FEBRUARY ISSUE -- 1962
PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD FOR THE BLIND
A CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIIONAL FOUNDATION
2652 SHASTA ROAD BERKELEY 8. CALIF.
Published monthly in Braille and inkprint and distributed free to the blind by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President. National headquarters and editorial offices at 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley 8, Calif.
Editor: Floyd W. Matson
Executive Secretary: Anthony Mannino, 205 South Western Avenue, Room 206, Los Angeles 4, Calif.
VOLUME II No. 2 FEBRUARY, 1962
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from National Federation of the Blind (NFB) http://www.archive.org/details/blindamericanfeb22amer
FEDERAL WELFARE PROGRAM SCORED BY NFB
SUCCESS STORY OF AN "OLD TROUPER"
By Anthony Mannlno
JOHN NAGLE TESTIFIES AT WELFARE HEARINGS
THE RIBICOFF STATEMENT: FLIMFLAM INCARNATE
WEST VIRGINIA JUNKS WORK-RELIEF PROGRAM
MORE ON COMING NFB CONVENTION
BROTHERS ... & OTHERS
(Editor's note: Following is a Legislative Bulletin released in February by the National Federation of the Blind for the information of its members.)
The public welfare program of the Kennedy Administration made its arrival on the New Frontier in the second month of 1962 -- accompanied by a fanfare of publicity and persuasion which has given a somewhat misleading impression of sweeping change and progress.
The President's special message on welfare, conveying the substance and objectives of the program, was delivered to Congress on February 1. Immediately on its heels came the Administration bill (H.R. 10032) "to extend and improve the public assistance and child welfare services programs of the Social Security Act." One week later the House Ways and Means Committee held brief hearings on the measure -- clearly bespeaking the Administration's concern to move its program as rapidly as possible toward congressional decision, John Nagle, the NFB's Washington representative, presented testimony before the House committee, along with HEW Secretary Ribicoff and the spokesmen of most major social welfare agencies. The NFB will submit more extensive testimony at later hearings of the Senate Finance Committee.
The importance to the blind, for good or ill, of this spate of official activity is evident and far-reaching. Apart from its direct effects upon the public assistance program of Aid to the Blind, the overall purposes of the welfare legislation carry broad implications for the future security and well-being of the nation's 400,000 blind men and women.
The most significant (and dubious) features of the new program, for the blind as for all other recipients of public assistance, are three: (1) a pervasive emphasis on the required provision of "services" by the states, purportedly aimed at the goals of self-care and self-support; (2) the authorization of so-called "community work and training programs" -- in reality work-relief projects -- in connection with ADC; and (3) the provision for a single new category, which the states may or may not adopt, combining the programs of aid to the aged, blind, and disabled. Each of these key features, along with certain others, deserves to be analyzed in more detail.
Services. The Administration's insistent emphasis upon "services instead of support" reflects the predominant orientation of its program around the heatedly controversial problems of dependent children and their families. In essence the decision has been to deal with these problems through accelerated and intensified casework services. Specifically, the program as set forth in administrative regulations and legislative proposals requires (rather than permits) the states to make a specified variety of such services available, not only to ADC recipients but to other categories as well; it increases the share of federal participation for these services from 50 to 75 per cent; and it requires the states, with correspondingly augmented federal participation, to put into immediate effect plans for expanded training of professional personnel in order to meet shortages of skilled staff and more especially to deal with certain social and domestic problems peculiar to the ADC caseload. (Under ADC these services, described as "self-care or self-support services," will be afforded to relatives with whom dependent children are living as well as to the children themselves.)
New combined category. The Administration's welfare bill provides for a new category (title XVI), which the states are free to adopt if they wish, combining the programs of aid to the aged, blind and disabled previously handled separately under titles I, X, and XIV. In general, the features which have been unique to each of the old categories of recipients will remain applicable to such recipients alone under the new heading. Thus, for example, the earned-income exemption under title X will still apply only to blind recipients. However, the blind and disabled will receive medical assistance under the same formula presently in effect for the aged under title I. The existing separate program of medical assistance, provided under the Kerr-Mills bill for medically indigent aged, will no longer be available to elderly blind and disabled persons receiving public assistance.
Community work programs. In a radical departure from present welfare policies the Kennedy-Ribicoff program authorizes federal support for "community work and training" projects giving employment to relatives (18 or older) of dependent children aided by public assistance. State plans are required to give assurance that (1) appropriate health and safety standards will be met; (2) pay rates will be "not less than the applicable minimum rate under state law for the same type of work, if there is any such rate, and not less than the prevailing wage rates on similar work in the community"; (3) the work projects "serve a useful public purpose"; and (4) workers will have reasonable opportunities to seek regular employment. The states also would be expected to make arrangements with educational and employment agencies looking toward employment and occupational training of the relatives.
Reduction of residence requirements. Among other important features, the bill would prohibit the states from imposing a residence requirement of more than one year in its public assistance programs -- as opposed to the present ceiling of five years, A comparable change would be made in title IV of the Act, eliminating the present one-year requirement for a dependent child if he lives with a relative who has been a resident of the state for one year preceding the application for aid. In addition, the bill would provide for slightly more federal funds for those states which abolish their residence requirements for all categories of recipients. These features of the program are clearly affirmative and long overdue.
Recipient Fraud. Mention should be made of an administrative regulation promulgated under the new program with respect to the definition of fraud in public assistance. State welfare administrators and workers have, of course, always maintained procedures for investigation and control of improper payments and willful misrepresentation. Legal provisions, however, within a given State have often varied from program to program and been less severe for some than for others. The new regulation adds to these existing safeguards by requiring that the definition of fraud for purposes of public assistance must be the same as the general state law relating to fraud. In effect, the law and spirit of welfare here give way to the law of crimes. The inflexibility and potential severity of this requirement is evident in the language now added to the Public Assistance Handbook; "Fraud, in all of its aspects, is a matter of law. The definition of fraud that governs between citizens and governmental agencies is found in the general statutes of all states. Prosecution therefor and the imposition of a penalty if the individual is found guilty, are prescribed by law and are the responsibility of the law enforcement officials and the courts."
Although the imposition of this punitive spirit upon the welfare program results directly from the well-known controversies peculiar to the ADC program, the newly required definition of fraud will necessarily apply to all categories of public assistance recipients. Thus the blind -- along with the aged and the disabled -- will shoulder the same burden of official surveillance and suspicion as any of the most "deviant" members of the ADC caseload (e.g., unmarried mothers and absent fathers).
Some conclusions. Throughout the elaborate tapestry of the proposed new welfare program, on its administrative as on its legislative side, runs a single conspicuous thread, fashioned of red tape. That thread, which provides the clue to the whole design, is the emphasis upon "services" and safeguards aimed at reducing the public assistance rolls. Behind this emphasis and its specific formulations lies the Administration's highly sensitized reaction to the outcry against supposed abuses and failures in the ADC program. One of its direct consequences is the new and stringent definition of recipient fraud. Another is the revival of the poor-law requirement of the "work test, "in essentially the same form recently and notoriously brought to life in Newburgh, New York. Still another reflection of this emphasis is the renaming of the federal bureau formerly known as the Bureau of Public Assistance; henceforth it is to be the Bureau of Family Services.
In short, what the Administration (and specifically the Department of HEW) has uppermost in mind in its welfare proposals is the correction of a distressing and embarrassing situation in the ADC program. Much the greater part of its projected services and provisions are expressly geared to meet this special problem. But, entirely apart from the question of their appropriateness or adequacy for ADC itself, their consequences both immediate and potential for the other programs of public assistance are clearly formidable -- and mostly ominous,
A single example of these effects may serve to illustrate. The community work-relief programs now authorized for relatives of dependent children must necessarily take into account the particular characteristics, including the incapacities and disabilities, of such persons; thus female relatives, for instance, are to be placed in special work or training projects suitable to their limited physical capacities. On the basis of this experience and precedent, the clamor for future extension of the work requirement to blind and disabled recipients of public assistance may readily be anticipated.
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By Anthony Mannino
(Editor's note: Mr. Mannino Is Executive Secretary of the American Brotherhood for the Blind.)
We were on our way to Fresno to attend a convention of the California Council of the Blind. The fast-moving station wagon in which we were riding had just topped another rise in the highway when the alert blind Southern gentleman sitting beside the driver turned to us to answer a question which had just been jokingly tossed at him. His velvet-smooth voice was strong and clear.
"I was born in Georgia only fifteen years after the signing of the peace at Appomatox," he declared. This statement was greeted by a burst of laughter from the rest of us and James B. Garfield, the Southern gentleman himself, happily joined in the good-natured banter that followed. We did not know it at the moment, but we were on our way to a convention that was going to elect this fabulous seventy-seven-year-old campaigner to the post of Secretary of the California Council of the Blind. This was in May, 1959.
Now, as he works toward his eighty-first birthday, he is undoubtedly still one of the busiest blind persons in the country. It wasn't easy to get him to stand still long enough for a glance at his past and his present various activities. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, September 19, 1881. What Jim likes to call his "vagabond life" began after he left school at the age of fifteen. A slight flare-up of trouble with his eyes did not hinder him from seeking a career on the theatrical stage. In 1903 he left Atlanta and went to New York and by 1907 he "made" the Broadway stage in a hit play about West Point called "Classmates," a Harris-Lasky production. His acting career was interrupted by World War I. He enlisted in the Air Force as a private. Before the war ended he had attained the rank of Sergeant-Major.
He returned to the theatre and subsequently to the new rising medium of radio and radio-dramatics. This brought Jim to Hollywood, California, in 1930, where he continued a bright career in radio broadcasting. The demand for his special talent and versatility kept him busy in this work for the next ten years. He ranged the field from news-dramatization to "soap operas." During the last two of these years he realized that his sight was beginning to fail rapidly.
In 1940, like the trouper that he is, he accepted the inevitable. He quit radio and quietly prepared for a new life. He was 60 years old now, but this did not hinder his almost immediate adjustment to blindness. He took the time to get a guide dog and then went to work in an aircraft plant.There he met other blind persons and started to learn about the many problems of the blind.
At the end of World War II most of the blind workers in defense plants were dropped from the payrolls, Jim along with the rest. Although he was not too worried about himself, Jim saw the need of a united effort on the part of the blind to improve their social and economic status. He searched for a way to achieve these goals and found that an organization of blind persons was already in existence in Los Angeles, known as the Los Angeles County Club of the Adult Blind. He attended the club's next meeting, an election meeting. The young President, Perry Sundquist, declined to accept the office again. Someone nominated "John Barrymore," meaning Jim Garfield, but Jim reminded them that he was not yet a member. This proved to be no problem. They voted him in as a member, collected his dues and promptly proceeded to elect him President, This was the beginning of his intense activity with the organized blind.
In this same period after the war, the American Federation of Radio Artists opened a radio dramatics school and Jim was chosen to be a member of the faculty. The purpose of the school was to provide "refresher courses" for returning war veterans who planned to resume their work in the broadcasting industry. After this school had served its purpose and closed its doors, Jim opened his own dramatics school specializing in voice training. At the same time he was doing some freelance writing of radio scripts.
During the twelve years he held the presidency of the County Club, Jim led the organization through many tough battles. He became known as a rugged fighter and always boldly stood up to the many storms, some of which burst around his own gray head. His zest for combat in seeking the goals of the organized blind has not diminished.
