November 28, 2017



Bali Volcano Threatens Residents, Forces Airport to Close; Leadership Battle Between White House and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; News Briefs: Prince Harry & Actor Meghan Markle Engaged, Dictionary.com, “Complicit” is Word of the Year, and Rep. Conyers / Sen. Franken Updates; Time, Inc. Sold To U.S. Media Company Meredith Corp for 2.8 Billion, Koch Bros. Involved, Trump on Cover?; Interview with Deaf Man Neil McDevitt, Who Narrowly Lost Mayoral Race for North Wales Borough




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




In Bali, Indonesia, there is a  volcano —Mount Agung — that has been sending ash into the sky. It’s prompted warnings of a possible major eruption. 


Bali’s airport is closed and 100,000 residents living near the volcano have been ordered to evacuate. 


Scientists say they can hear blasts from the volcano and have seen glowing magma at its peak, which is 9,800 feet high. 


The warnings and evacuations has impacted the tourism industry there. There were alerts since mid-September, but the threat levels has increased in recent days. 


It’s a good precaution, because the same volcano had a major eruption in 1963 that killed more than 1,000 people and caused severe damage. 






There is a controversy on who should run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent government agency formed in 2010 with the goal of protecting consumers in the financial marketplace — to make sure that banks, lenders, credit card companies, and other financial services were fair. 


The CFPB’s first and only director, Richard Cordray (an Obama appointee), resigned last Friday and announced that her chief of staff, Leandra English, would be promoted to deputy director, then be the acting director when Cordray leaves. 


But the White House announced they have appointed Mick Mulvaney, who is the current head of the Office of Management and Budget, to lead the CFPB. 


This sparked a conflict between the agency and the White House. The CFPB says the law says the deputy director should lead, but the White House says President Trump has the authority to appoint an acting director. 


Now the CFPB’s “acting director” English is suing the Trump administration in federal court to block them.


Today Mulvaney went to the CFPB building with a bag of Dunkin Donuts and was photographed sitting in the director’s office, working. He told the agency’s staff to ignore the “acting director” English. 


President Trump has recently been critical of the CFPB saying it has devastated financial institutions and that they will bring it back to life. Mulvaney has also previously criticized the CFPB. So it appears the Trump administration is taking this opportunity to change the agency.


The CFPB was formed as a part of the Dodd-Frank Act after the financial crisis. Democrats have supported the agency and its rules/enforcement of financial services, while Republicans say it is government overreach and puts too much burden on financial services. 






Here are three news briefs: 


1 — Britain’s Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle announced they were engaged and will marry this spring. This means an American will be a part of the British royal family.


Prince Harry is fifth in line for Britains’ throne. The couple will live in the Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace. 


2 — dictionary.com announced the word of the year for 2017 — it is “complicit.” The word means to be involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing.


dictonary.com said there was a 300% increase in word lookups for complicit this year, due to the word coming up in news stories related to the Russian election investigation, the sexual harassment scandals, mass shootings, and the opioid epidemic. 


So what would the sign for complicit be? I’d say it could be “PART-WRONG-ACTIVITY” or “HIDE-DARK-INVOLVE.” 


3 — Rep. John Conyers (D, Mich), who was recently accused of sexual harassment by his former staff, said he is stepping aside from his position as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while an ethics investigation is ongoing. He has continued to deny the accusations. 


In separate but related news, Sen. Al Franken (D, Minn) has returned to his office today after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. Franken said he was embarrassed and ashamed of his behavior, but would not resign. He is also under investigation by the Ethics Committee. 








Time, Inc. was bought by U.S. media company Meredith Corp for $2.8 billion. Time, Inc. publishes Time Magazine, People, Sports Illustrated, and other magazines. 


Meredith Corp. is based in Des Moines, Iowa and owns lifestyle magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle. 


This purchase was made possible by a $650 million investment from the famous Koch brothers, who are two of the world’s richest people and known for donating large amounts to Republican political candidates. 


Meredith Corp said the Koch brothers will not have any seats on its board or any influence on its content. 


We’ll see who is chosen as Time’s “Person of the Year” for 2017. Last year it was Trump. 


