Archives for December 2006

“New Strategy”

WHAT IN THE WORLD

Following the report of the “Iraq Study Group” headed by prominent former administrative and legislative figures, news began to “leak” out that President Bush was going to change strategies in Iraq. No one doubts that the disastrous losses of the President’s party at the polls in November led directly to these proposed changes.

Now news reports flood the airwaves: “Bush will increase troop levels temporarily.” Others speculate that he will announce modest troop reductions. A virtual parade of field and general grade officers, mostly retired, is being quizzed by the various media about the advisability of what is guessed to be Bush’s new “strategy.” No one knows. Everyone awaits the President’s announcement.

Meanwhile, every day our brave soldiers and marines are ordered out to the streets in Iraq’s cities. Three to four per day, on average, are blown to bits and are shipped home in body bags in coffins. Dozens of others are severely wounded by snipers’ bullets, burns from roadside explosives, have severed limbs, and on and on it goes. To what purpose?

That we can never win this conflict militarily, everyone agrees. So why do we stay? “To make America safe,” in the standard answer. This is exactly the answer our government gave throughout the Vietnam War. That is, until it was realized we couldn’t win militarily. Then what did we do? We left! And what happened? We established standard trading policies with the “new” Vietnam.

Our most precious national commodity, our dear young people, is being squandered, every day in this war that is destined to go down in history as the gravest mistake any American president ever made. Let’s do what we did in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia: leave! National pride! Is it worth one more gallant soldier or marine?

The Climbers

For the past two weeks it dominated every news report. At first, I assumed the three missing climbers, trapped on Mt. Hood, had been conducting research, taking test samples or performing some other scientific exercise. No, I found, Kelly James, Brian Hall and Jerry Cooke, were “recreational climbers.” They were, as a family spokesperson later related, “pursuing their passion.”

Sunday, December 10th brought a frightening cell phone call from James. For some reason he was hunkered in a snow cave and the others had “gone for help.” His call sent a small army of searchers into action.

Over the next ten days with law-enforcement people in charge, volunteer climbing experts with skis and snowshoes put their lives on the line to scour the mountain.. C-130 aircraft conducted flights around the clock with sensing devices. Helicopters large and small flew in to search. The U.S. Army sent a cadre of climbers. Worsening weather conditions hampered their efforts. The anxious families, professing Christian faith, prayed for their beloved men. A watching world tuned in to hourly news reports.

Sadly, rescue was not to be. The body of Kelly James, frozen to death, cell phone on and drained of power, still at his side, was found in a makeshift snow cave. The others, thought to have fallen to their death, may never be found. Photos, in a camera on James revealed that the men had gambled with the elements and were “traveling light” for a “quick trip” to the top.

The Bible calls the insignificant achievements of this world a “corruptible crown.” Heartbreaking though it is, the best that can be said of these dear men is that “they died doing what they loved to do. To compound it all, taxpayers of the State of Oregon get the bill for the ill-fated rescue, at least $100,000! “Oh mighty Christ,” my heart cries, “I want to live and die for more than fun.” Don’t you?

HELPLESS PARENTS

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Again this week, as I was crossing the channels on our living room television, I came upon a “How to do It” program dealing with parenting. Leaving it on for about two minutes, this is what I saw.

The scene looked in upon a middle-class home in the childrens bedroom area. The father and mother were professional people, at home from their jobs, “at last,” and ready now to bed the children down for the night.

In the two minutes I watched this pitiful scene there was more upset in that home than my wife and I ever had, total , in putting out children to rest in all our years of parenting.

The mother begged, chasing the children around the room while the father took turn about throwing them into bed threatening them not to get up “again.” They didn’t get up “again,” they got up many times, in full disregard to the parents'”orders.”

I could not imagine being a child “raised” in such utter chaos. Probably some “doctor” will “diagnose” these children with any one of a number of imaginary illnesses assigned to boys and girls whose misfortune it is to be reared in homes devoid of structure, tough love and character-building attributes. My dad would have “cured” those childrens “problems” the first hour he had charge of them. Thanks Dad!

What in the World – Moon Camp!

The National aviation and Space Administration (NASA) announce this week that by the year 2018 we will have a permanent space camp on the moon.

To start with they are projecting 25 billion dollars in expense. The camp is to be built at the moons south pole “where there is plenty of sun for power” and maybe ice that can be melted for the sake of future astronauts use there.

The stated purpose is to “explore the history of the earth and the moon.” The reported theory is that the “moon was once a chunk of the earth.”

Meanwhile the daily starvation of hundreds of thousands in Africa, especially Sudan, Chad and other central African nations goes on.

Suggestion: Distribute specially marked copies of the Bible to each leader at NASA highlighting Genesis 1:16 and Psalm 19:2. Then take your tax dollars and invest them in the lives of those starving people for whom Jesus died!

Tip #3 ” Winching” Your Car Out

CAR AND DRIVER TIPS

The tragic death this past week (December 6, 2006) of Mr. James Kim of Oregon gives focus for a suggestion you can use to save yourself when your car is stuck in mud or snow.

After several days of waiting at the site of their automobile at a road junction where its wheels had become stuck, Mr. Kim struck off across country for help. He walked about nine miles but became lost and his body was later found less than a mile from the family car. James’s heroism is most commendable, of course. His family is justly proud of his sacrifice.

From the numerous news reports and photos I have studied, I believe the Kim family could have extricated themselves from the dire situation in which they found themselves, using only the things they had at hand.