While the California Council of the Blind was gaining strength under the strong leadership of Dr. Newel Perry and Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Jim Garfield guided the L.A. County Club, the strongest of the Los Angeles Council affiliates, in its various projects and the 1947 fight against the Constitutional Amendment which threatened the Welfare and Institutions Code of California, As a part of this effort, Jim went back into radio broadcasting with his own program. It was a quarter-hour weekly show designed to acquaint the sighted public with the constructive aims of the blind and the need for rehabilitation, job opportunities and complete understanding. He still has this program called "A Blind Man Looks at You," each Wednesday morning on the same station, KGFJ, Los Angeles. He is truly the voice of the blind in Southern California.
Recognizing the need for a recreation center for the blind, Jim Initiated a fund-raising campaign that led to the building of Atkinson Auditorium at the Braille Institute of America. Besides helping to promote the growth of the Braille Institute, he has taken an active part in its programs as an advisor and volunteer instructor. In appreciation for his many services through the years, the Institute rewarded him with an honorary life membership.
Alert and quick of step, Jim still uses a guide dog. Flora, his present guide, is the third dog he has owned. It is understandable why Jim has also taken a very active part in guide dog programs. He was appointed to the State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind by Governor Warren, again by Governor Knight, and last year by Governor Brown. The high standards attained by the guide dog schools in California are in part a result of Jim's outstanding effort in this field. He is also responsible for promoting legislation which recognizes the traffic and travel status of the guide dog.
In the fall of 1960, just after his seventy-ninth birthday, Jim was re-elected secretary of the California Council of the Blind and is still in that office lending his great energy to the expanding activities of the Council. It seems almost impossible, with his many and various activities, that Jim could have any time left to devote to his personal endeavors. But he has, and he does.
In 1957, the Viking Press published Jim's first full-length book, "Follow My Leader". This book has been a best-selling work of juvenile fiction, the story of a blind boy and his guide dog. It is also on the Talking- Book list. In 1959, Viking published Jim's second book, "They Like You Better," another juvenile fiction story. This one concerns an orphan boy who works in a pet shop. Jim is now working on a third book.
We must not fail to mention Jim's hundreds of talks and lecture engagements, most of them in connection with some one of his many activities for the blind or his writings. A colorful and convincing speaker, he is in great demand for appearances before service organizations, school and college student groups, PTA meetings, and library-author conferences.
It would be a tremendous challenge for any much younger man to keep pace with Jim Garfield as he races through his daily schedule. This has been proven to me on several occasions when I have been with him. He has no intention of easing the tempo of his effort, "There is too much to do yet," he says, "especially in the field of educational and employment opportunities for our young blind people, I intend to help until we gain a fair and equal chance in our society for these kids,"
He means every word of this--as proven by the vigor and enthusiasm with which he still spearheads the attack on the barriers remaining in the path of the blind.
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Three-day public hearings on the Administration's new welfare proposals, embodied in H.R. 10032, were held in Washington during mid-February by the House Ways and Means Committee, Among those presenting oral testimony, along with HEW Secretary Abraham Ribicoff and the spokesmen for more than a dozen major welfare agencies, was John P. Nagle, chief of the Washington Office of the National Federation of the Blind.
Prior to delivering his statement, the NFB' s Washington representative was the subject of the following tribute by Congressman Eugene J. Keogh of New York, a member of the House committee: "Mr. Chairman, may I say before Mr, Nagle testifies that it is always a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to hear him in public or in private, for he always transmits his message in lucid language and in concise form," Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills, of Arkansas, then replied: "I am sure all of us, Mr. Keogh, agree with your evaluation of Mr. Nagle and we are pleased to have him with the Committee this morning,"
Nagle's testimony emphasized that while the organized blind of the Federation "commend the Department for the declaration of hope contained in the provisions of H.R. 10032, we are concerned by the seeming contradictions of some of its provisions," He pointed in particular to the proposal for a new optional public assistance category "in which the aged, blind, and the disabled would be all things to all clients; where the distinctive needs of the aged, the blind, and the disabled would be disregarded; where their unique problems could receive little, if any, specialized attention toward their solution.
Noting that the problems of the aged are different from those of the blind, and the problems of the disabled are different from both, the NFB's Washington chief declared that "each group needs separate and specially trained personnel, informed on the nature of their difficulties and particularly qualified to help toward their solution. We believe that, if rehabilitation is to be the goal of public assistance -- and we firmly believe it should be -- then the categorical approach must be retained and strengthened, not abandoned or weakened."
A similar expression of concern over the consequences of the proposed joint category appeared in written testimony submitted to the committee by George Keane, chairman of the legislative committee of the American Association of Workers for the Blind. Asserting that the wording of the new title "may create some very profound problems," Keane pointed out that "throughout the United States there has been a slow but very certain development towards specialization in all areas of education and rehabilitation, as well as in medicine, law, engineering, and all of the sciences. In education and rehabilitation work for the blind has always felt that a categorical approach to the particular problems arising out of blindness was an absolute essential to success, either in education or in rehabilitation."
The AAWB spokesman also was apprehensive that proposed provisions of the bill would "deny to all commissions for the blind who function under categorical programs any new funds available under title XVI (medical care). It would seem that this would be reactionary and would do much to destroy many excellent programs now functioning under cate-gorical aid," he said. He went on to urge that "the new formula be applicable to all categories and that the new (medical) services made possible under title XVI be written in some way into each of the other four titles."
The proposal of the Administration's bill to extend the principle of work-relief to the public assistance program of Aid to Dependent Children -- already under attack by the National Federation of the Blind and other groups -- was singled out for criticism in the testimony of Monsignor Raymond J. Gallagher, secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Charities. While favoring the general direction of the welfare proposals "from a dole to a program of rehabilitation," Monsignor Gallagher maintained that the contemplated works program "does not get at the basic problem of those able-bodied men on relief," and that instead "rehabilitation toward reasonably permanent employment should be sought."
