Category Archives: News

Kernels – Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Tuesday, April 25th, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Blocked!

A federal judge in California put a halt to a threat made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to cut funds from sanctuary cities if not assisting federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials rounding up illegal aliens.

District Judge William Orrick issued the preliminary injunction in two lawsuits – one brought by the City of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County – against an executive order targeting communities that protect immigrants from deportation.

Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves,” Judge Orrick ruled.

Orrick sided with San Francisco and Santa Clara, saying the order “by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing.”

And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments,” the Judge said.

Backing down.

President Donald Trump is reportedly backing off on his insistence that money to start building The Wall be included in a spending bill by Friday to keep the government open for business.

Rather than Republicans or the President being blamed for a shutdown, the White House is saying it can wait on specific targeting of funds for The Wall if there is an increase in money for border security and in order to keep the government functioning.

15% – that’s the tax rate the White House is proposing the corporate rate be slashed to from 35%, the current rate.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that the lost revenue in taxes of more than $2 trillion over the next decade would be made up by increased productivity and jobs created by the tax cut.

Not everyone agrees on Capitol Hill – and not just Democrats. Republicans are not so sure either.

Experts say such a cut would be likely to increase the national debt, but Treasury Secretary said that the tax cuts, which Trump has promised will be the biggest in US history, would not hurt the federal government’s bottom line.

A proposed tax reform plan is expected to be rolled out tomorrow.

Campaign promise fulfilled?

A tariff has been slapped on…

No, not China or Mexico, but our second largest trading partner and long-time ally, Canada.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said a tariff of 3-24% is being levied on lumber coming in from our northern neighbor because the Canadian government is subsidizing the country’s lumber industry, which makes unfair competition for America’s lumberjacks.

Canada called the accusation “baseless and unfounded” and said it will take legal action against the “unfair and punitive duty.”

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will be the first to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in its investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election and of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The White House said “No” to a request for documents on former National Security Adviser retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn today.

The request was from the House Oversight Committee.

Questions are swirling whether Flynn may be guilty of a felony or two by not getting permission from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Army before traveling to Russia.

Also were laws broken when Flynn accepted money from the Russian government?

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said there was “no indication” that Flynn complied with the laws on the books.

The President spoke at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Holocaust Museum today and did not disappoint.

The Prez said that Holocaust deniers are “accomplices” to the evil that was perpetrated by the Nazis during the dark days of World War II.

The President and Republicans in Congress may be refocusing on the pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the American public at-large does not agree:

First Daughter Ivanka Trump made her world stage debut at a women’s conference in Germany today, thanks to an invite from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ivanka pledged to push for “incremental, positive change” for women in the US economy. She told the attendees at the conference that she’s still “rather unfamiliar” with her role as First Daughter and adviser to President Trump.

Scattered groans and hisses came from the crowd as Ivanka described her father as “a tremendous champion of supporting families.”

Rod Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate as Deputy Attorney General, making the federal prosecutor the new face of the U.S. investigation into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and whether anyone associated with President Trump played a role.

The White House announced retired Marine Corps General Randolph D. Alles, acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, will lead the Secret Service.

The proposed dinner with members of the Supreme Court at the White House set for Thursday has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

Does the 100-day mark on Saturday in the Trump presidency matter?

Give me your thoughts.

State Politics: The State of Arkansas conducted the first back-to-back executions since 2000 last night.

At least 18 states are considering bills that would make it harder for demonstrators to protest. Civil liberties groups are most alarmed by bills in Tennessee and Florida that would let drivers off the hook for hitting demonstrators who are blocking roads.

Global Politics: Hacking is now the latest in a series of frightening similarities between the French election and last year’s US election.

A Japanese cybersecurity firm says centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign was targeted by hackers employing methods similar to the ones used against the Democratic National Committee. Macron’s camp hasn’t said if it was indeed hacked.

North Korea conducted a major live-fire artillery drill today to celebrate the founding of its military as tensions continued to rise over its missile and nuclear weapons program.

Iran and major powers met today in Vienna, Austria to review adherence to their 2015 nuclear deal as uncertainty grows about the landmark accord’s future under President Trump.

French far-right veteran Jean-Marie Le Pen said today his daughter Marine, who faces centrist Emmanuel Macron in a May 7 French presidential runoff, should have campaigned more aggressively for Sunday’s first round, following the example of President Trump.

The Province of Ontario, Canada has launched a pilot program to provide a guaranteed basic income to a few thousand people to test its effects on recipients and public finances, the Province announced Monday.

The US military has started moving parts of the controversial THAAD anti-missile defense system into a planned deployment site in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported today, amid high tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

This afternoon a US Navy submarine armed with nuclear weapons and guided missiles also arrived off the coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The USS Michigan, which is designed to carry ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, came as a US aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards Korean waters in an effort to deter North Korea from a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment, including various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a front-page editorial.

2. Incredible Shrinking Middle Class – If you are feeling the pinch, it is not your imagination.

A new study has found that over the past two decades the Middle Class has been contracting.

Read more:

3. Rising Tides – In the Arctic, ice is melting.

In Florida, the sea is rising.

Based on new evidence, the Arctic Council – a cooperative effort among eight nations to monitor climate change – concluded that the Arctic warmed faster between 2011 and 2015 than any time on record, with glaciers and sea ice melting faster than expected.

Read more:

4. Hep Crisis – An estimated 325 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and few are aware of their condition, with death tolls from the viruses rising, the United Nations said last Friday.

The World Health Organization’s latest hepatitis report identifies the condition as a grave public health threat that needs an “urgent response.”


5. Come Back – Measels, once nearly eradicated, are making a come back.

But why?

Find out:

6. Trump Economy – The week started with a rally among the markets, which is expected to continue.

Today the markets opened with a robust continuation of yesterday’s surge.

The Nasdaq jumped 0.7%, sending the index above 6,000 for this first time. The Dow rose nearly 250 points, with Caterpillar contributing the most gains. The S&P 500 advanced 0.65%, with financials and materials rising more than 1% to lead advancers.

Earnings thus far have been good,” said Peter Cardillo, Chief Market Economist at First Standard Financial. “That’s a good sign that Corporate America is on a renewed path toward growth.”


7. Back to the Future – Flying cars are becoming a reality.

Google co-founder Larry Page’s aviation startup, Kitty Hawk, unveiled the prototype of its long-rumored “flying car” project, an “ultralight” multi-rotor aircraft that can lift off and land vertically.

Read all about it:

8. Busted! – A ring that was illegally trading in protected eagles was busted.

Federal officials in South Dakota have indicted 15 peopled for illegally trafficking eagles and other migratory birds after a two-year undercover operation potentially involving hundreds of birds.

Read more:

9. Wasting Money – We are bombarded by emails, snail mail and ads on television and radio for this insurance product or that one.

But are they worth it?

Take a look at 14 products that are deemed a “waste of money“:

10. Cool Down Coming – After starting the week with summerlike temperatures, a cold front will be moving into the Heartland.

Midweek and the weekend promises late night severe storms as well.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: Incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise:

Maoist rebels in India killed at least 25 security officers in an attack on a police patrol on Monday. Another seven officers, members of the Central Reserve Police Force, were wounded.

A United Airlines plane had a “terrifying” emergency landing after one of its engines overheated over the ocean, according to a reporter who was on board the plane. United Flight 1516 bound for Houston, Texas, from Liberia, Costa Rica, because of the engine problem on the Boeing 737-800.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, announced plans for a crowd-funded news website offering stories by journalists and volunteers working together, an initiative he hopes will counter the spread of fake news.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the Captain of the Tamar, a 623-foot Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, reported an explosion in the forward storeroom Monday morning. Two crew members were killed and at least three others were injured in the blast.

A 4-year-old girl fell through the open back door of a moving church bus onto an Arkansas state highway, but was rescued from the road by a volunteer firefighter who happened to be driving behind.

A major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck off the west coast of Chile on Monday, rocking the capital Santiago and briefly causing alarm along the Pacific Coast but not producing any serious damage.

Waymo, the autonomous car company owned by Alphabet, parent company of Google, has begun offering free rides to the public in Arizona in a new fleet of self-driving minivans.

Coca-Cola plans to slash 1,200 jobs after a challenging first quarter this year.

Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in a bitterly contested area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of stampeding boars, local leaders say.

A school bus crash in southeast Kentucky has injured 15 people after the driver swerved off the road to avoid hitting a deer.

That’s what caught my attention this Tuesday, April 25th, 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!

Politics Roundup: April 17 – 23, 2017

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

Kernels – Monday, April 24, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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?

Government shutdown?

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.”

Stay informed:

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.

Learn more:

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

Get details:

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:

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:

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.

Read all about it:

10. In the Good Ole Summertime! – Nope, it may feel like it, but summer is two months away.

Get forecast:

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!

Politics Roundup: April 17 – 23, 2017

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

The Sunday Paper – April 23, 2017


Welcome to another edition of the weekly feature of Kernels From the Cornfield The Sunday Paper!

Catching you up on what has happened and what to look forward to in the week ahead, spiced with a bit of my own take on current events and the headlines.

* Political Alterverse – No worries.

