Kernels - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

by Mark  

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 Tuesday, July 29th, 2014.

Health conditions continue to limit my ability to recap the news and provide my take of current events in a video format.

With that said here are the headlines and current events with a seasoning of opinion thrown in here and there to add flavor.

1. Weather Shenanigans - June may have been the hottest since records began being kept, but July is marching the opposite direction.

This morning's temperature in the Cornfield of 52 was one degree shy of matching the record low for this date set in 1881. July is on course to being one of the coolest in history.

Meteorologists are telling us to blame typhoon activity in Asia. According to the "experts" as the typhoons have tracked north out of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there has been pressure put on Arctic air dispelling it from the polar region and into the heartland of the North American continent.

2. Escalating Concern - There are two pieces of news coming out of the same region of eastern Europe today.

The US military is citing Ukraine with upping the ante in the struggle to regain control of territory bordering Russia with the launch of short-range ballistic missiles aimed at pro-Russian separatists. The bombs reportedly exploded within 15 miles of the crash site of Malaysian Flight 17.

The Ukrainian government is in a push to secure the crash site to allow international investigators unfettered access. Rebel forces, however, are reported to have come to an agreement a few days ago to open the site to Malaysian officials.

Investigators are tired of it all and getting fed up with both sides. Investigators want into the site no matter who is in control.

The second troubling development is the US is accusing Russia of violating a missile treaty signed in the 1980s between President Ronald Reagan and President Mikhail Gorbachev on the use and testing of certain types of missiles.

3. Sanction War - The European nations seem to have had enough - almost - of Russia defying requests to de-escalate tension with Ukraine. The Europeans disclosed additional, more sever sanctions being placed on Russia.

While a step forward, the sanctions were put in place with an eye on European economic stability and concern over Russian energy.

Nearly an hour after the announced time to speak, President Barack Obama announced shortly before 4 p.m. new sanctions on Russia. These sanctions are in addition to those announced earlier in the day by the European nations.

4. Which Lives Are Worth Outrage? - The sounds in the United Nations Security Council are of those outraged and crying out about the loss of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The media is filled with the stories about civilians, women and children dying during the current Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Yet in hot spots across the globe civilians, women and children are dying caught between warring factions. Those lives seem to not attract the attention of the UN nor of the media. In the US of A, primarily in our inner cities, the body count rises almost daily without demonstrations or marching on Washington.

This lead me today to write an op-ed: Selective Concern for Life?

5. Just Go Away! - Donald Sterling has been found incompetent by a probate court judge. This allows his estranged wife, Shelley, to go ahead with plans to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

6. Pay Now or Pay More Later - The Administration is pressing lawmakers to take action to curtail the effects of humans on the climate. Failure to do so, according to the Administration, will make dealing with issues later cost more.

According to the Administration, inactivity to deal with the climate could cost the nation $150 billion. Reportedly after analyzing 16 reports, the price tag to deal with repairs and recovery, declining crop yields will rise 40% for each decade nothing is done to curtail human impact on climate change.

Industry groups and others strongly disagree with the Administration's assessment.

The push for legislation to deal with the issue came out the same day the Environmental Protection Agency began a series of public "listening sesions" on the propose Clean Power Plan to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants.

7. No Safer - Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Aspen Security Forum last week the US of A is no safer today than it was before the tragedy of 9/11.

The General also disagreed with the Administration's assertment that Al Qaeda is on the run. In fact the General said,

"We have a whole gang of new actors out there that are far more extreme than Al Qaeda.?

8. Ebola Scare - A Minnesotan died at the airport in Nigeria from Ebola. Two American doctors have been infected.

Patrick Sawyer has died before he had the chance to return home. Our thoughts and prayers with his family.

The concern is that the disease, fatal 90% of the time, may not be able to be contained to Nigeria and Africa. The concern is how the diesease, which is transferred by bodily fluids, may be spread to the rest of the world.

The concern of Ebola escaping Nigeria is so fear-inspiring that the nation of Liberia has shut down its borders in an attempt to keep anyone infected from traveling into the nation, founded by freed American slaves, and becoming an epidemic there as well.

Question is how soon and how prepared is the US for the disease should it reach our shores?

9. Conflicting Beliefs - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein, the senior Senator from California, on Sunday told Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union when asked point blank if the US of A and Russia were once more in a Cold War, "Yes."

President Obama when asked the same question today during his 3:45 p.m. address to the press about new sanctions on Russia, said, "No. It doesn't have to be this way."

