Friday, July 11, 2008

There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Lunch

Whatever your feelings on the Iraq war, I think it is important to remember the costs of such endeavors.

The premature death of Joseph Dwyer at the age of 31 has highlighted the neglect many American veterans believe they face once they return home.

He was made famous by a photograph, taken in March 2003 during the first week of the war, in which he is seen running to a makeshift hospital.

In his arms, the soldier was cradling an injured Iraqi boy who he had rescued from crossfire.

The arresting image, held up by the war's supporters as the human face of the invasion, was reproduced around the world and Specialist Dwyer was hailed as a hero.

However, he was always uncomfortable with the media attention, attempting to deflect its focus on to his entire unit. He had done no more than any of the other soldiers in his unit, he told reporters.

It emerged that Mr Dwyer's post-war civilian life was also no different to that of many fellow veterans.

For years, he struggled against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug abuse, unemployment and marital breakdown.

On June 28, Mr Dwyer, 31, called a taxi to take him to a hospital near his home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, after earlier taking presciption pills and inhaling fumes from a computer cleaner aerosol.

When the driver arrived, Mr Dwyer said he was too weak to open the door. Police had to kick it down and found he had collapsed. Within minutes, he had died.

Police in several states had been dealing with Mr Dwyer for several years as he suffered from violent delusions that he was being hunted by Iraqi soldiers.

He was in and out of psychiatric care, once being committed after he started firing at imagined attackers inside his home, leading to a three-hour police siege. He had also crashed his car several times after swerving to avoid imagined roadside bombs.

Mr Dwyer's family said he had also been struggling with depression and sleeplessness, symptoms associated with PTSD. He would spend nights hiding in a wardrobe clutching a knife, and started inhaling from aerosols to help him sleep.

Hat Tip: Rod Dreher

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Car Gods Are Displeased...Again

I don't know what I have done to them, but they are pissed at me again. Two days ago, I couldn't start my vehicle and I figured out it was because the cable running from the battery to the rest of the car had fallen apart. Literally. It had been held together by electrical tape which had slipped away and was now just hanging there. Digging up some electrical tape of my own, I did a quick job of taping it back together and off I went.

Except that I had to do it nearly every time I got back into the car because it kept falling apart. And then today, I hit the jackpot. Apparently a fuse blew or something shorted out along the line somewhere because I can't even get the thing to spark now when I put the pieces together. Oh, the battery is still good. Crossing a couple of screwdrivers touching the posts gets a good zap, but nothing comes from the damn wire.

So, the car is sitting behind the local mall. I'd love to just firebomb it, but, alas, I need a vehicle. Even if they hate me and go out of their way to make my life difficult.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't Baby Your Kids

'Cause they could turn out to be wimps. So says Hara Estroff Marano, an editor at Psychology Today who says we shield our kids from too much which only harms them in the long run. She offers some advice to parents.

One, back off and give kids some credit and some leeway to demonstrate their competence. Two, let kids play freely without monitoring. Three, eat dinner together at least five nights a week: aside from the sense of cohesiveness, it gives all that security that is the breeding ground for success. No matter where you are on the socioeconomic spectrum, it is more correlated with school adjustment and achievement than any other single thing that parents can do.

The whole interview is worth reading. I know I find myself guilty of this at times. The world can be such a horrific place and I want to shield my beautiful daughters from all of the crap. Unfortunately, I or any other parent cannot do that completely. The best we can do is to slowly expose them to it, but educate them about it and guide them and be a rock for them to hold on to during the bad times. God knows it's not easy, but the effort is certainly worth it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Not No, But Hell No.

Like Andrew, I hope this is a joke.

Yes, we can vote for George W. Bush in 2008. We have the right to write in the name of our chosen candidate, regardless of whether or not he is officially on the ballot.

We know that George Bush was God's Candidate in 2000. We know that George Bush was God's candidate again in 2004. And George Bush has been God's president for the last 8 years.

Trust in God and vote your faith. Keep America safe. Write-in George W. Bush for President in 2008.

Look At Me! I'm a Christian!

I've never understood the desire of some people to proclaim their belief in Christianity as loudly as possible, people like those in South Carolina who now have a license plate that says "I believe" and has a picture of a cross. Well, I suppose I shouldn't say that I don't understand, 'cause I do. It is a shallow declaration of faith that is much easier than, say, trying to live a quiet life of following Jesus's teachings. People might not figure out you are a Christian that way, not to mention that it's so hard striving to live virtuously. Much easier to shout from the rooftops, "Hey, I'm a Christian." Then people don't have to guess whether or not you are and you can go ahead and slide on some of those pesky Commandments.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ancient Tablet Calls Into Question Current Theories of Early Christianity

A fascinating tablet dated to the first-century B.C. is forcing scholars to reexamine our current picture of early Christianity. The tablet talks about a three-day resurrection and blood being required for redemption. Most believed that this was an invention of early Christians, but this tablet which has yet to have any serious detractors to its authenticity may show that the idea was in the Middle East before Jesus.

A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.

It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.

Still, its authenticity has so far faced no challenge, so its role in helping to understand the roots of Christianity in the devastating political crisis faced by the Jews of the time seems likely to increase.

Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the stone was part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day.

“Some Christians will find it shocking — a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology — while others will be comforted by the idea of it being a traditional part of Judaism,” Mr. Boyarin said.

This is very interesting and I can't wait to read more about it.

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