President Donald Trump told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that “Dreamers,” young immigrants who were brought to America illegally as children, should not fear deportation because they are not being targeted.

Dreamers can “rest easy,” the President said, because his Administration is “not after the Dreamers; we are after the criminals.”

We’ll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform,” President Trump said Friday, claiming his plan will offer businesses and individuals “a massive tax cut” that would be “bigger, I believe, than any tax cut ever.”

We are moving forward on comprehensive tax reform that cuts tax rates for individuals, simplifies our overly-complicated system, and creates jobs by making American businesses competitive,” a White House official said.

The Trump Administration denied ExxonMobil’s request for a waiver from US sanctions to work with Russia, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday.

President Trump on Friday fired Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a holdover from the Administration of former President Barack Obama.

President Trump announced in February he would skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which is scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Instead of attending the Nerd Prom, the Prez will hold a rally in Pennsylvania, the White House announced on Saturday.

President Trump continues to have record-low approval ratings with the general public, but he is maintaining his core base of supporters, finds a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today in advance of the 100-day mark of Trump’s presidency on April 29.

The big questions facing the coming week when Congress returns from being out among their individual constituents is whether:

1. a government shutdown is avoided come Friday night
2. a health care reform bill can be passed

Another pressing question is if a spending bill is passed and does not include money specifically for The Wall, will the Prez veto the bill and shutdown the government?

A revealing and troublesome response from the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly:

There are so many aspects to this terrorist thing,” Kelly said on CBS NewsFace the Nation today. “Obviously you got the homegrown terrorists. I don’t know how to stop that. I don’t know how to detect that. You got other terrorist threats that come across the border.”

“It is a big problem,” Kelly said. “It is – you know, depending on where you sit is where you stand on this, It is a big threat. Is it the number one threat? I think it’s the most common threat. Unfortunately there are other similar-type terrorist threats that could come from outside the border. You know, the CIA, NSA, all the great men and women of DOD are doing a great job keeping them away from the homeland.”

The appeal I would make on the homegrown threat is if you see something, say something,” Kelly continued. “Whether you’re a parent, a sibling, an imam. And this extends frankly…to white supremacists and that kind of terrorism as well. If you see a young man or a young woman going down that path where they’re always on these kind of websites or saying things at church or in a mosque that are clearly disturbing, then tell someone about it so that we can help that kid, young man or woman, before they break the law.”

Kelly also said about the North Korea problem, “The instant they get a missile that can reach the United States and they have a weaponized atomic device, a nuclear device on it, we are at grave risk as a nation.”

The Democrats are feuding among themselves over whether you can be a Democrat and pro-life. The issue came to the forefront after a local mayoral candidate, who is pro-life and registered as a Democrat, affiliation was questioned by some fellow Democrats, who happen to be abortion-rights advocates.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has waded into the dispute.

Pelosi says that it’s absolutely possible for someone to be a member of the Democratic Party and also be against abortion.

I have served many years in Congress with members who have not shared my very positive — my family would say aggressive — position on promoting a woman’s right to choose,” told Chuck Todd on NBC‘s Meet the Press today.

DNC Chair Tom Perez and Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders received backlash this week from abortion-rights groups since they scheduled a rally with a mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska, who previously supported an abortion-related ultrasound bill.

Speaking of Democrats, what’s up with 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton?

Hillary’s making the rounds and sounding like she is ready for another go around with the Prez, while still not admitting her own, personal shortcomings for why she did not win a majority of Electoral College votes.

Neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party shares average Americans’ concerns according to a new poll:

The White House announced today that President Trump will have dinner Thursday with the US Supreme Court.

State Politics: The North Carolina State Board of Elections reported 508 cases of voter fraud during the 2016 election. The vast majority were by active felons. The fraudulent votes represented a small fraction of the 4.8 million ballots cast. The report didn’t include any evidence of coordinated fraud, and many of the voters claimed to be confused about their eligibility. This was not enough to effect the outcome of any of the races.

Faced with three deaths linked to faith healing in the county over the last four months, Idaho’s Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue has launched a campaign to change the law, and remove any religious exemptions for the legal obligation to seek medical care for children.

Global Politics: French citizens headed to the polls today in the first round of presidential elections.

No one candidate was expected to take an outright majority; rather, four candidates are in contention to make it to the second round: far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, center-right François Fillon, centrist Emmanuel Macron, and far-left populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The top two candidates will face each other for the prize on May 7.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced today to the runoff in France, remaking the country’s political system and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union.

The euro spiked against the dollar on today as early results from the French election showed Le Pen and Macron advancing to the runoff.

The United States will proceed with an agreement with Australia to help resettle refugees, Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday.

President Trump has made it clear that we’ll honor the agreement – that doesn’t mean we admire the agreement,” Pence said.

The arrangement requires the US to accept up to 1,250 refugees, many from Iran and Syria, from their present location in offshore detention centers in Australia. In return, Australia will accept refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Now that we possess mighty nuclear power to protect ourselves from US nuclear threat, we will respond without the slightest hesitation to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike, and we will emerge victor in the final battle with the United States,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Saturday in a commentary that North Korea wouldn’t hesitate to launch a preemptive strike if provoked.

The US has now gone seriously mad. It is mulling frightening the DPRK and achieving something with nuclear strategic bombers, nuclear carriers, etc. However, the army and people of the DPRK will never be browbeaten by such bluffing,” it said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic Republic of Korea.

President Trump will host members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House tomorrow.

Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is serving this month as the President of the Security Council, a role that rotates each month among the five Permanent members: the U.S., Great Britain, France, China and Russia. There are 15 members of the group, but the others, right now including Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay are non-voting members.



* Science March – Thousands of people marched Saturday in protest in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the world in March for Science events as part of Earth Day.

The rallies were to promote popular interest in science, recognize scientific achievements, and protest the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to research funding as well as policy-making around issues like climate change which marchers argue disregards the best available evidence.

We have a great many lawmakers – not just here, but around the world – deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science,” Bill Nye the Science Guy told a cheering crowd at the main rally in Washington DC. “Their inclination is misguided, and in no one’s best interest.”

In reaction, the President tweeted, “I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!”



* Taliban Attack – After the assault of 10 Taliban soldiers, at least 140 people were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday.

President Ashraf Ghani declared a national day of mourning after scores of soldiers were killed by Taliban fighters disguised as fellow soldiers, in the deadliest attack of its kind on an Afghan military base.

* War Ready – North Korea today said it is prepared to bomb the USS Carl Vinson, a US aircraft carrier leading a Navy carrier strike group toward North Korea in a show of force.

Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” said an editorial in a newspaper run by the Kim Jong Un regime’s Workers’ Party.




* Detained! – Another American citizen has been detained by North Korea.

The North is already holding two other Americans since last year, who have been sentenced to hard labor.

The Korean-American being held is reportedly a former professor who was in North Korea working on relief aid projects.




* Ukraine Fatal for American – The American man was killed and a German woman was injured this morning, a spokesman for Austria’s Foreign Ministry confirmed.

Austria holds the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The #OSCE SMM can confirm that a patrol consisting of six patrol members and two armored vehicles has been involved in a serious incident while patrolling in the vicinity of the settlement of Pryshyb, an area not controlled by the Government in #Luhansk region As a result of this incident, one patrol member has died and two members have been taken to hospital for further medical examination.”




* Sign of the Times – What’s the first sign of growing old?

Hair on your knuckles.

What’s the second sign of aging?

Looking for hair on your knuckles.

But what’s the truth?

You can thank a group of tiny organs in your inner ear, called the vestibular system, for your sense of balance, motion, and spatial awareness. But you also might want to curse this system once you hit 40 – the age when vestibular function begins to deteriorate, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Neurology.

Read about one the earliest signs of growing old:



* Environment Threatened – Scientists met to tackle four specific threats to the environment as part of Earth Day on Saturday.

Those four areas of concern are:

a. Food production
b. Threats to the ocean
c. Deforestation
d. Water pollution

Get details:



* We’ll Always Love Joanie – Erin Moran, the child star best known as Richie Cunningham’s little sister and the girl who loved Chachi, was found dead at age 56 in Indiana yesterday.

Such sad sad news,” Ron Howard aka Richie wrote on Twitter Saturday night. “RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.”



* Rainy April End – If Sunday has been sunny for you feel blessed.

The rains are only taking a breather.

Get forecast:


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Catch up on all last week’s shenanigans with Political Roundup!

Kernels – Friday, April 21, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Friday, April 21st, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Free at last!

An Egyptian-American aid worker, Aya Hijazi, and her husband, Mohamed Hassanein, along with four other humanitarian workers are out of an Egyptian prison, where they had been falsely imprisoned, today.

The Administration of President Donald Trump had made the release of the woman and her compatriots a priority.

Those efforts paid off with the prison release after she had been arrested with the others in 2014.

This morning she met with the President in the Oval Office.

There are those grumbling and questioning if human rights issues were addressed with the Egyptian government or ignored in order to secure Hijazi’s release.

White House officials are pushing a new compromise version of the Republican healthcare bill in a bid to deliver on President Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before his 100th day in office, which comes a week from tomorrow.

