Political News Briefs: Trump Leaning Towards Signing Border Deal; National Debt At $22 Trillion; Top Stories Briefs: Former U.S. Air Force Member Charged With Giving Classified Information to Iran; NASA Declares Mars Rover Opportunity Dead; Six Police Officers Shoots, Kills Black Motorist At Taco Bell Drive-Thru; 2 Children Found Locked in Dog Cage in Texas Barn, 2 Others Covered In Filth; Updates on Trump/Beto Rally Interpreters; Topgolf Provides ASL Instruction Videos
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, February 13. Ready for news?
Political News Briefs: Trump Leaning Towards Signing Border Deal; National Debt At $22 Trillion
Here are two political news briefs.
The first — there are news reports that President Trump is leaning towards signing the border security deal that Congressional negotiators agreed to, although he is not happy with it. The deal has $1.3 billion in wall funding.
Trump told reporters that he would take a very serious look at the legislation because he does not want the government to shut down again.
Fox News reported that the deal has problems and is “leaking oil,” that lawmakers are struggling to finish it.
The second news —AP reported that the U.S. national debt has surpassed $22 trillion for the first time. When Trump became president, it was $19.9 trillion.
AP explained that the debt has accelerated since Trump’s new tax cuts law passed in December 2017 and because of increased spending approved by Congress on domestic and military programs.
Axios explained that the national debt has been increasing over the last century, but increased quickly under the previous three administrations — Trump, Obama and Bush.
Top Stories Briefs: Former U.S. Air Force Member Charged With Giving Classified Information to Iran; NASA Declares Mars Rover Opportunity Dead
Here are two top stories briefs.
The first — a former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence specialist was charged by the Justice Department with giving classified information to Iran.
Her name is Monica Witt. She was born and raised in Texas and had top-secret clearance when she worked for the Air Force. She then defected to Iran in 2013.
The indictment accuses her of helping Iranian intelligence services to target her former co-workers in the U.S. intelligence community and shared the code name and classified mission of a U.S. military program. She is still at large.
Four other Iranian citizens have been charged with attempting to install spy software on computers that belonged to Witt’s former co-workers.
The second news — NASA announced their Mars rover Opportunity is dead after it went through a massive dust storm in June that blocked the sun. The rover was not able to have power from the sun and likely froze.
USAToday explained that its size is similar to a golf cart. It first reached Mars in 2004. It roamed for 28 miles and confirmed that there used to be water flowing on the planet. Its original mission was for only 90 days, but it lasted for 15 years.
There are two rovers still alive on Mars and a spacecraft orbiting it.
Six Police Officers Shoots, Kills Black Motorist At Taco Bell Drive-Thru
In Vallejo, California — six police officers shot and killed a 21-year old black man who fell asleep with a gun in his lap at Taco Bell drive-thru.
[Image of McCoy with text “His name was Willie McCoy.”]
Mercury News said this happened on Saturday night. Taco Bell employees called 911. Two officers arrived and saw the man “slumped over in the driver’s seat.” The car was running.
They saw a gun on his lap and called for backup. Four more officers arrived. They tried to open the car door and quickly grab the gun, but it was locked.
An officer moved a police vehicle in front of McCoy’s car. McCoy started to move and was waking up. Police said they shouted for him to raise his hands, but that McCoy quickly moved his hands downward towards his gun.
All six officers fired at the driver within four seconds. McCoy died at the scene. The gun was stolen out of Oregon.
The Guardian reported that McCoy’s family feels that the police racially profiled him and shouldn’t have used deadly force against someone who was sleeping and not a threat.
2 Children Found Locked in Dog Cage in Texas Barn, 2 Others Covered In Filth
CBS reported that deputies in Decatur, Texas found two malnourished children who were in a locked dog cage and two other kids who were covered in feces and urine. They were in a barn.
Deputies went to the property yesterday morning to respond to a domestic violence call about a fight between the mother, Paige Harkings and Andrew Fabila, who is the father of one of the kids.
When deputies talked with them, they heard children’s voices from the barn. When they went in, they found three boys, ages 5, 3, and 1, and a girl who was 4.
The two oldest boys were crammed in a cage that was 3-by-3 feet. The other two were filthy and partially clothed.
A sheriff said this was the worst case of child abuse he’d ever seen. He said there was plenty of food inside the barn, but the refrigerator and the cabinets were locked so the kids couldn’t access the food.
The parents were arrested and charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment.
The children were taken to a children’s medical center for evaluation and are in foster care.
Updates on Trump/Beto Rally Interpreters
Yesterday I did a news report about the Trump and Beto rallies in El Paso, Texas. I showed a clip of an interpreter at Beto’s rally. I said it was not clear if there was an interpreter at Trump’s rally, because there were no interpreters seen on or near the stage.
A Deaf man from El Paso, Charles Johnson, told me that he went to Trump’s rally and that there was an interpreter, Martha Macias, who is certified by the BEI and recognized by the RID as an associate.
So there was an interpreter. They were on the floor level in the ADA section and standing close to each other.
You can see them in this blurry screenshot from someone else’s video. You can see them in the middle.
Johnson said the ADA section was a “mess,” that it was a small cramped space for 20 to 30 people using wheelchairs. He said there was another interpreter present, but that Macias interpreted the whole time.
Johnson said he still enjoyed the experience and got to see everybody speak.
Johnson said at the Beto rally, there were three interpreters, but that they weren’t certified. He provided me with the name of the agency who sent them — Inter-American Interpreting.
I called that agency and spoke with a man named Jerry. He confirmed that they sent a team of freelance interpreters and that it was a last-minute request. He said they aren’t certified, but are taking a test and that some are being mentored.
I asked why the agency was sending uncertified interpreters. Jerry said most certified interpreters have full-time jobs with VRS or schools and that he is working to get everyone certified. He said he uses a panel of diverse deaf people to evaluate the interpreters.
I do not know if there were any deaf people who attended the Beto rally in El Paso. It is not clear.
So, we can see that there are issues with interpreters for both rallies. Beto’s rally welcomed interpreters onstage, but some weren’t uncertified. Trump’s rally had a certified interpreter, but she was in a cramped space and was the only one doing the interpreting throughout.
Johnson said he wishes there was better planning and for the Secret Service to take the time to vet the interpreter so she could stand closer to Trump and give better exposure.
Johnson said he reached out to both the Beto and Trump teams about interpreters, but they didn’t reply. So he reached out to local city officials and organizations.
Johnson has an idea to solve this problem — for politicians to hire their own ASL interpreter that is qualified and certified.
In separate but related “old news” — when Beto was running for Texas Senator, he posted a video of him encouraging people to vote early with an ASL interpreter standing by him. Several deaf people said this was the first time they’ve seen a politician do this and gave kudos to Beto.
Maybe President Trump should hire a full-time ASL interpreter that is certified and vetted for all of his speeches and rallies, and this could become the norm for future presidents.
Topgolf Provides ASL Instruction Videos
Topgolf provides ASL instructions on how to play the game on their touchscreen kiosks.
A Deaf person from Arizona, Sheldon Bruce, sent “The Daily Moth” a video.
[Video of a female interpreter introducing the game]
Nice! Bruce said he was surprised Top Golf is deaf friendly.
I reached out to Topgolf to get more information on this.
A communications coordinator, Caroline Jerome, said they launched this video on September on the International Day of the Deaf and that it is available at all Topgolf locations.
Jerome said they drafted the script and then sourced a certified sign language interpreter to sign the script.
She said their tagline at Togolf is “Everyone’s Game” and they are proud to be more inclusive to their guests.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!
Gallaudet University: [gallaudet.edu]