After a lengthy hiatus, I have decided to go back to writing my blog. I suffered from lack of time, writer's block, a layoff from work, and basic inertia. Now I am feeling ready to tackle some issues and this is the perfect space to document my ideas.
A year ago, my husband I am were toying with the idea of spending time in Israel. He had a sabbatical and wanted to spend some of his time studying in Jerusalem, a desire we dreamt about for many years. As I was employed fulltime at an accounting firm with very limited time off, the idea of spending weeks in Israel was appealing, but improbable. In October, just a few weeks before my daughter's wedding, I was given notice and laid off. Many of my friends told me that "when one door closes, another opens" and I tossed that off as a well-meaning platitude. I am happy to report that platitudes can come true. My new situation is much more flexible, I am working with smart, generous, and like-minded people, and got the green-light to take some much needed time off. The trip that we dreamed about--Israel--was on!
Over the next few weeks I will share the thoughts, feelings, and observations from our visit to Israel, but also Jordan and Egypt. Today I wanted to start off by telling you about a day tour we took to the Negev under the auspices of the Jewish National Fund.I had attended a lunch a few weeks before the trip detailing some of the great projects that JNF has has done throughout Israel, but one in particular captured my heart and I was determined to go on this trip to witness first hand what was happening there.
Our day started off in a mini-bus from central Jerusalem. We met a group of fellow tourists including a political reporter from the Jerusalem Post, a family of Canadians, some Israelis, and a dedicated JNF volunteer from Cincinnati. After the usual game of "Jewish Geography" (where are you from, do you know so and so, etc.), we were off on our trip. We had several stops during the day, but the one that was the true highlight of the tour and the one that I really wanted to see was the Israeli town of Sderot.
Sderot is only a few miles away from the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza. In many ways, it resembles a small town in many places, except for one detail: it is the "Bomb Shelter Capital" of the world. Here are some statistics: since 2001 over 12,000 rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip, since Israel withdrew all citizens and military in 2005 rocket fire increased to 7,000 rockets fired at Israel, and during the so-called ceasefires almost 1000 rockets were fired. http://sderot.worldmedianetworks.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=309&q=6&s=16
I wanted to visit Sderot to see how the people could live under these terrible conditions and what the city was like. Our first stop was to the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. A brightly painted exterior with the Hebrew greeting "Bruchim Habaim" welcomed us to this state of the art facility housed in a former textile factory. Our guide, Shachar, showed us a Kassam missile that landed in Sderot to give us an idea about the size of these weapons. Upon entering the facility, we observed hundreds of kids playing in a variety of settings. It was happy noise! There is an indoor soccer field, a multi-media theater, and a birthday room--but with a twist. Those rooms were all bomb shelters. When the Tzeva Adom--Red Alert signal is sounded, everyone in Sderot has only 15 seconds to get to a shelter, including the kids in the rec center. There are bouncing rooms, petting zoos, dress-up areas, foozball and ping pong tables, and a cafe in the rec center--all within a 15 second sprint to the bomb shelters. One notable activity was the climbing wall. We saw that it wasn't very high and it was explained to us that if the wall was any higher, ropes and harnesses would be required. If the Tzeva Adom alert sounded, the kids would not be able to rappell down, get out of their harnesses and run for cover in under 15 seconds. The kids all looked happy and it was a fantastic experience and respite for them. The kids do not play outdoors--ever. What a life. http://www.jnf.org/work-we-do/our-projects/security/sderot-indoor-playground.html
Then back on the bus and off to our next spot. Along the way, we saw unusual bus stops. Even though they were brightly painted, it couldn't hide the fact that these bus stops were actually bomb shelters strategically placed within a 15 second run when the sirens wail. No one was outside, but there was construction going on everywhere. The government has funded the construction of 5,000 bomb shelters in people's homes. That's right, in their homes. They aren't leaving. Would you stand for this in your country, your town, your HOME??? The people and children of Sderot have suffered tremendously from the constant shelling, the deaths, injuries, destruction since 2001 and yet they are staying. Finally our bus stopped at a barren hill overlooking Gaza. We were less than a mile from the border and could see Gaza City, the Ashkelon power plant (the souce of power for the Gaza Strip), and most of the central Gaza Strip. A reservoir built by JNF was protected by fencing and cameras mounted on tethered helium balloons. In different times, this hilltop could have been a beautiful park for picnicing families.
