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Donald Trump Denies Knowing NY Times Reporter At Centre Of Disability Row

November 27, 2015

Donald Trump has accused a New York Times reporter of “grandstanding about his disability” as he denied mocking the journalist’s condition during a campaign speech.

Trump escalated his attack on reporter Serge Kovaleski and demanded an apology from his paper after it accused the Republican frontrunner of ridiculing Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.

“I have no idea who this reporter, Serge Kovalski [sic], is, what he looks like or his level of intelligence,” Trump said in a statement issued by his campaign on Thursday afternoon.

“Despite having one of the all-time great memories, I certainly do not remember him.

“I don’t know if he is [Houston Texans defensive end] JJ Watt or Muhammad Ali in his prime – or somebody of less athletic ability.”

In a speech to supporters on Tuesday night, Trump derided Kovaleski, who has disputed Trump’s claim that he saw “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate the 9/11 attacks – while flailing and twisting his arms.

Kovaleski worked for the Washington Post at the time of the 9/11 attacks and was one of the authors of an article that Trump has cited in support of his claim. The Washington Post has since added a disclaimer that fact-checks Trump’s claim.

In his Thursday statement, Trump said: “I know nothing about [Kovaleski] other than I have great respect for the way he wrote the story on 18 September 2001, and in particular the paragraph talking about Muslims and tailgate parties taking place in New Jersey.”

Trump later added to his statement, asking the paper to apologise to him for accusing him of mocking Kovaleski. He also reinforced his criticism of the Times in light of its business decisions and fortunes in terms of sales and readership.

“Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago – if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did,” Trump said. “He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”

Kovaleski covered Trump’s businesses as a reporter for the New York Daily News in the late 1980s and 1990s, and has met him several times.

“Donald and I were on a first-name basis for years,” Kovaleski told the Times on Thursday. “I’ve interviewed him in his office. I’ve talked to him at press conferences.

“All in all, I would say around a dozen times I’ve interacted with him as a reporter while I was at the Daily News.”

Earlier this week, Kovaleski said he did not recall Trump’s account of what happened in Jersey City on 9/11.

“We did a lot of shoe leather reporting in and around Jersey City and talked to a lot of residents and officials for the broader story,” Kovaleski said on CNN. “Much of that has, indeed, faded from memory.

“I do not recall anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating. That was not the case, as best as I can remember.”

At the Tuesday rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Trump ridiculed Kovaleski, telling supporters: “Now the poor guy. You ought to see the guy: ‘Err, I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’”

As he spoke, Trump pulled his arms up to his chest and flailed about in what looked like an imitation of the journalist’s disability.

In his Thursday statement, Trump said he had not been aware of the journalist’s disability and “merely mimicked what I thought would be a flustered reporter trying to get out of a statement he made long ago”.

Kovaleski told the Washington Post: “The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record.”

A spokesperson for the New York Times told Politico: “We think it’s outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters.”

The controversy is the latest in a Trump campaign that has included a reference to Mexicans being “rapists”; an insinuation that Fox News host Megyn Kelly was particularly tough in her line of questioning in the first Republican debate because she was menstruating; and the removal of Univision journalist Jorge Ramos from a press conference after he pressed Trump on his immigration platform.

Despite the seemingly unending stream of controversies, which pundits agree would have derailed most candidates by now, Trump has maintained his standing at the top of the Republican polls, confounding the political establishment.

“This isn’t about shutting off Mr Trump’s bullhorn,” the New York Times editorial board wrote earlier this week. “His right to spew nonsense is protected by the Constitution, but the public doesn’t need to swallow it.

“History teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act. It’s no easy task for journalists to interrupt Mr Trump with the facts, but it’s an important one.”

Universal Credit system down again…Unhelpful staff and yet again claimants not being allowed Hardship forms.

November 27, 2015

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

Hi sorry its been a while but I have been busy. I suffered a bereavement and it hit me for six. Hopefully I will be back to normal soon. This has not however prevented me from attending our weekly demonstrations Im glad to say.

