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Does Donald Trump have a learning disability?

Does Donald Trump have a learning disability? I have been considering this as a blog post ever since Trump entered the White House. I am not the first to ask this question. Even his own staff have questioned Trump’s reading ability as described in this article in the Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-mental-health-michael-wolff-learning-disabilities-dementia-adhd-read-semi-literate-fire-a8146176.html

I have been reluctant to write this post due to the stigma around learning disabilities. I know that stigma, having two daughters with diagnosed learning disabilities. I have wondered if I have an undiagnosed learning disability myself. Although I have come to enjoy reading, I struggled with reading and writing in school. After being held back in second grade, a summer school course in phonics helped a lot. I am still a slow reader, but I have gotten better. I am best with newspapers, magazines, and books with simple vocabulary, generally at an 8th grade level. Computers have helped me to write and organize my thoughts. I know that dyslexia and learning disabilities are different from intelligence. People still confuse the two. Trump has even responded to such concerns as an attack on his intelligence, tweeting he is “like, really smart.”

In addition to learning about his lack of interest in books, we learn more about Trump’s writing in his tweets. There are he misspellings and strange grammar. Most recently, he tweeted this: “James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order of generate a Special Council?” He uses the same spelling for counsel in the second half of the tweet.

Special Council

That led Yashar Ali of New York Magazine to tweet “Not a big fan of making fun of someone’s spelling issues or using it to determine how smart they are. All of my dyslexic friends and family members have a really hard time with spelling but also happen to be the smartest/most creative people I know. I’d say…focus on the content”. In response, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog wrote, “Yes, but that’s because they’re dyslexic. Trump isn’t.” And in response to my questioning, Aravosis wrote, “I’m not sure he isn’t dying of syphillis. But I”m certainly not going to start showing him pity for things we’re all just making up out of thin air.”

Aravosis

I admit I do not know, anymore than anyone else, if Trump is learning disabled, and I am not using that as an excuse to pity him. I will only refer to a bumpersticker I once saw in my Berkeley neighborhood. (BTW Berkeley, CA is considered the birthplace of the disability rights movement, going back to when Ed Roberts studied at the University of California.) The bumpersticker read, “Attitudes are the real disabilities.” If that is the case, then Trump’s real disability is not his struggle with reading, but his refusal to deal with it.

The State of New York has had two governors that were unable to read. The most recent was David Paterson, who is unable to read due to physical disability. Before him Nelson Rockefeller was not only a governor, but a vice president and presidential candidate. Rockefeller was dyslexic. About his struggle with reading, Rockefeller gave this advice:

Accept the fact that you have a problem—don’t just try to hide it.

Refuse to feel sorry for yourself.

Realize that you don’t have an excuse—you have a challenge.

Face the challenge.

Work harder and learn mental discipline—the capacity for total concentration—and

Never Quit.

http://www.memphisdyslexia.org/articles/rockefeller.html 

Trump has a lot of issues that I have previously posted to this blog. They are all reasons why Trump is completely unfit to hold the office of president. If he does have a disability and is unwilling to accept it, this is an indication of a bigger issue with Trump and his self image. Remember that Trump the candidate ridiculed a reporter with a physical disability. I am sure that Trump considers disability a weakness, and he does not want to appear weak. It is entirely consistent with how he projects himself to the world. He builds himself up by knocking others down. He can’t take a joke at his own expense and is unable to laugh at himself. He never apologizes or admits he is wrong. He seems obsessed with his masculinity. Trump considers any attack that reveals him to be weak to be an attack his masculinity.

Trump may be intelligent, but he has shown himself to be mentally lazy. Not only does Trump not read, he doesn’t listen either. Worse still, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know, and he has no interest in learning.

I don’t want to sound ageist, but it is true that, as we get older, we become less likely to change. Trump is 71. If he is disabled and his real disability is his attitude, I doubt that is going to change.

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April 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barbara Graves Memorial

The following minute was approved at Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, CA for peace activist Barbara Graves who died in December at age 104. Though it is not mentioned in the memorial minute, Barbara was arrested a number of times at Lawrence Livermore Lab to protest the development of nuclear weapons. Her memorial will be held at Berkeley Friends Church, 1600 Sacramento Street in Berkeley, on Saturday, February 24, at 2:00 PM.

Memorial Minute for Barbara Graves

Barbara Graves, beloved member of Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, died at her home at the Redwoods in Mill Valley, CA on December 22, 2017 at age 104, after a long life serving humanity in direct, humble, often remarkable ways.

