Kernels - Friday, May 23, 2014

by Mark  


Good evening. I am Mark Ivy.

Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Friday, May 23rd, 2014.

1. Salute to Our Fallen Warriors - Monday is Memorial Day. It is a time to stop, reflect and remember those military personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to maintain and protect our freedom and way of life in the US of A.

Today thousands still are in the fight to keep us safe. Over the past 10+ years, thousands more have shed their blood and forfeited their lives. We must never forget their sacrifice, their bravery, the lives they lived.

Read and listen to my full tribute to our fallen warriors, A Debt We Can Never Repay, at FromTheCornfield.com.

2. Let the Curtain Fall - The national spectacle of the Donald and Shelly Sterling circus may be coming to an end and none too soon. It is being reported the billionaire couple who currently own the Los Angeles Clippers are ready to sell the team and put an end to the nightmare sparked by racist remarks and actions which go back decades.

The racism came to light when a recording of Sterling talking to his mistress was made public, sparking a threat of boycott by Clipper players and disdain and condemnation of the 81-year-old team owner nationwide.

In the meantime, the NBA is moving ahead with plans to force the sale of the team.

This sad affair has already taken too much oxygen out of the news cycle. Time to let it die and disappear.

3. Scandal at the VA - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has released a letter he has sent to veterans and their families. In the letter Shinseki states that "if proven true" immediate action to correct the allegations being made about delayed and inadequate care will be taken.

Mr. Secretary, how much more proof do you need when your own agency admits to 23 deaths linked directly to delayed care?

Two major Democratic candidates today called for Shinseki to resign in light of the revelation of veterans dying while waiting for care. Florida Democratic candidate for governor and former Republican governor, Charlie Crist, as well as Kentucky Democratic senatorial candidate and Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, find it's time for responsibility and time for Shinseki to go. Trust is gone and must be restored, the candidates said.

Read my take on President Barack Obama's remarks to the White House Press Corps earlier this week about the VA scandal at FromTheCornfield.com in an article called, Action, Mr. President - NOT Another Study.

4. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromTheCornfield.com.

5. Putin Eying More Territory? - Reportedly the small, unaligned country of Moldova on Russia's eastern border is worried that it may be the next target in Russian President Vladimir Putin's quest to rebuild the empire lost when the Soviet Union collapsed.

With the national election slated for Sunday in the Ukraine and Russian troops poised to do whatever is necessary to see the vote goes Putin's way, Moldova, the Baltic States and Poland are wondering if they may be the next in Putin's crusade to "protect" ethnic Russians in other sovereign nations.

As with any teenager or any politician, you know Putin is lying when his lips are moving.

6. Trouble in the Cornfield - Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, is facing criminal charges after being stopped and arrested by police earlier this year. Irsay is being charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. Both charges are misdemeanors, but this is just another black eye to the integrity of owners of major sports organizations.

After his arrest, Irsay did check into a healthcare facility for treatment and will go through the normal judicial system. Irsay could face a reprimand or fine by the NFL for his conduct which led to his arrest as has happened with NFL players across the country.

7. My Holiday Wish - From the Cornfield, I hope each of you will take time from the barbecuing, the playing games with family, watching the race or enjoying the water and sun to stop - remember our heroes who gave their all so that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

That's what caught my attention for Friday, May 23rd, 2014.

Tune in Monday for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

If there is any major news over the holiday weekend, I will be back with a special edition.

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Thursday, May 22, 2014

by Mark  


Good evening. I am Mark Ivy. Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Thursday, May 22nd, 2014.

1. Before You Grill - This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer. Millions will be gathering with friends and families to remember those men and women who gave their lives in defense of our nation.

Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs has become a traditional part of this holiday. Before making up those hamburger patties and putting them on the grill, people need to check and make sure they don't have tainted meat. The USDA is recalling ground beef sold in stores in at least four states and even served in restaurants where at least 11 people were afflicted with the e coli virus.

Check your meat before you grill.

2. Tornado Season Arrives Early - From Denver, Colorado to Washington DC with points north and south, tornados have been wreaking havoc. Along with the twisters, baseball-size hail has been falling from the sky. While tornados are common in spring and summer, this year the amount of activity came earlier and more intensely than normal. Looks like we are in for a very stormy time the rest of spring and a hot, humid and blustery summer.

3. Scandal at the VA - The VA is now acknowledging at least 23 people have died directly as a result of waiting for care across the country at VA medical facilities.

This is an outrage.

The President is finding members of his own party calling for "less talk and a lot more action" on the floor of Congress.

