The Daily Moth 11-15-2018

November 16, 2018

Top Stories: Michael Avenatti Arrested; Trump Endorses Criminal Reform Bill; Updates on Jamal Khashoggi; Prosecutors Say GoFundMe Homeless Man Story is Hoax, All Three Arrested; Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis Visits Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind; Deaf Moths’ Furry Bodies Protect Them Against Bats; California Wildfires Update; Interviews With Three Deaf People Impacted

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, November 15. Ready for news?




Top Stories: Michael Avenatti Arrested; Trump Endorses Criminal Reform Bill; Updates on Jamal Khashoggi


Here are three top stories briefs.


The first — Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, was arrested last night on suspicion of domestic violence against an unidentified partner. He was released on bail with a court appearance in December.


Avenatti and his firm said it was a false accusation, that he has never struck a woman and will never strike a woman, and is looking forward to being fully exonerated.


Stormy Daniels said she would reserve judgment until the investigation is complete, but if the allegations are true, she would seek new representation.


The second news brief — yesterday President Trump endorsed a Senate bipartisan (having the support of both Democrats and Republicans) criminal justice reform bill. Trump encouraged Congress to go for it and saying he looks forward to signing the bill.


The bill would lower some mandatory minimum sentences and allow some prisoners to be released early.  


The third news brief — Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia announced they want to execute five people in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


The Saudi prosecutors said Khashoggi was tied up, injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him, and had his body dismembered and taken away from the Saudi consulate in Turkey.


They said a former Saudi intelligence official decided to kill him because it would be too difficult to bring him to Saudi Arabia alive.


The Trump administration in response has imposed sanctions against 17 Saudi individuals.




Criminal Justice:




Prosecutors Say GoFundMe Homeless Man Story is Hoax, All Three Arrested  


Here is a major update on the homeless man and the couple from New Jersey who raised $400,000 for him on GoFundMe — all three were arrested on suspicion that the whole thing was a scam.


The couple, Kate McClure and her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, were charged with conspiracy and theft by deception.


The homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, was arrested by Philadelphia police for being a fugitive from justice and was transferred to New Jersey to face charges with the GoFundMe case.


Last year, McClure said she was driving on I-95 near Philadelphia when she ran out of gas near an overpass. Bobbit was there and offered her $20. McClure then set up a GoFundMe to help Bobbit, where over $400,000 was donated.


Later, the homeless man accused the couple of keeping most of the money raised to themselves. There was an investigation, and now all three have criminal charges.


Prosecutors in New Jersey said the whole thing was a lie, from on looking at evidence from text messages that showed the story was made up and planned in advance. The three already knew each other and met up a month prior to the campaign to plan this.


The couple had a net of $367,000, then Bobbit got $75,000 of that. The couple spent it on a car, expensive handbags and trips, and at casinos.


GoFundMe said they will give a full refund to all donors.


The three, if convicted, could face up to ten years in jail.




Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis Visits Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind


Colorado’s newly-elected governor Jared Polis visited the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind in Colorado Springs yesterday.


In an interview with local news, Polis said he wanted his first visit to Colorado Springs as Governor-elect to be really meaningful so he chose CSDB because it is a state entity that serves 200 deaf and blind students.


Polis said an elementary student asked him if he was deaf. He said no, but that a deaf or a blind person can be a governor or president. See this clip from KOAA 5.


Polis: “Just like I was able to tell a young girl here earlier today that, yes, a deaf person can become governor or president, and yes a gay person can be governor too,” Polis said. “It doesn’t really make a difference. What matters are your ideas and what you have to give in your heart.”


Polis said he was honored to meet the students, faculty, and teachers, and learned on how he could improve services for deaf and blind kids in Colorado.


Polis liked the school’s free kindergarten and preschool programs, saying it is important for children in early years to (get) language acquisition skills. He said he hopes to expand that free program to save families money.


Polis is a Democrat, the first openly gay elected governor in the U.S., and the first Jewish governor of Colorado.


He was a U.S. Congressman and a member of the Colorado State Board of Education. He is a successful businessman and a wealthy person and philanthropist with an estimated net worth of $400 million.


CSDB Facebook:


Local News Interview:


KOAA 5 Article:




Deaf Moths’ Furry Bodies Protect Them Against Bats


I read an interesting article on that talks about deaf moths! No, it was not about “The Daily Moth,” but about actual moth insects.


I’ve had discussions on if moths were deaf or not, and I thought it was not true, that they had hearing, but this article confirms there are certain deaf moth species.


It said there some moth species with evolved ears to avoid bats at night. The hearing moths can hear bats’ echolocation and avoid them.


