Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Omer 5768 - Day 30; 4 weeks and 2 days

Today was Gevurah she b'Hod - a day of strength in a week of humility.

Three years ago I wrote a blog post titled "The Color of Money." If you click on the name you can read the post for yourself. I compare Australian and New Zealand money with American money. that post was triggered by a visit from a friend, but also am struck by the physical difference in money when I travel to other countries.

As you can see in the photos in the other post, the other money is not only more colorful, but the bills are different sizes. This makes it possible for the blind to know the denominations of each of the bills. Although I was looking at the esthetics rather than the practical matters, I did think it was time for the US to think about changing our notes as well.

It looks like that time may finally be near. The Associated Press reported a ruling handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. According to the article, the court ruled that, "the government is denying blind people meaningful access to the currency. . . The decision could force the Treasury Department to make bills of different sizes or print them with raised markings or other distinguishing features."

The court took into account the inevitable objections. From the article: "Given recent U.S. redesigns, the appeals court ruled the U.S. failed to explain why adding more changes would be an undue burden. More than 100 other countries vary the size of their bills, a federal judge said in 2006, and others include at least some features to help the blind. The appeals court said the U.S. never explained why such solutions wouldn't work here."

I'm sure we're many years of appeals away from any real change, but I hope we make the switch. Not only would it be practical and useful for everyone, but much more pleasing to the eye.

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