Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For the Deaf Republicans... What to Do Now?

So you’re a firebrand Republican, your heart filled with the color red, and you voted for McCain/Palin. Some of you, like quite few Republicans I personally know, crossed party lines and voted for Obama. But you’re not willing to let go of your Republican brand and political identity. That’s fine.

It’s important that you keep on calling yourself a Republican. No wait, make that a Deaf Republican.

It’s more important than you realize to be a Deaf Republican at this turning point in American politics. Why? Because things are changing and both political parties are at the point where they have to embrace change – either by choice or not by choice.

It’s prime time for you.

The most crucial thing for you to do as a Deaf Republican: Don’t give up. The worst thing you can do for yourself, your deaf community, and your political party at this moment is to give up your interest in politics or activism out of disappointment at the election results.

What’s more, it’s a rich opportunity for YOU the Deaf Republicans to enter the party. You can be part of the resurgence of the Republican Party and in return you will get the respect and ears of the Republican party. Our deaf issues needs to be heard and taken into serious consideration by both parties.

The reason why it’s so important for deaf people to get involved with both parties is because if deaf community chooses to become overly involved in “one party,” then the deaf community will lose allies with the another party.

Here's a good piece about how the GOP - "Grand Old Party" Republicans can "get back in the game."


Be proactive, be strong and impressive, and get involved with your own party!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 5th: Student from Chad Reacts

I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.


Le Toudjida Allara: Hello, my name is Le Toudjida Allara and Im from Chad, Africa. Yesterday I watched at the meeting as the announcement was made about the president-elect. And who was it? Obama wins. Oh?? Wow! It's great. Really, I supported both... neutral. I watched both political parties' philosophies, their politics, and their strategies for the future. I think that both candidates had good strategies, yes, but I looked at Obama and he was such a good speaker and he had good plans on the economy, specifically. McCain had a good plan but his strategy on economy wasn't all that good. Obama, oh yeah, he was better and more clear on explaining himself. I really liked his philosophies, his economy plans, and I can see his influence on the people of the world, too. I hope that when Obama becomes president, he will do good. Yeah.

November 5th: Obama Supporter from Indiana

I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.


Bradley Gantt: Hi, my name is Bradley Gantt. I’m from Indiana. Today... Obama is gonna be our president for the next four years. I’ll let you know – I’m very happy. The time has come. We need a change. Obama winning the presidency is amazing and it has made history. And not just because of his skin color – no – but because he will bring change to America, when we needed it the most due to the past eight years. So, rock on!

November 5th: McCain Supporter From Louisiana

I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.


Dustin Cutrer: Hello, my name is Dustin Cutrer and I'm from Louisiana. I'm a second year Gallaudet University student and I support McCain. My feelings about the election... It happened. Many people voted and I'm satisfied with that. Obama has won. I accept that. The world is still alive. The sun still shines. I got up today in the morning and nothing happened, no big change. I look forward to what Obama will bring to America.

November 5th 2008: The Newspapers Are All Gone at Bison Shop


Nick: Hello, my name is Nick.

Norah: And my name is Norah.

Nick: We're here in the Bison Shop. Now, I'd like to explain about something amazing. Today is November 5th 2008, the day before the election.

Norah: No, after the election!

Nick: Oh, I meant AFTER the election! Haha, anyway who won the election? Obama is the President. And what happened??? Look at the newspapers

(Shot of empty newspaper stand)

Nick: It's all GONE! It was emptied in less than half a hour when this store first opened today. And still, so many people came here asking for newspapers. We have nothing left, nothing. I had to apologize. It's Obama! And it's all gone.

November 5th: The Scene at SLCC

The crowds are gone.

The visual noise has declined.

The big television screen is blank and dark.

Yet... it's November 5th, 2008. History is here and change is in the air.

The Sorenson Language and Communication Center was mostly empty and quiet. Only thing that reminded us of the historic night spent here were the students setting up video cameras to record fellow students' reaction to last night. Everybody knows we're witnessing history as we move through the day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is How You Can Thank Me

Today, I woke up knowing that it was a historical day.

November 5, 2008.

Still, time doesn't stop. Life goes on. I'm still just a college student. I've got classes to worry about, professors to please, and grades to make. I went to all of my morning classes and as soon as my final morning class ended at 11 AM today, I immediately hurried over to the university bookstore to grab a piece of newspaper. To my surprise, there were no newspaper. I know today was a historical day but I had still some faith that the stock would be enough to last for few hours in the morning. I was wrong.

