Recap of Trump’s SOTU Address and Democratic Response; Amtrak Train With GOP Lawmakers Collides With Truck; Centers for Disease Control Director Resigns After Tobacco Stocks Controversy; Airline Denies Passenger Wanting to Bring Emotional Support Peacock; News Briefs: FBI Against Memo; Sen. Menendez Case Dropped; Actor Mark Salling Dies; Two Deaf Men Charged with Heroin and Meth Trafficking
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, January 31. Ready for news?
Last night President Trump’s State of the Union speech was 80 minutes long. Here are the highlights:
Trump invited several guests and recognized people in the audience. Many of them were sitting in an area close to Melania, Trump’s wife:
- A Coast Guard officer who helped people stranded in Houston during Hurricane Harvey
A firefighter who helped save 60 children from California wildfires
Louisiana Representative Steven Scalise, who was shot during a Congressional baseball practice, recovered, and returned to work 3 1/2 months later
Two small business owners from Ohio who now will give out raises to employees and hire more because of the tax reforms
A 12-year old boy who attracted attention for putting flags on veterans’ graves on Veterans Day. Trump said his action reminds us why we should stand for the National Anthem.
Recognized the new Supreme Court justice — Neil Gorsuch. (He remained stone-faced, as justices usually do).
Four parents who lost two teen daughters to gang members of MS-13. It was very emotional with the parents crying. Trump said this is why we must be more strict with immigration.
A Homeland Security Special Agent who arrested over 200 MS-13 gang members
A police officer from New Mexico who, with his wife, agreed to adopt a baby from a homeless heroin addict
An Army soldier who was in Syria and helped another soldier who was hurt by a ISIS bomb
The parents of Otto Warmbier, who died after being detained in North Korea. This was also a very emotional moment, with the parents crying.
A disabled man from North Korea who escaped the country using wooden crutches
Trump talked about the economy — with stocks reaching record highs, over 2 million jobs created, and unemployment claims being very low. He said African-American unemployment is at the lowest rate ever — cameras then pointed to a group of black members of Congress — of most remained stone-faced, with one applauding.
Trump was proud about the tax cuts, saying American families and businesses will pay less taxes. He was also proud about the repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate.
Trump said his administration has supported veterans with a law that made it possible to remove over 1,500 VA employees who failed to give veterans proper care.
Trump said his administration has eliminated many regulations, supported coal, the auto manufacturing industry, and allowed the FDA to approve new and experimental treatments.
Trump called on Congress to propose an infrastructure bill of $1.5 trillion to fix/rebuild roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways. He wants the government approval processes to take less than 2 years.
Trump said his priority is on Americans and their right to the American Dream — saying Americans are dreamers, too. (Trump was obviously referring to the DACA Dreamers).
Trump made his proposal for an immigration bill: offer citizenship in 12 years for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought in as children by their parents — if they meet certain requirements; building a wall on the Mexican border and funding additional security; and ending the visa lottery and chain migration, changing it to a merit-based system and only limiting immigration sponsorships to the immediate family (spouses and minor children).
Trump said the military needs to be fully funded, our nuclear arsenal to be rebuilt and modernized.
Trump applauded our military and allies on defeating ISIS’ hold on lands in Iraq and Syria and said there is more work to done to fully defeat them. He said the soldiers in Afghanistan has new rules of engagement and that they would stay without artificial timelines.
Trump said the military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba must stay open so the U.S. has the power to detain terrorists.
He was proud about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and criticized the various countries who was opposed to this during a U.N. vote. Trump said he is calling on Congress to only give foregin assistance funds to America’s friends.
Trump said he would continue to be tough against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and especially North Korea.
He closed his speech with honoring the American people, saying the Capitol was a “living monument to the American people.”
After the speech, Rep. Joe Kennedy gave the Democratic response to the speech from his home state of Massachusetts. Here is a brief recap.
Kennedy said the city of Fall River was built by immigrants. He said many people in America were anxious and angry with issues on workers not earning enough, Russia interference, less civil rights, hatred and supremacy in our streets, and shootings.
Kennedy said the Trump administration is breaking American promises that we are all equal — then told Dreamers in Spanish that they were a part of our story, we will fight for you, and we will not walk away.
Kennedy applauded the women’s marches, those who say Black Lives Matter, those who say “Me Too,” the first responders during diasters, police officers and soldiers, and closed his speech with saying the spirit of unified people could “beat” bullies.
