The Daily Moth 9-27-19

***CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: A MPSSAA representative told us on 10/3 that MSD is considered a public school and is eligible to be a MPSSAA member if they fill out paperwork by May of the next calendar year. MSD has chosen not to do this because of a 300-mile travel limit that is imposed on MPSSAA schools. There is no waiver for this rule per a state school board policy. The 300-mile rule applies to school days (Mondays through Fridays). Approved non-members are allowed to travel more than 300 miles as MPSSAA does not have jurisdiction over them.

School enrollment does not have any bearing on MPSSAA membership eligibility as there is one MPSSAA member that have only 6 students.

We regret any confusion we might have caused from this report.


Hello, welcome to The Daily Moth! It is Friday, September 27. Today’s topics will be on Biden and Ukraine, Spikeout, and some deaf news briefs. Ready?


This week we’ve had a lot of news about President Trump, Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Ukraine, and impeachment.

We’ve covered a whistleblower report, the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, and the impeachment process.

Now I want to explain what the situation with Joe and Hunter Biden is.

In 2014, Joe Biden was the vice president and Barack Obama was president. Biden was leading U.S.’s relationship with Ukraine. That year was a time of turmoil for Ukraine as their president was driven out by massive protests and the Crimea peninsula was invaded by Russia. There were problems of corruption within the Ukrainian government.

A few months later in 2014, Hunter was hired to be a paid board member of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings. Some reports say he was paid $50,000 a month. The Obama administration said there was no conflict of interest because Hunter was a private citizen. But there was criticism that Burisma could use Hunter to influence the Obama administration. Burisma’s owner was a political ally of the previous Ukrainian president who was ousted.

In March 2016, Vice President Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire their top prosecutor named Viktor Shokin. The Obama administration, other Western governments, and many in Ukraine were also opposed against Shokin because he did not do enough to stop corruption. Biden in 2016 said he threatened to withhold $1 billion in American loan guarantees to Ukraine if they did not fire Shokin. But here is a twist — Shokin had previously led a corruption investigation against Burisma, who had Hunter on their board.

Hunter served on the board of Burisma until early this year.

President Trump has suspected Joe and Hunter Biden of engaging in some kind of wrongdoing. As we know from his phone call in July with the new Ukrainian president Zelensky, Trump wanted Ukraine to start an investigation on the Bidens.

Today a top Ukrainian prosecutor said neither Joe or Hunter are the subject of any current, ongoing investigation. He explained that there was an investigation on Burisma that was closed in 2017 for lack of evidence, but that a court in Ukraine demanded it not be closed, and since then the case is on hold with no investigative actions. So far, there has been no evidence presented of wrongdoing other than the optics of the father and son.

Now, the question that is dividing Washington, D.C. and the nation — is Trump right to demand Ukraine to investigate Biden? Or is this an abuse of power against a political opponent?


Here are updates on the Spikeout situation between California School for the Deaf, Riverside and the Maryland School for the Deaf. We reported on Tuesday that CSD Riverside disinvited MSD from the volleyball tournament due to a complaint about a student-athlete who transferred from CSD Riverside to MSD and an accusation of illegal recruiting. Let’s start with updates from Renca Dunn.


Thank you, Alex. I looked at CSDR’s website for the Spike-Out tournament schedule. There are two divisions. Division 1 has 6 Deaf schools. Division 2 has 6 different Deaf schools. The schools in each division play against each other. MSD is in the Division 1 category. I looked under the schedule for Division 1 and it is confirmed that MSD’s name and logo have been removed from the schedule for this year’s tournament.

One of the biggest discussions was about MSD’s affiliation with the state of Maryland. MSD said they are an “approved non-member” under the state of Maryland. MSD is under MPSSAA, short for Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. MSD is an approved non-member under MPSSAA. I talked with a representative at MPSSAA to explain me what an “approved non-member” meant. This person explained that there are two groups. One group is all members that’s affiliated and the other group is all non-members but still affiliated. The first group is all public schools. There are 198 schools under that group. The second group is approved non-members and there are 96 schools.

I did ask if MSD had the option to move to the public school group. The person told me no it was not possible because the state of Maryland sees MSD as a “private” school. This means they have to stay in the “approved non-member” group.

I asked about the transfer student and how a non-member affiliate should handle it and if there were any rules or policies. The person explained that the 96 schools under the non-member affiliate have the flexibility to decide what’s best for the school. The school can decide to use the transfer student to play a sport after the first day or after three days. It’s up to them. The school principal or superintendent will need to decide what’s best and what fits the school but would have to make sure that transfer student is enrolled at the school. That’s what that person from MPSSAA explained to me.


Thank you Renca for explaining. We saw that MSD said in recent days that they have considered being a member of the MPSSAA, but that they didn’t want to follow through because of the 300-mile travel limit. But we see that MSD doesn’t even have an option to be a member.

We asked MSD to provide clarifications on this. They said that they are viewed by the MPSSAA as a private school category based on their small number of enrollment. They are the third smallest school in the state. So they are non-members.

I reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the governing body for high school sports in California, to ask about their policy on a CIF-affiliated team playing against an out-of-state, non-member school.

