirmed by mobility specialists, blind veteran users and engineering research personnel.

The ideal long cane has to satisfy several competing requirements. It should be well balanced and light in weight, without being too light; resistant to taking a permanent set if bent; sensitive in conducting information from the contact point to the hand of the user; a poor conductor of heat and electricity; resistant to marring and rusting; long lasting; easy to form and machine; attractive in appearance.

The first long canes manufactured in quantity in Britain were made on the writer's order by Accles and Pollock, of Oldbury, near Birmingham. They conformed in the main to the Veterans Ad- ministration specification. The aluminum alloy was the nearest possible approach to the American formula, but personal choice was allowed in the use of reflective tape, and the red band above the tip, characteristic of North American canes, was omitted. The shape of the crook was altered slightly to facilitate hanging the cane on the arm when desired. Subsequent canes were made for the Midlands Mobility Centre by Swan Brand of Birmingham, of a thinner wall dimension (to secure lightness) but essentially following the Veterans Administration pattern of aluminum alloy shaft with crook, rubber golf grip and replaceable nylon tip. This was the pattern when the RNIB took over responsibility for the manufacture of canes in 1969.

The view has always been held that the long cane of aluminum alloy, although endorsed by years of experience, is not above improvement. Efforts to secure better versions have followed two principal directions, of which one is the quest for new materials. Canes made of fiber glass were found to be too springy, and liable to break. Others made of even more exotic materials produced for the Space programme, were also found wanting. These included a composite material made of fine tungsten filament, coated with boron and set in an epoxy resin. This material, extremely light and very stiff, seemed most attractive as shaft material when tried as the lower half of an experimental laser cane. Work is now going on in the USA with other composites utilising carbon fiber reinforcement or beryllium, but nothing as yet seems likely to emerge which is superior to the aluminum alloy cane.

This was a finding confirmed by those who attended the conference convened in September 1971 in Washington, DC by a subcommittee of the Academy of Science of the USA to consider, among other things, the material and design of long canes. This verdict seems to have been endorsed by organisations in other countries which have adopted the system, and whose nationally made canes conform in the main to the Veterans Administration specification.

Numerous experiments have also been tried with different shapes of grips of varying materials, and with tips of different materials, but the general superiority of the nylon replaceable tip and of the D-shaped or pistol-shaped rubber golf grip seems to be acknowledged.

The main second direction in which unceasing efforts have been made to provide a more acceptable version of the long cane has been that aimed at producing a reliable collapsible version. In all the countries where it has been adopted, a good deal of the opposition to the use of the long cane has derived from the awkwardness which blind people have felt when dealing with the cane in static situations. To the un- initiated, it would seem that the production of a good collapsible long cane should be a relatively simple matter. The fact that a very considerable number of collapsible canes were produced around the world before the emergence of a really acceptable model has demonstrated that the problem was a most difficult one. The inherent difficulty was to resolve the conflicting criteria: to combine strength with lightness to secure rigidity of the erected cane whilst enjoying ease of collapsing; to match durability with cheapness; to maintain good appearance and convenience whilst avoiding gimmickry.

Of the collapsible canes produced overseas, perhaps the one which has had the greatest vogue is that produced by a research programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This model breaks into four sections. It is realigned by utilising a link plastic cord, retained in position by a peg slotting into the handle. Swedish and Danish models are made of plastic material, with elastic joints, but in my view all these versions have serious limitations, of which the chief one is that they lose rigidity in use, and hence sensitivity.

One of the most ingenious collapsible canes was the RNIB version with 56 inter- locking metal cones, erected by operating a central metal cable, which was held under tension to maintain rigidity. Equally ingenious, but equally impractical, was the one produced by George Clarke of the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. This utilised a roller, operated by a lever, to secure rigidity of the realigned cane, but proved awkward to erect.

It is probably no exaggeration to say that the production in 1968 of a model designed, by Mary Crane, then Mary Hulme, of the Midlands Mobility Centre, represented a breakthrough. The engineering problems were reduced by having the cane simply fold into two. Although the folded cane could not be slipped into a briefcase or handbag, it nevertheless proved easy to dispose of when not in use. The erected cane was kept in position by a levered clip. The cane failed to stand up to hard use, and had the additional disadvantages of altered balance and a protrusion halfway down the cane. But its use demonstrated the considerable advantages of a cane which simply folded into two. It also gave fresh impetus to thought towards new solutions.

The folding cane produced by my col- leagues at the Bournville Works of Cadbury Brothers Ltd., in the same year, also broke into two, but the two halves could be easily realigned by the operation of an elastic and plastic cord joint. The rigidity of the erected cane was secured by a close-fitting male/female joint, which made use of the space inside the tube. Compensation for the weakening of the cane wall resulting from the male/female fitting was secured by fitting an external metal ring at the point of greatest pressure. This model lost rigidity, and therefore sensitivity, in use. The possibilities of this basic design were extended by an improved version produced by Cedric Garland and the Technical Department of the RNIB as a prototype for field tests. The folding cane produced by Jim Pickles of Worcester College was a copy of this RNIB field-test model which proved to be the most popular British folding cane to date. It retained good rigidity, but it had an inherent weakness in its internal elastic.

After modifications, a new RNIB version is now on sale. The RNIB designs are two-piece or four-piece folding long canes. They are manufactured in lengths ranging from 105 cm. to 140 cm., in steps of 5 cm. (ie approximately 41 to 55 inches in steps of two inches). The crook and the rubber grip are the same as for the standard long cane.

