Celebration of the Easter Weekend

by Mark  

Sunday, those of the Christian faith stop, reflect and renew their conviction in the most powerful tenet of their religious belief - that death is but a shadow, yet the soul lives on eternal. This tenet also known as the "blessed hope" is what Christians believe sets them apart from those of other or no religious persuasion.

The idea rooted in faith, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen", cannot be measured by the tangible senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing or sight. It can only be grasped and held by that inner belief and confidence in tomorrow.

This belief is best summed up in the words of the Angel to Mary when she came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus after his crucifixion and death, "He's not here, He is risen."

For those believers, I offer a prayer this weekend that your faith is renewed, your conviction made more resolute and a desire that you will know by faith the power of the resurrection.

For those of other faiths or no religious belief, but still pause to spend time and connection with family and friends, I offer a hearty, "Happy Easter".

From the Cornfield, to quote the Psalmist David, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me".

Shattered Tranquility - We Remember Boston

by Mark  

Tranquility, that sense of peaceful existence, was shattered one year ago today as twin bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon.

Although a thousand miles away, the blasts shook from the Atlantic Coast into the Cornfield and reverberated westward to the Pacific Ocean.

The American body, like the human body, reacted with pain and anguish as one small part of the body was attacked.

While our nation may stretch from ocean to ocean, when one member of the American body feels pain, the entire body feels and reacts to that pain.

Like a family which may argue and yell at each other, when an outsider tries to intervene, the family members, though squabbling, will quickly unite to ward off those who attempt to hurt any of us.

From Mark's Den, From the Cornfield, prayers are still going up and warm wishes still being sent to those victimized and who lost their lives in the Boston bombings.

Our hearts are knit with those hearts across the country as we react to this tragedy, this crime committed one year ago.

In times such as that fateful day a year ago, collectively Americans shout, "We shall overcome".

In times such as that fateful day a year ago, the old hymn, "I Shall Not Be Moved", becomes our battle cry.

"Though the tempest rages, I shall not be moved".

"Though all hell assail me, I shall not be moved."

So it is with Americans this anniversary of the Boston bombings.

While the attack and attempt to terrorize us took place in Boston, a symbol of our freedom and birth of our nation, the reverberations and shock waves were felt in the Cornfield and in the most remote regions of our vast country.

Like the human body, when one member feels pain and anguish, we all feel pain and anguish.

But we will not and did not back down.

We will not be and have not been deterred.

We are resolute in the knowledge that right will triumph over evil.

Boston has shown the way this past year proving to be Strong.

We are Americans.

From the Cornfield, while our hearts knit with the hearts of those victimized and the families who lost loved ones, we pledge to ever remain strong and stand tall confident that justice will be done.

Be the foe domestic or foreign when a tragedy such as struck Boston and our nation one year ago today, let those responsible for such acts, past or to come, be warned that justice will be exacted and the day of reckoning will come when least expected.

Put the Blame Where It Belongs - Voter Apathy

by Mark  

Some are crowing and others are bemoaning the ruling by the Supreme Court on Wednesday which ruled that political contributions cannot be limited to only a certain number of candidates or campaigns in a two-year election cycle. The Court left in place the individual cap on the amount that may be donated to a particular campaign or party across the board.

Supporters of the ruling, mostly Republicans, are cheering the outcome as a victory for free speech. Opponents of the decision, mostly Democrats, are declaring the death of campaign finance reform and the power of winning to those with the deepest pockets.

The reality is that sadly money has become the deciding factor with most elections. Sadly those with no vested interest, residence or significant business in a state are determining the outcome of an election by the amount of money pouring into candidates.

But why?

I say put the blame where it belongs on the shifting of power to those with the most money - apathetic voters.

One CNN iReporter, PoliceState, commented following the ruling Wednesday that most voters don't do their due diligence and reasearch the candidates, but are willing to sell their vote for a six-pack of beer. It's enough to make one scream, but PoliceState is right.

Voters don't care.

Therein lies the problem and the reason the rich control the outcome.

Those with money only have sway when voters are uninformed by choice, vote only by party by choice, vote simply based on the last sound byte they heard. The fault lies with the voters giving up control by not being informed and choosing the best candidate no matter the party or ideology. Those with money win only when the voters cede that power, which sadly is what is and has happened.

Take away the power of money by becoming an informed voter and voting based on knowledge.

Why are so many on the left, so many pundits, so many in the media willing to blame the Supreme Court, blame Republicans, blame everyone, but who is at fault - the American voters?

Universal suffrage was not always a right in the US of A. At the beginning of the country you had to own property to vote. At one time only men could vote. At one time only whites could vote. At one time only those over 21 could vote.

After all the battles through our history to win the right to vote, most voters today do not honor those who fought and some even died to gain that right. Voters would rather vote based on the last sound byte or the last commercial seen or for what party label is beside someone's name.

Most voters choose to disregard, even dishonor, those who championed voters' rights by either not voting at all or going into the voting booth with no knowledge of whom they are casting a ballot.

Is it any wonder we are decrying what is happening in the nation's capitol?

We have the government we voted for mainly through ignorance or by tuning out and not voting at all.

From the Cornfield, want to get upset and get mad about the power of money and the control over those elected?

Look in the mirror.

Are you an informed voter or guilty of apathy?

