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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pay Me In Singles

I got this message on my blackberry this afternoon


Thankfully the judge wouldn't tell anyone how to fix the problem, but he told them to start working on the problem within 10 days.

You know what else is unfair to blind people? Being blind...

Money in its present form is also unfair to the following;

  1. Quadraplegics
  2. Amputees
  3. People who can't count
  4. Lazy people
  5. Intellectually challenged people
  6. Psychlogically challenged people
  7. Poor people
  8. People who can't read English
  9. Atheists
  10. Muslims
  11. Foreign Tourists
  12. etc...

So until somebody tells me how to accomodate all those people, I will spend my American greenbacks in shame.

Posted by Mike The Greek on November 28, 2006 | Permalink


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This is a good indication of how crazy and stupid those judges have become and we are affected by the distorted justice system.

We badly need an overhaul of that system.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-11-28 4:20:40 PM

I've always thought ATMs were unfair too.
Your tax money at work.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-28 4:54:36 PM

For those who read the story ... the Judge ruled that the bills violated the Rehabilitation Act. So as a matter of law, he made the right ruling. Now, you are free to think it is a bad law and ought to be repealed, but blaming the judge is just blaming the messenger.

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-11-28 6:04:16 PM

As the New York Times might say
"American money unfair...women and minorities hardest hit."

Posted by: RobM | 2006-11-28 6:11:30 PM

I can't quite read what you just wrote. Please write in larger characters for those of us with visual disabilities.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-11-28 6:19:01 PM

Funny RobM

I would laugh if it wasn't so true.

I am waiting for some pink-bellies to start up about there only being pictures of 'men' on the currency.

Posted by: missing link | 2006-11-28 10:07:20 PM

Judge Robertson does not cite which sections of the statute have be violated. The judge's ruling is mere opinion and doesn't take a plethora of issues into consideration.

American money is one of the most unchanged, if not the most unchanged, currencies in global circulation and is valued for being recognizable worldwide. Changes such as other nations have made to their currency bills would debase American currency recognition and cost multi-billion dollar changes in machines for counting and recognizing the currency.

It isn't surprising that a Muslim Arab, Day Al-Mohamed, a member of a group of people America is at war with whose group, Arab Muslims, would like American currency recognition to be lower for obvious strategic reasons.

"John Paré, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind, the nation's largest organization representing blind people, said identifying the money is hardly the most difficult obstacle for the blind to overcome."

Cash greases the machinery of war.

It sure would be harder to bribe agents of influence during a time of war if those agents couldn't recognize American currency on sight.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-28 10:38:16 PM

The Euro should be used as currency until this abominable situation can be resolved.

Posted by: Philanthropist | 2006-11-28 11:16:50 PM

Good rant there Mike

Nobody ever said life was fair.

I never heard Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder complaining about their money.

Posted by: Duke | 2006-11-29 1:05:48 AM

All he is saying is that people who are BLIND could easily know what each bill was if there were braile-like characters on it. And in the year 2006 I think it is not too far a stretch to say that printing machines could accomodate them.

You see when they have a pizza delivered to them at their home, they just might pay with the right bills!

You insensitive airheads!

Posted by: woodbridge | 2006-11-29 5:26:04 AM

What people here are merely pointing out is that some people make a trade of complaining.

At a time when WWIII is raging, it is similar to a person sitting in his home looking at TV while his house is burning.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-11-29 7:28:37 AM


How far the accomodation of those "not normal" go? When does society eventually get to the point where everyone is subjected to the lowest common denominator? And who pays for all the changes, let alone the advocacy groups that constantly lobby for these changes?

Rather than voice your politically correct, knee jerk reaction about insensitivity, think deeper...

Life isn't fair, it has never been, it will never be...

Posted by: Mike The Greek | 2006-11-29 7:38:21 AM


"How far the accomodation of those 'not normal' go?"

Well, there can be no precise formula for determining that, but it should, in general, be a function of three variables: (1) How common is the abnormality? - the more common, the more we should be accommodating; (2) How easy is it to accommodate? - the easier it is, the more we should be accommodating; (3) How significant a problem is it for the affected person if we do not accommodate them? - The more problematic it is, the more we should be accommodating.

These reasons roughly justify sound signals at major intersections for blind pedestrians, wheelchair access to major public buildings, and adopting currency that can be separated by denomination without looking at it. Most countries already do this with money. It seems reasonable for the US to do it too.