Canes can be ordered fitted with a hemispherical screw-in nylon tip, designed to reduce the problem of snagging. Standard screw-in tips are also available. To facilitate removal of used tips, a small tool is provided with the canes, and tips incorporate a cross hole. The upper three sections of the four- piece cane are reflectorised. The two-piece cane is reflectorised on all but the bottom eight inches.

A high-tensile aluminum copper alloy has been adopted for the shaft, in order to achieve a strength/weight ratio and trans- mission characteristics comparable to those of the standard long cane. This high-tensile alloy tubing is specially drawn to tolerances closer than are normal for general engineering, so that a minimum of material removal is required to achieve the accurate tube bore dimensions necessary to produce stable, shake-free joints when the cane is erected for use, whilst being readily severable for folding. Joints are randomly located to facilitate cane erection. The central tension element is a new high-quality multicore elastic with braided nylon covering. This elastic core is in turn ensheathed in a flexible polyester sleeving, as further protection from abrasion resulting from repeated erection and collapsing of the cane.

A rubber friction plug is fitted at the termination of the crook. Canes are retained in the folded position by means of an elastic fitting, similar to that used on umbrellas but providing also a loop, which some blind users regard as an indispensable aid to lightness of touch and protection against dropping the cane.

These canes should prove highly effective, and do much to eliminate some of the inconveniences which long cane users have always wished to shed, whilst prizing their canes as the means to a new dimension of freedom. They should do much to extend the steadily enlarging popularity of the long cane in Britain.

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Editor's Note.—Discrimination against the blind in various areas of employment just does not cease. This is especially true of fully qualified blind teachers. But the record is building as the National Office and State affiliates stand together on the barricades. The following letter and opinion of a state attorney general came to us from Harvey Webb, president of the NFB of Louisiana. What the constitution of the State gives, the attorney general would take away, or, at least, diminish. It looks as though we must once more look to the courts for relief. Our blind teachers must not be put off and denied their constitutional right to work at their chosen profession because that recourse means another investment of time, money, and energy on the part of all Federationists.

Over a year ago, one of our New Orleans members applied for a teaching position in Orleans Parish. At that time she was informed that the Orleans Parish School Board had a ruling that anyone on the public school system teaching staff must have at least 20/30 vision.

We learned that there was a law on the books of Louisiana which prohibited discrimination because of blindness against teachers who were otherwise qualified I therefore contacted Dr. Eugene Geisert, president of the Orleans Parish School Board and informed him of this State law. Dr. Geisert was very friendly, and seemed most cooperative. He told me to send him a copy of the law, and stated that he would turn it over to their legal department and, if their lawyers agreed that the board was in violation of the State law, the ruling would be changed. I, of course, sent him a copy of the law, along about August.

I heard nothing. I placed several telephone calls to Dr. Geisert but he was never available, nor did he return my calls. By this time we were getting that old familiar feeling. Consequently, at our last State board meeting, we decided to turn the matter over to an attorney friend. The attorney dispatched a letter to Orleans Parish. Well, apparently Orleans Parish was not especially impressed by this tactic, for they ignored the attorney's letter.

At the suggestion of our attorney friend, I contacted Louis Michot, State Superintendent of Education, who, by the way, has been a great friend to the NFB of Louisiana, and asked him to get us a ruling by the State Attorney General on the matter, which he did.

Although the battle is not won, at least it is a step in the right direction. A significant point that arises is this: There have been many organizations of, and for, the blind in this State for many years. We have all sorts of State agencies and divisions supposedly looking out for the interests of the blind. We also have other organizations of the blind themselves in Louisiana. This law pertaining to the blind in the teaching profession has been on the books since 1968, and yet no one has done a thing about it until this time. No other group, be it private or state, has gone to the trouble to get a ruling by the attorney general on the matter. Why? And yet, some people ask, "Why the NFB?"


Specifically, you have requested an opinion on the following subject matter:

Does the Orleans Parish School System have the right to refuse employment as a teacher to a blind girl in that school system, stating that the hiring of such a person is contrary to parish regulations which require that a teacher hired must have 20/30 vision?

We quote the Louisiana Statute relating to the qualifications of teachers:

The State Board of Education shall prescribe the qualifications and provide for the certification of the teachers of elementary, secondary, trade, normal, and collegiate schools. It has the authority to approve private schools and colleges whose sustained curriculum is of a grade equal to that prescribed for similar public schools and educational institutions of the State. The certificates or degrees issued by such private schools or institutions so approved shall carry the same privileges as those issued by the State schools and institutions; provided, however, that no person otherwise qualified shall be denied the right to receive credentials from the State Board of Education, to receive training for the purpose of becoming a teacher, or to engage in practice teaching in any school, on the grounds he is totally or partially blind, nor shall any school board refuse to engage a teacher on such grounds, provided, that such blind teacher is able to carry out the duties of the position. LSA-R.S. 17:411 as amended. (Emphasis added).

This statute clearly provides that a teacher physically incapacitated, be he partially blind or totally blind, cannot be denied employment on that incapacity alone. The criteria for employment or non-employment of a teacher so incapacitated must be predicated on the factual question of whether a blind teacher is able to carry out the duties of the position for which he applies. LSA-R.S. 17:411 as amended.