The people of Sderot are mostly poor Ethiopian, North African, and Russian immigrants and life has been difficult enough. They are resilient, it is quiet now, but most are wary of that. In the meantime, the world has supported Hamas and the Gazans. We passed by the road that goes to Erez Crossing to the Gaza Strip and saw a mile long line of semi trucks waiting to deliver goods there. A new shopping mall, water park, and luxury hotels have opened in Gaza. They are not starving-they are rearming and using fungible money to do that. Again, not being truthfully reported. The courageous people of Sderot have suffered in silence without the media and world telling their stories. I want to be a part of the world that doesn't ignore my people and to shed light on a courageous city-Sderot.
Just days after I returned home to Phoenix, more rockets were launched against Sderot. One landed on a children's rehabilitation center, completely destroying it. Fortunately, it was Shabbat , a Saturday and no one was there at the time http://sderot.worldmedianetworks.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=693&q=3 Since there were no casulties, it was not reported. On the day we left Israel, another rocket landed 15 kilometers away in the heart of the city of Ashkelon (the power plant gives Gaza 70% of its electricity--why???) http://sderot.worldmedianetworks.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=691&q=3 where the residents don't have bomb shelters everywhere. Just last week, more missiles were fired towards the Israeli port city of Eilat (we were there) but missed their target and landed in Jordan in Aqaba (we were there too) killing a Jordanian cabdriver. How does the US Government handle this? They issue a travel warning for Eilat--not Aqaba! We are living in a topsy-turvy world where bad is rewarded and good is punished.
I have attached some photos of the Recreation Center in my blog's photo album. Please support the people of Sderot by forwarding my story and learning about what is really happening there. It means alot for them to know that we care about the truth.
Well, actually I've been published before in a number of different places, but this one is special. Why? Janus Funds is a great fund company and it is exciting to see my advice on the internet. I have heard a lot of tough stories this past year. Many people have realized that they waited too long to create a plan-whether for college savings, retirement, or the proverbial "rainy day". This past year was the "rainy year". I hope that these easy to follow tips can make a difference in someone's life.
I was lucky enough to get some sage advice from my father-in-law to start an IRA in the early 1980's before they were popular. My little nest egg has had it's ups and downs over the years, but it is still chugging away. A brilliant demonstration of the time value of money and simple compounding principles. Here are some simple, basic tips for planning at any age. It's time to get going!
As a financial advisor, I have been concerned about short selling and in particular naked short selling since the fall of 2008. Every day at 3:45pm, the market would start to nosedive. Every day, the same pattern. Who would profit from the market going down? Short sellers and naked short sellers, that's who! I saw the impact of this on my clients' accounts, the panic and despair that ensued, and how our economy tanked. Short selling in the market has had a checkered history going back to the Dutch Tulipmania, Great Depression, and George Soros shorting the British Pound that "broke" the Bank of England. There are some that say short selling is good for the market. In one case, a well-known short seller helped expose Enron. The public was protected by the "uptick rule" established in 1938 but was rolled back in July of 2007. There are proposals on the table to reinstate the rule and there was talk last spring about reinstating the rule, but I couldn't find anything saying it had been. The Wall Street Journal reports that Wall Street firms, including Vanguard Group and Goldman Sachs are arguing against new rules to restrict short-selling under consideration by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In letters filed last week with the SEC over the proposed restrictions, firms raised objections to a number of proposed limits on short-selling. So the SEC is still delaying making the decision to reinstate the uptick rule and is getting pressure not to from some of the players that stand to benefit from market manipulation.
Moving right along to the heart of the matter...
This excellent Rolling Stone Magazine (not a fan) article by Matt Taibbi explains in great detail the practice of naked short selling. He deftly walks the reader through the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. The practice of naked short selling has had dire consequences --wreaking havoc on the stock market at the same time as credit default swaps and toxic mortgages were creating their own disasters--a trifecta of scams that makes Bernie Madoff look like a small-time piker. Incidentally, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com had complained about naked short selling to the SEC for years, seeing how it negatively impacted his own company. He is still waiting for an answer! We shared several emails about this topic several months ago. This is a lengthy article with some profanity, but worth the read if you want to get a glimpse into how we investors are being swindled and manipulated.
