Salute to Those Who Gave Their All


Memorial Day…

For the vast majority of Americans it is just another 3-day weekend and the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. For many others it’s the weekend when millions around the world tune in to watch or listen to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indy 500.

To too many it’s just a day to get together with family, have picnics and barbecues, go the opening of community pools across the nation. It’s a time to just lay back and enjoy having 3 days off in a row with no worries.

Yet, Memorial Day symbolizes much more. Ask any veterans’ organization or any military person in uniform or any family member who has lost a loved one in war, whether declared or undeclared, in peacetime or wartime.

Memorial Day was meant to be a day a grateful nation pauses to remember those who donned a uniform and gave their lives in defense of our American way of life. These brave men and women paid the ultimate price to make sure we could have our picnics, our barbecues, our splashing around in the pool.

The tradition of Memorial Day originally began in commemoration of those soldiers lost during the Civil War. It was known in various communities and states as Decoration Day. The date set aside was May 30. This was later changed to allow for a 3-day weekend by Congress to be the last Monday in May.

There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920).

While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868.

It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.

By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is combined with Jefferson Davis’ Birthday in Mississippi.

Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.

From the Cornfield, I invite one and all to stop this coming Monday at 3 p.m. for a moment to reflect and be thankful to all our fallen heroes. Without their blood we would not be able to enjoy and express the freedoms we hold so dear.

Hoosiers Are Savvy Voters


Apparently Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina do not know Hoosiers. We can see through the ruse and understand the optics. We will not be fooled.

For Cruz, who is mathematically eliminated from winning the Republican presidential nomination going into the summer convention to be so audacious to choose a running mate is be overly presumptuous.

Cruz is also insulting Hoosier intelligence.

We can do the math. We can read the papers. We know that Hoosiers will either keep your campaign alive or seal your fate.

Choosing a vice presidential running mate does not make you more acceptable or more likely to become the nominee.

For this Hoosier, Cruz reminds me of the huckster at a medicine show hawking snake oil. Or Cruz brings back memories of televangelists living lives of sin while scamming Grannies out of their pennies to support their lifestyle anathema to their preaching.

Hoosiers will not be pawns. Hoosiers will make up their minds without gimmicks and pandering.

Hoosiers may not agree with Donald Trump or John Kasich on all issues, but that does not mean Hoosiers find your shutting down the government and being so rigid as to disrupt governance all that palatable either.

The stunt on Wednesday naming a running mate only makes this Hoosier determined to not vote for Cruz.

While I do like Fiorina, I find this a kink in her armor by accepting the Cruz “Hail Mary” and trying to run with the play. I expected better of Fiorina.

From the Cornfield, give us a break. Don’t misread Hoosiers and do not malign our intelligence or ability to cast an informed decision on your candidacy.

Hoosiers are independent stock.

We will vote not on stunts, but on realities that hit home.

Hoosiers, Time to Roar


Indiana may be one of the smaller states in the Union in geographic size and population, but Hoosiers have much of which to be proud.

We have our share of Vice Presidents: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas Hendricks, Charles Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle.

Ties to Presidents: General William Henry Harrison, whose Grouseland is located in Vincennes and his grandson Benjamin Harrison, born here as well as being Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home. 

Celebrities: James Dean, Anne Baxter, Carole Lombard, Karl Malden, Steve McQueen, Sydney Pollack, Clifton Webb, The Jacksons, Florence Henderson, Phil Harris, Red Skelton, Axl Rose, CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Joyce DeWitt, David Letterman, to name a few.

Sports Figures: Larry Bird, Don Mattingly, John Wooden, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, to name a few.

Authors and More: James Whitcomb Riley, General Lew Wallace, Jim Davis, Theodore Dreiser, Phil Dresser, Ernie Pyle, T.C. Steele, Kurt Vonnegut, to name a few.

  Universities: IU, Notre Dame, Purdue, ISU, Ball State, to name a few.

Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice John Roberts was born and raised here.

Astronauts & Aviators: Amelia Earhart, Gus Grissom, Joseph P. Allen, Frank Borman, to name a few. And of course some we are not so proud of such as John Dillinger, Jimmy Hoffa, Sam Bass and Johnny Ringo.

But this year, the voters in the Cornfield and coal mines of Indiana will have a chance to do something which has never happened in my lifetime – determine who will be a presidential nominee and impact the other party’s selection.

