Pursuing transformative technology with the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities ~ a repost

GOOGLeWhen Laura Palmaro was 10 years old, she woke one morning to find that the central vision in her left eye had all but disappeared. She was not ill and had no genetic issues—it was completely out of the blue. When she was 14, the same rare condition struck her right eye, and she began her freshman year of high school legally blind. Suddenly she was forced to depend on other people to read everything aloud, from school assignments to menus. The toughest part, according to Laura, was losing her sense of independence—and not knowing when or how she would get it back.

Laura has since adopted technological solutions to her vision challenges, using a combination of screen-readers and magnification software to read, work and more. Now a program manager at Google, she is following her passion, helping Chrome and Chrome OS teams make their products more accessible. “Technology has truly transformed my life,” she says. “Assistive technology can tear down boundaries, and empower people to find their independence and fulfill their dreams.”

We agree with Laura about the power of technology to change lives. And in order to support more people like her—people who see obstacles as opportunities—we’re launching the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. We’re putting $20 million in Google.org grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities, and today we’re issuing an open call to identify new areas of opportunity at g.co/ImpactChallengeDisability.

We’re kicking things off with support for two remarkable organizations. Each of these organizations is using technology to dramatically reduce the cost of and access to prosthetic limbs and auditory therapy, respectively—which could be transformative for hundreds of millions of people.

  • The Enable community connects people who want prosthetics with volunteers who use 3D printers to design, print, assemble, and fit them, for free. This dramatically cuts costs, increases speed of distribution, and meets unmet needs. We’ll support the Enable Community Foundation’s efforts with a $600,000 grant to advance the design, distribution and delivery of open-source 3D-printed upper-limb prosthetics.
  • Diagnosing auditory challenges can be a struggle in low income communities—the equipment is expensive, bulky and unrealistic, particularly in the developing world. With our support, and a $500,000 grant, World Wide Hearing will develop, prototype and test an extremely low cost tool kit for hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available—and affordable—in the developing world.

The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities will seek out nonprofits and help them find new solutions to some serious “what ifs” for the disabled community. We will choose the best of these ideas and help them to scale by investing in their vision, by rallying our people and by mobilizing our resources in support of their missions.

But of course, we realize there’s always room to improve our products as well. We have a team committed to monitoring the accessibility of Google tools; and we provide engineering teams with training to incorporate accessibility principles into products and services. That doesn’t just mean improving existing Google tools, it means developing new ones as well. For example, Liftware is a stabilizing utensil designed to help people with hand tremors eat more easily, and self-driving cars could one day transform mobility for everyone.

Historically, people living with disabilities have relied on technologies that were often bulky, expensive, and limited to assisting with one or two specific tasks. But that’s beginning to change. Thanks to groups like Enable and World Wide Hearing, and with tools like Liftware, we’re starting to see the potential for technologies that can profoundly and affordably impact millions. But we’ll all get there sooner if we make it a team effort—which is why we’re launching Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities today. Together, we can create a better world, faster.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google.org

Washington transit system: Our roads got a grade of D , light rail reduced and now our bridges


Dear Washingtonians

Below is a snippet of an article and petition you should sign from the Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club. I put it in a separate post.

Senator Curtis King, Co-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, is promoting a new transportation funding proposal that will set us back
decades. This new budget proposal fails to fund over $900 million worth of projects that are necessary to operate our transit system, provide
street improvements for bikes and pedestrians, and address polluted water runoff associated with roads.

Our bridges are literally crumbling around us. Workers can’t get to jobs because their bus service has been cut. The new road “mega-projects”
being considered in the transportation funding proposal would dramatically increase climate changing pollution and increase sprawl.
The Senate transportation funding proposal is simply unacceptable.

The reason I attached it to my old write up from 2012 is because Washingtonians need to ask … what did our savings of $2 million with the elimination of the “Free Zone” do for our transportation when our bus services are still being cut !!!

TO: Seattle City Council

I wrote about The “ride free zone” ending way before the September 29th deadline hoping they would rescind the order to end it. Today, the local media showed and interviewed the people who have suffered from the new change and not in a good way. The thing that struck me most aside from the obvious was the comment about “a one time set-aside for bus tickets,” of $250,000 in emergency money for homeless people to ride Metro.

Below is a video and article that is heartbreaking

Homeless hopes public helps with discounted Metro bus tickets … click on the link below for the video and article !


It was a nice surprise to hear that people are still protesting the elimination of the “Ride Free Zone”  giving full exposure to the real reasons why the Seattle King Council voted to eliminate the “Ride Free Zone.”  Yes, we all know about that 2million dollar savings but the mission to make the downtown and the transit look and smell beautiful by leaving the homeless, disabled and those needing services out in the cold, which btw are all located on or near the “Ride Free Zone.”

