Karen Nakamura

Listen 29 min

Pushing Limits is pleased to present an interview with cultural and visual anthropologist Karen Nakamura who recently accepted the position as Haas Distinguished  Chair of Disability Studies at UC Berkeley.   She is a highly-educated and skilled woman who is deeply immersed in the disability community.

Dr. Nakamura, who formerly taught at Yale, will be  working on projects using robotics and prosthesis to address questions of aging and disability in Japan and the US. She is building an accessible makerspace on the university campus.

Topics range from the role of Anthropology and Ethnography to the disability community to prison-caused disabilities to corporate funding in the academic world.


Posted in Accessibilty, Adaptive Aids, Adrienne Lauby, Disability Studies, Eddie Ytuarte, Research, Science | Tagged , , , | | Comments Off on Karen Nakamura

“Telethons” with Catherine Kudlick

Listen 59 min.

It’s a fund drive period at KPFA and, true to our radical nature, we have fun AND ask ourselves hard questions about modern non-profit money raising.

Catherine Kudlick, editor of Telethons, is with us for the hour.  Telethons is Paul Longmore’s posthumously published exploration of these post-World War ll television spectacles which conflated disability and the business of charity. 

Beginning in 1972 people with disabilities criticized the telethons, which raised money for foundations helping those living with muscular dystrophy, arthritis, polio, cerebral palsy and other major diseases.  As a disability activist and historian, Longmore locates telethons as a phenomenon within U.S. history, a phenomenon that often abused the very people it raised money to help.

Disability Telethons pioneered and developed techniques used in non-profit fundraising today, such as product tie-ins, corporate sponsorship, cause-related marketing and the hype of half-truth.

What sweet irony to learn a book that exposes how people with disabilities are exploited for fundraising will help keep “Pushing Limits,” a radio show run by and for people with disabilities, on the air.  In this knowing wink among fighters for social justice there’s something much bigger: it’s a fiendishly subversive protest not with bullhorns and signs, but with lifted finger at a whole system that sacrificed dignity in the name of charity. – Catherine Kudlick

We also play clips from Mickee Faust’s Gimp Parade, featuring wicked parodies of classic disability films; savage impersonations of beloved telethon hosts; nasty takes on evacuation PSAs, game shows, Princeton philosophers, and the like.  Tune in for “The Scary Lewis Yell-A-Thon.”

Produced by Adrienne Lauby.
Hosted by Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Josh Elwood, Shelley Berman and Adrienne Lauby

Original air date: July 29, 2016

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Comedy, Historical Exhibit, Josh Elwood, Poetry & Prose, Protest, Research, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Shelley Berman | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on “Telethons” with Catherine Kudlick

Alice Wong

Listen (29 min)

Join us for a spirited discussion of #CripTheVote,  (an online non-partisan campaign about voting and disability issues) and hear how people with disabilities are affecting today’s media narrative.   We talk to disability media mover and shaker, Alice Wong.

Here are just a few samples of Alice’s work:

Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices by Alice Wong.

…we need to question the aesthetic reasoning at the root of this supposedly listener-centered approach to speaker selection as well as the idea that “pleasing to the ear” is somehow a sufficient explanation for the absence of disabled voices on the radio. We cannot begin to expand the range of permitted voices on radio without simultaneously undermining the ideologies of ability and disability that disqualify those voices in the first place.

Asian Pacific Americans with Disabilities: Our Stories, Our Lives by Alice Wong

If the disability rights movement wants to evolve and thrive in the future, it must embrace an intersectional approach in everything they do. Rather than saying, ‘I don’t know any Asian Pacific Americans with disabilities,’ or ‘I can’t find qualified people of color for this position,’ organizations and leaders must go across movements and communities where disabled people of color are located rather than waiting for them.

With Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice!, Alice is currently conducting a survey, #GetWokeADA26, for people of color about the experience of disabled people of color with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Deadline is Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

Alice Wong is the founder and Project Coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project, a project collecting oral histories of people with disabilities in the United States that is being run in coordination with StoryCorps.  The Disability Visibility Project was created on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.   Alice Wong also serves as an advisory board member for APIDC, Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California.

Wong was a Presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability an independent federal agency which advises the President, Congress, and other federal agencies on disability policies, programs, and practices.  In 2015, Wong attended the reception at the White House for the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act via telepresence robot. She was the first person to visit the White House and the President by robot presence.

Adrienne Lauby produces and hosts.