President Trump tweeted last weekend that Time Magazine contacted him and said he would probably be the “Person of the Year” for a second straight year and requested an interview and a photo shoot, but he declined because “probably” is not good enough. 


Time Magazine tweeted in response saying the President was wrong and that they don’t comment on it until publication on December 6. 


But regardless of whether Time chooses Trump again or not — Trump can always make a fake Time cover, like he did for several of his golf clubs, or pull up any of the previous 14 actual cover photos. 






Here is an interview with Deaf man Neil McDevitt, who ran for Mayor in North Wales Borough (near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). He came very close to winning the campaign a few weeks ago, but the incumbent mayor won. Here it is.


— [Begin Interview] 


Alex: Hello Neil! It was a very close race and you lost by only a few votes, you got over 430 votes. Congratulations on your strong run. Can you tell us what the election results means to you? 


Neil: Yes. I had over 430 votes. My opponent had around 441. The difference between us were seven votes — unofficially. As of the Election Day, there has not been an updated posting of all the votes, including the absentee votes and others. But it was a very, very close race with only a 0.8% difference between us. With the results, it’s an disappointment because it was so close you could taste it. But at the same time it was a really rich experience for me to become so engaged in politics, local politics. People don’t realize how much work there is in political activity at the local level. And that has taught me a lot. 


Alex: Can you describe your experience campaigning - from the beginning stages up to the last few weeks? What was it like to go down to the wire in the campaign? 


Neil: My experience campaigning was very… you might think it would be “different,” somewhat chaotic, but remember that in local politics, people tend to already know what they plan to do. So for the most part my experience was going door-to-door, saying, “Hi my name is Neil” and gave them paper handouts. People, generally speaking, don’t want to stay there for an extended chat — they will say “thank you” and then I’ll move on to the next house. 


I didn’t use interpreters much during the campaign, I only used them for significant events such has the election day itself. From the beginning to the ending, it was pretty much the same. We usually teamed up with candidates for the school board or other candidates for North Wales,  so it was a changeless experience. I think one of the biggest lessons learned is this — it is important to take the time to have conversations with specific people. I think that’s where I lost a few votes. I didn’t spend the time to sit down and talk directly with people. 


Alex: What are your thoughts on how easy or how hard it is to run for public office as a deaf person? 


Neil: I think it really depends on the race. For example, in my local race, I think it’s easier because you can meet people… I think they are more open to diverse candidates at the local level. But when you start moving up to different races, their perspectives change. So I would encourage anybody who is thinking of running for office to really start at the local level. Get invovled with politics at the local level regardless if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, getting involved there is a perfect way to gain experience and perspectives. If you try to move up in higher levels, it might be more difficult because you will have to face more people, from different groups. While locally it’s more specific. 


Alex: Any final thoughts? What will you be doing in the future? Any comments? 


Neil: Right now it's just settling down, getting myself disconnected from campaign mode. I’m back to private citizen mode, but really at the same time I’m looking to see what I should do in the future. I do want to run again, maybe for the same office or for a different office. I do want to run again, so what do I need to do between now and then? At the same time I’m still involved with local politics. Maybe I’ll join a board or a commission for this town. 


At the same time I’ll approach both the Republican and Democratic parties and say if they want diverse candidates to represent their parties, they really need to practice inclusion. It is not just accommodations, it is not just providing interpreters, but also including people with disabilities in your local parties, in your local politics, because if you stay the same, have older white people, or have the same people without any change, is that diverse or inclusion? No. So this is the next battle for me. I enjoyed this experience. Yes, of course I’m disappointed, but at the same time, I learned a lot from it. I’m always happy to help with the next candidate to share that experience. 


— [End Interview] 


Alex: Thank you, Neil. He brought up important thoughts and discussions on the importance of political parties including Deaf and other diverse people into their processes, as well as being involved on the local level. 


And it’s great to know Neil is thinking of running again in the future. Good luck to him. 




Yesterday I posted a short video on Moth Facebook about a Deaf family that was on America’s Funniest Home Videos — and they won! Check out Moth Facebook to see the video. 


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





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