We are aware that the Orleans Parish School Board has the authority to regulate the qualifications of teachers. Prior to the amendment to R.S. 17:411, the school board did pass and promulgate a regulation that teachers hired must have 20/30 vision. However, in view of the subsequent amendment, we conclude that this regulation can no longer prevail. It is axiomatic that a regulation passed by any board cannot supersede or contradict a state statute.

The next question to be resolved is whether the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 renders R.S. 17:411 as amended, unconstitutional.

It is our opinion that the new Constitution embraced and strengthened R.S. 17:411 as amended. We quote the pertinent provision of the new Constitution which makes this statute constitutional and controlling on this subject.

No law shall discriminate against a person because of race or religious ideas, beliefs, or affiliations. No law shall arbitrarily, capriciously, or unreasonably discriminate against a person because of birth, age, sex, culture, physical condition, or political ideas or affiliations ... La. Const. of 1974, Article I, Section 3.

We call your attention to one remaining question. What governmental body determines whether a teacher, partially or totally blind, is able to carry out the duties of the position?

The new Constitution vested the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with certain powers and duties. It also reserved to the local school boards certain day to day management powers over which the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has no control. We quote the pertinent provision of the new Constitution, expressly stating that the board:

...shall have no control over the business affairs of a parish or removal of its officers or employees.

For these reasons, we conclude that a local school board is charged with the responsibility of making a factual determination on whether a partially or totally blind person is able to carry out the duties of the position commensurate with the application as a teacher within the school system. The applicant who has been refused employment has the usual remedy of administrative review with a right of final review within our judicial system.

We hope this has answered your question fully. If further clarification is needed, please call this office.

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On the last day of the 93rd Congress there was passed and sent to the White House the Social Services Amendments of 1974, which bill was subsequently sign by the President. The new law has a lot of plusses, including no durational residence or citizenship requirements, the right to a fair hearing, and so on. It certainly is a big improvement over the HEW regulations on this subject which were published in February, 1974 in the Federal Register and were so restrictive that the Congress ordered that they not be implemented. The bill provides five goals and requires that the states include in their services plan at least one service in each of these five categories.

The goals are: achieving or maintaining economic self-support to prevent, reduce, or eliminate dependency; achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of dependency; preventing or remedying neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children and adults unable to protect their own interests, or preserving, rehabilitating or reuniting families; preventing or reducing inappropriate institutional care by providing for community-based care, home-based care, or other forms of less intensive care; or, securing referral or admission for institutional care when other forms of care are not appropriate, or providing services to individuals in institutions.

These goals are so broad that they may or may not include specific services for blind persons. Actually, this bill is really just a sort of bloc-grant social service mechanism with which the states and especially recipients will have to contend. It will necessitate the best efforts of all of us to assure that in every state's services plan there is specific listing of special services for the blind.

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Editor's Note.—Mr. Taylor is a Federationist from Gary, Indiana.

It is seven years, since you were with us. Many things have changed since then. The country is no more engaged in a war in southeast Asia. There is an economic recession and it is hurting the blind, the elderly, and disabled who are on fixed incomes. On the other hand, there are achievements of which blind people can be truly proud. Since you have gone, our movement has been in good hands, Dr. tenBroek Thank you for training and inspiring a cadre of blind men and women who have your deep commitment to work for equality, opportunity, and security for the blind. Under the dynamic leadership of Dr Kenneth Jernigan, these men and women have guided our ship through stormy seas and we are now within sight of the shore. They have kept the faith and promise given to the blind of this Nation.

There is more consumer participation in the policy-making and decision-taking bodies that affect the lives of thousands of us. There are better opportunities for education, training, rehabilitation, and employment for the blind today, thanks to the hard work of these dedicated people However, we are not completely out of the woods. Discrimination in education, training, and job opportunities still exists and the National Federation continues to battle it wherever it occurs and on all fronts administrative, legal, and legislative.

The reactionary agencies and organizations of and for the blind have opposed us at every step and have even brought lawsuits to protect their vested interests. Our struggle against the dictatorial policies of NAC continues. It was through our struggle that NAC finally decided to open its meetings and to add consumers to its board supposedly composed of persons who are blind and who represent national organizations of the blind. But what NAC really meant was that they would accept representatives of organizations of the blind only if they could choose who they were and how many there would be. NAC is still playing the old and familiar game and they are helped in it by their front organization, the American Council of the Blind. The Council has endorsed both NAC and the American Foundation. By so doing they have agreed that blind people are not really equal to the sighted and should not get minimum wages in sheltered shops, should not become mobility instructors or teachers of the blind, should not rock the boat; and should accept everything that is given to them and not complain about discrimination on the basis of their blindness, should try to become super-persons to get ordinary handouts.

We learned from you that blindness is just a characteristic, just as some people have brown eyes, or are tall, or have blond hair. Both you and Dr. Jernigan have taught us to have full confidence and faith in ourselves. We were taught that we have more potential than we realize and that we can accomplish most things that our sighted brethren can. We were taught that we are more normal than different and, that as members of the human race, we are unique and have dignity and worth and the right to self-determination and self-fulfillment. We have learned that we can stand on our own feet and speak for ourselves and that there is no need to feel inferior and helpless. We know that with proper and timely training, education, and rehabilitation, blindness can be reduced to a nuisance and inconvenience and need not be considered a devastating and catastrophic handicap. We know that blind people can and have done most of the jobs others do. We believe that blind people should have an equal opportunity to become full members of our political, economic, and social system. We believe that since the public attitudes toward the blind over the centuries have been negative, on the whole, and that these attitudes have been further reinforced by reactionary agencies and organizations in the field of blindness, a program of affirmative action should become an integral part of state, local and private efforts to broaden opportunities for blind people; and that the program initiated by the Federal Government should be vigorously pursued.