Florida Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee told CNN that instead of making our veterans wait for care, the VA can and should refer those in need to civilian hospitals and doctors for care in compliance with the law rather than putting them on waiting lists which may result in veterans dying without needed treatment. Miller said he thinks some within the VA system think it comes out of the VA budget to send the veterans to local civilian care and do not realize it is paid for directly by the taxpayers from a separate fund.

Miller also noted that the VA is dragging its feet on subpoenas for information from his committee and requests to meet with his committee and answer questions.

This is intolerable.

Read my take on President Barack Obama's remarks to the White House Press Corps earlier this week about the VA scandal at FromTheCornfield.com in an article called, Action, Mr. President - NOT Another Study.

4. Better Inside than Outside - House of Representatives Democrats have decided it is better to be inside the committee room having a seat at the table than to be stuck on the outside with no input or brake on the direction the committee takes when the controversial Select Committee begins its investigation into what happened before, during and since the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi was attacked and four Americans, including the US ambassador, were killed on September 11, 2012.

The White House and Democrats want Benghazi to go away and say there is nothing left to investigate. Republicans, as well as many independents across the country, see an Administration and Department of State which continue to appear to be trying to cover up what happened that night and failing to fully comply with requests from Congress for full disclosure.

Questions remain about why reports of increased terrorist activity before that fateful night were ignored or not acted upon.

Questions remain on why requests for additional security were denied by the State Department. Questions remain on why a terrorist attack was mislabeled as a reaction to an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video.

Questions remain on why those responsible for planning and executing the attack have yet to be brought to justice as promised or where the investigation is at today in finding those terrorists.

5. What Red Line - Russia along with its new energy trading partner, China, today blocked a United Nations resolution which would have allowed for the World Court to bring charges against Syrian strongman Bashir al Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people in the ongoing civil war in Syria.

The ridiculed "red line" of President Barack Obama was crossed and Syria continues to pay only lip service to an agreement to rid the country of the ability to use chemical weapons. The nation has become a training ground for Al Qaeda.

So much for that red line and facing any consequences.

6. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromtheCornfield.com.

7. #BringBackOurGirls - The United Nations today placed sanctions, as requested by Nigeria, on Boko Haram, the terrorist organization which has maimed, killed and most recently kidnapped hundreds of young girls who dared to attend school and learn. The US has sent in military personnel to neighboring Chad to assist with tracking and locating the girls and other intelligence gathering capabilities.

In the meantime, to those of us outside of Nigeria, it appears that the Nigerian government is doing little to nothing to find and return the girls to their grieving and outraged families.

8. Better than Nothing - The US House passed a watered down bill today which would place limits on the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting and storing bulk data and information on American citizens. The bill still has to go to the US Senate for a vote, where it could be revised, strengthened or weakened. I guess the old saying fits that something is better than nothing.

9. How Safe Are We? - Apparently not as safe as we would like to think we are.

American nuclear weapons were able to be controlled by an "outside force" during testing of facility guards recently resulting in a total fail.

In congressional hearings today, we learned that federal buildings are being protected by untrained guards and without adequate bomb-sniffing canines.

And now we are learning a utility control center has been hacked.

And yet there are those calling for cuts in security, in training, in equipment and personnel not just in the military, but in those charged with protecting our national resources and facilities.

Again I ask you, how safe are we?

JUST IN TO THE CORNFIELD - VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has released a letter he as sent to veterans and their families. In the letter Shinseki states that "if proven true" immediate action to correct the allegations being made about delayed and inadequate care will be taken.

Mr. Secretary, how much more proof do you need when your own agency admits to 23 deaths linked directly to delayed care?

That's what caught my attention for Thursday, May 22nd, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy. Good evening.

Kernels - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

by Mark  


Good evening. I am Mark Ivy. Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Wednesday, May 21st, 2014.

1. And The Voice Is - Congratulations to fellow Hoosier and Indianapolis resident Josh Kaufman on being named by the American public as this year's winner of The Voice. Kudos also to Jake Worthington for taking second place and Christina Grimmie, whom judge Adam Levine has stated he will sign to his label, for claiming the third spot.

2. Six-State Primary Day - As was expected senior Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell staved off a Tea Party challenger to win the GOP nod for another run at his office. Across the six states, establishment-favored Republican candidates beat back Tea Party candidates. Though not dead, the Tea Party is finding establishment candidates are more to voters' liking this year after suffering primetime losses by Tea Party candidates in 2012.

3. Scandal at the VA - 26 - that's the number of Veterans Affairs medical facilities now under investigation by the inspector general. The facilities are under fire after revelations going back to a 2010 report and CNN reporting since November about fake waiting lists and delaying care for months to veterans in need of care. At one hospital in Phoenix, 40 veterans who were waiting for an appointment to see a doctor died without being seen.