Traditionally, the state’s late-to-the-game May 3 vote is merely lip service to the process. The decision has long been made as to who the presumptive nominees will be for the two major parties.

Not this year.

If all goes as expected tonight in the Atlantic Seaboard Primary of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware, Hoosier voters may well determine whether Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

At the same time, Cornfield ballot-casters could seal the fate of Bernie Sanders and push Hillary Clinton to the presumption for the Democrats.

Never has there been such an important primary season for Hoosiers. We have the power. It is time for Hoosiers to roar.

A week out and Donald Trump leads on the GOP side. Clinton is ahead, but Sanders is closing.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Governor of neighbor Ohio, struck a deal to target resources which would be of the most benefit. At the same time, both are calling on supporters to continue to vote for them.

Hoosiers hold in their hands the ability to either confirm or stop Trump’s Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Which way will Hoosier vote?

Indiana is more conservative state – both with Republicans and Democrats. I have often claimed that our Democrats would be Republicans in other states and vice versa.

Hoosiers are rather independent in that we go our own way.

Look at one of our longest serving and most powerful Senators, Dick Lugar. Lugar was the consummate moderate, which is where despite some socially conservative veins, most Hoosiers will identify as being.

It is, therefore, surprising that our next door neighbor’s Governor is not doing so well in the polls. Kasich not committing resources to the state does not serve him well. He could upset the general consensus if only tried.

From the Cornfield, next Tuesday I will be walking across the street to the Ruritan Building and casting my vote.

When I sign in I will declare as either a Republican or Democrat and receive the appropriate ballot. How I will vote I am keeping quiet at this time.

Now is the time for Hoosiers to let the nation hear our voice. This is the primary of our lifetimes.

Come on Hoosiers, let our roar match that of our most famous sporting event – the Indy 500!

More on influential Hoosiers:


Ignoring Voters?


We are hearing from both Republican and Democratic candidates that the voice of the people, the voters, is not being heard or ignored.

But is this reality?

This is not the time when what we, the people, want matters.

Now is the time when political parties, the faithful, the insiders and operatives decide who is the person best suited to win an elected office come November. This is not the time when voters actually matter.

Right now the various parties – not just Republicans and Democrats – including Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Reformers, Greens decide who best represents that party’s goals and agenda.

As it has been pointed out, the purpose of the party conventions and selection of candidates is to win. That is the primary goal. If you can’t win an election in November, it is pointless to run.

There are those who are running that claim the system is rigged in favor of the party establishment. To this I say, “Duh!” Of course it is.

This process that is currently playing out is two-fold, to find the person for the office who first and foremost can win that office and secondly best represents that party’s platform and values.

Why is this such a hard concept to grasp?

If you cannot win come November, how can you forward your party’s agenda?

We are not a true democracy. We are a representative democracy where we choose delegates, representatives to make the hard decisions for us even when sometimes those decisions fly in the face of what we want.

What we want and what is best for the greater good is not always the same.

From the Cornfield, is the voice of the people being ignored?


Come November, that is when we, the people speak. Come November that is when we elect our delegates to the Electoral College who will choose the best person to lead the nation for the next four years.

For now it is a party function, not a general election voter decision. It is the respective party’s right to select the person that party wants to place before the voters, before we, the people.

Person Versus Persona


Will the real Donald Trump, please, stand up?

A very popular show back in the days of my youth was “What’s My Line?” The idea of the game show was for the celebrity panelists to figure out through a series of questions who the real person was and to eliminate the two imposters posing as that person. Quite often the panel was stumped to the delight of the audience.

During the 2016 presidential election cycle we are seeing this show once more played out. The American voters are the panelists. The contestant is one person who has blown away all semblance of politics as normal. I am speaking, of course, about Donald Trump, the current front runner in the Republican nominating process.

Recently former rival, Dr. Ben Carson, following his endorsement of Trump for the nomination, said that there were two Donald Trumps.

The one Trump is the public persona being broadcast day and night on the news networks and on the campaign trail along with the deluge of tweets on Twitter.

The other Trump is the capable businessman who will effectively govern the nation if elected president.

For a day or two there was some discussion about Carson’s statement, then it went into the dustpan of memory. This statement, however, speaks volumes and is highly important in this election.

Which Trump will show up to work in the Oval Office if he gathers the votes of the people and the Electoral College?

Will it be the brash, in-your-face, reality TV star or the more considerate, thoughtful businessman?