The ACB and its sponsors do not believe in our program of full integration into society. According to some of the leaders of that organization, loss of sight means dying in twenty different ways. They believe that most blind people should be supervised on their way through life by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to help them cope with the "burden of blindness." They believe that only sighted people can help the blind. After all, how can the blind lead the blind. They believe that there are very few blind people who can lead normal, productive lives; and, for the rest, all one can do is provide them with some recreation, social group work, and counseling to keep their minds off their plight and suffering. They believe that blindness condemns a person to mental, emotional, and social disturbance, and inferiority. The ACB has yet to show us that it differs from the Foundation and its "doom and gloom" philosophy, so long and often preached by AFB and its cohorts.

The past seven years have been a time of struggle and accomplishment. Your beloved National Federation of the Blind has become a potent voice of the blind in this country. This voice has been heard in the halls of Congress, the executive mansions, and in jury rooms. It is all due to the philosophy of equality, opportunity, and security that you instilled in us. And you left a group of blind persons and their sighted friends who are selfless, dedicated, and extremely hard-working; who really believe in the abilities of blind people. They would rather light a candle than curse the dark. They are not intimidated by a few reverses or by the constant propaganda barrage against them carried out by well established, well-financed enemies who want to destroy them and us in order to protect their own position of power.

The road ahead may well be rough and we might suffer some setbacks. Truth and justice, however, are on our side. In their hearts our enemies know that what we say and stand for is true. They oppose us because their status helps many of them; and others are just opportunists. Some of them are in the blindness field to meet their own psychological needs or are in the field of self-aggrandizement and feel superior when working with the blind to relieve the "sighted man's burden." They act like colonial masters and prop up front organizations to achieve their objectives. Unfortunately there are some blind persons who let themselves be used as Uncle Toms and Aunt Sallys and blind nabobs but we are sure that ultimate victory will be ours we will triumph and overcome all hurdles placed in our way by these obstructionists.

The day will dawn when blind people will have achieved equality, with their fellow citizens of this Republic, when they will have full opportunity to take part in education, employment, business and professions, political life of the Nation When that day comes it will be due in large measure to the faith that you and your successors have in the blind. As blind persons, our lives are much richer already because you came our way. We thank our Creator for that.

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Editor's Note.—One of the first and longest legislative efforts of the NFB has been to achieve a flat minimum grant of aid to the needy blind with a decent exempt income provision. The following shows what a long way we have come.

The following information is based on data issued for January, 1975 by the U.S. Department of HEW. The flat grants to blind persons in those states which elected to supplement the SSI payments refer to those in independent living arrangements and who transferred to SSI on January 1, 1974 (in a few of the states the grant is less for those who came on the rolls after January 1, 1974).

It will be noted that there are thirty-four states which supplement the SSI grant of $146 a month for an individual and $219 for a blind couple. The amounts shown below represent the total of the SSI and state supplemental payments. As of January, 1975, there were 74,524 blind persons receiving SSI with an average monthly grant of $140.59 compared to the 77,882 receiving an average grant of only $112 in December, 1973, the month before the SSI program began. Of the 74,524 blind recipients, 26,160 also concurrently received Social Security benefits.

Those thirteen States which have been asterisked indicate that they pay a higher grant to blind persons than to the aged. States not listed do not supplement the SSI grants.

*Alabama individuals, $146; couples, $250
Alaska individuals, $185; couples, $285
Arkansas individuals, $146; couples, $229
*California individuals, $265; couples, $530
*Colorado individuals, $155; couples, $310
Connecticut individuals, $238; couples, $286
*Delaware individuals, $150; couples, $300
Hawaii individuals, $173; couples, $260
Idaho individuals, $192; couples, $256  
Illinois individuals, $175; couples, $219
*Indiana individuals, $146; couples, $288
*Iowa individuals, $164; couples, $255
Kansas individuals, $203; couples, $242
Maine individuals, $156; couples, $234
*Massachusetts individuals, $292; couples, $584
Michigan individuals, $170; couples, $255
Minnesota individuals, $178; couples, $258
*Missouri individuals, $146; couples, $229
Nebraska individuals, $213; couples, $289
*Nevada individuals, $215; couples, $430
New Hampshire individuals, $173; couples, $228
New Jersey individuals, $182; couples, $250
New York individuals, $207; couples, $295
Oklahoma individuals, $166; couples, $259
*Oregon individuals, $194; couples, $276
Pennsylvania individuals, $166; couples, $249
Rhode Island individuals, $183; couples, $287
*South Carolina individuals, $146; couples, $220
South Dakota individuals, $190; couples, $230
*Utah individuals, $146; couples, $262
Vermont individuals, $177; couples, $233
*Virginia individuals, $153; couples, $219
Washington individuals, $176; couples, $252
Wisconsin individuals, $216; couples, $329

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[Reprinted by Beep-n-Tape Trips, weekly newsletter of the Volunteers of Vacaville (Calif.)]  