I asked the workers at bookstore and they said that newspapers had run out in the first hour. Throughout the rest of the day, I checked SEVEN different locations and no November 5th 2008 newspapers were in sight.

I even paged my family in Maryland, asking them to get some newspapers - the reply from my mother was that she had gone to 711, CVS, and food stores and they were all OUT.

It's becoming increasingly clear that today's such a historical day that the newspapers have run out of stock rapidly. Therefore, I have a suggestion for you - my dear readers.

I've gotten many comments and emails thanking me for my blog work. They all mean a great deal to me and I want to say that it's out of sheer passion and pleasure that I maintain this blog for you, the hearing and deaf community. I truly do believe that the deaf rightly deserve to have a place at the table and be part of the conversation about politics in America... It's just a matter of getting there.

Now, there is one way you can express your gratitude to me. One way you can pay me back.

You can buy me a November 5th 2008 newspaper and send it to me.

:-) That's all I ask of you, my dear readers. Otherwise, keep on reading and being involved in American politics!!

ASL Soulja Dance for Obama

A bunch of Obama supporters get together and spontaneously treat us to a Soulja dance tailored for an Obama cheer!

Obama Wins Election: Gallaudet Reacts Part 2

gallaudet reacts to obama's win

Obama Wins Election: Gallaudet Reacts Part 1

Gallaudet reacts, part 1

Spirits Still High Despite the Rain

Volunteers still rock on even though we were standing outside for hours in rain. Democracy is a good feeling :-)

Jacob Leffler: How Many Left?

Jacob Leffler speaks to the crowd, counting down how many McCain and Obama's got to win

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


What an eventful night in SLCC!

Just as the seconds were being counted down "New Years Eve"-style, the biggest TV screen on campus went dark suddenly. The room erupted into chaos and confusion and some people immediately went to smaller televisions in adjacent hallways and rooms. Then they ran out shouting OBAMA IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT! ITS DONE!! over and over again.

There was still more disbelief, many people did not immediately cheer at the same time. Some people let a smile grow over their faces, some shouted, some cheered, and even more stampeded to the smaller televisions - abandoning the biggest TV screen on campus. SLCC may have been the place for our historical night, but the biggest TV screen on campus did not claim the prize for being the exact TV to report Barack Obama's presidency.

Many people huddled together, smiled, congratulated each other, and broke out into spontaneous high fives and hugs for strangers. Then we all went back to the biggest TV screen on campus for John McCain's speech, which was moving and very well done. The anticipation built up and up for Barack Obama's speech.

Then he walked onstage with his family. The deaf people in SLCC, on Gallaudet University campus, broke out into loud applause. Some of us supported John McCain, quite a number of us supported Barack Obama - but by the end of his moving speech, we were all reminded: We are all Americans. Our union can be perfected.

For the deaf community, we have greater hope now. All we need to do is move towards it, to have faith and work hard for the greater good.

Yes we can.

Yes we can.

Yes we can.

Megan Matovich: About the Deaf View

Megan Matovich explains about the wonderful technology that brings us the four-way conversation live in Sorenson Language and Communication Center

The Deaf View

A four-way conversation with the wonders of modern day video chat technology has brought us the Deaf View a Deaf twist on the TV talk show The View, in which four well known and respected ladies talk about issues with each other. In this version, we have four well known and respected members of the Gallaudet community chat with each other and discuss about political ramifications of tonight.


MJ Bienvenu

Fred Weiner

Ben Bahan

Emilio Insolera


reaction to the big tv

Professors Gene Mirus and Joseph Murray Speaks at SLCC

Gallaudet University's own ASL/Deaf Studies professors speak to the students about the importance of tonight and the history of Gallaudet University students finding out about election results before there were TVs.

Explaining the Transcripts

Transcripts will not be provided tonight, due to momentum and the attempt to bring you "LIVE" information. The majority of transcripts will be typed up after tonight. Be sure to check back soon!

However, I do remain consistent and unwavering in my support of the need to transcript/caption videos.

Transcripts are extremely time-consuming to type up, that is the reason why they're not up yet.

Turnout at Election Watch Party, Gallaudet University

A Historic Night in a Historic Building!