Transcript of SOTU: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/30/politics/2018-state-of-the-union-transcript/index.html
Transcript of Kennedy’s Response: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/us/politics/transcript-joe-kennedy-democratic-response.html
Today an Amtrak train that had Republican lawmakers on it crashed into a garbage truck in Crozet, Virginia. The train was traveling around 70 mph at the time.
One person in the truck died and another person was seriously injured.
No lawmakers or staff were seriously injured, but some had minor injuries. Two Amtrak crew and two passengers were transported to the hospital.
The lawmakers were on their way to a retreat in West Virginia for an annual legislative conference that had Trump scheduled to attend tomorrow.
The scene of the accident showed a wrecked tractor-trailer on the side of the railway, with debris scattered everywhere. It had a container that was thrown in a different area.
There were many police officers who swarmed the area to check for potential criminal or terrorist acts, but it was ruled as an accident.
One representative said it seemed like the truck was trying to “beat” the train, but got hit.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s director, Brenda Fitzgerald, has resigned today because it was revealed she had tens of thousand dollars worth of stocks in tobacco companies — which would be a conflict of interest.
The CDC does not encourage people to use tobacco. It is said Brenda toured the CDC’s Tobacco Laboratory, which researches health effects of tobacco, the day after buying large amounts of stocks.
Brenda also had stocks in the healthcare industry. She bought them shortly after becoming CDC Director last July, and sold her stocks by the the end of November, but the fact she did this was widely criticized.
The new Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, accepted her resignation. Azar was sworn in on Monday, replacing the previous HHS Sec. Tom Price, who was fired for overusing charter jets.
A woman who had an “emotional support peacock” tried to bring the animal on a plane in Newark — and had bought a second ticket for her — but was denied by United Airlines, because of the peacock’s weight and size.
This has ignited debate on if people are abusing airlines’ privileges for people to travel with service animals.
Delta airlines announced two weeks ago that starting on March 1, passengers with service or support animals must provide documentation:
— A signed veterinary health form or immunization record 48 hours in advance
— A signed letter by a doctor or mental health professional
— Proof that the animal can be well-behaved in the plane cabin
Delta said they are doing this because they’ve seen a big increase in urination/defecation, biting, and attacks from animals, which isn’t supposed to happen with properly trained animals.
Delta will not allow exotic support animals such as ferrets, insects, spiders, goats, or animals with tusks or hooves.
They’ve established a “Service Animal Support Desk” to verify the documents.
Now United Airlines is looking at their service animal policies.
We know there are some Deaf/DeafBlind people who travel with service dogs. You might want to double check with your airline before flying, especially with Delta, as it appears airlines are more strict.
Three news briefs:
1 — The FBI Director Wray is opposed to Republicans and the White House releasing the top-secret memo about how the FBI spied on the Trump campaign. Wray said the FBI has grave concerns because it has omissions of fact that makes it not accurate. But Trump said last night he wants it released.
2 — The Justice Department said they will not continue to pursue a corruption case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D). There was a mistrial last fall and it was thought there would be another case, but nope. The senator wants to run again for re-election.
3 — Yesterday actor Mark Salling, known for his role on TV show “Glee,” passed away at 35. It seems like he killed himself by hanging. He recently pled guilty to possession of child pornography and was awaiting sentencing in March.
Two deaf men were arrested in a major drug dealing bust in North Carolina last Friday.
Their names are James Russell (57) and Augustine Vega (34) .
Local news mentioned their arrest, but did not state that they were deaf. I checked with several deaf people who confirmed that they were deaf and originally from California.
Police say the two had a room at a hotel in Asheville to store and sell drugs: more than 400 grams of meth, more than 28 grams of heroin, 5 grams of mushrooms, and 34 grams of marijuana.
They were charged with trafficking in heroin and meth, among other charges.
Both are in custody at the Buncombe County Detention Center. Russell is under a $825,000 secured bond and Vega is under a $800,000 bond.
North Carolina has serious drug laws — both the heroin and meth charges have a maximum penalty of 23 years in prison.
Two deaf people I was in contact with said both had a history of previous drug arrests
Many people in the Deaf community are outraged at a vandalism incident at the Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Here is a video from Katie Murch and other staff there, who will explain what happened.
Thank you all for sharing. Very disappointing to see that happen to the camp.
If you want to help out the camp with cleaning/repairing, and generally with the camp after the funds are met, you can do at www.aspencamp.org/donate.
That is all for today! See you tomorrow and stay with the light.