Beauty of Day Marred by Traffic Mishap

by Mark  

Returning to Mark's Den in the Cornfield after feasting in honor of Saint Patrick at Ryan's Buffet prior to the 5 p.m. rush hour I came upon a collision on US 41 south of Terre Haute and a short distance north of the partially completed 641 bypass and Ivy Tech Community College. Two vehicles had a nasty accident crumpling both vehicles' frontends.

Not sure of what injuries may have resulted. The Indiana State Police and Vigo County Sheriff's deputies were on the scene. Emergency medical technicians were working with drivers and/or passengers from the vehicles. Personnel with the Honeycreek Townshp Fire Department were assisting with clean-up.

Hoping no one was critically harmed.

US 41 Accident 1

US 41 Accident 2

From the Cornfield, wishing each of you a safe and joyous Saint Patick's Day!

Location: Indiana, United States

iReport Vibrant or Terminal?

by Mark  

Shortly after the first of the new year, CNN rolled out a new web site design. The site is still rife with a variety of issues. The changes have me wondering if newsy, social networking part of CNN's online presence which invites every day people to contribute images, videos, articles and opinions is being phased out.

In other words, is iReport still viable with the upcoming 2016 presidential election and primaries in the offing or is the news network signalling the demise of the experiment in citizen journalism?

Is iReport's future vibrant or terminal?

The iReport Team was updating and featuring various iReporters on a weekly basis. Those featured have been there since before the start of 2015 without change.

At one time there were weekly, then monthly round tables where the Team would share and gather input from members of the community. Those round tables disappeared over a year ago.

Where once a link to iReport was prominently featured at the top of the page, now one must hunt to find the link. Only members, former members or those who were regular viewers of the inuput from John and Jane from down the street know how to find iReport recently.

Instead of entreating people to upload their photos, videos and reports to iReport, now CNN is asking people to submit with Twitter, Instagram or a particular show's, reporter's or anchor's Facebook page. On occasion, as if an afterthought, uploading to iReport is thrown into the mix, but not always.

All of this has me wondering about the prognosis for iReport.

What do you think?

1. Is iReport being phased out?

2. Is there still a reason to use iReport?

3. Does iReport have a future with CNN?

4. Is iReport being abandoned?

6. Is the only purpose of iReport is to keep traffic visitng the site inflated?

From the Cornfield, my interest is waning in iReport although I have been an active contributor since September of 2011.

Then again with all my health issues, I am having trouble with focus and interest with my daily blog, Inside My Mind, which is no longer daily. I cannot muster the energy to do a daily recap of headlines and current events for Kernels From the Cornfield. I find it difficult to offer up political commentary here at From the Cornfield.

With the lack of attention to the community from the iReport Team, I am beginning to feel as if those who participate and contribute to iReport have been taken out into the country, dropped off and left to figure a way back home.

Even if we manage to get home, will we find that the family has packed up and moved away without a clue as to where they have gone?

Should my interest be rekindled as the presidential primary season starts in earnest, will there be an iReport to share my thoughts From the Cornfield?

Location: Indiana, United States

SOTU - Page Turned? Not, Quite

by Mark  

In the lead up to Tuesday night's State of the Union Address to a joint-session of Congress, the White House was playing up the speech as being one where President Barack Obama would be declaring the page turned from a bleaker, dismal yesterday for the US of A to a better and brighter future ahead.

While high on hubris, the reality of what the President had to talk about was less than a page turner and more of a wish it so if the facts didn't get in the way speech.

True the President could rightly talk about an upturn in the economic aura that has been pervasively weaker than expected and this far since the recession officially ended. But more jobs were created last year than any time since long before the housing market went belly up in 2008. Granted those jobs are not the full-time, good paying jobs of yesterday, but they are jobs. Those jobs happen to be mostly part-time and closer to the bottom pay rate.

Will admit the stock market is soaring. However, the market is artificially inflated by actions of the Federal Reserve more than by real market forces being allowed to operate. Same with the much lower cost at the pump when filling up the tank in the family car. Those prices are lower as a result of Saudi Arabia keeping a glut on crude oil more than US policy.

The President did rightly call for authorization to use force from Congress to combat the forces of the Islamic State. At the same time, the President continued to assert that terrorism is on the run and not winning. The President claimed his policies are working in staving off the global threat and keeping Russia's march toward reclaiming its former glory in check.

Nothing can be farther from the reality on the ground.