Born thirty-four years ago in Ellsworth, Iowa, Daryl has been a member of the Blind Project for more than a year and, in that time, has become almost indispensable as our Master Tape Librarian. During the first part of his tenure with the Blind Project, Daryl was a reader and accumulated almost 600,000 feet in his quest to become a member of our "Million Foot Club." He has had to slow down some, but still manages to put a few hours on the books each month. He is presently enrolled in the Braille class and intends to continue aiding the handicapped, in some capacity. Daryl is a tile-setter by trade and, from the look of the work he has done around the institution, a very good one! His intentions are to remain in California when he is released.

He is an avid lover of folk music and is an accomplished instrumentalist with the dulcimer Dulcimer? Its origins are European and from what we understand, it is a very difficult instrument to play. But, you will be really amazed to learn that Daryl also makes dulcimers! And, recently, he has been turning his abilities in a new direction. With the help of Hank Forshay, our Tape Recording chairman, Daryl has acquired a new hobby—making artificial fresh water fish lures.

When asked what motivated him to join the Blind Project, Daryl said simply: "Boredom." At the beginning, he lacked the confidence a good reader must have, so he asked to be assigned as a bookbinder But, fortunately, some of the men who were already established, helped him get started as a reader and he soon became one of our best. Bob Goetz saw a great similarity between Daryl and former Coordinator Daryl Moss, so he nicknamed him "Bear, Jr." after the original and baroque Daryl "The Bear!" Daryl says that he now has a feeling of self-worth and gets a great deal of satisfaction from the fact that his efforts have a double benefit: that of helping others while helping himself Anyone who has watched him during his work day, which stretches from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., has to believe him when he said: "I like my work!"

At the moment, he is deeply involved in the inventory of our library and, if you've seen the library, you know what a job that can be. But, if we want to publish a new catalog, it has to be done. Daryl also gives invaluable advice to new readers—the same advice that has given him so much benefit.

All of the readers and staff extend a great big "thanks" for a job well done!

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In the dispute between the Iowa Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind, the Iowa Council the plaintiffs in this case, sued the Iowa Commission and its Director, Kenneth Jernigan, the defendants. The details are set forth in the Braille Monitor for July 1972 and March 1973. The trial court issued a summary judgment dismissing the suit and the plaintiffs appealed. On March 19, 1975, the Supreme Court of Iowa remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

The Supreme Court said: "The [trial] court used a motion here as a vehicle to resolve a factual issue which existed under the pleadings. This was error." That was the view of the majority of the Court and it was on that rather technical point that the remand was issued. The majority felt "modern decisions hold that a party against whom a summary judgment motion is made should first be allowed to discover the facts if he desires." The Supreme Court was careful to state, however, that "We intimate no opinion, of course, on the merits of the plaintiffs' allegations against defendants."

While noting that there may be a philosophical dispute behind this suit, the Court limited itself to "the issues alleged in the petition . . . .” It had some problems doing so because "Most of the deposition testimony is hearsay . . . ." “Plaintiffs filed a resistance to the motion for summary judgment, supported by affidavits....”  

The one dissenting justice cited as many cases and legal authorities for upholding the decision of the lower court on the point at issue as the majority did for finding the other way. He held that injunction was a judicially inappropriate remedy in this particular case. "Defendant's discovery was directed not so much toward what plaintiffs could prove as it was toward what they claimed in their petition. Plaintiffs requested discovery, on the other hand, was sought in the hope of finding whether they had a lawsuit." "I believe a trial court has a corresponding right [under the rules cited] to deny plaintiffs use of discovery to determine whether a cause of action exists merely by filing a petition unless there is a reasonable basis to believe there is such a cause of action." "Under the circumstances shown, it does not offend the propriety of this ruling that the trial court at the same time denied plaintiffs the right to dredge for a lawsuit by way of their own depositions."

"The case presents a graphic example of why trial courts should be accorded discretion to control, limit or prevent discovery under the rule announced [in an Iowa case].  Defendant's depositions of plaintiffs disclose plaintiffs' action to be mere dispute as to which of two philosophies should govern the Iowa Commission for the Blind we should not furnish our courts as the forum for any such dispute. Neither should we allow our discovery procedures to be employed for such a purpose when no cause of action exists."

There can be little doubt concerning the final outcome of the case. The handful of blind Iowans and their sighted sponsors who, for whatever reasons, became involved as plaintiffs will only find themselves with increasing costs and the same result in the end. One does not have to seek far to find the real instigators of this harassment. The sad part of it all is the pain, and cost, and problems to the Iowans who allowed their names to be used.

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Dr. Donald D. Kirtley is proud to be a Federationist. The dust jacket on his new book testifies to that fact. It says, in part "Since 1973, Dr. Kirtley has been vice president of the Central Valley Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of California." Dr. Kirtley is associate professor of psychology at California State University in Fresno, California. He believes thoroughly in Federation philosophy, namely, that the blind are different from the nonblind only to the degree that they are visually deficient and subject to whatever behavioral limitations are inherent in that deficiency."

The prejudices and misconceptions of the sighted about the blind are challenged on a level never before attempted. The book is both historical and analytical in content and deals with subjects which psychologists to this point have avoided. It is, indeed, a bold venture.

The book is The Psychology of Blindness, published by Nelson-Hall Publishers in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how others, not so imaginative or well-versed but who write in this field, receive this perceptive study.

