[nfb-talk] Losing DVS

John G. Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Fri Jan 16 14:32:25 UTC 2009

The NFB has a responsibility to represent the needs of blind people, not the 
government, not tax payers, not TV and movie producers.

It's fine with me if you want to believe in social Darwinism. But the NFB 
has a responsibility to represent blind people as a whole. It's unethical 
for you or the NFB to impose your own political philosophy on blind people 
as a whole.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "T. Joseph Carter" <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Losing DVS

> 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.
> Joseph
> 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
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