Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some thoughts from my easy and comfortable life

Read an op-ed piece this morning that reminded me of the guys back in Iraq. I've also been reminded as I watch the news that Afghanistan is not exactly in a perfect state.

The Man in the Room
by Bob Herbert
New York Times
June 17, 2008

I'd give the chest full of medals back in a heartbeat for anyone like Luis to be able to experience a "normal" life such as mine right now. Likewise, I'd love to get JJ, Hurstie and Umran back to their families, but that won't happen.

I hope that we don't let Luis and his family down in his healthcare and benefits, that he can fight through the inevitable challenges strengthened by his knowledge that he was acting honorably in upholding the oath he made when he enlisted. I hope families like JJ's, Hurstie's and Umran's remember them fondly and have the strength to carry on in their absence.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Various activities since I've been home

Father-son campout.

Nathan and I are bonding wearing our BYU-Hawaii sweatshirt and T-shirt





Family trip to the dinosaur museum- little dinosaur fabricated by an old mission friend and some of his family.
Those are all at a hands-on part of the museum- you create your own water erosion projects, catastrophically destroying the toy dinosaurs, vegetation, etc.


And 3 of our wee beasties on the Cosman creation



The Thanksgiving point farm area- pony rides- woo-hoo!




Climb up to the Y on the mountain behind the Brunner home.



Grandpa wanted a picture of his house- do you see it?

Ok, do you see it now? Its the single family home at the top of the hill-
pretty much centered in the foreground in front of the larger townhomes


video

Some digging for dinosaurs at the dinosaur museum.

video

Riding the ponies at the farm

video

View of Provo from up on the Y

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fiscal conservatism- dead in the water

While serving in a military that pays obeisance to a civilian leadership and dependent on funding from our legislative branch, I have been in my estimation well-compensated and have no complaints about that. Health care is another issue, however.

Anyway, one thing that I've written about a few times before over the past year is my unhappiness that we've been funding the war with a credit card. Someone has done a better job than I have of articulating this phenomenon:

Billing The Grandkids
By Ruth Marcus
Washington Post
June 11, 2008 Pg. 19

Monday, June 09, 2008

VA Benefits revisited

Someone else was a bit more critical than myself about how the updated GI Bill is getting treated by our executive branch and the department of defense:

http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,169105,00.html?ESRC=reservists.nl

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Househunting and a couple of military-related articles/commentary

First full day of earnest househunting in Mooresville, NC is done. Identified 5 properties we'd be satisfied with, but not overjoyed. Looking forward to another day tomorrow, hopeful that we'll be closer to a "dream home" with viewings then. We'll see. The really good stuff around here is all out of our price range right now. But that's ok. We'll be fine with whatever we decide on. So far, while the process is a lot of work, it hasn't been too painful.

A couple of articles caught my fancy in today's "Early Bird News" digests from the military:

A.
Bipartisan GI Bill Excludes GOP Leadership
(Washington Times)...Sean Lengell
Democratic Sen. Jim Webb outflanked top Republicans by courting veterans groups to create a "21st Century GI Bill," a legislative gambit that has again put GOP lawmakers at odds with President Bush and the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.

I have to say I'm not too pleased with McCain on this one. Here's a chance to really provide a great benefit to veterans, and in my opinion, he doesn't take advantage of the opportunity, and I'm not impressed with his professed reasons for sponsoring an alternative to the Webb/Hagel bill.

B.
Why We Went To Iraq
(Wall Street Journal)...
Fouad Ajami
Of all that has been written about the play of things in Iraq, nothing that I have seen approximates the truth of what our ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, recently said of this war: "In the end, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we came."

I'm still impressed by how little people want to think and talk about Iraq in it's current context- so many want to talk about it as if it is 2003 or even earlier. Let's talk about what's happening now (much good news here), and what is best for the U.S. and for Iraq in the future (much potential for good- let us weigh costs and benefits from this point on- what is in the past is in the past). I thought this article did a nice job.

My two cents, anyway.