How can a regular investor compete with these schemes? We don't have a chance. The foxes are guarding the henhouse.
Well, this week didn't turn out so well for the Obamas and their cronies in Chicago. Despite their magnetic personalities, cutting-edge fashions, and Oprah in tow, that wasn't enough to put Chicago on the Olympic podium. I'm sure that building the Olympic venues would have been a boon to the constuction industry and related trades, filling the hotels with international guests would have helped the depressed hospitality sector, and sure, bringing home a slew of gold medals would have all made us proud. Maybe even the Obamas would feel proud to be Americans.
I was troubled by our President's tone when pitching the Olympics to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Once again he put down America, alluding to the mistakes of the past (Bush), with threatening body language (shaking a fist). Why does he think that positioning the US in a negative light will win foreign friends? Doesn't he realize they are laughing at him and by extension, us? Does he really think that bowing down to world is going to make them like us?
The world will never like us and I don't care if they do. I have traveled outside of the US and no matter where you go, the people emulate us. They want to wear the latest Nike sneakers, drink Coke, eat McDonalds (now transfat free!), and converse on Facebook. All American inventions and products. They want to be like us, they want to live in the US, but they are jealous. They can't be us and they all can't live here. So like teenage girls, they talk behind our backs, backstab us, and don't mind taking our dollars either.
Getting back to the Obamas. So while they are dissing us to the people who will never like us, they also think that if they spend more money on us, we will like them better. Money is a drug and pouring it into means-tested welfare programs will addict another generation of welfare dependents. President Obama's budget plans call for the government to spend $10.3 trillion on these programs over the next 10 years according to an analysis by the The Heritage Foundation. That comes out to approximately $250,000 for each US citizen living in poverty. Welfare has increased from 1.2% of the GDP in 1964 to 5% of the current GDP. There are 13 government departments and agencies, 17 budget functions, and 71 separate programs--adding up all those programs puts welfare spending as the 3rd most expensive government program, ahead of defense spending, interest on government debt, and transportation programs. One dollar out of every seven (in a total of federal, state and local) goes to a welfare program.
According to the analysis authors Robert Rector, Katherine Bradley and Rachel Sheffield,the United States has spent a total of $15.92 trillion since the "War on Poverty" began in 1964 (in today's constant dollars). All the military wars fought since the Revolutionary War to the current Afganistan and Iraq Wars cost less than that-- $6.39 trillion (in constant 2008 dollars). That makes the "War on Poverty" the most expensive "war" the US has ever fought! In fact, President Obama will spend more on welfare in one year than President Bush spent on the entire Iraq War. Add a little ACORN to this cocktail and you have a lot of welfare recipients voting for Obama, their savior. Who wouldn't be happy with a million dollar handout for a family of four?
Consider the Obama's "Green Spending Spree" or the carbon footprint from their travels: two Airforce Ones to Copenhagen-hundreds of thousands of dollars, designer clothes-thousands of dollars, Oprah as your BFF-priceless. It still wasn't enough to buy the Olympics or international love. Will all this welfare money buy him votes? You can count on it.
For more information on the Heritage Foundation analysis, please see www.heritage.org
I get asked this question ALL THE TIME from my non-Jewish friends. Why are all Jews Liberals? Why do they always vote Democrat? Tonight, I read an interesting article by Norman Podhoretz addressing this very question. I would have to agree with alot of what he had to say, but in particular, this paragraph summarizes my perceptions. It applies to all people, not just Jewish Liberals or Christian Conservatives.
"Of course in speaking of the difference between left and right, or between liberals and conservatives, I have in mind a divide wider than the conflict between Democrats and Republicans and deeper than electoral politics. The great issue between the two political communities is how they feel about the nature of American society. With all exceptions duly noted, I think it fair to say that what liberals mainly see when they look at this country is injustice and oppression of every kind—economic, social and political. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a nation shaped by a complex of traditions, principles and institutions that has afforded more freedom and, even factoring in periodic economic downturns, more prosperity to more of its citizens than in any society in human history. It follows that what liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded—and apologized for to other nations—is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack."
