OxyContin maker settles for $275M with Oklahoma; NASA cancels all-female spacewalk due to lack of spacesuits; Nazi past haunts owner of Krispy Kreme, Panera, Keurig and Peet Coffee; Trump Administration budget requests millions of dollars in cuts to Gallaudet and NTID; Interview with hard of hearing Parkland student and CODA mother on trauma of school shootings and student suicides
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, March 27. Ready for news?
OxyContin maker settles for $275M with Oklahoma
Yesterday, the Sackler family, who owns Purdue Pharma that produces OxyContin, reached a settlement with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million.
After the company created OxyContin, they aggressively marketed the drug to doctors, encouraged some to increase dosage and made more than $35 billion even after they knew there were risks.
Purdue Pharma has at least 1,600 lawsuits from state and local governments who are accusing the company for causing the deaths of 48,000 people all over the United States in 2017 due to addiction and overdoses.
The Sackler family name is on many museums and universities all over the world, but some of them have stopped their business relationships because of these lawsuits.
The settlement says $197.5 million will be allocated to establishing the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.
Local governments will receive $12.5 million.
Parents of the victims are upset about the settlement because this means they won’t have the opportunity to testify in court and share their stories in front of a jury.
A mother from Massachusetts, who son died of overdose in 2011, calls it “blood money.”
She is organizing a group of hundreds of mothers who will gather outside the courthouse with pictures of their children who died because of the drug.
NASA cancels all-female spacewalk due to lack of spacesuits
On Monday, NASA announced that a planned spacewalk mission outside of the International Space Station (ISS) with a historic all-female crew (two females) this Friday would be changed because they don’t have enough space suits that fit them.
Both astronauts, Anne McClain and Christina Koch, wear the same, medium sized spacesuit and there is only one available.
Only Koch will wear it this Friday. She will work with a male astronaut.
Before the announcement, the NASA consulted with McClain who tested out a large size suit, but it didn’t fit and prevented her from doing her job well.
After the announcement, there was a huge backlash on social media and some commented that this is proof that women are still not fully participated in the space program.
(Tweet #1) (Tweet #2) (Tweet #3)
At ISS, there are just four spacesuits available.
Those suits were designed in the late 1970s and the NASA still hasn’t made new ones because they never got the funding. Each suit costs about $22 million.
It is doubtful that there will be new, similar suits built because ISS is scheduled to be “retired” in 2024.
Now there are discussions that say NASA should design new types of spacesuits in the future that will fit people of all sizes.
Nazi past haunts owner of Krispy Kreme, Panera, Keurig and Peet Coffee
Last Sunday, the German tabloid called Bild reported that the German family that owns Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Keurig and Peet Coffee has ancestors that, during World War II, supported Hitler and used forced laborers and abused them in their industrial chemicals factory.
The ancestors were two men named Albert Reimann, who died in 1954, and his son, Albert Jr. who died in 1984.
The family has confirmed these claims, said they are ashamed, and that they “became white as sheets” when they found out.
They think these crimes are disgusting and said these two men, though now dead, deserved to be in prison for their crimes.
They said, in 2014, they had hired a history professor, Paul Erker, to investigate their family’s history with Nazis.
The professor showed the family the research just a few weeks ago. The report is still not complete. When it is complete, the family said they will publish a book that will include Erker’s research.
The family plans to donate $11 million to a charity but it hasn’t been decided which one.
Trump Administration budget requests millions of dollars in cuts to Gallaudet and NTID
Last night word got out in the Deaf community that the Trump administration’s 2020 budget request seeks millions of dollars in cuts to Gallaudet University and NTID.
This was a part of the Trump administration’s budget request to Congress that was submitted two weeks ago for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins in October.
During a House Appropriations hearing yesterday with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wis) mentioned proposed cuts to funding for Gallaudet, NTID, and the American Printing House for the Blind as he questioned why DeVos wanted to completely eliminate $18 million in federal support for the Special Olympics. Pocan asked what was the problem with children in special education. This went viral.
I checked the U.S. Department of Education’s website and the exact numbers for the budget cuts are there. I will summarize it. The links are available in the transcript.
DeVos is proposing a $13 million cut in Gallaudet’s funding, an reduction of almost 10%.
This also impacts the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, which includes MSSD and Kendall Demonstration Elementary School.
The budget request said the cuts would allow Gallaudet and the Clerc Center to maintain operations while also maintaining the fiscal discipline necessary to support the President’s goal of increasing support for national security and public safety without adding to the Federal budget deficit.
For NTID, DeVos is proposing $7.5 million in cuts, an reduction of 9.6%.
The budget request also says the cuts are necessary to support the President’s goals with national security and public safety.
The American Printing House for the Blind, which produces and distributes educational materials for blind students, faces a deep, 16% reduction in funding. The budget request again mentions the President’s national security and public safety needs.
There was a lot of concern on social media on how this would affect Gallaudet, NTID, and other programs.
Keep in mind that the President and his administration doesn’t make the final decisions on the budget — that is under Congress’ authority.
During the past fiscal year, the Trump administration also requested millions of dollars in cuts to Gallaudet and NTID, but Congress ended up increasing the appropriations amounts.
During the next several months, Congress will go through a process of making budget decisions in committees, subcommittees, debates, and votes. The new budget is due on October for President Trump to veto or sign into law.
If the budget cuts are approved by Congress, it would be the largest reduction in funding for Gallaudet and NTID in the past nine years. In 2013, Congress during the Obama administration reduced their fundings by about 5%.
The Daily Moth reached out to Gallaudet and NTID for comment.
Gallaudet said they will release a statement to the public tonight. When it goes out, I will post it in the comments.
