Disability Goes To The Movies

Friday, March 15, 2:30 pm, KPFA radio

Is disability as portrayed in American popular cinema slowly transforming itself?

Are filmmakers getting away from the good old days when a person with a disability was often viewed as a friendly, intellectually-challenged creature to be cuddled and protected because us disabled folk could not fend for ourselves or offer gifts to society? Are popular films breaking away from the usual Hollywood mushy, exploitative treatment of disability in films like the 1957, “An Affair to Remember?”

And furthermore, is the film industry questioning the knee jerk idea that disability equals evil?

Freelance film critic Kristen Lopez takes up these topics and more with Eddie Ytuarte and Alysha Chadow.

Kristen Lopez is a Sacramento disabled freelance film critic and essayist whose work has appeared on The Hollywood Reporter, The Daily Beast, RogerEbert.com, and TCM.

She’s the creator of two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business which allow her to indulge her love of feminism and film. She says she spends far too much time on her Twitter page @Journeys_Film and adds, “The Little Mermaid – yes, I’m arguing that’s a narrative about a woman with disabilities.”

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Stop Electronic Monitoring of In Home Support Workers

Upcoming actions from the Stop EVV Coalition, a local grass roots coalition of consumers and IHSS workers

EVV means Electronic Visit Verification.  It’s a federal requirement that could invade our homes and make it difficult to work with the care givers who help us.
The State of California is discussing what to do about this.  Activists are protesting and testifying. 

Here’s how to help:

Thursday, March 8:
Senate Budget Health and Human Services Subcomittee hearing. Union activists are leading the grass roots testimony against EVV. Starts at Capitol Bldg, approx 9:30 am. and may go all day. If you can’t go in person please call the following Senators and register your opposition:
Senator (Dr.) Richard Pan (Chair)
Sacto Phone: (916) 651-4006

Senator Bill Monning
Sacto Phone: (916) 651-4017
email at

Friday, March 9:

Stakeholder meeting on EVV conducted by California Health and Human Services Agency. (CDSS) Meeting at 1-3. We plan to demonstrate outside the building at noon in order to leaflet the attendees but you can also particpate by phone from home. You must sign up in advance to attend in person or by phone.  evv@dss.ca.gov 

Some of us will be taking the train. For transportation assistance please contact Marissa marissas66@yahoo.com.

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“Lab Girl” with Hope Jahren

Listen (59 min)

Hope Jahren, author of the best selling memoir, Lab Girl, joins us for an hour of discussion about mental illness, plants, and the life of a woman scientist.

Shelley Berman, Josh Elwood, Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Adrienne Lauby and Mark Romoser talk to Ms Jahren, read from her book and entreat listeners to become members of KPFA.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; about her bouts with mental illness, and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

At the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend.

Original Air Date: 3-2-18

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Different Geography; Different Disability Experiences

Friday, Feb. 16, 2:30 pm PST

Food, politics and slang.  In the U.SA it seems like these things very greatly between regions. Could the way people perceive those with disabilities also very greatly between areas?

Join us as we explore some of the variations in attitudes that people with disabilities face throughout the USA

Helping us explore this topic will be Karin Willison. Ms. Willison is the creator of Free Wheelin Travel, a blog about travel and disability. On her blog she shares her experiences with access in many U.S. cities and states including Boston, NYC and Indiana.

Dr. Michelle Hernandez also joins us. Dr. Hernandez is a Clinical Psychologist and will be share the attitudinal differences in she notices in traveling the continental U.S. and Hawaii as a Latina with a disability.

So come along as we explore the disability experience outside the Golden Gate!

Produced and Hosted by Jacob Lesnor-Buxton and Sheela Gunn-Cushman.

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s.e. smith on Disability

Friday, February 2, 2:30 pm PST on KPFA radio

Writer, agitator, and commentator s.e. smith* joins us for the half hour.   Based in Northern California, s.e. smith has a journalistic focus on social issues, particularly gender, prison reform, disability rights, environmental justice, queerness, class, and the intersections thereof, with a special interest in rural subjects.

s.e. smith has been published in The Guardian, Bitch Magazine, Aljazeera America, AlterNet, Yes! Magazine, Jezebel, Salon, the Sundance Channel blog, Longshot Magazine, Think Progress, xoJane, Truthout, Teen Vogue, Time, Nerve, VICE, The Week, In These Times, Vox, Bustle, the Daily Dot, Rolling Stone, Mic, Rewire and other outlets.

Eddie Ytuarte produced and hosts a discussion of s.e.’s recent writings on disability.

