[nfb-talk] Losing DVS

T. Joseph Carter carter.tjoseph at gmail.com
Fri Jan 16 01:16:24 UTC 2009

It is my opinion that the NFB is not responsible for others making excuses 
based on what we have said.

For example, I say that it should not be mandatory to wear a seatbelt in a 
car.  My justifications are that the government has no business telling me 
what I must or must not do to secure my own safety, and the basic Darwinian 
principle that if people choose to place themselves at increased risk of 
dying in the event of an accident, this takes them out of the gene pool.

If car makers respond to my statement that seatbelts should be optional by 
saying that they won't provide seatbelts in new cars, should I be held 
responsible for their decision?  What about if I were part of an 
organization that advocates for safety on the road?

I do happen to hold this view: It should not be illegal to choose not to 
wear a seatbelt in a car.  Of course, if you're pulled over for speeding 
and your kids aren't seatbelted in, you may possibly be guilty of reckless 
endangerment or something.  But that's neither here nor there--it should 
not be mandatory.  I do wear mine, however.

DVS is not significantly different.  The NFB found it premature to make it 
mandatory without even considering WHAT exactly to make mandatory, if and 
where it would be useful, and establishing some standards and practices for 
audio description.

Do you watch the evening news?  Without closed captioning, a deaf person 
cannot.  A blind person, however, needs no audio description whatsoever for 
the evening news.  What would you describe, and how?  There are sometimes 
short segments that could be described.  Many receivers support one or two 
SAP channels.  Many more are possible with the digital transition.  Could 
not one of these be standardized as the DVS channel?  Those who need it 
should be able to acquire the means to support the appropriate channel.

Once some headway is made in other areas, regulation may make sense.  Until 
then, there are questions that John and his friends do not consider.  The 
way to make the headway is to incentivize the development.  Businesses took 
the cheap out in saying that if the NFB doesn't think it should be 
mandatory that they shouldn't do it because it wasn't worth anything to 
them to spend the money.  Make it worthwhile to help blaze the trail and 
set the standards, and watch how quickly they react then!

At that point, regulation would codify existing best practice, rather than 
becoming another unfunded mandate to "do something about this problem".

I supported the recent telecom accessibility act.  I think regulating DVS 
at this time is putting the cart before the horse, but the act was too 
important otherwise to be ignored.  I encouraged other Federationists to 
support it, and I know that many did.

I was saddened that the national office did not take interest in the 
legislation, but I understand why they did not--other than giving the FCC 
the right to mandate DVS without considering the problem first, it didn't 
really pertain to blindness.  I think sometimes that we get too caught up 
in our own disability and fail to recognize that there are other 
disabilities out there and we all face institutionalized exclusion 
practices.  If we can help end that in some way, we should.

We could have also used the opportunity to encourage the FCC to work to 
determine best practices and standards for DVS so that they may make an 
informed decision about what to regulate and when, once given the power to 
do so.  I consider that an opportunity missed.


On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 02:11:51PM -0500, Joel Zimba wrote:
> let me get this straight:
> to re-cap
> a gentleman posts saying that a service he enjoys is going away.  He  
> also says that the NFB is in part responsible for this.
> 2.
> Another chap posts that he is wrong and can read about why he is wrong  
> in the organizations newsletters.
> 3.
> The original statements of gentleman A are all confirmed to be true.
> 4.
> As a rhetorical debate point, Gentleman C. reminds A that it is simply  
> his opinion that the services should be mandatory. 
> Isn't it just opinion that these services should NOT be mandatory on the  
> part of others?
> confused,
> Joel
> _______________________________________________
> nfb-talk mailing list
> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-talk_nfbnet.org

More information about the nFB-Talk mailing list