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Last update: 2007-02-23

New Podcast is up part 1 Meeting Ronnie Milsap


Well, part 1 of Meeting Ronnie Milsap is up.

It's really a listen in on an amazing series of sound checks in a 22 thousand seat arena, and then some snippits from the concert itself. Be warned, you need to keep hands on the volume control, for shall i say, I show my enthusiasm lots and lots!

Listen in and buckle your seatbelts, it's a great concert!

Part 2 will show up soon.

Please feel free to share this with anybody you like. I had a lot of fun that night, and I hope you do as well while you hear this. O, and Ronnie will be on the Marlaina Program this Easter Sunday in North America. My program is heard on ACB Radio each Sunday night, so check it out.

Happy Listening!

Marlaina and Agnes, the A#1 Guide Dog
It's all about Agnes…


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Show Us The Money


From: "Justice For All Moderator" <
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 2:13 PM
Subject: Show Us The Money
Show Us The Money
America's Paper Currency Shortchanges the Blind
By Cyrus Habib
January 18, 2007
Blind Americans may soon find themselves able to use money just
like anyone else. That is unless the Treasury Department is
successful this month in its appeal of a recent federal court
order that paper currency be made recognizable to the blind, who
are currently unable to distinguish one denomination from another.
I, for example, rely on the generosity of cab drivers, baristas
and store clerks each time I make a purchase with cash. That I
have rarely been ripped off is a testament to their honesty or my
charm, but I cannot help but protest the perpetual necessity for
either. After all, there are 180 countries in which this is not
the case, because their currency is designed to be distinguishable
by all.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson asked the Treasury Department
to determine the best means of making money distinguishable by the
blind, citing the myriad solutions proposed by the organization
that filed the lawsuit, the American Council of the Blind. These
included using raised ink, modifying the size of certain bills and
producing a tactile mark to indicate a bill's denomination. The
Treasury Department has objected to all such solutions, claiming
that the $75 million price tag is simply too high.
Of course, Treasury's lawyers fail to mention that the cost would
have been far lower had the department acted voluntarily when the
$20 bill was redesigned in 1998 and the $10 bill was modified last
year. Instead, it has decided to spend our tax money fighting the
blind in court, appealing Judge Robertson's decision even before a
final judgment on the nature of a solution could be reached.
Blind people in the United States suffer from a staggering 70
percent unemployment rate, and a disproportionately high
percentage of those who are employed occupy jobs in the low end of
the service sector. There is no question that the catastrophic
poverty of America's blind requires a solution. Why not begin by
giving us access to money at the most atomic level? How can blind
Americans become truly independent, achieving the success we
deserve and leaving behind the stigma of federal and state aid,
without being able to differentiate between a dollar bill and a
The Treasury Department suggests using debit and credit cards,
disregarding the fact that the lives of many blind Americans hinge
upon financial exchanges for which plastic is often useless, such
as catching a crosstown bus, purchasing a cup of coffee or getting
change for laundry.
These basic day-to-day experiences may not constitute reality for
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his team, but they certainly
do for millions of blind and low-vision Americans.
Some have called the lawsuit frivolous, arguing that blind people
have managed to survive for years by relying on others for help.
Such reasoning does more than ignore the overwhelming poverty and
hardship that plague the blind community; it dishonors the
sacrifices millions of disabled Americans made to help bring about
passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act. Money is
essential to a person's participation in society. Its
accessibility to blind people should be considered as important as
that of wheelchair ramps or Braille in elevators.
When it comes to accommodating disabilities such as blindness, let
us continue to lead the world in practice as well as in principle.
More important still, let us tell the world that we, too, believe
that blindness should not be an obstacle to financial
independence. In doing so, let us also take a significant step
toward ameliorating the living conditions of blind Americans, now
and for years to come.
The Treasury Department should obey Judge Robertson's order and
show us the money.
The writer, a Rhodes Scholar and JD candidate at Yale Law School,
is preparing an amicus brief on this case with Dean Harold Hongju
Source: Washington Post
For more court decisions news issues, see:
# # #
MODERATOR, Anne Sommers, JUSTICE FOR ALL -- A Service of the
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). To
contact Anne, please email her at
. To
respond to a JFA alert or to submit an article, please see
DISCLAIMER: The JFA Listserv is designed to share information
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in the body of your email message.…


