The Daily Moth 7-27-17

July 28, 2017



Ohio State Fair Ride Accident Kills 1, 3-Year Old Twins Drowns in Pool While Mother Sleeps, New White House Comms Director Scaramucci Says He Has Authority to Fire Everybody, Boy Scouts of America Ex. Director Apologizes for Trump Speech, Deaf Actor/Filmmaker Dickie Hearts Wins AT&T Contest and 20 Grand, Deaflympics Non-Signing Athletes and Hearing Tests, Smaller Number of U.S. Athletes in Current Deaflympics, and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Speaks to Deaf & HoH Audience at TDI Conference




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, July 27. Ready for news? 




There was a serious incident yesterday at the Ohio State Fair when a circling, spinning ride broke apart and landed on concrete. Debris hit other people in the area. One person, a 18-year man died and 7 others were injured, two critically, their ages from 14 to 42. 


Pictures and video of the scene show one of the rows of the ride completely breaking apart, sending riders strapped in several feet in the air until they crash. Worried parents, friends, and others ran to the victims, carrying them away and lying them down while waiting for medics. It was a terrible, scary scene. 


A hospital who treated some of the injured said it was similar to a high-speed car accident with an ejection. 


The ride, named the “Fire Ball” had passed inspections and was deemed safe for riding. There is now an investigation in what caused it to break. The Indiana State Fair, planned for next week, announced it would not operate the Fire Ball ride. 


The Ohio state governor John Kasich said the situation was a nightmare but that accidents do happen. He said you can inspect, reinspect, but there can be no guarantees in life.


The 18-year old who died has been identified as Tyler Jarrell from Columbus. He recently enlisted int the Marine Corps and was supposed to start training next year. 




Terrible news from Long Island, New York — 3-year old twin boys drowned in a swimming pool in their home backyard yesterday morning. . The mother’s name is Sue Aurilia and she said she woke up in the early morning and checked on his boys. They were asleep. The mother went back to sleep, and when she woke up at 8:30, she couldn’t find the boys. 


When she went outside, she saw one of the boys floating. The mother pulled her out, did CPR, and called 911. She said she didn’t know where the other son was. The pool was murky. When police and medics arrived, they went into the pool and found the second boy. Both boys were pronounced dead at the hospital. Very sad. 


The father was out of the house, apparently to work. The police department said it seems like an accident. Heartbreaking.



I have not yet announced this on Moth —the White House’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned when the Trump administration hired a new Director of Communications — Anthony Scaramucci. This was last week.  


With Spicer out, Scaramucci appointed the previous Deputy Press Sec, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to the Press Secretary position. 


When he took over, he said he would catch who the leakers are in the White House and said he had authority from Trump to “fire everybody” in order to stop leaks.

He recently said the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had to explain for himself that he was not leaking information to media, since he is responsible for finding the leakers. he also said he has tension with Renice — saying it was like brothers, that it could be like the Cain-Abel relationship (based on the biblical story in which Cain killed Abel) — and that it is up to Trump on if their relationship can be repaired.


Who is Scaramucci? He is a multi-millionaire and worked in the financial industry in New York City, founding an investment bank. He has been politically active in the past, supporting both Democrats and Republicans. He previously was critical of Trump, calling him an inherited money dude and having a big mouth. He later apologized to Trump. 


During last year’s election cycle during the primaries — Scaramucci supported Gov. Scott Walker and Jeb Bush for the Republican ticket until Trump started winning, then Scaramucci endorsed him. He started to work closely with Trump, often appearing on cable news shows to support him.


Then he was on the Trump presidential transition committee. He sold his investment firm, SkyBridge Capital, to a Chinese company to work in the Trump White House in an assistant role. He then became senior VP for the Export-Import bank, a federal agency.  


Remember when CNN had to retract an article and fire three journalists — CNN published a story in June that linked a Russian investment fund with a person working in the Trump administration — that person was Scaramucci. He did accept CNN’s apology and said he wanted to move on.


Now as of last week he is the Director of Communications with authority from Trump to fire people. He said he reports directly to Trump. 




The leader of the Boy Scouts of America, Michael Surbaugh, apologized to people who were offended by President Trump’s speech to the Boy Scout Jamboree on Monday night in front of 40,000 scouts. 


Trump gave a rally-like speech in which he criticized people in D.C. — saying he wanted to change the word, “swamp” to “sewer.” He said he wanted more loyalty. He said he would fire the Health Sec. Tom Price if Congressmen didn’t repeal and replace Obamacare. He asked if Obama ever came to a jamboree. Some in the crowd booed Obama. He talked about his election victory, saying it was incredible when the U.S. election map became red. He said with the Trump administration, people would say “Merry Christmas” again.


