Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Effective Letter to a Representative!

This letter was posted in draft form on a captioning discussion list. The author provided a copy of the final version for posting on the Caption Action 2 blog. We think it is a very effective letter! We are posting it unedited, except for one sentence where we added bolding because it makes the point so well.

Dear Representative Edwards,

My name is CL, I am a constituent of yours and I’d like to take a few moments of your time to talk about a issue that is really important to me.

I’d like to talk with you about House Resolution 3101. This is a bill that in very broad terms allows hard of hearing, deaf, senior citizens and people learning English as a second language the same access to the same information as their less disadvantaged counterparts. It also seeks to include these people into emergency broadcast information in portable ways that are useful such as text messages on phones or email broadcasts.

Things that would allow someone who cannot make use of a weather radio or a car radio to find out potentially life saving information. Even still today many years after 9/11 there is still no unified state of federal system for notifying persons with auditory disabilities of major incidents or impending harm.

But let us not focus on simply emergency situations. Lets look at everyday life. The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 passed by Congress on the 23rd of January 1990 came with the promise that all people would have visual access to the verbal information as presented on the screen.

Before this act broadcasters complained that the cost of adding captions to there programming was too high because it served too small of a market to justify the costs incurred. So even for those people who could afford the caption decoders, they where limited to a very small selection of programming choices.

So with the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 all televisions larger than 13 inches where required to have the Closed Caption decoder technology built into them. Part of the thinking with this act was that the increased market of new televisions being sold with this captioning technology already built into them would be an incentive to the television broadcasters to provide more captioned programming.

Six years passed before Congress had to intervene again. It turned out that even after millions of televisions had been manufactured and purchased with the caption decoder technology in, television broadcasters still were not producing very many shows with captioning. So under Sec. 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Congress charged the FCC with establishing a standard for the percentage of programming that had to accessible and a timetable to enforce a rollout of the implementation of this technology.

As of 1 January 2006 the standard has been established that 100% of the programming that is broadcast today [to include all programming produced after 1 January 1998] is closed captioned. There are certain undue burden exemptions that are granted to some broadcast media, but almost everything that is broadcast as television media is captioned.

I think it has become abundantly clear that commercial producers of media and online distributors of commercial media have little or no interest in providing fair and equal access to content that is currently already captioned. A prime example of this is the CEO of Netflix (A DVD based and online streaming video movie broadcaster). Mister Reed Hastings CEO of Netflix was asked if the company planned on adding captions to their online movie streaming service during a stock holders meeting. He stated and I am paraphrasing here, that adding captions to the service is not currently on the agenda.

I think we are well beyond the time where we can blame the shortcomings of technology as the reason why this equal access is denied to 37 million American citizens. I find it hard to believe that television manufacturers can find a way to put an inexpensive computer into every television that will allow it to decode captions, but that a moderately expensive computer cant receive streaming media with captions in it. Something sounds very wrong with that logic.

I believe that we are beyond the reach of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 our technology has improved but our fair and equal access to this content has not. Private industry has had in my opinion plenty of time to use the technology at hand to extend access to all individuals and they have not. And in acting in their own best interest as a business I do not believe that we will see any type of universal access standards from broadcast media over the internet or portable wireless devices without intervention from Congress.

In closing Representative Edwards I would like it very much if you would put your support behind HR 3101. I believe it is a very important measure to stop the ever widening digital divide among our citizens.

Thank you for your time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

If HR 3101 Does Not Pass...An Unpleasant Future

What will the future be like for deaf and hard of hearing people in a world that is very dependent on the Internet if HR 3101 does not pass? Caption Action 2 imagined the unpleasant future that is in store for deaf and hard of hearing people if HR 3101 does not pass. Some of what is imagined is already reality!

Scenario 1: The Commute

You are on your way to work on the subway system. Suddenly, hot news breaks! All around you, people are whipping out their personal devices and watching video because things are happening right now! It is coverage of a live car chase in Los Angeles, as police chase the most-wanted sex offender in Los Angeles, who has a kidnapped child in his car! The hearing people are able to follow the moment-by-moment live video coverage. You? You are limited to what information you can get from text news reports, which lag behind the live television reporting.