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last leg of the trip


We are now awaiting our wheelchair lift van from super shuttle, then it's off to lax for our flight home. I've just made reservations for the csun conference in march, where I'll see many wonderful longtime friends. My cold is very bad, so when I get home, I'll go to bed after little madeline returns from her visit with our puppy raiser friends. Best to all, and thanks for reading! And, thanks for responding as well! Love f all 3 Liebergs as they journey home on Southwest Airlines!…


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Back In The U S efA


We are now at ! Lng Beach Westin, and doing well, but I have a nasty cold! I got in, had lunch1 watched useattle lose its playoff game to Chicago, then went to sleep for several hours. I am now about to have some tea after dinner1 then will hit ! rack again for more sleep. We had a wonderful cruise, met new friends with whom I think we will remain in touch long after the cruise, and generally had a wonderful time. What ui most valued, other than the good times we had, is the fact that Agnes did beautifully with her first cruise! I was a bit worried, but she exceeded my highest expectations!

Tomorrow, we will leave for ! airport at about 12:20 pm2 our flight leaves at 3 with a stop in ,oakland.Our next cruise is planned for Sepjember. I cannot wait! Gary is playing with the new watch I bought him as I write this. I am s grateful for my Braillenote pk, which has proved to be flawless in its performance for me all during this trip! It is tiny and functional, and it has been just great.

I will share more info when I am home, sitting with a nice cup-a at my pc! We get Maddie back home tomorrow night1 and Agnes can't wait to see her2 o, did ui mention, neither can we!!!

Much love to all, f all ! ,liebergs now in Long Beach, Californie!…


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another dispatch from the pacific


Today we are at sea, wending our way back to California. I've caught a nasty cold which is no fun, but am making the best of it anyway.…


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the last word


Well, this is our last day at sea. We are headed in a North Westerly direction, and the temperature at sea is 53, the water temperature is 73. It is always sad to end a cruise, but I look forward to our next one in September.…


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Puerto Villarta Mexico


As I write this, I am sitting outside in a cafe at the port of Puerto Villarta Mexico. I have just done some shopping, and it's a lot of fun to barter for the best price, though I always feel I shouldn't do it too much because I know many of these people are very poor.…


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Ola de Mexico


Today we are in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The sun is shining brilliantly, and the temperature is close to 80 degrees.…


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The double standard of the voice goes on and on


With even more pride than I ever thought possible, I again say the Voice of the Nation's Blind does not speak for me! Here's the latest believe it or not from the National Federation of the Blind, who may I remind you, oppose the concept of video description, accessible pedestrian signals and accessible currency. After all, we don't need those as blind folks, but we, according to the Voice of the lack of reason and concern for the nation's blind, sure do need this:

Breakthrough Technology Provides TV Listings to the Blind
PR Newswire, via Yahoo
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
By National Federation of the Blind
Wednesday December 20, 3:04 pm ET
Free, On-Demand Service Available to Millions
BALTIMORE, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Federation of the Blind
has partnered with Tribune Media Services to add television listings to
the nation's largest on-demand news service for the blind. Beginning
today, blind and visually impaired Americans will have independent access
to their
local TV listings, all in one place, only a telephone call away.
Eric Duffy, a Columbus, Ohio native and blind parent of two children,
said: "It is so important to find quality television programming for
young children.
Now I can choose appropriate TV shows for my children, just like any
other sighted parent."
Garrick Scott, of Atlanta, Georgia, hosts a weekly sports talk show.
"Watching sports is a huge part of my life, and this new capability makes
it infinitely
easier to find what I want to watch," Scott said.
By simply entering the zip code, source of TV reception, and time zone,
blind users will have quick and easy access to their local TV listings.
The listings
are interactive, as the user can navigate and choose between date, time,
and/or channel listings. After a user enters the local zip code, he or
she is
presented with a list of cable and satellite providers in the area. The
user can also indicate the use of a television antenna.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind said:
"The sheer volume of information that blind persons will now have access
to is
astonishing. Finally, blind television viewers can find out what's on any
channel, at any time, and within seconds."
Over 50,000 NFB-NEWSLINE® subscribers already enjoy the free electronic
newspaper service which carries 242 newspapers and magazines to 41 states
and the
District of Columbia. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today,
and AARP The Magazine are among the many national and local newspapers
Subscribers have access twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,
through a local or toll-free telephone number.
NFB-NEWSLINE® uses the Zap2it television listings, a product of Tribune
Media Services and the leading source of entertainment listings in the
Individuals who are unable to read print due to a physical disability are
eligible for this free service. To register or to request more
information, call
the National Federation of the Blind at (866) 504-7300, or visit them
online at
About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind is
the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people
in the United
States. The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy,
education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence
and self-confidence.
It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the
nation's blind. In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the
United States for the blind led by the blind.
Source: National Federation of the Blind


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The Voice Goes On and On and On and . . .