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-11-29 8:04:58 AM

Lowest common denominator? Pots calling kettles black?

Posted by: bobloblaw | 2006-11-29 9:13:44 AM


1) Who determnines the what amount could be considered common?
2) Who determines the the ease of accomodation and what cost to other segments of the population?
3) Who determines the significance of the affliction?

The slippery slope has already begun...

And bobloblaw, you obviously don't understand the issue....

Posted by: Mike The Greek | 2006-11-29 9:38:30 AM

I don't think he really cares 'cause he's just a troll......and besides, not understanding an issue never stopped the vacuous types from making noises anyway.

Posted by: Stevie | 2006-11-29 10:33:13 AM


You shouldn't play with slippery slopes. You only seem to know how to fall down on them.

The logical extension of your argument is that we should not make money (or anything) convenient for anyone. So lets have paper money with no numbers written on them or any other way to tell them apart, because that is to give in to the abilities of the sighted. But that's absurd.

Just because you fear having to actually care about anyone's needs other than yours does not make you right. The currency (and public buildings and crosswalks) belong to all citizens - the sighted, the deaf, and the hopelessly inconsiderate. And so where it is relatively easy to do, accommodations should be made.

Tell me, Mike. If a fire broke out, would you pause to help the old woman who was having trouble getting out or would you (a la George Costanza) push past her thinking "Hey, it's not my problem that she cannot run as well as I can"? Because the latter is the equivalent of what you endorse for policy. If they can't see, fuck em!

Posted by: Mark Logan | 2006-11-29 11:03:39 AM

"The logical extension of your argument is that we should not make money (or anything) convenient for anyone. So lets have paper money with no numbers written on them or any other way to tell them apart, because that is to give in to the abilities of the sighted. But that's absurd." Mark Logan

It certainly is absurd. It's also a logical fallacy to use a strawman argument.

From Mike the Greek's cited article:
"But John Paré, director of public relations for the National Federation of the Blind, the nation's largest organization representing blind people, said identifying the money is hardly the most difficult obstacle for the blind to overcome."

"Paré and Al-Mohamed agree that current tricks help the blind manage their cash, for instance folding different size denominations different ways and leaving one dollar bills crumpled."

"There are techniques for identifying currency that blind people utilize today that work reasonably well," Pare said. "Every single organization that deals with teaching blind people how to deal with currency teaches how to do that."

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 11:41:51 AM

I want it to be duly noted that this site is extrememly unfair to your blind readers. My screen is completely smooth -- not a single ridge nor raised dot to be found anywhere; nothing that would indicate I am purusing the latest conservative opinions as opposed to, say, gay porn. Is that what you want? Some poor blind conservative to think he's reading the Shotgun while his co-workers snicker behind his back?

Posted by: Raging Ranter | 2006-11-29 12:22:20 PM

Logan your a laugh.

Follow this link below and shut up. I know I speak for many when I say I am sick of the left shrieking about how caring and compassionate you are while a conservative is not.


This study shows what any clear thinking person already knows, you and your ilk are fine with using taxpayer money for charity and programs, but are historically tight with your own.

Have you given any consideration to the cost of switching all the currency in the US to meet this requirement? Millions, perhaps billions. But what the hell, its not your money right? It has to be worth it to please a minority, any minority.

Being compassionate does not mean a complete lack of common sense as in your case, and having some crazy law and an even crazier judge apply a law costing millions, (a favorite tact of the left) but finding solutions to a problem.

One I like was mentioned in jest above, why not a pocket sized scanner with voice software to run bills through? I'm sure they are already made.

By the way, I know you are a champion of the supposed "fair and balanced media". Try and find the above study in the MSM.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-11-29 12:34:53 PM

So let me get this straight. There are some people here who actually think that there is some problem with, say, adding a few raised dots to future releases of U.S. paper currency, at a total cost of approximately zero? We're not even talking private property regulations here, this is state currency we're talking about.

You're not conservatives, you're wankers. Thank god you have so little in common with real conservatives, or we would never form the government. Why don't you try learning a trade? Then we would know what kind of work you're out of.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 1:07:17 PM


You're a mile wide and an inch deep...

Think, really think about the post and tell me if it has anything at all to do with blind people.

