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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Matilda Ziegler Magazine, once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," ceases publication

I thought that some of you would want to mark the snuffing-out of a candle for blind culture. I'm very disappointed by this loss of a venue that has published writings by blind people. I'm even more disappointed that it wasn't for lack of funds, but because of the choice to focus on medical research instead.

Letter below.


July 25, 2014

As you are aware the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind has been suspended for the past several months pending a review by the Board of Directors of The E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind. Considerable time was spent evaluating its substance, breadth of distribution, and readers' responses. With heavy heart the directors voted to discontinue the weekly magazine and use the Foundation's resources solely for scientific research through grants to highly innovative medical researchers who are making important advances in vision research.

We've come a long way from when my great grandmother, Electa Matilda Ziegler, founded the magazine in 1907 with the goal of producing reading material for the blind "as much as possible like that published for the seeing." Raised type books of the era were expensive, and the freely circulated magazine helped to fill an information void.

Today's blind and those with visual impairment can obtain books and magazines in Braille, on cassette, and in DVD or CD format from the National Library Service and the American Foundation for the Blind. Radio, television, internet, and commercially produced audio books have all become accessible, and provide resources that could not have been imagined in 1907.

Your emails and letters show that we've touched the lives of thousands of blind and vision impaired people. The Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind was once described by Helen Keller as a "godsend," and Mark Twain described it as "one of the noblest benefactions of his lifetime." We hope to realize a medical breakthrough that will be worthy of the same praise.

On behalf of the E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation Board I sincerely thank you for your loyal readership over our many years.

Cynthia Ziegler Brighton

Sunday, July 6, 2014

UK event: Short Course - Paranoia and Beliefs


Short course (comprising one-and-a-half days)

Thursday 14th August 2014, 10.00am to 5.00pm
Friday 15th August, 10.00am to 2.00pm

run by the London Paranoia & Beliefs Project (part of Mind in Camden)

 This short course does not include training in setting up, or facilitating, a Paranoia Peer Support Group. The focus will be on looking at different ways of making sense of, and coping with paranoia and the distress related to beliefs.

The London Paranoia & Beliefs Project launched in February 2012, and is run by Mind in Camden in partnership with the National Paranoia Network. Mind in Camden is known for its previous success establishing a Londonwide network of groups for people who hear voices. Founded on an ethos of acceptance and validation, Hearing Voices Groups provide a safe space where members can share without fear of judgement, and where their experiences are understood as having personal meaning. The London Paranoia & Beliefs Project aims to develop a similar network of peer support groups for people experiencing paranoia or distress related to beliefs. There are now 12 such groups currently running in London – where beliefs can be explored, common ground discovered, and coping strategies shared.

£7 for individuals with lived experience of paranoia
£50 for individuals without lived experience of paranoia
£50 for Voluntary Organisations
£75 for Statutory Organisations

Cardboard Citizens
77A Greenfield Rd
London E1 1EJ

with best wishes

John Wetherell
Project Assistant
020 7241 8978

London Paranoia & Beliefs Project
run in partnership with the National Paranoia Network

Mind in Camden
Barnes House, 9-15 Camden Road, London, NW1 9LQ

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fundraising Appeal From Left Foot Forward

Dear Friend,
TONIGHT at the private members’ club, Hurlingham, the Tories will host around 500 of the mega-wealthy to raise funds that they hope will fool the public into forgetting everything they’ve done since coming to power.
Last year at a similar private fundraiser, David Cameron rubbed shoulders with the likes of Vladimir Putin’s aide (and judo partner), Vasily Shestakov, and the lobbyists who represent the wife of the Syrian president Asma al-Assad. 449 of the super-rich, holding a combined £11 billion, paid £12,000 per table and then donated a further £5 million.
The strength of the left is in the power of us all coming together to combat these few mega-wealthy individuals. Can you donate £5 right now to help us?
Click here to chip in just £5:
Between all of us, every little bit makes a big difference. Thank you for supporting us.
Best wishes,
James Bloodworth, Left Foot Forward

Saturday, June 28, 2014

When Lord Daniel Finkelstein makes a case for a crackdown on corporate and personal tax evasion and avoidance, does anyone hear?

