Joe Biden accused of unwanted touching; Rapper Nipsey Hussle shot and killed in LA; Political Briefs: Trump cutting foreign aid to three Central American countries; White House whistleblower on security clearance concerns; Deaf political activist Howard Gorrell attends Supreme Court oral arguments on gerrymandering; Mississippi Deaf basketball coach Sekoe White honored by Kobe Bryant in appearance on “Rachael Ray” show
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, April 1. Ready for news?
Joe Biden accused of unwanted touching
Last Friday, former Nevada state legislator Lucy Flores wrote an article accusing former Vice-President Joe Biden (76) of touching her shoulders and kissing the back of her head in 2014 during a campaign event.
Flores said this made her feel offended, powerless, and uncomfortable. She believes that Biden’s behavior disqualifies him as a presidential candidate.
After the article got more attention, people scrutinized many previous images and videos showing Biden kissing, hugging or touching women and girls, often at formal events.
On Sunday, Biden gave a statement explaining that he showed affections in different ways to people while he campaigned. He said that he believes he never intended to act inappropriately, but he will listen respectfully.
His supporters say that he is a very affectionate person, while his rivals say that he is “out of touch” -- disconnected -- with what is considered normal today in America especially during the #MeToo movement.
Biden is one of the top candidates for the 2020 presidential campaign, but he still has not announced if he plans to run.
Two Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro, said they believe Flores’ statements.
Rapper Nipsey Hussle shot and killed in LA
On Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, rapper Nipsey Hussle (33) was shot and killed outside his clothing store called The Marathon Clothing store.
Two other people were also shot and were brought to the hospital.
The Los Angeles Police Department said they are looking for at least one suspect in a car who drove away after the shooting. They said they don’t know the motive and are investigating.
Several news have reported that it seems like a gang-related shooting.
The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, tweeted that their hearts are with Hussle’s loved ones and everyone else affected.
He had a history of being involved in a gang, but wanted to help prevent other kids from joining gangs.
Hussle was supposed to meet with the Los Angeles police today to discuss how to stop gang violence.
In 2018, his music album called Victory Lap got a Grammy nomination for best rap album.
His last tweet before he was killed was: Having strong enemies is a blessing.
Many celebrities and several professional athletes mourned his death on social media.
Hussle’s real name is Ermias D. Asghedom
Political Briefs: Trump cutting foreign aid to three Central American countries; White House whistleblower on security clearance concerns
Here are two political news briefs.
The first — The Trump administration announced they would cut foreign aid to three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — because Trump views them as partially responsible for the surges of migrants towards the U.S.
Trump has also threatened to shut the U.S.-Mexican border.
The U.S. sends between $500 million to $750 million to the countries. The funds are appropriated by Congress.
It is not clear exactly how the aid will be cut off. Vox explained that foreign aid is usually given in contracts with nongovernmental organizations, so some organizations in the three countries might see changes in funding.
Democratic Senator Durbin (Ill) said cutting off aid won’t solve the problems in the countries.
The second news — a White House staffer who deals with security clearances told Congress that Trump administration officials have overturned their recommendations to not grant security clearances to at least 25 individuals who works for President Trump. Two of them are current senior White House officials.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md) released the details of their interview, identifying the staffer as Tricia Newbold and calling her a whistle-blower. She had an interview with both Democratic and Republican committee staff a few weeks ago. She worked in the White House for the past 18 years.
Newbold said the 25 individuals had disqualifying issues such as foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct. She explained that she tried multiple times to share her concerns with her superiors, but was was ignored or told to stop. So she blew the whistle.
Republicans said the disclosures from the House committee was an attack on the White House.
Deaf political activist Howard Gorrell attends Supreme Court oral arguments on gerrymandering
A long-time Deaf political activist, Howard Gorrell, was in the Supreme Court audience last week during oral arguments on partisan gerrymandering.
Howard: Hello, my name is Howard Gorrell (signs name.)
Alex: The Daily Moth reached out to Gorrell for an interview. I asked what gerrymandering was and if there was a sign for it.
Howard: In the US Constitution, it says that all states must have congressional districts.
So…say there is a state split into 4 districts represented by a congressman. There is a number of people that live in each of those districts. If one district has too many people then the district lines are adjusted to ensure all district have equal numbers.
For example, this is the state of Iowa.
It is perfectly divided, but with other states, they cheat.
For example, this is Maryland.
Why does this happen? I’ll give you some historical context.
A newspaper was angry about this.
See his last name?
I asked an interpreter what the sign for gerrymandering was. She said she didn’t know. So I invented this.
This is “G.” (Signs gerrymandering)
Interpreters will sign it subtly like this to save time.
Alex: Gorrell explained that he used to live in Maryland and in 2011 was the first person to sue the former governor, Martin O’Malley, on the state’s congressional maps because he felt the their new map was unconstitutional by splitting like-minded agricultural communities. This was reported in “The Baltimore Sun.”
Gorrell moved out of state so his case was dismissed, but there was another, similar case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. He visited oral arguments on gerrymandering last year and again last week.
He said he got two seats, one for him and the other for an interpreter, after he reached out to the Chief Justice John Roberts. He explained that he has to provide his own interpreter because he is not a party in the case.
I asked him what it was like in the Court and to describe the arguments.
Howard: When I entered the room, they said no water and phones.
I continued on walking then turned to the left. The interpreter sat there and I sat in front of her. My view was that way. They were far away.
There were 9 justice seated.
RGB, the elderly woman, was short. Her head was barely above the table. The interpreter invented the justices’ names by spelling out the first letter of their last names. “Justice A.” It’s fast.
