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Archive for December 18th, 2010

First Published Wednesday, 30th July, 2008.

by Marissa D’Orazio

WINA decided to remove the Savage Nation.

After comments blasting autism as just another over-diagnosed American problem, controversial radio personality Michael Savage has been dumped by a Charlottesville station. And for at least one local talk-radio host, the dismissal of “The Savage Nation” comes none too soon.

“As the father of a six-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with autism,” says WINA personality Coy Barefoot, “I was outraged. He clearly is spreading what I know to be outright lies about autism.”

“I’ll tell you what autism is,” Savage boomed in his July 16 broadcast. “In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’”

“Quite honestly, it came down to common decency,” says WINA program director Rick Daniels. “Although he was trying to make a bigger point, he didn’t clarify it at all. We took into account our listeners and some feedback we’ve gotten, and we wanted to do what was best for our community.”

While Savage’s syndicator, Talk Radio Network, found the comments merely “inartful,” Media Matters, a D.C.-based organization “dedicated to correcting conservative misinformation” agrees with WINA that the comments were out of line.

“I think he and the people who use the airwaves have an ethical responsibility not to be lying and not to be so hatefully offensive that they cause this much controversy,” says Ben Fishel, a spokesperson for Media Matters.

However, Charlottesville resident and long-time “Savage Nation” listener Linda McRaven disagrees. “Media Matters is looking for bombs,” says McRaven. “They’re not really valid critics.”

McRaven says that she’s a fan of Savage because of his fearlessness. “I call him a flame-thrower because he’s so passionate about what he feels,” she says. “He pulls no punches, and I really admire that. We are entirely too politically correct, and he just says what he thinks. In my opinion, a lot of things he says are right on.”

Both Aflac Insurance and Home Depot have reportedly pulled their sponsorships of his show in reaction to Savage’s comments, but according to Daniels, none of WINA’s local advertisers had made such a move— or even any comment— by the time of Savage’s removal.

Fishel is especially baffled by the way Savage’s comments might come across to parents of autistic children.

“Disciplining your child can cure autism?” he asks. “That is absurdly false and hateful, especially to these parents who have committed their whole lives to children with special needs.”

“Where do we draw the line with what is done with our public airwaves?” asks Barefoot. “What’s next, these kids with cancer should get up and walk it off?”

On his afternoon program “Charlottesville, Right Now,” Barefoot played excerpts of the controversial comments and shared his perspective. But the decision to remove Savage was the program director’s, not his.

“I think they did the right thing,” Barefoot says, noting that since Savage’s removal, WINA has received emails from around the country applauding the action.

In an email of his own, Savage tells the Hook, “The drug companies are very powerful and have worked very hard to silence any voice critical of the misdiagnosis of our children and the drugging of vulnerable minds. Sad the station manager is such an ignorant man.

Daniels says he has received what he called “overwhelmingly positive” reactions to the ouster, and only a handful of complaints, most of which he characterizes as freedom of speech concerns.

“There are hundreds of syndicated talk shows out there,” says Daniels, “and each one has the right to be heard, but we can’t run them all. We pick the best ones for Charlottesville, our listeners, and the community.”

On WINA– at 1070 AM– Savage’s program has been replaced with David Ramsey, who deals with get-out-of-debt and money management issues. “I think just about all of us,” Daniels says, “could use good financial advice these days.”

Savage added in his email that Charlottesville listeners could soon continue to hear his program on a station “across the street,” though Julian Hudson, Talk Radio Network’s affiliate director, could not confirm that any Charlottesville station is poised to pick up “The Savage Nation.” Dennis Mockler, general manager of Monticello Media, the other major radio group in Charlottesville, says his stations have no plans to pick up the show.

  • Jim July 29th, 2008 | 1:16 pm

    WINA was looking for a reason to dump Savage for awhile. He didn’t come on until 8 most nights, and was pre-empted for anything and everything. I hope 1260 picks up the show.

  • Music Lover July 29th, 2008 | 1:56 pm

    Good riddance of some really putrid garbage. No excuses or defense for him or his outright and unapologetic racism and bigotry.

  • Bill Bowman July 29th, 2008 | 2:52 pm

    Free speech has nothing to do with it. Savage has all the right in the world to stand on his corner and spew his filth, but he has no Constitutionally protected right to do it over the public’s airwaves. If that were the case, then we could all sue Clear Channel for our three-hour time slot.

    And I find it ironic that the same man who claims his “freedom of speech” is being violated is the one who would have what he brands as “liberal” or left-leaning journalists and politicians deported. I guess it’s only free when it’s Savage speaking.

