- Posted July 18, 2014 by
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Kernels - Friday, July 18, 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 Friday, July 18th, 2014.
1. Malaysia Flight 17 - There is no doubt about it. Flight 17 was shot down over southeastern Ukraine on Thursday. What is in dispute is who exactly shot the commercial airliner out of the sky.
The US of A, the United Nations, Great Britain, Germany and Australia are among those saying all the evidence points to a downing of the plane by pro-Russian separatists.
An audio recording released by the Ukrainian secret service is purported to be conversations by separatists with their Russian handlers. That recording has the alleged separatists taking credit for the shooting, but having done so thinking the flight was a Ukrainian military transport.
Russia, however, maintains that whoever shot down the plane it is the fault of the Ukrainian government for continuing to hold on to its territory in the eastern portion of the country.
One American with dual citizenship was among the dead passengers on the fatal flight. Another of the passengers had ties to the Cornfield. She was a Dutch doctoral student and former member of the Indiana University rowing team. Nearly 300 men, women and children were killed including 100 HIV/AIDS doctors and scientists heading toward a conference in Australia. The Netherlands lost the most with 100 of its citizens.
The UN has called for an international, independent committee to investigate the shooting. Accessing the final resting place of Flight 17 is complicated since the plane wreckage and the bodies fell in a separatist-controlled territory.
Questions are already being raised about how the crash site has been compromised. Conflicting reports about where the black boxes may be. Some say the Ukrainian government has them. Others say they have not been found. Some claim the boxes have been sent to Russia.
In the last downing of a commercial airliner which was done by Russia, the black boxes were hidden away for 10 years by Russia before being turned over to investigators.
The US is prodding the European Union countries for greater and more acute sanctions on Russia for the shooting.
2. Yeah, Right! - Today, as if adding insult to injury, the Internal Revenue Service informed a US District Court that the hard drive which contained the lost emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner had been destroyed three years ago.
This backs up what the IRS told a congressional committee earlier that it was presumed the hard drive had been destroyed.
The IRS claimed that the hard drive was destroyed after two technicians unsuccessfully attempted to retrieve data from the damaged drive.
Sounds like the dog ate my homework to me.
3. The New Caliphate - The UN has accused the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of unwarranted executions, rape and forced child recruitment. ISIS was kicked out by Al Qaeda for being too extreme.
The UN also cited the Iraqi government and military for not taking steps to protect its citizens. The government was also found to be guilty of "summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees." The UN report said the government may have committed war crimes.
The few and growing fewer Christians in northern Iraq under the control of ISIS have been given an ultimatum by the Caliphate - convert, pay a religion tax or death. Christians have until Saturday to comply or die.
4. FedEx Indicted - The transportation giant has been indicted by the US Justice Department with 15 counts of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, misbranded drugs and drug trafficking.
FedEx is proclaiming its innocence and vowing to fight the charges.
The indictment alleges that FedEx is complicit with online drug web sites in transporting the products ordered without a doctor's prescription.
Last year, United Parcel Service (UPS) agreed to hand over $40 million in payments for also delivering goods sold by illicit online pharmacies. FedEx could face fines of at least $820 million.
5. Deadline? What Deadline? - The deadline is Sunday for a permanent solution to the nuclear issue with Iran. Doesn't look that is going to happen.
Iran is seeking an extension and more time from six world powers: the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Many in Congress said months ago a permanent solution would not be found.
The six powers are attempting to curb Iran's appetite for nuclear power and the ability to develop a nuclear bomb.
Without an agreement, Iran may be subjected to harsher sanctions and an end to a let-up on sanctions already in place.
Iran continues to claim its nuclear ambitions are limited to peaceful use. The rest of the world remains skeptical.
Caving in, the six powers agreed within the last hour or so to give the talks a four-month extension until November 24.
6. At Risk - The risk of living somewhere in the US of A which may be hit by an earthquake has been increased, according to a new report from the US Geological Survey. This is the first update since 2008.
I recently reported how Oklahoma is now experiencing more tremors than California. You can see the map outlining the increased risk in a third of the nation at News.Yahoo.com.
7. Tanks Roll - The tanks have rolled into the Gaza Strip from Israel as Israeli soldiers seek out tunnels and destroy them. One Israeli soldier has been killed in what is being termed a short- term "incursion" rather than invasion.
The Palestinian civilian death toll continues to rise.
The tunnels are used by Hamas and other terrorist groups to sneak into Israel and plant bombs and attack. The closing and destroying of these tunnels are the focus of the Israeli military mission.
The Israelis are also hoping to locate and destroy as many rockets as possible, which continue to be launched by Hamas into Israel from Gaza.
Egypt is continuing its efforts to broker a truce between the warring factions.
8. Cornfield Pit Bull to the Rescue - A pit bull named Ace is being called a hero today after he saved his boy from an Indianapolis house fire.
A deaf 13-year-old, Nick Lamb, was at home sleeping when fire broke out in the house. Ace began licking Nick's face until he woke and got up.
At first Nick thought Ace was wanting food or to go out. He then noticed the house was filling with smoke.
Nick, who has been deaf since birth, had turned his cochlear implants off and had not heard the fire crackling or Ace barking.
Let's hear it for a one in a million stories about pit bulls. This is one time, the pit saved the day rather than being the culprit.
9. Equality March - Both sides of the issue of legal recognition for same-gender couples were thrown a bone today.
The US Supreme Court granted a stay to the State of Utah which allows it not to be forced to recognize hundreds of same-gender weddings performed at the end of last year when its ban on equality was ruled unconstitutional. The Supremes agreed the State could wait to see how the appeals play out and a final verdict is rendered on the issue of same-gender equality.
On the other side, the same Appeals Court, the 10th District, which upheld a lower court ruling that Utah's ban was unconstitutional also upheld a lower court's finding that Oklahoma's ban on equality was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court stay is not an indication how the Justices may rule when appeals reach the high court. Many believe the Supremes might take up the issue in its next term which begins in October.
10. 45 Years Ago - Has it really been that long ago since man first stepped on the moon?
I remember well that hot July Sunday night my eyes locked on the black and white television screen after church. With total awe, I watched mesmerized as Neil Armstrong's booted foot made contact with moon dust.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Skip ahead over 20 years later. I was sitting in a diner in Linton, Indiana sipping coffee, my notepad on the table in front of me. Across the table sat a man who was more than just a man, but a space traveler.
I was interviewing Neil Armstrong for a piece in the Linton Daily Citizen. Armstrong was in Linton as he did every year to participate in the Phil Harris Scholarship Golf Tournament.
And here was I talking with this true American hero!
I recall sitting down with Armstrong and asking him about that historic night. He was humble and did not dwell much on his part in making history. Rather Armstrong concentrated on praising the endeavors and work of all those involved in the project past and present. He talked about the devotion of those NASA techs and scientists who seldom were given the credit and praise for making the impossible possible. How those techs and scientists were the ones that turned science fiction into scientific fact.
On Sunday we celebrate the 45th anniversary of that momentous occasion.
Today there is no talk about returning to the moon. The space program as we knew it has been shut down.
True during the 2012 presidential primaries, Newt Gingrich did talk about setting up a colony on the moon. The only reaction was how looney Newt sounded.
The days when children dreamed of going to space camp in the summer are from a bygone era. The days of wanting to be an astronaut when a child grows up seem long forgotten.
Armstrong is gone now, but will always live in my mind.
That's what caught my attention for Friday, July 18th, 2014.
Tune in Monday for another episode of Kernels From the Cornfield.
I am Mark Ivy.