So who has it right?

The Commander-in-Chief?

The Intelligence Chairwoman?

10. Only in the Cornfield - Shaking my head as I sit in Mark's Den this Tuesday evening. A federal grand jury has indicted former Clark County Indiana Sheriff Daniel N. Rodden for lying to Federal Bureau of Investigations agents and advising a woman to dispose of evidence - a uniform and a deputy's badge.

The woman in question was a prostitute whom the sheriff is alledged to have had relations. Alledgedly, he gave the woman the uniform and badge to obtain discounts on hotel rooms.

The sheriff resigned a few weeks ago over his relationship with a prostitute.

Rodden is the second Indiana sheriff caught in a federal sting of engaging in interstate traffic with prostitutes. Former Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell resigned last month over a similar investigation.

No charges for Campbell.

That's what caught my attention for Tuesday, July 29th, 2014.

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

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Monday, July 28, 2014

by Mark  

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 Monday, July 28th, 2014.

Health conditions continue to limit my ability to recap the news and provide my take. My current voice is not above a whisper when I can talk at all. I was started today on a new antibiotic. If this doesn't work, by next week I may be back in the hospital.

With that said here are the headlines and current events with a seasoning of opinion thrown in here and there to add flavor.

1. Propaganda - One of the most effective and useful tools in any military arsenal is propaganda. In every conflict and war, propaganda is rolled out, sometimes with deadly consequences. In political wars we call it spin.

Propaganda is in full-speed-ahead mode in the Syrian civil war; the rebellion by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against the Shiite majority Iraqi government; the skirmishes between Ukraine and Russia including the criminal downing of Malaysian Flight 17; from both of the Koreas; and of course the current conflict with Israel and Hamas.

Read my perspective about propaganda being used against Israel by Hamas: The Spin - Defies Logic?

2. Ukraine-Russo Crisis - Russia seems to no longer be playing cat-and-mouse and allowing its intentions to come out into the open. Russia is shelling Ukraine from its side of the border and shipping even more sophisticated weaponry to the pro-Russian separatists.

The Ukrainian military is trying to secure the site of the downing of Flight 17 with strong resistance from the separatists. The Ukrainian government is saying it is trying to take the site to preserve the crime scene and give unfettered access to international investigators.

Investigators remain frustrated.

3. John Walsh-1, Fugitive-0 - John Walsh returned to television on CNN in search of fugitives recently. Walsh already can claim his first victory.

Molestation suspect, Charles Mozdir, was killed in a shoot out with New York law enforcement today after he was featured Sunday night in Walsh's CNN show, "The Hunt". Mozdir had been on the run since June of 2012.

4. Dollar Giants Merge - Dollar Tree will purchase Family Dollar for $8.5 billion. The merger will give Dollar Tree 13,000 stores in the US and Canada in total, making it have more stores than Wal-Mart.

5. Deadly Ebola - Two American doctors, who have been treating patients infected by the deadly virus, Ebola, are facing their worst nightmare. Both are now infected with the same disease, which results in up to a 90% mortality rate, as their patients.

Our prayers with the healthcare providers and their families.

6. A Tale of Two Cities - Death came to two cities on opposite sides of the nation, but both sharing an eerily similar name over the weekend. One was killed by lightning in Venice Beach, California. Another was killed by a plane making an emergency landing on a beach near Venice, Florida.

Prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families.

7. Can There Be Peace? - The United Nations Security Council has called on both Israel and Hamas to agree to an immediate, unconditional, humanitarian cease-fire after the death toll topped 1,000. The majority of dead are civilians whom Israel claims are being used by Hamas as human shields. Hamas says the Israelis are indiscriminately targeting the Palestinians living in Gaza.

A 12-hour truce over the weekend held, but new clashes have been ongoing since including today. A hospital was hit today with both sides blaming the other.

8. VA Deal? - A Democratic Senator and a Republican Representative, both chairmen of their respective chambers military affairs committees, have struck an agreement to overhaul and resolve the ongoing scandal running rampant in the Veterans Affairs Department.

While this is applaud-worthy, it is doubtful that Congress will act on the bipartisan bill before it breaks on Friday for five weeks in August.

9. Equality March - The 4th District US Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's ban on equality for same-gender couples today. In the ruling by the divided, three-judge panel, the Court upheld a federal judge's earlier ruling the law did not meet constitutional muster.

