Russia Expels 60 U.S. Diplomats and Closes U.S. Consulate in Retaliation; Trump Fires VA Secretary Shulkin; UFO Sightings by Pilots in Arizona; Civil Rights Leader Linda Brown Passes Away at 76; Man’s “Beer Belly” Was 30 Pound Tumor, Austin Police Say Recent Bombings Are “Domestic Terrorism”, Deaf Man Refused Service at Popeyes Drive-Thru; Deaf Chinese Man With Mental Disabilities Chained Over 10 Years By His Own Mother
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, March 29. Ready for news?
Russia announced they would expel 60 U.S. diplomats and close the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg in response to the U.S. expelling Russian diplomats and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.
Russia will also expel at least 90 other diplomats from other countries in response to them expelling Russian diplomats.
The Kremlin (Russian government) has maintained that they were not involved and were falsely accused.
The British government said they had evidence that the poisoning was done with a nerve agent that was made in Russia and was approved by Putin, but has not shown it to the public — only sharing it with other countries’ governments, including the U.S., who agreed with the British government’s accusations.
So the international tensions with Russia continues to increase, the election interference, war in Syria, and the annexation of Crimea.
Yesterday Trump fired another person on Twitter -- David J. Shulkin, the secretary for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
His replacement is Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House doctor.
There have been rumors that he would be fired for weeks now. Shulkin started working under the Obama presidency in 2013.
The New York Times reported that several people within Trump’s administration want to privatize health care for veterans, which would allow them to get care outside of “government services.” This is something Shulkin has strongly opposed, which caused a lot of internal tension within the department.
Things became worse for him when a report was released that showed Shulkin had taken a government-paid trip to Britain and Denmark last year, but he had spent much of the trip sightseeing and even accepted tickets to Wimbledon, the prestigious tennis tournament. Accepting the tickets as a gift is not appropriate for a government official.
People within the department who had opposed Shulkin took advantage of the report and used it to justify replacing him. He attempted to fight back, but was not able to recover.
Trump and Shulkin had discussed having Dr. Jackson work under him last year, but now he is replacing him. Jackson has worked at the White House since 2006, and he was former President Obama’s doctor, overseeing his physicals.
When Shulkin was at the height of his popularity last year, President Trump had said Shulkin would never have to worry about him saying that famous phrase from The Apprentice: “You’re fired”. He’d never have to worry about it, that’s for sure.
Shulkin recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times. He expressed how frustrating the last few months have been. We’ll leave you with this quote:
I have fought to stand up for this great department and all that it embodies. In recent months, though, the environment in Washington has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work that our veterans need and deserve. I can assure you that I will continue to speak out against those who seek to harm the V.A. by putting their personal agendas in front of the well-being of our veterans.
So, this is yet another top Trump administration official who has been fired. It’s become normal now, but this didn’t happen during previous administrations. We see that Trump is a different type of leader.
Shulkin’s Op-Ed: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/opinion/shulkin-veterans-affairs-privatization.html#click=https://t.co/KbaNSI7CLg
In February a pilot flying a commercial Learjet in Arizona radioed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) control tower and reported a UFO. Another pilot for American Airlines also saw it.
The tapes of the dialogue have been released.
The first pilot asked the control tower if they saw anyone pass above them 30 seconds ago. The tower responded, no. The pilot said something did. Another person in the background said, “a UFO!” and the pilot chuckled and said “yeah”.
A few minutes later the tower radioed American Airlines pilots flying in the area and asked them to report anything flying overhead.
Sure enough, the pilot of that flight also reported seeing something whiz by several thousand feet above them, describing it as having a big reflection.
American Airlines has referred all inquiries to the FAA.
The sightings occurred not too far away from Roswell, NM - which is well-known for the “UFO crash” in 1947. At that time, authorities said it was a weather balloon, but many people have come up with other theories.
What do you think? Is this some secret government plane? Or is it... something else?
This sighting comes after news broke several months ago that the U.S. military had a secret program to investigate UFOs after military pilots saw unidentified flying objects in Southern California.
On Monday a woman who was a civil rights leader passed away. Her name was Linda Brown.