Unfortunately those who visit political opinion sites such as my From the Cornfield blog or those who comment on news sites like CNN's iReport are the ones who will see or read this article. And those are not the ones who are guilty.

The guilty, the apathetic voter, will continue on as usual then wonder why those with big bucks set the agenda. The guilty will never see nor read this op-ed.

ACA Signup Goal - Hit or Miss?

by Mark  

In a press conference from Italy on Thursday, President Barack Obama noted that 6 million people had signed up through the HealthCare.gov market place exchange and the state exchanges to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. That supposedly hit the revised target of needed enrollees to make the law work.

But do the figures add up to sustainability for the ACA?

The original goal announced by Health and Human Services was the need for 7 million to enroll in health insurance. That number downgraded, following the botched rollout of the website, to 6 million.

Back in January we were informed by the Administration that of those who had signed up for coverage 20% had not paid the first month premium. That meant a hefty number of signups did not count.

We were also told that around 50% of signups had led to being transferred to Medicaid rather than private health insurance policies.

We have also been told only about 20% of those enrolling are in the 27 to 30-year-old demographic of healthy young people needed to offset the cost of insurance to cover the sick and older policy holders. Remember those 18 to 26 can stay on their parents insurance.

So what does all this mean?

If we extrapolate the numbers:

6 million enrolled - 50% moved to Medicaid = 3 million actual health insurance signups.

Now let's take away that 20% who didn't pay the premium which is another 600,000. That leaves us with only 2,400,000 people enrolled in private healthcare insurance policies through the exchanges.

This is a far cry from the necessary enrollment number needed for viability of 6 million, revised down from 7 million.

If only 20% of that number is healthy young people that means the brunt of cost is resting on 480,000 young people.

No wonder insurance companies are crying, "foul".

No wonder predictions are that premiums for next year will increase by as much as 300%.

Now with the "deadline" extended for those "in line", but not able yet to complete enrollment, this makes the situation more troublesome and problematic for determining premiums for 2015.

This also has many insurance companies reassessing whether to participate in the marketplace next year.

Is this a Pyrrhic Victory for the President?

The "magic" number of 6 million was obtained, but does it mean anything?

Can this initial enrollment period, forgetting the lousy rollout, be considered a success or victory by any standard?

From the Cornfield, hold on to your hats. The upcoming Mid-Term Elections are going to get bumpy.

Republicans opting to replace the ACA and come up with an alternative are on the right track.

Repeal and starting from scratch is not an option at this point. But any real change and upgrade of this badly written and more poorly executed law is going to take time.

It may even not happen until after the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has moved out.

Warren Versus Christie in 2016 Presidential Face-Off?

by Mark  

That will be the match-up based on the votes from those who participated in Cornfield Polls fun, but not scientific, Way-to-Early 2016 Presidential Nominee Preference Poll.

The survey was conducted from March 8 to March 14. Participants were asked to choose who among Democrats and Republicans they wanted to see square-off in the bid to win the White House in 2016. There were three names to choose from currently leading Democrats. There were seven bandied about names from the Republican Party from which to choose. Participants also had the option of entering a "write-in" candidate.

The choice among Democratic possible nominees were:

Former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State and the current presumptive leader of the pack, Hillary Clinton; sitting Vice President and former Senator from Delaware, Joe Biden; along with far left Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

For the GOP possibilities the choice was between:

Wisconsin Congressman and former Vice Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan; Kentucky Senator and heir to the Liberty Movement, Rand Paul; once rapidly rising star and Florida Senator, Marco Rubio; Tea Party firebrand and Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz; outgoing Texas Governor and 2012 failed candidate for President, Rick Perry; once the man to beat for 2016, but embroiled in scandal investigations and New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie; and political family dynasty scion and former Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush.

And here are the results:

Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren 29.41%

Hillary Clinton 17.65%

Joe Biden 17.65%

No Answer 35.29%

Republican Party

Chris Christie 26.67%

Rand Paul 20.0%

Rick Perry 13.33%

Paul Ryan 6.67%

Ted Cruz 6.67%

Jeb Bush 6.67%

Marco Rubio 0.0%

No Answer 20.0%

Participants chose to pit the liberal Warren against the moderate Christie.

Could this be the competing tickets in 2016?

Now to throw a curve ball into the mix, there was the write-in option available as well.

One participant, showing her disgust for the entire field of possibilities, wrote in her own name for president. Let's hear it for octogenarian and Nevada resident, Bonnie Bashor. Bonnie is also a long-time reader and follower of both From the Cornfield and Inside My Mind.

Topping the list of write-in candidates was former Florida Congressman Allen West, who lost his bid to remain in the Congress in 2012. One participant teamed West up with conservative Dr. Ben Carson to be his vice presidential running mate. West received 28.6% of the vote.

Also mentioned as possibilites were Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; Hillary Clinton even though she was listed above; and in another protest, George W. Bush.

One participante noted, "I have no one else...how sad is that?"

Yes, I know with the 2014 Mid-Term Elections not really heating up yet or gaining much traction other than the Texas Governor's race, this poll is way too early. But it was done as a diversion and for fun.

Thank you to all who participated.

From the Cornfield, will the Democrats toss Clinton and Biden overboard for the outspoken Warren in 2016?

Will the Republicans forgive Christie and embrace his moderate stances in order to win the White House?

OK, OK...I'll focus on more current events now and turn my eye on the 2014 Mid-Terms.

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