Today was a particularly miserable day, and for more than one reason. The weather was very dull and miserable and the rain didn’t help. And it was also a bad day for claimants.. well even worse than normal if that is possible.

Its never a good day at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. The claimants have suffered more than others, and have been some of the first victims of the governments evil regime. You can feel the suffering in the air. People are either close to loosing it, or becoming ill as result, or they become aggressive. We saw quite a bit of that today. People storming…

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Police Appealing For Information As Disabled Woman Donna Stringer, 43, Fights For Life After Care Home Firework Attack

November 27, 2015

A disabled woman is fighting for life after her care home erupted in flames when “cowardly” thugs aimed fireworks at the building from a moving car.

Wheelchair user Donna Stringer became trapped and fell unconscious in the burning care home in Barking, east London, after the “drive-by” arson attack in the early hours of Friday, November 13.

The 43-year-old, who has learning difficulties, was rescued by firefighters in oxygen masks after at least eight others had escaped Lynwood Care Home.

She is now in intensive care after suffering terrible injuries in the blaze, which erupted at about 1am

Detectives today released CCTV footage of rockets being aimed from a car as they launched an appeal for information.

The Met said the culprits are believed to have targeted a number homes in the area with fireworks.

A heart-breaking photo showing critically injured Ms Stringer on life support was also released by officers in a rare move by Scotland Yard.

Det Sgt Karl Dines said her family are “devastated” and remain at her bedside.

She said: “As you will see in the footage that we have released today, this was a deliberate act where fireworks were thrown at a number of homes.

“This is a deeply upsetting incident involving an innocent and helpless victim who has severe learning difficulties. 

“Donna is fighting for her life in hospital; medical staff are working tirelessly around the clock to keep her condition stable in the hope that she will recover.

“The fire has caused significant damage to the care home and devastated Donna’s loving family. 

“It is vital that anyone who has any information about this incident comes forward and shares what they know as soon as possible.

“I would like to hear from anyone who has any information that may help us identify who is responsible.”

Detectives said they have made no arrests so far as they issued a plea for help from the public.

The other people who fled the home included six residents and two care workers, who all escaped unharmed.

They have been moved elsewhere due to the extent of the fire damage.

Barking and Dagenham council leader Darren Rodwell said: “This was an extremely cowardly act on some of the most vulnerable people in our community. It was not just an attack on them but an attack on our whole community.

“This kind of behaviour is not welcome in our borough and I am appealing to anyone with information to please contact the police.”

Anyone with information should contact Barking and Dagenham CID on 020 3276 1096 or via 101. Witnesses can also email information to or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 FREE.

Therese Hunt: Student With CP Gains Masters Degree

November 26, 2015

This post is part of the Inclusion Rules! Debate at Same Difference.



A YOUNG woman who is unable to walk or feed herself has defied the odds to gain a master’s degree.

Therese Hunt, 26, who has cerebral palsy will graduate from Roehampton University with an MSc in bio-mechanics, the study of human movement.

Each of her exams took 18 hours and she had to dictate each word to a scribe because she is unable to hold a pen or use a computer.

She said: “Out of all my achievements doing the masters is the greatest. Studying a masters can be demanding for anybody.

“I will be graduating in March and I am very excited about that. But I am most looking forward to starting a career.”

Therese, from Billericay, has always wanted to work with amputees from the war and has been looking for work experience, following her graduation.

Proud mum Mary, 64, said: “Therese has achieved great things and people should never let a disability hold them back.

“She was born was cerebral palsy and medical staff at the time told me not to expect much from her because of her condition.

“I know there are parents who have children with cerebral palsy and they think that’s the end, but it’s not.

“She found the exams exhausting because she gets tired from talking, it is quite a strain.”

Therese lives independently, although she has 24 hour care at her own home. She has a boyfriend and graduated with a degree in sports science in 2011, also from Roehampton.