Recognizing that the children of unemployed fathers deserve to be fed and clothed, "we also recognize the basic injustice of putting an able-bodied, willing-to-work father into the category of a relief recipient," Monsignor Gallagher stated. "What does this do to the family structure, whose leader and provider this father should be? Why put him on relief awaiting a job that will very likely never turn up, due to technological and industrial change? Why not send him to a training program, preparing him with a new skill to take his place in the new labor force of tomorrow? Why not pay him a subsistence rate while in training that will support him and his family in adequacy and dignity?"
He pointed out that "we did something like this under the G.I. bill. This program produced many of the skilled engineers, technicians, professional and semi-professional personnel now enjoying regular employment. It could work again,"
Social Workers' View
The National Association of Social Workers, represented by two spokesmen at the House committee hearings, also indicated (if more indirectly) its reservations concerning the value of the proposed work test in public assistance. In a supplementary announcement of its 1962 legislative goals, submitted to the committee, the Association set forth a separate "Statement on Work Relief" which opened with the underlined words " No objectives are endorsed " and continued: ". . , but if strategic considerations demand work relief associated with public assistance, such work relief programs should be operated under standards that protect the health and safety of the workers as well as "provide work with training and re-training emphasis designed to make the best use of the skills of the unemployed."
Another innovation of the new welfare bill -- providing day-care facilities for dependent children whose mothers are employed on work projects -- drew critical fire from the New York State Catholic Welfare Committee in a written statement submitted at the hearings. "We are deeply concerned that the proposal for federal support of day care programs has been presented without an adequate showing that the provision of such services will serve to strengthen family life of those who are receiving public assistance," the statement said.
"Unlimited day care services, such as are proposed, will, in our opinion, weaken family ties, by encouraging mothers to leave their children in day care facilities while they pursue activities which do not directly contribute to strengthening family life. The basic objective of preserving the home as a social unit upon which the children depend was the underlying philosophy of the ADC program. Its distortion, by unlimited extension, is believed one of the present weaknesses, which diminishes its value as a program to strengthen family life." The statement urged that if any program of day-care services be approved "that it be drastically modified to limit it to programs under the auspices of welfare agencies, with rigid intake standards."
A further area of controversy opened up by the Administration's bill -- the somewhat clouded relationship of public assistance agencies and vocational rehabilitation agencies under the new program -- was explored in the testimony of E. B. Whitten, executive director of the National Rehabilitation Association, Although he expressed confidence that a more effective relationship could emerge from the program, the NRA's spokesman voiced "considerable fear that this relationship will be jeopardized" unless the present bill is substantially revised in its provisions for rehabilitation services to welfare clients.
"Although we are in general support of the bill, we are frank to state that as now written some of its language would cause misunderstanding and confusion and might even tend to undermine the generally good relations existing between public welfare and rehabilitation agencies in the states," he said. In particular, Whitten feared that it would be possible under the bill "for a public welfare agency with the use of federal funds to actually provide vocational education services," which are presently provided by the separate agencies in these fields.
Whitten' s testimony was given support by Andrew Marrin, chief of California's vocational rehabilitation service, who stressed the scarcity of trained personnel in public assistance and recommended more systematic arrangements with existing vocational rehabilitation agencies to implement the rehabilitative provisions of the new welfare program.
Among others testifying before the ways and Means Committee during the hearings were Patrick A. Tompkins, Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works; Nelson H. Cruikshank, director of the social security department of the AFL-CIO; Dr. Ellen Winston, in behalf of the American Public Welfare Association; Herbert R. Brown, president of the National Council of State Directors of Rehabilitation; Joseph H. Reid, executive director of the Child Welfare League of America; Bradshaw Mintner and the Rev. Sheldon Rahn, for the National Council of Churches, and James A. Evans, representing the National League of Senior Citizens,
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Congress and the nation were greeted, early in February, with an inspiring account of a model public welfare program delivered by Secretary Abraham Ribicoff of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Secretary depicted a bold new program of "comprehensive changes" based on a "process of reappraisal . . , possibly unprecedented in its scope and depth." This vast and marvelous enterprise was, he said, embodied in "a landmark bill (which) will bring a new spirit in our public welfare programs."
But the bill which the Secretary appeared to be describing never materialized. Instead, after completing his mountainous of labor of rhetoric. Secretary Ribicoff brought forth a mouse: H.R. 10032, the Administration's modest and generally conventional Public Welfare Amendments of 1962.
There are doubtless things to be said for some parts of the present welfare bill. There are other things, very serious things, to be said against it. But the thing which must be said before all else is that this bill bears little visible relation to the effusive claims and self -congratulations contained in the Secretary's statement. From beginning to end, his 19-page testimonial displays a power of imagination and lyricism so extraordinary as to place it among the more spellbinding works of contemporary fiction.
The illusion which the Secretary's statement seeks to create is indicated by a neat introductory touch surely inspired by the genius of Madison Avenue. The word SPIRIT is spelled out in the initial letters of the program's "six new objectives" as presented in the bill: namely, (1) Services; (2) Prevention; (3) Incentives; (4) Rehabilitation; (5) Independence, and (6) Training.
The trouble is that, once all those words have been neatly put together to spell SPIRIT, they cannot be made to disappear; each of them has to be justified. Here the Secretary, and his copy writers, have shown their true mettle. Like good commercial persuaders, they are not deterred by the factual characteristics of their product. It is not sufficient to dwell on its modest powers of palliation and relief; it must be presented as a revolutionary wonder drug, at once a curative and a preventative of virtually all the ills that society is heir to.
An example will serve to make the point. "The byword of our new program," said the Secretary, "is prevention -- and where it is too late -- rehabilitation -- a fresh start," He went on to stipulate clearly what it is that must be prevented: nothing less than the underlying social conditions of dependency and poverty brought on by rising unemployment, changing industrial demands, discriminatory practices, "drastic shifts in our social structure," And how is the welfare program to deal preventively with these vast and deep dislocations of society? The Secretary was equally explicit in his answer: "Now how, you may ask, is this accomplished? The answer is: through professional, skilled services."