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[Reprinted by courtesy of the author, Arvetta Savage, and by the (Boise) Idaho Statesman]

The world of the sightless may seem like a prison to some, but the doors to a completely different and useful life for many blind Idahoans are being opened by a young lady who is without sight.

Linda Warrick of Rupert was born blind. But with the help of understanding parents, excellent teachers, and officials of the Idaho Commission for the Blind, she now is able to travel throughout southeastern Idaho as a home teacher, counselor, lecturer—you name it, and Linda, twenty-four, does it.

She is pulling old and young sightless people out of their chairs and helping them into the outside world, to jobs in industries, offices, almost anywhere. She is teaching the blind that life itself can be a tremendous blessing, and that being sightless can be dealt with as an inconvenience rather than a handicap or an excuse to seclude oneself from the world and give up on education or employment.

She graduated from Gooding School for the Blind and from Idaho State University, where she received a bachelor's degree of arts in Social Work. She now is a home teacher for the Idaho Commission for the Blind in Boise. She also serves as public relations chairman for the National Federation of the Blind in Idaho.

Linda has competed with sixty other persons, sighted and blind, for the State position. Linda already knew the problems of the blind. She had learned to cope with them, and could help others do so. She travels by airplane and bus from Boise, and she hires drivers to take her to the homes of her students. She teaches anything from cane travel to home economics—including cooking and managing home and family.

Linda climbed over many obstacles as a child, left her parents' home at six years of age to attend a special school for the blind in another city several miles away. She became familiar with the sick feeling in her stomach while crying with homesickness, and yet feeling the joy of learning new things at the school and loving everyone working with her.

"The first couple of years I would cry when I had to go back to school," she said. "But eventually I got used to it. It didn't make me any happier to go back, but at least I could handle it a little better."

Linda was born with a heap of determination and a touch of stubbornness which made her react to some advice a friend had offered when Linda Graduated from the Gooding school at age nineteen. The friend had advised that Linda not go to college because of the limited capabilities of the blind in the world of sight. So Linda enrolled at the university. There she encountered one of the biggest challenges. She previously had attended only special classes with other blind people, so her way around a university campus in the dark, so to speak, was something else.

"It was a real step for me at first, because at high school it was kind of a sheltered situation," she said. "When I was at college, all of a sudden here was the world and I wasn't quite ready for that. It took a lot of adjusting and I didn't feel comfortable with people my age. I felt kind of socially immature—so I had to mature up to that."

She went without food for the first few days because she was too shy to ask directions. She stumbled on stairs until she learned to use the "long white cane" with assistance of the Commission for the Blind. She had to "borrow time" from other students who read her daily lessons to her. "Sometimes," Linda said, "the volunteers would either forget about it or they were late." She later began paying her readers, and found this worked much better.

She was on the honor roll several semesters. By developing an excellent memory and letting her ears work for her eyes, she maintained a "B" grade average. She took the same classes as anyone else. She used readers and tape recorders, and took notes.

"And boy, did I listen," she said. "I had to develop a good sense of touch and hearing. You have to rely on what you've got. When you don't have one (sense), the others have to work harder."

Her first desire to become a teacher of the blind came when she was in the third grade at Gooding. She could not learn to use Braille until a home teacher worked with her one summer. When she returned to school the next fall, her teachers could not believe she was the same reading student. She had missed three months of school that year because of four operations on her eyes, and the school had passed her "on condition" that she learn Braille well enough to continue in the fourth grade.

Linda says about the only major thing she still can't do is drive a car. She learned to ride a bicycle in her youth, by advancing from a tricycle to trainer wheels and finally riding a regular two-wheeler. She lives alone, takes care of her apartment, and enjoys "cooking up a storm" and inviting guests to share her meals.

She plays piano by ear, although she plans to buy some music printed in Braille and "play other people's arrangements for a change." She sings and was one of the five hundred high school students selected to participate in All-State Choir two separate years. She enjoys walking and is not embarrassed to become lost in a city.

"I've seen people with 20/20 vision get really lost in the city," she laughed. "Well, I can get really lost in the city too. But if I do, I ask people directions and by doing what they say I can go back where I want to be everybody gets lost once in a while, so it really doesn't worry me at all."

Marriage and raising a family are in Linda's plans. But for now, she plans to continue helping the blind see life. She says the blind can do about anything persons with sight can do—they merely have to find different ways of doing it.

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For years blind people have been discriminated against in the issuance of life insurance. This right has been denied the blind all across the Nation. Not so anymore, at least here in Massachusetts Now, as of January 1, 1975, it is against the law for any private insurance firm, savings bank, or fraternal or social organization dispensing insurance to its members to refuse coverage of life insurance to a blind person solely on the basis of blindness. To the best of my knowledge, and to that Massachusetts Commissioner of the Blind, John F. Mungovan and Governor Francis Sargent, we are the first State in the Nation to have such a law.

The law came to pass because of the work done by the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts, as well as other groups. Sponsor of the original bill was State Representative William Pickett, of Somerville, vice-chairman of the State Committee on Insurance. He is my state representative, so he was the logical person for me to contact. His position as second in command on the very committee before which the bill would be heard, was to me, a vital consideration point. So I took the bill to him. It was due, in great part, to Bill Pickett's diligent efforts that the bill was enacted into law the blind of the Commonwealth owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Pickett, and the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts was not remiss in showing its appreciation. At our annual State convention in October, a resolution was adopted commending publicly all those responsible for the passage of this long overdue piece of legislation.