  • Jean, Mom of an aspergers daughter July 29th, 2008 | 6:56 pm

    Way to go to your programming director! So many company executives just want to minimize things to avoid controversy. As a Mom of an aspergers daughter, I just want to say thanks and keep up the fight for all our kids afflicted with this lifelong disability.

  • TheSaneOne July 29th, 2008 | 7:33 pm

    It is about time that WINA gets some balls. Spewing has no place in radio and that is exactly what exists at WINA. From Rob Schilling to Savage, it is just plain irresponsible.

  • JRR July 29th, 2008 | 9:37 pm

    his is an appropriate move. I hope program directors across the nation will follow suit. Savage’s show is second only to Limbaugh’s in audience size. But, just as Rush has time and again been shown to be a less than honest and less than stellar person (I recall his rant on Michael J. Fox and his Parkinson’s disease), Savage should be left with declining ad revenue and an audience comprised of fools who will believe what he says. I challenge any program director anywhere to defend keeping Savage on the air for any other reason than a lousy buck.

  • Nancy July 29th, 2008 | 10:40 pm

    THANK YOU FOR SHOWING DECENCY AND COURAGE!! Good riddance to hate radio and Savage ignorance.

  • Wendy Pendarvis July 29th, 2008 | 10:53 pm

    I have a saying, Autism is not contagious but ignorance is. It is a shame to know that one individual who has the power of voice through radio uses it so wastefully. Autism is a brain development disorder which is not “over diagnosed” or “made up”. Over the last five years Autism has finally been made aware to the public. We are now being educated on the disorder and yet there are still people who are just plain ignorant to the reality that we have an epidemic and that simple understanding and knowledge would be greatly appreciated to the parents who are having to raise these children. It angers me that individuals who have the power of voice do not use it in a more positive manner. I bet Savage would think differently if he were personally connected to someone with Autism. I am glad to see that he is now out of a job. Maybe he could use his spare time educating himself instead of running off at the mouth trying to make a dollar.

  • Doug July 30th, 2008 | 1:15 am

    Savage is what he looks like; a sneering fat slob, mouthing off.
    I say shut him up, but good.

    Only thing that distinguishs him from a windbag barfly hollering over a pint,is that he is hollering over a microphone, inexplicably placed in front of him, -inexplicable as in; WHY?

    Like a bouncer must do with idiots that don’t know when to shut up, he was ‘escorted from the premises.’

    Problem is, there are many, many idiots like him. It could be said that, if it weren’t for the hordes of mental midgets like him populating offices of power and media, the real solution to autism wouldn’t be suppressed like it has.

    Remember, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Case in point? Bush was elected. TWICE.

    Savage is savagely stuuupid. Hit him with a shovel.
    It would be an improvement, however temporary and unsatisfying.

Source:  http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2008/07/29/wina-drops-show-over-autism-cracks/

First Published Tuesday, 29th July, 2008.


NAS responds to Welfare Reform Green Paper

The Government published its Welfare Reform Green Paper on 21 July 2008. The green paper sets out the Government’s ideas for welfare reform. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has concerns about these proposals, and making sure that the Government addresses the needs of people with autism as it proceeds with the Welfare Reform Green Paper is one of our top priorities.

There are several major reforms proposed in the green paper.

  • Existing Incapacity Benefit claimants will be moved onto the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefit from 2009.
  • Existing Incapacity Benefit claimants will be expected to take part in Pathways to Work.
  • People receiving ESA will be required to undertake certain work-related activity to retain their full benefit.

This means that many people with autism currently claiming Incapacity Benefit will have to start attending work-focused interviews and draw up an action plan that will identify things they could do that would help them get a job. People will also be required to undertake work-related activity and this could include work tasters and help searching for jobs.

Many newspapers have led with headlines about people being required to ‘work for benefit’. This applies to Jobseekers Allowance claimants, who in the future will be required to work full-time for their benefit if after two years they have failed to find work. The NAS is firmly opposed to people with autism being forced into inappropriate work placements.

What is Employment Support Allowance?
Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will replace Incapacity Benefit from 27 October 2008. It was introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2007 and the NAS worked hard to ensure that the needs of people with autism were recognised in the new benefit. As a result of this, the new assessment that will be used for ESA will take better account of the needs of people with autism than the assessment used for Incapacity Benefit.