Today for the first time, and a month after the scandal hit the airwaves big time, President Barack Obama spoke in the White House Press Room about the VA situation. The President left veterans' groups unsatisfied.

Read my take on the President's remarks today at FromTheCornfield.com in an article called, Action, Mr. President - NOT Another Study.

4. 15 Million - That's about the number of vehicles GM has recalled this year. Those cars being recalled are more than GM has sold since 2009 when the company was bailed out by the government, according to CNN.

How long can GM continue to compete if this trend continues?

5. Crisis in the Ukraine - Russian President Vladimir Putin is saying now that he has pulled troops back from the border to training camps. Putin went on to say that the troops would be redeploying, however, to take positions to insure the Ukrainian national election on May 25th goes off peacefully.

Read that as code to insure the vote goes Russia's way. A reminder especially to voters in eastern Ukraine that they are still within the crosshairs of Russian snipers and tanks.

6. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromtheCornfield.com.

7. #BringBackOurGirls - The US is sending 80 military members to Chad next door to Nigeria to assist in locating and returning nearly 300 young girls taken by the terror group, Boko Haram, for daring to go to school. In the meantime, Nigeria is asking the United Nations to declare Boko Haram a terrorist organization, while reportedly doing little itself to bring the girls home.

8. Ebay Hacked - If you have an account with online auction site Ebay, the company is warning users to change their passwords. Ebay announced it was a target of hackers, but paswords were encrypted. Subsidiary PayPal says it was not a target and no worries for users.

In light of recent revelations, criminal charges filed, this makes one wonder if Ebay was hacked by individuals, the NSA or was it the Chinese military?

Makes you go hmm.

That's what caught my attention for Wednesday, May 21st, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy. Good evening.

Kernels - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

by Mark  


Good evening. I am Mark Ivy. Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentarty to spice up your fare for Tuesday, May 20th, 2014.

1. And The Voice Is - Tonight NBC's singing competition will reveal the vote tally and crown this season's winner. After Monday night's performances any of the three contestants - Jake Worthington, Josh Kaufman or Christina Grimmie will be rightly proclaimed The Voice.

While I still think that Jake will win out, in my book all three of the contestants have star potential and are already winners. Part of me, of course, is rooting for fellow Hoosier Josh. I was, however, quite impressed with Christina last night.

OOPs! I goofed yesterday saying that Jake was a Georgia boy. As a member of CNN's iReport community from Houston pointed out, Jake is from LaPorte, Texas. My apologies for mislocating Jake and to all you supportive Texans out there.

2. Malaysia Flight 370 - Seems though denying it for weeks, the Malaysian government is now prepared to release the satellite data to the grieving families of passengers and crew who have disappeared about two months ago on Flight 370. This only raises more conspiracy theories and more doubts about the competency of the investigation.

3. Six-State Primary Day - It's primary day in six states today. The race causing the most stir is whether senior Kentucky Senator and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can stave off a usurper favorite of the Tea Party. The money has McConnell sailing to an easy win in the primary. The general in November, however, looks to be a tight contest for McConnell and his Democratic opponent.

4. Scandal at the VA - Talk about the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told CNN's Jim Acosta that President Barack Obama was unaware of veterans dying while waiting on fake wait lists to be treated until CNN broke the scandalous behavior.

Another episode where the President was blindsided by the media. Seems he never knows anything until the press tells him what is going on.

What is he paying his staff, his department secretaries for?

5. China Calls US Hypocrite - The Chinese government is calling the US government hypocritical in charging five of its military officials for hacking to steal private companies trade secrets in light of the NSA snooping on every day Americans without justification or cause as revealed by Edward Snowden. The Chinese are noting that there's a big difference in trade secrets and betraying the public trust and spying on your own citizens. Of course the Chinese are guilty as they come when it comes to domestic spying.

6. Equality Avalanche - Winter may be over, but the snowball in court after court in state after state is growing and rolling faster. Following on the heels of Oregon's ban on equality being struck down on Monday, today Pennsylvania had its state law ruled unconstitutional barring recognition of same-gender marriages. At this rate I may have to revise my prediction of within five years equality will be the law of the land in all states downward to within the next two or three years.

7. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromtheCornfield.com.

8. Da Do Run Run - What's that you say, President Barack Obama? "Osama Bin Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is on the run."

Well, Mr. President you got half of that right. Bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda, however, is another story.

What about the reportedly 100 or more Americans being trained in Syria by Al Qaeda?

What about the indefinite closing of the American embassy in Yemen, while the Yemeni military is in all out war trying to beat back Al Qaeda forces?