When the hearing date was announced, word was "Paul Revered" to all the cities, towns, villages, and farms, summoning all the blind to stand and be counted. They were urged to bombard their representatives with phone calls and letters, and bombard them they did. The NFBM did themselves proud. The net result of all this effort was, that on June 19, 1974, what was once a bill became law, and a debt was paid. That debt was one owed every blind person, namely, equal consideration and treatment in the issuance of life insurance.

The law specifies that no private insurance company may refuse to issue life insurance to a blind person solely on the basis of blindness. The law further reads that savings banks also will not be able to deny the blind. This, to me, is particularly important. Why, you may ask? Simply because life insurance offered by savings banks is perhaps the most inexpensive form available, and since blind people, on the average, do not make a great deal of money, refusal of the most inexpensive form of life insurance available is doubly discriminating. To both of the above, we added the following: Any fraternal or social organization that allows blind people to join and pay dues, may no longer deny life insurance because they are blind. The law strictly forbids this practice.

Passage of this law does not mean that the blind are out of the woods where insurance is concerned. There could be, lurking somewhere in the shadows, that one insurance firm daring enough to make a test case, but it will avail them not. There now exists a firm, legal foundation from which to fight. They will be informed of the law and if that should fail, then it's off to the wars in court. Also, passage of this law does not mean that there are no other problems in insurance with which to concern ourselves. Oh, yes, Virginia, there are others. Perhaps the feeling here in the Bay State is best summarized by the quote of Dr. Jernigan's, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer, of course, is one bite at a time. That is the Massachusetts philosophy. Having won our first victory, we will continue biting away at our elephant until we have achieved total victory and equality for all blind in the all-important area of insurance. Other states take note: what we can do, you can do. Go to it.

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First: Cut meat (1 to 2 cups) (any kind) cooked or raw in quarter-inch cubes and marinate as long as you have time for in the following mixture:  

2 or 3 tablespoons dry sherry  
2 or 3 tablespoons soy sauce  
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic  

Then: Cut vegetables (2 to 3 cups) (any kind except tomatoes, potatoes, or sweet potatoes) cooked or raw, very small.  

Have on hand: 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup chicken-flavored broth, and 4 tablespoons oil (butter-flavored Wesson oil, if possible.)  

After the above is prepared, put in wok over highest heat:  

2 tablespoons oil  

Add: Meat mixture, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly (can cook less if meat already cooked.)  

Remove, and add:  

2 tablespoons more oil  

Add vegetables and cook no more than 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  

Then: Add to vegetable mixture in wok: meat mixture and 1/2 cup chicken-flavored broth and cornstarch, let heat very briefly until amalgamated, stirring constantly.

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During its second session, the 93rd Congress (winch adjourned on December 20, 1974) compiled an impressive record in the field of social legislation. Major improvements in the Education of the Handicapped Act, liberalization of the Supplemental Security Income program, and the tremendous gains made by the Randolph-Sheppard Amendments of 1974 The new 94th Congress, heavily under the influence of the powerful Democratic Caucus (Congressman Phillip Burton of California chairing) is expected to make still further gains in the social legislation field.

The needy blind, aged, and disabled received nearly two billion dollars more in government assistance payments under the SSI program than under the prior Federal-state assistance plans in 1973. About one million more persons were eligible under the SSI program. Total Federal-state spending under the new program increased by 59 per cent, from 3.3 billion dollars in 1973 to nearly 5.3 billion dollars in 1974. State expenditures decreased by 43 million dollars, while Federal expenditures increased by 2 billion dollars to nearly 4 billion dollars. The number of beneficiaries rose from 3 million to 4 million. More than half the people transferred from state welfare rolls are receiving higher benefits under SSI, and about 30 per cent more people are getting benefits.

Performance, publication of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, reports that a breakthrough for blind people who use talking books has been developed by Dr Sanford Greenberg, himself blind the patented device, which is licensed to the Sony Corporation, speeds up, without distortion, the words which have been recorded on the talking book. Tapes can be set to "read" at any speed.

Late last year the Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare put into effect regulations to revise the earnings guidelines used in determining whether a person receiving social security disability benefits is performing "substantial gainful employment" and thus may not be considered to be disabled. Briefly the new guidelines provide: an individual's earnings from work which exceed $200 per month (raised from $140) will ordinarily be ineligible for disability benefits; when a person's earnings average between $130 and $200 a month, he will not ordinarily establish his ability to engage in substantial gainful employment; and earnings from work as an employee averaging less than $130 a month (increased from $90) will not be considered as engaging in substantial gainful activity. If a person working in a sheltered workshop has earnings averaging $200 a month or less, he will usually be considered eligible for continued disability insurance benefits.

An American University music professor has found a way to help the blind student by translating sheet music into Braille. Dr. Howard Patrick uses the computer to make the translations into Braille. To the blind person, this means he can have his music in fifteen minutes, rather than six months as is usually the case now. At present this system is limited to Val music, but Patrick sees the inclusion of keyboard and orchestral music within four or five years. The computer language, he says, can be learned in fifteen minutes. Using the Intermediate Musical Language and Music Information Retrieval (IML-MIR) system, the code is punched on cards or typed directly into the computer. The computer does the rest, producing instantaneous Braille music. Once a piece of music literature is translated, it can be printed in Braille over and over again.

