Welcome to another 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, April 24th, 2017.
1. Political Alterverse – The Wall?
Health care insurance reform?
Pressing questions as Congress returns to Washington DC today after being back home and getting an earful from their constituents.
The government will run out of money and face a partial shutdown if Congress does not send a bill to President Donald Trump to keep the machines running by midnight Friday.
But the President appears to be set on getting money to fund The Wall or no dice on signing any budget measure.
“I can’t imagine the Democrats would shut down the government over an objection to building a down payment on a wall that can end the lawlessness,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on ABC‘s This Week.
“If the President stepped out of it, we could get a budget done by Friday,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said today in a conference call with reporters, referring to Democratic and Republican budget negotiators.
That means dropping the push for The Wall seed money, for those who do not know polispeak (speaking like a politician).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed.
Pelosi said that while Trump had promised during his campaign to build the barrier, “He did not promise that he would take food out of the mouths of babies” and cut programs for seniors, education and the environment to pay for it.
Pelosi called The Wall an “immoral, ineffective, unwise proposal.”
The Prez is also pushing to try once more to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by Saturday, his 100th day in office.
8:28 a.m.: “The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If,” the President tweeted.
11:31 a.m.: “….the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be! #BuildTheWall,” the Prez concluded his thought.
What happened in between?
The President was talking to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, congratulating NASA’s Peggy Whitson for making history, not only as a woman, but as spending more time in space during a single deployment than any human in history.
The conversation was also about travel to Mars.
Tuesday, President Trump, like others before him, will deliver the keynote address at a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust.
Every President since the museum opened in 1993 has done so.
Here’s hoping that the Prez does not misspeak.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived for an unannounced visit to Afghanistan today to assess the situation in the country as President Trump considers whether to send more troops to help government forces struggling to contain the Taliban insurgency.
Former President Barack Obama is off his long vacation jet setting with the beautiful people, speaking at the University of Chicago today to urge young people to get involved with community action.
What the former Prez did not do was critique his successor.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an interview with The Associated Press that world leaders should reject President Trump’s lead on climate change.
Does the 100-day mark on Saturday in the Trump presidency matter?
Give me your thoughts.
State Politics: Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they’re guilty but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for tonight might become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the US in more than 16 years.
The state conducted its first execution in over a decade last week.
New Orleans, Louisiana began removing the first of four prominent Confederate monuments early today, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as representing racism and white supremacy.
Global Politics: French voters tossed aside the establishment in the country’s presidential election on Sunday. In the first round of voting, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron came out on top. They will face off in the runoff vote on May 7.
The vote marked the first time no mainstream party’s candidate made it to the second run-off.
Macron, a former investment banker and political newcomer, ran on a pro-European Union platform, while Le Pen, head of the anti-immigrant National Front, ran vowing to put “France first” and pull the country out of the EU, tapping into the rising nationalist tide that propelled President Trump’s campaign and Britain’s Brexit vote.
Afghanistan’s Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim resigned in the wake of a Taliban attack on one of the country’s biggest military bases that killed at least 140 soldiers.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia over the weekend restored bonus payments for hundreds of thousands of civil servants that had been canceled in September. This came as a way to quell growing dissent in the kingdom.
The President hosted the United Nations Security Council Ambassadors for a luncheon at the White House today.
The US is the current President of the Security Council with Nikki Haley presiding. Tomorrow the Council takes up a new resolution condemning North Korea for its latest missile test.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced today sanctions on a Syrian research center in response to the use of saran gas by Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad on his own people earlier this month. Altogether an additional 154 people were sanctioned.
General John Nicholson, the head of US and international forces in Afghanistan, said today “Oh no I’m not refuting that,” about reports Russia was providing support, including weapons, to the Taliban.
2. Tower Shooting – Two people were shot in a Dallas, Texas tower today.
WFAA-TV reported that sources said the gunman shot his boss and then himself.
CBS 11 reported police responded to the possible active shooter situation at a building in the 8300 block of LBJ Freeway, near Forest Lane and Central Expressway.
The building was evacuated.
This story is still developing.
3. North Korean Menace – Chinese President Xi Jinping urged President Trump to show restraint as tensions rise over North Korea.
The two leaders spoke by phone today as the Hermit Kingdom prepares to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of its military on Tuesday.
Xi said he hoped “all sides exercise restraint and avoid doing things that exacerbate tensions.”
President Trump also spoke by phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who called on Pyongyang to end its “dangerously provocative actions” after it marked its last major holiday a week ago with a failed missile test.
