The Daily Moth 3-29-2019

March 30, 2019

Woman, 71, never feels pain due to mutant gene; Texas Attorney General investigating San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-a; Brexit deal has been rejected for the third time; Trump cancels DeVos’ Special Olympics Cuts; Updates on Gallaudet Federal Appropriations; Navy Officer sentenced 10 years for trying to arrange sex with deaf child; Deaf Ottawa man charged with child pornography; “This Close” nominated for GLAAD media award; “The Silence” trailer released without captions; #DeafBing from Salish Sea Deaf School

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Friday, March 29. Ready for news?




Woman, 71, never feels pain due to mutant gene


In Scotland, there is a woman, Jo Cameron (71), who never feels pain, anxious or afraid because she has genetic mutations.


She found out in 2013 after she had surgery on her hand, she told the doctors she didn’t need painkillers because she feels nothing.


Her doctors were surprised and checked her medical history.


They noticed she has never asked for painkillers even during childbirth or when she had arthritis where she needed hip replacement. She also said she broke her arm at age 8 and didn’t tell anyone.


So the doctors referred her to pain geneticists who discovered that type of genes she has don’t let her feel pain and also makes her forgetful and less anxious.


She is one of only two people documented in the world who has this condition, but researchers believe that there are more people, but they still haven’t realized it.


Jo always thought she was just really healthy and nobody else really brought it up.


Doctors also believe she also might be able to heal more quickly than normal.


Doctors hope that Jo’s genes will help them find a way to give better pain relief, faster healing after surgeries, and also to treat anxiety and PTSD.


Jo’s case has been published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.




Texas Attorney General investigating San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-a


Today, in Texas, the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, has started investigating the San Antonio City Council on if they violated their religious liberty laws by banning Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant at the San Antonio International Airport.


Last week, the council voted to exclude Chick-fil-A from making an agreement with the airport to set up a restaurant there.


They said the main reason behind this decision was because Chick-fil-A has donated to at least two religious organizations that do not support same-sex marriage.


AG Paxton said that this decision was discriminatory and wrote a letter to the mayor of the city and the city council informing them that he would investigate if this decision violated state laws.


Also, Paxton has asked the US Department of Transportation to check if federal regulations were violated as well.


Chick-fil-A has in the past said the media has not been accurate about their LGBT views and that, out of many organizations they donate to, the media only focuses on at least two organizations that are actively opposed to same-sex marriages.


They also add that they are committed to transparency on who they donate money to and that the information is accessible on their website.




Brexit deal has been rejected for the third time


Today, in United Kingdom (UK), the Parliament voted on the Brexit withdrawal agreement between Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union (EU) and the Parliament rejected it for the third time.


Today was the deadline, set two years ago, to leave the EU. The UK voted in a referendum three years ago to leave the EU.


Now the UK has until April 12th to decide what to do next.


The Parliament could propose a new deal, but that means they would need more time to negotiate or face the risk of exiting the EU without any deal.


The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has called for a general election to replace Theresa May who is a member of the Conservative Party.


Before the vote, PM May offered to resign if it helps the deal to be passed, but that still was not enough for the Parliament to accept the deal.


After the vote, the leaders from 27 countries in the EU agreed to gather in Brussels on April 10 to discuss how to address this crisis.


Some businesses and organizations are worried that leaving the EU without a deal could mean high tariffs, stricter border policy and limited access to goods.




Trump cancels DeVos’ Special Olympics Cuts; Updates on Gallaudet Federal Appropriations


Yesterday afternoon President Trump said he would override Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ budget request to cut $17.6 million from the Special Olympics.


Trump said, “we are funding the Special Olympics.”


Although DeVos’ proposal was controversial and caused many to have concerns, Congressional leaders said they wouldn’t have approved the cuts.


Now, here are some updates on the budget proposals for Gallaudet, NTID, and programs for Blind people that are millions of dollars under the federal appropriations they received last year from Congress.  


Yesterday Gallaudet President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano sent out an campus-wide email saying she recognizes the deep care shown by many for their community and their mission.


Letter: “Dear Campus Community: This week in the news and on social media, many conversations have taken place regarding Gallaudet University’s federal appropriation. I want to recognize the deep care shown by many of you for our community and our mission.


Every year, the President of the United States creates a budget proposal. This proposal is reviewed by Congress, which makes the laws that decide how much money is spent and the amount individual programs receive. There are still several steps remaining in the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020. Over the next few months, the Senate and House of Representatives Budget Committees will pass budget resolutions, which determine the maximum amount of money that can be spent. The Appropriations Subcommittees take those amounts and pass laws allocating money to the agencies and programs within their jurisdiction. These laws then go to the President for signature or veto.


Gallaudet University has robust federal government relations engagement. The government relations team and I meet frequently with Members of Congress and their staff members to share the Gallaudet story and the many successes of this community. In these meetings, we ask for continued Congressional support and share how Gallaudet and the Clerc Center are preparing our students for a strong future, whether in employment, entrepreneurship, graduate studies or public service. We also share the impact of our research and innovative teaching practices that are incorporating digital technology and bilingualism. Please know that this is an ongoing process; as we prepare for our Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation, we are also setting the stage for Fiscal Years 2021, 2022, and beyond.


Gallaudet University produces leaders, changemakers, and innovators who have a positive influence in their communities, the nation, and the world. Congress has a bipartisan record of supporting Gallaudet for the past 155 years, and we are incredibly grateful for this investment. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure continued funding at the level Gallaudet needs to support its work.  