Mister Mark Maurer, the President of the National Federation of the Blind, is still writing his edicts describing why accessible currency is not necessary. I wish there was a way to get through to Mister Maurer, but I fear you can't change the minds of those who will not listen. So we have the voice of the nation's blind, but certainly not the ability to listen to the nation's blind. I understand that even a few of Mister Maurer's members are not in agreement with their leader on this issue.

What saddens me
here is the pettiness of the NFB position. Why does an organization which purports
to be the voice of the nation's blind insist on keeping the nation's blind under
the thumb of the nation's sighted when it comes to complete independence with regard
to handling paper money. And, why is the voice of the nation's blind so myopic and
so arrogant as to think that such a change would only benefit the nation's blind
when in fact, I have been approached by more than a few of the nation's sighted who
have said they are in support of this for their own reasons--reaching into a wallet
to grab money at a drive-through food window, reaching for money in a darkened taxi
at night, etc. How sad the voice of the nation's blind is so woefully out of touch
with something that would so clearly benefit the nation's blind and many others not
blind who live in the nation. AndNow remember, these are the same folks who have
previously argued and demonstrated and written letters regarding their belief that
the nation's blind should have the right to sit in exit row seating on aircraft;
this is apparently more important to the voice than is the concern that even one
of the nation's blind could be ripped off by one of the nation's unscrupulous sighted
giving incorrect information about the denomination of a paper currency. Ah but
wait, apparently with proper training, this will never happen; poppycock! I have
yet to know one blind person who hasn't been lied to about the denomination on money,
or who is so organized as to never ever ever, even without proper training, make
an error and think one bill is a denomination it isn't. If I were blind and lived
in another country using accessible currency, I'd be insulted by the attitude of
the voice. Call it a passionate issue with me and perhaps it is. I often do agree
with issues the voice takes on though perhaps not the strategies often used by the
voice. But this time, well let's just say my respect for the voice is gone. As
I've said before, I think it's shameful.
Marlaina, who must not live in this nation for the voice does not speak for her.…


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The Real Meaning of Power


It's been a challenging couple of days here in Seattle. As you may know, on December 15, we had a hurricane category 3 wind storm which took out power for over 1.3 million people in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, we were without power, but we were fortunate enough to be able to leave the house and get to a hotel. However, all our refrigerated and frozen food must be thrown out, as it lived without power for over 36 hours.

What's it like to awaken to 69 mile per hour winds? Terrifying would about sum it up. We could have and should have prepared better for the storm, but oddly enough, we spent the day before the storm getting Christmas cards out and last minute holiday packages sent. Who thought what happened would happen!

The morning of the storm, Friday, it was still blowing and cold. We went out to try to find some orange juice and coffee, and believed that we'd have our power on by the afternoon. The one store that was open was a supermarket, and they were powered by a generator so none of their cold foods were being kept cold. They could hardly keep up with the demand for hot coffee, and when we got ours, it was luke warm but it was still a good cup of coffee.

As Friday moved onward, we realized power would not be returning any time soon. KOMO, a local radio station normally dedicated to news, turned to talk in a coverge they called neighbor-to-neighbor. People were calling offring information and help to others. "There's firewood available here," "This grocery still has milk," "The Cosco on 4th Avenue has D cell batteries" were just a few of the kinds of calls they fielded.

By about 5 PM, Gary and I decided we did not want to spend another night in the cold with no power, so we began calling around for a hotel room. Our options were limited, since we need an accessible room to accommodate Gary and his wheelchair. It seems we got the last one in Seattle, so off we went with the two dogs after having placed 2 layers of blankets over the cnary's cage.

When we arrived, a journey that should have taken 25 minutes and took nearly 2 hours due to no street and signal lights working in Seattle's south end where we live, we were delighted to see power power everywhere, and lots of heat to enjoy!

We are blessed that the damage was limited; we lost about 20 feet off the top of a 100 foot western cedar tree in the yard, and of course, all our refrigerated food. But it could have been so much worse.

