- Posted May 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Kernels - Thursday, May 22, 2014
Good evening. I am Mark Ivy. Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks! News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Thursday, May 22nd, 2014.
1. Before You Grill - This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer. Millions will be gathering with friends and families to remember those men and women who gave their lives in defense of our nation.
Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs has become a traditional part of this holiday. Before making up those hamburger patties and putting them on the grill, people need to check and make sure they don't have tainted meat. The USDA is recalling ground beef sold in stores in at least four states and even served in restaurants where at least 11 people were afflicted with the e coli virus.
Check your meat before you grill.
2. Tornado Season Arrives Early - From Denver, Colorado to Washington DC with points north and south, tornados have been wreaking havoc. Along with the twisters, baseball-size hail has been falling from the sky. While tornados are common in spring and summer, this year the amount of activity came earlier and more intensely than normal. Looks like we are in for a very stormy time the rest of spring and a hot, humid and blustery summer.
3. Scandal at the VA - The VA is now acknowledging at least 23 people have died directly as a result of waiting for care across the country at VA medical facilities.
This is an outrage.
The President is finding members of his own party calling for "less talk and a lot more action" on the floor of Congress.
Florida Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee told CNN that instead of making our veterans wait for care, the VA can and should refer those in need to civilian hospitals and doctors for care in compliance with the law rather than putting them on waiting lists which may result in veterans dying without needed treatment. Miller said he thinks some within the VA system think it comes out of the VA budget to send the veterans to local civilian care and do not realize it is paid for directly by the taxpayers from a separate fund.
Miller also noted that the VA is dragging its feet on subpoenas for information from his committee and requests to meet with his committee and answer questions.
This is intolerable.
Read my take on President Barack Obama's remarks to the White House Press Corps earlier this week about the VA scandal at FromTheCornfield.com in an article called, Action, Mr. President - NOT Another Study.
4. Better Inside than Outside - House of Representatives Democrats have decided it is better to be inside the committee room having a seat at the table than to be stuck on the outside with no input or brake on the direction the committee takes when the controversial Select Committee begins its investigation into what happened before, during and since the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi was attacked and four Americans, including the US ambassador, were killed on September 11, 2012.
The White House and Democrats want Benghazi to go away and say there is nothing left to investigate. Republicans, as well as many independents across the country, see an Administration and Department of State which continue to appear to be trying to cover up what happened that night and failing to fully comply with requests from Congress for full disclosure.
Questions remain about why reports of increased terrorist activity before that fateful night were ignored or not acted upon.
Questions remain on why requests for additional security were denied by the State Department. Questions remain on why a terrorist attack was mislabeled as a reaction to an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video.
Questions remain on why those responsible for planning and executing the attack have yet to be brought to justice as promised or where the investigation is at today in finding those terrorists.
5. What Red Line - Russia along with its new energy trading partner, China, today blocked a United Nations resolution which would have allowed for the World Court to bring charges against Syrian strongman Bashir al Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people in the ongoing civil war in Syria.
The ridiculed "red line" of President Barack Obama was crossed and Syria continues to pay only lip service to an agreement to rid the country of the ability to use chemical weapons. The nation has become a training ground for Al Qaeda.
So much for that red line and facing any consequences.
6. Taking from Peter to Pay Paul - Check out my article on an Intended Consequence of the Affordable Care Act hitting seniors and those on disability as of June 1. You can read all about it at FromtheCornfield.com.
7. #BringBackOurGirls - The United Nations today placed sanctions, as requested by Nigeria, on Boko Haram, the terrorist organization which has maimed, killed and most recently kidnapped hundreds of young girls who dared to attend school and learn. The US has sent in military personnel to neighboring Chad to assist with tracking and locating the girls and other intelligence gathering capabilities.
In the meantime, to those of us outside of Nigeria, it appears that the Nigerian government is doing little to nothing to find and return the girls to their grieving and outraged families.
8. Better than Nothing - The US House passed a watered down bill today which would place limits on the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting and storing bulk data and information on American citizens. The bill still has to go to the US Senate for a vote, where it could be revised, strengthened or weakened. I guess the old saying fits that something is better than nothing.
9. How Safe Are We? - Apparently not as safe as we would like to think we are.
American nuclear weapons were able to be controlled by an "outside force" during testing of facility guards recently resulting in a total fail.
In congressional hearings today, we learned that federal buildings are being protected by untrained guards and without adequate bomb-sniffing canines.
And now we are learning a utility control center has been hacked.
And yet there are those calling for cuts in security, in training, in equipment and personnel not just in the military, but in those charged with protecting our national resources and facilities.
Again I ask you, how safe are we?
JUST IN TO THE CORNFIELD - VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has released a letter he as sent to veterans and their families. In the letter Shinseki states that "if proven true" immediate action to correct the allegations being made about delayed and inadequate care will be taken.
Mr. Secretary, how much more proof do you need when your own agency admits to 23 deaths linked directly to delayed care?
That's what caught my attention for Thursday, May 22nd, 2014.
Tune in tomorrow for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.
I am Mark Ivy. Good evening.
NOTE: I have tried since 7:30 p.m. (ET) to upload this video.