Scenario 2: At Work

Now you have arrived at work. The live car chase is still happening in Los Angeles! Everyone at the office is watching it on their computers. The boss normally does not permit watching of internet video during work hours, but in this case the boss is overlooking it because the boss is watching the news, too! You? You are still limited to what information you can get from the text news reports.

Scenario 3: The Weekend Party

Now it is the weekend. You and your hearing partner are at a party that is mostly hearing people. The hearing people are chatting about the latest original webisodes on Internet television. Those webisodes are not captioned. So you and the few other deaf and hard of hearing people at the party stand around together, left out of the conversation.

Scenario 4: Your Child's School

On Monday, you have an appointment with the teacher at your child's school to discuss your hearing child's progress. The teacher says, "The class is going to be watching this programming from the History Channel online during History class. Students will be tested on what they learn from this Internet video. " This means you are not going to be able to help your child study because you can't watch the video yourself!

Your other appointment is with the teacher for your deaf child, who attends a mainstream public school program. The teacher there says, "the class is going to be watching this programming from the Discovery Channel in Science class. Unfortunately, the Discovery Channel does not caption its online video programs. All we can do is give your child a vocabulary list and you and your child will have to do extra work, looking up the meaning of the words."

Scenario 4: Back Home

Back home after meeting with your children's teachers, you do a quick check of your email before heading out to the gym. There is a frantic message from your deaf teenager who is attending a prestigious college. "Mom!!! The professor is using internet video to teach this stuff!! It is not covered in the textbook and the video has no captions!! What can I do??" Arrghh. You shoot back an email to your college student, "Quick, ask the professor if he can refer you to an alternative captioned DVD in the college library!"

Scenario 5: The Gym

Now you really need to work off some steam in the gym before going to your mother's for dinner. The gym has brand-new exercise bikes with built-in internet TV! Fabulous. You start working out, and turn on the internet TV, only to captions. All around you, people are choosing the channels they want to watch. You? You are limited to whatever is showing on the wall television.

Scenario 6: At Mom's for Dinner

In your mother's kitchen for dinner, Grandma exclaims, "Come look at my new refrigerator!" As Grandma proudly shows off her new top of the line refrigerator, you notice that it has a built-in television screen. Yes, for internet television! Grandma tunes in to a program to watch while she makes dinner. Due to the lack of captions, you can't discuss the program with Grandma while she makes dinner.

Scenario 7: Before Bedtime

Before bedtime, your hearing child enjoys watching exclusive internet video on the Cartoon Network web site, or on the Nickelodeon web site. Soon, your deaf child comes crying to you, "Mom!! It is not fair!!! Joey gets to watch whatever he wants on the web, and I can't!!"

Sigh. You must comfort your deaf child. Taking her into your arms, you give her a hug and say, "I know, dear. It is unfair. The problem is that back in 2009, there was a bill in Congress that would have made sure you were able to watch the same shows as Joey. But not enough deaf and hard of hearing people contacted their Congressmen. So the bill, called the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, did not pass. So today, you can't watch what you want online."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You MUST Write Your Representative! Here's How!

Caption Action 2 can not stress enough how important it is to write your representative. Congressional offices want to hear from the people that the Representatives represent. They often ignore messages from people who do NOT live in the area that the Representative represents. But, they really do pay attention to people who live in their area. Jamie experienced this when she stopped in her own representative's office last week. As soon as she mentioned where she lived, the people in the office jumped up and paid attention to her.

We are aware that it is one thing to tell people "Write your representative," it is another to actually do it! Some people need step-by-step instructions on how to do it. So below, we present a simple, clear step-by step example of how to email your representative.

Start by entering into your browser.

This takes you to a page that looks like this:

Now select the state or territory you live in, and enter your zip +4. (Don't know the last 4 digits of your zip code? Use the Postal Service's Zip+4 Lookup) Then click the "Contact My Representative" button. For this example, we used Gallaudet University's zip code.