The President did set out an agenda. It is an agenda for his party, the Democratic Party, to pursue as it tries to hold on to the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016. It is an agenda that has little chance of fruition over the next two years as Republicans hold the reins in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Already proclaiming veto threat after veto threat, the President continued his threats twice during last night's speech. He smugly claimed that he had no more elections to face, because he had won both of his in 2008 and 2012. He ignored that voters put checks on his policies in 2010 and 2014 by putting Congress into the hands of Republicans.

Newly elected Joni Ernst, Senator from Iowa, gave the GOP response and committed no gaffes or flubs. She did her job. She did note that Republicans had heard voters about finding a way to govern together with the White House. But that's about it.

There were some, admittedly, items that may find compromise - free trade agreements and some tax reform. But not much else.

It is going to be a long two years.

From the Cornfield, the President appears to be in LaLa Land with his "victory lap" proclaimed last night staring in the face of what is happening on the ground all around the world.

Republicans must find a way to overcome the divisiveness and govern or face another humiliating loss in 2016.

Who will blink?

Who will do right by America?

Although a CNN/ORC poll revealed that a vast majority of Americans think the President pointed the country in the right direction last night, will either the President or the Republican-controlled Capital be able to map out a path in the right direction?

Will we see more detours, more road blocks and a continued disillusionment and hiding eyes from the reality not just in the US of A, but around the world?

Location: Indiana, United States

Call It What It Is

by Mark  

The White House is refusing to call the Muslim radical jihadists what they are: Islamic terrorists. The terrorists are corrupting the Muslim faith to justify their murderous ways.

The White House claims it is not accurate to refer to the terrorists as Islamic or Muslim - even if that is what they are. The White House asserts it is not those adhering to "radical Islam", but "radical extremism".

The White House also asserts that since the massacre at Charlie Hebdo last week was condemned by Muslim leaders, it is inappropriate to refer to the terrorists as being Muslim or Islamic.

The issue is not with the moderate followers of Islam. But the reality is those committing atrocities around the world, including last week's massacre in France, call themselves Muslim.

In the US of A we have such corrupters of Christianity who are anything, but Christ-like, such as: the Westboro Baptist Church, various white supremacy groups and others. They attempt to justify their hatred, take advantage of our First Amendment to spew vindictive and blatantly evil rhetoric, while clinging to the Christian banner, which they tread under foot.

What is is.

These terrorists are in jihad, holy war for Islam in their perversion of the religion - no matter what the White House says.

Then again, the White House deemed the terrorist rampage of murder and mayhem by Army Major Nidal Hasan as "workplace violence" rather than upset or offend the sensibilities of adherents of Islam.

It was the terrorist act of a Muslim who had corrupted Islam and pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda over his pledge to the US of A and the US Army.

None of this is to be construed that I blame Islam any more than I blame Christianity for the Westboro Baptist Church, who are hate-mongers and far from what Christ taught or white supremacist with a Bible in one hand and treachery in the other.

From the Cornfield, it is time President Barack Obama and his Administration call it like it is.

We have already seen how appeasement worked back in the late 1930s when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain followed a similar course as the White House is following today with terrorists.

Location: Indiana, United States

Guilty of Being a Christian

by Mark  

Yes, I must admit that I am a disciple of Jesus the Christ. It is my prayer there is enough evidence to convict me of being one of His followers.

I strive to follow closely the two Great Commandments:

Love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and body;

Love my neighbor as myself.

Jesus taught that all would know we are His disciples if we have love one for another.

The Apostle Paul wrote that without love nothing else matters.

The writer of the Acts of the Apostles relates that those of the Jewish sect began by the Carpenter from Nazareth were first "called" Christians in Antioch. These followers of the Rabbi Jesus did not label themselves, but it was there neighbors, their enemies, those not subscribing to the teachings of Jesus who called them Christian. They saw Jesus in the lives of His followers.

Through the years and even now, there are those who have attempted to justify their actions, their evil in the guise of Christianity. There are those who have corrupted the teachings of Christ to love for their own purposes.

All of these I reject and pray God have mercy on their souls.

Should the day ever come that I am hauled into a court of law, hopefully I will be convicted beyond a shadow of doubt of being a Christian.

Location: Indiana, United States

Today, I Am Charlie Hebdo

by Mark  

Today, I am Charlie Hebdo.

Two values we in the US of A hold dearly, freedom of speech and a free press, came under deadly attack today in Paris, France. Among the 12 killed by terrorists were journalists and police officers. Another four of the 11 wounded are in critical condition.

We, as Americans, too often take our free press and freedom to speak our minds for granted. We often forget that in most of the world, what we call human rights are not recognized. In many of our non-western allies, there is no liberty to speak out, no freedom of journalism.

Though in France, the terrorist attack was an attack on the US of A and the Western World. There are those throughout the Earth bent on plunging us back into the Dark Ages of ignorance and enslavement.