Brown was a big part of a key civil rights lawsuit in the 1952, Brown vs Board of Education. At that time, public schools were still segregated and Brown was in elementary school.
That lawsuit started because the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) asked Brown’s parents and 13 other children’s parents to attempt to enroll their children into all-white schools.
They knew the schools would reject them but they wanted to use this as the basis for their class action lawsuit.
In 1954 the Supreme Court decided that the families were right and that segregation and the idea of “separate but equal” was wrong. By that time, Brown was in middle school.
When Brown grew up, she became a speaker and an educational consultant. She continued to speak out on segregation and reopened the case in 1979 in Topeka, KS (her hometown) because she saw there were still issues with segregation. By 1993 the courts decided that the school system in Topeka was in fact still segregated, and as a result, three new schools were built in that area.
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer paid tribute to her with a tweet.
Gov Coyler’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/GovJeffColyer/status/978380308675481600
An article from NPR said that when they asked her about her role in the historic case, she said her father deserved the credit, but that she was very proud that it happened, and believed it has helped minorities everywhere.
Brown had several children herself. Rest in peace, Linda Brown.
One man from New Jersey, Kevin Daly, thought he a “beer belly” — but it was actually a 30-pound tumor.
He started to become concerned for his health when he lost more than 30 pounds in 2015, but his belly didn’t recede.
Kevin had to convince his doctor to do a CT scan, which confirmed he had a “liposarcoma” tumor. , which is rare.
This type of tumor is rare, grows in fat tissue, and is difficult to detect. Apparently it grew in his stomach for 10 to 15 years.
Fortunately, it didn’t spread to other parts of his body, but it was wrapped around one of his kidneys.
His surgery was in December, it took doctors four hours to remove the tumor.
Today the Austin Interim Police Chief Manley said the bombings this month is “domestic terrorism.”
It is the first time they classified it that way. There was a lot of criticism that they didn’t call the bomber, Mark Conditt, a terrorist, suggesting that it was because he was white and American.
Chief Manley said what the bombings did to our community was domestic terrorism, that he didn’t use the term in the past because he knew it would be in the legal system and he wanted to be sensitive with the terms he used.
The bomber did record a 25-minute confession on his phone. Police said last week that his statements didn’t mention any racial or political motivations, that he was a very troubled, challenged young man. Now he’s labeled a terrorist.
Police have not given a motive, but said his confession video had a list of future targets. He called himself a “psychopath,” which is a mental disorder that makes the individual violent and aggressive.
The first three explosions killed or injured people of color in neighborhoods that were predominantly black or hispanic, which caused many to think they were hate crimes, but the fourth explosion was at a upper middle-class, predominantly white neighborhood, injuring two white males, and the fifth explosion was at a FedEx building, so that theory dissolved.
Even though Conditt is deceased, killing himself with a bomb, there are raw emotions about how the police initially handled the investigation, because when the first victim, Stephan House died on March 2, police said it was possible he built the bomb and killed himself, with his family dumbfounded that they would think that way.
Police said there was no threat, but when the second and third explosions occurred on March 12, police changed their perspectives and ramped up their investigation.
One Deaf man from California, David Kanter, had a bad experience at a Popeyes drive-thru when an employee didn’t take his order, written down on pen and paper.
This happened on Sunday. David explained the experience on a vlog that went viral.
He said the drive-thru employee wrote down that he had to go inside.
David refused to, as he knew he had a right to use the drive-thru, and had positive experiences with other fast-food establishments.
David said the employee went inside and talked with a manager, who came to the window and motioned for him to move his vehicle, using her voice, without writing down anything.
David said he didn’t understand what she was saying and felt frustrated and discriminated against. He recorded the exchange with his cell phone.
[Video showing David sitting at his car. The camera shows the manager talking on a cell phone while holding David’s written order.
The camera turns around and shows David, visibly frustrated, saying she was refusing his order. He said he was Deaf and wouldn’t go in the store, that this was wrong.
The camera turns back to show the manager still talking on her phone and holding the order. She speaks to David, who says he doesn't understand. The manager motions for David to move. She then writes something down on paper as another employee peers out the window and walks away]
Alex: I was in touch with David to ask him follow up questions. Here it is.