Again the mouse exposes its head beneath the mountain. The solution to the problems of poverty and social disorganization is to be found -- presto -- in the personal services
of casework. The travesty of inverted values and misplaced emphasis which this complacent formula presents has been
dealt with elsewhere and need not be recapitulated (see "Whither the New Frontier?" THE BLIND AMERICAN, January 1962).
It does not appear once only: it is repeated and paralleled
over and over in the Secretary's statement with respect to
all the looming issues and supposed objectives of public
welfare. Thus, for another instance, much is made of the
importance of "training" as a major goal of welfare — conveying the deliberate impression of concerted and large-scale efforts at vocational training and preparation; but
in fact it turns out that the training which is contemplated is not for welfare recipients at all but rather for staff workers and administrators.
Again, the Secretary speaks in grandiose terms of the "rehabilitative road" purportedly mapped out by the legislation, and makes of this concept another basic plank of his welfare platform. But in fact he is unable to specify any other examples of the new spirit of rehabilitation than those (once again) of casework services or else of conventional referral to the existing resources of vocational education.
Yet again. Secretary Ribicoff makes much of the need for "incentives" to augment opportunity and encourage self-support; but the only incentive he is able to specify is the picayune allowance to ADC recipients of certain minor out-of-pocket costs in connection with employment (in considering the amount of their grant) which touch the obvious and overriding problem not at all.
And so it goes throughout the length and breadth of this extraordinary piece of rhetorical flummery. The facts are either ignored or camouflaged; what matters, it seems, is to give the Congress and the public a vision of brave new worlds conquered, of great decisions undertaken and sweeping changes on the way. But when we come down to earth from this spectacular space flight, we find that we have indeed been carried "out of this world."
What is most unfortunate about this performance is not simply that the actual provisions of the Administration's welfare legislation have been misrepresented -- or not represented at all. More serious still is the likelihood that the nation may come to believe that its pressing welfare needs and problems are in truth being met and solved by the Public Welfare Amendments of 1962 -- as portrayed by the Secretary of HEW.
If that should turn out to be the case. Secretary Ribicoff will be guilty not merely of manufacturing a myth but of perpetrating a hoax.
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The official encouragement now given by the Federal Administration to community programs of work-relief under public assistance (see "Federal Welfare Program Scored by NFB," in this issue) has given rise to mounting concern over the punitive consequences of such labor tests as a condition of receiving public aid. Doubts concerning the efficacy of these measures, however, while broadly challenging their social purpose and moral character, have not often ventured to question the underlying assumption of their economic practicality.
That basic assumption has been openly and bluntly brought into question by the February announcement of West Virginia's Welfare Commissioner that the state's federally-backed "work for your welfare check" plan was being abandoned as a poor answer to the economic problems of the state. The West Virginia program had received federal money last year only after being named an unemployment "disaster area."
As reported in "From the State Capitals" , an impartial bulletin of legislative analysis, Commissioner W. Bernard Smith asserted that the current program, which assigns able-bodied unemployed fathers to state work projects as a condition of ADC aid, has failed to solve any long-range problems. While it has put some money into West Virginia's economy, at the end of January some 62,000 residents of the state remained unemployed.
"Nobody ever thought [the program] would solve the unemployment problem," Smith was reported as saying. "But when you can't get industry, you get money from any source you can." He added that his main purpose in recommending the program to the state legislature in 1961 had been to "get money into the economy."
The West Virginia legislature has been cool to the program in proposed spending measures, the bulletin reported. If no further action is taken, the plan will expire June 30 - having cost $4,930, 000 in state funds and $15 million in federal funds.
Smith reportedly emphasized that he was unable to see any long-range benefits, even with work required, from the program, "We did what we could to accomplish our purpose until we could work out a permanent solution," he said. "If there is a bundle of cash available, you try to take advantage of it."
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New Information on the forthcoming annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind, slated for Detroit July 4 through July 7, has been furnished by Stanley Oliver of the NFB's host state affiliate. Correcting an earlier announcement on the meeting (see THE BLIND AMERICAN, December, 1961), Mr, Oliver points out that the correct days of the week are Wednesday, July 4, through Saturday the 7th. The first convention session will convene promptly at 9 A.M. Wednesday; the final session is to adjourn no later than 5 p.m. on Saturday. (Other details of convention hotel arrangements and rates are as stated in the previous announcement.) In sending letters of reservation to the Detroit Statler Hilton Hotel (or the adjacent Tuller Hotel), convention-goers are urged to mention attending the NFB meeting and to forward a carbon copy to Mrs. Bertha Cothery, 1201 Colton, Detroit 3, Michigan.
For youngsters and their parents on hand the evening before July 4th, a special outing has been arranged by Harry Hunter to a local amusement park with transportation and all rides free. Those staying at the hotel on this evening will enjoy fine piano and organ music under the direction of Ford Lefler. This will be in the Wayne social room on the ballroom floor of the Statler; coffee and light edibles will be served .
Thursday afternoon, July 5th, will offer those attending
the choice of two trips. The first is a visit to Alexander
Hall, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind residential and workshop facility across the Detroit River in Canada.
For this trip, conventioners are requested to bring along
some identification as to citizenship, although (Mr, Oliver
points out) our immigration guards are very friendly, liberal
people. This tour may be amplified to include a Canadian
museum and perhaps an opportunity to sample real Canadian
beer. The second trip choice will be to the engine plant of
the Ford Motor Company, with opportunity for intimate examination of this automated miracle where new cars bounce off the production line every 45 seconds. In sending hotel
reservations, members should indicate their tour preferences,
For those coming in a day or two early, Mrs. Cothery, Mrs. Hamby, and others of the convention registrations and information desks will be on hand to take care of registration before the anticipated Wednesday morning "jam session." Out-of-town ladies wishing to do some shopping can bear in mind that the J. K. Hudson department store, just two blocks from the Statler, is the world's largest. Their personal shopper service has been alerted to aid delegates and convention hosts are working now with senior girl scouts who may act as guides.