People claiming ESA will be placed in one of two groups. People with the highest support needs will be placed in the support group while people who, with the right support, could find work will be placed in the work-related activity group. People in this second group will be required to attend work-focused interviews to discuss things they could do to help them get a job. People in the support group will receive a higher rate of benefit than people in the work-related activity group.

People with autism have valuable skills to offer prospective employers and we welcome the recognition that many people with autism want to work. However, the Government must work harder to address the gaps in understanding, opportunity and ongoing employment support for people with autism.

Our key concerns
The NAS is concerned that:

  • people carrying out work-focused interviews will not have training in the needs of people with autism
  • provision to help people return to work will be generalist and people with autism will not receive the right support
  • people with autism may miss work-focused interviews or not complete work-related activity due to a lack of appropriate support yet will risk a cut in their benefits for this.

The NAS will be engaging with all its supporters to ensure that we make it clear to the Government that people with autism have the right to be able to access specialist support that is tailored to their needs, to help them into employment. We are currently drafting a full response to the Green Paper, working with officials at the Department for Work and Pensions, and are briefing MPs on our concerns. It is vital that people with autism are not disadvantaged further and that this agenda directly addresses their needs.

Media response: Welfare Reform Green Paper

The National Autistic Society (NAS) today voiced concerns that the Government’s welfare reform proposals may mean thousands of people with autism miss out on crucial support.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of The National Autistic Society, said:

“As a lifelong social and communication disorder, autism impacts on every aspect of daily life. Many people with the disability want to work, but experience great difficulty in finding and staying in employment often due to inadequate support and misunderstandings related to their condition. There are over 300,000 working age adults with autism and without appropriate support these people are effectively excluded from the workforce.

“The NAS is deeply concerned that further welfare reform will see a move towards larger and, therefore, more generic providers of disability support that simply will not be effective for people with the condition, as the level of support people with autism require is not always obvious and varies greatly. Target-driven providers keen to get people into jobs are also likely to ignore those people with autism, who may require more specialist long term support.

“It is absolutely essential that employment advisors understand the complexities of autism and individuals needs. Without this people with autism may face inappropriate compulsory work programmes which could cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. If they are unable to complete these programmes, people will face a loss of benefit.

“People with autism have many valuable skills to offer prospective employers and want to make a positive contribution. With only 15% of adults with autism currently in full time paid employment, the Government must work harder to address the gaps in understanding, opportunity and ongoing employment support for people with autism.”

Related Resources
Welcome to Prospects
Benefits and welfare rights
think differently about autism

Source:  http://www.nas.org.uk/nas/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=241&a=16982

First Published Saturday, 26th July, 2008.

Opera House/Australian Flag

A4 Update 2008 (July), Vol 6. No. 5

The links for the latest A4 Update are:

MS Word www.a4.org.au/documents/updates/A4-2008-Update05.doc
PDF www.a4.org.au/documents/updates/A4-2008-Update05.pdf

Previous A4 Updates are available for downloading from the A4 website (see www.a4.org.au/news.htm).

First Published Saturday, 26th July, 2008.


National Forum on Disability Issues Webcasted Live on Disaboom.com July 26 by
Daniel Lawton, Disaboom

– 10

The National Forum on Disability Issues, a non-partisan forum on national
disability policy, will be held on July 26, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio.  The
forum will commemorate the 18th anniversary of the American with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and address the issues most important to the
disability community in the current electoral cycle.

The event—organized by the American Association for People with Disabilities
(AAPD) and co-sponsored by over 60 national, state, and local disability
groups—builds on the success of AAPD’s first-ever presidential candidate
forum held in New Hampshire in November, at which five candidates attended
in person and two by phone.

Presumptive presidential nominees Senator Barack Obama and Senator John
McCain have been invited to participate in the July forum, which will allow
both candidates to present their disability policy plans individually.

Afterwards, journalist and news-anchor Judy Woodruff (The News Hour with Jim
Lehrer”) will moderate a question and answer session with the candidates.
Topics covered will include employment, healthcare, long-term
community-based supports, transportation, education and more.

The event will be held at the Conference & Technology Center at the First
Church of God, a completely accessible venue with a max capacity of over
1,000. Candidates speeches and answers will be simultaneously captioned and
translated by American Sign Language interpreters at the event

Registration is free and still open, but organizers urge those desiring to
attend to register soon at

For those unable to attend in person, the forum will be broadcast live and
in its entirety by Disaboom.com—the world’s largest web community for
individuals with disabilities.  To see the forum, visit
www.disaboom.com/AAPDSignUp.aspx. <http://www.disaboom.com/AAPDSignUp.aspx>

“In this historic election year, we think it’s vital that politicians
recognize the importance of voters with disabilities,” said Disaboom
co-founder Glen House.  “This is why we’re proud to provide free online
access to the disability community for this event.”