Posted by: Mike The Greek | 2006-11-29 1:19:05 PM

Same with you Viv... And real conservatives, like me, tend to think about things at a relatively deep level. Try it sometime...

Posted by: Mike The Greek | 2006-11-29 1:23:28 PM

Assuming, Vito, that adding raised dots to currency would cost zero, which of course it wouldn't, it would make it that much easier to short change blind people by diddling the dots.
By the way, how long do you think it would take, considering paper/linen currency is kept in wallets and the like being compressed, for the dots to be worn off or made unusable through sheer wear and tear? Obviously the currency would have to be retired and replaced with higher frequency.

"Thank GOD you have so little in common with real conservatives, or WE would never form the government."

Interesting sentiment from an atheist Libertarian.
Wankers, eh, gee that's almost cute. I'll bet an extreme introvert like you has never had a relationship in his life.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 1:24:11 PM

Yes, up here in Canada we put Eugenics-supporting fascists on our 50 dollar bills. None of this support-the-blind stuff!

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-11-29 1:38:53 PM

Did the judge also decree Detroit to start making cars the blind could drive?

Seriously,this is one area the EU and Canada is way ahead on.Let's face it,money is damn near up there with air,food and water to survive.If us stupid Canadians and those pansy Euros can figure it out,you'd think the Yanks could do something.
Typical of our modern society though,do not address the real problem....that millions of people lack any real morals and would not hesitate to defraud a blind person.
Now THAT is a fact I would have liked to see the judge address.

Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2006-11-29 2:26:35 PM

Can Ob,
American currency is accepted at face value the world over. That is because it remains so unchanged. Canadian currency and Euros, being frequently altered, are not accepted at face value the world over, it must be exchanged.

It is important to American power that U.S. currency is so recognizable. It is arguably import to U.S. blind people that U.S. currency is internationally recognizable too.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 2:40:00 PM

Reread my post,I made NO reference to security.However,we are obviously ahead of them in designing our bills for the blind.

You make a rather gigantic leap claiming ANY change would render their bills remarkedly different.I am holding two newer Canadian twenties...one with pips,one without.They appear absolutely identical.

Posted by: Canadian Observer | 2006-11-29 2:58:56 PM

Can Ob,
Oh you mean the French style bill with the Queen on the left as opposed to the older English style ones with the Queen on the right?

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 3:09:57 PM

I apologize for the gratuitous insults in my previous comment. I do think some of you were being a bit disingenuous, but that's no excuse. I should know better than to blog while cranky. I'm sorry.

I did just check the current Canadian twenty, and the area under the large-font "2" and "0" on the portrait side has a slight distinct texture. I can't read braille, but with my eyes closed I can clearly delineate the denomination of the bill by running a finger over that area.

Karol, is this such a big problem? There's no countervailing indented texture on the other side, so interlocking wouldn't seem to be a problem. And given the amount of wiz-bang technology already in the banknote, it doesn't seem to me that it would be that expensive to produce this effect, once the mints had tooled up.

I was under the impression that U.S. banknotes are already going though a number of subtle changes regarding things like colour adjustments and security features, so it would seem to me that over time they could evolve to provide some sort of feature like this. What am I missing?

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 3:35:09 PM

If the law required such things the judge in the text didn't cite the applicable statutes.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 3:41:32 PM

There's a 1995 paper on currency features for visually impaired people from the U.S. National Research Council here: http://newton.nap.edu/html/currency/summary.html

Interestingly, perhaps, it says: "The committee has identified 171 issuing authorities in the world producing banknotes. Many have specifically addressed the problems of people with low vision by incorporating such features as variable size, variable color, and tactile markings. In some cases, a device is made available to blind people to aid in denominating banknotes. For example, England issues a size template, and Canada supplies its blind citizens with a portable banknote reader with audio output."

There are I think reasonable accommodations that can be made for people without having to tear up my libertarian card ;-) For example, the American Disability Act requires publically accessible web pages to be able to be read by software and converted to usable audio (using things like hidden alternative text for navigation icons).

The software I am responsible for is compliant, but we didn't actually have to do anything we weren't otherwise doing to get that way. It turns out that if you stick to simple old-school HTML you get it almost for free -- it's the new-fangled sites that are getting into trouble (one of the big companies is in court over this).