Three days ago, Inside Housing featured this news story:

Further cuts to the poor are inevitable, says Tory peer

Lord Daniel Finkelstein, a Conservative peer and friend of George Osborne, said today that further cuts to the poor are inevitable.
In a debate at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester on whether the state has abandoned the poor, Lord Finkelstein said: ‘It’s a trick to believe it’s possible to do something about this problem of over borrowing without cutting people’s income. Any government that is elected will have to cut expenditure and that will undoubtedly fall on poor people.’

He said the solution was: ‘To refuse in future to make promises to people that we then can’t redeem.’

In response, I tweeted: Predictably, no mention by Lord Daniel Finkelstein of the need to crack down on corporate and personal tax evasion and avoidance. (

Much to my surprise, two days later Lord Finkelstein  responded: I only had 15 mins, but of course I am in favour of that. (

After favoring and re-tweeting his response, I  countered with  @Dannythefink I appreciate that clarification, but a tweet is akin to a tree falling in the forest that nobody hears. Would you be willing to contact "Inside Housing" ( and inform them that you agree with me on the need to crack down on corporate and personal tax evasion and avoidance? (

Silence from Lord Finkelstein. A tree has fallen in the forest that no one has heard.

Friday, June 27, 2014

[UK] Centre for Culture & Disability Studies: Seminar Reminder

Crip Displacements: Voices of Disability, Neoliberalism, and Resistance

Prof. Robert McRuer

Date: Tuesday 15 July, 2014
Time: 2.15pm–3.45pm
Place: Eden 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Theorists of neoliberalism, from David Harvey to Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, have placed dispossession and displacement at the center of their analyses of the workings of contemporary global capitalism.  Disability, however, has not figured centrally into these analyses. Professor Robert McRuer’s seminar attends to crip echoes generated by dispossession, displacement, and a global austerity politics.  Centering on British-Mexican relations during a moment of austerity in the UK and gentrification in Mexico, “Crip Displacements” identifies both the voices of disability that are recognized by and made useful for neoliberalism as well as those shut down or displaced by this dominant economic and cultural system.  Professor McRuer particularly focuses on two events from 2013: a British embassy good will event touting access in Mexico City and an installation of photographs by Livia Radawanski, from the same period.  Radwanski’s photos of the redevelopment of a Mexico City neighborhood (and the displacement of poor people living in the neighborhood) are examined in order to attend to the ways in which disability might productively haunt theories of neoliberal dispossession. 

Robert McRuer is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English at George Washington University.  He is the author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006) and editor, with Anna Mollow, of Sex and Disability (2012). He is also a JLCDS editorial board member, contributor, book reviewer, and guest editor.

This seminar is part of the CCDS series, The Voice of Disability. Other dates include:

8 Oct 2014, Manifest Pleasures: Litany, Utopia, and Literary Autism, Julia Miele Rodas.

12 Nov 2014, Discourses, Decisions, Designs: An international comparative analysis of “special” educational policy making, Jessica Chong.

17 Dec 2014, It’s Not Gibberish: ‘Disabled’ Voices in Literature for Young People, ChloĆ« Hughes.

14 Jan 2015, It Must Be Simple: The Supreme Fiction at the Core of the Backlash to Access Debate, David Feeney.

11 Feb 2015, Authorship and the voice of disability in dance, Mathilde Pavis and Kate Marsh.

11 Mar 2015, Which Theory of Democracy for an Inclusive Society? A Pragmaticist Approach, David Doat.

13 May 2015, The Voice of the Disability Activist Movement in the US around the ADA:  A Hidden Minority or a Hidden Army, Lennard J. Davis.