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? From my perspective, I believe Liberals, or Statists or however the Left is currently identified, see the glass as half-empty. Everything needs fixing. Nothing is ever good enough. There is a need for perfection. It isn't enough that recycling is the norm, that emission standards are the highest in the world, or that everything needs to be "green". Now we have to "repent" even further with heavy taxation through the proposed Cap and Trade legislation. It isn't enough that the majority of Americans have healthcare coverage that they like, the glass half-empty crowd demands that they will have to give that up for a minority of people who don't have any coverage. Not only do they demand it, but do it in a sanctimoniously smug manner. No asking nicely-because they always know what is right for everyone!
The Conservatives are the glass half-full group. We know that there have to be improvements, but not at the expense of the majority and not by tearing apart the foundation of society to get their way. Yes, we should strive to improve our environment, but at what expense? The destruction of our economy through excessive taxation? Yes, people who can't get health insurance because they are uninsurable need help, but why not present a solution tailored to their needs? Why does the entire healthcare industry have to be dismantled? I believe that sensible, economically sound solutions can be worked out. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Conservatives are the party of KNOW. Anyone who has created something-whether it is sewing a dress, knitting a sweater, or building a bookcase knows that you measure twice, cut once. The rush rush rush of these bills is not even measuring before cutting.
The last point in Mr. Podhoretz's article resonates with me on the eve of the anniverary of 9-11. Defending against attack. Why is the State Department and President bowing down to our enemies? Why are President Obama or Secretary Clinton apologizing to the world every time they go visit another country? The world is laughing at us. We are looking weak and vulnerable, just as we did in the 1990's when we virtually ignored the bombings of our Embassies, The USS Cole, and the first attempt to bring down the World Trade Center. Oh sure, President Clinton lobbed a few cruise missles at Al Queda, and even had Bin Laden in our sights. Our "friends" the Saudis wouldn't let the FBI come into their country to investigate the horrendous Khobar Towers bombings. We backed off, looked weak, and got caught off guard. I am not apologetic about defending our interests wherever they are, maintaining a powerful military, and responding to terror quickly and effectively. Strength is the best deterrent to future attacks. I don't want to live through another time like 9-11, I don't want my children or future grandchildren to either. I know that the Liberal/Statist/Left love their children too. I know they think they know what's best too, but we disagree on the methods. To quote Barry Goldwater, “To insist on strength is not war-mongering. It is peace-mongering.”
To return to the original premise--why are most Jews Liberals? Why is anyone a Liberal? Why would anyone always want to drink from the half-empty glass?
Listening to the President's speech tonight got me thinking about finally putting my thoughts down about the proposed healthcare bill. I admit, I have not read the bill, but have read many articles and listened to many smart people talk about it. I have tried to keep an open mind, but each time I start to go down the path of thinking that a government-run plan won't be THAT bad, something yanks me back to reality.
First a little background. I am licensed for and sell health insurance. Not big group policies, but individual and short term major medical policies. I don't really like selling health insurance; I do it as a convenience for my clients and friends.When I was living in Ohio, I met a former state legislator who was in love with MSAs--the so-called Archer Medical Savings Accounts that were the precursor to HSAs-health savings accounts. This legislator wanted to me to present the MSA plan to the board of directors of a large daycare provider association. This association had over 2000 members and frankly, it would have been a great sale for me. So here I go to downtown Cleveland, get my presentation all set up for these board members. Board members--remember that. Generally board members are executives, thought leaders, decision-makers. A group of 12 women sat around the table as I moved through the presentation. I recall that they were very attentive. I explained how the premiums were lower than traditional plans, the difference was put into a medical savings account that was tax deductible and would grow income tax free. The deductible was higher than traditional plans and in case of an emergency or catastrophic health situation, the insured could withdraw the funds tax free that they saved in the MSA and use it to pay for their care. When I came to the end of my spiel, it was time for Q&A. The first question came from a female daycare owner: "Why should I pay for insurance when I can go to the emergency room for free?" I swear to G-d, that was the first question. I knew right then and there that I was going home without a sale. Why? Because of the entitlement mentality.