Mary added: “She took a year out and then began studying for her master’s degree back in 2012.

“I am so proud of her and everything she has done. I have to praise the education and care support systems. They get a lot of stick but they have given Therese so much support on the past years.”

Leonie Watson On Losing Sight

November 26, 2015

Leonie Watson lost her sight in her 20s after ignoring doctors’ advice about her diabetes for years. Here she charts her journey into blindness, and the frustration of feeling partly to blame.

I became blind over the course of 12 months from late 1999 to the end of 2000. It was mostly my fault. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was a little girl – the type where your body stops producing insulin. At the time they explained I would have to eat a precise amount of food each day, and that I would need to inject a precise amount of insulin to handle it.

When I was a little older I asked my paediatrician why it had to be this way, why I couldn’t work out how much food I was about to eat, measure my blood glucose, and then calculate the insulin dose myself. To this day I don’t know whether he actually did pat me on the head, or whether my subconscious has added a memory based on his reply (“don’t be so ridiculous”), but it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. That was the moment the rebellion started.

At some point during my teens I discovered I could skip an injection without anything terrible happening. I stopped monitoring my blood glucose levels almost entirely and when I was old enough to make my own decisions, I stopped going to the doctor for annual check-ups.

Throughout my student days I had a riot. I smoked, danced, partied, and kept on ignoring the fact I was diabetic.

By the time the century was drawing to a close, I was working in the tech industry as a web developer. This was the era of the dotcom boom and everyone was having fun. There were pool tables in the office, Nerf guns on every desk and many insane parties. Paul Oakenfold was the soundtrack to our lives, and we’d fall out of clubs at 6am and drive to Glastonbury Tor to watch the sunrise just for the hell of it.

One morning in October 1999 I woke up with a hangover. As I looked in the mirror I realised I could see a ribbon of blood in my line of sight. As I looked left then right, the ribbon moved sluggishly as though floating in dense liquid. Assuming it was a temporary result of the previous night’s antics, I left it a couple of days before visiting an optician to get it checked. When I did the optician took one look at the backs of my eyes and referred me to the nearest eye hospital for further investigation.

When diabetes is uncontrolled for a time it causes a lot of unseen damage. When you eat something your blood sugar levels rise and your body produces insulin to convert that glucose into usable energy. If there isn’t enough available insulin then the cells in your body are starved of energy, they begin to die and the excess glucose remains trapped in your bloodstream.

As if that wasn’t enough, the glucose will then smother your red blood cells and prevent them from transporting oxygen efficiently around your body.

One of the ways this damage eventually manifests itself is diabetic retinopathy. In an attempt to get enough oxygen to the retina at the back of your eye, your body creates new blood vessels to try and compensate. The new blood vessels are created as an emergency measure and so they’re weak. This means they’re prone to bursting and haemorrhaging blood into the eye – creating visible ribbons of blood like the one I could see.

This all has the inevitable effect of damaging your sight.

The people at the eye hospital told me laser treatment might halt the breakdown of the blood vessels at the back of my eye and enable the remaining vessels to strengthen enough to get the oxygen to where it should go.

It wasn’t pleasant. It requires an anaesthetic injection into the eye before a laser is repeatedly fired at the back. I remember one round of treatment skewing the sight in one eye by about 90 degrees – trust me when I tell you it’s impossible to remain upright in that state.

Looking back, I realise that laser treatment was a futile gesture. No-one ever came straight out and told me the consequences of having advanced diabetic retinopathy, it was always spoken of in terms of a progressive deterioration.

I remember the day I admitted it to myself though. My sight had been steadily worsening and it was a day in the spring of 2000 that it happened. I was walking down the stairs at home when it hit me like the proverbial sledgehammer – I would be blind. With absolute certainty I knew I would lose my sight and that I only had myself to blame. I sat on the stairs and fell apart. I cried like a child. I cried for my lost sight, my broken dreams, my stupidity, for the books I would never read, for the faces I would forget, and for all the things I would never accomplish.