Revisions aiming to please the conservative Freedom Caucus, such as eliminating guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions, could stoke more opposition from moderate Republicans.

Facing a partial government shutdown if Congress does not act by a week from today, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said any stopgap spending bill must include $1.3 billion to start construction of The Wall.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said any inclusion of money for The Wall could be a deal-breaker and lead to a shutdown.

President Trump on Thursday ordered his Administration to expedite an investigation into whether foreign steel imports were threatening national security.

This is not an area where we can afford to become dependent on other countries,” Trump said.

First court vote alert: Justice Neil Gorsuch, Thursday cast his first major decision – to allow an execution to move forward.

Gorsuch joined Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito to clear the way for Arkansas to execute a condemned inmate. They didn’t explain their decision.

Reality bites.

The Prez is finding out that you can say anything on the campaign trail, but getting action from Capitol Hill is a different story.

As the President faces his first 100 days, what he promised in a contract with the country to accomplish sounded great, but reality makes mince meat of those words.

Is President Trump giving too much independence to the military to act?

The President signed a bill into law on Tuesday that will improve weather forecasting and researching capabilities across the American weather enterprise.

How did I miss this?

See this one?

A twice-convicted Russian pedophile imprisoned in a heavily forested gulag some 500 miles from Moscow appears to be the man a controversial dossier says helped hack into Democratic National Committee computers last year. (

The House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US election, said today it had invited the Directors of the FBI and the National Security Agency to appear at a closed hearing on May 2.

Highlighting getting Gorsuch on the Supreme Court as a major accomplishment (which it is) in a tweet today by the President, I am reminded how his predecessor accented every speech over and over with “I got Bin Laden.”

Former President Barack Obama is stepping out of the shadows with a Monday town hall-style meeting with students at the University of Chicago will be followed by an awards ceremony in Boston; a series of public remarks as well as private paid speeches in the United States and Europe; and an appearance at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany with Chancellor Angela Merkel.


Oh no he didn’t!

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he was “amazed” a federal judge on “an island in the Pacific” had put a hold on the President’s travel ban.

The backlash was immediate especially from America’s 50th state’s two Senators.

For the top enforcer of the Constitution in the nation to so malign a state by calling it some island sitting in the ocean is pathetic to put it mildly.

Explains the following of why Americans are so low on pols in the capital of the nation.

The view by Americans is not good of Washington DC, the President, the Speaker of the House and either Democrats or Republicans.

Trust is a major concern and splits along political affiliation.

Get the full Pew Research survey:

State Politics: After the Supreme Court refused to issue a stay, Arkansas carried out its first execution in more than a decade last night.

A Republican-drawn map setting the boundaries of Texas’ statehouse districts violates the Constitution by intentionally discriminating against minority voters, a federal court ruled on Thursday – the third such ruling against the state’s voting laws in roughly a month.

Questions are swirling around why the powerful Republican Congressman from Utah, Jason Chaffetz, would give up his seat.

Chaffetz did not shed much light when he told Politico, “I don’t know exactly where these winds are going to take me. I just know that I wanted to explore those. And by making the announcement early, it helps on several fronts. I can pursue those opportunities and see what is out there.”

However, Chaffetz specifically denied any hint of scandal was in the wings causing him to decide to bow out of Congress. Many believe he may run for Governor of Utah in 2020.

Florida State Senator Frank Artiles, who used a racial slur and vulgar language in a conversation with two African-American colleagues, is resigning.

Global Politics: Yesterday’s terror attack in Paris, France has candidates for the Presidential Palace off the stump, but not off Twitter and the airwaves. Voting begins Sunday.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today that Syria had dispersed its warplanes in recent days and that it retained chemical weapons, an issue he said would have to be taken up diplomatically.

The bottom line is, I can say authoritatively they have retained some (chemical weapons). It’s a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it’s going to have to be taken up diplomatically,” Mattis said.

South Korea said today it was on heightened alert ahead of another important anniversary in North Korea, with a large concentration of military hardware amassed on both sides of the border amid concerns about a new nuclear test by Pyongyang.

President Trump on Thursday praised Chinese efforts to rein in “the menace of North Korea,” after North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike.”

Beijing has demonstrated due enthusiasm for Washington’s newfound interest in a diplomatic solution and willingness to work more closely with it,” the state-run China Daily said in an editorial.

China’s Defence Ministry today denied reports that its bomber aircraft were on a heightened state of alert amid tensions over North Korea.

French centrist Emmanuel Macron is set to come out on top in the first round of France’s presidential election on Sunday as far right leader Marine Le Pen fell further behind him in an Elabe poll published today.

Venezuelans took to the streets again on Thursday, braving tear gas, beatings and bloodshed as they try to force President Nicolas Maduro to hold elections in the crisis-riddled nation.

Testing Trump will or sending a message?

For the fourth time in as many days, Russian bombers cruised close to the US coastline and were escorted away by US fighters.

2. Sounds of Silence – Today is a Day of Silence.

The Day of Silence first started in 1996 at the University of Virginia. In a course on nonviolent protests, students Maria Pulzetti and Jesse Gilliam were assigned to design a form of nonviolent protest on an issue that needed more attention.

The two created the idea of Day of Silence to protest the silencing impact of anti-LGBTQ bias and violence.

Read more:

3. Come Back – The manatee is making a come back in waters around Florida.

The gentle sea creature, often mistaken for a mermaid for centuries, has been on the Endangered Species List.

After decades of bringing the manatee population back to life, the issue is whether they still deserve to be treated as endangered, CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.

Read more:

4. Meteor Shower – The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower will be putting on a show for Earth Day this weekend.

Tonight and tomorrow night stargazers may be able to catch a few meteors during the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower.

More details:

5. School Bus Disaster – A driver and 19 school children were killed today in South Africa when their minibus crashed.

The bus collided with a truck and exploded in a ball of fire in Mpumalanga province, emergency services said.

Read more:

6. Trump Economy – Verizon is taking a hit from its competitors, losing customers during the first quarter of this year.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer believes changes that President Donald Trump is exploring on bank regulations could pose a serious threat to the financial system.

Stocks held mostly flat today as traders looked ahead to France’s presidential election while assessing more quarterly results from companies.

More on the markets:

7. Does a Body Good? – Could it be the lowly beet could have rejuvenation effects that Ponce de Leon once searched for in the Everglades of Florida?

A recent study found the bright red juice has anti-aging benefits.

What we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beet root juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults,” W. Jack Rejeski, co-author of the study, told EurekAlert.

Read more:

8. Religiously Religious – Maybe Americans are not as religious about religion as their talk would seem to indicate at time.

Remember when reading a verse of Scripture was a daily activity?

Those days are gone.

a. About a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week
b. Three-quarters of Christians say they believe the Bible is the Word of God
c. Christians, who make up a majority of U.S. adults (71%), are divided over how to interpret the Bible
d. In 2014, about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally
e. Seven-in-ten Americans (71%) know the Bible teaches that Jesus was born in Bethlehem

Get the details:

9. No More Playing the Fool – Cuba Gooding Sr. has passed away.

The lead singer for the 1970s group, The Main Ingredient, was best known for both the hit, “Everybody Plays the Fool,” and for being the father of Academy Award winning actor, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Rest in peace as you join the angelic choir.

10. Hot Until May – Don’t tell Mother Nature it is spring. She thinks it’s summer already.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: Tesla on Thursday recalled 53,000 cars — nearly two-thirds of the 84,000 vehicles it made last year – to replace potentially faulty brakes.

After first cancelling a speech by conservative Ann Coulter, where she vowed to go an speak any way, the University of California Berkley changed its mind yesterday and re-invited Coulter to speak on May 2. But Coulter says she can’t make it that day. The student group that invited her to speak is threatening to sue the school.

Volkswagen has been ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty in the United States for cheating on diesel emissions tests.

Is Fox News under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

A lawyer representing former Fox News co-host Andrea Tantaros, who’s suing former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, says the U.S. Attorney has subpoenaed one of his other clients.

At least eight Afghan soldiers were killed and 11 wounded today when Taliban gunmen dressed in uniforms talked their way past checkpoints and attacked a military headquarters in northern Afghanistan, officials said.

About 50 children were evacuated from a Caracas, Venezuela hospital Thursday which the Venezuelan government blamed on an attack by armed gangs but the opposition attributed to tear gas used to quell unrest.

Three Seattle, Washington police officers were shot and injured during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who later died, after a robbery at a downtown convenience store on Thursday.

The April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill did $17.2 billion in damage to natural resources, a study published in the journal Science said.

That’s what caught my attention this Friday, April 21st, 2017.

Tune in Monday for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

Don’t miss The Sunday Paper!

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

Kernels – Thursday, April 20, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Thursday, April 20th, 2017.

BREAKING NEWS: The US is prepping to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange even as Ecuador readies to kick him out of its Embassy in Great Britain.

1. Political Alterverse – Resurrection?

Back on the plate when members of Congress return this coming week will be another go at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

But will it take a back seat or claim shotgun as Congress has to deal with funding the government by next Friday?


The Hoosier born-and-bred federal judge in California who presided over the Trump University fraud case has landed a routine deportation case involving a so-called Dreamer, who was deported when he presumably was immune from that action until 2018.

President Donald Trump took on Canada again today about the “dairy war” going on between the two countries as he railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The President made his remarks when signing an executive order to investigate if foreign countries are involved in unfair trade practices hurting the American steel industry.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Wednesday denied that the Trump Administration misled the public last week by saying it was sending an aircraft carrier battle group to waters near North Korea to serve as a deterrent, when the ships were actually on the way to participate in joint maneuvers with Australia.

Tongues are wagging today after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said there might be a new vacancy on the Supreme Court come summer.

I would expect a resignation this summer,” the Iowa senator said, according to the Muscatine Journal. Grassley’s comments came during a Q&A at a visit to Kent Corporation in Muscatine, Iowa.

Will it be swing Justice Anthony Kennedy?

Will it be the Court’s oldest Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Then again, might it be Justice Stephen Breyer?

If either of the two liberal Justices, Ginsburg or Breyer, retire, it could cement a conservative bent to the Court for decades to come.

The President met today with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy.

During a news conference, the 2% of GDP, which member countries are suppose to pay to NATO was raised with Gentiloni by a reporter. The Prez said he wanted to know the Prime Minister’s response.

Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who announced he would not run again yesterday, as he mulls running for Governor, now is hinting he may not fill out his term through next year.

Chaffetz said in a text message: “My future plans are not yet finalized but I haven’t ruled out the possibility of leaving early. In the meantime I still have a job to do and I have no plans to take my foot off the gas.”

Will Democrats have a chance in the deep red, strongly conservative state?

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has been tapped to be Ambassador to New Zealand.

State Politics: Arkansas’ effort to carry out a rush of executions before its supply of a hard-to-get lethal injection drug expires hit more setbacks on Wednesday, when the State Supreme Court granted a reprieve to inmate Stacey Johnson, who was scheduled to die today.

Separately, an Arkansas County Court judge blocked the state from using the drug vecuronium bromide, one of the three drugs in the state’s lethal-injection cocktail, putting all of the planned executions in limbo.

Democrats today launched a wave of attack ads against Jon Ossoff’s GOP opponent, Karen Handel, in the special election for the Georgia 6th House seat set for June, according to a new report.

Keep a watch what happens when Alabama conducts its special election for Senator with an August primary and December general to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Global Politics: General Motors said today that it had halted operations in Venezuela after the government seized its plant in the South American country. GM called the seizure of its local subsidiary, General Motors Venezolana, “illegal,” and vowed to “vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights.”

ExxonMobil is seeking a waiver from US sanctions on Russia to pave the way for a joint venture with the Russian state oil company, Rosneft, to drill in the Black Sea, The New York Times reported.

A Moscow, Russia-based think tank, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, is reported to have drawn up the plan to influence the US presidential election to throw the election to candidate Trump.

The Institute circulated the strategy papers in June and October, recommending that the Kremlin start a propaganda campaign to get US voters to elect a President who would be softer on Russia than the Administration of former President Barack Obama had been, and pushing voter fraud claims if Hillary Clinton beat Trump to undermine her power.

At least three people were killed, according to human rights groups, during the “Mother of All Marches” in Venezuela on Wednesday, bringing the death toll from recent protests to seven.

How long before Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is forced from office by the people?

North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear program.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, did not mince its words. “In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes,” it said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said during a visit to London, England the military option must be part of the pressure brought to bear on North Korea. “Allowing this dictator to have that kind of power is not something that civilized nations can allow to happen,” he said in reference to Kim Jung Un, the North’s dictator.

The United Nations Security Council today condemned North Korea’s latest failed missile test and demanded Pyongyang not conduct any more nuclear tests, in a statement that had been delayed as the United States and Russia sparred over language.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said today the United States should meet its own obligations agreed in a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 rather than making accusations against the Islamic Republic.

Russia’s Supreme Court has banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses from operating in the country, accepting a request from the Justice Ministry that the religious organization be considered an extremist group.

Iranian state TV says the clerical body charged with vetting candidates has disqualified former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running in next month’s presidential election.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court today ruled there was insufficient evidence to order Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s removal from office over corruption allegations leveled by the opposition, but it ordered further investigations.

2. High Alert – China today put its military on “high alert” over the threat of North Korea’s uncertainty.

China has already suspended all flights in and out of North Korea by Chinese airliners. Now its fighters are on an added sense of security.

What comes next?

Meanwhile, Max Thunder, the joint-military drill of the US and South Korea, is playing out on the Korean Peninsula to the dismay of both the North and China.

We are conducting a practical and more intensive exercise than ever,” South Korean pilot Colonel Lee Bum-chul told reporters. “Through this exercise, I am sure we can deter war and remove our enemy’s intention to provoke us.”

Read more:

3. Who Leaked? – Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency are on the hunt for who may have leaked information to Wikileaks.

An insider working within the hallowed halls of Langley is suspected.

The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smart phones, smart televisions and computer systems.


4. Paris ShootingBreaking even as Kernels is being put together, two police officers in Paris, France have been shot.

The Champs-Elysees has been closed. The attacker has been taken down.

One officer was killed, the other officer was wounded.

The Islamic State is claiming the shooter as one of its “fighters.”

This story is still developing.

What we know:

5. Brain Killer – In this digital age, we can get answers at our fingertips.

But is it killing our ability to think and learn?

Read more:

6. Trump Economy – The chief banking regulator, the Comptroller of the Currency, faulted itself for failing to act on “red flags” to stop the Wells Fargo fake account scandal years ago.

The report called oversight of the bank “untimely and ineffective,” saying federal examiners missed numerous chances to uncover the core problems behind the creation of millions of fake bank and credit card accounts by employees trying to meet aggressive sales targets.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said today that consensus is growing among major oil producers that they should extend an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut oil supplies.

Hopes were buoyed today over tax reform boosting the markets.


7. Rise in Disease – A very painful disease is on a surge in Hawaii.

The clinical description of the symptoms of rat lungworm illness – “severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, seizures, and neurologic abnormalities” – lets this particular affliction off the hook.

Read the truth about its affects:

8. Power Movers – So who are the people shaking up the world and calling the shots?

Some are for the good of humanity and some, shall we say, are questionable on how much empathy they have for their fellow human beings.

Check it out:

9. Pay Attention – We all know that someone who seems to see something shiny and lose focus.

There may be help to keep that person’s attention with these apps.

a. Go cold turkey
b. Gain some self control
c. Be free from distractions
d. Make concentrating a priority

Get details:

10. Storms Rage – The stormy weather is not going away soon.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: That Tennessee teacher who took off with his 15-year-old student have been found in California. The teacher has been arrested.

Three masked robbers snatched a suitcase stuffed with millions of dollars in cash from a businessman who had just withdrawn the money from a bank in western Japan today, police said.

The University of California Berkley cancelled a speaking engagement by conservative Ann Coulter over security concerns. Coulter says she is going to speak any way.

A gunman opened fire on two utility workers today in Saint Louis, Missouri killing both of them before fatally shooting himself.

That’s what caught my attention this Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

Kernels – Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Debunked dossier.

That dossier released in the waning days of the 2016 election, prepared by an ex-British spy, was part of the basis for getting a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor communications of former foreign policy adviser to the campaign of Donald Trump and ties to Russian officials.

The dossier had been widely panned as unreliable and much of the information unconfirmable, even by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

The Trump Administration notified Congress last night that Iran is complying with the deal reached by former President Barack Obama on its nuclear program.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, however, in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Administration is reviewing the deal, which President Trump strongly criticized during his campaign, to determine whether it “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

President Trump said Tuesday that his push for tax reform was “in very good shape.”

It’s going to make it much harder to pass tax reform with the president not releasing his tax returns because everything he proposes, people will say, I wonder if he’s doing it for the public, or for himself,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The Prez signed veterans healthcare legislation.

The bill expands the choice options for veterans to seek care from the doctor they choose and not be restricted to having to travel a distance or wait a long time to be seen by a Veterans Administration doctor in a VA medical center.

A new Harvard-Harris poll found that 57% of the public view the Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders favorably, making him the most liked politician in the country.

The next two most popular politicians among the public are Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump – each with 44% viewing them favorably.

White House Political Strategist Stephen Bannon, received the lowest favorability rating with only 16% viewing him that way.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have a single US Attorney in place to lead his tough-on-crime efforts across the country.

Last month, Sessions abruptly told the dozens of remaining Obama Administration US Attorneys to submit their resignations immediately – and none of them, or the 47 who had already left, have been replaced.

Sessions is also without the heads of his top units, including the Civil Rights, Criminal and National Security Divisions, as he tries to reshape the Justice Department.

What’s the hold up?

President Trump on Tuesday said, “You always have to be concerned” about nuclear war when dealing with North Korea.

The Prez told CNN‘s Wisconsin affiliate WTMJ. “You don’t know exactly who you’re dealing with.”

Trump was talking about dictator Kim Jung Un of North Korea.

Now I’m put in a position where he actually has nuclear and we’re going to have to do something about it,” Trump added. “It’s a very, very tricky situation. Hopefully he wants peace and we want peace and that’s going to be the end determination, but we’re going to see what happens.”

The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” Vice President Mike Pence told 2,500 sailors dressed in blue fatigues and Naval baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard a carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay, Japan today.

The Environmental Protection Agency said today it would reconsider a rule on emissions from oil and gas operations and delay its implementation, marking the Trump Administration’s latest effort to dismantle Obama-era environmental regulations.

The man who gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money in getting the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders had this to say as he sat next to the Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, “No, I’m an Independent,” when asked by MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes whether he now identifies as a Democrat.

If the Democratic Party is going to succeed – and I want to see it succeed – it’s gonna have to open its door to Independents,” Sanders continued. “There are probably more Independents in this country than Democrats or Republicans. It’s got to open its doors to working people and to young people, create a grassroots party. That’s what we need.”

Wonder what Perez was thinking?

The Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots visited the White House today, but some boycotted the event, including star quarterback Tom Brady. But one of those footballers who did come to the White House, Rob Gronkowski, crashed today’s press briefing.

My distant cousin, former President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital recovering from pneumonia, but reportedly in good condition.

State Politics: Democrat Jon Ossoff came up short to win the 6th Congressional District of Georgia on Tuesday and will face a run-off with his nearest Republican contender, Karen Handel, in a runoff in June. Although Ossoff garnered 48.1% of the vote, he is expected to lose to Handel, a former Georgia Secretary of State, come June.

Had Ossoff reached 50% in yesterday’s plebiscite, he would be the first Democratic Representative from the 6th in almost four decades.

California will get to choose a new Congressman next year. Republican Chairman of the powerful Government Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz announced today he would not run for re-election in 2018.

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske wrote in a letter Friday to DMV Director Terri Albertson that DMV workers had been accepting voting applications from non-citizens and forwarding them to the Secretary of State’s office. Cegavske said she had evidence non-citizens voted in the presidential election, but didn’t elaborate.

Florida Senate President Joe Negron said Miami-area Republican Senator Frank Artiles had asked to apologize on the Senate floor to Senator Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville. The Miami Herald reported that Artiles used a variation of the “n-word” during a private conversation at Tallahassee’s Governor’s Club with Democratic Senators Gibson and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale on Monday night.

Global Politics: Venezuelans have taken to the street in the capital of Caracas in protest of the socialist policies and lack of food, basic necessities, under President Nicolas Maduro. The protest is being described as the “Mother of All Marches.”

We’re scared but we’ve got to do this,” said Carmen Medina, a 55-year-old Venezuelan social worker in the middle-class district of El Paraiso, where demonstrators were beginning to gather. “We’re marching for the freedom of our country.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May won Parliament’s backing for an early election today, a vote she said would strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union and help heal divisions in Britain.

India’s top court has ruled that senior figures in the governing BJP will be tried for criminal conspiracy over the destruction of a 16th Century mosque.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Recep Erdogan will meet President Trump in May ahead of a meeting of the NATO alliance, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said today.

North Korea seemingly sent a message to the United States by displaying parts of America in flames during a military celebration.

2. Fresno Shooting – Three people were shot and killed within two minutes of each other last night in downtown Fresno, California.

The suspect, in custody, had expressed on social media his dislike of white people.

The gunman fired 16 rounds in less than 90 seconds, killing three white men. The victims were apparently picked at random.


3. Russian Bombers – For the second time in two days, the US intercepted two Russian bombers flying close to the Alaskan coast.

The US fighters escorted the Russian out of the area.


4. Faulty System? – The US plans to test its missile defense system, timely in light of the North Korean threat.

Experts, however, are saying the system may not work.

Read more:

5. Credit Scoring Change – Looks like the powers-that-be have decided to make a change in how credit scores are calculated.

The changes are big enough that they might alter the behavior of both cautious spenders as well as riskier borrowers.

Read more:

6. Trump Economy – Stocks started the day flat as investors continued to stress over geopolitics, including the looming French presidential elections and high tensions between the US and North Korea.

Today has been a mixed day for the US markets.

Read more:

7. Most Polluted – That would be California as six of its cities rank in the top 10 most polluted communities in the nation.

Bakersfield, California again holds the dubious distinction of having the US of A’s most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released today found.

Read more:

8. Immaturity Factor? – Could immaturity be a factor in whether your child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)?

ADHD “is often first identified in school-aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork.”

More details:

9. Suicide or Foul Play? – Former New England Patriots standout Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013, was found hanging in his prison cell last night.

His former manager said there was no way that it was suicide.

An autopsy is pending.

Read more:

10. Get Ready for Storms – Enjoy the day while you can – there’s thunder in the distance.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: In or out?

Not the hamburger chain, but Fox host Bill O’Reilly. Word is discussions are underway to end his top-rated cable show, the O’Reilly Factor, over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Around 2:30 this afternoon the announcement came from Fox News that O’Reilly would not return from his vacation to host his show.

Out it is.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said Tuesday that none of the company’s employees, himself included, would be fired over the treatment of a passenger, Dr. David Dao, who was dragged bleeding off of plane leaving Chicago to make room for crew members from a partner airline on a fully booked flight.

A former store clerk, was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison on Tuesday for the 1979 murder of first-grader Etan Patz.

French authorities said Tuesday that they had arrested two men in the southern port city of Marseille on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack aiming to disrupt the first round of France’s presidential election, scheduled for Sunday.

Investigators have confirmed an additional 17 mass graves in central Congo, bringing the number to 40 discovered since clashes between soldiers and a local militia intensified in August, the United Nations human rights office said today, adding that Congolese soldiers reportedly killed at least 114 people, including 41 children.

Supreme Court Justices today appeared sympathetic to a church that sued Missouri for denying it state taxpayer funds for a playground project in a closely watched religious rights case involving public money going to religious entities.

At least a dozen students were hospitalized after their school bus rolled over on a rural Idaho highway on Tuesday, police said.

At least 11 people are dead after intense rains provoked several landslides in a mountainous, coffee-growing part of Colombia today.

A bus fell off a mountain road in a northern Indian state and plunged into a river today, killing 44 people, officials said.

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed several mummies, colourful wooden sarcophagi and more than 1,000 funerary statues in a 3,500-year-old tomb near the city of Luxor, Egypt hailing an “important discovery.”

Emirates, the Middle East’s biggest airline, said today that it is cutting flights to the United States because of a drop in demand caused by heightened US security measures and Trump Administration attempts to ban travelers from Muslim-majority nations.

That’s what caught my attention this Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

Kernels – Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Tuesday, April 18th, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Tax Day in America.

Democrats are making hay with today being the deadline for filing income tax returns to try and pressure President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Protests took place around the country Saturday.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton was shouted down and booed by constituents at a town hall meeting yesterday for defending the President not releasing those tax returns.

Will it force the President’s hand?


The Prez in the meantime flew to Kenosha, Wisconsin today to speak to workers at the headquarters of tool maker Snap-On and push his Buy American, Hire American policy.

While there, the Prez signed an executive order urging federal entities to do their best to both buy American goods and hire American workers for government products.

The order also aims to curb what the Administration says are hiring abuses in a visa program used by technology companies

Speaking in Wisconsin, the President set sights on Canada and vowing to solve the dairy “war” with our northern neighbor.

At issue is cheaper Canadian milk coming into the Cheese State to make the product for which Wisconsin is known to the detriment of local dairy farmers, who are selling off cows and getting out the industry.

The President refused to confirm or deny that US cyber capabilities were responsible for the failed North Korean ballistic missile test over the weekend.

At odds?

The State Department raised concerns about the referendum over the weekend which changed Turkey’s governance from a parliamentarian to a presidential system.

The President called and congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the win and being a strong leader.

In Japan today, Vice President Mike Pence said the US would stand by Japan “100 percent” and keep pushing until North Korea curbs its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

President Trump “is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea, with all our allies in the region and with China to achieve a peaceable resolution and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Pence said.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly today bluntly challenged members of Congress critical of the Trump Administration’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement to either change the laws or “shut up.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is now saying his August deadline for a budget was too optimistic and will not happen.

Less than a third of people in the US approve of the way House Speaker Paul Ryan is handling his leadership role in Congress, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday.

The poll found that 29% approve of his job and a majority, 54%, disapprove of his job.

The White House is considering eliminating the popular petitions site We the People.

State Politics: The Supreme Court stayed two executions in Arkansas after an Appeals Court overturned a federal judge’s stay of all eight executions set within the next 11 days.

In Georgia, voters are turning out to vote for which Democrat and/or Republican will fill the vacancy in Congress when Dr. Tom Price became Health and Human Services Secretary.

Jon Ossoff is expected to be the Democrat to get the nod.

The Republican field is crowded with no clear front-runner.

If no one gets at least 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff election in June between Republican and Democratic candidate.

President Trump got into the fray urging Republicans to turn out and specifically to defeat Ossoff.

Turns out that Ossoff does not live in the congressional district is hoping to represent.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey today moved up the election to fill the Senate seat vacated by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to December because she said the original plan to hold it in late 2018 was not soon enough to meet state law. The primary election will now be held on August 15 and the general vote will be December 12, Ivey’s office said.

A South Dakota lawmaker frustrated with what he views as inaction over a secretive polygamous sect’s outpost in his district wants legislators to look into the compound, including why no South Dakota birth or death records have been filed from there over the last decade.

Global Politics: Kim In Ryong, North Korea’s Deputy United Nations Ambassador, said the US focus on the North Korean nuclear program reflected a “gangster-like logic” that’s turning the Korean Peninsula into “the world’s biggest hotspot,” creating “a dangerous situation in which a thermonuclear war may break out at any moment.”

Turkey’s main opposition party on Monday called for election officials to nullify the results of a landmark referendum granting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers.


Or was it intentional?

On the same day that the world nervously watched North Korea stage a massive military parade to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s founder Kim Il Sung, and the press speculated about a pre-emptive U.S. strike, the US Navy put the the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, together with its escort of two guided-missile destroyers and a cruiser, more than 3,000 miles southwest of the Korean peninsula, which was more than 500 miles southeast of Singapore.

It definitely fooled the world and North Korea. The psychological effect was striking.

The number of people applying for asylum in Mexico has soared by more than 150% since Trump was elected President, according to Mexican data, as more Central American migrants seek to stay rather than take their chances in the United States.

France is apparently now being targeted for meddling by Russia in its presidential election in May as both Sputnik and RT are coming out with “news stories” in support of one of the candidates, which are in reality fake.

2. Fatal Finale – The man accused of shooting a random great-grandfather on the street and killing him in Cleveland, Ohio Easter Sunday, then posting it to Facebook, turned the gun on himself near Erie, Pennsylvania today as police closed in.

The nationwide manhunt ended after a tip came in that the suspect was seen at a local McDonald’s.

Read more:

3. Snap Election – In a surprise, British Prime Minister Theresa May is putting it all on the line, calling for an vote-of-confidence election on June 8 to solidify her actions in following the voters in pursuing Brexit – the divorce of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I have to make,” May said.

Read more:

4. Collateral Damage? – That is what Human Rights Watch is claiming happened during a US-led airstrike near Aleppo, Syria last month.

The group is accusing the US of dropping bombs on a mosque in northern Syria, killing dozens of worshippers.

The US denies the allegation and says the target was near the mosque and was a meeting of Al Qaeda.

Read more:

5. Do More – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke publicly for the first time this afternoon about the Cleveland murder video that stayed up on Facebook for nearly two hours before it was removed.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr., and we have a lot of work — and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” Zuckerberg said.

We disabled the suspect’s account within 23 minutes of receiving the first report about the murder video, and two hours after receiving a report of any kind,” FB Vice President of Global Operations Justin Osofsky said. “But we know we need to do better.”

You think?


6. Trump Economy – Missing the mark.

That’s what vaunted business giant Goldman Sachs did, causing the markets into negative territory today.

I’m a little surprised that they missed because the market did so well in the first quarter,” said Bruce Bittles, Chief Investment Strategist at Baird.


7. Intercept! – US fighters intercepted two Russian jets skirting through the sky and coast around Alaska in international air space.

Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, says a pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday.

Ross says the intercept was “safe and professional.”


8. Is It Hot? – Women going through menapause are well acquainted with hot flashes.

Turns out these can also be indicators of heart problems.

Get details:

9. Festival Heat Stroke – Those traveling to or living in California going to the Coachella Music Festival may need lots of water as temps rise into triple digits.


10. Storm Ready? – The nice couple of days are ending with chance for violent storms in the Heartland.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: Boeing plans to lay off hundreds of engineers as its aircraft sales slow, the company said Monday. Boeing announced that it was laying off another 1,800 mechanics and engineers earlier in 2017.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China, called on the Trump Administration to “use every arrow” it has to help level the commercial playing field in China.

Thousands of Palestinians protested in the West Bank and Gaza as more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons began a hunger strike demanding better conditions and an end to detentions without trial.

A gunman opened fire in downtown Fresno, California today, killing three people before he was taken into custody, local media reported, citing police. The suspect, who was not immediately identified by authorities, was also wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a security guard at a Fresno Motel on Sunday, the Fresno Bee newspaper reported.

The man who was leading the movement for California to break away and become an independent country told his supporters Monday he was seeking permanent residence in Russia because of his “frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States.”

The Army has charged a retired general with raping a minor in the 1980s, reports CBS affiliate WNCN in Raleigh, North Carolina.

That’s what caught my attention this Tuesday, April 18th, 2017.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

Catch all the shenanigans of last week’s Altervers with Politics Roundup!

Politics Roundup: April 10 – 16, 2017

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

Kernels – Monday, April 17, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 17th, 2017.

1. Political Alterverse – Ready…



The Administration of President Donald Trump warned North Korea not to test American resolve.

The Chinese warned North Korea not to launch a missile.

Kim Jung Un, Young Leader of North Korea, ignored all.

A missile fired.

Five seconds after launch it blew up.

Did US cyber wonks have something to do with the explosion?

At the DMZ (demilitarized zone) in South Korea, Vice President Mike Pence warned the North Koreans the “era of strategic patience is over” and the US will stop any attack that might come from the North.

Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new President in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” the Vice President said after delivering a statement to the media alongside Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s Acting President.

North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region,” Pence said.

Citing unprecedented declines of up to 70% in illegal crossings in some areas during the past two months, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said the government’s focus on the border – from a deportation crackdown in the interior to the preparations for the construction of a wall – has altered traditional traffic flows.

Texas Republican Congressman Mike Conaway, who is heading up the House Intelligence Committee look into the Russian interference in last year’s election and possible collusion by members of the Trump campaign, has flown to Cyprus to see and obtain information that may be pertinent to the Committee’s investigation.

The Prez is going to Wisconsin tomorrow to speak at a local factory in Kenosha. The President will visit the headquarters of Snap-On, a tool manufacturer.

A Gallup poll out early today finds only 45% of Americans think the President keeps his promises, down from 62% in a poll taken in February.

President Trump and First Lady Melania hosted their first annual White House Easter Egg Roll today, continuing a 150-year Washington tradition.


Did I say that?

One Congressman must be asking himself.

A Wisconsin Congressman told a town hall attendee who was concerned about the elimination of online privacy protections that using the Internet is a choice – a statement that has since drawn criticism on social media.

The question posed dealt with recent action that allows internet service providers to sell personal information of internet users. Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner answered this way:

Nobody’s got to use the Internet. … And the thing is that if you start regulating the Internet like a utility, if we did that right at the beginning, we would have no Internet. Internet companies have invested an awful lot of money in having almost universal service now. The fact is is that, you know, I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising for your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it, and then you take it upon yourself to make that choice. That’s what the law has been, and I think we ought to have more choices rather than fewer choices with the government controlling our everyday lives.”

State Politics: A federal judge put a hold on Arkansas carrying out eight executions this week.

The judge said the prisoners will probably succeed in proving the state’s proposed method of execution, lethal injection, is unconstitutional.

The state says it wants to execute the inmates before its supply of lethal injection drugs expires.

Leaders of America First Policies, a nonprofit that supports President Trump, told The Washington Post on Sunday that their group is launching a $3 million ad campaign to support a dozen Republican House members who backed the Republican healthcare plan.

Georgians in and around Atlanta, Georgia go to the polls tomorrow to fill the vacancy in Congress left when Dr. Tom Price became Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The Democratic challenger is mounting a strong run for the office which has been in Republican hands for decades.

The President this morning weighed in on the Georgia contest, tweeting, “The super Liberal Democrat in the Georgia Congressional race tomorrow wants to protect criminals, allow illegal immigration and raise taxes!”

The primary includes 18 candidates – Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Republicans hope to force a June runoff with the GOP’s top candidate by keeping Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff below 50% of the vote.

Global Politics: Turkey has a new way of governing after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a close victory in a referendum to change the nation from a parliamentary to presidential system.

Turkey’s main opposition party today urged the country’s electoral board to cancel the results of a landmark referendum that granted sweeping new powers to the nation’s President, citing what it called substantial voting irregularities.

International observers who monitored the voting also found irregularities, saying the conduct of Sunday’s referendum “fell short” of international standards. It specifically criticized a decision Sunday by Turkey’s electoral board to accept ballots that did not have official stamps, saying that undermined safeguards against fraud.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel today urged Turkey’s President Erdogan to seek “respectful dialogue” within the country after his narrow win in a referendum extending his powers.

The (German) government expects that the Turkish government will now seek respectful dialogue with all political and social forces in the country, after this tough election campaign,” Merkel said in a statement issued jointly with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye was indicted this morning on abuse of power and bribery charges.

Javier Duarte, the fugitive former Governor of Mexico’s Veracruz State, has been arrested in Guatemala after a six-month international manhunt, Mexican authorities said Sunday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang voiced China’s opposition to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system at a regular briefing in Beijing, and also urged all parties to work together to maintain peace and stability in the region.

South Korean Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and Vice President Pence today reaffirmed their plans to go ahead with the deployment of the system.

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said that leaders should listen to protesters who have taken to the streets demanding that President Jacob Zuma resign or be removed after a Cabinet reshuffle triggered damaging credit downgrades.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged North Korea today to refrain from taking further provocative actions, comply with United Nations resolutions and abandon its nuclear missile development.

2. Social Media Killer – A killer is on the run after sharing his grisly murder and a “live” explanation of why and how he committed the grisly killing on Facebook.

The suspect is accused of killing a 74-year-old man outside of Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday. Reportedly he told his mother he was shooting people randomly because he and his girlfriend were arguing.

A multi-state manhunt is now on the way.


3. Shadow Navy – Both Russia and China have dispatched ships to shadow the US “armada” trawling the coast of the Korean Peninsula.

China sought Russian help in averting a crisis over North Korea last week, as concerns grow in China that President Trump is seeking to confront North Korea over its weapon’s program.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, citing “multiple sources of the Japanese government”, said China and Russia had “dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson.”

Read more:

4. Home Spy? – So you like that new talking device that can play music, games, order pizza and more.

But the question is are these devices from Google and Amazon spying on you in your own home?

Find out:

5. Pump Pain – If you have stopped to fill your gas tank lately, you may have noticed that cheap gas is going up, not down.

In 41 states the cost at the pump has risen to an average of $2.41 per gallon.

Read more:

6. Trump Economy – Global stocks dipped today.

US stock futures edged lower after softer-than-expected results.

Data released Friday showed that retail sales fell by more than expected in March, and core inflation slowed to 2% from 2.2% in February.

China reported Monday that its economy, the world’s second largest behind the US, had grown by 6.9% in the first quarter, marking a slight improvement after five straight quarters of 6.7% or 6.8% growth.

It was the second consecutive quarter of accelerating growth for China. The first time that has happened in seven years.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Builder Sentiment Index released today slipped to 68 this month. That’s down three points from 71 in March, when it jumped to the highest level since June 2005.


7. Made in America – President Trump has the goal of America First and to Hire American, Buy American.

Sounds good, but there is one problem – price.

Find out why:

8. Brain Freeze – No gray matter or brain cells damaged here.

While the cause “hasn’t been completely nailed down…brain freeze is a misnomer,” Neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin, Ph.D., told the Daily News. “Rather than actually freezing your brain it appears to be the change in temperature in the arteries that pass near the soft palate and enter the brain that may be the culprit.”

Get details:

9. Taking the Bench – Justice Neil Gorsuch took his seat on the bench of the Supreme Court today.

The new Justice did not remain silent for long. When came his time to speak, he did not hesitate to ask questions.

Gorsuch took less than 15 minutes before asking questions during an employment discrimination case.

The junior Justice asked the lawyer four questions in a row about the wording of a statute, saying he was “sorry for taking up so much time.”

Later he took issue with a Justice Department lawyer over the meaning of the Civil Service Reform Act, sticking to his reputation for focusing on the text of the law.

Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we just followed the plain text of the statute,” Gorsuch asked.

Read more:

10. Rain & Snow – Get ready for some wet weather this week.

Rain will fall in the Heartland with violent storms at times. While in the West, there will be snow in the mountains and downpours up and down the coastal region.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: United Airlines will stop letting employees bump ticketed passengers off of overbooked flights, a spokeswoman for the carrier said Sunday.

We issued an updated policy to make sure crews traveling on our aircraft are booked at least 60 minutes prior to departure,” the spokeswoman, Maggie Schmerin, wrote in an email. “This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies.”

Pakistan says it has detained a teenage woman recruited by the Islamic State group to carry out a suicide attack against a church on Easter.

Twelve people were injured when a corrosive substance was thrown inside a packed London, England nightclub today, police and fire services said, amid a sharp rise in acid attacks in the British capital.

That’s what caught my attention this Monday, April 17th, 2017.

Tune in tomorrow for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

Catch all the shenanigans of last week’s Political Alterverse with Politics Roundup!

Politics Roundup: April 10 – 16, 2017

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!

The Sunday Paper: April 16, 2017


Welcome to another edition of the weekly feature of Kernels From the Cornfield The Sunday Paper!

Catching you up on what has happened and what to look forward to in the week ahead, spiced with a bit of my own take on current events and the headlines.


* Political Alterverse – Cooler heads seem to be prevailing on this Easter Sunday.

North Korean Young Leader Kim Jung Un did attempt to test fire a ballistic missile early today, but it exploded within five seconds of launch.

So far President Donald Trump has not ordered any type of retaliatory action for Un defying his warning and that of Un’s only real ally, China.

National Security Adviser General H.R. McMasters flew to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan officials today.

McMaster met President Ashraf Ghani and other senior Afghan officials to discuss security, counter-terrorism, reforms, and development, according to a statement on the palace’s Twitter account.

The stakes are high,” said McMaster. “This is really the modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilization.”

McMaster said, “It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully.”

President Trump asserted today that China was working with the United States on “the North Korea problem.”

Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump tweeted.

Vice President Mike Pence, in South Korea today, told American and South Korea service members that North Korea’s latest “provocation,” a failed missile launch shortly before his arrival in Seoul, laid bare the risks they face.

Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear, inspires the nation and inspires the world,” Pence told the troops.

Lamenting the election of President Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders had this to say today about the Democratic Party and the voter turnout in 2016:

So many of our people are giving up on the political process. It is very frightening. In the last presidential election, when Trump won, we had the lowest voter turnout over – in 20 years. And in the previous two years before that, in the midterm election, we had the lowest voter turnout in 70 years,” Sanders continued. “We’re going to be fighting to see that the Democratic Party becomes a 50-state party. You can’t just be a West Coast party and an East Coast party.”

Keep your eyes on Presidential Adviser Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs CEO and registered Democrat.

Tomorrow the traditional Easter Egg Roll will take place on the lawn of the White House.

President Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $42.6 million toward the 2020 race in the first quarter of 2017, Federal Election Commission reports reveal.

State Politics: Republicans kept a Kansas seat in the House of Representatives this week and former Democratic presidential contender and independent Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders is not so happy.

Sanders said today that Democrats should’ve done more to support the party’s candidate, James Thompson, during the special House election in Kansas last week.

It is true that the Democratic Party should have put more resources into that election,” Sanders told host Jake Tapper on CNN‘s State of the Union. “But it is also true that he ran 20 points better than the Democratic candidate for president did in Kansas.”

This Tuesday, Democrats are trying to pick up a seat held by Republicans for decades in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Global Politics: Turks go to the polls today to approve or disapprove of granting the presidency more power, moving Turkey from a dominant parliamentary system to a strong presidential system of governance.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing the measure which would ensure he remains in office for at least another decade.

Under the new proposal, the President would be able to dissolve the legislature, rule by executive order, and gain new authority over administrative and judicial appointments.

Erdogan celebrated what he said was a clear result in the referendum to grant him sweeping new powers, but opponents said they would challenge the vote count which gave a narrow 51.3% lead to Erdogan’s supporters.

China is seeking Russia’s help to cool surging tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, the country’s Foreign Minister has told his Moscow counterpart, after Beijing warned of possible conflict over North Korea.

The European Union is set to inflict a double humiliation on British Prime Minister Theresa May, stripping Britain of its European agencies within weeks, while formally rejecting the Prime Minister’s calls for early trade talks.

Odebrecht SA, the Brazilian engineering company at the center of a historic corruption scandal in that country, paid out a total of about $3.3 billion in bribes in the nine years through 2014, according to testimony cited by local media on Saturday.

A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake – thousands of monkeys, that is.


* Test Bust – North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile early today, which exploded shortly after launch.

There is speculation that the US may have sabotaged the test.

The test took place in Sinpo, a coastal city from which it did another test back in April into the Sea of Japan.

This morning’s provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world,” Vice President Mike Pence said while speaking to U.S. troops stationed in South Korea today.


* Protesters Clash – Thousands took to the streets on Saturday across the US of A to demand President Trump release his tax returns.

In California, pro and con Trump protesters took to physical confrontation in Berkley, resulting in 20 arrests.

Around a dozen people were injured, and police in riot gear reportedly used some sort of explosive device in the crowd.

President Trump complained on Twitter today that his taxes are still an issue post-election.

Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday,” the Prez added.

Trump is not legally required to disclose the documents, but critics say they could reveal conflicts of interest.



* Deadly Car Bomb – As villagers tried to escape the carnage and a haven in Aleppo, Syria, a car bomb killed at least 112 people.

The bomb hit a convoy of buses heading into the city to escape fighting in or near the residents’ towns. Children are reportedly among the dead.

The van thought to have been used in the attack was marked as a humanitarian relief vehicle.

The death toll is expected to continue to rise.



* First Case – Newly sworn-in Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch will be on the bench Monday to hear his first case before the high court, which involves separation of church and state.

At issue is a Missouri program that offers funding to resurface playgrounds with recycled tires. The Missouri state constitution explicitly prohibits giving any public money to religious organizations.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which wants to resurface its playground, says the prohibition is discriminatory.

Read more:

* Arctic Danger – An oil well was damaged in the Arctic over the weekend.

British BP repair crews are working feverishly to minimize the damage of the well on Alaska’s North Slope, which began spewing natural gas on Friday.

There have been no injuries nor reports of damage to wildlife, but crews trying to secure the well have so far failed amid frigid winds gusting to 38 miles an hour.

More details:


* Kim Jung Un – So what do we really know about the irrational dictator of North Korea?