This takes you to a first form that you must fill out with your name, address, and city at a minimum. Then click "Continue to Text Entry Form." (It does not always work exactly the same for each representative. Caption Action 2 found that the system jumped directly to our own representative's website mail form.)

The text entry form looks like this:

Enter your message, and click the "Send" button.

What can you enter? It is best to write straight from the heart so it does not look like a form letter, but some people prefer a form letter that they can partially customize. Below is a copy of a sample letter that was posted on the COAT website:

Ensure Equal Access to the New Technologies and Innovations of the 21st Century for People with Disabilities

Please Co-Sponsor H.R. 3101,
the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009

[Today’s date]

Dear Representative [Last Name]:

I am a person with a disability and I want to be a part of the revolution in the way Americans interact, learn and conduct business using the new digital communications devices, television and the Internet. However, the wizardry of the wires and the sophistication of software programs often do little for those of us who need accessibility due to vision, hearing or other disabilities. Recently, the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3101), was introduced. This legislation would ensure that all Americans have equal access to these exciting and innovative new technologies. It would enable me to [insert some personal details about how you would benefit].

H.R. 3101 would amend the Communications Act to ensure that new Internet-enabled telephone and video services and equipment are accessible to, and usable by, people with disabilities. From extending hearing aid compatibility and Internet closed captioning to real-time text support for emergency services, H.R. 3101 seeks to provide a smooth migration to the next-generation of Internet-based and digital communication technologies. For more information, see a one-page summary at and a section-by-section summary at

Please co-sponsor this bill so I can access and use phones and television like everyone else.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Milestone Reached: Caption Action 2 at 10,000!

At 12:50 pm today, the 10,000th person joined Caption Action 2 on Facebook. It took just under 3 months to reach this milestone! Caption Action 2 has sent an email to the 10,000th person asking permission to blog about him or her.

Also, we are getting asked about providing a template to send to Representatives. The problem with templates and form letters is that they do not speak from the heart. A template-based letter or form letter is more likely to be ignored by the Congressional office. You do not need a template or form letter to write about the fact you are deaf, and you want HR 3101 to pass because you need closed captions on the Internet.

In addition, if people share their letters, Caption Action 2 reprints the letters anonymously on the blog with the label "Letters." This gives people a feel for what kind of things they could say in their letters. Bottom line, it is best if you write straight from the heart, and say what YOU want to say, and not what a form letter or template tells you to say/do.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caption Action 2 Returns to Capitol Hill!

Today after a dental appointment followed by a flu shot, Jamie went back to Capitol Hill. This time, she visited over 100 offices, giving them Caption Action 2 flyers. Many of the staff were impressed by Caption Action 2's Facebook page. "Wow" was a frequent utterance Jamie heard.

Lightning also struck twice. When Jamie stopped by Representative Andre Carson's (Indiana) office, there was a group of well-dressed gentlemen just inside the entrance, talking. The group encouraged Jamie to come in to talk when they saw her outside the office about to go inside. So Jamie gave her little speech, feeling awkward to be "presenting" to a group instead of just the one staff person she usually talked to. Jamie noticed that one person in the group was smiling and seemed particularly interested. Afterwards, he took the Caption Action 2 flyer from Jamie and told her who he was...Representative Andre Carson!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

COAT Action Alert: Target: Rick Boucher, Virginia

COAT has just sent out its own Action Alert, targeting Representative Rick Boucher, Virginia. Boucher is important because he chairs "the critical House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology & The Internet." According to COAT, it is essential to get Boucher's support of HR 3101 because COAT met with staff from other representatives on this commitee, and in COAT's words, "they are deferring to Chairman Boucher on this legislation." In other words, what Boucher says is what goes! What follows is a modified form of COAT's Action Alert.

Is Rick Boucher Your Representative?