On my metro ride home after a long day working the Maryland polls, I was mulling over the upcoming event at Gallaudet. I was anxious to see how many people would gather and take interest in the Election Watch. The polls closed and the broadcast started at 7pm. Once arriving at Gallaudet I was amazed by the amount of people that showed up. The president-elect will be a big part of the next four years, so I was really inspired to see a large number of the Gallaudet community that showed up to watch and discuss the broadcast of this event.

Leah Katz-Hernandez: In the Back Room

I explain about the hidden room next to the room next to the voting booths. There's plenty to feed the volunteers and it's a nice place to take a break.


Hello. Right now we are in a small room that is hidden right next to the gymnasium where all the voting booths are set up. However, we cannot take you into there since video recordings taken place inside polling places are not permitted. As you can see there is a table filled with food that have been donated by the various people in the community or paid for by the county or paid by local campaigns for the volunteers helping out today which is greatly appreciated. There is also a T.V. in the break room stationed on the CNN channel so the volunteers can just sit back and relax and keep up to date with what is going on. So it’s pretty nice that we have all this here.

Leah Katz-Hernandez: IN the Polling Places

Some advice about voting. I tell you what it's like in person. I'm a first time voter!


We began filming inside the polling center, but learned quickly that it is against the law to film inside the building due to voter intimidation. We decided to move the filming location outside of the building. As I said in the polling center, I recently voted! When I was voting, realized the sample ballots are very useful. This sample ballot contains detailed information regarding which platform best suits you and is a helpful guide when making decisions in the voting booth. The law allows you to bring that with you when voting. I encourage you, when you go and vote, find the sample ballot and bring it with you as you vote. When I arrived, I was lucky the line was not that long, and now look at the number of people lined up to vote.

Today is a good day to go outside and exercise your basic American voting rights!


Deafread's editors will NOT publish everything I write.

So I strongly encourage you to click on the "The Deaf Perspective" link on top of this blog so you may view all of my blog entries. Or just bookmark my blog and check back on it frequently. Some of the entries I've posted include really important information, such as advice on voting and Election day, but due to Deafread's strict standards on publication - whenever something is not related to deaf issues, it will not be published.

So this is a reminder to you to keep on checking my blog in its entirety. Thanks!

And of course...


Historical Turnout: Even the Birds Say V for Vote!!!

Just a glimpse into America on Election Day 2008

Leah Katz-Hernandez: First Time Voters


Leah Katz-Hernandez: One thing I'd like to talk about that's really special about this year the fact that there are a lot of young voters turning out. Voters voting for the first time. And people who haven't voted since but they're voting for the first time today. There's a lot of new voters being added to the rolls. A good example is my family my family has five people in it. Out of that number, three are first time voters. That's my brother, me, and my brother! :-)

Leah Katz-Hernandez: Booths at Polling Places


Hello! Here I am! This is Leah, reporting from where? The Clopper Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland my home area. Now the voting lines are getting long. The booths and everything are over there in the building. The Democratic Partys booth is here, a little separate from the lines. The voters can walk over here if theyre interested in our stuff. But we dont bother them. Its all volunteer work here. What do we give them? We give them information, about the Democratic candidates. Such as this Those three are the Congressional district candidates. And down here, Obama and Biden. What is this piece of paper? Its called a SAMPLE BALLOT. Its purpose is to encourage you to vote for the Democratic Party by giving you a visual sample ballot of who to vote for. So that you may be clear on whom youre going to vote for, understand and go into the booth knowing exactly whos the right person to vote for not the wrong person! And also we have information about local ballot motions, that people dont support or encourage you to vote for. Heres an example of no support: Three Good Reasons to Vote NO on Question B Bad policy, cutting of finances/funding, and increasing class sizes in schools. This one talks about education, obviously. See this flyer? The apple reminds you of school, right? The information related to educational motions is printed here. Today is such a historical day! Judy Stout, who I work with, says that shes never seen such a huge line before especially out into the street! The lines used to not be so bad; sometimes, thered be no lines and people would just walk in and out. But, wow, lines out into the street! Never seen that before. Amazing. Its a historical day. I feel really inspired to be here. Thank you!

Judy Stout: Long Lines on Election Day!

Judy Stout describes her role in local politics and talks about the extremely long lines due to massive turnout. This was taken at 7:45 AM today.