This is following the precedent set by the 10th District Appeals Court which ruled against the states of Utah and Oklahoma, upholding lower court rulings that those states' ban on equality were unconstitutional.

Same-gender couples in Virginia and the other states affected - West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina - will have to wait to legitimize their relationships for three weeks to allow time for an appeal. Maryland, also in the 4th District, already recognizes equality for same-gender couples.

10. Security Risks? - Money or rather owing money has always been considered a security risk. It has long been thought to be an issue foreign agents could exploit.

CNN is reporting around 83,000 Defense Department employees, with clearances, owe $740 million in delinquent taxes.

This cannot be seen as good by any rational person.

Federal regulations even point out that such an individual is an issue of national security: "...who is financially overextended is at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds."

This brings to life the old question of who is guarding the hen house.

That's what caught my attention for Monday, July 28th, 2014.

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

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Thursday, July 24, 2014

by Mark  

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, July 24th, 2014.

For the second time this week due to my health concerns, today's edition of Kernels is text-only. My voice is beyond gone. My conditions are intruding on my concentration. Today's Kernels is also rather brief.

With that said here are the headlines and current events.

1. Strike 3 - For the third time in a week a commercial airliner has gone down.

Last Friday, Malaysian Flight 17 was shot out of the sky murdering 298 people over eastern Ukraine. Wednesday a TransAsia aircraft crashed in the midst of a thunderstorm reminant of a typhoon on a small island near Taiwan.

Today an Air Algier plane crashed over Mali killing 116.

Once more our hearts and prayers go out to those tragically lost and to their families.

2. Fog of War? - A United Nations shelter in Gaza was hit by either an errant Israeli mortar or by a Hamas rocket that fell short killing 16 and injuring up to 200. Investigation into what happened is ongoing.

The UN has discovered this week in two of the schools it operates that Hamas has been storing rockets and weaponry. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Wednesday called on Hamas to stop endangering civilians by placing missiles in UN facilities.

3. Russo-Ukraine Conflict - US intelligence is reporting that Russian artillery are lobbing mortars from Russian soil into Ukraine. Yesterday, it was reported that two Ukrainian jet fighters were downed by missiles launched from the Russian side of the border.

And in Kiev, the Prime Minister has resigned following the loss of the coalition which put him into power. A new coalition must be formed and a new prime minister installed.

4. Flights Resume - The FAA lifted its ban on US airlines flying in and out of Israel shortly before midnight last night. United has already announced resumption of flights to and from Israel. The FAA has left the decision up to airline companies whether those airliners feel Ben Gurion International Airport is secure enough to land and take off.

5. Crystal Ball - I usually read the corn stalks and peek into the future through the husks and shucks on upcoming elections. Today I am turning to the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and renown political junkie Larry Sabato for some guidance as to the outlook for the MidTerm Elections.

Sabato is saying that Republican chances to wrest Senate control from Democrats is good, but it won't be a rout such as in 2006 or 2010. Sabato gives Republicans a good chance of picking up 4 to 8 seats up for grabs.

Sabato also sees a 5 to 8 gain in the House of Represetatives as well for the GOP.

In the race for the governor's mansion, Democrats have a likelihood of picking up 1 to 2, according to Sabato's Crystal Ball.

6. Is Death Penalty Humane? - The debate over whether the death penalty should or should not be allowed in the US of A is raging today following the two-hour execution of convicted killer, Joseph Wood, in Arizona last night.

Wood's attorney stated that Wood had "been gasping and snorting for more than an hour." A spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General, however, disagreed and said, "He went to sleep and appeared to be snoring."

Governor Jan Brewer has called on the Department of Corrections for a full review of the execution.

7. Free Month of Insurance? - Health insurance companies are worried that a new regulation would allow policyholders who purchase through the Marketplace Exchange may be able to forgo paying their December premium, obtain a new policy in January and not have to make up the unpaid amount.

The Affordable Care Act has provisions which allow insureds to go without payment up to three months before losing coverage as long as they make up the premiums and  will continue to be covered during those three months of non-payment.

8. White House Press Corps Unhappy - The White House Press Corps is complaining and complaining loud that they are being locked out of covering events - such as fundraisers - where President Barack Obama is speaking.

The press corps is reportedly snickering each time the Administration contends it is the most transparent in history.

9. Jobless Claims Down - The Labor Department is reporting that jobless claims have fallen to the lowest number in 8 1/2 years. These numbers, however, do not reflect the number of people who simply gave up looking for work.

