The Daily Moth 3-14-17

March 15, 2017



Results of East Regionals AB Tournament, Delaware Deaf Students in Bus Crash, Deaf Couple Escapes House Fire, CBO Report Gives GOP Healthcare Plan Bad Forecast, President Trump Gives CIA Powers to Conduct Drone Strikes, WaPo Article About Deaf Undocumented Immigrant Accused of 2005 Rape/Murder Without Trial




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, March 14. Ready for news? 




The results of the East Regional Academic Bowl tournament last weekend in Rockville, Maryland — the Rockville High School (a mainstream program and last year’s national champions) — won the tournament with a record 102 points in the championship match. 


Coming in second place is Monroe #1 BOCES (a program that brings together mainstream students from Monroe County, NY). Third place is Mountain Lakes High School (a mainstream program in New Jersey). Fourth place is READS Collaborative (a mainstream program in Massachusetts). 


Congratulations to the top four teams, they will compete in the National tournament at Gallaudet University with the top four teams from the other three regions. 


The Academic Bowl program announced four wild-card teams from the nation who will make the trip to the national tournament (based on wild-card test scores). They are: Kansas School for the Deaf, MSSD Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Nebraska Regional Programs, and Washington School for the Deaf. 


So a total of 20 teams will compete in the national tournament on April 1-4. Who will be the champion? 


GU Youth Programs Post: []




Last Friday morning in Delaware, a school bus with Deaf children in it got into an accident with a small dump truck. The school bus driver, an aide, and a student were taken to the hospital but with non-life threatening injuries. 


The dump truck had a driver and a passenger — the driver had minor injuries but the passenger was pinned under the dashboard and seriously injured, she was also taken to the hospital. 


It seems like the dump truck missed a stop light and crashed into the bus. The bus was later towed away. It was a Christina School District bus, the same district that Del. School for the Deaf is in. 


It is a relief that no students were seriously injured. Hope those in the hospital will recover quickly. 


News Article:




Last Sunday night in Maryland, there was a fire at a house owned by a deaf couple.


The fire started in the basement and a service dog was able to alert the deaf couple that the smoke alarm was blaring. The couple got out in time, but had smoke inhalation. 


Around 40 firefighters from different cities came and stopped the fire within 20 minutes. One firefighter fell through the floor to the basement, but is okay. Sadly, two cats died in the fire. 


The deaf couple was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation and later released. The fire caused $50,000 in damage and destroyed around $50,000 worth of items. The Red Cross is helping them.


The couple also has three teen children, and apparently they were not at the home when the fire started. The cause of the fire is under investigation. This was in the city of Bel-Air (north of Baltimore).


News Article:




Here’s some bad news for GOP Republicans who want to push for their new health insurance plan to replace Obamacare: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — a non-partisan federal agency that provides budget and economic information to members of Congress — has put out a negative forecast.


The CBO says they forecast with the new GOP plan, within 10 years, *[an additional] 24 million Americans will have no health insurance, starting with 14 million without insurance next year. 


The CBO said the federal government would be able to reduce it’s budget deficit by $337 billion. 


They predict insurance costs would increase at first by 20%, but eventually become cheaper at 10% below current costs. 


The Trump administration say they disagree with the projections by the CBO and that they didn’t look at the other strategies they have to reduce costs and give more people insurance. 


Bernie Sanders said the new insurance plan was “disgusting and immoral” — saying  Republicans want to throw 24 million people off health insurance, raise premiums for older people, and provide $285 billion in tax breaks for the top 2%.


This report has put more pressure on the new GOP insurance plan — because there are centrist Republicans who worry that many Americans will lose their insurance, and conservative Republicans who think the new GOP plan is too much like Obamacare. 


So it is a battle on several fronts — with the majority of Democrats against any repeal/replacement of Obamacare.




President Trump has given the CIA more authority to do drone strikes against people who are suspected of being terrorists, according to a WSJ article. 


This is a change from the Obama administration’s policy of limiting the CIA’s powers. Previously the CIA would identify where suspected terrorists were and then work with the military (Pentagon) to do the strikes. 


This is a transparent way of tracking how many strikes and puts accountability on the military, as they must publicly report airstrikes and reveal how many they killed. But the CIA doesn’t have to report it since their missions are secret. 


