Volcano in Guatemala Erupts, Killing Over 60; Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Same-Sex Couple; President Trump Says He Has Right to Pardon Himself; Apple’s iOS 12 Update Has Group FaceTime Calls of Up to 32 People, But Prioritizes Voice; Deaf Couple Says KFC Employees Made Fun of Them at Drive-Thru; Salem City Council Uses Police Officer as ASL Interpreter
Volcano in Guatemala Erupts, Killing Over 60
Yesterday in Guatemala, there was a massive volcano eruption that surprised many in the area — killing over 60 people. This is at the “Volcan de Fuego” in the south part of the country, close to Guatemala City.
There were pictures and video of the volcano erupting, sending huge clouds of ash and lava flowing down. You can see serious destruction with thick ash and mud everywhere. Some pictures showed several bodies lying with mud and ash covering them. It looks like it was sudden and powerful.
First responders and groups of people ran to the site to try and save others who were trapped, including many children.
Guatemala’s president has declared a state of emergency with over 3,000 people evacuated. Officials fear there are more dead because they can’t access many homes.
This situation is much more serious than the one in Hawaii.
But in Hawaii, it’s still dangerous with lava continuing to flow from fissures opening up in the ground. There are areas that are slowly becoming blocked by lava, as well as dangerous gases in the air.
I’ve been in touch with Ronald McBride, the Deaf resident in the area. He sent me a video last week of him driving on a road, only to have it covered with thick lava a few hours later. See this clip.
He also sent me a video of smoke rising from lava flows. His last update was this morning, Hawaiian time, saying he was busy moving his house and another one tomorrow.
Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Same-Sex Couple
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Colorado baker who was involved in a nationwide controversy when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012 because of his religious beliefs.
That led to a discrimination complaint from the couple, and the state of Colorado supported the couple.
The baker, Jack Phillips, appealed, saying he had a right to free speech and free exercise of religion. He said he could say anything and observe his religion in saying, “no.”
This case went to the Supreme Court with them hearing arguments in December.
Today the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 vote that sided with the baker. The Court said the state of Colorado was in the wrong because they were hostile to the baker’s religious views.
CBS News called this a “limited ruling” — saying the Supreme Court did not decide the big issue on if a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people, just that Colorado showed anti-religious bias.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said the issue of religious freedom and discrimination is yet to be determined.
There are similar cases in appeals court, with one before the Supreme Court about a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. So it means this type of case is ongoing.
President Trump Says He Has Right to Pardon Himself
President Trump tweeted today that he has a right to pardon himself, but said he wouldn’t do that because he hasn’t done anything wrong.
He continued to criticize the Special Counsel Mueller and the investigation, saying it was unconstitutional, but that he would play the game because he has done nothing wrong.
The Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) tweeted that Trump was 0 for 2 on the Constitution this morning. He was basically saying Trump couldn’t pardon himself and that the investigation was legal.
This controversy started last weekend from a New York Times publishing a letter from January that was written by Trump’s legal team, sent to Mueller’s team. It said Trump, as president, could shut down the investigation or pardon himself.
Trump’s new layer, Rudy Giuliani, said Trump probably does have the power to pardon himself, but it would put him in a tough political situation — with him being impeached immediately (by the House).
CNN said no president has ever pardoned himself, and discussed a 1974 memo by the Department of Justice directed at then-president Nixon that a president cannot pardon himself because no one may be a judge in his own case. That’s the only thing to refer to.
CNN said if Trump was indict of crimes and pardoned himself, it would be challenged in court, which means federal judges or the Supreme Court would have to decide what to do.
Apple’s iOS 12 Update Has Group FaceTime Calls of Up to 32 People, But Prioritizes Voice
Apple announced today that in their next iOS 12 update, iPhone users will be able to FaceTime with up to 32 people. This will be integrated into Messages (texts), so you can go from a group text to a group FaceTime.
It works by having people’s faces in tiles at the bottom, with those who are speaking (with voice) appearing bigger in the middle of the phone.
This is nice, but I’m not sure how it will look with Deaf signers who don’t use voice.
You can manually select who you want to see from the bottom of the screen, but there’s still the issue of voice.
I tweeted to Apple saying I hoped the feature can recognize movement to prioritize ASL users, otherwise we’ll have to “fake sim-com.” We would have to actually speak to prioritize ourselves.
I hope Apple will somehow make it possible for it to recognize sign language. If that works out, or if Deaf people find a way, this group FT feature with up to 32 people could be the equivalent of radio channels. I imagine this can be beneficial for a group of deaf people working at an event or for a big project. It can be hard to communicate on group texts, but imagine a group FaceTime will work better. I hope Apple can make the adjustments.
Apple announced several new features, you can check them out at the link below. iOS 12 will be available to beta users in the next few weeks, then to everybody probably at the end of this month.
Deaf Couple Says KFC Employees Made Fun of Them at Drive-Thru
A Deaf woman, Bobbie Cole, said employees at a KFC restaurant in Byram, Mississippi discriminated against her and her husband, Mike, when they tried to order food at a drive-thru on Wednesday night.
Bobbie’s daughter, Donna Curtis — who is a CODA — posted an emotional LIVE video, using sign and voice, Thursday that was shared over 22,000 times, it went viral.
Bobbie said her mother wanted to go inside KFC, but saw that it was locked, so she went to the drive-thru. She is deaf and can use her voice. She used her voice to place her order, indicating she was deaf and could read lips.
When she pulled to the window, the KFC employee covered her mouth as she spoke to her, and laughed with a co-worker.
Bobbie (the mother) told WJTV news that it made her upset and hurt, that the employees made fun of people who were handicapped or deaf.
Donna (the daughter) in her vlog said it was discrimination and wanted her video to be shared so the message could get out.
This story was on several local news articles. Marlee Matlin tweeted about this, saying no one should be treated this way.
KFC issued a statement saying they would do an investigation and that the restaurant franchise director is reaching out to her.
Salem City Council Uses Police Officer as ASL Interpreter
The Salem, Oregon City Council hosted a special meeting on Friday to discuss issues with their water — and used a police officer as an ASL interpreter.
The meeting was streamed LIVE on Facebook. For the first 54 minutes, there was no interpreter, then a PIP corner box was added with an officer in full uniform interpreting.
I saw in a comment by the city of Salem saying that they called an officer from the street to interpret.
The officer continued to interpret for about two hours for multiple people. See this video clip.
On the comments under the video, a person who seems to be a family member of the officer said the officer is a CODA, was called at a moment’s notice, and had to interpret with a bulletproof vest and a duty belt for two hours, but that he was willing to do it because of his concern for his community. The person said he was frustrated at being unprepared to sign medically technical words.
The Oregon Association of the Deaf shared the video and criticized the city for using an officer who is not qualified or a certified interpreter, saying it reminded them of a situation that happened in Florida.
The OAD President Logan Poynor said in a message to me that they are aware of this issue and will be writing a letter on why it is unacceptable for police officers to double as interpreters.
The OAD will also reach out to local interpreting agencies to see what can be improved during times of emergency.
Philip Wolfe, a Deaf person who ran for Portland City Council, said this appalled him because he won a lawsuit when a police officer acted as an interpreter in a domestic violence case in 2012.
Philip said he would hold them accountable. He said even if the officer was certified, it is still inappropriate and dangerous because of a conflict of interest with two “caps” on, as an officer and as an ASL interpreter.
LIVE Video of City of Salem Meeting with Officer Interpreter: http://bit.ly/2sDyInB
OAD Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OAD1921/