Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Musings

I am not really a college basketball fan but I did watch the Cardinals. I felt that their play was pretty lackluster at best and that they were in big trouble after trouncing Arizona. Sienna gave the Cards all they could handle but Arizona was such a pushover that I had this sick feeling that they would play Michigan State with an attitude that their opponent would ‘disappear’ on them. Alas, Michigan State played a full game and the Cards did not. Ugh.

I do not know how I feel about the President’s hard line with GM and Chrysler. These companies have obviously done a pretty pitiful job on many levels and deserve to go belly up, but doing so would devastate the economy. Interesting, perspective, however, is that one observer said that GM is a health care provider who makes cars to provide health care. I guess their point is that health care reform might also be necessary for the economy to recover.

In the Old Testament there were times of Jubilee when all debts were forgiven. I wonder what would happen with the American economy if they declared a time of Jubilee and forgave all debts and everyone started over? I am not an economist and I suspect that something really big and bad would happen, but it is fun to think about.

John McCain, the news says, is not endorsing Sarah Palin right off to be the next Republican Presidential nominee. Does not one think it is a bit early to even begin asking such a question? I mean, really, what is the man going to say? People often love to talk about the ideological slant of the news media when they seem to overlook the most obvious----there is a lot of lazy journalism. The same people are asked the same questions over and over again.

Except Sarah Palin who is still trying to figure out an answer a question. Ugh. I’m wondering if she will even be re-elected in Alaska. She now has leaders from both parties incensed at her over her refusal to take a third of the bail out money. Considering that Alaska lacks from major resources (because of climate), Alaska has always required a significant amount of Federal aid. Her recent things are stunts and the people of her state will suffer. Hopefully the legislators of both parties actually have scruples and will probably over-rule her.

I was reading an article about the Manson Family murders and their parole hearings in California. Charles Manson, Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, and Patricia Krenwinkel remain in prison and have been repeatedly been denied parole, despite the fact that all of them, except Manson, have all taken responsibility for their crimes and have denounced Manson. Manson remains, well, Manson.

Susan Atkins was most recently denied ‘compassionate parole’ because she is terminally ill with brain cancer and mostly paralyzed.

Should they be released? I have thought about this a great deal and I actually do feel compassion for the women involved because I genuinely believe them now, and I do not see them as a further threat to society. They might even have a positive contribution to give to society if released. But having said that, I’d say that they shouldn’t be released.

As an opponent of the death penalty there has to be an alternative sentence that offers and end of life as a person knows it. That alternative punishment is life without parole.

The murders committed by the Manson family were amongst the most dramatic, sadistic, and brutal murders in American history. If one questions this, one needs to read the book Helter Skelter. The brutality of the crime was beyond measure.

The death penalty was the sentence and when the law was repealed the sentence went to life.

Life without parole is a tough sentence. It is a sentence that tells a person that they will live in a prison cell for every day for the rest of their lives. They know where they will have every meal and they know where they will die. Each and every minute of every day spent in prison is a reminder of the crime they committed. In so many ways it is a harsher sentence than death. Timothy McVeigh is wherever he is at the moment and perhaps does not confront what he did. That’s a theological debate for some other time.

Imagine, young man that he was, that he was still alive, having to confront what he did. One would hope that the weight of time would weigh on him greatly so that he would truly be confronted by what he did.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rainy Day Ramblings

Wow. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that rules need to be changed and enforced because there were flaws in the system?

You think?

Things change. When Jimmy Carter was the President things were regulated so majorly that any chance of breathing without permission was almost illegal. Ronald Reagan began the process of deregulation and this was carried on through Bush, Clinton, and finally George W. Bush really let things loose and did not provide agencies that had any remaining oversight with the adequate or even capable staff to do what little oversight there was left to do. Bam. Now the process will start over again. If history does repeat itself, we will begin a process of oversight that will build up for many years and begin the cycle again.

We will, of course, have people foaming at the mouth saying all of this is a form of (insert meaningless cliche or label here) and that all of this is typical of people who ascribe to (insert meaningless cliche or label here). The more I observe of this kind of label making the more convinced I am that we becoming a nation of cliche driven, label making fools who can no longer talk about complexities. Very sad.