It seems like the CIA used this new power to do a drone strike in February in Syria against an al-Qaeda leader and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden. It is not clear how many, if any, were were killed.


There might be more recent U.S. drone strikes that are not reported and more likely there will be many more strikes in the future as Trump has vowed to destroy ISIS and terrorist organizations. But we might not know when and where they occur, and how many terrorists or civilians were killed — we’ll have to depend on reporters and their accounts. 


The ACLU and other human rights groups have criticized this, saying the CIA should be a foregin intelligence gathering and analysis organization, not a paramilitary one. They have also raised concerns about transparency.

The WSJ says the CIA has had this authority since Trump visited the CIA headquarters the day after he was inaugurated. The White House is now in ongoing negotiations with the CIA and the Pentagon for long-term plans on who has the authority to do what with respect to drone strikes. 






I read an article in the Washington Post about a Deaf man, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador and without any language ability, who was accused of raping and murdering a 16-year old girl in Virginia — 12 years ago. His name is Oswaldo Martinez (33 at the time), the girl name is Brittany Binger. 


The sign for El Salvador is this. [“E” on left shoulder, then move the hand to make a “S” on the right hip]


This happened in January 2005. Brittany was walking on a road towards her home, which was in a mobile home community when the attack happened. Her body was found the next morning, jeans pulled down, her shoes off — in a scene that showed clear signs of rape, struggle, and murder by strangulation.


There was a fruit drink near her body. Police tracked the lot # on it to a nearby store, and security video showed the Deaf man, Oswaldo buying it around the same time of the girl’s murder. The DNA from the semen in the body and skin under the girl's fingernails matched with Oswaldo. 


He was arrested and charged with capital murder, and police thought it was an easy case to convict him with all the evidence. 


But Oswaldo has not yet been in a trial — because in 2005, a judge declared him to be unfit for court, determining that he does not understand what is going on in the courtroom and is unable to assist/communicate with his defense lawyer. 


He has been placed in alternating state/mental health hospitals for the past 12 years — one in Staunton and another in Richmond. He is still in custody, now 45 years old. 


Various psychiatrists and ASL teachers, even a psychologist from Gallaudet University — have attempted to teach him ASL and help him understand what a trial is, sometimes using mock trials, but Oswaldo was not interested to learn or understand it. 


A psychiatrist said he made gestures and drawings to describe his journey to America — describing railroad tracks, a boat, and an airplane — but nothing more advanced than that. 


He has two brothers, also from El Salvador, who were in the U.S. with valid work permits and lived in the same mobile home community as the girl. 


They said Oswaldo showed up 2004 unexpectedly to live with them — and apparently Oswaldo left his wife and two sons in El Salvador. 


A brother said they kicked him out to live in a shed by the mobile home with a mattress, power cord, space heater, and a camp stove. That’s where he lived for a year leading to the murder — working as a day laborer and often going to a bar at night. 


His defense lawyer said he can’t describe what what he did the night of the murder, due to communication issues. In 2013, a judge declared him “unrestorably incompetent.” Virginia law allows a murder suspect to be locked up without limitation without a trial while getting treatment. 


Virginia does have a legal process to commit an incompetent person for an unlimited period, but the state attorney general declined to start the proceeding in 2014, saying he does not meet the criteria because he is not a convicted sexual predator and has not been diagnosed as either psychotic or severely intellectually disabled. So Oswaldo is in "limbo."


His lawyer says this is unconstitutional and that the law was written without any expectation of someone like Oswaldo. He is still fighting it in court. 


The prosecutor said it is frustrating but he is following the law to keep Oswaldo locked up. He said he could dismiss the case and ask immigration officials to deport him to El Salvador, but that would require a “removal hearing” in immigration court, but he is not competent to undergo a court hearing. But the prosecutor said deporting him would not be justice. 


The girl’s father is frustrating and said the court process is crazy and unreal. He went to at least 20 court hearings and from watching him in the courtroom, he said he thinks Oswaldo can undergo trial. He also said he hopes Oswaldo brutally dies in jail. 


Oswaldo is still in a state hospital and now there’s now the court challenge on whether it is constitutional or not to keep him there. A very complicated situation all around. 






That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 











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