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2009: Now for the Hard Part

The end of 2008 was a time of "shock and awe." We are stumbling into 2009 dazed, confused and more than a little afraid.

The shock will wear off. Then, we are going to find out who we are, or perhaps what we have become.

We've taken hard hits in the past, picked up the pieces, and started to rebuild. This time the hit is going to be a long and painful unwinding of decades of bad habits, bad leadership and bad mistakes by those we assumed had a base level of competence and responsibility.

We can bewail and blame. But we can't change the next 12 months. By all accounts, we're strapped in for a very rough outing.

How we get through it is going to be a matter of fortitude and attitude. Pick your position. Is the glass half empty, half full -- or did somebody take the glass and smash it against the wall? In times like these, optimism is a decision.

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