Among the exhibits at the convention will be an ample spread of special tools, aids and devices for the blind, under the supervision of Mr. Arthur Elsenberg, regional director for the American Foundation for the Blind. The AFB will also have a literature table including numerous free or purchasable technical pamphlets. The Leader Dog League will have another of the five display rooms on the ballroom floor. Their school, the third largest in the U.S., is just outside Detroit. Mr. Pocklington, the executive director, will be on hand. A purchase counter is now being worked out by a local group. For those staying over on Saturday evening, there should be opportunity to see an open-air stage play at Hudson's Northland Theatre. The play and seating availability will be known only shortly before convention time; announcement will be made during the convention for reservations from those interested. Transportation and admission will be gratis.
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"AAWB Names Executive Director". Gordon Connors, formerly associated with the Catholic Guild for the Blind, has been named the new Executive Director of the American Association of Workers for the Blind, according to unofficial but reliable information, Connors, who is not himself blind, brings to his AAWB post a background of experience in the fields of vocational rehabilitation, sheltered workshop management and social work.
"Blind Workers Gain Hearing". Creation of a study committee composed of organized blind spokesmen and state officials to investigate wages and working standards of state sheltered workshops was promised as a result of December meetings between management and employees of the California Industries for the Blind, according to a report in the Oakland (California) TRIBUNE.
Blind employees of the workshop pointed out that their most productive workers earn less than $2,000, even when they have full employment, which only a few have, the newspaper reported. "Lupe Torrez, a director of the Blind Workers' Guild, said many blind workers would be glad to go off state aid if they could be assured full time work at an adequate wage, but added that less efficient workers are afraid to give up state aid for fear they cannot earn a living wage,"
The article also noted the complaint of blind workers that poor quality materials purchased by the state slowed up production and cut down labor earnings. With respect to charges of arbitrary firings, the paper noted that Torrez had been given assurance "the guild will be notified in cases where an employee is facing discharge for inefficiency."
Meanwhile, across the bay in San Francisco, a December grievance session between the board of directors and blind employees of the Lighthouse for the Blind resulted in the possibility that a sightless person may be installed as a member of the board, according to the San Francisco CHRONICLE.
The newspaper reported that both sides had agreed after a closed-door meeting that grievances were the product of "faulty communication" between the board and the workers which could be improved by direct representation of employees on the governing board. The grievances reportedly centered on the pricing of meals at the Lighthouse Center, the open hours for recreational facilities, and wage cuts among the workshop's "employee-clients."
"International Award to Blind Teacher". Genevieve Caulfield, blind American teacher famed for her pioneer work in the Far East, was recently honored as a recipient of the 1961 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, according to a report in LISTEN. The citation, annually presented to five individuals, is sponsored by a foundation set up for the purpose by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in memory of the late Philippines president.
The 73-year-old Miss Caulfleld, blind since infancy, first began her career of international work for the blind in 1923, when she traveled to Japan and organized braille classes for blind Japanese. From there she moved to Thailand, where she inaugurated a school for the blind and remained during the second world war. After the war she returned to Japan to help in work for the blind, and in 1956 traveled to Saigon at the invitation of the South Vietnam government to found another school for the blind.
"George Magers Joins OVR". George A. Magers, formerly Chief of the Bureau of Services to the Blind in the Nevada State Welfare Department, was appointed last September to the position of Rehabilitation Specialist, Division of Services of the Blind, according to an announcement from the Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
"New Recipe Records Available" , A new set of Betty Crocker recipe recordings -- the third to be offered free to the blind since 1957 -- has been made available under the title "Directions for Additional Betty Crocker Mixes." Produced by General Mills, Inc., the recorded recipes have been prepared on long-playing discs and follow the format established by the first two such sets: "Using Betty Crocker Mixes (1957) and "Tips and Talking Recipes" (1958.) Visually handicapped persons may obtain the records by writing to: Betty Crocker, Department 440, Minneapolis, Minnesota, enclosing 10 cents for mailing charges.
"Braille Music Magazine in Prospect". The Lighthouse Music School (111 East 59th Street, New York 22, New York) is considering the publication of a Braille Music Magazine geared to the interests of professionals and laymen, according to an announcement of the School. The contents will be drawn chiefly from print periodicals, such as MUSICAL AMERICA. MUSICAL COURIER, and the like. It will also reportedly contain reviews of braille music publications and information of interest to professional blind musicians. The magazine will be published quarterly and each issue will contain about 75 pages, with an annual subscription charge of $1.50.
The School's announcement states further: "We feel that there is a sufficient number of braille reading musicians in this country to support such a periodical; however, we are unwilling to begin its publication without first being able to ascertain how large a circulation it will have. If you are interested in receiving it, please address your letters to the Lighthouse Music School, and feel free to make suggestions about the sort of material that would interest you. Do not send any money: we will request subscription fees when the project is under way."
Police in Gary, Indiana, recently nabbed a blind burglar who had robbed a number of homes with the help of his guide dog, according to an item in LISTEN. The sightless man, John J. Knowles, 26, reportedly was arrested on a first-degree burglary charge after a witness had observed him and his dog climbing out of the window of a house he had just robbed. The penalty imposed upon the pair by the court was not indicated.
"BVA Awards to Employers" . The Delco-Ramey Division of General Motors, the Topeka (Kansas) State Hospital and the Pacific Missile Range at Point Mugu, California, were joint recipients of "Employer of the Year" awards presented recently by the Blinded Veterans Association.
The organizations were cited on the basis of their outstanding records in employing blind workers and affording them free and equal competition for advancement with sighted workers, according to a BVA release. The formal citations read: "For recognizing ability Instead of disability, and for maintaining personnel policies wnich allow blind workers to make the most of their talents and skills and thereby fill a useful and productive place in society."
