Rob Summers was a 20-year-old college baseball pitcher when a hit-and-run driver ran him down, paralyzing him from the chest down. But that was five years ago. Summers can now move his legs, feet and toes, and he can even stand up.
That's because of an experimental treatment that combines intensive physical therapy with electrical stimulation of the spinal cord.
"To everyone's disbelief, I was able to stand independently, the third day we turned it on," Summers said.
That may sound just like flipping a switch, but it was hardly that easy.
Last fall, we bought a quarter-ounce gold coin. A few weeks ago, we sold it. The price of gold rose while we owned the coin. But because we had to pay a commission and sales tax when we bought it, we wound up losing a little money in the end.
Veterans fresh from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are being hit hard by the reality of the current economy and the competition for jobs. The financial prospects for vets under 30 can be especially daunting.
Many are trying for the first time to translate their military skills into the marketable experience civilian employers are seeking.
"Americans did not like lying to others," David Ignatius writes in Bloodmoney. "It made them uncomfortable. Their specialty was lying to themselves."
Lying — to everyone, really — is the theme of his new espionage novel, set in present-day Pakistan. In the book, a Pakistani official asks whether Americans are conducting covert operations on Pakistani soil. And, as truth is so often stranger than fiction, it's a subject that has come under much scrutiny in the weeks since al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
It would be easy — expected, even — for Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel to be enemies. After all, he killed Johnson's only son, in 1993. He went to prison for that — and toward the end of his sentence, he and Johnson made peace.
As a teenager in Minneapolis, Israel was involved with gangs and drugs. One night at a party, he got into a fight with Laramiun Byrd, 20, and shot and killed him. Oshea is now 34; he finished serving his prison sentence for murder about a year and a half ago.