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January 31, 2009 - Bill Ackerbauer
Quite an event today at FMCC, huh? I wanted to attend and watch the spectacle firsthand, but a brutal head-and-chest cold has been keeping me out of commission these last few days.
Mike Anich's story confirms what I've heard about Gov. David Paterson's oratorical style: He has a sharp sense of humor, and he's not afraid to use it, even when talking about unpleasant subjects such as his own disability and the lousy economy. His joke about how dangerous it would be for him to shave got me wondering just how blind the governor is, and I stumbled upon this bit of info from Slate.com: Legally Blind
Very interesting. I never would have guessed that the government can refuse to recognize a disability suffered in the act of committing a felony or while serving prison time for committing a felony. (I feel like there ought to be a Rod Blagojevich joke in here somewhere, something about "seeing no evil.")
Not all blind people think their disability is amusing, of course. I remember last year the National Federation of the Blind got its knickers in a bunch over a movie that depicted Blindness in an sensational way.
I'm not the first to note that only a generation ago, it would have been unfathomable for a disabled person of color to attain New York state's highest office. But David Paterson wasn't the first blind, black man from Harlem to make a name for himself. Have you heard of the Rev. Gary Davis, aka "The Harlem Street Singer?" Here he is (was) in action:
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