The Daily Moth 6-1-17

June 2, 2017


Trump Withdraws from Paris Accord, U.S. Air Force Veteran Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Material Support to ISIS, Four Airplane News, Dakota Access Pipeline In Operation, and ASL Satire Music Video / Gallaudet Search for Chief Diversity Officer. 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, June 1. We’re already at month 6 in 2017! Wow. Today I will share news briefs and a long Deaf news story. Ready? 




President Donald Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord because it is not fair to the U.S. Trump made the announcement this afternoon at the Rose Garden at the White House.


Trump said he wants to start negotiations to re-enter the Paris agreement on a “fair deal” that benefits American workers and businesses, but that if they couldn’t, that it was “fine.” 


Trump said he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris. He said the deal would lead to more than 2 million lost jobs by 2025 and various industries, such as paper, steel, and coal, to lose their value.


Trump argued that the U.S. “over-volunteered” to reduce carbon emissions (such as reducing coal jobs) — and that because China has committed to start reducing coal in 2030, they could still have coal jobs and therefore the U.S. coal jobs would go to China.


Trump said he couldn’t support a deal that punishes the U.S. while supporting other countries. Trump said the Paris deal gave other countries financial advantages over the U.S. He said withdrawing from the deal would help more Americans get jobs and use the vast wealth that we have here. 


The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, wanted Trump to stay in the Paris deal — and because Trump withdrew, Elon said he was leaving his position on the presidential business councils because climate change is real, and that leaving the Paris accord is not good for America or the world. 


Former President Obama, who was key to bring the U.S. into the Paris deal, said Trump’s administration has joined a handful of nations that reject the future, but that he was confident that our states, cities, and businesses would step up and do more to lead the way and protect the planet.  


With Trump’s announcement, the U.S. will start withdrawing from non-binding parts of the Paris accord immediately (such as voluntary payments to a clean energy fund), but the U.S. is still bound to Paris agreements until the year 2020, which is when we will have the next presidential election. 


We will see what impact this has on the world and if other countries become more committed to the Paris accord or join the U.S. in withdrawing. 




A U.S. Air Force veteran will be in prison for 35 years because he wanted to join the ISIS. His name is TFairod Pugh (49) from New Jersey. He used to be an aircraft mechanic for the Air Force from 1986 to 1990 and later worked as a mechanic for American Airlines. 


He was tracked traveling from Egypt to Turkey in January 2015, apparently to try and cross into Syria, but was denied entry into Turkey because he had suspicious devices: a laptop and four USB devices that had its plastic covering removed. He also had a solar-powered charger, compasses, and clothes that were designed for traveling. 


Turkish security ordered him to go back to Egypt — he was then deported to the U.S., where the FBI started monitoring him — arresting him a year later in 2016. The FBI said his laptop had a letter saying he wanted to use his talents that he got from Allah to establish and defend the ISIS, and that he would either be a victor or a martyr. 


The laptop also had a map of Turkey and Syria with various “crossing points” 


Another piece of evidence against Tairod is his statement in 2001 to a co-worker at American Airlines — he showed support for Osama bin Laden and for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. 


After a trial, he was found guilty ion federal charges of trying to give material support to ISIS and for obstruction of justice. Now he will be imprisoned for 35 years. 






Four Airplane/Airport-Related News: United Fined $435k by FAA for Not Inspecting Repaired 787 Before Resuming Flights, Ex-Marine With Fake Gun Causes Orlando Airport Incident, New Plane Design Has Longest Wingspan, and United Proposes Longest Nonstop Flight from LAX to Singapore 


Four airplane/airport-related news: 


  1. United Airlines could be fined $435,000 by the FAA Federal Aviation Administration because: in 2014, a 787 plane had a fuel pump pressure switch replaced — it was supposed to be inspected before the plane could fly again, but it didn’t happen. The plane flew 23 times before it was finally inspected. United said they have asked for a meeting with FAA to discuss further. 


  1. On Tuesday night, an ex-Marine, Michael Pettigrew (26) brought a fake gun to a car rental lot in Orlando’s international airport and pointed it at police officers, asking them to shoot and kill him, and pointed it to his head. He said he wanted to talk to the President. Police, not knowing the gun was fake, negotiated with him for over two hours before finally arresting him. It caused a heavy police presence at the airport. Pettigrew is undergoing mental health evaluations. Before Michael went to the airport, he texted a friend that he wanted to die by police. Six years ago, Michael was found guilty in military court (court-martialed) in for stabbing another Marine in the arm and was discharged from the Marines and imprisoned for seven months. It is a relief nobody was hurt at the Orlando airport. 