Here is a statement from NTID.
“Earlier this month, President Donald Trump released his 2020 budget, “A Budget for a Better America.” In that document, he proposes across-the-board cuts of 10-12% to most programs within the U.S. Department of Education’s budget, including the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The proposed 10% cut to NTID would mean a $7.5M reduction in NTID’s federal appropriation.
NTID is very fortunate to have many friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle, in both the House and Senate, who consistently and strongly support NTID’s federal appropriation and know NTID is a federal program that works. NTID students have high persistence, graduation and employment rates, and prior studies using Social Security Administration data indicate positive outcomes for NTID graduates in the areas of employment, earnings and reduced dependency on SSI programs. Thanks to the success of our students, Congress recognizes the return on the investment they make in NTID each year.
While NTID will prepare for several outcomes, the final FY 2020 funding amount is far from decided. We will continue to work with members of Congress to protect our funding, manage our resources carefully and watch closely as the appropriations process continues. We thank everyone for their support of our students and programs.” — RIT/NTID President Buckley
Alex: That’s all on this topic for now. There will be more updates later.
2020 Education Budget Proposal https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget20/index.html
American Printing House for the Blind: https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget20/justifications/j-aphb.pdf
Video of Congressional Hearing: http://bit.ly/2CGnRih
Interview with hard of hearing Parkland student and CODA mother on trauma of school shootings and student suicides
Two students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida committed suicide in the past two weeks.
I’ve reached out to a hard of hearing Parkland student, Olivia Feldman and her mother, Judy Beldon-Feldman, who is a CODA, to provide some insights on this. I did an interview with them last year where they described their experience of surviving the shooting on February 2018.
Before showing you their comments, I want to summarize the two student suicides.
The first person was Sydney Aiello. She was 19 and graduated last June. Her family said she killed herself because of survivor’s guilt and that she had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of her best friends, Meadow Pollack, died in the shooting last year.
The second person was Calvin Desir. He was 16 and a sophomore. His family started a GoFundMe for his funeral expenses. His older sister said he had aspirations of being an engineer. The Miami Herald said he was a student last year during the shooting, but that there was no confirmation he experienced survivors guilt.
Now, here are comments from Olivia and Judy. Olivia can sign, but will use her voice with Judy interpreting.
Hi, my name is Olivia (signs name) and I’m a Junior in high school.
Hello, I’m Judy and I’m her mom.
ALEX: I asked Olivia if she knew the students.
OLIVIA: (while interpreted by Judy)
Yes, I know of these two students that recently committed suicide last week. The first one, the girl’s name was Sydney and she was in my yoga class. Her best friend, Meadow, was in my yoga class as well. It’s really sad how Meadow died in the shooting last year and now Sydney recently. It’s sad. The second student was a boy who I did not know, but I know of other high school students in different grades who knew him. However, I didn’t know him, but it’s still tragic.
ALEX: I asked if she also experiences survivors guilt or feelings of trauma?
OLIVIA: (while interpreted by Judy)
Yes, I have some of the same experiences where, like them, I suffer from trauma and survivors’ guilt. I feel survivors’ guilt for sure. It’s so hard to be sitting here today knowing that other people had died so close to me. I’m lucky to be alive and I know some of my friends are having the same experiences. They feel guilty for being alive especially after recently, we had that one-year anniversary since the shooting. I’ve noticed. So on that day of the anniversary, we invited our friends to gather at my house. We took a picture and framed it. We painted together which was really nice and though that day, on February 14th, now lives in infamy, we still enjoyed talking to each other. That was really nice.
ALEX: They described what the school looks like now.
OLIVIA: (while interpreted by Judy)
Some of you might wonder about the building where the shooting took place. That building is indeed still there. We still walk past it and see it every day. We keep replaying it in our heads and we still wonder if it’s safer or more secure, but really…there’s just one new door. Whenever there’s an announcement, I hear these alarms which is new. It sounds like…it’s not a big deal. There’s just one gate (for access), that’s it. It doesn’t really help us feel safe.
ALEX: Here are final comments from the two.
OLIVIA: (while interpreted by Judy)
I want to add…if you have the same experiences where you feel, in your life, you’re grieving, heartbroken, or upset, don’t worry. You can talk to someone. If you need, you could call 211 to talk to someone and share your feelings or you can talk to your friends or to go ahead and talk with some random stranger. Please don’t hold it all in and burden yourselves. If you do this, you will not heal.
This from me as a mom. I want to thank some of you who’ve reached out to me checking in on Olivia and her friends. I thank you for thinking about her. It’s hard…I look at my daughter and she should not have to endure an experience like this. She’s too young and her friends, some of them, are still holding it all in and not talking about it. Some of them do talk about it, but there’s been a variety of reactions. It’s hard knowing that, right now, there are those at other schools and places that are replaying the tragedy in their heads. It’s so sad. I care for her and I care for her friends and I thank you for your support as well.
ALEX: Thank you for sharing.
If you’re Deaf and going through a hard time or are in a crisis, you can text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 and type in “DEAF” or “HOME” and you will be connected with a counselor.
There are also at least two Deaf mental health services that offers nationwide services — National Deaf Therapy and Deaf Counseling Center. The DCC said they will offer pro bono (free) counseling sessions to those who are directly impacted by the Parkland shooting.
Links to both Deaf counseling services are in the transcript.
National Deaf Therapy: https://www.facebook.com/nationaldeaftherapy/
Deaf Counseling Center: https://www.facebook.com/pg/deafcounseling/about/?ref=page_internal
Interview Last Year: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=821370534731515
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!
Gallaudet University: [gallaudet.edu]