Original air date: 7-15-20

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Disability and Sports

Listen (29 min)

How  do sports effect you as a disabled person? Are you a player/doer? Spectator? Do sports and things about them encourage/discourage you? Do you feel that you can’t participate? Do you wish you  could? How do the images around sports reflect on ablism? Do you notice all the sports-related language in our culture?

Don’t give a damn? Is this all just a bunch of hooplah that means nothing?

We tackle how sports effect people with disabilities, and take call ins.  It’s a participatory sport. No losers possible.

Produced and Hosted by Sheela Gunn Cushman, Co-host Mark Romoser.  With essays by Doyle Saylor, Tangikina Moimoi, and “Bob.”  Audio narration by Adrienne Lauby.


Original air date: July 1, 2016

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Mark Romoser, Recreation, Sheela Gunn Cushman, Sports | Tagged , | | Comments Off on Disability and Sports

Women Singers with Disabilities

Friday,  June 17 2:30 pm PST on KPFA

Who is Mary Lambert and what does she have in common with Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Rosemary Clooney, Karen Carpenter, and Renata Tabaldi?

All these popular women singers and/or composers have experienced major disabilities in their lives; disabilities which posed barriers to their art, often spurred or directed their musical careers–or even led to a premature death.

Pushing Limits, the creative voice of disability radio, again samples some of the musicians with disabilities who have contributed to our broad and varied cultural landscape.

Produced and Hosted by Eddie Ytuarte.

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#DisabilityTooWhite – Call In

Listen (29 min)

Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice joins us to talk about the twitter storm she raised with her hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite.  Many people of color with disabilities tweeted about the barriers they find in the movement.  White people joined the conversation too. 

Is the Disability Movement Too White?  And, more importantly, if it is, what can be done about it? 

We’ve got a few other topics for today’s show:

–The current boycott of the movie “Me Before You” which hits more theaters this weekend,

–A recent release of the best towns and cities for people with disabilities.  Where do you think your city should rank on this list?  Among the best?  Among the worst?   Tell us why.

Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby host.

The map of the 2015 Best and Worst Cities for People with Disabilities.

Source: WalletHub
Posted in Accessibilty, Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Call In Program, Community, Disability Justice, Eddie Ytuarte, Race | Tagged , , | | Comments Off on #DisabilityTooWhite – Call In

Black Kripple Delivers Poems and Lyrics

Listen 59 min

We’re high on poetry this week… stories of disabled people told to the beat of the heart.

And, we’re focusing on black and brown people with disabilities because we’re hosting Leroy F. Moore Jr., and his new book, Black Kripple Delivers Poetry and Lyrics.  Listen in as we follow the founder of Krip Hop Nation into a discussion of history, police brutality and the life of a black activist with a disability.

Bonus Clips
“They Came On Foot” for Avotcja (poem)

Leroy Moore is the co-founder of Sins Invalid, a disability performance project, he writes the “illin n chillin” column at Poor Magazine, and he’s put out two poetry cds. 

Here’s just a few of his other projects:

While we are in the studio with you, Leroy will be out on the streets leading the Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Redistribution, Decolonization & Community Reparations Tour in Oakland, California.

“As we humbly and peacefully walk into “wealthy” neighborhoods across the “U.S.”, we will be offering land and stolen resource hoarders a chance to begin the very serious work of Decolonization by redistributing one or more of their hoarded and bordered stolen indigenous territory, buildings, homes, stocks, bonds, cash or trust funds to landless and indigenous people in the form of what we call Community Reparations.”

In early June you can find Leroy Moore in L.A. for the opening of Lynn Manning’s play, IT’S A KRIP HOP NATION (where are my crippled homies at!)  Playing June 3, 4, 10 and 11, at the Rosenthal Theater in L.A.

Late this year, Leroy Moore will be touring South Africa with Simon Manda Editor and Co-Founder of THISABILITY Newspaper.

“November 2016 to December 2016, Disability Month in South Africa, Krip Hop will traveling to the major cities of South Africa to film, record and write on the voices to give a multimedia reflection of what the situation is on the ground as well as engage stakeholders on the needs of persons with disabilities in the creative space.”

We’re proud to air Adrienne Lauby’s interview with Leroy F. Moore Jr. and most of the Pushing Limits Gang will be in the studio to ask you to support our work by supporting KPFA radio.  We’ll send you a copy of “Black Kripple Delivers Poetry and Lyrics” as a thank you give if you pledge at the $60 level.  At the $30 level, we’ll send you either “The Bird Escapes” a retrospective of Martha Courtot’s poetry or the “Pushing Limits Poetry Compilation” as either a C.D. or an mp3.