There are deaf moth species that have a fuzzy, furry coating that can absorb bats’ echos. The sounds will not bounce, but be absorbed.  


Researchers in the U.K. looked at two deaf moth species, Antherina suraka and Callosamia promethean, and did sound tests that showed their bodies were able to absorb 85% of sound energy that was pinged towards them.


The fur is not hair, but modified scales that have narrow and extended endings. It looks like hair.


Researchers compared the moth’s sound absorptions with butterflies and saw that they absorbed up to 20% of sound energy, much less than moths with 85%. The possible reason is because butterflies are daytime insects, they don’t have to worry about bats, not like moths, who are nocturnal.  


It’s a very interesting article. It’s cool to know there are moths that are born naturally deaf with special protections against bats.




California Wildfires Update; Interviews With Three Deaf People Impacted


At least 59 people have died in the California wildfires, with 56 people killed in northern California’s “Camp Fire.” That fire is the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. There are still 130 people missing there.


At least three people died in the “Woolsey Fire” near Los Angeles.


I’ve reached out to several people in the deaf community who were impacted by the wildfires. I will share three stories today.


The first is Leslie Hanaumi, who was impacted by the Camp Fire. Here it is.


Leslie: I live in Chico up there. Paradise, I sign it like this because it is a “dream land,” is behind me. It is a 20-minute drive. My heart has belonged to Paradise for 41 years because many of my relatives live in Paradise. I’m just sad, too much have happened in a short time. There were three incidents in my family. Both of my maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents’ homes are gone. What’s even worse, this is bad news — my uncle Bob and his neighbor Amber, who is only 45 years old, tried to help pull my uncle out, but unfortunately the roof fell down on both of their bodies.


[Image of Leslie’s Uncle Bob]


It’s hard to describe. My heart is crushed. I love you. Pray for people in Paradise. I pray that Paradise will come back. It won’t be the same, but it will come back for sure. I can’t say more because I am heartbroken. I love you all.


Alex: That is very touching. We are sorry about your uncle’s death. Thank you for sharing, and we believe Paradise will come back.


The next story is from Julie Rems-Smario, who was also impacted by the Camp Fire. Here it is.


Julie: My son is a firefighter.


[Image of Joshua Smario and his baby]


Julie: It started on Thursday morning last week. My son FaceTimed both my husband and I. My husband is deaf too, his name is David Smario. We asked what was wrong. He said the fire is now spreading to Paradise. He knew exactly the behavior, the science of the fire. He said the fire would consume Nana and Nanu’s house, who belonged to my parents-in-law (his grandparents). It would hit there first, then to his house. Both of them live in Paradise.


[Image of Smario family]


So my parents-in-law got up in the morning and left with what they had on. They got in their car and left. My daughter-in-law, who is my son’s partner, they have a 6-month old baby. My son was already at the fire station. Both of them got in the car and met them. The two-lane road in Paradise became a one-way road. Some people got out and ran. The road was backed up because it was a big town with one exit. They were scared. The grandparents’ home and his home were flattened. They sent me a picture and it just floored me.


[Image of Julie’s in-laws’ home, image of Joshua’s home]


My son, who is a firefighter, was not the only one who lost his home. 36 firefighters lost their homes and all of them are still fighting. It’s amazing. Thank you for your support, I appreciate it.


Alex: Thank you for sharing, that is a very scary thing to go through. We are happy to know your family is okay, and our thoughts are with your son as he continues to fight the fires.


The next story is from Carmen Meissner. Her mother lost her home from the Woolsey Fire. Her grandmother died last year from the wildfires in Napa.


Carmen: I live in Tennessee now, but my family lives in Agoura Hills. One morning I woke and saw on the news that the fires were close to my hometown. It freaked me out and I called my parents. My mom picked up and said everything was fine, she was working in San Francisco, she is a flight attendant. Okay, she’s safe, that’s good, then I called my dad. He didn’t respond and I thought I would lose my dad. I later found out he was safe, the fires were not close to his house. But later my mother flew back home. She went to look at the house and everything we had was gone.


[Image of Carmen’s mother’s home]


The fire consumed all the houses on that street. Everything is gone. We have nothing from that house. We lost all of the memories from my grandma that I had in that house. That is all gone now.


Alex: I asked Carmen how she felt about the two wildfires in a year. See her response.


Carmen: It is so crazy because growing up we didn’t have problems with fires. We had a few fires and it was minor. I didn’t realize how serious fires can be. I did not realize how they could kill people or destroy homes. It has been a really horrible year. Two fires changed my life forever. It’s so weird that it’s starting to happen now. We have really bad fires. It’s crazy.


Alex:  There are several more deaf people impacted by the fires. I am still in the process of collecting information and will share more tomorrow.




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


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