I do have a long term fear. I have been distressed for a very long time that we are a two party nation. I know that there are ‘other’ parties, but they have not yet had much of an impact on our governmental process. Having only two parties, I believe, is part of the peril we are in right now. Worse, at the moment, is that we are evolving into a one party system. Karl Rove’s effort to make it a one party system failed miserably for his party, and place their opponents in a very powerful position. Not having a viable second party is not a good thing. Not having a loyal opposition that offers viable options, is not helpful to the overall health of the country.

The Republican Party was once a party of big ideas. The party of Goldwater, of Buckley, Lincoln, and of George Will, was a party that promoted intellectualism and big ideas. They were the party of the intellectuals and the and people they now call the intellectual elite. They seem to have evolved into a party of anti-intellectualism, and of just saying that everyone who has a different perspective from them is a (insert meaningless cliche or label here). And, they will fight to the death to be able to use those meaningless cliches and labels and whatever else.

People like this still exist within the Republican Party. I know people who are like this and who I respect a great deal. They are incredible good people, intelligent people, who can talk with ease about complexities and policies. Sadly, much of the party has been taken over by people who are unwilling to think ‘big’ and who are unwilling to discuss complex things in a complex way. Why learn when you can just call someone a (insert meaningless cliche or label here). I hope things do change.

Every day there is a new story about the ‘octomom.’ Today the big news was that she spent one day as a topless dancer. I keep wondering why it is that we keep reading about her in the news and watching her interviewed on television. I really have no need to hear or learn anything more about this woman.

Shawn Johnson and Lawrence Taylor are not dance partners on Dancing with the Stars, but both contestants. Johnson is a tiny young woman whose background is in gymnastics and Taylor was the most feared defensive player of all time. Johnson is light on her feet and tiny. Taylor dances like a guy who has played a very bruising game in a very bruising manner, and is quite large. Actually, they are both pretty amazing, just an incredible study in contrasts. One thing hasn’t changed, however, with Taylor on the scene. The injured list of his opponents is growing----something Taylor was amazing good at doing. Ironically, he was not the cause of the injuries on the show. Maybe the injuries are self-inflicted because they are worrying about Taylor’s tacking ability.

I have had to deal with the issue of spam more and more. To operate a computer now you have to have so much protection on it that it can make you absolutely crazy. Between spam, malware, viruses, etc., it is positively infuriating. I can’t help but wonder who does this kind of stuff?

And the company that sends me about 25 e-mails a day offering me big deals on Viagra, here is the news. I will never do business with you so you can stop sending me the e-mails.

I was watching the news the other night and the situation in Mexico sounds really bad. REALLY bad. When they discuss the rise in ‘beheadings’ and not just murder, it is downright chilling. I recognize that a murder is a murder and the end result is the same, but being beheaded just sounds a little worse. It’s very dreadful what is taking place just south of our nation’s border. I hope that people realize that this is not just ‘their’ problem but that we are involved as well.

On the economic front, I have listened to more economists than I ever knew existed. The question before us is a constant: Are we doing the right thing to get us out of this mess? President Obama certainly thinks so and lots of economists think so as well. Others, however, say that he is plunging us into a depression. As I have listened to the arguments of the economists I really don’t know what the right answer is. Obviously if the leading economic minds are disagreeing with each other than not knowing the answer is probably a fairly reasonable spot to be in. Of course, the only ones who do KNOW the right answers are going around saying that every possible solution is either (insert meaningless cliche or label here) or (insert meaningless cliche or label here).

Monday, March 23, 2009


I am always struck by the constant discussion of responsibility and that it seems that most people are only willing to go part way in the discussion.

If you read people from the right they make arguments about personal responsibility. There is a sense that if people did what they were supposed to do and took care of themselves and their own, things would work out. When discussions get raised, however, about corporate responsibility, they grow squishy.

If you read people from the right they make arguments about corporate responsibility. There is a sense that we are all responsible for the well being of one another and if we take care of each other things will work out. When discussions get raised, however, about personal responsibility, they grow squishy.

It strikes me that people want responsibility on their own terms. It comes down to it is EITHER personal responsibility or corporate responsibility.

There is this little problem. The word responsibility is not a word, which by design, is meant to be narrowed. It is not a word that presents itself as a beacon of ideological thought. It is a word that stands by itself and demands accountability by itself.