Judy Stout: Hello, I’m Judy Stout. I’m precinct chair of here, 9-26th of District 39. I’ve been the chair for almost one year now. I was involved with voter registration last January. Oh, that was a cold day! I was there all day from 6 AM until 6 PM, when we had to stop. Today’s a really special day! I’ve never seen so many people, they’re lining up so long all the way to outside!! This is a historical moment – for both parties! The minority ticket is there. It’s amazing. It’s thrilling. And I’m also thrilled to have Leah Katz-Hernandez here with us today, helping out and working to pass out the fliers and information. She will videotape all this information, you’ll see them. And she’ll catch all the long lines on the video for you. Take a look!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Practical, Be Wise, Protect Your Rights on Election Day

This is what Election Day will probably look like at the voting booths.

I want to be practical here and prepare all of you who are going to vote in person today. My personal advice, from what I've read in various publications and older people's words would be:

Do your research. Know who the candidates are for Senators and House Representatives. They are just as important as the President, sometimes even more important because they control the law-making.

Know what propositions are being brought up. For example, Prop. 8 is being brought up in California that has controversial support for and against it. It's important for you to know what to vote on so you may not make a mistake and vote for something that you do not support.

Bring a pen and paper. If you have NOT requested it in advance, forget the request for interpreters, I'm sorry to say. Unless you're lucky enough to bring along a friend who may interpret for you, CODA family members, or meet random people who can interpret for you. The reason is practical - Election day is going to be VERY CHAOTIC. Expect it.

Don't get frustrated at the long lines. Be prepared. Bring a book, homework, or whatever else you think may keep you occupied.

Let know your school or work place in advance. Laws currently allow only two hours of absence from work to vote but frankly, I'd say that casting your vote in this pivotal election is much, much more important than few hours of work/school. Communicate with your superiors. Work it out.

DON'T EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BE FOOLED!!! Check out this story about dirty tricks whose only purpose is to confuse or prevent voters from exercising their most basic American right. DO NOT BE A VICTIM! Report anything that looks fishy and be brazenly stubborn in your quest for the voting booth.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. The stupidest one is the one who stays silent. It's better to ask questions and be careful rather than casting the wrong ballot or finding out later that your vote wasn't counted because of some mistake.

Last but not least: Talk to your peers, friends, and family. Encourage them to vote as well. If you know anybody who can vote and isn't voting, pester them to get their bodies over to the polling places! No vote should be uncast.

Bring your identification and/or voter registration.

Use your common sense. Vote.

November 4th

It's here!!

After many months of speculation, excitement, and crazy events... It's finally here. The day of decision. It's time for America to go to the booths and choose their next President of United States. Not only that but also the Senators and House Representatives who will control the legislation for the next four years.

Aren't you proud to be finally here? To finally see this moment?

I sure am!

And I'm going to share it with you. Today my plans are to go vote in person at my local polling place. I won't be alone.... my family will be voting today, also. My mother, my father, and my two younger brothers. I will also volunteer my time with Judy Stout, who is District 39 precinct official in Montgomery County, Maryland. I'm going to see in person for the first time, up close to the polling, booths, and the whole shebang. And good news for all of you! I'm going to bring along my trusty video camera and digital camera so I may update my blog as soon as possible.

At 7 pm, the doors will open at the historic Sorenson Language and Communication Center building at Gallaudet University - so renowned for its unique Deaf-space architecture - for an all-night Election Watch Party. I'll be there, mingling with my college peers and anxiously watching the television as the polls close. I'll be bringing you the scene from there, too.

November 4th is here.

Let the blitz begin.

Latest Gallup Poll Says Minorities Likely to Factor in Final Results

In this blog entry, I will talk about polling, especially the Gallup poll and its most recent findings about the minorities’ impact on Election this year. Then I will tie into what that means for us as a group of deaf voters in America.

Here's the LATEST Gallup Poll:


The Gallup poll is well known in history for being one of the most stable, non-partisan, and thorough poll ever. The Gallup poll has decided that based on polling, Obama will win the election 55% to McCain’s 44%. I believe it is dependable poll because the Gallup poll is famous for being neutral, independent of any political affiliation. From the Wikipedia page on the Gallup poll:

To ensure his independence and objectivity, Dr. Gallup resolved that he would undertake no polling that was paid for or sponsored in any way by special interest groups such as the Republican and Democratic parties, a commitment that Gallup upholds to this day.