10. Lawsuit Moves Forward - A lawsuit by the US House of Representatives against President Obama charging he has overstepped his executive authority and trampled on the Legislative Branch's authority is one step closer following a 7-4 vote along party lines in the House Rules Committee approving legislation to bring to the full House for a vote.

Many see this as political posturing by Republicans four months before the MidTerm Elections.

That's what caught my attention for Thursday, July 24th, 2014.

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

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

by Mark  


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, July 23rd, 2014.

1. Dignity at Last - The first of 200 passengers who lost their lives when Malaysian Flight 17 was criminally shot out of the sky last week were returned to The Netherlands.

In a ceremony of solemnity and the regal atmosphere normally only accorded heads of state, the nation along with its king and queen, welcomed the fallen home. The remains were accorded full military honors.

For days the bodies lay in a field of sunflowers under a scorching sun while militants kept aid workers, reporters and inspectors away. Reports surfaced of those bodies being looted.

The bodies were finally loaded in refrigerated cars before finally being allowed by the Russian separatists to be moved into Ukrainian government territory.

Today the first of those bodies were finally accorded the dignity and honor they deserved from the beginning.

Families waited not knowing, and will not know for days maybe weeks, if their loved ones were among those escorted in coffins by a military honor guard off the military transport planes. The nation turned out to morn and pay respects as the 40 hearses made their way to a DNA testing laboratory.

The scene will continue to play out through Friday, according to Dutch officials.

Our hearts and those from around the world feel for the victims and their families.

2. 'Crippling Sanctions' - The Cornfield's own senior US Senator Dan Coats called today on CNN for "crippling sanctions" against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, for its complicity in blowing Flight 17 out of the sky. Coats said that so far the sanctions by both the US and the Europeans had been too light.

Coats said that Putin must be given a "clear choice" - either start playing nice or face those "crippling sanctions". If Putin refuses without "reassessing" put the sanctions in place that will hurt to the bone.

3. Audacity? - Was this the epitome of audacity or blatant gall today when two Ukrainian jet planes were shot down?

Early reports are indicating that the missiles that took out the two fighter jets were fired on the Russian side of the border.

If this proves to be true, one has to wonder if Russian President Vladimir Putin has truly lost all sensibilities or if he has lost control of his own military?

On the very day that bodies were returned to The Netherlands from Flight 17 shot out of the sky by pro-Russian separatists in a criminal act, in the same area two jets were shot down.

This is adding outrage to outrage.

Compounding the situation, US military sources are reporting that Russia is moving troops ever closer to the border with Ukraine. The movements are indicating that Russia may be positioning itself to fire into Ukraine and blame it on the separatists or even the Ukrainian government.

4. Doesn't Watch the News? - President Obama, at a fundraiser in Seattle Tuesday, said something which is so devoid of credulity. The President remarked that he doesn't watch the news.

The President went on to say, "Whatever they're reporting about usually I know."

Really?????

How many times over the past six years have we heard the President or his Press Secretary say that the President only became aware of this or that after he heard it or read it in media coverage?

The Veterans Affairs scandal?

AP phone records seized?

General David Petraeus?

Federal Marketplace Exchange woes?

Health insurance policies being cancelled?

IRS targeting conservative groups?

Benghazi security requests?

Fast and Furious?

Spying on Angela Merkel?

Shall I go on?

5. Fake It and Get Insurance - The General Accounting Office, which is non-partisan, conducted a test of the Marketplace Exchange system implemented as required by the Affordable Care Act.

Turns out that 11 out of 18 fake applications for health insurance were able to obtain subsidized policies.

The House Ways and Means Committee is now investigating.

6. Sleeping Too Much? - New studies are revealing that getting eight or more hours of sleep may not be good for our health. New research is recommending between seven and eight hours, with the optimal being closer to seven hours.

Nothing wrong with loving your snooze time. Just remember the more you sleep the less hours you may have in life to sleep, according to these recent studies.

7. Flight Disaster - Another commercial airliner has been downed. This time the culprit was a typhoon.

A TransAsia Airways flight crashed on its second attempt to land on a small island off Taiwan in the middle of a typhoon. Lost were 47 lives. The plane crashed into a building complex setting the buildings on fire

Thoughts and prayers to the victims of this tragedy and to their families.

8. Lockdown? - Little Rock Air Force Base outside the Arkansas state capitol went on lockdown around 11:45 a.m. today.

According to the base's Facebook page and Twitter feeds, "The base is on lockdown as of 11:45 a.m. this morning in the interest of protecting all base members and resources from a suspicious individual."