"Child With a Handicap". Berthold Lowenfeld, long-time head of the California School for the Blind, is among the contributors to a recent volume dealing with the professional guidance of handicapped children: The Child with a Handicap -- A Team Approach to his Care and Guidance , edited by Edgar E. Martmer and published by Charles C. Thomas of Springfield, Illinois (1959). The book is a collection of 27 papers by authoritative spokesmen from various fields, with one chapter devoted to visual defects of children.
Two papers on work with blind children and their parents are contained in the January (1962) issue of SOCIAL CASEWORK, a professional journal published by the Family Service Association of America. "Casework with Parents of Blind Children" is written by Ada Kozier, senior caseworker at the Jewish Guild for the Blind, and was prepared while she was supervisor of the agency's children's services. The second article, "Direct Intervention on Behalf of the Blind Child," is the work of Elizabeth Maloney, Director of Social and Educational Services of the Industrial Home for the Blind.
An analysis of the visual characteristics of blind children, by John Walker Jones, has been published by the U.S. Office of Education under the title Blind Children ; Degree of Vision; Mode of Reading (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1961, 37 pp.) The monograph represents an analysis of children registered with the American Printing House for the Blind in January of 1960 under the federal law "To Promote the Education of the Blind." The study is a source of statistical information concerning visual characteristics generally, the degree of the child's residual vision and its relation to the literature each was reading.
"New Books on Louis Braille". Two new books on the life of the founder of the braille system have recently been published. LOUIS BRAILLE, by Norman Wymer, published in England by the Oxford University Press, is one of the monographs in the "Lives of Great Men and Women" series. The book is illustrated and contains a bibliography, TREASURES AT MY FINGER TIPS, by Brother Roberto, was published last year by Notre Dame's Dujarie Press to meet the need for a children's biography, and is part of the "Catholic Heritage Series" for grades 4-6. Much of the material is adapted from an earlier biography by Alvin Kugelmass, entitled LOUIS BRAILLE, WINDOWS FOR THE BLIND.
"AT&T report in Braille and Records", The American Telephone and Telegraph Company again is making its Annual Report available in Braille and on records. This is the third year special editions have been produced for the blind.
The records and Braille versions of the 1961 Annual Report are being distributed to blind share owners by the Telephone Pioneers of America, the organization of long-service telephone people who work with the blind as one of their community service projects. Many Pioneers have been certified by the Library of Congress to transcribe books and other material into Braille.
Copies of the Braille and record versions of the report are available upon request to the Secretary, American Telephone and Telegraph Company, 195 Broadway, New York 7, New York.
The records and Braille books were produced by the Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, On the records, Frederick R. Kappel, chairman of the board of AT&T, reviews the 1961 highlights. Alexander L. Stott, vice president and comptroller, discusses the financial statements. Alexander Scourby, who has recorded many talking books for the blind, narrates the complete text of the report.
AT&T has some 2,050,000 share owners. Production of the special reports came as a result of a suggestion by one of the estimated 4,000 AT&T share owners who are blind.
"New Grants from Seeing Eye, Inc". Grants of $27,400 to support four projects of vital interest to the school were approved at a recent meeting of The Seeing Eye, according to an announcement in the organization's journal. San Francisco State College, aided by a grant of $2,900, will conduct a second summer workshop for teachers of blind children on the subject of orientation and mobility, coordinated by Professor Georgie Lee Abel, formerly of the American Foundation for the Blind.
The University of Minnesota will also hold a summer workshop similar to the San Francisco session, for teachers in the middle west region. Miss Jean Kenmore, who directed the course last year for Minnesotans only, will again be in charge. Expenses will be partially defrayed by a Seeing Eye grant of $4,000, it was reported. Seeing Eye field representatives will also serve as consultants in both workshops.
"The Right to Compete". "The lot of the blind in Canada is far from satisfactory," according to an editorial in the Christmas (1961) issue of VISION, quarterly publication of the Canadian Federation of the Blind. "Not more than 4 per cent of the capable blind in Canada are in normal positions, while at least 60 per cent could be trained and employed."
The editorial alleged that other competitive periodicals in Canada were opposing its publication and program on the basis that "the actual printing is done by sighted people" and therefore the magazine is not a "bona fide blind industry." The editor commented that the blind-operated enterprise has a "right to compete" through the employment of whatever skilled personnel are available, whether blind or sighted.
The VISION editorial recalled that the Canadian Federation of the Blind, described as "the only rank-and-file blind membership organization" in the country, had grown to encompass 16 branches across Canada since its founding by Phillip E. Layton in 1926. "It was the late Mr. Layton and his organization, the Federation, who were almost wholly responsible for the introduction of pensions for the blind and in lowering the age for receiving the blind pension from 40 years to l8 years," according to the magazine.
"We have now before the Federal Government (of Canada) a petition for eliminating the means test in the pension, on the grounds that the blind have a higher cost of living and there should be a compensating factor without a means test. The means test promotes exploitation by blind agencies, and herein lies a tale which would require too much space to develop," the editorial declared.
"New Horizons for the Blind." Recent developments in science and technology ennancing the ability of the blind to travel, read and work -- and aimed at the ultimate achievement of a "substitute for vision" -- were summarized by LOOK Magazine in an article appearing in its January 30 (1962) issue.
More than a few scientists, on the basis of experiments with photoelectric cells that transmit electrical signals to the brain, evidently believe that such substitutes for sight can be developed, according to the magazine. "Already a number of experiments have allowed the blind to 'see' light flashes by electrical stimulation of the brain's visual centers," it was said. But the article warned that much remains unknown about the neuro-physiology of the brain and that many years of research will be needed before such projects can be put to practical use.
The journal listed, among other less ambitious projects now under way, the electronic cane which has often been demonstrated at conventions and meetings of organized blind groups. The significance of such devices was heightened by the reported fact that less than one per cent of blind persons choose to make use of the services of a guide dog for travel purposes.