Organizers are encouraging voters to form watching parties in order to
stimulate dialogue and ensure that those without access to a computer are
able to participate.

Additionally, the forum will be broadcast on all Ohio reading services,
allowing Ohio residents without computers to listen in to the candidates’
platforms and answers.

Many disability-rights advocates believe that the forum is a unique
opportunity for the presidential candidates to reach voters with
disabilities—a demographic that is currently 37 million strong—as well as
their families, caregivers, advocates and friends.

For more information on the forum, go to
To register to watch the live webcast, visit:

First Published Friday, 25th July, 2008.

Michael Savage


*Find out more about the issue and what you can do by clicking
order to read the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Action Alert on
topic. It includes contact information for sponsors of The Savage Nation and
Talk Radio Networks. In addition, individual signatories can join the effort
by signing onto our
To Sponsors of The Savage Nation Radio Show, Syndicate of Talk Radio
Networks, and
other supporters of The Savage Nation:

We, organizations representing people with disabilities, family members, professionals
and other concerned citizens, are calling upon you to withdraw support for
Talk Radio Networks in response to the outrageous comments by TRN personality Michael
Alan Weiner, also known as Michael Savage.

On July 16th, Weiner announced: “Now, you want me to tell you my opinion on
autism, since I’m not talking about autism? A fraud, a racket…You know what autism
is? I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been
told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is…What do you mean they scream and they’re
silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, “Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get
nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit
there crying and screaming, idiot.”

These comments represent dangerous misinformation. The refusal by Talk Radio Networks to condemn the comments or undertake any steps in response to them, as well
as Michael Savage’s refusal to apologize, is absolutely unacceptable. The
autism spectrum is a very real developmental disability affecting millions of
Americans. It includes a series of impairments in social interaction and communication,
executive functioning, sensory processing, and motor skills. Adults and children on
the autism spectrum often require substantial supports, services and education across
the lifespan. Comments like those on the Savage Nation do real damage to autistic people
by increasing public ignorance and misinformation about autism, thereby putting
at risk vital education, supports and services. Contrary to the remarks by Mr. Weiner,
there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that autism is over diagnosed – in fact,
research suggests that there is substantial under-identification of the autism spectrum,
resulting in a lack of vitally needed services and education. In addition, these remarks revive
outdated and damaging misconceptions about the source of autism, recalling the
“refrigerator mother” myth in which parents were blamed for having autistic children.

Talk Radio Networks’ sponsors must consider whether or not to associate with
the hateful and offensive comments spoken by Michael Weiner. Because TRN has
taken no action, we urge you to communicate the need for Mr. Weiner’s immediate
removal by withdrawing sponsorship for TRN’s programming. There are over 50 million
people with disabilities in the United States, representing approximately $200 billion
in disposable income. We represent a market that cannot be ignored. By disassociating your
businesses from the ignorant and hateful remarks made this past week and taking
practical steps to help educate the public about the true nature of the autism spectrum and
other disabilities, we can move forward towards creating a world that will recognize the rights
of all people to respect, dignity, support and inclusion.


Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Andrew J. Imparato
President and CEO
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Jim Ward
ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights

Lee Grossman
The Autism Society of America
President and CEO

Mary Partin
Chief Executive Officer
The Dan Marino Foundation

Peter Berns
Executive Director
The Arc of the United States

Stephen Bennett
President and CEO
United Cerebral Palsy

Kathy Martinez
Executive Director
World Institute on Disability

Marcie Roth
Executive Director
National Spinal Cord Injury Association

Barbara Trader, MS
Executive Director

Marca Bristo
Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago

Jean Arnold
Co-founder and Chair
National Stigma Clearinghouse

Phil Schwarz
The Asperger’s Association of New England

Sharisa Kochmeister
The Autism National Committee
Editor in Chief
The Autism Perspective Magazine

Deirdre C. Wright
President & Co-Founder
ASCEND Group Inc.,
The Asperger Syndrome Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Stephen Drake
Not Dead Yet

Alex Plank

Lawrence Carter-Long
Director of Advocacy
The Disabilities Network of NYC

Amber Smock
Feminist Response in Disability Activism

Ethan Ellis
Executive Director
The Alliance for Disabled in Action

Rich La Belle
Executive Director
Family Network on Disabilities of Florida

Estee-Klar Wolfond
Founder and Executive Director
The Autism Acceptance Project

Ven Sequenzia
The Autism Society of Florida

First Published Thursday, 24th July, 2008.