During the program call to make a pledge at 510 848-5732 or toll free at 800-439-5732.  If you can’t listen when the program is broadcast, contact Adrienne Lauby at adrienne [at] sonic.net to make arrangements.

Original Air Date: May 20, 2016

Posted in Activism, Adrienne Lauby, Community, Disability Justice, History, Music, Poetry & Prose, Race, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , , | | Comments Off on Black Kripple Delivers Poems and Lyrics

Parinda Wanitwat: Living with Food Addiction

Listen 29 min

We all know what someone who lives with an eating disorder looks like:  Young, white and skinny!  Right?  But, as KPFA’s host physicist, Michio Kaku, says so often, “Hold on just a minute.” 

In actuality, research says that black girls between 11-14 may have a higher rate of eating disorder behavior than their white counterparts, especially when it comes to binge eating. The National Eating Disorders Association quotes a study that found that Hispanic and Asian girls in the 6th and 7th grade were more dissatisfied with their bodies than white girls their age. And, one study of Native American teenagers found that between 20 and 30 percent of the girls and the boys were purging.

Yes, boys and men live with eating disabilities too.  Adult and aging women are almost never in the studies so we don’t know how many are also living with these disabilities.   We do know that 50% of adult women have engaged in weight control that either causes or may cause disease.  And, that studies have found the same level of dieting and disordered eating in both young and old.

All these people, who don’t fit our stereotypes of people with eating disabilities, are under-represented in the research so we really don’t know how widespread anorexia, bulimia, food addiction and other chronic eating disabilities are.

Today we spend the program talking with Parinda Wanitwat, a 24 year old woman from Thailand who lives with bulima, a condition she has learned to control enough to call it Food Addiction.  She describes how she slowly accepted that she had a problem and how she has constructed her life to keep herself healthy.

Untreated eating disabilities are dangerous.  They can kill you.  If you are struggling with unhealthy eating, if you feel ashamed and out of control, you are not alone.  Many others who share your gender, ethnicity, age and other characteristics are walking this road right now.   You can have a better life.

Here’s a few places to begin:

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Support Groups (on-line and face-to-face)
Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

Overeaters Anonymous
Support Groups (on-line and face-to-face)

Original air date: May 6, 2016

Posted in Adrienne Lauby, Individual disease and identity groups, Movie, resources, Story Telling - Disability | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on Parinda Wanitwat: Living with Food Addiction

“Telethons” with Catherine Kudlick

Listen (29 min)

Catherine Kudlick visits Pushing Limits to discuss “Telethons,” a book by the late Paul Longmore. There have been several disability-related, day long fund-raisng extravaganzas in the latter part of the 20th century; but these faded away from the pop philanthropy/pop culture scene, to the relief to some and the disappointment of others.

What was the essence of these telethons? What was their message?  And, why was there such strong opposition to them, especially the one sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association?

Catherine Kudlick, editor of “Telethons,” will talk with host Eddie Ytuarte about some of the main characteristics of telethons and how disability activists confronted these widely-seen television events. Kudlick succeeded Longmore as director of the Paul Longmore Institute, based at San Francisco State University

Listeners can get a sense of these telethons from the many examples on You Tube.  Most of these edited or selected examples are presented in a favorable light.

Original Air Date:  April 29, 2016

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Elections and Disability from a Third Party Point of View

Listen (29 min)

Bored with the election talk?  Here’s a discussion you won’t hear on pop news media outlets or NPR.

Edie Hallberg from the Peace and Freedom Party and Laura Wells from the Green Party join us to talk about disability election issues.

Given the extreme absence of discussion of these issues in the Republican and Democratic election bru-ha-ha, should people with disabilities vote a third party ticket?

Pushing Limits host, Eddie Ytuarte, asks this question and leads us into a thought- provoking discussion.

The program includes Josh Elwood, who lives with a developmental disability, talking about why he votes and how he sees the election.

Laura Wells is a blogger, and a former Green Party candidate for California Governor and State Controller, advocating for a State Bank, reforming Prop 13, and taxing the rich.  She is an organizer with the No corporate Money Campaign, and resides in Oakland.

Edie Hallberg is a disabled senior who is active in the Peace and Freedom Party and the Grey Panthers.

