[bct] Re: Next Steps With NLS

  • From: "Neal Ewers" <neal.ewers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 11:42:08 -0500

Walt, thanks for this information and for a reasoned approach.


-----Original Message-----
From: blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:blindcooltech-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Walt Smith
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 11:23 AM
To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bct] Re: Next Steps With NLS

There has been a user advisory panel for NLS for many years with members

from both national organizations of the blind and that is the
mechanism for making input to the service. Since Mr. Cylke has already 
stated; and his statement has been quoted here; that the service will
shortly, I think that any further activity with regard to this situation
totally unnecessary and overblown, as most of the response has been

The simple fact is that whether we like it or not, NLS does not owe us
explanations for the sudden nature of this occurrence. If they
as they obviously did based on their own message, that there were
issues, they would have been derelict in their duty and responsibility
they had _not_ acted immediately. Under the circumstances, they were 
completely within their rights to act as they did without any
advice, or consent from anyone. Their brief is to manage the service and
there are complaints about how they have done so, mechanisms already
by which to address them without hysterical responses involving
letters to congress, etc. Some persons, desiring to pose as advocates
"the blind" while at the same time inflating their own egos, have
to manipulate what is, at bottom a temporary situation into some kind of

national scandal and that, I submit, is both irresponsible and
in the extreme.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Monica Willyard" <plumlipstick@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 1:19 AM
Subject: [bct] Next Steps With NLS

>I would like to offer an alternate path for resolution of the 
>WebBraille issue.  Please give my idea some thought to see if it might 
>help us move forward.

> From my vantage point, I think the crux of the issue is that for 
> years, NLS has made many decisions about us but without us.  They may 
> not even realize they're doing it.  This time it's so obvious that no 
> one can really ignore or overlook it.  There is a subtle but growing 
> attitude that this is being done for us as opposed to being a 
> needs-driven service.  Perhaps that is the nature of governmental 
> agencies in general though.

Someone here said that we don't have the right to question what's going
on because NLS is a service and not a right.  However, I believe that as
a tax payer, I do have the right and indeed the obligation to insure
that the service is meeting the actual needs of those it claims to
serve.  In this case, the needs of thousands of people appear to be
sacrificed without explanation.  I believe that our questions should be
asked both clearly and with courtesy, and should be put in writing so
that there is a paper trail of information regarding this whole thing.
I think it's important to treat all NLS personnel with the same respect
we accord the rest of our colleagues.

Meanwhile, we have asked for information and still don't have answers.
So what next?  I think that educating the public about the existance of
and need for WebBraille is a good next step for us because it will lay a
foundation for future advocacy if needed.  Our lawmakers and their staff
do read web sites and blogs sometimes.  If the issue of book
accessibility begins appearing on various forums and blogs, there will
be more visibility if we end up needing to contact our Congressmen.
This is like gathering wood for a fire so that it could be lit if the
weather turns cold.

If the service is restored shortly as promised, the general public will
have learned some cool things about blind people and how we read.  If
what Chris Gray says is true, and service is delayed, we will have a
base of strength and numbers to work from.  We win either way.  Isn't
that what we all want?

So I ask each of you to write a blog entry, call a friend and tell
him/her about accessible book services, post on a message board
somewhere, or write a feature article for your local newspaper as a
human interest story.  There are a lot of talented people here who have
the skills to do all 3 of these.  Don't just sit back and let people
like Jonathan Mosen  do it because they're experienced
podcasters/bloggers.  Say it in your own words with what you like about
the service and what books you like to read.  The point is to tell
someone about how we access books.  Tell you child, your aunt Susan, the
cab driver, or your dog for practice.  (grin)  Lay a good foundation,
watch for a week or so, and then contact your lawmakers if there is
still no response from NLS.  We can win this one and make NLS a winner
too.  Then nobody loses, and we get to read again.

Visit my blog at: http://plumlipstick.livejournal.com

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