Hello everyone,

As many of you have already heard, this past week talk radio personality
Michael Weiner, better known on the air as Michael Savage, made several
outrageous remarks in regards to autism, including, *”Now, you want me to
tell you my opinion on autism, since I’m not talking about autism? A fraud,
a racket…I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a
brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is. What do
you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to
tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting
like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and
screaming, idiot.”* A full transcript of his statements can be found
Remarks like these spread ignorance about autism and threaten to return us
to a previous era where parents were blamed and labeled as “refrigerator
mothers” for having autistic children. Not only have Michael Weiner and Talk
Radio Networks refused to retract these outrageous comments – they have
added to them by claiming, unsupported by science of any kind, that the
autism spectrum is an overdiagnosed medical condition. This is part of a
broader pattern<http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/talk-radio-network-should-fire/story.aspx?guid=%7B35F497E1-3917-4227-90DB-864FD479FEC4%7D&dist=hppr>of
statements attacking people with disabilities and our families. It
requires a strong response.

As a result of this continued attack against autistic people and the broader
disability community, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has joined with
over a dozen national and regional disability rights organizations to call
on the sponsors of Talk Radio Networks and the Savage Nation to pull their
support. Together, we have issued a strong joint
for an ad boycott. In addition, we’ve collected contact information
for several of the major sponsors of Talk Radio Networks in order to empower
our community to take further action. We urge you to use the information
below to write, call and e-mail these sponsors and tell them why it is
imperative they join companies like Aflac and Telesouth Communication that
have already pulled their ads in response to these hateful remarks. There
are over 50 million people with disabilities in the United States with
approximately $200 billion in disposable income. It is time for us to make
our voices heard.

Below you will find contact information for Talk Radio Networks’ largest
sponsors and a sample letter for you to use as a reference point in your
e-mails and phone calls. We will be keeping an updated list on our website
will post updates and changes to contact information as new
becomes available. In addition, if you would like to express your support
for the disability community’s joint statement on this issue, you can do so
by signing our petition
Organizations wishing to become signatories to our joint statement should
contact us at info@autisticadvocacy.org. Please distribute this message to
your networks and feel free to repost.

Sample Letter:

“To Whom It May Concern:

As a member of the disability community, I am outraged by the recent
comments made by Talk Radio Networks’ host Michael Alan Weiner, also known
as Michael Savage, stating that autism is* “a fraud…a racket…**In 99
percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.
That’s what autism is.” *Not only have these comments not been retracted but
Talk Radio Networks continues to stand by Michael Weiner as he continues
spreading public misinformation about autism. Autism is a very real
developmental disability affecting millions of Americans. Public ignorance
and prejudice against people with disabilities represent one of the most
significant obstacles to full access and inclusion of people with
disabilities throughout society. I urge you to take immediate action and
pull your financial support from Talk Radio Networks and The Savage Nation
Radio Show in response to these hateful comments.”

Contact Information:
ABC, Inc.:
VP Advertising/Sales Mike Shaw
Phone: 212 456-7272
VP Public Relations Kevin Brockman
Phone: 818 460-7756
Fax: 212-456-1424

Acura Public Relations
Mike Spencer, 310-783-3165

American Express:
Leslie Berland
American Express
P.O. Box 981540
El Paso, TX 79998-1540

Boca Java:
Stefanie Hochstadter
Boca Java
730 South Powerline Rd.
Suite D
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701
Phone: 800-257-8443
Phone: 800-871-0988

851 West Cypress Creek Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309, United States
Americas PR
Jason Wyse
Americas Senior PR Manager
Phone: (786) 449-3740
Email: jason.wyse@citrix.com
Eric Armstrong
Director, Corporate Communications
Phone: (954) 267-2977
Email: eric.armstrong@citrix.com

Dish Network:
CEO Charlie Ergen: (303) 723-1010
CEO assistant: (303) 723-1005
EchoStar Satellite L.L.C.
Attn: Corporate Communications
9601 S. Meridian Blvd.
Englewood, CO 80112

Alan Marks
Senior Vice President Corporate Communications
Telephone: 1-408-376-7400
Fax: 1-408-369-4855
Email: info@ebay.com

General Motors:
Andrea Canabal
General Motors, Northeast Communications,
Work:    +1-914-244-6059,
Cellular: +1-914-391-6898,
Stockholder line: 313-667-1500