No additional information was known as Kernels went to press.

9. Senate Control Fight - Democrats are feeling buoyed that their candidate, Michelle Nunn, may have the chance to pick up a long-held Republican seat in the Senate after former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue shot down 11-term Congressman Jack Kingston to represent the GOP to claim the seat of retiring Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss.

Nunn is the daughter of the late long-term Senator Sam Nunn. Georgia is seen as the best for Democrats to keep control of the Senate.

10. 30th Anniversary - A momentous occasion occurred 30 years ago. It was on that evening of July 23, 1984 that Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to be nominated for a high public office as the Democratic Party named her their candidate for Vice President.

Now, it is not uncommon to hear of a woman being considered or nominated for the #2 spot on a national party ticket. In fact now, women are running or have run for the top job - President.

All the buzz over two years out is that the next Democratic nominee for the Oval Office will be the first woman to be at the top of the ticket - Hillary Clinton.

But in those days of yore, naming a woman to be in the second slot of the ticket was unheard of until Ferraro stepped up to the podium at the national convention in San Francisco.

The cheers roared and the floor erupted in jubilation as she said, "My name is Geraldine Ferraro."

I well remember that night. I well remember scratching my head asking what were the Democrats thinking. At that time, the idea of a woman bringing momentum and votes to the ticket seemed ludicrous.

That was a long, long time ago. Thinking and times have changed.

It was not, however, Ferraro who was the draw on the campaign which lost and lost big time in the fall election. The blame for the loss fell squarely on the shoulders of the presidential nominee, Walter Mondale.

As many have said, perhaps its long passed time to put a woman in the White House - not as First Lady - but as President.

Surely the Republicans or Libertarians can find the right woman. I am not a fan of Clinton. I could not in good conscience vote for her. Not because she is a woman, but because of her political positions on too many issues.

For this minute, let us forget the 2016 presidential campaign and celebrate that night when history was made. Let us celebrate the set-up when some day there would be the Year of the Woman.

THIS JUST IN: As Kernels was being put to bed, news out of the other trouble spot capturing world attention - the conflict between Israel and Hamas - is dire.

Secretary of State John Kerry is being accused of blowing up any efforts being made by him to secure peace in the region after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took offense to remarks Kerry made alluding to a correlation between what is happening now with the Viet Nam War.

One Israeli official was quoted as saying that the only thing left for Kerry to do is claim his Nobel Peace Prize and leave Israel alone.

Relations between the US and Israel had been warming recently and now have hit the deep freeze.

That's what caught my attention for Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014.

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

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

Kernels - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

by Mark  

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 Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014.

Due to my deteriorating health - voice and respiratory system - today's Kernels will be text only. Hopefully I can return to my video format on Wednesday.

1. Going Home - Of those murdered on Malaysian Flight 17, 200 of the 298 are on their long road home.

The rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, after days of posturing, turned over the bodies, which are on refrigerated train cars. Those bodies are now in Ukrainian government held territory.

It is not known if the nearly 100 bodies not recovered are still laying in the field among the rubble or if moved elsewhere.

The Dutch government is going through the painful process of gathering DNA samples from victims' families to try and identify the dead.

In a ceremony that rebels must have staged in an attempt to give them legitimacy, the black boxes from the airliner shot down were turned over to Malaysian authorities. Those black boxes are now making the way to Great Britain where the data will be downloaded and analyzed.

It is not yet known if the information has been tampered with or lost.

The European Union today made a symbolic gesture with little teeth to add more sanctions on Russia for the shooting down of Flight 17. The Europeans are still not ready to take tougher action for fear of the economic impact.

2. Grounded! - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned US airlines from flying into and out of Israel for at least the next 24 hours. There is concern that the war in the south against the Hamas terrorists is getting too close to Tel Aviv.

In light of the downing of Flight 17, no one is wanting to risk lives flying in or near a war zone. Airlines in other countries are now joining the ban in and out of Israel until hostilities cease.

3. Blow to ACA - A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sent a shot across the bow today of President Barack Obama's signature legislation - the Affordable Care Act.

The judges ruled that subsidies, the mainstay of making health insurance affordable for millions of Americans, were not allowed in the 36 states which did not set up their state-run Marketplace Exchanges.

The Administration is expected to appeal the ruling to the entire 11-member court or appeal directly to the Supreme Court. It is expected either way the case will land before the highest court in the land eventually.