Do you live in these Virginia towns and cities? Do you have family or friends in these Virginia towns?
  • Abingdon
  • Big Stone Gap
  • Blacksburg
  • Clintwood
  • Coeburn
  • Gate City
  • Grundy
  • Norton
  • Pulaski
  • Radford
  • Wise
  • Wytheville
If you, friends, or family live in any of those towns in Virginia (here is a map of the 9th Congressonal District in Virgina), Boucher is your Representative! Call his Washington, DC office: 202-225-3861. Better yet, call his telecommunications specialist, Amy Levine, directly: 202-225-3861. Levine can be emailed at

When you call or write, state that you want “Rep. Boucher to support and co-sponsor H.R. 3101,” and why!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hearing Aid Tax Credit Has Over 100 Co-Sponsors

Another bill in Congress, HR 1646, was introduced in March 2009 and now has over 100 cosponsors. This bill is the Hearing Aid Tax Credit, which would "allow a credit against income tax for the purchase of hearing aids." (More information is at the Better Hearing Institute).

Why is Caption Action 2 mentioning this? We are mentioning it because it stands to reason that Congressional representatives who support HR 1646, another bill of importance to the deaf and hard of hearing, should also be more likely to support HR 3101! So here are the names of the representatives who are co-sponsoring HR 1646. If you see an asterisk next to their name, it means that they are members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee that has HR 3101.

Rep Akin, W. Todd [MO-2] (Republican)
Rep Altmire, Jason [PA-4] (Democratic)
Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] (Republican)
Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] (Republican)
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] (Democratic) *
Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] (Democratic)
Rep Bishop, Rob [UT-1] (Republican)
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] (Democratic)
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] (Democratic)
Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45] (Republican)
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] (Democratic)
Rep Boucher, Rick [VA-9] (Democratic) *
Rep Braley, Bruce L. [IA-1] (Democratic) *
Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny [FL-5] (Republican)
Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] (Republican)
Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] (Democratic) *
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [MA-8] (Democratic)
Rep Carnahan, Russ [MO-3] (Democratic)
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] (Democratic)
Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] (Democratic)
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] (Democratic)
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] (Democratic)
Rep Dahlkemper, Kathleen A. [PA-3] (Democratic)
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] (Democratic)
Rep Delahunt, Bill [MA-10] (Democratic)
Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] (Republican)
Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2] (Republican)
Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] (Republican)
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] (Democrat)
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] (Democrat) *
Rep Etheridge, Bob [NC-2] (Democrat)
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] (Democrat)
Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4] (Republican)
Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] (Democrat) *
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] (Democrat) *
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] (Democrat)
Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] (Democrat)
Rep. Harper, Gregg [MS-3] (Republican)
Rep Heller, Dean [NV-2] (Republican)
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] (Democratic)
Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] (Democrat)
Rep Inslee, Jay [WA-1] (Democrat) *
Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] (Democrat) (already supports HR 3101!)
Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] (Democrat)
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] (Republican)
Rep Kagen, Steve [WI-8] (Democrat)
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] (Democrat)
Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5] (Democrat)
Rep Klein, Ron [FL-22] (Democrat)
Rep Kline, John [MN-2] (Republican)
Rep Kosmas, Suzanne M. [FL-24] (Democratic)
Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] (Democratic)
Rep Latham, Tom [IA-4] (Republican)
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] (Democratic) - Already supports HR 3101!
Rep Loebsack, David [IA-2] (Democratic)
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] (Democratic)
Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-9] (Democratic)
Rep Marshall, Jim [GA-8] (Democratic)
Rep Massa, Eric J. J. [NY-29] (Democratic)
Rep McCarthy, Kevin [CA-22] (Republican)
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] (Democratic)
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] (Republican)
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] (Democratic)
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [NY-6] (Democratic)
Rep Miller, Brad [NC-13] (Democratic)
Rep Miller, Candice [MI-10] (Republican)
Rep Minnick, Walter [ID-1] (Democratic)
Rep Moore, Dennis [KS-3] (Democratic)
Rep Moran, Jerry [KS-1] (Republican)
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] (Republican) *
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] (Democratic)
Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] (Republican)
Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (Republican)
Rep Paulsen, Erik [MN-3] (Republican)
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] (Democratic)
Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6] (Republican)
Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] (Republican)
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] (Democratic)
Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3] (Democratic)
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] (Republican)
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16] (Republican)
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] (Republican)
Rep Roskam, Peter J. [IL-6] (Republican)
Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] (Democratic)
Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] (Democratic)
Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2] (Democratic)
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - (Democratic) - already supports HR 3101!
Rep Salazar, John T. [CO-3] (Democratic)
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - (Democratic) - already supports HR 3101!
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] (Democratic)
Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18] (Republican)
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] (Democratic)
Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] (Republican)
Rep Sestak, Joe [PA-7] (Democratic)
Rep Shuler, Heath [NC-11] (Democratic)
Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] (Republican)
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] (Republican) *
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1] (Democratic)
Rep Titus, Dina [NV-3] (Democratic)
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - (Democratic) - already supports HR 3101!
Rep Walz, Timothy J. [MN-1] (Democratic)
Rep Wamp, Zach [TN-3] (Republican)
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] (Democratic)
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] (Republican)
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10] (Republican)
Rep Wu, David [OR-1] (Democratic)
Rep Yarmuth, John A. [KY-3] (Democratic)
Rep Young, Don [AK] (Republican)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Caption Action 2 Action Alert: Representative Cliff Stearns