Gallo Winery:
John Segale
Gallo Winery Spokesperson
Work: 916-960-5341
Cell:  916-600-1081

Bob DeFillippo
Phone: 973-802-4149

Nestlé Purina PetCare:
Email: kschopp@purina.com
Phone: 314-982-2577
Fax: 314-982-2752

Simon & Shuster:
Michael Selleck
(800) 223-2336

Staples, Inc:
Paul Capelli, 508-253-8530

SUBWAY(R) Public Relations
(203) 877-4281
Les Winograd Ext. 1683
Kevin Kane Ext.1329

Keyes, Steve
Director, Press and Public Relations
Phone: 703 364 7650
Fax: 703 364 7071
Email: steve.keyes@vw.com

Thank you for your support and please distribute. Our combined activism has
and will continue to help us create a world that respects, includes and
supports people with disabilities throughout society. Remember, nothing
about us, without us!

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1101 15th Street, NW Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005

First Published Thursday, 24th July, 2008.

Long Island autism activists plan to take part in a San Francisco protest Sunday of radio show host Michael Savage’s remarks on autism. Hundreds of activists and parents of autistic children are expected to gather outside Savage’s home base radio station, KNEW, to call for his ouster.

Among them will be State Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington); the protest’s organizer, Evelyn Ain of Oyster Bay; and John Gilmore of Long Beach, executive director of Autism United.

“We’re gathering a lot of people from all across the country to rally and continue putting pressure on the company that syndicates this gentleman to remove him from the air,” said Johnson, who has introduced legislation to get a count of autism cases in New York State.

“Everyone is so outraged about it,” said Ain, mother of an autistic son and publisher of a magazine on autism. “Honestly, I think we’re going to have over 1,000 people.”

Savage stirred a national brouhaha with his July 16 comments that autism is a “racket” and a “fraud,” and that “in 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out,” and blaming the children’s behavior on fathers who don’t tell them to “act like a man.”

He later insisted that his remarks were “taken out of context,” and that he wasn’t targeting genuinely autistic children. He said he was criticizing doctors and drug companies for over-diagnosing children out of greed, as well as “fakers” hoping for extra benefits.

In an interview published on an online site, wnd.com, linked to his Web site, he said he’d attacked the “falsely diagnosed cases, the misdiagnosed and the outright fraud artists through a bold parody.”

Parents of children with autism and milder disorders like Asperger’s syndrome were not convinced. “He backed off a little bit in recent days, but he did say what he said,” said Joanna Jaeger, board president of Parents Helping Parents, a San Francisco-based group for parents of disabled children.

“His attitude that he’s doing us a favor by exposing this fraud is ridiculous,” she added. “People are not rushing to join this club because it’s so much fun, or because you get a big gift bag upon your child’s diagnosis.”

An estimated one in 150 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, which range from severe to mild disorders in communication and social behavior, and in many cases include retardation.

In New York, Gov. David A. Paterson yesterday signed into law a measure facilitating regular screening of toddlers and children for autism spectrum disorders.

He vetoed a bill, similar to Johnson’s, that would have funded a count of autism cases because of cost. The state relies on a voluntary registry.

Source:  http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/longisland/ny-liauti245775335jul24,0,6373273.story

First Published Thursday, 24th July, 2008.


BERKELEY; She says new owner sacked her after 21 years on the job

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer — The San Francisco Chronicle (California), July 23, 2008 Wednesday FINAL Edition

An autistic woman who had worked at the McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley for 21 years showed up at her job in March, after a change in ownership, and was told that she and two other disabled workers were no longer needed, she says.

“I was devastated … then I was really just angry,” Lisa Craib said after filing a discrimination complaint Tuesday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After she was fired, the complaint said, the fast-food restaurant at Shattuck and University avenues posted a sign: “Help Wanted – Equal Opportunity Employer.”

Craib’s claim was filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which has its 18th anniversary on Saturday. Under the law, “if someone’s a qualified individual with a disability, they have to be treated equally alongside other people … and they’re entitled to reasonable accommodations,” noted Craib’s attorney, Claudia Center of the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center in San Francisco.

The food outlet’s new owner, Nick Vergis, said he hadn’t received a formal notice of the complaint but has a strict policy against discrimination.

“I comply with all applicable laws – including the Americans With Disabilities Act – and continually strive to maintain an environment in which everyone feels valued and accepted,” Vergis said in a statement released by McDonald’s.

