House Budget Committee Chairman Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington announced a few minutes ago that the Congressional Conference Committee has reached a compromise and produced a bipartisan budget deal for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 and into 2015 which will, if passed by both chambers, avert another government shutdown.
America, we have a deal.
As a fiscal conservative is this a perfect budget? Absolutely not, it still leaves much to be desired.
As a fiscal liberal is this an ideal financial plan? Absolutely not, there is too much cutting and not enough revenue enhancement.
No one is getting everything wanted. But for Americans, both the man and woman on the street and for business, small and large, the certainty of having in place a real budget brings a certain confidence and peace of mind.
The uncertainty of whether the Congress would continue to lurch from crisis to crisis has been put to rest at least until after 2014 and the Mid-Term Elections. That certainty that government will function as it should with a specified spending and reduction in spending policy laid out in writing and controlled by the Legislative Branch, rather than left up to bureaucrats in the Executive Branch, will be a boost to the economy, in my opinion.
To think that a conference committee made up by members from both chambers and from both parties could find a way to come together for the greater good in the current political climate is in itself a miracle. Now is not the time to stop the common sense coming together, but rather a time to build on these elected officials finding a way to work together.
From the Cornfield, I call on legislators in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate to vote, "Aye", to this compromise plan.
It is time to put aside the rancor and digging in for the sake of digging in and do what is best for the nation - not an ideology nor for a party.
We have arrived at that time of the year when traditionally we look back over the past year with a critical eye.
Thus let us voice our review of the iReport Team and community.
In your opinion, has the iReport experience improved over these 12 months?
Has iReport remained about the same, keeping the status quo in tact?
Has iReport gone backwards or in some other way has worsened the community atmosphere?
Has the quality of iReports gone up? Stayed the same? Or gone downhill?
What is your perspective of and on the iReport Team?
What would you like to see Santa Claus and 2014 bring to the iReport community?
I, for one, am still missing the weekly, even monthly roundtables where we were able to converse with the iReport Team in near real time, even with the delay with the current chat function. To me this has not been a step forward, but backwards.
The assignments at times have seemed to have little real foundation or in the case of some, been asked in such a way to evoke a given response rather than a more objective outcome. The more political assignments have seemed to be asked in such a way to solicit confrontation rather than discussion of perspectives and ideas of what to do or how to go about resolving an issue.
Overall, I do not believe iReport has improved, but at the same time has not drastically gone the other way. There are improvements that could be made - primarily better communication between the Team and iReporters.
But what do you think looking back over 2013 about iReport?
I am also conducting an unscientific survey at Cornfield Polling to select who you think should win the title of Best iReport Team Member 2013.
Cast your vote today for the Team member who you believe deserves this title. The direct link to participate in our vote is: http://fromthecornfield.com/polls/index.php/727564.
Below is a listing of the Team via the Team Blog (http://ireport.cnn.com/blogs/ireport-blog/2009/11/18/meet-team-ireport):
1. Katie Hawkins-Gaar
2. David Williams
3. Christina Zdanowicz
4. Daphne Sashin
5. Rachel Rodriguez
6. Henry Hanks
7. Jareen Imam
8. Nicole Saidi
9. Germain Perez
10. April Andrews
11. Nnedike Ugoji
12. Sophia Voychehovski
13. Kyle Rogers
14. Raja Periyasamy
15. Christian Oliver
16. Eric Hernandez
17. Kyle Hale
18. Zach Conrad
From the Cornfield, I've done my part. It is now up to you, the iReport community, to add your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, ideas and to vote for your Team member of the year.
NOTE: Don't see an iReport Team member on the list you feel needs recognition? No worries. Go take the survey, select from one of the entries on the list. In the Comment section put in the Team member not listed you believe deserves named. I will adjust the votes, culling from the Comment section to reflect the your actual vote.
This list was taken directly from the iReport Team blog entry Meet the iReport Team. I know it is not complete, from personal experience, and suspect it has not been updated in awhile. Some members such as Lila King was not listed nor on the Team blog entry.
Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy on the US of A's naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the Monday after the attack:
"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
The attack on Pearl Harbor was the oomph that helped push the US into World War II on the side of the Allies. But it was not the only factor, there were many more as well.
Not only did the Japanese launch an attack at Pearl Harbor that peaceful Sunday morning, but that same day attacked Guam, Wake Island, The Phiippines, Malaya, Thailand and Midway.
Eventually General Douglas MacArthur would utter the immortal words, "I shall return," as he fled The Philippines as the Japanese occupied.
Thousands of American sailors and soldiers lost their lives that sleepy morning. Battleships still lie in rest in the harbor, the watery grave for American lives lost.
In recent years, commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day has seemed to fade. Perhaps in part it can be attributed to the fact that more and more of whom Tom Brokaw called, "The Greatest Generation", die off. The memory of that tragic day begins to fade as well.
An article detailing 5 myths about Pearl Harbor at twincities.com from a couple of years ago noted:
The attack on Pearl Harbor awoke America from its isolationist slumber and bolstered its charge into the Pacific war, but it did not spur entry into the European war. That happened when Nazi Germany and fascist Italy declared war on the United States on Dec. 11, compelling Roosevelt to respond in kind - thus committing the United States to a world war.
From the Cornfield, I am hoping those who read this will stop and remember those sailors and soldiers whose lives were lost.