(*smith spells ou’s name in lower case letters; pronoun preference for s.e. is “ou.”)

Let’s Mail Our Remains to Paul Ryan When Trumpcare Kills Us …Griffin notes that, in this instance, cremains may act as protected speech, potentially creating some Constitutional issues— especially if the sender is placed on a government watch list.        s.e. smith, from a recent article in Vice

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Universal Minimum Income & Disability

Friday, Jan. 19, 2:30 pm PST, on KPFA radio

Maybe the way to end poverty is to give poor people money.

The idea of a universal basic income in the U.S. isn’t new. Progressives pushed the concept in the 1960s and 70s, and several other countries have tried local experiments. But, tech industry leaders like Tesla’s Elon Musk have recently taken up the idea and that’s making a buzz.

Many of us in the disability community already live on the basic income called Social Security and SSI.   Today, Mark Romoser, Josh Elwood, Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Eddie Ytuarte and Adrienne Lauby examine this new (old) idea.

Would a universal income produce more volunteers for your organization as those who are beaten down by poverty become activated empowered voting individuals. Or would poor people simply have more isolation and personal loneliness without the necessity to work a series of low-wage jobs? Based on the experience of people who currently live on the fixed income of Social Security our panel takes up this and other issues?

Produced and hosted by Adrienne Lauby with audio editing help from Sheela Gunn-Cushman. Audio engineering by Shelley Berman.

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Cognitive Disabilities

Listen  29 min

An informative program about the distinct disabilities of autism and cognitive disorders with two disability advocates.

Austin Tam will discuss his observations and insights about cognitive disorders and disability in the Asian/Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community.  Tam attended the California Renters Power Assembly and helped organize the “Making the Invisible Visible” Disability Summit in Alameda last year.

Mark Romoser was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, by the renowned Dr. Leo Kanner. After attending eight different schools and two colleges, he graduated cum laude from Yale in 1985.  Mark has worked with top researchers in the autism field, including Dr. Fred Volkmar at Yale. More recently, Mark has been employed at the Silicon Valley Center for Independent Living, in San Jose, California, as a community advocate. Mark has presented on his personal experience with autism for over twenty-five years and is a member of the Pushing Limits Collective.

Eddie Ytuarte produced and hosts this program.

Air date: 1-5-18
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Disability: The Best and Worst of 2017

Listen (29 min.)

Jacob Lesner-Buxton joins our crew for 30 minutes of analysis and reflection on the events of 2017 for people with disabilities.

Some topics:

1. U.S. involved wars cause death and disability in Afghanistan, Mexico, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere
2.  Electronic Visit Verification to be required in California IHSS homes
3.  Trump – Defeat of Health Care Deform; success of Tax Deform. This summer’s ADAPT protests and subsequent unprecedented media coverage.
4.  A.C. Transit in California’s East Bay
5.  The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities
6.  People with Disabilities More Likely to be Arrested
7.  The new leftist president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair. He was supported by Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame.

Produced by Adrienne Lauby.  In-studio panel: Eddie Ytuarte, Josh Elwood, Sheela Gunn-Cushman, Mark Romoser and Jacob Lesner-Buxton

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Recovery and Disability

Friday, Dec. 1, 2:30-3 pm PST on KPFA

Laurie joins us to talk about how living with diabetes, the Epstein-Barr virus, fibromyalgia and other physical problems has been improved by her long-time participation in 12-step anonymous recovery programs.

“I used to say: Food Was Just My Butter’s Delivery Service,” Laurie says as she talks to Shelley about her acceptance of herself as a food addict and her slow recovery of her self-worth through the 12 steps.

“We’re looking at trying to find ourselves acceptable, trying to find ourselves worthy of love, trying to find ourselves able to love someone else — trying to find ourselves,” she says.

Tune in for 30 minutes of meditative wisdom from the Recovery Community.

To find a 12 Step meeting near you, simply put “12 step programs near me” in your browser or call toll free: 844-768-1241.


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Stevland Hardaway Judkin – Stevie Wonder


Friday, Nov 3, 2:30-3 pm PST KPFA

Today we celebrate the musical contributions of Stevland Hardaway Judkins who for decades has delighted the disabled and non-disabled world with his music, commitment to blind and disability rights and to universal peace.

Of course, we are talking about Stevie Wonder who remains a fixture in popular American culture and to think that this is the same musician who presented us with “Fingertips, Part Two” in 1963.  Those years were the time of one-hit popular stars who faded away permanently; but not Stevie Wonder who endured and grew.


Eddie Ytuarte produced and hosts this program.

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