Thank you to all of you who wrote and sent us good wishes. We're home now and tired, so I think this will about do it for today. However, December 15, 2006 will be a day I will long long remember. It's not quite as frightening as the earthquake of February 28, 2001, but it's pretty darned close!



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What Next Will We Hear From Our Friends In The Federation!


I know many of you who read my blog are people who are blind. with that understanding, I post the following for your review and consideration. My goodness, even I am shocked at the turn of events portrayed below.

As you may know, the American Council of the Blind has sued and been successful in its first round to require that the United States Department of the Treasury work to make money tactially identifiable. if you know that, you may also know that the National Federation of the Blind, you know the consumer organization purporting to be the voice of the nation's blind, have opposed this suit publically and with vigor.

Well, it seems that in 1997 the House of Representatives passed a Resolution
urging the Department of the Treasury to modify the currency to make it
identifiable by the blind. I strongly urge you to read an excerpt from the United States Congressional Record, discovered by ACB's attorney Day Al Mohammed, and the attorney working on the case with her. Day's excerpt
printed below has interesting information regarding who gets primary credit for work on the resolution.
read and see who is the major source of input
House Resolution 122 regarding Accessible Currency for the Blind
In 1997, House Resolution 122 came to the floor for discussion. The
title of that bill read: Sense of House Regarding Tactile Currency for
Blind and Visually Impaired. It stated that the Federal reserve notes
of the United States are inaccessible to individuals with visual
disabilities and that it constituted a serious impediment to independence
in everyday living. The resolution went on to say that the House
strongly encourages the Secretary of the Treasury and the Bureau of
Engraving and Printing to incorporate cost-
effective, tactile features into the design changes, thereby including
the blind and visually impaired community in independent currency usage.
On page 3 of 143 Congressional Record H 10371, are statements made by the
sponsors of that bill. Below is a quote from those statements:
"I also want to express my appreciation to the American Academy of
Ophthalmology and the National Federation of the Blind for their
technical assistance in drafting this proposal.
I want to mention in connection with this resolution that I am
particularly pleased to have worked with the Federation. They have been
a leading force in our country in helping all of us acquire a more
rational understanding of blindness. That has certainly been the case
as we worked together on this particular matter. The Federation notes
that although the visually impaired are currently able to use and
handle their money, this additional step will facilitate safer and more
secure transactions."

Now remember friends, this is the same group who are speaking out loudly in support of the United States Treasury. What's up with that? Has Mark Mowerforgotten what Kenneth Jernigen espoused back nearly ten not so long years ago? How does what they proposed then and failed to achieve differ from what we in ACB are proposing now and winning with? How can this organization even dare to say it is the voice of this nation's blind! I hope this makes us all see things in a clearer light. Do we have the voice of the nation's blind speaking, or do we have an organization who speaks simply to hear themselves speak, even when what they say isn't in the best interests of the nation's blind.…


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A lovely Saturday Afternoon


I am enjoying this day. Agnes, the new guide and Madeline the retired guide, are getting on famously. I had a wonderful visit with my massage therapist this morning, and she showed me a new quantum physics treatment called Maitrix Energy. I feel good today. It's sunny and brisk, just a lovely day to share.…


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Today we had a retirement party for Madeline. It was a wonderful joyful tearful day. We had upwards of 25 people, some brought gifts some didn't, but we didn't care. The guest of honor, next to Madeline, was her puppy raiser, Rachel, who came from oakland, CA to be a part of the day. I had not seen Rachel since Maddie was given to me on january 31, 1998 at Guide Dogs for the Blind. We had many puppies in the GDB puppy program and their raisers, all there to pay tribute to my girl. This is a hard one, letting this magnificent girl go, but she's 10 1/2, and I do believe that dogs like humans, need retirement years so it's my decision to let her go. Happily, she'll only be going to Gary, so she'll still be here in the home, but my relationship with her changes as of today. How do I convey to a dog how much she has meant to me; how do I thank her for the hard work she's done on my behalf; how do i tell her from my heart to her's how much her life has meant to me. i guess I can't, I can only say it through the written word. She is number 1 of all seven I've had, and letting her go is tough, tougher than tough, it's wrenching. Yet, I love her enough to know when it's time and to do what's in her own best interest.