Personal responsibility is vital. The world revolves because people do take personal responsibility. Law enforcement spends less time chasing down criminals if the vast majority of people take the personal responsibility to obey the law. When people do all the things society needs them to do, society does work well.

However, corporate responsibility is equally vital. Things do not always go well and often circumstances change for people and they are no longer able to care for themselves. It is often fashionable to blame the poor on being poor but most often this was not a personal choice. Life has a tendency to crash and burn for too many people to ignore.

From a faith perspective, both are vital. There is a seminal question early in the Bible after Cain kills his brother Abel. God asks Cain the location of Abel and Cain responds, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God’s question was two-fold. First, God knew where Abel was and what had happened to Abel. It was a call of accountability to Cain. On the other hand, the response of Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a question that is answered throughout the rest of the Bible, and the answer is ‘yes.’

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Learning about Consequences

There have been several stories in the news lately about the practice of ‘sexting.’ Sexting is sending racy or nude pictures or videos of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend. This practice has become somewhat rampant among high school students and this kind of practice, most especially in that realm, does not usually have very good consequences.

One thing that often happens in high school romances is that they do come to an end. Now many of them come to an end with the boy and or the girl, having nude pictures of their ‘ex’ on their cell phone. As you can probably imagine, the pictures are usually her the girl. So, we have a guy with nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend on his cell phone. Pictures are easily sent out from cell phone to cell phone.

Common decency would indicate that people ought to delete the pictures. Common indecency would mean that you send the pictures out to a lot of people in an effort to humiliate the ‘ex.’ As can be imagined, this is what often ends up taking place.

A Cincinnati teenager, Jesse Logan broke up with her boyfriend and he hounded her. Her pictures soon ended up on cell phone after cell phone and she was harassed to the point that she committed suicide. She was a victim of her own poor choices, her ex-boyfriend’s cruelty, and the relentless humiliation she received at the hand of her classmates. It was, needless to say, a very sad and tragic end to her life.

A new issue has come forward out of this. Many of these pictures are of students under the age of 18 and so those in possession of them are being arrested and charged with child pornography and they are labeled as sex offenders and many are facing time in prison. One young rocket scientist was irate, sitting in his prison garb, complaining that one small mistake on his part led to unfair consequences.

The reason I referred to this guy as a ‘rocket scientist’ is this. He hasn’t figured something out. There was nothing small in his mistake. One can debate whether he is a sexual predator or not or how harshly he should be charged. There was, however, nothing even remotely amusing, nothing trivial, and nothing small about him sending out pictures of his girlfriend, taken out of love for him, to his friends in order to humiliate her. One can argue that she showed poor judgment in posing for the pictures. One can argue for her judgment in dating such a moron. But what happened to her was and is undeserved. My pity level for this guy is low because it is painfully obvious that he does not have a clue as to what he did----and I’m not taking about child pornography.

A lesson that often seems to be unlearned in our society is the lesson of consequences.

I recently saw the movie ‘Watchmen,’ and there is a scene of chaos and someone asked the question, “Whatever became of the American dream?” The answer was this. “This IS the American dream. The problem is it came true.”

I’ve often thought about that during our economic meltdown. The greed, the lack of regulations and oversight, the greed, the mindless lust for more has led to dire consequences not only for the United States but the entire world. During the recent CPAC gathering the controversy was all about a speech about a radio talk show host. Perhaps the most outrageous comment was ‘Our bad,’ said by Michael Steele in reference to the economy. It was like saying that one small mistake led to....

Except it wasn’t one small mistake. And the mistake was not just the mistake of Michael Steele, George W. Bush, and the Republicans. The Democrats jumped off that cliff as well as many others. And, like these guys who texted pictures of their girlfriends, the consequences of this will be long.

Which brings me back to these people who engaged in the sexting.

When a camera is available, even one on a cell phone, one ought to take note that a camera can make a permanent record of what you look like at that moment and what you are wearing or not wearing. Some years ago Dr. Laura Schlessinger lectured the world on good behavior and was mortified to find pictures of herself on the Internet----taken by an old-flame who decided to cash in on her fame. Schlessinger, like so many young women, found herself compromised by a bad decision and a callous man. Some things are not supposed to be saved for posterity. People must learn that exposing one’s self in such a way to a camera can have a life long consequences.