17 Jun 2015, ‘Working together for positive outcomes’: The Appropriation of Voice and Participation in SEN policy, Claire Penketh.

For further information please contact:

Dr. David Bolt

Associate Professor, Education, Culture, and Disability Studies

Director, Centre for Culture & Disability Studies

Editor in Chief, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Joint Editor, Literary Disability Studies

Telephone: 0151 291 3346
Office: HCA 001
Postal address: Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK, L16 9JD.

Recent Books:
Changing Social Attitudes Toward Disability:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sigmund Freud and David Freud: How they treated people with cerebral palsy

Sigmund Freud was an early researcher in the field of cerebral palsy; his great grandson, David Freud, is the architect of the bedroom tax, a much hated government policy which is hurting Wayne Blackburn, who has cerebral palsy.



Sigmund Freud (1865 – 1939)

First to Group a Wide Range of Motor Impairments

Dr. Sigmund Freud, a neurologist, was first to state that cerebral palsy might be caused by abnormal development before birth. Prior to that, orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Little had postulated that cerebral palsy was acquired at birth due to difficult labor. Freud disagreed, stating that difficult birth is “merely a symptom of deeper effects that influence the development of the fetus.” At the time, this conclusion was virtually ignored. It wasn’t until decades later that researchers began to support Freud’s theories.
Freud on the Cause of Cerebral Palsy
Freud disagreed with Little’s findings and fueled a debate that is still argued in courtrooms and researched within the medical community today. Freud noticed that many children who experienced birth asphyxia went on to develop normally with no indication of cerebral palsy. Little believed that birth asphyxia caused cerebral palsy.
Little’s background was orthopedic surgery, and Freud believed that this limited both the type of patients that Little saw and the way Little viewed their condition. Also, Freud was studying the brain and its pathways, which allowed him to see a connection between cerebral palsy and other conditions such as intellectual impairment and seizures. All this led Freud to state that these conditions were likely caused by problems occurring very early in the development of the brain and central nervous system, certainly before birth.
Despite this observation, researchers and doctors continued to follow Little’s conclusions. Freud wasn’t proven correct until almost a century later when research indicated only a small percentage of cerebral palsy cases, approximately 10 percent, were caused by birth asphyxia.
Freud First to Unite Motor Impairments Under One Term, ‘Infantile Cerebral Palsy’
Although the term ‘cerebral palsy’ was not used in the mid-1800s, Freud was first to unite the wide range of infantile motor impairments caused by abnormal brain development under one term: infantile cerebral palsy. This grouping is still relevant today, although Freud intended it as temporary classification; one that would be proven outdated by future research. Today, doctors and researchers continue working toward better methods for classifying cerebral palsy.
The Peculiar Birth of Sigmund Freud
Ironically, Freud was protected from asphyxia at birth. He was born in a Caul, which means he was born inside an intact amniotic sac. This happens most often in preterm birth, and can allow a baby to develop as if they were still inside the womb, not needing to breathe, protected from infection, and taking nourishment from amniotic fluids. According to the folklore of Freud’s day, birth in a Caul was an omen of future success. He was destined to be a great man.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Appeal from James Bloodworth of Left Foot Forward

Dear Friend,
Last month we hit our highest number of readers ever. Nearly 100,000 people read our piece on why women shouldn’t vote for UKIP published the day before the election. We’re expanding our readership and influence - but we could be doing even more.
We need funds to gear up for the run-up to the General Election so we can keep pushing against UKIP and the Tories. Advertising doesn’t pay very much and to remain independent and credible we need generous readers to step up. Want a fun way to help Left Foot Forward now?
Buy a ticket to our fundraising dinner next month - it’s only £45 and you get a meal, a chance to socialise with like-minded people and support Left Foot Forward during this critical time.
Gloria De Piero MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, will be joining us at the dinner which will take place on Tuesday, 15 July at 7 PM at Mumbai Square in London.
Hope to see you there!