I want to thank you, our communities near and far, for your support of Gallaudet and our mission. We will continue to update the community regarding the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process.


Sincerely, Roberta J. Cordano, President”


Alex: That is the letter from Gallaudet President Cordano.


The Daily Moth shared a letter from NTID President Gerald Buckley in a report on Wednesday where he also emphasized their relationship with Congress and that the process is far from decided.


Both leaders emphasized a strong relationship with Congress.


A Gallaudet professor, Matthew Malzkuhn, made a personal vlog on his Facebook page that tried to calm down people’s concerns and correct misinformation.


He pointed out that the U.S. President / Department of Education’s budget request of about $121 million was the same as the past two years and that it is one of the highest amounts ever requested. He emphasized that Congress has the power of the purse — that they can either accept the proposal or decide to increase the budget.


Malzkuhn said that’s why Cordano requested a $134 million budget (during FY 2019) and that this was approved, which means it was an about $13 million increase from the U.S. President’s budget request.


He said Cordano would ask for $138 million from Congress this year and that he is confident that Congress will approve it for Gallaudet because Cordano has displayed Gallaudet’s importance and achievements.


Many people thanked Malzkuhn for his insights.


On the Department of Education’s website, you can see what was requested by the U.S. presidents in the past and what Congress decided to appropriate going back to 2001.


I will show screenshots of this, but before I do, I want to go back to the last time Gallaudet had a sharp reduction in appropriations — 2013, under the Obama administration. I mentioned on Wednesday it went from $125 million in 2012 to $118 million in 2013.


I checked why — and there is a simple answer — there were special funds for construction. In 2012, there was about $8 million for construction. There was also between $4 to $6 million allocated for construction for each of the four prior years, from 2008 to 2011.


The 2013 budget request said the (Obama) administration is not requesting additional funds for construction. So, the amount requested went down by about 5%.


Here are the screenshots.




Although Congress makes the final decisions, the budget requests from the White House reveals the President and the Administration’s priorities.


I did not mention this on Wednesday, but DeVos’ request for the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults, based in New York, is 23% less than the amount appropriated the year prior by Congress.


This year’s budget requests was unique in its across-the-board reductions for various programs that serve disabled people, especially with the Special Olympics proposal, so many looked at it as a threat.


We can expect the Senate and House committee and subcommittee process to be scrutinized more closely compared with previous years.




Navy Officer sentenced 10 years for trying to arrange sex with deaf child; Deaf Ottawa man charged with child pornography


Here are two news briefs on sex crimes that affects the Deaf community.


The first — Moth reported last fall that a Navy officer in Florida, Michael McNeil (31), was arrested for trying to arrange sex with a 12-year old deaf girl. He thought he was talking with her uncle, but it was actually an undercover officer.


He pleaded guilty to attempted online enticement of a minor and on Monday was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He will have five years probation after release and have to register as a sex offender.


The second — several people sent Moth messages that a Deaf man from Ottawa, Ontario, Richard Fortier, was arrested and charged with five counts of child pornography-related crimes.


A press release from the Niagara Regional Police Service said Fortier (31) was arrested after police executed a search warrant to go into his home and seize his computers and storage media.


Police, after their analysis, said they believe there are additional witnesses and are asking the community for assistance. Contact information is at the link in the transcript.


If Fortier is convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum of 58 years in prison, according to Canadian criminal code guidelines.


Richard Fortier:




“This Close” nominated for GLAAD media award; “The Silence” trailer released without captions


Here are two Deaf entertainment news briefs.


The first — “This Close,” a TV series on Sundance Now, created by Deaf people Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, was nominated for a GLAAD media award for Outstanding Comedy Series.


The awards was last night and they didn’t win — the award went to “Vida.”


Feldman tweeted that it was an honor just to be nominated. Many people congratulated them and said they were looking forward to their second season.


The second news — Netflix released the official trailer for “The Silence,” a movie with a plot that is similar to “A Quiet Place” — there is a deaf child in a family that is trying to escape from monsters that chase prey using sound — but their lead character, Kiernan Shipka, is a hearing person acting like a deaf person.


Netflix said the release date would be on April 10. The video trailer has no captions. In the description, it says Shipka’s character is a 16-year old girl who lost her hearing at 13.


Director John Leonetti told “The Hollywood Reporter” two years ago that the lead character is deaf and the family communicates in sign language. Leonetti said Shipka learned how to sign for the film and is flawless like she has been signing for her entire life.


Last year there was criticism for the film when it was expected to be released in December. Nyle DiMarco and Marlee Matlin, other Deaf activists, and the California Association of the Deaf said at the time that Deaf roles should be cast by Deaf actors.


DeafinMedia explained in an article that the film’s release was delayed, and today tweeted an alert that the trailer is available but that it had no captions. They said it was not a good sign.


Ironically, in the trailer, Shipka’s character is watching news that has captions on it. There is also a scene where she talks on videophone.


So, this appears to be the second major film released by Netflix that has a Deaf lead role cast by a hearing person. The other is 2016 film, “Hush.”




#DeafBing from Salish Sea Deaf School


Here is a #DeafBing video from high school students at the Salish Sea Deaf School in Burlington, Washington.




That’s very true about the phone constantly falling down and the chatting in staircases. Great job, very funny and creative. Thank you to the students and to Blair for the video.




That is all for this week. Have a great weekend and stay with the light!




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