But my greatest wrath has to be a statement on common decency. What kind of lowness does one need to sink to in order to send out or publish such pictures? It makes me wonder if there is no common decency any longer. As I watched two young men, in prison garb, interviewed and outraged that they are in prison, I had no pity on them. I do not know if this is the correct punishment for them, but, if for no other reason, I hope that their time in prison gives them an opportunity as to learning about consequences.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Healthcare and Faith

I am going to start this by stating my own personal opinion on something. One of the great ministries of Jesus was the ministry of healing. The Gospels are full of healing narratives with Jesus healing people of various ailments. As result, the concept of healing is something Christians, at least from my perspective, ought to think of as important to our faith. As a result of this, from a faith and justice perspective, I believe that health care is a right of all people. As we live in a nation filled with people of faith, and as we are an incredibly prosperous nation, I believe that we have a moral obligation to provide health care to everyone. But, in saying this, I do not have the answers on how to accomplish this. I do know, however, that we are not doing a very good job.

In the latest research, the United States ranks 45th in the world in life expectancy. In a world where we possess the largest amount of wealth, 44 nations, many of which we impugn as having health care systems far worse than our’s, out live us.

There are some major factors in this, the first of which I am totally guilty. Our life styles are life styles that tend to be less active and we have poor diets. Our culture of fast food in huge portions has made us the most obese population in human history. Much of what we consume has low notational value, is highly processed, and our bodies do not really have a clue as to how to cope with the garbage we consume. As I write this, I write as one who has consumed a large amount of this stuff as well-----ask my knees how that has gone.

Our health care system tend to be really good at treating illness, but not as good at preventive medicine. Many high quality insurance programs are great at providing care to treat illness, but are not good at paying for tests and services given while we are healthy to prevent those illnesses. Some companies are beginning to change, but the change has been slow in coming and it is still inadequate.

But, as we criticize Canada, a nation with a comparable life style and a country with a nationalized health care system, we criticize a nation that is filled with people with a higher life expectancy. France, a nation of smokers who eat high fat foods, and a nation with a nationalized health care system, is a nation where people live longer than we do. Plus they have great bread and wonderful wine, but I do digress.

I write this, however, unsure that their health care system is the one we truly want.

The American health care system is broken down into several components.

The first is that we have a nationalized health care system for people over the age of 65 called Medicare. It is not an option. When we pay our employment insurance we are paying for Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits. Politicians like to refer to this as a ‘trust fund’ but it is not and never has been a trust fund. It is a tax and that tax is used to pay benefits for people over the age of 65. Lots of people like to clamor that it is a bad investment but it is what it is. It provides a support system for the aged. Many elderly people have additional health insurance, pensions, and savings that enable them to be self-supporting in their retirement years.

Needless to say, Medicare is hit hard because people over the age of 65 tend to use these benefits at a higher rate and in the last month of life most people spend the highest proportion of their benefits during an entire life time. This is a logical outcome of our system as people need more medical attention at the end of their lives.

Much of our system is based on health insurance. For many/most people, that health insurance comes as a benefit if employment. Some people have all of their health insurance paid for, and some people pay a portion of it. Health insurance rates have sky-rocketed in the last decade and so this is becoming a more and more critical issue.

People make a presumption about their health insurance providers that is not very true. The average person, if asked what their health insurance’s job is, they would say to provide payment for health services. That is the wrong answer. The primary job of health insurance companies is to make a profit and reward those who have invested in their company.

Now, before you take my head off, this is not stated in a negative fashion. This is an elementary aspect of the market.

The primary job of Dell Computers is not to make computers, it is to make a profit for investors. Dell, however, needs the ability to raise capital and make a profit, so they have to provide something of worth to consumers. As a result, they build computers in a way that enables them to have the highest possible profit margin. And, because they want recurring business, it is in their best interest to make the best possible equipment and provide follow up assistance so that they have happy customers who will keep spending money at Dell.

The primary job of McDonald’s is not to make burgers, it is to make a profit for investors. If people were willing to go to the drive-thru window and just deposit money, it would be great. However, as the average person will not do this, they must provide a product that will keep people coming back. As a result, burgers and fries, etc., become a part of the equation.