Rather than cowering in their studios, political cartoonists are striking back at the terrorists, churning out artwork after artwork. These brave journalists refuse to be silent, but continue to highlight the foibles of society - even when they are the targets of inhumanity on humanity.

We must remain vigilant. We must stay strong.

While the tragedy in France is definitely worthy of headlining news broadcasts both here in the US of A and throughout Europe, terror attacks such as what happened today when satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked by apparent Muslim extremists, the reality is this type of attack is common in many Mideastern countries.

Most have probably not read nor seen where a terrorist attack in Yemen Tuesday left 31 dead. This is not a rare occurrence in Yemen or Pakistan or Afghanistan. This happens all the time.

The fact that the terrorists targeted a journalistic enterprise in Paris makes it more real to most of us. We rightly feel the attack was on all of us in America and Europe.

Terror is terror. Whether the attacks are in Western countries or Muslim nations or Asian lands. Terror should be condemned where ever its ugly head rises.

Most disconcerting today is the lack of comment from leaders of the world's Muslim countries. The silence is thundering volumes.

To their credit, the large French Muslim community and some of their religious leaders are condemning the attacks. These French Muslims are standing in peaceful protests today with their fellow countrymen and countrywomen. They are not giving quarter to extremism.

Unfortunately it appears kings, sheiks, emirs, presidents and prime ministers in Muslim-dominated lands are too afraid of reprisals to condemn the acts of terror committed in the name of Islam. Though often they say that most of the Muslim population is peaceful and do not condone the actions of those who corrupt the Prophet's teachings, today when most needed, there is silence.

This should be no surprise.

In countries such as Egypt the right of journalists to do their jobs does not exist. Recently rerporters for Al Jezeera were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for daring to do the job of the press and report on what was happening on the streets and in the squares of this American ally.

A silent night may be ahead, but it is an unholy night when freedom is attacked and murder is acceptable or at least tolerated by too many in Muslim countries.

From the Cornfield, it is time more moderate Muslim national leaders speak out. It is time to tell the extremists they are not living by the principles of the Prophet. It is time Islamic religious leaders excommunicate those who would corrupt the Koran.

Location: Indiana, United States

CNN Signals Curtain Call on 'Citizen Journalism'?

by Mark  

The start of a new year often signals the start of new ideas, new programs, new web site designs. Such is the case of international news giant CNN.

Over the weekend, the network launched a new web design. The design is ascetically appealing. It seems geared toward our more mobile-dependent society.

The design also appears to have signaled a turn in CNN's experiement with "citizen journalism".

Where once the network's user community, iReport, was prominently displayed with a link on the top banner, the ability to easily identify and locate the user submissions of articles, images and opinions is mch more difficult. Buried at the very bottom is a link. You can also click on "Opinions" to find a link.

For members of the community there has been much frustration. Another issue is having to constantly sign in when navigating the site.

Over the past year, there has been less interaction from Team iReport and the community at large. Where once there was a weekly roundtable it devolved to monthly to being non-existant in the past year.

The activity on iReport, for the uninformed, may be best described as submissions to a local newspaper "Lifestyle" section and "Letters to the Editor". On occasion users also submit "breaking news" when being in the right place at the right time to capture images or videos of local news which had national or international impact.

The community is a type of social network geared toward what is called "citizen journalism". It is not journalism in the traditional sense. It is the users' take on the news.

Submissions deemed "approved" or "vetted" by the Team have been part of the fare offered up to fill gaps in programming on CNN International. At times those images, videos or even commentary have made the way onto the US market of the news giant.

I am one of those iReport community members who have been fortunate enough to have been interviewed on CNN and on HLN, the network's sister channel. What led to those interviews were my political opinion reports on iReport.

Over the last year and a half or so since the 2012 presidential election, interaction with the community seems to have become less and less. While I have continued to have a very good relationship with the Team, not all iReporters have been so pleased.

Along with the new web design rollout, the new year brought the departure of iReport Community leader, Katie Garr-Hawkins. Katie has moved on to another venture in Florida and not with CNN.  This had many in the community wondering last month about what would happen with iReport.

With the web design and the difficulty in locating iReport, members are now asking if CNN is signalling that its experiment is over.

With the 2016 presidential run soon to start in earnest, will CNN rethink its position on iReport?

Will CNN later in the year close the doors on the community?

From the Cornfield, so many questions and no answers at this juncture.

If the site layout is an indication along with the lack of communication between the community and Team iReport, are we seeing the end of a short-lived era of active user participation on CNN?

Location: Indiana, United States

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