George Gallup gave birth to modern non-partisan polling in 1936 when he was able to correctly predict the year’s presidential election by asking a sample group of only 5,000 people with diverse backgrounds, economical status, and political opinions. Over the years, the Gallup poll has only been wrong twice – first time with the infamous Dewey victory prediction in 1948. You might remember the famous photo below of Harry Truman triumphantly holding up a newspaper that incorrectly stated a Dewey win in the presidential election. The second error in the Gallup poll’s history was in 1976 when the poll predicted a narrow victory by Gerard Ford; in reality, Jimmy Carter won by slim margin. Due to its reliability, the Gallup has been one of the most checked-upon and oft-referenced information on public opinion.

During the 2008 presidential election, the Gallup poll has maintained a daily poll by asking roughly 1,000 adults every day. The tracking poll is published every three days. Thus the poll is frequently updated and reliable in consideration of the changing public opinion.

What I’d like to emphasize about the Gallup poll’s most recent finding is not the predicting part but the fact that Gallup has found that minority groups will make a major difference in this election. Here’s an excerpt from the Gallup poll:
An Obama victory would also owe a great debt to overwhelming support from racial and ethnic minorities. McCain led among white voters, 51% to 44%, but Obama more than made up for that with an 83% to 13% advantage among non-whites, including a 97% to 1% advantage among blacks and a 73% to 24% lead among Hispanics.

According to Gallup's final pre-election polls, the last time a presidential candidate won without winning the white vote was Bill Clinton in 1992. That year George Bush narrowly beat Clinton by two points among white voters, 41% to 39%, with 20% supporting third party candidate Ross Perot. Prior to that, Gerald Ford in 1976 received 52% of the white vote to Jimmy Carter's 46%, but Carter won the election with 85% of the non-white vote.

The message that this poll sends is: a minority group’s strong vote can be pivotal in winning an election. Thus, if the deaf people were to assemble themselves to be a strongly defined group of voters – it IS enough to swing an election. Also, the more attention that minorities receive in elections, the better news it is for the deaf people because we are a minority in a hearing world. The more people pay attention to the “little people,” the more we are empowered. And in this election, through the Gallup finding, the minorities have proved their might in voting.

Bottom line: VOTE, even though you think “your vote doesn’t matter”… It DOES!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The next president is likely to be (Open Captioned)

An open-captioned video by an average-looking hearing person. He talks about his prediction on who will win the Presidential Election 2008. This video was taken in March 20, 2008.

I decided to add this to my blog because it was interesting, open-captioned, and showed the relevant political opinions of the public. If more hearing people would caption their videos, more deaf people could benefit from it and join in the discussion. As opposed to "being left out of the conversation" as we often are with non-captioned, non-transcribed videos.

It is my hope that the internet will become more accessible with time and that the hearing people will be more open to personally captioning their videos.

However, we the deaf should be the ones who are setting the example. We can make the first step in captioning/transcribing our videos in ASL. The reason why I'm supportive of this is because hearing people out there ARE interested in hearing what you have to say. This applies in political interest and all other spectrum, such as entertainment or chatter, too. When you make yourself accessible, you are opening your world up to the world and enabling them to better understand you, your interests, and your stance on issues.

I'm compelled to talk about a Washington Post article that I was featured in few months ago about the internet and technology:

But as entertainment and communications tools increasingly take digital form, some people with disabilities feel left behind. Online videos are not required to have captions for those who can’t hear, for example, and ticker-style emergency messages are not narrated for those who can’t see.

The article talked about a bill, which at the time, was being introduced. The bill would have called for the internet and newer technology to be more accessible:

The bill, also sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., calls for new rules for devices that display video programming. Federal law requires all TV sets with screens larger than 13 inches to display closed captions. Under the new legislation, all gadgets from MP3 music players to cell phones would be required to show captions.

Devices also would be obligated to provide video description services and read aloud emergency messages that scroll across the bottom of the screen. And they would have to be designed so that on-screen menus are usable by people with disabilities.

When you vote, you are making your voice heard and voting people into office who you believe will support your agenda. Nobody is overlooked when you cast your vote. When you vote into the office a Senator, make sure he or she will support bills that will improve your life. And bills such as this one may help remove the barriers to online captioning so that we may have more interesting videos to enjoy such as the guy above. Voting is one of the many ways you can help push the deaf/hard of hearing agenda.