The Kim family had the car’s jack which they obviously used because they burned, one by one, the car’s tires to attract attention. Oddly enough, their jack was the key to their own rescue, in all probability.

This is what you should attempt to do to get your vehicle onto solid footing. Carefully survey the situation around the car, paying close attention to the most likely place into which you will try to maneuver your car to get it out of its stuck condition. You can use the jack as a kind of “winch” to “walk” the car out of the mud, snow, etc. Determine the closest point to which you intend to move your car, especially the drive wheels.

Assuming the footing for your car’s jack base is firm enough to support the weight of the car, position the jack at the recommended jacking point nearest the wheel that is stuck. If the car is on a grade, a chunk of wood or other object should be placed on the grade side of a wheel at the opposite end of your vehicle from the wheel you are jacking. The shift lever should be put in “neutral.” If the jack’s base starts to sink into the ground as you jack, let the car back down and find twigs and small stones or other objects to place under the base to support it.

There is an element of danger in what I am suggesting so great care for yourself and your passengers should be observed at every point. After all, this is an emergency measure of last resort.

If you have one or more able-bodied passengers with you, their help can be crucial to your success. Before you begin jacking, position all those passengers side by side so they can push your vehicle in the direction you need to go. Have them take a firm stance with feet and legs away from the car as much as possible. Now begin raising the car on the jack.

Raise the car as high as you can as you extend the jack out. The vehicle will become somewhat unstable as you raise the car. When you have reached what you believe to be the highest point you can safely raise the car, pull the jack handle from the jack carefully and join your passengers on the side of the car (or front or rear, depending on which way you intend to go). On a given signal push the car off the jack using as much force as possible. With a little practice the car will move over on the stuck end anywhere from a few inches to maybe a foot.

Retrieve the jack and begin the process all over again. You may need to improvise, even to the point of jacking the other end of the car and pushing that end toward your desired safe point. This process is slow, but it will work.

Some years ago, I pulled off a paved road to turn around in an area I thought was “high and dry.” I was wrong and found myself stuck in mud about fifteen feet from the dry road. I began the process I have described above. After about an hour of working I had moved the car approximately four feet. In another two hours I would have reached dry ground.

During my work to extricate the car a truck passed by and, seeing my difficulty, the driver used a tow cord and from the dry highway, pulled me out.

I believe the Kim family could have saved themselves by using this self-winching method I have described. They had time, reasonable weather in which to work, an operable automobile and plenty of wood and limbs around them by which to create a base over which to move the car.

Why not copy this article and put it in your car’s glove compartment and then hope and pray you never have to use it. But, if all else fails you can!

Tip #2 – Acceleration and Stopping

Over the years of my driving career, now spanning well over five decades, hundreds of cars have passed me in parallel lanes in order to speed to the traffic signal ahead. Arriving there, the drivers await the instant the light changes to green in order to heavily accelerate toward the next light. Not good!

As you drive in such conditions, it is good to scan the panorama ahead. There are ample opportunities to save money as well as to drive with an increased measure of safety. Watching the traffic flow will allow you to adjust your acceleration with a view to using the accelerator and brake pedal lightly and sparingly. With a little practice you can accomplish this with scant notice to those driving near you. I assure you, however, that your gasoline bill will be an object of notice. It will go down.

There are additional benefits too. Every use of the brake pedal puts a measure of wear on the brake system. “Stopping on a dime” is expensive. Most brake shoes or pads wear more quickly on the front wheels. Crunching stops carry with them a demand for more braking power. Such stops wear brake surfaces far more than more gradual ones. Allowing yourself to drive with such habits costs money. Perhaps more important, it lulls the driver into forgetting that driving in such a manner on slippery surfaces can easily result in an accident.

Actually, what I am suggesting is merely an extension of an existing traffic law within most states. It is called “driving within the assured clear distance.” It is unlawful to drive, ever, in a manner such as to be unable to bring one’s vehicle to a safe stop due to the lawful actions of other drivers moving before you. “Jack rabbit starts” and spectacular stops will eventually lead such a driver into an unsafe situation that will probably result in an accident.

Finally, there is another benefit. Your passengers will enjoy their ride with you as you drive in a consistent manner that displays care, smoothness and predictability. On the other hand, we have all probably had the misfortune to ride with a driver whose habits throw his passengers around on the seats and lead to “white knuckle” experiences.

Try driving for a week as though there were eggs atop your accelerator and brake pedal and see if you don’t experience a pleasant difference. I’m sure your regular passengers will!

War and Prayer

It is amazing that such scant attention is being paid to the cost of the war in Iraq at present. In terms of money the costs have now risen above the total cost of the Vietnam War. Todays American babies and toddlers will be paying this bill for many years to come.

But, even more heartbreaking is the cost in American manpower. The death toll is now just short of 2,900, since the war began over 3-1/2 years ago. More than 21,000 have been wounded. Of this number over 9,000 have some form of permanent disability.

God holds up the goal for us the living, as believers, of “a quiet and peaceable life” and to maintain an ongoing attitude of prayer for those in governmental authority (I Timothy 2:1-2).

A combat zone requires great bravery on the part of those conducting combat operations. Many of our dear soldiers and marines do not have a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. What happens to them should matter a great deal to us.

Whether or not our governmental leaders believe they need prayer is beside the point. They do! God says so! Many of them do not profess the Lord and others who do are confused. Lets do our Christian duty in these dark days.