She was born in Geneva, New York in 1913, the youngest of seven.  Following college in North Carolina, she worked in New York City for the 1939 World’s Fair, then with the British War Relief Society, from which she learned about the involvement of the American Red Cross.  In 1942 she was hired by the Red Cross and sent to England.

She was appointed Director of Red Cross Rest and Convalescent Homes Division in Britain, providing recovery furloughs for Allied airmen from 1943-45.  For this group’s service she was awarded a military Bronze Star, unusual for a civilian.  After returning to the U.S., she began to explore pacifism and Quakers.  She was hired by the American Friends Service Committee in 1948 as administrator for AFSC relief work in Occupied Germany, working and living with local Germans for five years, establishing neighborhood centers to address severe conditions of inadequate food, shelter, and social community.

In 1953 she obtained her Master of Science degree in Social Work at Columbia Univ. and became a psychiatric social worker in Philadelphia. In1962 she was recruited by AFSC as director of the VISA program (Voluntary International Service Assignment) in Tanzania, Haiti, Guatemala and India for six years.

During 1969 Barbara consulted and taught at Atlanta University’s School of Social Work, a time when the black social work environment was developing strength and influence despite the background of segregation.  In 1971 she was appointed Associate Professor of Social Work at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she could continue professional connections with Atlanta.  She moved to U.C. Berkeley in 1972 as Director of Field Studies in Social Work.

She retired officially from U.C.. in 1978 but continued both staff and volunteer work for

U.C. as well as for Alameda County and the City of Berkeley.  Barbara served as a leader in the Northern California AFSC, often as a consultant to solve organizational problems.  She volunteered weekly in San Francisco’s Tenderloin with residents on the margins of society.

She deeply opposed U.S. military activities in Nicaragua and traveled with a delegation of religious activists to learn conditions and to protest.  She risked arrest many times in opposition to U.S. wars in Central America and the Middle East.  In 1986 she returned her Bronze Star in a ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial to protest the U.S. role in the conflict in Nicaragua.

Barbara was appointed Brinton Visitor for Pacific, North Pacific and IntermountainYearly Meetings of Friends in 1989.  She was able to visit widely and contribute her energetic, inquiring spirit and experience.

In 1993 Barbara and her close friend and housemate, Glendora Patterson, decided together to co-parent infant Nia, who later became Glendora’s adopted daughter and Barbara’s goddaughter.  Nia Marie Patterson brought great love and joy into their lives.  Together they attended Nia’s college graduation when Barbara was 100.

Barbara made her home at The Redwoods Retirement Community during her last years, as did three other women who had remained steadfast friends since their Red Cross service in England.

One of Barbara’s personal notes quoted Abraham Lincoln: “I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it.”

Barbara’s irrepressible wit and joy of life was expressed not only through serious work, but through singing, dancing, generosity and exuberant appreciation of people of all sorts and conditions. She will be greatly missed by her home Meeting, Strawberry Creek, where she provided great spiritual and practical service for decades.

Barbara Graves 100

Barbara Graves at her 100th birthday celebration at Strawberry Creek Friends Meeting in Berkeley, CA

 

February 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bike and Walk to Quaker Meeting 2016

On Sunday, May 22, a group of Quakers of Strawberry Creek Meeting in Berkeley celebrated Bike Month by bicycling to our meeting room. The week of May 22 to 29 was also celebrated as Bike to Worship Week by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

We started at North Berkeley BART Station, pedaling a short distance along the Ohlone Greenway to where it connects to California Street. We then rode California to Channing Way, Channing to Milvia, then Milvia to Derby, where we completed our travel to 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.  California, Channing, and Milvia are three of Berkeley’s bicycle boulevards.

Leaving North Berkeley BART, from left: Henri Ducharme, Laura Magnani, Jay Cash, Marian Yu, Beth Rodman, Paul McCold, and Tom Yamaguchi

Arriving at Strawberry Creek Meeting, we were joined by Josh Gallup and Deborah Marks.

The following Sunday, May 29, we walked to meeting. This time we started at the downtown Berkeley BART station. Again, we walked down Milvia Street and right onto Derby. The last two blocks we walked in silence.

IMG_0351

Leaving downtown Berkeley BART station. From left: Phyllis Malandra, Beth Rodman, Jay Cash, Paul McCold, and Charlie Lenk. On route, we were joined by Lisa Hubbell (on scooter) and Barbara Birch, who walked up from Emeryville. I took the picture with my iPhone and walked with my bicycle.

Thanks to Jay Cash for helping to organize, as well as bringing bagels, donuts, bike bags, bike stickers, maps, other printed material, and other biking and walking goodies; all given away after meeting.

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment