The Daily Moth 11-30-17

December 1, 2017


White House Considering Replacing Sec. of State Tillerson With CIA Director Pompeo; Rep. Pelosi Calls On Rep. Conyers To Resign As More Sexual Harassment Claims Surface; Virginia Mother Has Felony Charges Dropped For Recording Daughter's School Bullies; 10-Year Old Colorado Girl Commits Suicide After Video Of Her Fighting Alleged Bully Went Viral; News Briefs: Man Detonates Two Grenades in Ukraine Courtroom, Paul Manafort $11 Million Bail, Rep. Joe Barton Will Retire After Scandal, Actor Jim Nabors Dies at 87; Missouri School for the Deaf Announces New Superintendent George Stailey; Deaf Community Attends Hearing at Wisconsin State Capitol to Advocate For New Bill To Change How Sign Language Interpreters Are Licensed




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, November 30. Ready for news? 




The New York Times reported that there are internal plans in the White House for President Trump to replace the Sec. of State Rex Tillerson with the current CIA director Mike Pompeo within the next few weeks. 


The empty CIA position would then be filled by Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.), who is interested in the job. 


This was planned by the White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. 


If this is true, it’s big news, but not a surprise, because Trump had been openly critical of Tillerson in the past about his efforts to talk with North Korea — Trump told him to save his energy because he would do what had to be done. 


On the other side we remember when some reported they heard Tillerson calling Trump a “moron” and that he wanted to resign. 


If Sen. Cotton takes over the CIA job, his empty seat would be replaced with whoever the state governor appoints, but it will be up for re-election in 2018. While if Cotton stays, he’ll be up for re-election in 2020.


If Tillerson is removed, it would make him the shortest-serving Sec. of State outside of ones that were replaced by presidential transitions. 


Pompeo and Sen. Cotton are viewed as Republicans that are very loyal and supportive of Trump.




Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, Calif), the top Democrat in the House, has called on Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D, Mich) to resign due to an increasing number of sexual harassment by former aides. 


This morning Marion Brown, who used to work for him, described the harassment on an interview on NBC’s Today show. 


She was the one who settled a 2015 sexual harassment complaint with a $27,000 payout — and revealed this anonymously to Buzzfeed News in a report two weeks ago. 


Marion said she was breaking her confidentiality agreement and taking a risk because she wanted to stand up for her granddaughter and other women in the workplace. 


She said Rep. Conyers would invite her to hotels under the guise of discussing business but asked her for sex, touched and violated her body, and had once undressed and asked her to touch him. He even asked her to find other people who would have sex with him. 


Marion said she was shocked but fearful because she didn’t want to lose her job to support her four children. 

Rep. Pelosi’s call on him to resign is a significant, because on Sunday she appeared to defend him, saying he was an “icon” (he is the longest-serving member of the House), but said he should go through an ethics investigation. But now Pelosi has turned against him.


Rep. Conyers has denied the accusations. He is currently in a hospital in Detroit due to a stress-related illness. He is 88 years old.




In Norfolk, Virginia, a mother, Sarah Sims who has a 9-year old daughter in 4th grade, was told by the daughter that she was bullied at school. The mother was concerned that the teacher was inappropriate with her.  


Sims said she reached out to the school’s administrators but did not get any responses, even after repeatedly contacting them. So she decided to investigate by herself. 


In September, she put an audio recorder in her daughter’s backpack to try and capture incidents of bullying. But the teacher found the recorder in her daughter’s desk and the school confiscated it. 


The school contacted the city attorney’s office, who notified the police department. A police officer came to the school and interviewed the girl, while Sims was unaware. 


It got Sims in trouble with the police — she was charged this month with a felony for the recording and a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The maximum sentence is 5 years in prison.


So Sims obtained an attorney, Kristin Paulding. She said the charges were excessive, that she was shocked that the school would go to the police instead of sitting down with the mother to discuss her concerns. 


But now the charges are dropped as of yesterday. Virginia prosecutors said they decided not to proceed against her after they reviewed the facts and circumstances of the case.


It is unknown what was said on the recorder because the school has confiscated it. Sims’ legal team said it is possible that the teacher said something inappropriate since the school was quick to contact the city attorney’s office. 


In Virginia and 37 other states, it is legal to record phone calls or conversations if they are a part of it or if one party consents. This is called “one-party consent law.” Sims’ legal team said because the girl was aware of the recording, she is the one party. 


But secretly recording sounds in a school classroom is against the school’s policy, so they probably have legal authority to confiscate the recorder. 


The girl is still at the school, but has been moved to a different classroom.




In Aurora, Colorado, a 10-year old girl who was in the 5th grade killed herself after a video of her fighting with another girl went viral. The girl’s name is Ashwanty Davis. 


This fight happened last month. Ashwanty’s parents said she was bullied by the other girl in the video, so she confronted her, leading to the fight — it was her first time fighting. 


The video went viral on social media platform — embarrassing the girl and bringing even more attention towards her at school. 


The parents said two weeks later, she went home and hanged herself in a closet. She was taken to a children’s hospital, was on life support, but died yesterday morning. 


The local school district (Cherry Creek) said this was a heartbreaking loss for the school community and there would be mental health support available to students. They said they do not tolerate bullying and found out about the video when media contacted them. They turned the video over to police and discussed it with students. They said the video was not filmed during school hours. 


The girl’s parents said she was a victim of “bullycide,” which is when a person commits suicide because of bullying. Very sad.




News Briefs: 


1 — In a courtroom in Ukraine, during a murder trial, a man detonated two grenades, killing himself and one of the three defendants who were accused of murdering two people when they fired at a car. 


The father’s son was one of the two murder victims. He set the grenades off when the court was adjourned. 


Nine people were injured — two other defendants, two guards, a court employee, and civilians. 


2 — Paul Manafort, on house arrest for the past month after he was indicted with money laundering and other charges by Special Counsel Mueller in connection with the Russia investigation, has made a $11 million bail deal with prosecutors. 


He has pledged four of his properties, one in Virginia, one in Florida, and two in New York on the bail as a guarantee that he will appear in court when his trial starts. 


If this is approved, Manafort can travel in the three states and in D.C. He has already surrounded three of his passports and will not travel out of the country. 


His co-defendant, Rick Gates, is also under home detention at his home in Richmond, Virginia, without any progress towards a bail deal. 


3 — Rep. Joe Barton (R, Texas), announced he will not seek re-election and will retire. He was recently embarrassed by a nude photo that circulated online — it was a photo he sent to a woman he was having an affair with before he divorced in 2015. 


Rep. Barton was elected in 1984, he is the fifth longest serving member of the House. 


4 -- Jim Nabors, an actor and singer best known for his character Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, has passed away at 87 in Honolulu, Hawaii. 




The Missouri School for the Deaf announced they have a new superintendent — George Stailey. 


The Missouri Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education issued a press release saying Stailey had experience being superintendent at Indiana School for the Deaf for 10 years and was a teacher and administrator prior to that at ISD. 


Stailey was also an ASL adjunct professor at Yavapai College. 


Stailey said it was an honor to be selected as the new superintendent for MSD — that it was a privilege to return to deaf education after working at another school (ISD) for 32 years. 


He will start working in April. He takes over the previous superintendent, who resigned from his position in July of this year — Deaf man Ernest E. Garrett. He is now the Executive Director of DEAF, Inc — a deaf services/interpreting organization also in Missouri. 


I reached out to a Deaf person who is familiar with both ISD and MSD — he said he is an awesome person, a strong believer in bilingual education, and a fluent ASL signer with a “Deaf” heart — and that he has skills in collaborating with legislators. 


Nice. Congratulations to MSD Superintendent Stailey.




Today at the Wisconsin State Capitol, a large number of Deaf people attended a public hearing hosted by the Committee on Jobs and the Economy to testify in support of bills that would change how sign langauge interpreters are licensed in the state by establishing a board to oversee this. 


The board will consist of three deaf or hard of hearing or deafblind people, three interpreters, and one hearing person who coordinates interpreters (could be an owner of an agency). 


The board will be named, “Sign Language Interpreters Examining Board.” 


I read the bill — SB 465 — it that states interpreters will be classified on if they are a hearing or a deaf interpreter and have various levels. The licenses will be “intermediate hearing,” “advanced hearing,” intermediate deaf,” and “advanced deaf.” 


The classifications for hearing interpreters are based on whether the interpreters have completed a BA, completed an ITP (Interpreters Training Program), on if they passed varying levels on the BEI/RID exams. 


Deaf interpreters have less rigorous requirements, but still must meet a number of hours of training and to get the advanced level, must pass the RID deaf interpreter certification.  


The board can decide if there is equivalent trainings or certifications other than the BEI/RID to qualify interpreters. 


The bill will also allow the board to determine where the interpreters can work or can’t work in various settings (legal, hospitals, education). 


The board has power to investigate, hold hearings, and determine if a person has interpreted without a license, they can discipline the person by issuing an order to prevent him or her from 

obtaining a license, and if the person ignores it, the board can order them fined for $10,000. 


The board can also petition the circuit court to issue an injunction or temporary restraining order to stop a person from interpreting, and if the person ignores it, he or she can be fined between $25 to $5,000 and/or be jailed for up to one year. That is a powerful board. 


Today’s hearing was streamed LIVE on Facebook n State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D, 19th District)’s Facebook page. 


On the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf Facebook page there were several LIVE videos of the assembly with their Vice President Justin Vollmar and member Karen Dishno saying there was a great turnout with over 75 people. Their president Katy Schmidt was filmed speaking to the committee.  


Now what? The bill will be voted in committee and if it passes, it’ll go to the legislature to be voted on.


Bill Text: or 




That is all for today. Tomorrow we will be releasing a special report on Net Neutrality and the Deaf community. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 

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