-- Begin Interview: David is sitting next to his wife, Lauren.
David: Hi, my name is David Kanter. This is my sign name.
Lauren: Hi, my name is Lauren Kanter. This is my sign name. I am his wife.
David: We live in Riverside, California.
Alex: You had a bad experience at Popeyes with the employee speaking at you. What happened after the end of the video? I saw that she was writing something. What happened after?
David: Yes, I saw the woman writing on pen and paper. At the same time, another employee went outside and looked at my car, at my license plate number. I think she wanted to call the police. I didn’t want to escalate the situation and wanted to keep myself safe, so I left.
Lauren: Yes, that’s why he came here to my home to be safe. It was my first time seeing him all stressed out, but I’m happy he came home safe. To be honest, I think the female employee should be trained on how to communicate with the Deaf community.
Alex: What will you two do going forward, with this situation?
Lauren: We should be positive in educating the company, Popeyes, about Deaf culture, communication, and allowing Deaf people to use the drive-thru. But, that female employee was not appropriately trained.
David: I agree with what you are saying.
Lauren: That’s what happened, that’s what rolled. We didn’t expect this.
David: Yes, we’ve been to many different fast-food restaurants at their drive-thrus, used pen and paper, and was treated with respect with our orders taken. But not this place. They need to be educated. I don’t want to see others in the Deaf community disappointed. Both deaf and hearing should be equal. That’s my goal. Equality, period.
Alex: Do you want to add anything?
David: I feel that all fast-food places, including McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, In n Out, I think they all should… I see that hearing people can easily make orders, but where is the accessibility for Deaf people? It’s not equal. There should be a touch-screen option with the ability to pay on the spot or at the window. I saw a touch-screen at Panera Bread and at McDonalds, but they are for only indoor use, not at the drive-thru. Jack-in-the-Box, too. Why don’t they use this technology at the drive-thru? How about it? Why not?
Lauren: Why not?
[After the incident, the Popeyes Area Manager sent David an apology letter
“Dear Mr. David Kanter:
Thank you for notifying us of your complaint. I would like to start out by extending a deeply heartfelt apology. This type of behavior should never have happened towards you or any human being for that matter. We are taking these matters very seriously.
...To ensure that our staff conducts itself in a manner that reflects the high regard that we have for our customers, we will be holding a full store retraining. We have already sat down with the employees involved and made sure that they are aware of the way their actions have affected you and others and they have been in retraining since the beginning when this was brought to our attention….
...Your patronage is very important to us and we wish to invite you and your family back to dine with us of course at no expense to you. Please allow us to make this up to you.”
(Written by Christina Vielma, Popeyes Area Manager )]
Alex: Thank you for your time, David.
Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time at various restaurant establishments across the nation. I’ve reported incidents at a Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy’s.
One positive thing is technology — some restaurants now offer an app where you can order food, park at a designated area, and have someone bring it to you. McDonalds does that.
I read one sad and disturbing article on DailyMail about a 41-year old deaf man in China, who is said to also have mental illnesses, being chained inside a dark room for more than 10 years by his mother, because she couldn’t take care of him.
The man’s name is Wang Zhiqiang. His mother, who is 77, said when he was little, he went to a boarding school for children with special needs (not clear if it was a deaf school or not).
The mother said Wang was bullied at school, causing him to have mental issues, and was sent back home. She said he attacked neighbors. The father could take care of him, but when he died 12 years ago, the mother couldn’t handle him — so she chained him.
Pictures showed his arms with deep red marks from the chains.
His older sister said she cried every time she saw his brother, and wished she could take his place.
The mother said her family is very poor and can’t afford to send him to a psychiatric hospital, and hopes to raise money going forward to send him there. The family gets a small monthly amount from the local government.
There doesn’t seem to be any kind of criminal charges against the family.
Very sad to see this. It is not the first time we’ve seen stories of deaf people being chained. Hopefully the region will develop some kind of action plan to provide more support people with disabilities.
That is all for this week. Follow “The Daily Moth” on Facebook and Twitter for the latest. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!