Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hot Off the Press from "Communication and Video Accessibility Act" Hearing, 5/1/08

The U.S. House of Representative's' House Commerce and Energy Committee held an entire morning hearing from the panelists variously among consumer advocates, daily technological users and industry providers on Thursday, May 1st, 2008.

House Commerce and Energy Committee Chairperson, Rep. Markley and several House committee members frequently grilled the industry providers why they could not possibly embrace the timeline development within accessibility means for the disabled technological users and the deaf community at large. The industry representatives spurred with technical responses and not able to explain why the entire technological industry fail to make any simple accomplishments to accompany the "disabled" and deaf-blind and deaf technological users' needs.

Many deaf-blind users within the Internet access, usually get frustrated from the cluttered information appeared on the web pages in general, ex. many articles and banners intertwined on very one web page. The cluttered part of the web pages made such an impossible task for the deaf-blind Internet users to absorb the written information without being overwhelmed (difficulty of reading the submitted information from another existing article or headline or banner). The American Association of Deaf-Blind representative made his presence in the committee room.

Seregant Asocto, a recent Iraqi war veteran, got blinded from the roadside bomb. His life was radically changed from the visually-abled person to legally blind with a snap of finger (terrorist bomb). Ascoto served our country's military service more than 30 years. Asocot was largely frustrated with the inconsiderable society at large for not accompanying the "disabled" war veterans and other blind technological users on daily basis. Asocot pointed out his 1984 Chrysler "Le Baron" car with excellent audio notifications thru beep noises - "You left the car key. Please take it out", "Oil level low" and "Please put on the seat belts". That was the 80s car with ability of audio notifications, not the latest technological options! Ascoto blasted many private sectors only focus on the margin of excessive profits and marketability of technological products, not the vested interests for citizens having the full technological access within one of the richest nation in the history of humankind.

The entire House Commerce and Energy Committee members nodded in agreement about the disabled, deaf-blind and deaf constituency being largely deprived of technological and socioeconomic progress in many ways. The committee chairperson pointed out why the Bush White House haven't been a great advocacy watchdog for the disabled, deaf-blind and deaf Americans for past seven years. One Republican committee member made the following comment - "The government could not regulate everything to implemente the private industry into immediate actions.

The entire committee members and chairperson and panelists discussed on the issue of "private rights of action" regarding the remarkable technological process on the part of the private enterprise and individuals "tweak" the existed technological product(s) to accompany themselves to be fully benefit from technology in general.

Celebrity witness, Deaf Actor Russell Harvard made his first public testimony before the congressional hearing. Harvard recently appeared in "There Will Be a Blood", a major film feature with Daniel Day Lewis and "CSI: NY" television show. Russell Harvard expressed his usual frustration with the complicated technological access like turning on captions for the deaf via tv remote control. He had to look up the menu options and looked and looked and looked for the caption option about fifteen minutes, then gave up. Harvard's friend just completed the caption right away. Harvard electrified the entire House committee with his testimony thru ASL signings. All eyes surely glued on Russell Harvard's presence.

Al Sonnethral, deaf consumer advocate, dutifully notified Harvard about how the entire committee reacted to Russell Harvard's testimony. That put the smile on Harvard which he made a gracious presence among the general public. Harvard emphasized the simplification of technological devices for the society at large.

The entire House committee members turned to the industry providers what the private technology sector will do about the aspect of "universal design" within technological access. The industry providers wholly agreed on the importance of simplifying the technological access without frustrating any disabled, deaf-blind and deaf users.

The House Commerce and Energy Committee will spend few days from today for the provision on the language written into the legislative draft which will be probably available for next seven months for the full legislative votes. This legislative draft into the active bill probably not survive this election year or be voted on.

You, the deaf-blind and deaf constituency could mobilize the nationwide campaign to support the "Communication and Video Act of 2007" legislation come true for all of us leading more technological access on daily basis.

The remaining question whether this legislative draft will make the real impact on deaf vloggers to be required to caption their vlogcasts.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason

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