  1. There is a new plane that has the world’s largest wingspan — the Stratolaunch. It is owned and designed by a company founded by billionaire Paul Allen, who is the co-founder of Microsoft. It looks like two planes “fused” together. The wingspan is 385 feet, which is longer than a football field. It has six engines and 28 wheels. The plane’s purpose is to fly and then, from the middle part of the plane, launch rockets to send small satellites into low-Earth orbit. It will undergo fuel testing and will do a test flight soon. Amazing engineering and technology. 


  1. United Airlines wants to add a new flight route from Los Angeles to Singapore that, if approved, would be the longest nonstop flight from/to a U.S. airport. The total flying time would be 17 hours and 55 minutes, which might make it the world’s longest flight. 




The Dakota Access Pipeline, today, is now moving oil through its pipelines to customers — from North Dakota to South Dakota through Iowa, ending at a distribution point in Illinois. The oil company, Energy Transfer Partners, said the oil transport system is safer, cheaper, and more environmentally responsible than other modes of transportation (rail or truck). 


Four Native American tribes are still fighting the pipeline in federal court in D.C., saying the pipeline will cause water pollution. We remember the large activity from thousands of Water Protectors and protesters. The Obama administration had shown some support for the tribes, but the Trump administration has given the oil companies full green light to proceed with the pipeline.


There has already been small leaks — in March 100 gallons of oil leaked in North Dakota and in April 84 gallons of oil leaked in South Dakota. The leaks happened as the pipes were being prepared for service and the companies say no waterways were affected.

It’s big news, the pipeline has started operating. 






At the beginning of May, there was a new ASL musical satire video, “Hearing Knows Best,” created by two Deaf people, Andrew Bottoms and Megan Malzkuhn If you have not yet watched it, you can look at the link in the description or in the transcript. Here are some short clips of it. 


[Clips. To watch the full video:]


The video was very well received by many who thought it was the best, funny, genius, and champ. There was some criticism of it, as well. 


I reached out to the two for an interview to learn more about what motivated them to do this video.



Alex: Hello Andrew and Megan. Nice satire music video. What inspired you two to do this? 


Megan: You might wonder why we made this video. It’s because of Gallaudet’s announcement of the top three candidates for the Chief Diversity Officer position. I found it strange that it was two hearing women and a Deaf white woman. There’s something wrong with the picture — where is the Deaf POC (Person of Color) representation? I didn't know how to react and thought of making a rant-style vlog, but this has been done before with no real impact. So I thought of doing something really different and it had to be satire, to make it look like a “good thing” — to force an attitude and mental shift. We did make a video about the Gallaudet CDO, but it didn’t feel right. 


Andrew: I felt like I didn’t want to target Gallaudet as this is a widespread issue, there are many instances of hearing people taking jobs, there’s a long history of this. I didn’t want to make a video just about Gallaudet but something that could be given to the community, to simulate discussion, without any time limitations. It’s because I’ve seen this issue happen again and again. DPN didn’t solve this, it’s been 30 years since. There is still a deep problem. So we made this video. 


Megan: Right, and it’s not just DPN, because if you notice at the end of the music video, I made a cake quote. This was from 1912, when a man was talking about oppression of Deaf people — they wanted to sign but was told, “no” by hearing people. That is 105 years ago and we still have the same mindset. We just have to make a record, something that will last through time, so people can discuss on if it’s still a lingering problem or not. I hope later people won’t need this. 


Andrew: When we finished the video, I felt really good about it. We contributed something to the community, I felt inspired. That is important. 



Alex: Clearly, there is an underlying issue related to their views and opinions of the Gallaudet Chief Diversity Position (CDO) search. I will explore in this issue later at the end of the video. But let’s continue the interview. 




Alex: What would you call this video — what is its style? 


Andrew: What kind of video is this? It’s a “musical satire video” 


Megan: In ASL! 


Andrew: Yes…finally? 


Megan: I think it’s the first.


Andrew: Original? 


Megan: Original, definitily, but the first? I did google “ASL satire” and I didn’t see any videos, just in writing. 


Andrew: If you know of any, please let us know. 


Megan: Yes, definitily, I want to share it. 