With the rise in popularity of reality television and the ever-expanding use of social media, The Donald became an American star.

The Donald, a character developed to play the role of a man Americans love to hate and hate to love, came to bloom with appearances with the World Wrestling Federation and later WWE.

The Donald relished poking fun of himself on Saturday Night Live. The Donald became a household name as The Boss on The Apprentice.

Prior to this and during all this time, Mr. Trump was building a successful business empire. Mr. Trump was licensing his name and his brand on golf courses, on buildings, in the hospitality industry. Mr. Trump was playing the game as laid out in laws governing expansion of his business.

Now, The Donald is brandishing his unique character to say the most outlandish and dig to the quick in such a way that people are cheering in the streets.

The Donald is clearly striking the right tone in this reality TV and social media world.

But come November, will the people be able to determine whether The Donald or Mr. Trump will take the seat of power when he takes residence in the White House?

Recently a similar legal case played out in front of our eyes. It was a case built on the idea that there is a difference between the public persona and the private person.

That case was decided by a jury who found there was a line between persona and person.

It was not Hulk Hogan, the persona, who won a judgment against the news website, Gawker, but rather the person, Terry Bollea, whose privacy had been invaded by the posting of a scurrilous sex tape.

Between now and November, American voters need to decide who is the real Donald J. Trump.

The American voters need to determine if there is a line between Trump’s persona and his person.

From the Cornfield, will the real Donald Trump, please, stand up?

If elected, who will report for duty?

The Donald or Mr. Trump?

The Evolution of Donald Trump


Since last summer when Donald Trump announced he was running to be President of the United States, I have watched his campaign development with interest.

Here are the articles I have written about the rise of Trump as the Republican front runner and likely candidate to-date.

That Thorny Immigration Issue

Trump Effect Or How to Throw an Election

Stunt to Serious Contention

An American Revolution

Trump Effect Redux

Reality TV Election Season 1

From the Cornfield, whether Trump becomes victorious is yet to be known. What is known is that he has tapped into the electorate in a way others seem to have missed.

The question now is if elected how will Trump govern?

Reality TV Election Season 1


The ratings could not be better for Season 1 of Reality TV Election. This new show came out of nowhere to catapult to the most watched television show of the season. Records continue to be broken across all demographic lines.

Yes, I am talking about Presidential Election 2016.

Tune in to any news channel or surf any political or news website. The show is the same. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the stars, with The Donald getting top billing.

The big talk is who is to blame for the rising star power that is on display.

President Barack Obama is even chiming in and putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Republican lawmakers in Congress. Those lawmakers are blaming the President.

The Establishment in both parties is to blame for not being responsive to the people. The people are angry. The people don’t care any more about being nice and polite. The people want someone to speak for them.

Are we really that surprised?

Some are blaming the media for giving Trump too much free air time because it pads the networks bottom line and boosts the ratings. While true, the blame is not there. The networks are merely reacting and giving the viewing audience what they want.

In other words, the blame rests squarely with the man or woman in the mirror.

Yes, each of us are to blame.

We have been moving to this point for years.

Those Saturday wrestling shows with in-your-face bombastic comments. The trash-talking on the basketball courts. The build-up and rhetoric before the big fight.

Then along came the World Wrestling Federation leading to today’s WWE.

Viewers could not get enough.

Networks tired of flagging ratings and high costs to produce quality sitcoms and dramas looked to on-the-cheap “reality TV”.

Ratings soared.

Survivor – Big Brother – Real Life – those Housewives – on and on. People lapped it all up and the more outrageous the better.

Along came the internet, My Space, Facebook and Twitter. Decorum and privacy went out the window. Then came Instagram and Vine. The YouTube generation was born.

Instant gratification. Seven-second videos. Instant picture uploads.

All gave rise to the viewing and voting public wanting candidates who fit into their 140-character world.

So here we are in 2016, the fourth presidential election of the 21st Century. The hottest show in the world is Reality TV Election.

From the Cornfield, will this show last through until the new season in 2020?

Will the summer stock of the 2018 be able to keep the viewers tuned-in?

Will the two major political parties managed to keep our interest?

Will the producers reached even further outside to new parties and new players?

Trump Effect Redux


In July of last year when the 2016 presidential campaign was in its infancy, I wrote this article on Donald Trump’s candidacy for president: Trump Effect Or How to Lose an Election.