To "The Greatest Generation", we salute your service, your action and how you kept the world "safe for democracy".
With a deep voice that sounded like a grandpa having a chat with his grandkids, his white bushy mustache and the characteristic baseball cap, Rick Huffman aka Logan248 would bring his perspective from his Michigan home to the world as a member of CNN's iReport community.
Today, I learned that Rick has left us for a better place. He died Sunday in his home with his loving wife beside him from brain cancer.
A former police officer, who had that way about him that would remind one of a kindly Irish cop in some old movie, Rick became, like me and so many others in the iReport community, an armchair pundit. Rick brought his own view of the world which often I agreed and occasionally disagreed.
Bringing citizen journalism to life with his self-videos, one of those postings was not only vetted for use by CNN, but also earned him an iReport Award in May of 2013. The video is rather fitting in light that we are nearing the anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting as it highlighted how the killing of innocents had an impact on the former law enforcement officer and life-long NRA member.
That video was titled: "My tribute to those lost in Newtown" and may be seen here: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-900216.
On October 18 I received a mesage from Rick which simply read: "Terminal cancer. Three to six months to live."
I was in shock. He had told me in earlier messages that he was having to be tested and unsure what the doctor would find. Rick seemed so robust it caught me by surprise.
In his last report, "Obamacare?" (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1053075), published October 26, there was a tremor in Rick's voice. Many of his online friends today have been posting their condolences on this his final iReport.
In these last few weeks, it was not his own health that was on Rick's mind. The loving husband was more concerned about the wife he would be leaving behind when he passed from this life to the next.
Rick asked me:
"Dad, may I ask something?
I have three books out on Amazon. One, "Fears, Tears and Life", written under the pen name of James Warren. Two, "Dreams in Blue: The Real Police", under my real name, Richard Neal Huffman. Three, "Rubal", written under Richard Neal Huffman.
Ask the other iReporters if they willl consider buying one or more? I want the royalties to go to my wife after I am gone.
Thank you so much.
Team iReport is also remembering Rick's contribution to the community in a blog article: Team iReport remembers Rick Huffman (http://ireport.cnn.com/blogs/ireport-blog/2013/12/04/team-ireport-remembers-rick-huffman), by Team member Henry Hanks, who works closely with iReporters such as myself.
The Earth has lost another voice of reason, but Heaven has gained another perspective from humanity in the divine council.
From the Cornfield, Rick - you will be missed. May you rest in peace and may your family feel the comfort of unseen hands and the love from those they never knew and may never meet, but who held you as one of our own family.
During the late Friday night hour or in the wee Saturday morning hour, depending on your perspective, I posted a few questions of curiosity running through my gray matter: Curious: Conservative Versus Liberal.
I posted a series of questions asking From the Cornfield readers and members of CNN's iReport community to share their thoughts and help me assess the answers to the questions asked. One of the members of iReport, peone, asked if I were going to answer my own questions and provide my own opinion on the subject.
So here we go. Here are the questions and my own response to each.
1. Which is easier to carry on a conversation with?
Neither. There is no conversation, only hearing the shouting from either one drowning out anything anyone else has to say.
2. Which is more willing to discuss and listen to other perspectives?
Neither. Both are stuck in a mindset where they are so heavenly (ideologically) minded they are no earthly good.
3. Which more closely aligns with your own fiscal ideology?
A far right conservative more closely aligns with own fiscal beliefs, but are too rigid to accept any changes in situations, outcomes or the unexpectant which life too often affords.
4. Which is more dangerous to the nation?
Both extremes are equally dangerous to the nation in my opinion. With both extreme individuals, they have eyes to see, but cannot see. They have ears to hear, but cannot hear.
5. Are both equally wrong and equally dangerous?
Yes, in my opinion both are equally wrong and dangerous. My life's modus operandi has always been "all things in moderation".
6. Which more closely aligns with your own social ideology?
I am more closely aligned to the far liberal position on some social issues, but not to the extreme. I do believe in equality for all long-term couples under the law when recognized as a union by the state. I do believe in the exception of rape, incest and viability of mother and/or child when it comes to abortion. That's about where it ends for me socially. I do tend to be more libertarian believing that less government in every day life is better. Government has its place and the individual has those areas of life which government has no right to interfere.
7. Which has a larger share of the people?
From personal observation, between the two, I would say far right conservatives. But also from personal observation (which appears born out by the polls) the majority are somewhere in the middle, but leaning more right.
8. How do you see yourself?
I see myself more center right, a dash of libertarian, with a predominantly moderate position, which by the way is not on the fence on issues or not having the ability to make up one's mind. Moderates have clear, concise opinions, but live in the world of pragmatism realizing there is a kernel of legitimacy in others opinions and an ability to find common ground upon which to build.
9. Which is more closed-minded and myopic?
To me, both are flip sides of the same coin with both the far left and far right being too closed-minded and myopic. It's not a case of standing by your beliefs, but rather a case of denying reality when faced with truths.
10. If invited over for Thanksgiving, would more likely accept the invitation from:
Either far right conservative or a far left liberal as long the host or hostess understood that Thanksgiving is a time for sharing our gratitude and love with one another leaving the politics to fester in a pot left in the kitchen for another day.
From the Cornfield, that's how I view the far right and far left divide.