The article recalled that it was not until World War II that a special cane and "traveling" technique were developed, improving upon the ancient walking stick of the blind. "Lt. Richard Hoover, now an eye surgeon at Johns Hopkins, was working at the Army's Valley Forge General Hospital when he designed a long-lightweight cane and systematized the various techniques for teaching the blind to move around with confidence," LOOK reported. Since then thousands of blind men and women have been trained in the use of the cane and its accompanying travel technique.
Meanwhile research on electronic guidance devices to facilitate travel was begun in 1944 with the establishment of the Committee on Sensory Devices of the National Research Council, the article stated. The committee developed an ultrasonic instrument capable of seeking out most solid objects as far away as 50 feet. At the same time the Army Signal Corps was turning out a guidance device projecting visible light, which was reflected back onto a photoelectric cell; this project reportedly is still being carried forward by Prof. Thomas A. Benham of Haverford College (Pa.) under a contract with the Veterans Administration. A compact obstacle detector making use of invisible light was said to have been already developed by the professor and his associates.
Dr. Eugene Murphy, chief of research for the VA's Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service, has foreseen the construction of a future guidance device which would appear ideal for the blind, according to the LOOK article. The instrument would indicate all obstacles, both step-ups and step-downs, and so give assurance of a clear path to the sightless pedestrian. It would include a stabilizer, a direction finder and a dead-reckoning device, the magazine said.
" Fight for Sight" Grants". The National Council to Combat Blindness has announced that a total of 76 "Fight for Sight" grants and fellowships are being awarded to support eye research during the coming year. The awards, totalling more than a quarter of a million dollars, will be administered at medical colleges, hospitals and eye centers throughout the nation and in foreign countries.
The numerous projects include a grant to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, at Indore, India, to aid a program of corneal transplant surgery and the development of an eye bank in that country. Other foreign awards include support for work at institutions in Bern, Switzerland; Montreal, Canada; Kampala, Uganda, East Africa; Tokushima, Japan; Chonnam, Korea, and Oxford, England.
The National Council to Combat Blindness, Inc., with headquarters at 41 West 57th Street, New York City, was founded in 1946 and is a voluntary health agency engaged primarily in supporting eye research. To date more than 400 separate scientific investigations have benefited from aid made possible by the Council, according to a News- Letter released by the National Committee for Research in Opthalmology and Blindness.
"Blind Ohio Couple Lauded". Mrs. Jane Dotson, psychologist and homemaker of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the subject of a recent article in VISION Magazine, published by the Canadian Federation of the Blind, Both Jane and her husband, Avery Dotson, are blind,
"Jane received her Master of Arts degree in psychology in August (1961) from the University of Cincinnati's Graduate School, performing the almost incredible feat of completing work for her graduate degree in one year," the article stated, "Incredible because a master's in one year is an unusual feat for the sighted, incredible because Jane had to work from tape recordings and Braille notes, incredible because she kept her home functioning smoothly while she carried the heavy schedule,"
The article, entitled "The Jane Dotson Story," recounted the meeting and marriage of the couple 15 years ago at the Kentucky School for the Blind, followed by Avery's subsequent graduation from Ohio State University as an occupational therapist, and Jane's own collegiate career from attainment of Phi Beta Kappa and the Bachelor of Arts to the completion of an M.A, in psychology.
"Difficulties, duties and outside activities did not prevent Jane from piling honor upon honor," the magazine reported. "She was named to membership in the campus chapters of Psi Chi, national psychology honor society, and to Tau Kappa Alpha, national speech honor society. To qualify for membership in Tau Kappa Alpha, high academic standing must be accompanied by public speaking experience. Undaunted, Jane made 26 speeches before civic and social groups in her junior year. The following year she made many more, always speaking on the subjects closest to her heart --the problems of communication and adaptation between the sighted and the sightless."
"Irish Workshop Strike". Blind employees of a sheltered workshop in Ireland went on strike last fall in an effort to increase wages and improve working conditions, it was reported recently in LISTEN. Some 54 workers employed by the Baggot Street, Dublin, workshop for the blind were said to have marched from their shop to the headquarters of the National League of the Blind of Ireland to gain public attention for their dispute. The strikers, all members of the National League, were assertedly seeking to put into effect a two-dollar increase recommended by an Irish Labour Court last spring. No adjustment has apparently been made in their salaries since 1948.
Observing that "despite the blindness of Mr. de Valera (long-time Irish prime minister), Ireland is not noted for modern rehabilitation concepts in the field of blindness," LISTEN reported that the Irish blind league is presently seeking to gain parity of wages with local unskilled labor for its members employed in the nation's workshops.
"Arizona Exemption Urged". A recommendation that the Arizona legislature enact a measure permitting blind persons to earn more in private income without affecting their welfare grants has been made by the Arizona State Welfare Board.
According to an item in the legislative bulletin, FROM THE STATE CAPITALS, the board action was only a recommendation to the lawmakers but was accompanied by a warning that the federal government will cut off matching funds to the state's blind program if the legislature fails to act as advised. The proposed amendment would put the state's blind welfare law into conformity with the new federal requirement on exempt earnings which carries a July 1 deadline for compliance. It requires the first $85 of earned income plus one-half of all additional earnings to be exempted from the consideration of blind-aid grants by the State Welfare Department, Arizona law now exempts only the first $50 of earned income.
"Blind Lad Masters Unicycle". The unicycle, trickiest of all wheeled vehicles, has proved no great problem for Paul Watson, 16, of Oakland, California. Having lost his sight only two years ago as a result of illness, Paul already has learned the rudiments of balance on the unicycle and hopes to ride it in the St. Patrick's Day parade, according to a feature article in the Oakland TRIBUNE (February 11, 1962).
When the city Children's Club took part in Hollywood's Santa Claus Lane parade last Christmas, Paul participated as a riding flag carrier, taking his cue on stops and turns by holding his arm on the shoulder of another unicyclist, the newspaper reported.
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