It was different than what I expected. It was different from court on TV shows.
Each party has 30 minutes. One goes first, then the other gets 30 minutes. The justices then give a barrage of questions. Wow. The interpreter was overwhelmed.
Kavanaugh shook up the judicial world because he was more active with redistricting. I was surprised. He used to be quiet during the questioning process.
Some of the questions seemed to be supportive, but some seemed to be opposed. It went both ways.
He believes that state governments should have more control.
I see that there are four judges on each side, the liberals and the conservatives. The Chief Justice Roberts, I expected him to… but Kavanaugh seemed to cross to the other side.
If Chief Justice Roberts sides with the liberals, this districting model will be thrown out. They will need to develop new guidelines and criteria for future districting. Fingers crossed.
Alex: Gorrell said the Court will announce their decision in late June. I asked him what he hopes they will decide.
Gorrell: There are people who want the courts to develop these criteria and guidelines for the districting process. If we didn’t have that, the state governments would be responsible for drawing these lines.
Five states have independent commissions without any political influence. These states are California, Washington, Ohio and a couple more. Five in total.
Other state legislations don’t do this.
Alex: He said he hopes there will be federal guidelines for how states decide congressional districts. If not, it will still be up to states’ legislatures to decide the maps.
Thank you, Gorrell, for your time and for explaining this concept to us. He wrote a blog post on his visit last year and on the topic. The link is in the transcript.
Gorrell’s Facebook Note/Blog: https://www.facebook.com/notes/howard-lee-gorrell/my-day-at-the-scotus/1601605589889111/
Baltimore Sun from 2011: https://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2011-10-new_map_faces_first_court_chal-story.html?fbclid=IwAR09Ju9qHpnhLjDBc7_dFcoxTAwqUomMpwjNr3YZZD0lRdDIxdCcJo421Fw
More Info: https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-supreme-court-gerrymander-partisan-20190326-story.html
Mississippi Deaf basketball coach Sekoe White honored by Kobe Bryant in appearance on “Rachael Ray” show
Sekoe White, a Deaf basketball coach for the Mississippi School for the Deaf, was on the Rachael Ray show on Friday where he was recognized for his leadership. He got a surprise video from his players and from Kobe Bryant.
The Daily Moth reached out to White for an interview.
Alex: White was in a viral video last fall where he was filmed giving a pep talk during a game. He told Rachael Ray that at first he didn’t think it was a big deal because he was simply doing his job, but that he realized that he made an impact on others.
White: What was the impact on me? I typically focus on my area. I do the same thing daily . So when I’m focused, I feel like it’s normal to me. But when I think out of the box, I look and I see that it might “not be normal to them.” Ah. I see that I still have an accountability to educate, even though I feel like now, we are in a perfect world, that everything is settled, we are all equal. But no.
Alex: White was honored on the show with videos of his players and co-workers sharing what kind of impact he had on them. I asked him how it made him feel.
White: Honestly, in that moment, I felt more than a million dollars. Money is just an object, but the kids’ inspiration is my million dollars. I was so inspired. I felt good that the kids learned something. That’s what I treasure. I was inspired.
Alex: I asked him what did it feel like to see Kobe talking to him.
White: You know, he is my childhood idol, but now that I am an adult, the way he spoke really touched me. I felt he really respect what I do. My favorite part was when he said, I understand that you are big fan, but the truth is that you are a leader and an inspiration. It was nice to hear that from a favorite player. I’ve always loved Kobe growing up, from my youth up to now. His talents, his mentality. And now he said this directly to me. Wow. Very inspiring. It’s made an impact on my personality, my character, my thinking, my perspective. On what I want to do with my future. I want to do something bigger for our community and Deaf children as well. I was inspired. I feel confident. You know sometimes I’m unsure, even though I am doing good, but his comments has made me ready to take it to the next level.
Alex: I asked him to share his thoughts on the importance of being a role model to others and on working at Mississippi School for the Deaf.
White: Growing up, I had good leaders in my life for sure. I grew up at Kentucky School for the Deaf. I had wonderful leaders, yes, but they were white. I also graduated from a public school. I had great interaction with Black people, my culture, but they weren’t Deaf and didn’t understand. So I was stuck, with a “win and a loss” on both sides. That gave me a mindset to inspire my Black Deaf children. I want that, I’m focused on that. After Gallaudet and semipro, Mississippi made an offer. Also it was God’s calling for me to go to Mississippi. Honestly in many ways I never thought I would end up working at MSD. But I was placed there and I grew fast. Many good things happened. I feel I’m in the right place. When I started coaching, as soon as I looked at my boys who I coached, I had many flashbacks of myself when I was young with my struggles and setbacks, things that they have that I didn’t have. So now I feel I’m the perfect person because I am Deaf and Black. It’s a double impact that I can give, the knowledge, I can relate to them, I can understand what they have to go through, their pain, I can relate. The kids can look up and set goals. Why do I work at Mississippi? Because it’s a fit and I want to support smaller schools. They can surprise anybody. There are several (students) that have gone to Gallaudet and accomplished wonderful things. They deserve that kind of attention. I want to raise their profile, as opposed to other big schools. Mississippi isn’t the only one, it is other southern schools, I’m speaking for the others as well. There is a lot of hidden talent, not only for sports, but for education or leadership abilities. I want to open it up and encourage them. We are only one Deaf community. If we represent the Deaf community, we should think of all, not just “them,” if you know what I mean. That’s why I work for the Mississippi School for the Deaf.
Alex: Thank you for your time, Sekoe White, and congratulations on your recognition. His MSD team won the 2019 Mason-Dixon championship.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!
Gallaudet University: [gallaudet.edu]