The Mobile chapter of the NFB of Alabama was organized in February and received unusually good coverage in the media. The meeting was presided over by NFB of Alabama President Euclid Rains, Sr. The chapter is off to a good start with eighteen charter members under the leader- ship of President Tom Mills. He is an active ham radio operator who has had a share in a number of emergency and rescue operations. Welcome to the Federation, Mobile.

James R. Jones, president of In-Touch Networks Inc., informs us that his organization produced a half-hour radio program for the visually and physically handicapped. Called "In-Touch," the broadcasts are carried over New York City radio stations WNYE-FM and WFUV-FM. Further information is available from Mr. Jones at 36 West 46th Street, New York, New York 10036.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, are cooperating on a special project to prepare experimental maps of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and of the Federal Mall and adjacent areas that are designed to be of use by the blind and normally sighted. When completed later this year, the maps will be distributed through various outlets for use in public buildings and by individual residents and visitors.

It was recently reported that the General Mills Consumer Center announced the availability of a new publication, Cooking With Betty Crocker Mixes, in three forms: a large-type edition, a cassette tape edition, and a Braille edition. The large-type edition is offered free and may be obtained by writing: Cooking with Betty Crocker Mixes, Large Type Edition, General Mills, Inc., Box 114, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55460. The cassette tape edition (set of two tapes) may be ordered for $2.25 (check or money order payable to General Mills, Inc.) from: Cooking with Betty Crocker Mixes, Cassette Tape Edition, General Mills, Inc., 9200 Film Center, Box 1113, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55460. The Braille edition can be obtained from the Minnesota State Services for the Blind, Communication Center, 1745 University Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104. It is free to blind residents of Minnesota and for a minimum charge to out-of-state persons.

Merle Schippert, vice president of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NFB of Colorado was named Goodwill Man of the Year 1974. NFB of Colorado president, Marjorie Gallien writes: "Merle is a keen, bright young man who habitually tackles jobs far in excess of the demands of daily routine—just for the experience. He is looking forward to training and operating his own snack bar. He attributes much to the NFB for widening his prospects in life."

The Rehabilitation Services Administration and the American Foundation for the Blind are planning a joint workshop on rehabilitation centers for the blind. The meeting will be in St. Louis, Missouri, May 19 to 22, 1975. According to a recent release, the object is to develop a training manual which can serve as a basic text for personnel employed in rehabilitation for the blind, state agencies providing vocation- al rehabilitation services to the blind, and other public and private agencies involved in the use of rehabilitation center facilities.

Evelyn Weckerly is now serving as chairman of an advisory committee on special education established by the Muskegon Public Schools. Anyone who has ideas which might help develop better education for blind children should write to her at 1485 Seminole Road, Muskegon, Michigan 49441. She is especially interested in hearing from blind professionals who work in education.

The National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island will hold its annual State convention on October 4, 1975. Morning and afternoon sessions will be held at Cathedral Square, Providence, Rhode Island. The banquet will be held at Lombardi's Restaurant, 113 Charles Street in Providence. Cost of banquet tickets is $10. Raffle tickets are now being sold with the winners to be drawn at the banquet. For further information contact Mary Jane Frye, Secretary, Box 5655 Weybosset Station, Providence, Rhode Island 02903

Best sellers on cassettes are available for national circulation from the Library of the Jewish Guild for the blind, 15 West 65th Street, New York, New York 10023. The collection contains more than thirty titles of fiction appearing on the 1974-75 Best Sellers List A catalogue in both Braille and inkprint will be forwarded upon request.

The Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind will hold its annual convention September 26, 27, and 28, 1975, at the Holiday Inn Town, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The NFB of Illinois plans its annual convention for September 5, 6, 7, 1975 at the Sheraton Rock Island Motor Inn, One Sheraton Plaza, Rock Island, Illinois 61201. Room rates are $16.50 for singles and $20 for doubles. The price of the room includes free courtesy transportation to and from the Motor Inn.

The NFB of Georgia officers for 1975 are: Anderson Frazer, president; Judy Herndon, first vice president; Alfred Falligan, second vice president; Janet Clarey, secretary; Ann Rogers, Treasurer; and board members Georgia Wolfe, Sandra Fuller, Max Parker, and Ernest Robbins.

Election in the NFB of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky Chapter, were as follows: Letcher Vanderpool, President; Cybl Martin, vice president; Pauline Vanderpool, treasurer; and Esther Risch, secretary.

Recently there has been a growing interest by couples, one or both of whom are blind, in adopting children. But discrimination because of blindness is widespread among adoption agencies. We are interested in hearing from persons who are interested in adoptions. We would like to form an interest group that can share experiences and knowledge about adoptions, and who could possibly take concerted efforts to fight discrimination because of blindness by adoption agencies. If there is enough interest, we would like to have a meeting at the NFB Convention in Chicago in July. Those interested should contact Mary and Orlo Nichols, 2024 B Summit Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21207, or phone 301-298-3468.

The Northern Indiana Center of the Blind chapter of our Indiana affiliate elected new officers in January. They are: Roger J. Manges, president; Peter Youts, vice president; Mrs. Albert Yerga, Braille secretary; Mrs. Nan Schwenk, alternate Braille secretary; Miss Mary Kambol, associate secretary; Mrs. Coy Edwards, treasurer.

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