AOK Cover
November 2008
In This Issue
Obama's Disability Agenda
Hell On Wheels
Cool Product: BrushPicks
Road Warrior
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Adjustment to Disability

Disability &
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Greetings!

See how good I am about not flooding your In Box with constant newsletters?

Actually, my travel schedule in September and October was so intense, I couldn't possibly produce a monthly issue.

So Good Reading is back - with a nasty tidbit from my recent travel saga.

Hoping this finds you well. Have a great Turkey Day!

Gary
Good News for People with Disabilities

Barack Obama Gets It

No presidential candidate made the investment in disability issues as well as the Obama campaign. And they got it right. The proof is on their web site, emphasizing the three key priorities for Americans with disabilities:

Education

Employment

Community Living

Read Obama's full agenda for the empowerment of individuals with disabilities, as well as his plan for people with Autism spectrum disabilities.

Obama PWD Logo





I had the honor of serving on President-elect Obama's Disability Policy Committee. My contributions were modest (not expecting an ambassadorship!), but it allowed me to witness some of the behind the scenes process of how the campaign worked.

Namely, with great dedication to reaching out to the leading voices and advocates and thinkers in our community. That's how they got it right; they sought out the right people.

And the timing is just right. The federal government is in the process of a renewed commitment to hiring workers with disabilities. On July 23, 2008, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hosted "Two Percent by 2010" in Washington D.C. Check out the proceedings.
Travel Nightmares

Rental Car Hell in Houston

On my flight to Houston from Chicago on October 22, the pilot announces that thunderstorms are forcing us to temporarily land in Austin. We finally arrive in Houston at eleven p.m. Five hours late.

I had a car reserved with Hertz, so dashed to the counter only to discover a long line. Lots of other flights were delayed.

I have specific needs for a rental car: hand controls on the left (easily available), a spinner knob at 2:00 (to facilitate safe steering with one hand), and it MUST BE a two door car. I can't load my wheelchair into and out of a sedan.

This has been a huge problem lately. A Chevy Monte Carlo was always the perfect solution, but they don't make them anymore. National Car Rentals now refuses to put hand controls on two door cars. Hertz is the only other company with the type of control I need. (That's another story.)

Hertz Houston had a Mustang for me. Two doors. Cool. I had told them it had to have power seats, but this Mustang had a manual seat with a strong spring that pushes backward. If you can't use your legs, it's nearly impossible to slide the seat forward.

I was due to speak at Chevron at 11 the next morning, and I had a half hour drive to the hotel. So I took the car. It was already after midnight.

Mustang in Houston

Leaving the airport, about a mile out of the parking lot, the hand control failed. No acceleration. I was stranded on the side of the road. By the time a taxi picked me up and I got checked in to my hotel, it was 3 a.m.

The talk went fine. Pour a vanilla latte into me, and I'm off!

Hertz Hand ControlHertz let me down again in Jacksonville. They got the power seat right, but the hand control was installed so low it was inoperable. (You push it DOWN to accelerate.) Here's how it looked when I got in:

The point: people with disabilities are customers with specific, meetable needs. They spend a lot of money, and will be spending more and more as they continue to emerge into all levels of society.

National has lost my business for good. I use Hertz only because I'm stuck with them.

Can I help your business get it right? Call me at 415.491.4280, or email gary@moderndisability.com.
A Way Cool New Product

Believe It or Not: A Better Toothpick

Brush Picks

I never imagined I could become addicted to a toothpick!

But it's happened: The Doctor's BrushPicks.

It's plastic. One end is ridged, curves to a point, and bends flexibly. The other end?: a small brush.

Easy to carry. Way easier than flossing - which you'll still want to do from time to time.

I can't wait to impress my dental hygienist at my next teeth cleaning! I want to hear her say, "What have you been doing?!"

Way. Cool.
Off the Road At Last

My Travels from September through November

Road warrior season! Intense but gratifying.

Federal Managers QUAD Conference, Oakland
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Abilities Expo Minneapolis
Northeastern University, Boston
Boston University
New England SCI Network, Boston Medical Center
U.S. Business Leadership Network Keynote, Portland
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee VA Hospital
Drake Rehabilitation Hospital, Cincinnati
Chevron Corporation, Houston
Chevron Corporation, San Ramon
Sonoma State University, Cotati, CA
University of Florida, Gainesville
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Jacksonville
University of St. Augustine
Samuel Merritt School of OT, Oakland

UWM Students
With students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Love my new hat.

Now Paula and I wing to Costa Rica for a well-deserved week on the beach. Stay tuned for pics (and details of our accessible B&B villa) in the next issue.

Once I'm home, I'll be ready for more bookings. Please let me know how I can be of service to your organization or honor me with your referrals.
 Studio photos copyright, charliesamuels.com.