In 2011, king county hit its residents with a two-year vehicle license fee that was supposed to help keep metro alive. Now, Metro Bus Riders find out that a deal done with Republicans will eliminate the “Ride Free Zone,” a Merchant straight away and beautiful feature of the City of Seattle – free for over 35 years.

The facts are; that more than 10 million boarding’s are logged each year inside the Ride Free Area; another 9,000 rides are taken each day without fare. There are reports that without the compromise reductions in Metro would have affected 80% of all bus riders including the poor. Unfortunately, balancing budgets off the backs of the middle and poor has been a Republican mission since 2010. It is with great sadness to think and or believe all that King County Officials seemed to have forgotten or sacrificed for that 2 million “Ride Free Zone” cost savings per year. This includes tourists, people commuting home from across the water, downtown workers accustomed to hopping on the bus to grab a quick bite, or get some dry cleaning, pop into a store all within an hour and low-income folks who, if you ride in the zone now; know they use it to get around daily.

King County Officials say the “Ride Free Zone” will end after Sept. 29; tell them that making deals with Republicans to phase out an urban mainstay for so many, is bad for Seattle.

If, this new mega-projects monstrosity is real yet will create an environment for more pollution and increase sprawl …

We must say NO

challenge who was in charge of spending

demand accountability


Outsourcing … the new American way? or retaliation and betrayal

just another rant …

Outsourcing, you know; when the company’s bottom line is to get products made in large quantities but on the cheap? Therefore, they send thousands of jobs overseas where cost per employee is so low you cannot refuse in spite of the millions of unemployedAmericans

I have to say when there is a choice between getting cheap material, retaliating against President Obama, cheap labour or that word so many folks on TV involved in the market say “uncertainty”. We all have to compare and contrast what they want opposed to participating in helping America be number one again and the handwriting is clear … Profit before People and Country is the choice of those sitting on the sidelines of “uncertainty” have decided to take.

Unless you are living under a rock, you know or have heard that big Corporations are still sitting on trillions of dollars hate regulation, the rules, fair trade now seem to be fighting the government and the need to help their fellow Americans. The various companies who feel they have no choice as the “uncertainty” of it puts them at risk are leaving Americans jobless. Yes, they have every right to do so but in a time when your fellow American is jobless, your country is still in a recession what could be better for all parts of our financial system to come together and agree to fix the various strands causing our economy to deteriorate instead of participating in retaliation. It’s my contention that those sitting on all that money might be waiting for the 2012 elections and contrary to what Harold Ford suggested – soften regulations and stop criticizing , we have to make sure that the new regulations stay in place otherwise we will always have the uncertainty of systematic financial collapse. It is time for Wall Street, banksters and big Corporations to take part in the healing of America and stop playing the waiting game because given our choices Americans with any common sense will not dare vote for anyone else but Barak Obama in 2012.

In May of 2009 there was a rumor that GM was planning to outsource more American jobs to Russia instead of being a part of our financial solution by providing Americans with jobs, Bill Gates has outsourced to other companies as well as other well-known celebrities and who have started companies overseas in order to get materials on the cheap. Fortunately, President Obama did not allow GM and most of the auto industry to collapse though many politicians even Detroit politicians and current candidates for President felt they should meet their makers and go into bankruptcy which makes you wonder how American is that and what does that tell about their Presidential attributes. I could not vote for a person who would turn their back on a company so apart of what being an American is all about and in the end President Obama saved over millions jobs. While Teapublicans and some conservadems in Congress filibuster common sense efforts to get America back on track, meaning JOBs bills that will help everyone not just adding government jobs or an infrastructure Bank is something that will be available for the Private Sector and Public Service. This is good for everyone but Teapublicans on both the State and Federal level have one thing on their agenda and that is pulling down our beloved America to the edge of disaster in order to take down President Obama … ask yourself how American is that? Teapublicans seem to be out of touch and clearly have a narrow view of how they would govern. Teapublicans are clearly unqualified to govern and if you need evidence do some research on how well Speaker Boehner, Cantor McConnell are really doing and it ain’t for We the People.