An official North Korean website warned today that Pyongyang will “wipe out” the United States if Washington starts a war on the peninsula.
In a series of editorials the Rodong Sinmun newspaper – the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers’ Party – said the North’s forces were undeterred and called the US strike group’s imminent arrival “undisguised military blackmail.”
“Such threat may startle a jellyfish, but can never work on the DPRK,” it said today, using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The North’s propaganda website Uriminzokkiri today claimed that the dispatching of the USS Carl Vinson signalled a war: “It is proof that an invasion of the North is nearing day by day.”
The editorial, described as being written by an army officer, said it was a “big miscalculation” for Washington to compare the North to Syria, which did not launch an “immediate counterattack” after a US cruise missile strike earlier this month.
In the event of an attack, it said, “The world will witness how Washington’s rash nuclear aircraft carriers are turned into a huge pile of steel and buried at sea and how a country called America is wiped out from the Earth.”
4. Expired? Toss It? – With the rising cost of medicines, those on a fixed income may be tempted to reach for a bottle of expired medications.
But is it safe?
“If you are using something that was a few months or a year after the expiration date, and it had been stored well, for most drugs I don’t think you have a problem,” David Nierenberg, Chief of the Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, told The Huffington Post. “But the companies won’t guarantee it.”
Liquid medicine, in particular, should be avoided.
This is because the contents of the bottle are sterile until the seal is broken. But once a liquid medication is opened, it becomes very susceptible to bacterial contamination.
5. Feeding the Piggy Bank – Remember as a child how your Mama always told you when you got birthday money or your allowance to be sure and feed the piggy bank?
The idea was to teach us to save.
But why do so many of us not save for retirement or are retired and find the money never stretches from the start of the month to the last of the month?
a. They Don’t Think Saving for Retirement Is a Priority
b. They Already Spent Their Retirement Savings on an Emergency
c. They Don’t Have Access to a Workplace Retirement Plan
d. They Don’t Think They Need Retirement Savings
e. They Plan to Rely on Social Security
f. They’re Still Recovering From the 2008 Crisis
g. They Don’t Make Enough Money to Save for Retirement
6. Trump Economy – Global markets liked the outcome of Sunday’s first round of the French presidential election with upticks around the world.
Newcomer centrist Emmanuel Macron will face off on May 7 against right wing candidate Marine Le Pen.
“While markets had deemed a Le Pen-Macron (run-off) as the most likely outcome, there was an element of uncertainty,” said Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz. “Now that this has been lifted, there will be a relief rally, bolstered by how quickly the mainstream candidates … have endorsed Macron, the market’s favorite.”
A new report is predicting the closure of around 9,000 retail stores this year as brick-and-mortar attempt to compete with the likes of Amazon’s online marketplace.
7. Amazing Find! – Imagine finding an original handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence.
If it was me, I would definitely be having a supraventricular tachycardia moment!
Read about researchers who found just that: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/declaration-of-independence-rare-copy-found-west-essex-southern-england/
8. Amazing Find 2! – You may be in Kansas, but you are transported back in time nearly 500 years to discover a vast, thriving Native American city.
A Wichita State University professor says he has found the lost city of Etzanoa, the second-biggest settlement of Native Americans found in the United States.
Read about his discovery: http://www.kansas.com/news/state/article144968264.html
9. Acne Vaccine – We all have our experiences with one of the big horrors of the teen years – acne.
A doctor in California has developed a vaccine for the skin problem.
10. In the Good Ole Summertime! – Nope, it may feel like it, but summer is two months away.
Tidbits: The President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Bob Ross, defended the American Airlines attendant accused of inadvertently hitting a woman as he snatched her baby stroller, narrowly missing the child she was holding as she boarded a flight from San Francisco to Dallas on Friday.
That flight attendant has been grounded pending an investigation.
Two people died after falling in separate incidents in California’s Sequoia National Park over the weekend, according to the National Park Service.
Five people, including a 2-year-old toddler and two other children, died on Sunday in a house fire in the New York City, New York borough of Queens, the city’s deadliest such blaze in two years, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
A migrant boat sank overnight in the eastern Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey, leaving at least 16 people dead, including two children, Greek authorities said today.
At least 35 people were killed over the weekend in Mexico, according to local officials, amid a widespread surge in drug gang violence that has driven murders to a level not seen since 2011.
That’s what caught my attention this Monday, April 24th, 2017.
Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.
Catch up on all of last week’s shenanigans in the Alterverse with Politics Roundup!
I am Mark Ivy