I reluctantly realised I needed help. My doctor prescribed anti-depressants that effectively put me to sleep 23 hours out of every 24. After six weeks I decided enough was enough and took myself off the meds for good.

A curious thing had happened in the intervening weeks though. While I was asleep my mind appeared to have wrapped itself around the enormity of what was happening. It wasn’t in the form of a revelation or anything like that, but it was a recognition of what I was up against, and that was enough for the time being.

Over the ensuing months I gave up work as my sight continued to deteriorate.

I had days when I raged out of control and screamed or threw things at the people I loved just because they were there. There was the day I stumbled in the kitchen and up-ended a draining rack full of crockery that smashed into a thousand pieces around me. I remember once demolishing a keyboard I could no longer use, and kicking the hell out of the Hoover because the cable was so caught up around the furniture I couldn’t untangle it. And there were those days, too numerous to count, when I bruised, cut, scratched or burned myself while doing everyday tasks, and the rage and the tears would overwhelm me all over again.

Towards the end of that year, not long before Christmas, the last of my sight vanished. When I think of it now, it seems that I went to bed one night aware of a slight red smudge at the farthest reaches of my vision (the standby light on the bedroom television), then woke the next morning to nothing at all.

Only 3% of blind people are completely blind. Most have some degree of light perception or a little usable vision, but I’m one of the few who can see nothing at all, and nothing is the best way to describe it. People assume it must be like closing your eyes or being in a dark room, but it’s not like that at all. It’s a complete absence of light, it isn’t black or any other colour I can describe.

Instead my mind gives me things to look at. It shows me a shadowy representation of what it thinks I should see – like my hands holding a cup of tea. Since my mind is constrained only by my imagination, it rather charmingly overlays everything with millions of tiny sparkles of light, that vary in brightness and intensity depending on my emotional state.

My retinas are long since gone, so no actual light makes its way to the back of my eyes. This is what gives my eyes their peculiar look – each pupil is permanently open to its fullest extent because they are trying to take in light. And oddly, it’s the appearance of my eyes which still makes me feel a little uncertain about being blind, but given that I no longer really remember what I look like, perhaps there will come a time when that will fade and leave no uncertainties. I’m pretty well-adjusted to being blind.

With the last of my sight gone, things actually started to get a lot easier to deal with. I stopped trying to look at what I was doing, and started to use my other senses.

Let me clear up a common misconception while I’m here, I do not have extraordinary hearing or sense of smell. I do pay more attention to those other senses though. For instance, I’ll often hear a phone ringing when other people don’t because I’m devoting more of my concentration to listening than they are.

The next few months were a time of discovery, sometimes painful, often frustrating, but also littered with good memories. I learned how to do chores, how to cook, where to find audiobooks, how to cross the road, and what it feels like to drink too much when you can’t see straight to begin with.

It’s been 15 years since all this happened. Somewhere along the way I went back to work, and I now have the uncommonly good fortune to be working and collaborating with lots of smart and interesting people, many of whom I’m delighted to call friends.

So life moved on, as life has a habit of doing. I celebrated my 40th birthday last year – perhaps that is what has given me cause to reflect and share my story.

Ben Baddeley Has Designed Christmas Cards To Fund His Treatment

November 26, 2015

Strong And Mighty Max

November 26, 2015

Kristina Gray said she wrote children’s book, Strong and Mighty Max, about her son’s dwarfism, in order to “educate and make people more aware” of dwarfism from a young age.

She has four children, and only her four-year-old son, Samuel, has achondroplasia, which is one of the most common forms of dwarfism.

Kristina said she is “calm and correctional” rather than angry towards people who laugh at her son’s disability, as she likes to let people know he is “just like other children”.

This clip is originally from 5 live Daily on Tuesday 24 November 2015.


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