Take the most contentious and bitterly fought election in modern history and blast it ubiquitously over satellite radio, regular radio, internet news and chat forums, your home phone, television with their endless supply of ‘spin-meisters,’ interlaced with ads uglier than yesterday’s, and you wind up pretty sour.  Try to take a break from it and you will be reminded once again by yard signs, public banners, and conversations in churches, clubs, barber shops, salons, coffee shops, delis, bars, and sporting events.  The election by its nature has reminded us of the country’s problems, the information age, but its nature, has made it virtually impossible for us to reflect without distraction. 

J. R. R. Tolkein reminds us that patience is integral to any great undertaking and accomplishment.  For the past year, we have watched almost every notable statistic available to determine the current and likely future health of this economy.  Most have been mixed to mildly positive with just enough question marks to keep overconfidence in check.  The past twelve months are remarkable in their stark contrast to the mood and assumptions of the late nineties, when virtually everything was rosy beyond historical precedent.