Many people criticized Trump’s speech — saying he should stayed away from politics while talking to young boy scouts. 


In Surbaugh’s apology, he said the Boy Scouts always invites the U.S. president to the jamboree and that the invitation doesn’t mean the Boy Scouts endorses Trump. He said the Boy Scouts are non-partisan. 





A Deaf actor and filmmaker, Dickie Hearts, recently won a national “Create-a-thon” contest hosted by AT&T and Warner Brothers in which people create pilots for a internet series show. Dickie’s show is titled, “The Deaf vs The Deaf.” His prize is $20,000. 


In the contest, he first submitted a written script for Episode 1. It advanced to the second round, which was for his team to film the episode within 3 hours inside the Warner Brother studios. His team then only had 48 hours to edit the whole thing. The video advanced to the final round into the top five, where fans voted for their favorites. 


You can watch his video at the link below, it’s a funny show that shows Dickie going through a zombie apocalypse. There is Deaf humor in it and most of the characters are Deaf. 


In the contest, Dickie got first place in voting, winning the $20,000 top prize.  


Dickie said he will use the money to fund the entire digital series to write and film a full season 1. He said he is excited to have more Deaf characters, more zombies, and for there to be more inclusion of LGBT and diversity. 


Congratulations to him!








There have been many questions on why there is a smaller number of Deaf athletes from the U.S. who are participating in the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey. The U.S. sent athletes for six sports this year out of 21 sports in the Deaflypmics — volleyball, track & field, swimming, golf, cycling, and tennis. The U.S. did not send teams for sports that they often medal in — men’s basketball, women’s soccer, or wrestling.   


H3 World TV recently filmed an interview with U.S. Women’s Volleyball coach Lynn Ray Boren and the former USA Deaf Sports Federation President Jack Lamberton, who resigned from his position March of this year to take on a role with the ICSD, the governing body of the Deaflympics and World Games for the Deaf — to ask both of them on why this happened.


In the interview with Lynn Ray, he said his heart was broken that there were not more athletes. He said the men and women’s volleyball teams were very committed to going to the Deaflypmics since last year, but that other sports teams were apprehensive about the security in Turkey. He also said there were issues with the U.S. Deaf Sports federation, that some on the leadership team were supportive of teams going to the Deaflympics while others were not so supportive, because of how media represented Turkey. Lynn said the USADSF should have looked at the Deaflympics as “separate” from the political situation, comparing it with the recent Rio hearing Olympics. There were many concerns, but many U.S. athletes attended the games.


In October of last year, the USA Deaf Soccer Association announced they would not be sending the men and women national teams due to security concerns. The USA Deaf Basketball Federation announced on April of this year that they would not go due to safety concerns. 


Jack Lamberton told H3 that when he was the USADSF president, he contacted the Dept. of State for advice on travel to Turkey, but got no definitive answers from them — as the State Dept. only gave him advice on security. He said the number of U.S. athletes committed to going to the Deaflympics was only 30 to 40 in July, but by USADSF’s activity, the numbers have since increased to 91. He had hoped for 225 athletes. Jack said he wished the U.S. government was more supportive in the travel expenses. He said he was sad for the athletes who didn’t go. 


The USA Deaf Sports Federation released a letter yesterday in response to the H3 interview videos. It said they had announced in May that the USADSF had three main challenges in assembling Team USA —

1. not getting enough information from the ICSD and those who organized the Deaflympics.

2. Concerns about safety and security. They said they were concerned with Turkey’s instability but when they sent representatives in February, they saw that the representatives felt it was safe. USADSF was later assured that the Deaflympics would have a large number of security and passed that information to the sports organizations in the U.S.

3. Fundraising. USADSF said it was a challenge because the US government and the US Olympic Committee do not support deaf athletes financially. They’ve asked for people to donate to USADSF on their website. 


So those are some of the reasons why there is a small number of American Deaf athletes during this year’s Deaflympics. 


H3 Interview:


USADSF Letter:




Report by International Journalist Sandy Mercurio: 


Sandy: There have been hot discussions on Facebook in the past few days about the Deaflympics — that most of the athletes from different countries were oral. It caused some confusion because it seemed like a contradiction with the word, “Deaf” in Deaflympics. It’s sparked some people to make complaints about it on Facebook vlogs. I’m now going to analyze it to try and determine the reasons why. I will explain. 


Why are there many athletes who use their voices? I’ve analyzed and questioned this and I will give three reasons why. The first is that the Deaf community is already small. Now, in high-level athletics, that number is even smaller. When they go to train in clubs that play their specialized sports, the high-level clubs are often composed of mostly hearing people. Some of the athletes’ coaches are hearing and can only speak, so in order to communicate, they have to use their voice. Some athletes spend all of their time attending trainings with many hearing people there and do not interact much with the Deaf community, which causes them to lose their skills in sign language. 