My girl has always shown a desire to work and guide and please, even when she's been afraid; even when neither of us has known where we were going in strange cities, my girl was alwys willing to try. I bless my girl with every good white light and spirit in my consciousness, and am glad she will be around me for more years, but as my pal and pet. She guided me with an angel's spirit, and together, we traveled with the protection of angel's wings. Now it's her turn to lie in the sun beams she loves so well, play with the toys she adores, and just relax.

Thank you my dear madeline for nine years of love, partnership and companionship. You are my sweet little wite lab, 55 pounds of wiggle, and always I will love you. I know you were sent to me by those gone before, and I bless and love you for who you are!

In one week, I'll be off to Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, and the start of a new adventure with a new small creature whose challenge will be to teach her as much as I could teach you. My girl, my friend, my partner, my eyes and my little spirit guide, I love you! We have always signed our e-mail M&M, and we are known for our M&M signature so much so that people brought M&Ms to your party today. Sweet little M, we will alwys and forever be M&M. Your soft kitty-like fur, which feels so soft to my hands, will never be far from my memory. Your little tail, tapping my left calf as we walk will always be in my mind, and your sweet little hands, known to others as front paws, holding my fingers as you do will never ever be forgotten. Go to your dad now, little sweet girl, and give him the unconditional love you've given me. In your honor, I will promise to work as hard as I can with guide number eight to make her or him into the model guide you have been. Enjoy not working, enjoy not going into the rain, enjoy not having to ride in the scarey car on I5 when it rumbles and roars beneath you. You've earned a rest, you've earned the toys, you've earned the sun beams. Thank you for being my light and my little spirit friend for all these years.


September 23, 2006…


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Some Random Thoughts


It has been a long time since I posted here. Things are busy around here. We are getting ready to take another trip to Alaska, and then on September 30, I will go to class at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, OR for a new dog, dog number 8. It's hard to imagine that I have been working guides for 42 plus years. That's longer than most current trainers of guide dogs have been alive.

I look on this NewDog, which is the nickname for the new dog, it's capital n capital d all one word, as an adventure. Will this be my last guide, guide number 8? I don't know. Certainly blind people in their mid sixties get dogs, but will I. I suppose that's a thing nobody can know, not even me with my impatient self.

Since this is just a stream of consciousness tonight, I guess I'll stop for now, but the Fall always brings out the contemplative side of who I am, so who knows what will appear here. If you get sick of reading, just hit delete and come back another day, smile.

Meanwhile, deepest peace to all!



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Voice Post

2006-06-16 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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Voice Post

2006-06-15 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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Voice Post

2006-06-11 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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Voice Post

2006-06-11 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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Voice Post

2006-06-11 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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Voice Post

2006-06-11 :: Marlaina Lieberg


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The Train to Vancouver: a short podcast

2006-06-10 :: Marlaina Lieberg

Join Gary and me as we leave Seattle for Vancouver aboard Amtrack's Cascade.…


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Arrived in Canada


We are now in Vancouver, British Columbia where the weather is warm but gray. Rather like Seattle. We will stay here one night, then board Celebrity Cruiselines Infinity ship headed North to Alaska.

I have a short podcast to post with some train sounds on it, and will try to do that in just a bit.

Madeline is managing the trip well, though at age 10, she does get tired of guiding. She also has a lump her vet found yesterday that is giving the vet some concern; tests are being done this week on fluid from the lump. I would appreciate your prayers.

We had a lovely lunch and I tried a Reisling I'd never had before called Selbach. It was yummy.

Well I'm having some weird issues with window eyes and semagic, so I think I'll go try to figure them out. I'm runninf the most recent version of semagic I think, and window eyes doesn't like reading me the text in this window. Very odd.

All take care, and watch for the podcast.



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It's June 8, and I am trying to get a ton of things done today. At noon today, the Field Representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind will visit to begin the process of retirement of my dear sweet little yellow Lab Guide, madeline. She turned 10 on May 1, and I strongly believe that working a guide much past 10 years old is selfish. After all, the dear things need a pleasant few last years of retirement just as humans do. I know folks who do work them longer and for them, that's fine; it's just for me, doing so feels entirely selfish. After all the selfless years she's given me, this seems the least i can do for her. But boy, it's really quite sad.…


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Thank you to Nickie


What a busy day it's been today. thanks to Nickie, my podcasts have moved house and can be found here. I'm still trying to remember how all this is done. Thanks to Liz for a nice note. I'll be looking forward to all your comments on podcast 24.

Love to all,



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marlaina's musings

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