Craib, 43, has Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism that typically causes people to have trouble interacting with others and to become preoccupied with narrow topics.

“They can usually function like others but tend to have a hard time in social situations, and don’t pick up nonverbal clues,” said her mother, Karola Craib, a former Chronicle food writer whose stories appeared under the byline Karola Saekel.

Lisa Craib attended high school and community college, was an award-winning horseback rider and served as an assistant coach in the Special Olympics, her lawyers said.

She worked the morning shift at the McDonald’s outlet for more than two decades, preparing salads, busing tables and cleaning up, her lawyers said. They said she became such a fixture that two regular customers called her “Miss McDonald’s.” A job coach, funded by the state under the disability law, visited once or twice a week to see how she was doing, Center said.

According to the discrimination complaint, Craib came to work a day or two after Vergis bought the downtown franchise and was told by her supervisor, “You’re no longer part of the team.” The other two developmentally disabled employees were also dismissed but at least some of the nondisabled staff kept their jobs, Center said.

“It’s somewhat uncommon, fortunately, that such a dramatic and seemingly blatant situation of discrimination occurs,” the attorney said. But she said disabled Americans have a high unemployment rate and have a particularly hard time getting hired.

The claim filed Tuesday asks the federal agency to make a finding of discrimination, which would clear the way for a damage suit, Center said. In the meantime, Craib’s mother said, her daughter has enrolled in an arts-and-crafts project for the disabled in Berkeley and has been accepted in a new job training program at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

“I comply with all applicable laws and strive to maintain an environment in which everyone feels valued.”

Nick Vergis new owner of the downtown McDonald’s

First Published Wednesday, 23rd July, 2008.

Grantsburg to honor Kennedy volunteers Kennedy celebration planned for Grantsburg

Local celebration will include the Kennedys as they thank area folks for helping find their son.
By Byron Higgin

Grantsburg will hold a celebration to thank area residents and businesses for helping find Keith Kennedy.

Cindi Throngard, community education director for Grantsburg Schools and a member of the Grantsburg Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday the date of the event will be Saturday, August 2 at Crex Convention Center.

She said the owners of the Crex Convention Center have donated the use of the space.

Further details will be announced later.

“This is a celebration for the local people because so many helped during the search for Keith,” said Throngard.

Keith Kennedy, an autistic man from the Twin Cities was a camper at Trade Lake Camp when he walked away from the camp.

The searched lasted for one week and Kennedy was finally found.

He was hospitalized and recently released.

“The Kennedy family will be here to thank everyone,” said Throngard.

The Grantsburg Chamber of Commerce agreed to donate $100 to help pay expenses of the celebration.

The Kennedy family is holding their own celebration from 3-11 p.m., Saturday, July 19 at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage at 711 W. Franklin Avenue

Source:  http://www.pinecitymn.com/detail/27805.html?category_id=2&search_filter=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=&town_id=7

First Published Tuesday, 22nd July, 2008.

