Everything they want to throw at you will still be covered under "autism."
Sharron Angle, whose understanding of the autism spectrum is just as sophisticated as those of Denis Leary and Michael Savage, has lost her bid to replace Harry Reid in the United States Senate. Angle drew fire from many for her comments attacking insurance coverage for people on the autism spectrum, as well as her refusal to answer questions from reporters and her belief in the Satanic power of the color black.
Let there be much "autistic" rejoicing.
For Autistics Speaking Day, I will be sharing some people with autism who I think you should listen to.
The first is Ari Ne'eman, the first openly autistic presidential appointee. If you read only thing about autism this year, please make it Steve Silberman's article on him.
In it, Ari lays the groundwork for an autistic civil rights movement:
Actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose son has autism, has written a strong argument for The Huffington Post against the common practice of insurance companies' refusing to pay for the treatment of people on the spectrum:
But, what's really crazy is that a lot of families affected by autism actually have perfectly good health insurance. The problem is, in about half of the states in this country, insurance companies can explicitly exclude coverage of critical, medically-necessary therapies and other medical services for kids with autism. So if you live in California or West Virginia, for example, you may be paying big bucks for what would seem to be good health insurance. But if your child has autism, you're going to have to pay out-of-pocket for things like ABA therapy, the most common treatment for autism. Most likely, you're going to cobble together whatever help you can for your child -- whatever you can afford, even though it's probably not as many hours of therapy as your child needs.
My family is among the small minority who can actually manage to pay out of our own pockets for the therapies our son needs -- but with four children, we still feel it, so I share the anger and empathize with the massive frustration our fellow families feel. Because our kids have autism -- and not diabetes or cancer -- they are out of luck.
The whole piece is worth reading, especially after Governor David Paterson's very disappointing veto of legislation that would have required insurane companies in New York to cover treatment for autism.
I initially thought the competing Jon Stewart/Stephn Colbert rallies were a brilliant idea. What better way to combat Glenn Beck's looniness than with a one-two punch of satire? Stewart made fun of Tea Party extremism by going to the opposite extreme, suggesting people carry signs with messages like "I disagree with you but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler." As usual, Colbert found a way to be even more extreme than Beck. Of course, I'm not able to remember any of Colbert's specific bits because, also as usual, he was more successful at being polemic than being funny.
Colbert's heart is certainly in the right place. I still admire his courage in attacking the Bush administration to their faces when the vast majority of those in the media were still kowtowing to them. I think eveything he does is motivated by a sense of morality that comes out of his (very liberal) Catholic faith As James Martin says in an article focusing on Colbert's faith, “He is preaching the gospel, but I think he is doing it in a very postmodern way.” But preaching-- although Colbert does it well-- isn't funny. And his anti-hero personna-- which is very funny indeed-- is also extremely grating. Often, if I mention something I've seen Colbert do, someone among the people I'm talking with will want to talk about much they dislike him. This seems to happen more with him than with any other entertainer I enjoy, and I think it's due in part to his extreme personna and the very didactic nature of his material.
Pushing Jon Stewart into a polar opposite of Colbert has made him equally polemic, but much, much duller. The Daily Show has been useless in the last couple of weeks. Not because there hasnt been ample material in the news to make fun of, but because the show is too focused on praising Stewart, selling their book, and touting the virtues of being sane.
Here's the thing: sanity and comedy don't mix very well. It doesn't work to try to directly from encouraging people to be fair to making fun of people. Satire is an essential part of a reasonable society, but reason and rationality are not funny. Yes, John Stewart is a powerful advocate for American sanity, but he needs the freedom to be crazy in order to be funny.
Last night's rally segment was a brilliant (but unfunny) satire of the mistakes our too-sane president has made in dealing with the willing-to-act-completely-crazy Republicans. Watch the clip (and read my thoughts about it) by clicking here.