What a time it has been for self-inflicted harm. In state politics we’ve seen the fall of New York Governor Elliot Spitzer and the re-emergence of scandal involving former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. On Wall Street we’ve seen the implosion of Bear Stearns and Southwest Airlines was fined more than $10 million for flying more than three dozen jets that were out of compliance with airworthiness standards.

And we’ve seen two milestones in the U.S. war in Iraq: the passing of the fifth anniversary,
despite then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s assurance that “I can’t tell you if the use of in Iraq today would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last more than that;” and we’ve seen the four thousanth U.S. fatality in Iraq.

But we’ve also seen recoveries from crises. Senator Barack Obama, pummeled by criticism about his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, gave a defining speech  on race in America and maintained his momentum in his quest for the Democratic nomination for president. New York’s new governor, David Patterson, pre-empted media scrutiny of his personal life by disclosing on his first day in office that he and his wife had prior affairs.

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