Caption Action 2 Action Alert

This is an Action Alert from Caption Action 2.

Caption Action 2 has been told by Representative Ed Markey's office (Markey is the sponsor for HR 3101) that we need to get a Republican co-sponsor. One Republican who expressed interest last year but who did not co-sponsor, is Representative Cliff Stearns (FL). Help Caption Action 2 get Representative Cliff Stearns on board this year!

How can you help us get Stearns to sign on?

1. Stearns has a Facebook page. Become a "fan" of Stearns and then you can post on his wall.
2. Go to Stearns home page on the web.:
Use the "contact" link but you must live in his district to send an email.
3. Send an email to Matt Mandel, the legislative director for telecommunications in Stearns' office, at

By posting and sending messages you will be making Stearns aware that deaf and hard of hearing people are a community that will not be ignored!

Is Stearns Your Representative?

If you live in Florida but are not sure if Stearns is your Representative, check the District page on his website. This page lists all the counties and cities represented by Stearns, whose District is the Sixth District.

If Stearns is Your Representative...

If Stearns is your representative do all you can to make people in your community aware of HR 3101. Send letters to the editor to local and weekly papers, and contact local television stations via their websites. Find local email lists and message boards for your community, join them and post messages. Contact schools in your area and tell them about HR 3101, emphasizing that captioning has educational benefits. Contact all disability related organizations in your area such as independent living centers.

With your help, we may be able to bring Representative Cliff Stearns on board!

Towns and Lewis Sign on to HR 3101!

Today Caption Action 2 learned that Representative Edolphus Towns (NY) has signed on! Your calls, letters, and Facebook wall messages worked! Remember when back on July 29 Caption Action 2 reported that Towns was "reportedly" interested but had not committed? Now he has committed! Congratulations to residents of Brooklyn, New York!

The other Representative who has signed on, John Lewis, hails from Atlanta, Georgia! Lewis is not on either Facebook or Twitter, so the only way you can thank him is by sending him an email through his website. According to his biography, Lewis has a strong history in civil rights.

This makes eight cosponsors so far. We need more!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

COAT: The Best Advocacy Bargain in Town

What is one of the most effective - and least expensive - ways a deaf or hard of hearing organization can help to get HR 3101 passed? Caption Action 2 learned that the answer is to join the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT). How much does it cost to join COAT? Free!

The only "price" to join COAT is having to agree to share information from COAT. So organizations of any size, from the smallest deaf or hard of hearing group to national organizations, can join COAT. COAT regularly updates a list of affiliates. To become an affiliate, use the contact form on the COAT website.