Michael Savage


*”Talk Radio Network Should Fire Michael Savage,” Says Disability Rights
*Hate Speech Unacceptable as 18th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities
Act Nears*
ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR)
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900S
Washington, DC 20004
Media Contact:
Jim Ward, Founder and President
jimward@ncdr. org
The leader of a national coalition of disability, civil rights and social
justice organizations called on *Talk Radio Network* to fire talk radio
host, Michael Savage for his hateful attacks on children and adults with
physical and mental disabilities. Jim Ward, founder and president of ADA
Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR), stated:
“ADA Watch/NCDR calls on Talk Radio Network to fire Michael Savage. As
America prepares to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act(ADA) on July 26th, people with disabilities, parents,
family members, friends and advocates across the nation are outraged over
Savage’s latest attack on people with disabilities. His despicable assault
on children with autism – calling them “frauds” and “brats” – is rightly
being condemned as hateful and bigoted. But it is just the latest of
Savage’s numerous and painful attempts to demean and disenfranchise people
with disabilities. ”
Savage has also used his bully-pulpit to declare that:
– High levels of asthma impacting minority children was because “the
children got extra welfare if they were disabled.” (July 2008)
– The “handicapped” workers at the Phoenix Café would “drool” and put
dung in diners food. He made up names for the food on the menu, such as
“nutburger.” (July 2002)
– Members of the disability rights community are the “Wheelchair Mafia.”
– The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first civil
rights law for people with disabilities, should be called the “Lawyers’
Improvement Act.”
– His political opponents are “degenerate slime bags” with “mental
disorders” and have a “virus like leukemia.”
– When he was younger, he “touched the hand of a midget [Dwarf],” it
really “freaked him out” and, since that episode, he doesn’t like public
places. (June 2004)
– The “autism lobby of devastated parents is just a scam to get more
Michael Alan Weiner, better known by his pseudonym Michael Savage, is a
radio host, author, and political commentator. His nationally-syndicat ed
talk show, *The Savage Nation*, airs throughout the United States on Talk
Radio Network. His radio show reaches more than 10 million listeners on 410
stations throughout the United States, ranking third in number of stations
syndicated nationwide and third in nationwide audience behind Rush Limbaugh
and Sean Hannity.
*ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR)* is a
coalition of national, state and local disability, civil rights and social
justice organizations united to protect and promote the human rights of
children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. NCDR’s Road To
Freedom bus, launched on November 15, 2006, is still on the road and has
traveled more than 40,000 miles promoting social justice and economic
opportunity for people with disabilities. For more information, go to
www.adawatch. org<http://salsa. democracyinactio n.org/dia/ track.jsp? v=2&c=PSllZ7LxO0 Xo8LjsxDT58MfsD6 wf0ZZ7>and
www.roadtofreedom. org<http://salsa. democracyinactio n.org/dia/ track.jsp? v=2&c=gBuRGD2% 2B0cZ9oJeFkMK2GH Kyiu%2BPkPoB>
ADA Watch/NCDR encourages individuals and organizations to contact:
Talk Radio Network<http://salsa. democracyinactio n.org/dia/ track.jsp? v=2&c=VemkJu% 2FlKJ1a1g% 2FKlwJv%2B8fsD6w f0ZZ7>
P.O. Box 3755
Central Point, Oregon 97502
Phone: 541-664-8827
Fax: 541-664-6250
———— ——— ———

Ari Ne’eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1101 15th Street, NW Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005
http://www.autistic advocacy. org

The Video  “Savage on autism:  “A fraud, a racket, …In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out”

Link:  http://mediamatters.org/items/200807170005

“Radio Host Angers Parents of Autistic Children”:

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer Tue Jul 22, 7:25 AM ET

NEW YORK – Radio talk show host Michael Savage, who described 99 percent of children with autism as brats, said Monday he was trying to “boldly awaken” parents to his view that many people are being wrongly diagnosed.

Some parents of autistic children have called for Savage’s firing after he described autism as a racket last week. “In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out,” Savage said on his radio program last Wednesday.

Savage offered no apology in a message posted Monday on his Web site. He said greedy doctors and drug companies were creating a “national panic” by overdiagnosing autism, a mental disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate.

On his radio show last week, he said: “What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, `Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, you idiot.”

The government estimates about 1 in 150 children have some form of autism. But many experts believe these unsociable behaviors were just about as common 30 or 40 years ago and that the increase is mostly caused by a surge in special education services and a corresponding shift in diagnoses.

Wendy Fournier of the National Autism Association, a parents’ advocacy group, said she was invited to speak Monday on Savage’s three-hour program by Savage’s boss, Mark Masters of Talk Radio Network, which syndicates the show across the country. A spokeswoman from Talk Radio Network did not immediately return a call for comment.

Fournier called Savage’s comments “way, way, way over the line and cruel.”

“I’m hoping to make him see the reality of what these kids are facing,” she said. “You can’t fix it by telling a kid to shut up. It’s like telling a kid with cancer to stop being sick.”

Evelyn Ain, whose 8-year-old son has been diagnosed with autism, said she had never heard of Savage and couldn’t believe what she had heard when she first listened to the remarks. She organized a demonstration Monday outside New York’s WOR-AM, which broadcasts Savage.

“That isn’t just freedom of speech, it is hateful speech when you say 99 percent of children with autism are brats,” she said. “I’ll tell you, I wish I had a brat.”

Savage, with more than 8 million listeners a week, is talk radio’s third most popular personality behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, according to Talkers magazine. He’s made a living off bold, outrageous statements: His brief MSNBC show was canceled after he told a caller he should “get AIDS and die, you pig.”

Peter Bell, executive vice president of national advocacy group Autism Speaks, said he isn’t aware of any big controversy about overdiagnosis of autism. He said Savage’s remarks, effectively blaming parents, reflect an outdated point of view.

“He’s an entertainer, he does these things for attention,” Bell said. “I think we should, to the best we can, ignore it.”

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080722/ap_en_ot/savage_autism_2

“Michael Savage” Petition: