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    Posted July 17, 2014 by
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    Kernels - Thursday, July 17, 2014

     

    Welcome to the latest edition of Kernels From the Cornfield - No Husks, No Hulls, No Shucks!

    News with a dash of commentary to spice up your fare for Thursday, July 17th, 2014.

    1. Shot Out of the Sky? - The top news worldwide today is coming out of  the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia. A Malaysian Airlines  commercial airliner crashed near the border in eastern Ukraine.

    It is not yet known if there was mechanical failure or if the Boeing  777, carrying 295 total, was shot out of the sky or by whom if that was  the case.

    Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent, is now saying there is evidence that the plane was shot out of the sky.

    Shortly before the news broke that Malaysia had lost contact with the  flight, Russian separatists in Ukraine announced they had shot down a  Ukrainian military transport plane. Several military planes have  allegedly been shot down by separatists in recent days.

    The  idea that a commercial airliner flying 32,000 feet was shot down brings a  new urgency to the ongoing conflict. If so, it would indicate Russia  may now be arming the separatists with more sophisticated weaponry.

    It also gives more credence as to why new sanctions were placed by the US of A on Russia Wednesday.

    Will this be the catalyst which draws America into a more robust support for the Ukrainian government?

    Will NATO become more involved in protecting Ukraine?

    Lots of questions and, at this point, very little answers.

    Conspiracy theorists may have a heyday if it turns out that it wasn't a  missile which brought the Malaysian flight down. What with Malaysian  Flight 370 disappearing, presumed to have crashed into the southern  Indian Ocean, one could wonder if someone is targeting Malaysia  Airlines.

    But I think it will take more than prowess at the game of Clue to solve either mystery.

    You can't jump to a conclusion that it was Colonel Mustard out for world domination.

    Nor can you assume that Professor Plum has turned mad scientist.

    Then again could the benign Mrs. White have multiple personalities including one which is quite malignant? I think not.

    Nor can one think the unassuming Mr. Green has taken on the persona of another Unabomber.

    Yes, conspiracy enthusiasts may be in hog heaven right now.

    2. Deadly Shootout - A bank robbery gone sorely awry resulted in an  hour-long police chase and a storm of bullets last night in California.

    Three women were taken hostage. One, sadly, lost her life. Two of the three suspects also died during the confrontation.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

    3. Two Other Great Ones Gone - Today we are mourning the passing of the  great Johnny Winters, who was found dead in his hotel room in  Switzerland. He is now gone to the biggest gig of all playing in the  heavenly band and singing the blues.

    We are also in mourning  for the fabulous actress, Elaine Stritch. She was primarily known for  her work on Broadway, but was also in a number of feature films and  recurring television roles. Today she is singing and performing for the  angelic host.

    May both Winters and Stritch rest in peace.

    4. Short-Lived - A mere two hours into a humanitarian cease-fire called  for by the United Nations in the conflict between Israel and the  terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the lull in hostilities was  broken as two rockets were fired from Gaza.

    So much for humanitarian ideals.

    In the meantime, Egypt is stepping up its efforts to find a way out and  save face for both Hamas and Israel. It was Egypt which worked out the  last cease-fire a few years ago.

    THIS JUST IN - Israel launches ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. Expect things to get much worse before it gets better.

    We knew it was coming.

    Now it is here.

    5. 18,000 - That's the number of people who will be laid off work by software giant Microsoft over the next year.

    Talk about economic recovery - NOT!

    That amounts to around 14% of the job force for the company which  employs 125,000. But most of the layoffs will be in the Nokia division  which Microsoft purchased recently. Those employees work in Finland.

    Seems the company wants to focus more on the cell phone market and video games.

    6. Back in the Hot Seat - GM CEO Mary Barra was back for a fourth visit  in front of a congressional committee today. It wasn't pretty. Joining  her on the hot seat was the company's chief lawyer, Michael Milkin.

    Missouri Senator Claire McCaskell questioned how he managed to keep his job.

    Barra appears to be doing her best at being candid and responsive, but Congress isn't happy.

    The buying public keeps putting down their money and driving away in a new Chevrolet.

    And in case you missed it, BMW yesterday recalled 1.6 million cars worldwide.

    7. Equality March - The State of Utah is now appealing an order from  the 10th US District Court of Appeals that it must recognize same-gender  couples who were licensed and solemnized during the brief period  following a federal judge declaring its ban on equality  unconstitutional. The state has already appealed the Appeals Court  ruling upholding the unconstitutionality of its ban.

    At issue  is legal recognition which would allow those couples who wed to apply  and receive insurance and tax benefits among other things which  straight, married couples receive.

    Heading south to the  Sunshine State, a Florida county judge has order the Florida Keys to  immediately begin providing licenses to same-gender couples. The state  has a state constitutional ban in place limiting recognition to one man,  one woman only.

    8. More Firepower - Chicago will get added  firepower from the ATF in its fight to curb gun violence in the Windy  City. The city and the State of Illinois have some of the toughest gun  control laws on the books.

    The announcement by the Justice  Department today brings the number of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol,  Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to 52. This seems to be in response to  the July Fourth weekend shooting spree which left dozens killed and  injured.

    9. Elementary, My Dear Watson - Sherlock Holmes may be  appearing before the US Supreme Court. The Court is in recess, but the  issue is time sensitive.

    A California writer is wanting to  develop a new series of stories about the characters created by Sir  Arthur Conan Doyle more than a century ago. The 7th District Appeals  Court gave the go ahead, but the estate of the late British author is  appealing the ruling claiming copyright infringement.

    This  could lead to a new take on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson or could keep  the legendary duo firmly ensconced in literary sainthood.

    10.  Focus on Now - Seems that most of the media are fixated on an election  in the far off future and failing to see the election staring them in  the face.

    As some of you may have noticed, I am not talking about who will or will not run for president in 2016.

    We  still have the MidTerm Elections in four months first before even  thinking about the long, drawn out affair known as presidential  primaries.

    Of course I have opined little on the current election myself.

    The candidates are not being all that vocal in getting their message out. Most seem to be walking and not running for office.

    Yes, there has been at least one race which got some attention down in Mississippi where the loser still refuses to concede.

    Over all, however, there is little dust-up in the political atmosphere.

    Remember in "Field of Dreams" the classic admonition, "If you build it, they will come"?

    I am wondering this year if we hold an election - no one will come.

    Would it not be sad if we hold an election and no one arrives to cast their ballots?

    Apathy of voters in this off-presidential election year seems to me to be at an all-time high.

    That's what caught my attention for Thursday, July 17th, 2014.

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

    I am Mark Ivy.

    Good evening!

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