Alex: When you released the video, what were people’s reactions? How did they react to to the video? 


Andrew: What was the community’s reaction to the video? 


Megan: At first, naturally, Deaf people loved it, thought it was hilarious. And of course, there were people who were upset about it, both deaf and hearing people. Reactions were varied for various reasons. I don’t want to discuss it here, I want to allow the community to discuss it amongst themselves without my opinions being involved.


Andrew: When we made this video, it was our original plan to give it to the community so you all can have it and discuss issues. It can apply to anything, friends, school, or the workplace. We just give this to you all. 


Megan: I’m a teacher myself and it is very important to be able to discuss and express opinions, frustrations, experiences of oppression. If we can’t have a dialogue, it’s not healthy. We must discuss things to have feel better and have a “healthy future.” We don’t want to put down anybody. 


Andrew: Where there is dialogue, there is improvement. Don’t sweep it under the rug or put off a dialogue for another time. Let’s solve problems through dialogue. 


Megan: I agree, have a discussion. 




Thank you for your time, Andrew and Megan. Many have asked them to continue to make more ASL music video, and they said they want to. 


Now, let’s go to the Gallaudet CDO position. They have a website where it provides all the information. Gallaudet made an announcement in February that they will search for a new CDO and that this person will lead efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. 


There was a search committee with student, staff, and faculty representatives. They were to screen applications, interview candidates, receive input from campus, and then recommend a list of finalists to the Gallaudet president. 


In the middle of April, they announced the top three finalists for the position. All are women, two are hearing and one Deaf. The two hearing women, Donna Hay-Jones and Elavie Ndura, have not yet learned ASL, but are fluent in other languages. The Deaf woman, Charity Warigon, is obviously fluent in ASL. All three has extensive experience and perspectives on diversity.


I saw some discussion on Deaf social media that showed disappointment and criticism towards Gallaudet for not recommending a Deaf POC (person of color) in the top three finalists. 


I reached out to two organizations, the NBDA National Black Deaf Advocates and the Council de Manos for insight and comment. 


Here is NBDA’s comment. 


“The National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) Board of Directors found recently that there are three final candidates who are seeking a position as the Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University. We wished to have known more about the criteria and screening process. The bios for Dr. Ndura, Ms. Hay-Jones, and Ms. Warigon are quite impressive. We, NBDA, trust that Gallaudet will make the right decision by selecting a candidate who will support and represent Gallaudet University’s diverse population of deaf and hard of hearing students, staff, faculty, and community. Thank you.”


Now, here is Council de Manos’ comment. 


“In response to inquiries regarding Council de Manos' stance on the hiring the Chief Diversity Officer of Gallaudet University, we would like to share that our focus is not solely on the current candidates, but the overall process.  


We would like to thank all of the three candidates for their time and energy invested into this important role.


However, we would also like to put forth that the qualifications for the position have hindered many community advocates and educators that we know would have met and exceeded expectations for the position. These advocates are Deaf with multi-intersectional experiences and have engaged in social justice values to a great extent. Often times academic institutions lose many great leaders over required credentials and years of experience. These two factors do not always justify whether a person is sufficient for the job.


Due to the rising concerns among many communities, we recommend that Gallaudet University considers revising the qualifications and opening the application process once more. 


The role of the Chief Diversity Officer is one that focuses on social justice issues and community building. We feel that the tight, exclusive academic, employment, and years of experience qualifications created barriers for many that could efficiently perform the duties. 


This concern is shared by many Deaf Latinx, Deaf People of Color, and other marginalized Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled identities.”



Thank you for sharing, NBDA and Council de Manos. 


I reached out to the co-chair of the search process, Heather Harker, who is also the Chief of Staff for Gallaudet President Roberta Cordano, for comment. Heather said she was not able to officially comment because the search process is still underway, and pointed to the Gallaudet CDO website for the latest in announcements. 


You can look at Gallaudet’s website to see the bios and qualifications of the three candidates. There is no official date on the final announcement for the CDO position, but Gallaudet has previously stated they want to make their selection sometime this summer. 


I hope I’ve caught you all up on this whole thing — from the music video done by Anbo and Megan as well as the Gallaudet CDO process. Free to comment and share your thoughts. 




That is all the news for this week! Be sure to check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow. Follow Daily Moth on Facebook for the latest. You can donate to support this show at Thank you to all who have donated. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 



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