I'm pretty adamant about drawing the line on what the state can force onto private property, but I understand the role of the commons in society. So I would say, for example, that the state can certainly require wheelchair ramps at the passport office, given their cost effectiveness and the notion that having to attend a passport office in order to obtain a passport isn't exactly optional for citizens.

I would not, however, be in favour of requiring wheelchair ramps on private homes. I own the land, and the house, and it's up to me to decide. And, frankly, I don't think they should be required for, say, bars, because I think they are private property and are not essential services. It's the same sort of problem as with anti-smoking bylaws. But clearly I'm losing that battle.

I remain to be convinced, independent of the details of the particular judgment in the case at hand, that it is unreasonable to have tactile features which make state commons banknotes denominable by the visually impaired. On the other hand, I really, really, think that differently sized banknotes are a bad idea.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 4:14:45 PM

I think, as do you, this is an activist Judge overstepping his bounds.
Great strides are being made in the West to accommodate handicapped people, from voting machines to Olympic games, and I think this Judge's demand for immediate change in the American currency amounts to throwing a tantrum and stamping his feet.

I think the people who brought the suite are doing it for malevolent purpose, not simply to help the Blind.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 4:54:46 PM

It was indeed in England that I first encountered mixed-size banknotes, EBT, and that's were I decided that I think they're a really bad idea. But, arguably, this isn't about my preferences.

But I wouldn't call a sitting federal judge an "official without authority." There are parts of the American Disablity Act that I disagree with, and there are parts that I think are reasonable. I'm not saying that the ADA is at issue here, but I realize there are statues in play.

And Speller, I don't think anyone's demanding immediate change. The judge said they had to start working on the problem within ten days. Perhaps they had been in some way dragging their feet on getting started on something already agreed to?

I remain to be convinced that this as a case of judicial activism.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 5:24:43 PM

I remain to be convinced nobody, including the U.S. government, hasn't already been working on it.

But then maybe, because it would cost approximately zero to put raised dots on the bills, nobody can figure out how to make a buck out of it so they haven't bothered to rush things, hard hearted capitalists that Americans are.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-11-29 5:50:24 PM

"Just because you fear having to actually care about anyone's needs other than yours does not make you right. "

How much money did you give to charity last year? Well it wasn't enough because there are still needy people and causes out there. Does that mean you don't care for the needs of others?

Society is the same way. There is only so much resources to spare (time, money, material). Yet this little example is just one worthy cause. It shouldn't be difficult to find MILLIONS of other equally or greater needy people, causes, projects.

They need to be prioritized and debated without holier than thou pronouncements of moral superiority.

"It seems reasonable for the US to do it too."

Yes, it does. However, they are pretty busy right now running the world. Perhaps you can lend a hand instead of incessantly sniping at them.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-11-29 6:21:22 PM

"I remain to be convinced nobody, including the U.S. government, hasn't already been working on it."

I once DROVE up to a drive-thru ATM in Texas and it had braille on it.

I'm sure you are right, Speller.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-11-29 6:44:39 PM

"Typical of our modern society though,do not address the real problem....that millions of people lack any real morals and would not hesitate to defraud a blind person."

Interesting point. This might then fall under the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-11-29 6:49:57 PM

Now let's not get carried away here. ATM panels are made in standard forms, so if they're being made with braille indicators, then it is less expensive to install a standard ATM with braille in a drive-through than it is to make a custom one without the braille.

I don't know if this is still the case, but when I was a kid, you would often find that single-pole single-throw switches were single-pole double-throw switches with one of the connectors broken off. It was cheaper to make them that way, yet the market still valued the price differentiation.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 7:32:35 PM

You may be correct. Keep in mind I offered it only as an example of how these things do happen, sometimes, inadvertently. The next thing you know, it's policy. I really don't know why it was there. It may very well have been policy already. This particular ATM was on the driver's side BUT I have seen drive-thrus on the passenger side. The blind surely could use those.

Additionally, drive-thru ATMs are likely designed with weather conditions and other security arrangements in mind and may not fit the standard mold you mentioned.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-11-29 8:13:14 PM

Rather that speculate on the basis of some 400 word story on Fox News site -- or worse, some ALL CAPS MESSAGE YOU GOT ON YOUR BLACKBERRY -- , why don't you read the judgment, which you can access from the Fox story?
Of course, if you did that, it might be a little harder to ride around on your judicial activism hobbyhorse. But then again, it might prove you right and you could ride for days.
But going off on tear based on a message you received on your blackberry? That's just goofy?