1. There’s some debate about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s age.
2. Of his father’s seven children, four daughters and three sons, he is the third-youngest son.
3. His oldest half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, assassinated in Malaysia earlier this year, was originally planned to be their father’s successor.
4. Kim Jong Un attended Liebefeld-Steinhölzli Schule, a Swiss state school, as a teenager for two years.
5. While at school in Switzerland, he received failing grades in natural sciences and received good grades in music and technical studies.
6. He reportedly has a love for cheese and heavy smoking, which have likely led to his health and weight problems.
7. He has a passion for American basketball and when was younger, was a fan of Michael Jordan.
8. He has two degrees, one in physics from Kim il Sung University and another as an Army officer obtained from the Kim Il Sung Military University.
9. He married Ri Sol Ju in 2009 and in 2012 the couple had a daughter named Ju Ae.
10. He has reportedly executed more than 300 people, including at least 140 senior officials, since he came to power in 2011.

More details:


* Sri Lankan Tragedy – A garbage heap came tumbling down in Sri Lanka, killing at least 21 with a that total growing.

Hundreds of soldiers were digging through the rubbish and the wreckage of some 145 homes that were destroyed when a side of the 300-foot (90-metre) high dump crashed on Friday.


* Last of a Century – The oldest woman in the world and the last confirmed survivor of the 19th century, Emma Morano, died Saturday at her home in Italy.

She was 117. Born in 1899 in Civiasco, Italy.



* More Storms Ahead – A rainy Easter will be followed with even more storms this week.

Get forecast:


Thanks for viewing!

Catch up on all last week’s shenanigans with Political Roundup!

Kernels – Friday, April 14, 2017

Daily recap of headlines & current events with a bit of opinion

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 Friday, April 14th, 2017.

It Started at Mount Calvary

1. Political Alterverse – Brink of war?

All eyes are on North Korea as it commemorates its most sacred holiday, the birthday of the nation’s late founder and grandfather of the Young Leader, Kim Jung Un.

Did President Donald Trump send the right message to Un to keep the North Korean dictator from doing anything rash?

Or did the President prime the pump for an eruption of war?

The Prez is monitoring the global situation this Easter weekend from Mar-A-Lago along with some of the top people in his National Security Council.

The US is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior US intelligence officials told NBC News.

The White House is not commenting on the NBC report.

Talking about adding fodder to the fire, British spy agency GCHQ gave the US the first alert about possible ties between then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives, The Guardian reported Thursday.

GCHQ and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between Trump associates and known or suspected Russian agents as early as late 2015 and passed on the information to US officials.

The White House won’t make public the logs of visitors to the White House complex, breaking with the practice of President Trump’s predecessor.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $31 million in the first three months of the year, setting a record for the group’s typically sluggish early cash chase.

Observers say New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is already acting like a presidential candidate for 2020, increasingly positioning himself with party leaders, aiming his message at middle-class angst and touting measures such as free tuition as an example of the kind of big ideas he can accomplish.

He’s running. It’s pretty clear,” said University of Maryland political scientist Robert Koulish, who said the second-term governor appears to be positioning himself as a hybrid: a centrist in the mold of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton who supports social policies championed by liberals like Sanders. “Maybe he’ll present himself as a progressive who gets things done.”

State Politics: Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake Thursday faced off with angry constituents at a town hall, fielding questions about repealing ObamaCare and the Supreme Court.

Senator, my question is: when are you going to choose your country over your party?” one attendee at the Mesa, Arizona event asked.

Global Politics: China warned today that rising tensions over North Korea must be calmed before they reach an “irreversible and unmanageable stage.”

Lately, tensions have risen…and one has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “If a war occurs, the result is a situation in which everybody loses and there can be no winner.”

South Korea said that a nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea would be a “strategic provocation” that would provoke a “powerful punitive measure.”

North Korea accused the US of “seriously threatening peace” by sending “huge nuclear strategic assets” to the region.

Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to South Korea Easter Sunday.

We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun,” Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad told Agence France-Presse in his first television interview since the bombing by US fighters in retaliation for last week’s regime chemical attack. “Were they dead at all?”

France’s presidential election race looked tighter than it has all year today, just over a week before voting opens as a new opinion poll put the four leading candidates only 3% points apart.

2. Enemy of the State – Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo made it clear Thursday that Wikileaks is an enemy of the state aligned with Russia and other state actors who want to harm the US of A.

Time to call out Wikileaks for what it is: a non-state, hostile intelligence agency,” Pompeo said during a news conference.


3. Ready for War – North Korean Foreign Vice Minister Han Song Ryol made it clear that if President Trump wants war, the rogue nation is ready and able to fight back.

Trump is always making provocations with his aggressive words,” Han said. “It’s not the DPRK but the US and Trump that makes trouble.”

DPRK is the acronym for the official name of North Korea – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He added: “We will go to war if they choose.”

Now we are comparing Trump’s policy toward the DPRK with the former administration’s and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive,” Han said.

Whatever comes from US politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them,” he said.

We’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a US pre-emptive strike,” he said. “Whatever comes from the US, we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.”


4. Enrollment Shortened – The Department of Health and Human Services Thursday issued a final rule on ObamaCare aka the Affordable Care Act that shortens the enrollment period and gives insurers flexibility that could raise out-of-pocket medical expenses for consumers, according to health care experts.

Insurers welcomed the rule, but said it still didn’t do enough to stabilize the system, saying they want assurances from President Trump that the government will continue paying “cost-sharing subsidies” for low-income participants.


5. Mutilation Charges – A doctor in Michigan has been charged with mutilating two young girls.

The doctor was arrested Wednesday and accused of performing the genital cutting at a clinic in Livonia, Michigan.


6. MOAB Fallout – Reportedly 36 jihadists aligned with the Islamic State were killed when the US dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb in combat ever.

Also wiped out was the cave and tunnel complex along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border from which terrorists launched attacks.

President Trump called it a “very, very successful mission.”

General John W. Nicholson, Commander of US forces in Afghanistan, said it was “the right munition” to use against ISIS in the remote area.

The blast came, engulfing the sky in flames and sending tremors through the ground.

The earth felt like a boat in a storm,” Mohammad Shahzadah, an Afghani, said. “I thought my house was being bombed. Last year a drone strike targeted a house next to mine, but this time it felt like the heavens were falling. The children and women were very scared.”


7. Trump Economy – Asian stocks fell today as investors expressed concern about rising tensions over North Korea.

There’s been nothing to cheer about over the last 24 hours. Geopolitical tensions seem to be rising all over the place,” said Masahiro Ayukai, Senior Investment Strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Most markets are closed today in commemoration of Good Friday.


8. Is There Life Out There? – NASA says that a moon of Saturn may indeed support life.

The Cassini probe has flown through and gathered samples of water blasted into space from a subsurface on the ice-crusted moon, determining that Enceladus’ seafloor has hot fluid vents like those in Earth’s seas that are teeming with life.


9. Brainy Myths – So what do you know about your brain?

If you are like me, probably not as much as we wish.

Here are three myths that need debunked:

a. The hormone cortisol causes stress
b. The amygdala is responsible for creating fear, or for creating emotions more generally
c. Areas of your brain “light up” or suddenly become active in response to events in the world

Get the details and truth:

10. July 4th Highs – It may be rainy, but at least it will be hot this Easter.

Get forecast:

Tidbits: Florida restaurant inspectors recently cited President Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, for 13 violations in its kitchen, The Miami Herald reported.

At least 12 then-teachers at Choate Rosemary Hall sexually molested students in a string of cases starting in the 1960s, the elite Connecticut boarding school revealed Thursday.

The Wisconsin fugitive accused of stealing more than a dozen guns and mailing a conspiracy-laced manifesto to President Trump was captured early today following a 10-day manhunt, police said.

At least four students were injured after an experimental rocket exploded at the University of Idaho, school officials said early today.

A woman was fatally stabbed today by an apparent Palestinian attacker just steps from Jerusalem’s Old City in Israel, where thousands of Jews and Christians gathered for religious holidays at one of the busiest times of the year, Israeli police said.

Mexico has begun the process of extraditing the accused killer of border patrol agent Brian Terry, whose 2010 murder exposed the bungled US gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious, according to a report.

Southern Nevada will soon become the first place in the country to have vending machines that dispense free needles to drug addicts.

The US military is sending dozens of regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment to the Horn of Africa country in roughly two decades.

Africa Command today said this deployment is for logistics training of Somalia’s Army, which is battling the extremist group al-Shabab that emerged from the country’s years of warlord-led conflict.

About 40 US troops are taking part.

A Samsung Group office building in southern Seoul, South Korea was being evacuated following a report of explosives being planted inside, South Korea’s MoneyToday reported.

There’s a new spider in town: specifically, a large, cave-dwelling one found in the mountains of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Two Georgia police officers were handed their walking papers after a video showed them kicking and punching an unarmed, handcuffed motorist Thursday.

That’s what caught my attention this Friday, April 14th, 2017.

Tune in Monday for another edition of Kernels From The Cornfield.

Don’t miss a special Easter edition of The Sunday Paper!

I am Mark Ivy
Good day!