E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We are who we are

I was watching the trailer from Ironman (because I am a nerd that way) and came accross this picture. The caption on a different picture said, "You think this letter on my head stands for France?!" I couldn't stop laughing. Then I thought of a very simlar person I know who recieved the name "Sergeant America" again, I couldn't stop laughing, this picture is dedicated to YOU Tickettosser!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who what where

I haven’t had much worth writing lately. I’m still just enjoying being home, and though it’s been 4 months…still getting used to it.

I decided I would start recounting some of my Iraq journeys. For the most part, I’d rather not think about that place at all. But honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Iraq. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my memorial bracelets and reflect that all of us didn’t get to come home…
Then think about the freedoms we take for granted every day, and look down our nose at the fact that we are in a country that some say we don’t have a “right” to be in. This wasn’t the direction I was going, but I’ll go with it. I spoke to a middle school age group the other day, in uniform, for Veterans Day. I explained what Veterans Day is supposed to be about. The children asked “What the deal is in Iraq, and why we are there?” In a lengthy response I summed it up in as simple a term as I could. “If you were walking home from school and saw someone getting beat up would you help or at least get help?” (End speech at school, on to thoughts) On that thought, would someone say that a kid helping out against bullies would be guilty of sticking his nose in someone else’s business? Would we say that the helper didn’t “belong there?” Food for thought anyway. Granted I pretty much hate Iraq, and after seeing the majority of the way people act and are over there I would just as soon drop a couple H-bombs on the place. But that’s not my call.

I have many thoughts about that crusty dirt hole, but I’ll not express them all just now.

The reason I was posting today was to start jotting down the stories that pop into my head from time to time, as I might want to remember them one day, even if I think that’s silly now.

Fallujah. Spring 2007 Every mission we hope is our last. The night is cool, 90 degrees. A long night of raiding near the Euphrates. Back and forth all night long, driving, running, kicking doors, shooting. Watching the strobes through my night vision set my stomach to roiling. That, combined with 36 hours of no sleep took its toll. I eventually slammed on the breaks and emptied my guts on the side of the road. Anyone who has witnessed this knows the sound to be violent in nature. Some wandering Marines appeared and asked if I needed a Corpman. “No” my gunner answered, “It’s just Zeke puking” as if that should explain everything.

Night turned to day and my stomach settled. Only to be turned again when we later pulled some guys out of a torture house. Men who were being burned, gutted and broken for no other reason than the other Muslim sect didn’t like them.
That was a good feeling escorting them to safety…yet, when people can harm another like that, and take pleasure from it…well that just makes me sick, and think all the more of A-bombs.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Event Center

As the heat over the local event center rises, I find incredible irony. Students at the college aren't paying land taxes, yet they get to vote on the issue and will most likely be gone in a matter of years. Yet, residents outside the city limits, who pay taxes, don't get to vote on the issue, a quandary to be sure.

I went to a city meeting on Wednesday, and it looks as though the citizens of Bemidji will be dragged along on this road whether they like it or not.
I have heard much rhetoric about how wonderful this place will be for the citizens, but in my searches I have yet to see proof of anything more than a lavish expenditure of a poor city trying to do something “big.” The only thing that this center will be, at first, is a hockey rink, with many grand ideas to follow.

This whole scenario reminds me of an adolescent wanting something, the parent saying no, and the child doing “it” for no better reason than because they want to. However, unlike the adolescent scenario, I think there is more going on behind the scenes than we were originally led to believe. This will end up being nothing but a drain on the taxpayers. We will have to pay a fee to enter this facility. Despite the claims of flowers and sunshine being blown up unmentionable places, I don’t foresee this unbased monstrosity as anything more than a big black hole that will do anything but help citizens or make money.

If I’m completely wrong, that’s all well and good, but if I’m right…an “I told you so” just won’t cut it.
It’s not like we the people don’t pay enough taxes as it is. The base portion taken is 15%, make above minimum and it’s looking more like 30%...heaven forbid you work for yourself and it gets cranked to 45-50%! After that you still get nailed with 7% local tax on every dollar you spend of your already taxed money (I won't even get into capital gains tax). So, it may only be a couple hundred extra a year out of my pocket in taxes for this thing, but I can guarantee you that people who actually work for a living want to keep that hundo right where it is. I could invest that money in my Roth IRA instead of an "event center."

Exhale…now I feel better, a little bit. Oh ya, the vote passed by 44 college students. To bad the 100 or so of us that could have tipped the scales were off fighting in Iraq. No big deal.