In numbers, there is strength. The more deaf, hard of hearing, and blind organizations that join COAT, the stronger a "voice" COAT can have as it works to get HR 3101 to pass!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Who's Blogging About HR 3101?

More and more people are blogging and vlogging about HR 3101! So many are doing it that Caption Action 2 has decided to keep track via this blog post. Blogs and vlogs are listed in reverse chronological order. A big thanks to everyone who has been blogging or vlogging! If we missed your blog or vlog, post a comment here!


  1. Amy Cohen Efron (12/20/09)
  2. Cousin Vinny (11/8/09)
  3. Lisa Goldstein (10/22/09)
  4. Kelby Brick (10/9/09)
  5. Bradley Porsche (10/01/09)
  6. (09/24/09)
  7. The Caption Conundrum: Problem and Solution (09/14/2009)
  8. Jodi (09/12/09)
  9. Powhog's Xanga (09/11/09)
  10. (09/10/09)
  11. Terrill Thompson (09/09/09)
  12. (09/07/09)
  13. Deaf Anthology (09/05/09)
  14. Bionic Ear Blog (09/04/09)
  15. JFActivist (09/04/09) (reprints NY Daily News article). Also reprinted in Media dis & dat (09/04/09)
  16. Keen Scene (09/04/09)
  17. Deaf News Today (09/03/09)
  18. AbledBody (09/02/09)
  19. Joseph Rainmound (also see video blog)
  20. Joseph Rainmound (08/31/09)
  21. Seek Geo (09/01/09)
  22. Don Cullen (09/01/09)
  23. Sean Gerlis (09/01/09)
  24. Aberdeen Captioning (08/14/09)
  25. Kathryn Hill (08/13/09)
  26. JebsBlog (08/13/09)
  27. Packer Backer Ray (08/09/09)
  28. Karen Swim (08/03/09)
  29. (08/02/09)
  30. CCH Workday (07/31/09)
  31. Packer Backer Karyn (07/29/09)
  32. Caray, Caray! (07/23/09)
  33. Karen Putz (07/17/09)
  34. Prohieran (07/17/09)
  35. DeafRoc (07/16/09)
  36. Deafening Chameleon (07/15/09)
  37. 3Play Media (07/15/09)
  38. SJCRG's Disability Voice (07/14/09)
  39. (07/12/09)
  40. Aging and Disability in America (07/09/09)
  41. Tyler Can Hear You (07/06/09)
  42. Autism - (07/09/09)
  43. cmssw (07/08/09)
  44. Hana (07/07/09)
  45. (07/06/09)
  46. (07/06/09)
  47. Disablognd (07/06/09)
  48. Wheelchair Diffusion (07/03/09)
  49. Randy Wohlers (07/02/09)
  50. National Association of the Deaf (07/01/09)
  51. Lynnskyi (06/30/09)
  52. Dhhsc (06/29/09)
  53. Jared Evans (06/29/09)
  54. Reading Right Side Up (06/29/09)

TV Technology (10/15/09) - focuses on video description
Special Education Examiner (09/05/09) (reprints COAT summary)
New York Daily News (09/01/09)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Caption Action 2 September Newsletter

Welcome to the September 2009 Caption Action 2 newsletter! Caption Action 2 is the Facebook cause working to help get HR 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, passed in Congress.

As of the date of this newsletter, we have only six cosponsors of HR 3101, the bill that was introduced by Representative Ed Markey (MA). We need MANY more!!! There are over 400 Representatives in Congress, and to date only six are cosponsors of HR 3101.

Who are these six cosponsors? The six cosponsors of HR 3101 to date are:

Israel, Steve (NY)
Lee, Barbara (CA)
Ryan, Tim (OH)
Sanchez, Linda (CA)
Stark, Fortney Pete (CA)
Van Hollen, Chris (MD)

Why Are Cosponsors So Important?

Cosponsors are important because they are the key to getting a bill to pass. Last year, the previous version of the bill did not have enough cosponsors. It had only fifteen cosponsors. So far our bill has only six cosponsors - we need your help to get more cosponsors!