Health insurance companies are like this as well. They must provide a product for people to hand over money. It is, however, in the best interest of a health insurance to not pay for benefits. The more they spend out, the lower their profits tend to be. As a result, the health insurance industry often dictates what procedures are covered and under what the circumstances are. In recent years hospital stays have decreased in time. Some of this is indicative of better medicine and better medical procedures. Some. Much of it is dictated on the health insurance stating what they will and will not pay for and the hospital having to abide by this. If the profit is a non-profit organization, they need to avoid losing money or they will collapse and if it is a for profit hospital, like everyone else, they exist to make money for those who have invested in it.

Service providers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, labs, etc., all are looking to survive, thrive, make a living, etc. They provide services for rates and are compensated, usually for part of what they will charge, by insurance companies that state what is ‘usual and customary.’ As it is in the best interest of the insurance companies to thrive, they will squeeze down on service providers and the service providers will often tend to raise what they need to charge to get what they need.

When uninsured people are treated they get to pay the entire fee which was inflated for insurance or they pay nothing and ultimately the government has to step in. Many hospitals receive subsidies and grants from the Federal Government for a variety of things with the stipulation that they treat the poor. Many impoverished people used hospital emergencies rooms as their primary care providers making this the most expensive health care provided. All of this comes at tax payer expense, thus nationalizing another aspect of health care.

BUT, and this is a big BUT:

There is another huge factor in all of this. One of the staggering fees that service providers pay is for malpractice insurance. When we read of class action lawsuits against some drug or some treatment, we will find that not only pharmaceutical companies are involved, but physicians, hospitals, etc., are all a part of those being sued.

There are instances of real malpractice. The medical community, like every other community, has great people and not so great people practicing medicine. I have been fortunate in my life to have had highly skilled, caring physicians who do and have done a wonderful job. Unfortunately, there are others I have seen who are not nearly as good. Some people get very bad healthcare treatment and some so bad to the point that a lawsuit is the only good answer.

Many lawsuits, however, are not. As a result many doctors practice defensive medicine; they will order tests that might not really be needed, but they do so to protect themselves from litigation. They might even write prescriptions that they do not believe are even remotely necessary, but will give in to the pressure from their patients to protect themselves from a future lawsuit. In a day and age when prescription drugs are hawked on television many doctors find themselves being ‘forced’ to write prescriptions for people who are enchanted by the marketing they watched.

Who wouldn’t want a drug that gives them the strength to carry two bath tubs into the back yard for mutual bathing?

Many lawsuits are frivolous. Many service providers have chosen out of court settlements to avoid long, costly trials. They do so at the urging of their own insurance companies which protect them and find it in their best interest to pay out small sums instead of large sums because they too are looking to make a profit. As a result, a non-compliant patient may have gotten good medical care, the proper diagnosis, but their failure to approve of a test or a treatment led to a graver illness----and so they sue the doctor.

As a result, malpractice insurance, for most doctors and service providers is a staggering expense that is passed on to consumers, health insurances companies, and the government.

What has to happen?
We need better preventative care. We need to have an continue to have great service providers. We need to have be able to have legal services to protect patients, but abuse the system. We need a very different system than we have now. Alas, I don’t know what exactly that will look like.

But this I know. My faith teaches me that health care and healing is a God given right to all people. We have to find a way to accomplish this.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Adding by Subtracting

Today the Dallas Cowboys did something really smart. They cut Terrell Owens. Owens has been one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers and has been jettisoned by the San Francisco 49'ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and now the Dallas Cowboys despite the fact that he plays well in games.

In the weeks up to their amazing Super Bowl run people were amazed how much better Eli Manning had gotten. What happened was this. His tight end, Jeremy Shockey was injured and off the field. Every time Manning went to the huddle Shockey would glare at him and say, “I was open.” Tony Romo had the same problem in Dallas. Whenever he’d drop back to pass he almost had to look for T.O. first or he was going to hear about it in the huddle and on the bench.

Today Sports Illustrated has a poll on their website. “Do you want Terrell Owens on your favorite team?” An amazing 86% of respondents have said a resounding, “NO.”

All of this despite the fact that Owens has been one of the most prolific and dangerous receivers in the NFL. The dilemma with him is simple. Owens is a guy who is about Owens first. If his team loses the game 35-28 but Owens caught 4 touchdown passes, he’s happy.

The Cowboys did something smart. They learned that they were adding by subtracting a person who is a major problem to them. The bad news (for a Giants’ fan) is that they will be a lot better this year without him.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Need and Goodness

It has taken me a bit of time to process my thoughts so pardon my delay on this.