Posted by: truewest | 2006-11-29 8:31:53 PM

The devil is certainly in the details, H2O.

But let me be clear that I certainly agree that the meddling nanny-state trough-feeders are often nothing better than parasites.

Did you know that the European food labelling goombahs told the people who make spicy "Welsh Dragon Sausage" that they have to change the name to "Welsh Dragon Pork Meat Sausage" because some people might mistakenly think that it was made of dragon meat?

Oh the list goes on and on, from bananna curvature regulations (don't go there) to the one that regulates the ratios of green to white stalk on leeks. In Wales. I think, in this case, that the fine Welsh leek-eaters probably know what ratio they personally like, and I think they should probably take a leak on the state.

But on the banknotes thing, I still don't grok why the inclusion of a set of textured large-font denomination digits on each bill isn't a good idea.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 8:44:51 PM

I do have a clue, Karol, and yes I should have referred to Bureau of Engraving and Printing, or perhaps Banknote Company, not "mint". But, honestly, based on your announcement that you "have been involved in security printing for 15 years", and my respect for a fellow engineer, I was actually asking for your assistance in helping us understand the nature of the problem.

I do appreciate the conflicting requirements specification, but now that I've apologized for my earlier gaffe, I see no need for you to be as nasty about it as I originally, erroniously, was.

So, again, if you would like to write a bit more about the details of the situation, I would be interested in what you have to say.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 10:15:02 PM

To be specific, Karol, can you help me understand why it is not a good idea to include a set of textured large-font denomination digits on each bill? I do security and cryptography as part of my job, and I do understand the kind of subtle attack vectors that are not obvious upon first consideration, but it does seems to me that such textured digits would help make it harder to counterfit notes too, in addition to adding to their utility for visually impaired users.

As I've asked before, and as I've explained I'm not trying to be difficult: what am I missing?

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-29 11:22:29 PM


BTW, about your comment about my fear about helping people, you don't even want to venture to guess how much money I have been personally responsible for raising for my community, for those in need.

I've been involved in a volunteer level for over 20+ years, chaired more than one fundraiser, am emceeing a luncheon tomorrow that will raise $30,000+ for children's charities, not to mention the S4C campaign that will raise money for the local crisis nursery that will go on all holiday season.

So before you shoot off your large mouth and small mind as per usual, don't try to create an image in your mind of what you want me and other conservatives to be. Otherwise, you looking like the uniformed buffon you act like on this board...

As per the study done yesterday, conservatives raise and contribute twice as much in the US than liberals. Liberals yap about how things should be, conservatives actually do the work.

Posted by: Mike The Greek | 2006-11-30 8:44:09 AM

Great work Mike. You are to be congratulated.
Now let's hear about all the good works our *friend* Logan has done.
How 'bout it Logan?

Posted by: Stevie | 2006-11-30 10:29:04 AM

Last I checked, money was unfair to money, because money cannot enjoy itself, or ever know the value of a single dollar.

Posted by: Lady | 2006-11-30 10:57:46 AM

Mike, that is exactly what I linked to yesterday. (12:34 PM)

The amount is staggering, but as I mentioned it is no surprise to anyone who watches and listens to this buffoonish, kool-aid drinking crowd.

They can make themselves believe anything, and would never consider allowing facts or figures to get in their way.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-11-30 12:37:00 PM

Thanks Karol.

If I understand you correctly, the problem is that if the visually impaired rely on raised print, then it would be easier to cheat them using screen-printing and UV curable inks, without having the need for an intaglio press. On the other hand, pocket scanners read other details in the bill that require the intaglio press to produce, and that can't be mimicked with screen-printing and UV curable inks or with counterfeit dies that can produce holograms and things like that, thus making it harder to cheat the visually impaired if they are using such a scanner.

Is that correct? And if so, does that mean that people who are not visually impaired can also use these scanners to help them determine whether or not a given banknote is counterfeit?

One other question, if you have the time. If this raised print technique is so limited in terms of security, and holograms are relatively easy to fake, why does the Canadian twenty have raised print and a hologram?

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-11-30 1:56:40 PM

There seem to be a endless number of tails wagging a endless number of dogs.Every idiotic cause has its champions. We have far too many idiots and champions.

Posted by: peterj | 2006-11-30 9:07:00 PM

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