The Daily Moth 1-2-2019

January 3, 2019

Texas County Swears in 17 Black Female Judges; Top Stories Briefs: 7-Year Old Girl Killed in Random Drive-By Shooting; U.S. Border Officers Fire Tear Gas; Mitt Romney and Donald Trump Criticizes One Another; Deaf Federal Employees Affected by Shutdown; Clarisa Vollmar, DeafBlind Child Adored by Thousands of Followers, Passes Away​

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, January 2. Ready for news?



Texas County Swears in 17 Black Female Judges


In Harris County, Texas, 17 black female judges were sworn in yesterday. They were elected during the November elections. CBS News said it is the largest group of black female judges elected at the same time in the county’s history.


Harris County is the largest county in Texas and includes the city of Houston. 43% of its residents are Hispanic and almost 20% are black. It is the third-largest county in the United States.


One of the judges from the group, Angela Graves-Harrington, said she wanted to be an inspiration for all those people who wondered if they could, and yes, they can.


Another judge from the group, Shannon Baldwin, is the first openly LGBTQ black judge in Harris County and the second in the state.


There was also a Colombian immigrant, Lina Hidalgo, who became the county’s first female and Latino judge.




Top Stories Briefs: 7-Year Old Girl Killed in Random Drive-By Shooting; U.S. Border Officers Fire Tear Gas


Here are two top stories briefs.


First, a 7-year old girl in Houston was shot and killed as she rode in the back of her mother’s car by a man who drove a red or maroon pickup truck.


It appears to be a random drive-by shooting. The girl’s name was Jazmine Barnes.


The mother was also shot, but she will recover. There were three other girls, all sisters, in the car. They weren’t shot, but one was hurt by shattered glass. The mother said the girls are traumatized.


This happened on Sunday morning. There is a search for the suspect who is described as a bearded white male in his 40’s.


The second news — American border officers fired tear gas into Mexico yesterday morning to push back against about 150 people who were trying to cross the border at Tijuana and San Diego.


The Customs and Border Protection agency said those people tried to climb over and crawl under the fence and were using heavy jackets, blankets, and mats to try and cross over the razor wire and also that they even tried to push toddlers over the fence.


They said some of the people threw rocks at them so they fired at least three tear gas canisters. Twenty-five people were detained.   


Drive By Shooting:


Border Tear Gas:




Mitt Romney and Donald Trump Criticizes One Another


Utah’s new and incoming Republican senator, Mitt Romney, wrote a strong criticism of President Donald Trump in an op-ed in the Washington Post.


Romney's op-ed said that Trump’s character falls short of presidential. He said Trump has not demonstrated honesty or respect.


Romney also said the world used to have a high level of trust in the American president, but not today. He warned against the increasing influence of authoritarian regimes in China, Russia, and the Philippines.


Romney said he would work with Republican leaders, but that he will speak out against statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions.


Romney will be sworn into the U.S. Senate tomorrow. This op-ed tells us that Romney is positioning himself as an independent Republican and someone who will openly oppose Trump.


President Trump tweeted, “Here we go with Mitt Romney.” Trump said he won big, and he didn’t — that he should be happy for all Republicans. Trump said, “Be a TEAM player and win!”


Today, Trump said he was surprised by the op-ed and that if Romney fought against Obama “like he did against me”, he would have won the election.


Romney was the Republican nominee for the presidency in 2012 and lost to Barack Obama, who won his second term.


During the 2016 campaign, Romney gave a speech that was very critical of Trump. But after Trump’s election victory, the two met several times. In February, Trump endorsed Romney’s Senate run.


Now we will see what their relationship will be like, from between the White House and Capitol Hill.


Romney Op-Ed:




Deaf Federal Employees Affected by Shutdown


I reached out to two Deaf female federal employees who have been affected by the partial government shutdown that has lasted for 12 days. They were willing to share their experience and thoughts. I will share their statements and keep their names anonymous.


The first person works in the Department of the Treasury. She said she is required to work without pay.


She said at some points, she agrees with the shutdown because we need protection from other countries with human trafficking and drugs. But she disagrees on how employees’ pay is stopped while politicians still get paid.


She said she is stressed about bills, about providing food for her children, and gas money because she has to do a one-hour commute daily. She hopes the shutdown will end tomorrow.


The second person works in the Department of Commerce. Her position has been furloughed without pay. This means she is staying at home without pay.


She said she went through the 2013 shutdown, which forced her to be in “hyper-thrift mode.” She used her bicycle as her main source of transportation. She applied for and received unemployment benefits, but she did not use them. She had a little bit in savings but only enough to pay rent and usual bills for a month.  


Now for this shutdown, she has several months of expenses in savings so it won’t affect her that much. She has no children. She has one concern — she plans to buy a house and hopes her savings will not dwindle because it is a part of her down-payment.


She said Congress has to approve back-pay, so there is a concern that it will not be approved. She said federal contractors do not get any back-pay at all.


Her opinion is that we need border security, but to shut down the federal government and refuse to sign a bipartisan spending bill over an impractical (unrealistic) wall is absurd.


She said she is now using the down time to relax and clean up her home.


So, those are two of the stories. We know there are probably many more deaf federal employees within the 800,000 employees affected by the shutdown.


President Trump met with congressional leaders today in the White House to discuss various options to end the shutdown. Trump warned that he would keep the government shutdown as long as it takes.




Clarisa Vollmar, DeafBlind Child Adored by Thousands of Followers, Passes Away


Last night, many people in the Deaf community were shocked and heartbroken to find out that Clarisa Delilah Qualls Vollmar, a DeafBlind child that had a large following on social media, passed away at 3 1/2 years of age.


A statement on the Clarisa Vollmar Facebook page said a terrible tragedy has struck their family, that she died in her sleep. The statement asked for us to keep them in our prayers and thoughts as their family grieves. They said they would share more details such as a funeral in the future.


I reached out to Clarisa’s father, Justin Vollmar. He said Clarisa stopped breathing while she was sleeping. There will be an autopsy to find more information.


Clarisa was born in June 2015 and would have turned four this June. She was a student at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She did have some difficulties eating solid food and had a feeding tube placed in her.


Clarisa’s mother, Rachel, did a vlog about two years ago that explained Clarisa became deaf and blind from a very rare genetic condition called “COMMD,” which is caused by Waardenburg syndrome type 2A.


There is only one other known child with COMMD, a boy named Orion Theodore Withrow, who is also DeafBlind and is 8 years old. His parents, Heather and Thomas, who are both Deaf, maintains a public page about Orion. They issued a statement yesterday saying their family is heartbroken for Clarisa Delilah’s whole family.


On Clarisa’s page, there were over 3,500 comments by people who shared their grief. Clarisa was known as “Lil Pearl.” Rest in peace, Clarisa.


[The Vollmar family has started a fundraising page for funeral expenses. Link is in transcript.]


Fundraising Page:


Family Statement and Clarisa FB Page:


Orion’s Page:




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


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