power news

Rehab Act action

a fifth core service?

This is the year when the 1973 Rehabilitation Act must be reautho­rized by Congress. The Rehab Act, forerunner of the ADA, established centers for independent living in its Title VII and set out four core ser­vices they must perform. Those are advocacy, peer support, information and referral, and independent living skills training.

In January, the 2002 SILC Con­gress — the bi-annual meeting of statewide independent living coun­cils — made a resolution that “a fifth core service, deinstitutionalization, be added to Title VII.”

The resolution reads, “living in the community with opportunities to embrace all that the community has to offer is vital.”

None of the SILCs present at the vote came out against it. Two did abstain: Oklahoma and Texas.

The National Council on Inde­pendent Living has made this fifth service key in its proposal for changes to the rehab act. Check it out at NCIL’s website, www.ncil.org.

Quick! prove you’re a slow learner

Convicted of a stabbing mur­der in 1987, Ernest Paul McCarver of Greensboro, North Carolina, scored 74 on an IQ test a few years back. Then last year, on death row, he was tested again and scored 67. Those seven points could make the difference between life and death for him.

His state’s legislature last year passed a law that no one who scored lower than 70 can be executed.

The case of another death row inmate, Earl Washington, Jr., who spent 18 years behind bars for a rape and murder that a later DNA test proved he did not commit, has raised


The Los Angeles Unified School District announced in February that 35,000 disabled students now segre­gated in special ed centers will be-come mainstream students in regular classrooms over the next four years.

questions in legislatures across the nation about whether to kill people with mental impairments even if they have confessed to brutal crimes.

People who have been trained always to answer authority in the affirmative are likely to confess to anything a police officer suggests.

bush’s medicare drug plan booed

Medicare beneficiaries could look forward to discounts as high as 25 percent on prescription drugs if President Bush’s budget plan receives congressional approval. Discounts of that magnitude are available now through home-delivery pharmacies which operate on the internet.

Senator Edward Kennedy, among others, scoffed at the pro­posal. During congressional sessions in 2001, a number of Medicare pre­scription drug plans were put for-ward, all of them providing higher benefits than the one put forward by the White House.

duck and cover. here comes anti-terrorism.


Count ’em — trillions. The Bush administration $2.13 trillion budget proposes the largest defense buildup since the deficit-building Reagan years and whacks social programs in favor of $38 billion in “homeland security.”

New laws already in effect pro-vide for the indefinite detention of resident aliens, and authorize searches and wiretaps of citizens and their property without judical warrants.

Asked why the administration was not budgeting enough money to keep Medicare and Social Secu­rity solvent, Bush’s budget direc­tor, Mitchell Daniels, said that they were heading toward insolvency anyway. Why bother to save them?


The National Conference of State Legislatures announced that 18 states “have outlined their inten­tions to fully comply with the 1999 Olmstead decision” — if their bud-gets allow. Which they won’t.