Outrage cannot begin to describe how this should make Americans feel and is this what Americans have to look forward to from other so-called American companies more Wall Street and Bank retaliation disguised as an “uncertainty” in tax laws and other policies that will limit their ability to “beat” the system.(my take). We all know these companies were bailed out by Americans who then turned on us by deciding to sit on or use the money to go on trips, hold seminars and give huge bonus’ to their employees without real merit involved.  We all know that the money we Americans gave the Banks should have been reinvested in America by providing small or huge business loans. So, what happened and what is wrong with playing by the rules, regulations, policies that are transparent, provide full disclosure, and might deter folks from betting against Americans to get theirs. If you listen to the rumors, Eric Cantor seems to feel betting against fellow Americans might be lucrative and unfortunately, this seems atypical of the Teapublican Party.

The practice of sitting on money, in our case trillions of dollars or offshoring jobs is unacceptable and if outsourcing continues unemployment will remain a problem.






We need to end tax giveaways to the 1%

Tell President Obama: End tax giveaways to the 1%

Petition to President Barack Obama:
“Use your executive authority to direct the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to end tax giveaways to large corporations, multimillionaire hedge fund managers, and the worst of the 1% that will cost America more than $100 billion over the next decade, including the ‘check-the-box,’ ‘earnings stripping,’ ‘valuation discount,’ ‘carried interest,’ ‘Hewlett-Packard,’ and ‘Real Estate Investment Trust’ tax loopholes.”

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º


Dear fellow Progressive,

Stand with Bernie Sanders

Just in time for tax day, Senator Bernie Sanders has figured out how President Obama can close massive tax loopholes with a few strokes of a pen, and he needs our help.

In a recent letter to President Obama, Senator Sanders outlined six loopholes that massive corporations, hedge fund managers, and the worst of the 1% use to dodge taxes and avoid paying us back for providing roads, courts, and an educated workforce.1

Closing all six loopholes would raise more than $100 billion that could be invested in America — and best of all, the president can do it all without Congress.

Tell President Obama: End tax giveaways to the 1%. Click here to sign the petition.

The list of loopholes that the worst of the 1% use to avoid taxes reads like a how-to guide for multimillionaire hedge fund managers and multinational corporations trying to rip off a nation:

  • The “check-the-box” loophole. Simply by checking one box, companies can claim that an entity it owns should be ignored by the IRS for tax purposes. By giving different stories to different governments, they can transfer profits between subsidiaries tax free. Closing this loophole would raise up to $78 billion over the next decade.2
  • The “Hewlett-Packard” loophole. Companies are supposed to pay taxes when they bring offshore profits back to America. But if their offshore subsidiaries only provide a short-term “loan” to the onshore parent company, they can dodge the law. At one point, Hewlett-Packard was found to be “borrowing” billions, tax-free.3
  • The “Real Estate Investment Trust” loophole. Real estate investment trusts are like mutual funds for real estate, and they don’t pay corporate income tax. But all sorts of companies, from private prisons to casinos, now claim to be real estate investment trusts in order to dodge taxes.4
  • The “carried interest” loophole. Wealthy investors pay hedge fund managers billions to manage their money. But this loophole allows those fund managers to pretend that their income is actually a capital gain from selling investments — and capital gains are taxed at a far lower rate. Closing this loophole would raise up to $18 billion.5
  • The “earnings stripping” loophole. CREDO members have fiercely fought corporate inversions, where big U.S. companies merge with a smaller foreign company to avoid paying taxes. The Treasury Department has already cracked down on one tax dodge related to inversions, and closing the other, the “earnings stripping” loophole, could raise up to $13 billion over the next decade.6
  • The “valuation discount” loophole. If wealthy parents put a restriction on selling a company before transferring it to their children, it is considered less valuable and so they pay less in taxes — even if that restriction is then removed or ignored. The IRS could overlook these meaningless restrictions and raise up to $18 billion over the next decade.7

Tell President Obama: End tax giveaways to the 1%. Click here to sign the petition.

The Internal Revenue Service created the first three loopholes by accident, with administrative rulings that had unintended consequences — and President Obama could easily order the IRS to fix its mistake. The other three could be closed if the Treasury Department used its existing authority to call hedge fund managers “service providers” and issued new rules under the tax code.8

The Obama administration has likely held off on making these changes in order to meet Republican demands that any new investments be “paid for” by closing a loophole. But with a new, right-wing Congress adamantly opposed to any new spending or tax increases, the time for bargaining chips is over. President Obama needs to know that if he takes a bold stand in favor of tax fairness, Americans will stand with him.

Tell President Obama: End tax giveaways to the 1%. Click below to sign the petition:

http:// act.credoaction.com/sign/sanderstaxloopholes_alt/

Thank you for speaking out,

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition â–º
  1. Sanders Asks Obama to Close Six Egregious Corporate Tax Loopholes,” Sanders.Senate.gov, March 3, 2015.
  2. Potential Executive Actions to Close Tax Loopholes,” Budget.Senate.gov, Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.