All the points I made then, still hold water as of today – but – it is too late.

This past week, the Republican “Establishment” woke up to the reality of what is. But, it also is too late.

As I wrote on February 21 this year, there is An American Revolution taking place. It is happening in the Republican Party.

That revolution is gaining and likely to be a win for the insurrectionists.

Suddenly the Establishment is planning for either an open convention with no candidate getting the necessary delegates on the first couple of rounds of ballots or mounting its own third party run to keep down-ticket candidates safe from a Donald Trump nomination and run against likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

So what to do?

At this point, if Republicans want to win the election, it looks like the only choice is to consolidate around the one candidate who has voters enthused, turning out new voters, attracting more voters to the party. Then hope that a grand jury indicts Clinton over her private email server.

The time to stop Trump was last summer. Now, it is too late.

Why else would everyone be humming and singing along with Carol King’s, “It’s too late, baby. Now, it’s too late. Though we really did try to make it. Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it, oh, no, no…

All the beating breasts and pounding chests in the world is not going to make a difference. The GOP has only itself to blame.

From the Cornfield, as the Republicans have shown so often in the last few years, they refuse to learn from the mistakes of inflexibility and of taking the people seriously.

Once more the GOP has ignored the groundswell, pooh-poohing the reality locked away in fake ivory towers made of plastic, until it is too late.

Now the party, like the Wicked Witch of the West, is melting.

Will it survive or evolve?

Rock Does It Right


All the buzz before tonight’s opening monologue at the 88th Oscars was what Chris Rock would say.

Chris Rock did it right.

Never one to shy away from controversy, Chris Rock handled the current boycott of the Oscars by some within the black community with humor, insight and on the mark.

Often I have found Rock to be over-the-top and inciting anger and division. Tonight, Rock was a rock of rationality and hitting the mark.

Diversity is needed in all walks of the American life. But let us get our priorities right and focus on what is really important in life.

As Rock pointed out why wait until the 88th Oscars to boycott?

He rightly noted in decades passed the focus was on those things which had a real impact on every day life – like staying alive.

From the Cornfield, hats off and give that man an Oscar!

Chris Rock showed he was the right host for the right time.

Wannabes Punch, Weave, Jab


Things are getting serious in the Republican fight for the nomination to represent the party this fall in the presidential election.

Last night during the debate hosted by CNN at the University of Houston in Texas, there were more fireworks than a Fourth of July extravaganza. From the get-go Marco Rubio came out swinging. Ted Cruz joined in the fun from time to time as Donald Trump was pummeled by the junior Senator from Florida.

Standing on the outside of the ring were John Kasich and Ben Carson. Kasich appealed like a mother trying to break up her sons in a death match to be civil, calm down and play nice. Carson begged for someone, anyone to attack him so he too could brag of battle scars. The moderators were left bound and gagged on the sidelines as Rubio and Trump traded barbs, sometimes seeming to hit below the belt.

Looking for a chance to throw a sucker punch here and there, Cruz looked like the kid running around the schoolyard fighers waiting for a chance to throw a hit or two.

The money bags, the Establishment snobs, were oohing and aahing wondering where was this Rubio for the past nine months.

Cruz may have won one caucus by a hair while Rubio has came second twice with no wins, it is Rubio today who is getting all the buzz. Cruz’s sure win in Texas on Tuesday has been overshadowed by his fellow classmate.

But has Rubio come alive too late?

Mitt Romney, screaming at his television screen, managed to slip in some jabs of his own while Trump and Rubio went toe-to-toe.

It is obvious the Establishment is getting even more nervous that Trump is indeed reshaping the Republican Party in his own image.

But there are cracks in the ice.

Today former presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took his place in Trump’s corner. A Congressman came out as a Trump supporter telling CNN that 15-20 other Representatives told him yesterday they too were ready to back Trump.

Is it too late?

Is my analysis of An American Revolution on the money?

Is the Grand Ole Party become the Great New Party?

From the Cornfield, unless Rubio can score a win or two come Tuesday and his own state of Florida a couple of weeks later, his shedding of the robot suit and shaking the tree may be in vain.

Cruz may take Texas, but like the defenders of the Alamo who lost to the overpowering force of Santa Anna, he may find himself overrun by the armies of Trump and Rubio.

Sorry, Governor and Doc, looks like you both will end up being mere footnotes in the annals of history of Election 2016.