It is all well and good that the government wants to "mandate" health insurance. Forcing us into buying health insurance or else! --just like car insurance (a car that can injure or kill other people). No one has addressed the institutionalized entitlement mentality that dates back to President Johnson's Great Society. And it isn't just the stereotypical inner city welfare mom that has this mentality. I have friends-white, middle class, working people that feel this way too. People that want to pit class against class to get health insurance. Never mind that they choose to spend money that should go towards being responsible, paying for their own health insurance but instead pay for BMW leases, vacations, and fine dining. Why should I have to subsidize their lack of responsibility? It is a joke that the President spoke to the school kids about responsibility. Isn't that what he wants us all to abdicate by going on the government plan? Let the government take care of us?
When I lived in Burlington, Vermont from 1987-1990 Bernie Sanders was our Socialist mayor--a real socialist, not a closet one. Many Canadians would come to our Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, the largest medical center in a tri-state area of upper New York State (Adirondacks), New Hampshire and Vermont. The docs loved the Canadians. It wasn't because they were such wonderful people, it was because they paid in cash. They would come there to have elective surgeries, heart surgeries, whatever would take them six months to hopefully get in Canada that they could schedule and have done in a week in the US.
Currently, I have Canadian clients with an interesting type of insurance. It is like Aflac on steroids, an indemnity policy that pays up to $600,000 cash for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as cancer, cardiac, orthopedic replacements. Now, why would Canadians have any need for that kind of insurance policy, especially since the premiums are over $11,000/year? It is precisely because they know they won't be able to get that care from their own government-run system. That is where we are heading if this healthcare bill or any plan that the government controls is put into place.
I haven't even gotten to the part where we have to pay for this! Perhaps if the US Govt hadn't paid off the banks with TARP ( a huge mistake, should've have let them fail), buy GM--that was a great investment (looks like we won't make money on that), not to mention the Porkulus, maybe we would've had a fighting chance to fund a small health insurance program for those middle class people who truly do fall through the cracks.
I have friends going through some really, really tough health issues now. I pray for them everyday. I think about if their health insurance went away and they had to wing it on their own. I think about my family's plan and what would happen if we lost it. This is a terrible problem for the millions who have lost their jobs and it is a choice between making rent or paying for insurance. Let's come up with a solution for them, but not at the expense of the rest of us who are ok. We shouldn't dismantle the entire system and start over. There is no doubt in my mind that a government run plan will ultimately be more expensive, more controlling, and offer less choice than private plans. After all, hasn't the government done a fine job with the USPS, Amtrax and let's not forget-Cash for Clunkers? The millions who have the entitlement mentality will find other ways to manipulate the system. Our system will be overburdened by this huge influx of people, with new rules and regs. It will become total chaos. I predict that many gifted, caring doctors will throw up their hands and find other things to do with less hassle. We will start looking like Canada. The entitlement mentality needs to be confronted head-on, not ignored like the elephant in the room.
Thursday night, I had the opportunity to attend an accounting continuing education program presented by Joyce Barden, a professor at Keller Graduate School of Management/DeVry University. As I am not an accountant, but serve as program chair for the organization hosting this program, I had to be in attendance. The technical aspects of accounting and assurance are like a foreign language-- lots of jargon like GAAP, FASB, and IFRS and I was prepared to tune out. However, Joyce is an engaging instructor and she caught my attention when recounting her recent attendance at the AAA-American Accounting Association Meeting in NYC. She mentioned one seminar entitled, "Improving Fiscal Transparency and Making Tough Choices" presented by David Walker, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. David Walker is the former Controller General of the GAO (US Government Accountability Office-the investigative arm of the US Congress and Congressional watchdog) and his talk was enlightening. In particular, he talked about the "4-Ds", and I thought that it was worth sharing.
1. Deficits- Grows by $3.4 Million/Minute; by $5 Billion/Day
If we save $100 million, that is 30 minutes
If we save $17 Billion on Fed programs=3.4 days
GMC (Government Motors Corporation)--we own 60% of it
2. Dependency-Debt.GDP was 122% during WWII and we held 50% of Global economic power and all debt was owed to Americans. Now, 50% of our debt is held by foreign lenders. They control our purse-strings.