September is an Important Month

We at Caption Action 2 think September could be a very important month for HR 3101. Why do we think it could be important? We looked at the history of the previous bill. We found that Congressmen and Congresswomen signed on as cosponsors in only three months: June, July, and September. After September there were no more new cosponsors. That bill then died.

How Can You Help Get More Cosponsors?

The best way you can help get more cosponsors for HR 3101 is by picking up the phone and calling your Representative's office. Go to and select your representative from the drop-down list at the top of the page. This will take you to your representative's website, where you can find the phone number to call.

The next best way you can help get more cosponsors for HR 3101 is by sending an email to your representative. There are two ways to do this. One way is by going to and using "Write your representative" in the upper left corner. Another way is by going directly to

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can also leave a message for your representative on Facebook or tweet your Representative! In August, Caption Action 2 published two useful lists on the Caption Action 2 blog:

Facebook list: Wall Your Representative On Facebook

Twitter list: Tweet Your Representative About HR3101

There are more than a hundred Representatives on Facebook and Twitter. Easy way to let your Representative know you want him or her to support HR 3101!

If you have a blog, write about HR 3101 and Caption Action 2. If you make vlogs, post a vlog (captioned if possible) about HR 3101. The more of us who "talk" online about HR 3101, the more people who will learn about it and become supporters!

Two known vlogs have already been posted:

Seek Geo has a vlog titled We Need Captions Online! (he mentions how there are fewer written articles online and more news videos, without captions)
Joe Rainmound has a vlog titled Internet Captioning and HR 3101 (he discusses Apple's iTunes University and the lack of captions)

Help Us Grow Bigger

As of the date of this newsletter, Caption Action 2 has a little over 9,000 members. We would like to get it to 10,000 by the time Congress is back at work after Labor Day! Why 10,000? That is a number that should make at least some impression on Congress.

You can help us make it to 10,000 by inviting your friends to join the Caption Action 2 cause. Send your friends the Caption Action 2 url: by email. If you use the Facebook cause "invite" feature, invite only a few people at a time because there is a problem with the Facebook cause "invite" feature.

Download and print the regularly updated Caption Action 2 flyer from the Caption Action 2 blog (You can also save it and email it to people as an attachment): (Graphic) (PDF)

Share this flyer anywhere you think people might be interested in supporting HR 3101: interpreting agencies, audiologists' offices, schools and programs for the deaf, et cetera.

Caption Action 2 Blog Roundup

Congress was not in session in August, but Caption Action 2 kept blogging! These were the highlights for August:

  • Posted a photograph of Jamie Berke with Representative John Conyers, Jr.
  • Posted a letter by Jamie's mother to her own Representative
  • Posted the "Dear Colleague" letter that was sent by Representative Ed Markey to his fellow Congressmen and Congresswomen
  • Posted information about the other benefits of HR 3101 (there's more to it than just captions on the Internet)
  • Posted about the educational benefits of captions

Join Caption Action 2 on Capitol Hill

As we said above, there are over 400 Representatives on Capitol Hill. Caption Action 2 would like to organize a group of people from the Washington, DC metro area to go to Capitol Hill in mid-September and visit Representatives' offices. If you would like to join this group, email Robert Goodwin at or Jamie Berke at

Media Coverage of HR 3101

To increase the chances of HR 3101 passing Congress, we need mainstream media coverage! What is mainstream media? It is a regular newspaper like USA Today. Caption Action 2 has been working on contacting newspapers and reporters. So far, none have written about HR 3101, but a couple have expressed interest. Two reporters have interviewed the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) about HR 3101.

You can help by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. An editor that Caption Action 2 talked with told Caption Action 2 that letters to the editor can help. Please let us know if your local newspaper publishes your letter to the editor!


The deaf and hard of hearing community is small. But with our friends, family, and teachers added we become big! In numbers, there is strength! In fact, much of Caption Action 2's growth is coming from people who are not deaf but who care about an accessible future for the deaf and hard of hearing on the Internet. Especially deaf and hard of hearing children.