A CIF representative said a CIF school is allowed to play against a school who is not a member of their respective state association if they don’t have a choice, such as a private school. We know that MSD is a “private,” non-member, so this means CIF regulations does allow CSDR to play against MSD.

The CIF representative said a CIF school can decide to not invite or allow another school from coming to a tournament and that they can make the decision based on their philosophy.

So, we see that, as far as we know, there are no violations of rules or regulations on the part of either CSDR or MSD based on their respective state athletic associations.

Yesterday morning, MSD’s Superintendent James Tucker posted a public vlog on his YouTube page with the title, “Public Apology.”

Tucker said there was a town hall at MSD on Wednesday night and that there was a lot of soul searching. He apologized for running up the score against other teams and for not sharing their resources about their athletic program to other schools.

He also apologized to CSDR’s Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hlibok Amann and to the Riverside community for the pain caused by the transfer of a student. He said MSD has also lost students who moved away.

Tucker then announced that the “Group of Six” schools’ superintendents and athletic directors would have a meeting in the near future at the Texas School for the Deaf.

Tucker said he would send himself or a representative to have a meeting with Dr. Amann and that he has asked the California Department of Education to help with mediation.

The Daily Moth has reached out to CSDR and the four other schools for comment. We received responses from all except for Fremont.

Dr. Nancy Hlibok Amann, CSD Riverside Superintendent:

“I am looking forward to a much needed dialogue between schools on how to strengthen national tournaments for Deaf high school students soon. In the meantime, the decision in having only 11 teams participating in the Spike Out tournament remains the same. I am sorry to see the impact on the visiting students, alumni, and families. In the midst of disappointment, I ask from the community for civility and respect towards one another.”

Claire Bugen, Texas School for the Deaf Superintendent:

“I can confirm that I have offered to host a meeting among our schools with the goal of addressing the issues that have surfaced with regard to the upcoming Spikeout event. I think all of our schools are doing our very best to manage a very difficult situation and I think each of us are committed to moving forward in a direction that allows us to have healthy and productive tournaments among our deaf schools that help our students thrive.”

Dr. David Geeslin, Indiana School for the Deaf Superintendent:

“My opinion is that it is CSDR's decision and within their rights to invite whomever they want to participate in the tournament. Every crisis creates an opportunity. Thus, is an opportunity where we can address the issues to ensure fairness for all scholar-athletes. Mr. Tucker's apology is the first step towards acknowledging the perspectives the communities have felt. Together we all can help change the view.”

Model Secondary School for the Deaf:

“We recognize these are sensitive and complex issues and support a proposal that encourages a healthy dialogue among our schools to find resolution.”

Thank you for the responses. We see that CSD Riverside is sticking with their decision to bar MSD from Spikeout and that TSD has offered to host a national meeting.

The Spikeout tournament is set to start next week on Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5.

Tucker Video:

CSDR Spikeout Info:


Here are three Deaf news briefs.

The first — on Monday I reported that Deaf photographer Tate Tullier’s @tatephoto Instagram account was taken down. There was an outpouring of support for it to be restored with a petition that had over 4,300 signatures. On Wednesday, Tullier announced that his Instagram was back online.

He told me that he received word that Instagram staff took another look and determined it was removed in error due to a false positive. Tullier said it seems like the community helped this to be noticed.

The second news — on Wednesday, I went to the Texas School for the Deaf to be the master of ceremonies for the second annual “Deaf Pioneers Day,” which is an event where deaf professionals who work within the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) give presentations and workshops on their careers. We had five presenters and they were Jo Bempong, an engineer at Texas Instruments, Mark Davis, a PMT faculty member at NTID/RIT, Tim Kettering, a software engineer at Lyft, Julian Moiwai, a drone pilot at JM, and Carrie Nesler, an art director at the Integer Group. They gave very interesting and informative presentations and if you want to watch it, the YouTube link is in the transcript. It is about two hours long and is captioned.

The third news — Trevor Noah, who is a famous comedian from South Africa and the host of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Comedy Central, posted a standup comedy routine on YouTube on September 19th with the title, “Jokes About Deaf People.” I’ve watched it. Noah focuses his routine on the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. Noah made fun of the interpreter. There was one part where he said he bet Deaf people were confused because the interpreter kept on using the same four words again and again.

We know that this isn’t true as Deaf South Africans were the first to complain on social media that the interpreter was making up signs. Their complaints snowballed to the point where international media outlets picked it up, and it became worldwide news. So it was Deaf people who outed the interpreter as a fraud, not the other way around. I emailed Trevor Noah’s representative about this and made a request for an interview. The representative said Noah is very busy and thanked me for reaching out. I told them I understand that he is very busy, but I hope you pass along the message to him.

At the end of Noah’s standup routine, he explained that he met a man who was partially deaf (hard of hearing) who asked him why he never made jokes about deaf people. Noah said he didn’t want to be offensive. The deaf man told him that he shouldn’t worry about that, to just go ahead and tell deaf jokes so deaf people can feel included. Noah asked him what he should do if other people complain. The deaf man told him to just do as he does — don’t listen.

You can watch his comedy routine at the link below in the transcript.


Deaf Pioneers Day:

Trevor Noah:


That is all for this week. Thank you for watching “The Daily Moth.” Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!