What about that old-time Al Qaeda ringleader in Pakistan exporting jihadists to the US of A and elsewhere?

9. Sleeping with the Enemy - Did the CIA and the US government back in 2007 give asylum and is harboring a fugitive from Iran linked to the bombing of the US embassy and the Marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980s?

Has our own government once more betrayed the brave men and women who have shed their blood and lost their lives in defense of this great nation by giving aid and comfort to an enemy agent?

10. Back Home Again in Indiana - Well, not this time around. The NFL announced today that Indianapolis lost its bid to host the Super Bowl in 2018 to Minneapolis. Two years ago when Indy played host to the most watched show in the world, it was an economic boon to the city and throughout the Cornfield. Maybe next time.

That's what caught my attention for Tuesday, May 20th, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy. Good evening.

Kernels - Monday, May 19, 2014

by Mark  


Good evening. I am Mark Ivy. Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentarty to spice up your fare for Monday, May 19th, 2014.

1. Crisis in the Ukraine - If we are to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has ordered the withdrawal of troops staged along the border with Ukraine. The US and NATO report there is no movement taking place. This is the third time Putin has said he has ordered troops to withdraw. The first two times were apparently not enough or in plain enough Russian for the generals and the troops to understand.

Will the third time be charm? I doubt it. Ukrainian national elections are only six days away. Expect troops to remain in position to make sure things go Russia's way in the voting.

2. Malaysia Flight 370 - We know today what we knew over a month ago when the airplane disappeared - absolutely nothing. Both Malaysia and Australia say the raw satellite data has not been released by the company who owns the data. Families of the passengers aboard the missing plane are demanding the release of that data. The company says the Malaysian government has it.

Oh, by the way, have you heard? Someone is already planning on producing a movie about Flight 370 even when we don't have a clue yet where the plane went or what happened to the passengers.

3. The Equality March - Add Oregon to the latest state where its ban on equality for all long-term couples has been ruled unconstitutional. Same-gender couples have already begun getting licenses and wedding. As I said on Friday, expect to see equality in all 50 states within the next five years.

4. Scandal at the VA - President Barack Obama is reportedly "mad as hell" over the lack of care, the waiting lists and the deaths of veterans waiting for an appointment only to die. Yet, still no one is being called on the carpet. As CNN reported this morning, why wasn't the President angry about the last 10 years of government reports stating the VA is mismanaged and vetrans are not receiving the treatment they need in a timely manner? Was it only a sound byte in 2007 on the campaign trail when the President, then Senator, vowed to ensure our fighting men and women received the best from the VA?

5. A Silver Spoon, But Definetly Not Sterling - Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is fighting back and vowing not to pay the $2.5 million fine levied by the NBA against him. Sterling has now been formally called before the Board of Governors demanding he sell the Clippers. There's nothing more entertaining than watching billionaires slug it out in public.

6. Too Big for Its Britches? - First there is Comcast trying to buy out Time-Warner Cable after gobbling up NBC. Now we have AT&T hoping to take-over DirecTV. Cable and phone companies already have monopolies in various communities and regions throughout the country. These mergers only lessen choice for the Armerican consumer and tend to lead to higher monthly cost. That's what CNN Money is reporting.

Will federal regulators allow even more companies to become too big to fail while consumers, the public, continue to pay out the wazoo for less options and less service?

7. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromtheCornfield.com.

8. Can You Breath Now? - California Chrome is strutting his stuff and closing in on winning the Triple Crown of horse racing. But the real story is not about the possible first triple winner in 25 years or so, but that Chrome is relying on nasal strips to help him breathe while he runs the laps. This is one for Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

9. China Hacking Computers? - Speaking of believe it or not, the US has filed criminal charges against Chinese military officials for hacking into at least five different companies computer systems in the US and stealing trade secrets. Who would have thunk it? Chinese military caught spying?

10. The Biggest Spectacle in Racing - Get ready to tune in on Sunday, May 25th, as the Indy 500 announces, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" The eyes of the world will be on the Cornfield's capitol city to see who will emerge in Victory Lane.

11. Could a Hoosier Be the Voice? - Tonight is the season finale of NBC's The Voice. Throughout the Cornfield and across the Hoosier State there are viewing parties as one of the three finalists is Josh Kaufman, who lives with his wife and family in Indianapolis, though he hails from a state to the south.

While I have a soft spot for Josh, being a fellow Hoosier, my bet is on a Georgia boy, Jake Worthington, to take top honors. Jake is born country and it shows both in his stage presence and in his performances and song choices.

That's what caught my attention for Monday, May 19th, 2014.

Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy. Good evening.


CORRECTION: Jake hails from TEXAS!

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