Original Air Date: 4-1-16

Autistic Art Show

2016 Autism Awareness Day Art Opening
Novato’s NH2 salon and gallery.

This year’s focus is on “Discovering and Maximizing Potential.” Children’s artwork will be exhibited and auctioned to benefit local autism school charity, “The Helix School Foundation.”

This family friendly public event is free and open to all. Feel free to invite friends!

Registration is required and space is limited.   Click here for details.


#Crip the Vote

4/9 #CripTheVote Twitter Chat: Voter Accessibility & Disenfranchisement and People with Disabilities

April 9, 2 pm EST; 5 pm PST

Guest Hosts: s.e. smith, Carrie Ann Lucas, and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

Generally hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote will host a chat this April with guest hosts, s.e. smith, journalist and activistCarrie Ann Lucas, disability rights lawyer and activist, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

The chat will cover the following topics:

-Access to voter registration and voting

-Experiences with staff at polling stations

-Voter ID laws (33 states have some sort of Voter ID law)

-Access issues regarding mail-in ballots, long lines at polling places, inability to vote independently and privately

-Voting rights of people living in institutions

-Voting rights of people with intellectual / developmental disabilities and mental illness

-Role of conservatorship and voting rights

-Linguistic and other information needs of voters with disabilities

Questions for the April 9, 2016
#CripTheVote Twitter Chat

Q1 Describe your experiences with registering to vote & accessing/understanding voter info. Easy? Problems?

Q2 Describe your experiences with voting. Easy? Problems?

Q3 What were your experiences like interacting w/ polling staff? Did you have to ask for help or info? Were they responsive?

Q4 What do you think of disabled people voting by absentee ballot for convenience & accessibility reasons?

Q5 Do you feel it is important to cast your vote in your local polling place & being part of your neighborhood? Why?

Q6 Have you ever asked a local political party or community org for help getting to the polls? Have they ever offered?

Q7 Have #VoterID laws impacted you as a voter w/ a disability? How will these laws impact the disability community?

Q8 Describe your experiences w/ political participation such as going to a caucus, rally or convention.

Q9 What are the unique voting barriers that affect people w/ disabilities under conservatorship/guardianship?

Q10 What are the unique voting barriers that affect people w/ disabilities living in institutions/facilities?

Q11 Are there unique voting issues that impact specific groups (ex: people w/ mental illness, I/DD, blind ppl, Deaf ppl)?

Q12 Do you think voters w/ disabilities are suppressed & disenfranchised as a minority group? Why or why not?

Q13 How does voter suppression & disenfranchisement impact disabled people of color? Other diverse people with disabilities?

Q14 What changes would you like to see that can improve access to voting & political participation for PWDs? Think big!

Additional articles and resources

s.e. smith. Trying to Vote While Disabled Sucks. Vice (November 4, 2014). http://www.vice.com/read/trying-to-vote-while-disabled-sucks-127

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) Voting Project, National Technical Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access http://www.sabeusa.org/govoter/

The ARC I/DD Awareness Toolkit on Voting           http://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/resources/toolkits/dd-awareness

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law on Voting http://www.bazelon.org/Where-We-Stand/Self-Determination/Voting.aspx

How to Participate

When the chat begins, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote or search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series live tweets.

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan on Twitter and our guest hosts: @disabilitycubed and @realsesmith and @autselfadvocacy 

Use the hashtags #CripTheVote when you tweet

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

Additional information on voting and people with disabilities:


#CripTheVote Facebook Page:


A note on language and why we use the term ‘crip’


#CripTheVote Disability Issues Survey

It’s not too late! Please participate and tell us what issues and ideas you care about most. Deadline: April 30, 2016.

Click here to complete the online survey. If you are unable to complete the online version of the survey, you can follow this link to a text-only version, or request a Word document by email from apulrang@icloud.com. Using this method, results won’t be anonymous, but we won’t be reporting or discussing individual responses, only aggregate results.


#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that Disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape.

While #CripTheVote is a nonpartisan project, we understand that many people have already developed preferences for particular candidates. This is great–we only ask that everyone is respectful in their interactions with each other. Our primary focus here is on increasing engagement with disability issues as a part of American politics and on the need for that we are all in agreement!

Please note: we do not represent the entire disability community nor would we ever claim to do so. There are many ways to create social change and engaging in conversation is one approach.

Posted in Developmental Disability, Eddie Ytuarte, Politics | Tagged , , , , | | Comments Off on Elections and Disability from a Third Party Point of View