3. Federal "Ditch"- "hole"- our real National Debt
4. Disconnect--On the Front End=Spending
On the Back End=Foregone Revenue (Credits)
While I don't agree with everything that the Peter G. Peterson Foundation website has to say, it is sobering to break down the National Debt into minutes, hours and days. Every citizen is on the hook for over $184,000 and that is growing by the second. With all the hoopla about Obama proposing to socialize our healthcare, it is an often overlooked fact that Medicare is the largest entitlement program and Social Security is the largest Ponzi scheme. A year ago, on September 30, 2008 our National Debt was $56.4 Trillion dollars. It is estimated to be $62 Trillion by the end of September 2009, which probably won't be disclosed since the government's accounting is done on a cash basis! Meantime, ol' Tim Geithner is printing up money around the clock. I am really scared by the push to add government-run healthcare to the list of entitlement programs. Americans have been so brainwashed to live for today and file bankruptcy tomorrow. Our country is one step away from bankruptcy. We need an intervention. We need real reform, not more entitlements.
I recently joined the Sarah Palin Fan page on Facebook and my cousin wrote me that she wanted to know why. Why did I like her? Why did I think she resigned? Here is my response, slightly adjusted for my blog.
Why am I a fan of Sarah Palin? First, you should know that I consider myself to be a Conservative, pro-life Republican. I left the Democratic party long time ago, probably around the time Jimmy Carter visited a synagogue in NYC and had to immediately go to a Baptist Church to "cleanse" himself. I had an aberation and voted for Bill Clinton thinking that he was different, but the Monica Lewinsky affair turned me off once and for all. 9-11 just locked me in for good - I registered as a Republican. Not too many of us Jewish Republicans out there, but our numbers are growing!
I had been following Sarah Palin since the spring of 2008, there was a buzz about her and I was curious to know more about her. When I heard that McCain had chosen her to be his VP, I was thrilled. Why? She worked her way up from PTO president to Governor. She had taken on the good old boy network and gotten rid of alot of graft. She personified what I had been brought up to believe in-that women could have it all-family and a successful career. Although her family is less than perfect, to me that just added to her charm. It was unfortunate that her daughter's pregnancy happened at the same time as the VP announcement, but family things can be messy. I admire her for standing up for her beliefs even though it would have been more "convenient" to have abortions.
After Sarah hit a grand slam out of the park home run with her amazing speech at the GOP convention, it became apparent to her political enemies to do whatever was necessary to ruin her. She was vilified for having a special needs baby (for example, the numerous rumors about her daughter actually being the mother), feminists came out of the woodwork to denigrate everything she has ever done mainly because she chose to keep and not abort her baby (the feminist movt was highjacked years ago by pro-abortionists), the media pegged her as an ignorant, redneck, nut, and she was constantly undermined by McCain's staffers (the clothing nonsense). She was put out there for interviews before she was really prepped, and raked through the coals for every little mistake, contrast that with Biden who is a gaffe-a-minute, or Obama who said we have 57 states. She was made a caricature by Saturday Night Live and constantly belittled by women in particular.I find that really disgusting.The NY Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, and in particular CNBC made it their mission to destroy her reputation. For some reason, the media tries to make us believe that the only viable leaders are Ivy League attorneys, I happen to think it is time for some new faces and ones that don't bow down to special interests.
Why did Sarah Palin resign? I don't know. I assume it for the reasons she gave and hope that is wasn't because of a serious illness or personal problem. She has great talent, charisma, and potential. It is obvious that she represents a huge political threat not only to the left but also to the Republican party. The threat to the left is pretty obvious: she embodies the opposite of what they stand for. The threat to the Republican party is that she takes the high road. I wouldn't worry about her keeping her zipper zipped. Yes, her family life is messy, but America loves a reality show. She has a tremendous following and it is growing every day. As someone who has political aspirations, I look at her as a role model, a woman who has a family, who started out as a PTA president and has moved her way up the ladder while taking on major challenges along the way. I have no doubt that she has the intelligence, guts, and strength to be a great leader.
So that is why I like Sarah Palin. She is like me and many other women (and men) who want to see our country brought back to Conservative values, smaller government, and following the Constitution. We have strayed and our children and grandchildren will hate us for the mess we are leaving them. Sarah Palin and others like her can help bring us back where we belong.