As you know, many Deaf schools around the world are closing. Many deaf students will then go into hearing or mainstream schools. Parents who are not exposed about deaf schools or see that there are no schools have no choice but to send their kids to hearing schools. So those children grow up speaking.  


Here is a third example. In this country of France, in 2008, the French Deaf Sports Federation closed down due to financial issues. So deaf sports and athletes were forced to join into associations that served handicapped athletes. Those organizations had only small numbers of deaf athletes. It was controversial back then, and we are still facing those issues. Currently most of the French athletes use their voice. 


That’s just three examples, there are many other issues around the world. 


In a Deaflympics first — this year there were random audiogram tests. The current rules state athletes’ hearing ability must be over 55 decibels. Being below 55 db pretty much makes you hearing, while above 55 makes you deaf. But what does 55 db mean? It means you can hear another person’s voice normally. That makes those athletes very close to being hearing. Should that threshold be stricter? 


Most countries’ governments do not provide much financial support to Deaf sports organizations. There is a lot of negativity. I’ve contacted the ICSD for comment but they have not responsed. Here is a question to ponder — should the ICSD bylaws now include a requirement for Deaflympics athletes to sign? 


Alex: Thank you, Sandy, for that report and for your analysis. 


Here is an update on the hearing tests — H3 reported that six athletes failed the hearing test, but did not mention which countries they were from. 


Fo the issue of sign language, one can see that the signing/oral issue impacts deaf people on an international level and that the factors range from the decisions parents make for deaf children, medical advice, education, politics, and also in sports. What can be done to ensure Deaf culture and sign language continue to exist and is used by deaf people? 



This morning the chairman of the FCC Mr. Ajit Pai spoke to an audience of deaf and hard of hearing people at the TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf) Conference and shared a touching story about his deaf aunt from India. 


It was live streamed by CSD Communication Service for the Deaf. I will give you highlights from his speech. 


The Executive Director of the TDI, Claude Stout, introduced him to the stage. When taking the podium, Mr. Pai signed in ASL, “Thank you Claude for that wonderful introduction. I am happy to be here.” Pai then spoke with voice with an ASL interpreter by his side. 


He said this week was the 27th anniversary of the ADA law and said the law was pushed by Senator Bob Dole from his home state of Kansas.  


Pai talked about the RTT Real Time Text concept — they are now developing a technology in which people can talk to each other as if texting each other, but every key would be seen instantaneously (in real time), for functional equivalency. Pai thanked a Deaf Gallaudet professor and researcher, Dr. Vogler, for his help to develop the technology. 


Pai discussed the history of TTY’s — saying in the old times, one had to use a 18-wheeler truck in order to deliver heavy TTY machines. He said technology today is much better. 


He discussed a new app, named Ava, in which it would transcribe in text what is being said on voice in a multi-cell phone conversation. That way, Deaf people could follow what was being said.


Pai discussed the importance of VRS services, saying deaf-owned pizza shop Mozzeria could receive orders because of VRS. He discussed a new program within the VRS in which there would be specialized interpreters for certain types of calls, such as legal or medical. 


Pai said he is serious about VRS interoperability and he feels the FCC is making good progress in that. Pai said he adopted new rates for all forms of telecommunications to make sure the program provides functional equivalency in the most efficient manner. 


He said the FCC has developed an open source technology to make it easier for various hearing businesses and organizations to set up the ability to have Deaf customers to call them directly using VP (with ASL) and are working on ideas on how other state and local governments can also use direct calls. He said the FCC has a VP number and it’s benefited people who call the number.


Pai said there is an “accessibility” divide — in which Americans without high speed internet would be unable to access VRS services. He said it is a big problem with people with disabilities — they often spend less time on the internet because they don’t have access in where they live. Pai said he wants to change that. 


He then closed his speech with a personal story. He said his aunt, his dad’s oldest sister, was born deaf in India in the 1930’s. Pai said she grew up poor and there was not knowelge or access to sign language during that time in that area. So her aunt invented her own sign language — signs for each of his siblings, based on how they walked, their hair, or their characteristics. 


The aunt’s siblings learned how to use her “home signs.” Pai said he remembered that when he was younger he needed his uncle or aunt to help translate what she said. Pai said her world was limited compared with his dad. Pai said he thinks of how much different it would be if she lived in today’s era and enjoyed some of our technology and services. 


Pai said he felt like he missed out on a deeper connection. He said her name was Moe Pai, that he will always remember her and the memory of her story. He did become emotional and choked up at the end. 


At the end of the speech, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Pai signed, “thank you. thank you.” 


Full Video:




That is all for today. Be sure to check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow! Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 

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