Last Saturday St. Marks United Church of Christ in New Albany held a Health Fair. Our Mission Committee worked incredibly hard to get the word out to the community and the communities around us, and recruited volunteers from the congregation as well as others in the area.

Lunch was made and served in our Saturday Soup Kitchen and clothing was distributed from our Clothes Closet. Women were given assistance in learning about their health, blood sugars were taken, eyes were examined and people received free glasses, free massages were given as well as free haircuts. The people who came were greeted and welcomed and led around by ‘shepherds’ who assured that people got what they needed and, above all, were treated with dignity and respect.

We estimated that over 300 people were served last Saturday. A little boy walked around showing off his freshly cut head of hair; one woman shrieked with joy that she could actually read the Bible that was given to her. It was an amazing day.

It was an amazing day for people who came in to receive aid. They were treated with dignity and respect from start to finish. They went by their names and not their numbers. They were not herded like cattle, but they were treated as brothers and sisters by people who cared for them. If folks proved to be difficult everyone just tried harder with them. People came with needs and many needs were met and the guests were blessed.

But even more blessed were those who worked that day. A shriek of joy from a woman who can see again is the finest hymn ever sung. A child’s smile because he has a fresh haircut is the most beautiful picture ever created.

It was a day where need and goodness came into contact with each other and for a few hours, in one small place in the universe, life was a bit better.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Random Monday Musings

The best hitter in Major League Baseball right now is Manny Ramirez. The man is a menace when he attempts to field the ball and behaves in a positively childish fashion most of the time and is unsigned. He turned down $45,000,000.00 from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two years as ‘not enough.’ Need I say more?

Ray Lewis spoke badly about the Ravens and looked to move on and make big money in free-agency. The only team that expressed any significant interest in him was his own team, the Ravens. Methinks he spoke too much...

Bobby Jindal’s best piece of luck this week was that Saturday Night Live was a repeat. He is, I suspect, hoping and praying someone else does something soon to get him off the first five minutes of the show. His speech was pretty awful both in delivery and content. Then he wasn’t even being honest with his little story about the boats. And referencing Katrina, a George W. Bush debacle, was not a particularly astute thing to do. Please recall, however, the nominating speech for Michael Dukakis was one of the all time worst speeches ever at that Democratic Convention. It was given by a ‘promising young Governor’ who was a ‘rising star’ for the Democrats. It was endless and incoherent. Four years later, the speaker, Bill Clinton, was elected President. Jindal is being lumped in there with Sarah Palin which is a huge mistake. Palin gives a great speech but is busily blaming everyone except herself for her own cluelessness; Jindal is a bright guy who we will be hearing more from in the future. He appears to be a very effective Governor in Louisiana and that will prove to be more important than one speech.

Lots can be said and has been said by Rush Limbaugh’s speech at CPAC. There is only one thing to note. He wants President Obama to fail. It is a bad time right now, and very few people are arguing that. A failed Presidency, right now, hurts us badly, very badly. Rush wants Obama to fail because to Limbaugh, ideology is more important than country. If Obama is successful than Limbaugh’s ideology, at the moment, is, at very least, put in the back burner. Limbaugh values ideological purity over good of country. People who put party or ideology over country, no matter what party or ideology they have, are people who have NOTHING of value to say. And that is all that needs to be said about Rush Limbaugh at the moment. He has nothing of value to add to our national conversation.

Roland Burris is still holding on to his Illinois Senate seat. He is avoiding meetings where President Obama is as Burris feels it would be ‘awkward’ to be with the President at this time. You think?

In watching about and reading about the current economic crisis, the word ‘meltdown’ actually does seem to be an accurate word. There literally is a financial meltdown in our banking/investment system, our real estate market, the automobile industry, as well as in other arenas. I have heard ‘experts’ speak about the stimulus money as being everything from too much and wasteful, to not nearly enough. It is difficult to fathom that this crisis is anywhere close to over and close to being resolved. It is frightening indeed.

Lastly, New York Giants Hall of Fame Linebacker, Lawrence Taylor is going to be on “Dancing with the Stars.” LT once hit Joe Theisman, the then QB of the Redskins with such devastating force that as the two of them got tangled up, literally snapped Theisman’s leg, ending his career. One can only hope LT remembers to dance and not tackle his partner...