A short distance away, the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled the opposite. The 3-judge panel in that case ruled that everyone was entitled to subsidies in both state-run and the federal-run exchange.

The split between the two separate Appeals Courts sets the table for the Supreme Court to settle the conflicting opinions.

Without tax subsidies most healthcare policies will be unaffordable for those who purchased plans through the federal Marketplace Exchange. It is not yet known how this may hit taxpayers who have received subsidies up until now.

There should be no change, however, until the appeals process is exhausted and the Supremes weigh in on the issue.

The first panel ruled that the text of the law was specific that subsidies were only available to those signing up in state-run exchanges.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the President's legacy legislation?

Then in the heartland, a federal judge in Wisconsin dismissed a lawsuit from Senator Ron Johnson claiming that the federal government could not continue to contribute to purchase of health insurance when the staff and Congress must purchase insurance through the Washington DC exchange.

The judge ruled that the Senator did not prove he had been harmed by the regulation.

4. Premiums Not Rising Too High - Early information suggests that premiums for health insurance purchased through exchanges will not rise as high as was predicted. In most states the premiums are rising less than 10% for 2015. There are exceptions such as Indiana, the Cornfield's own state, where premiums are going up 15%.

In light of today's Appeals Court ruling, what people in 36 states pay out of pocket, including in Indiana, may rise dramatically. Currently Iohn, my life partner, would be hit with a near $300 increase in monthly premiums. This would put health insurance out of affordability and subject him to a tax penalty.

5. Check Your Fridge! - Listeria has been found on fruits sold to Krogers, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Trader Joe's and Costco. The recall is nationwide.

The possibly contaminated fruits are: peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots packed between June 1 and July 12.

6. Optics Matter - While the world is burning, President Barack Obama seems to be dancing. He is not slowing down his golf games or his fundraisers.

While there is nothing wrong with either activity, in times of multiple crises - optics matter.

The pictures being seen give an appearance that the President is not in tune with what is happening. The optics show a President more intent on partisan dabbling rather than a display of a world leader in the midst of battle.

Optics matter.

The story is not new. Recently when again optics mattered, the President declined to go to our southern border to view the humanitarian crisis of nearly 60,000 children crossing into our country. The President opted to be seen out at the bars in Denver, shooting pool and drinking beer.

Optics matter.

The world, nay the US of A, is crying out for a leader. The world looks at American television or newspapers and see not a leader, but a man too busy to care.

Optics matter.

This does not mean that the President is not on top of the situations going on, but the visuals give a different impression.

7. Pressing for Peace - The pressure is building on Israel and Hamas to come to terms and agree to a cease-fire. That increased pressure, however, is not slowing down hostilities, but rather the tension appears to be greater.

There are rumblings that Hezbollah, the power in Lebanon, is making overtures to join in the fight on the side of Hamas. This would have Israel facing off with its enemies on two fronts.

8. Teen Murders - Three teenaged boys - 15, 16 and 18 - have been charged with murdering two homeless men in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday. The youngest of the teens said he was angry over a break-up with his girlfriend.

The teens have allegedly been randomly attacking homeless people over the last year. Now those attacks have lead to murder.

What was that old adage? Spare the rod and spoil the child?

9. Seat at the Table - The five emerging economic powerhouses of: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are making a move to be more of a player in global economics. The BRICS nations are setting up their own bank to compete with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The new bank will concentrate on development, according to the emerging market nations. The idea is to help stabilize economies and financial markets of other nations.

The launch of the new bank is a $100 billion venture. It will also have a currency reserve pool hoping to displace the dollar as the world's fallback.

10. War Rages - Wars and rumors of war are not limited to Israel, the Gaza Strip, Russia and Ukraine.

War is still a reality in Afghanistan where more people are killed every day as the Taliban continues to press, biding its time until the US pulls out.

Libya is in flames in many parts of the nation. The airport at Benghazi has been under attack. A stable government is still a hope and a dream.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to strengthen its hold on northern Iraq. The Iraqi launched an airstrike today against Fallujah in ISIS held territory killing 19 including children. The likelihood of an attack on Baghdad seems more probable.

Syria remains embroiled in a bitter civil war. The world's attention diverted to other hot spots around the globe.

Boko Haram continues to menace in Nigeria. Fighting is not letting up between rebels and government forces in South Sudan.

Wars and rumors of war is the new norm.

That's what caught my attention for Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014.

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

I am Mark Ivy.

Good evening!

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