Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Senate Needs to Confirm Ne'eman

In the wake of the long difficult struggle over health care reform, a large number of President Obama's nominees for administration positions remain in limbo because of holds placed on their confirmation by various senators. The rules of procedure in the Senate allow one lone senator to place such a hold on a presidential nominee, anonymously and for any reason or, sometimes, no reason at all. As reported by Reuters, the White House recently stated that President Obama has a total of 217 nominees pending before the Senate, and 34 of them have been pending for more than six months. Expressing his frustration with this situation, the president announced yesterday that he intends to place some of his nominees in their positions by means of recess appointments, which allow him to avoid the confirmation process by appointing nominees on an interim basis while the Senate is not in session.

It is perhaps not surprising that in this contentious political landscape, the appointment of Ari Ne'eman, founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, to the National Council on Disability (NCD) has been delayed by means of an anonymous hold. It is, however, disappointing to many people in the self-advocate community and the broader disability rights community, who appreciate his tireless work for inclusion and equality of all people with disabilities in society. His record of accomplishment includes advocating for community services and supports to keep people with significant support needs in their homes and out of institutions; for federal legislation to protect students from abuse in their schools; for stronger laws against employment discrimination to better protect autistics and other workers who may experience discrimination because of a disability; and many other public policy issues that fall within the mandate of NCD to guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities and to promote full integration into society.

Under the circumstances, Ne'eman was not able to be interviewed for an article in yesterday's New York Times about the hold on his appointment. The article begins by stating that many families with autistic members have positive feelings about his nomination as the first autistic person to serve on the council. Lee Grossman, director of the Autism Society of America, suggests in the article that any disagreement over autism advocacy priorities "may simply reflect the unmet needs of a growing population, for both research into potential treatments and for programs to support jobs and independent living." Grossman goes on to say, "We need to reframe the discussion. From our perspective, it’s great to have a person on the spectrum being nominated to this committee."

It is to be hoped that the situation will be resolved without much delay and that Ari Ne'eman will be able to take his position soon.

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  • I can't help but be curious as to who and why his nomination is being put on hold.

    By Blogger Usethebrains Godgiveyou, at 6:12 PM  

  • Apparently, some of the congressmen oppose him for political reasons. They're Republicans determined not to approve an Obama nomination. Fine, they're not thrilled with Obama. What does that have to do with Ne'eman? He's the one up for an appointment, not Obama.

    A few are concerned about Ne'eman's actual qualifications, and I don't blame them. He's well-educated, articulate, and understands various disability issues. However, I don't think it would hurt for him to have more hands-on experience will all levels of autism and all types of disabilities, to get his degree in political science, have been employeda certain number of years, or, in short, have more experience under his belt.

    At the end of the day, all we can hope for is that he will be fairly and thoroughly examined, and on the basis of his knowledge and skill regarding disability, not because of some grudge.

    By Anonymous Adrianna, at 4:11 AM  

  • I too would like to know who this "anonymous" is. I've heard mostly positive responses to his nomination. I do know that there are some people opposed to it-but I'm not privy as to why-with the exception of AoA who seem to oppose anything that is not directed by them.
    I would rather someone who is autistic be on the committee than someone who isn't. I am an admirer of his work. I hope this gets resolved and quickly.

    By Blogger kathleen, at 6:08 PM  

  • Adrianna, I laughed a bit when reading what you wrote.

    I immediately thought, "A few are concerned about Mr. Obama's actual qualifications, and I don't blame them. Mr. Obama is well-educated, articulate, and understands various troublemaking issues. However, I don't think it would hurt for him to have more hands-on experience with all kinds of people who are not from Chicago."

    That said, I want Ari's appointment confirmed. The one thing I think that the Won has done right, and the Senate doesn't consent to it!

    By Blogger Justthisguy, at 9:19 PM  

  • Mr. Obama is well-educated, articulate, and understands various troublemaking issues. However, I don't think it would hurt for him to have more hands-on experience with all kinds of people who are not from Chicago."

    And what, you think candidates go traipsing across the continent because they're bored with their home office? They DO want to get to know the people that they are about to provide for and, obviously, get their votes. Can't do that if you don't know the people you are trying to appeal to. Furthermore, what rational person wants a president who is uneducated, lacks life experience, and who knows nothing about the world outside their hometown? I don't.

    It's ridiculous to compare understanding autism to understanding a town, as autism is much more complex. Autism is an internal neurological state and a town is a physical construction with people and rules of governance. There is really no comparison.

    By the way, I don't recall the title of the post referring just to autism. It's the nationa council on disability. As in the hundreds of thousands of disabilities other than autism. So yes, I think asking for a base of knowledge outside of autism is more than appropriate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:52 PM  

  • Sorry, that anonymous above is me.

    By Anonymous Adrianna, at 12:52 PM  

  • What's the bet the block was put up by Dan Burton?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:33 PM  

  • I hope Ari's nomination gets confirmed, and soon. He's brilliant, he's a tireless advocate, and he knows how to speak the truth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:01 PM  

  • My mom just went to a conference where a friend of Ari Ne'eman spoke. I wish I could come and hear the lecture, as I think it is helping her move a little more in the neurodiversite direction. I hope she does not think I'm spending too much time on the internet following a "cult" though.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:43 AM  

  • Did everyone know that Age of Autism has started a petition opposing Ari's nomination? The link is on Autism Gadfly, and it already has more than 500 signatures. There should be a counter petition.

    By Blogger Matt Hogan, at 11:38 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Bob Badour, at 11:03 AM  

  • Bob, you're banned. And that also goes for any other trolls who amuse themselves by playing guessing games about the identity of anonymous autistic bloggers.

    By Blogger abfh, at 1:03 PM  

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