Friday, October 31, 2008

The Week in Review

I really had grand week. It started with a four hour drive across the state to preach at a small, traditional Southern Baptist church. I'm really more of a story teller than I am a preacher and I love the stories in the Bible. They are stories that are important for the day and place where they happened and they are stories that are still relevant today. Although my ministry started out by doing shows and using magic to share the message of the Bible, today I feel more compelled to just tell the stories and share the teachings of the Bible through the spoken word. Sunday I got to do both. In the evening service I shared about my ministry using magic and also shared a few of my favorite effects. In between the two services I had a wonderful lunch and met some new friends.

On Sunday evening I headed into St. Louis to check into the Millennium Hotel to get ready for the Annual Meeting of the Missouri Southern Baptist Convention. I ran into Jim Wells, our Director of Missions (DOM) and his wife in the hotel restaurant and spent some time talking about our upcoming Evangelism Conference. (Funny how you have to travel across the state to have a few moments to talk to a guy that lives and works a few miles from you!)

I was seeing quite a few pastors and their wives that I hadn't seen in a while and knew that it would be a good week for renewing acquaintances. I was up early Monday to set up our Fellowship of Missouri Baptists Evangelists' booth and soon old and new friends began to stop by.
I managed to have lunch with missionary friend that is home from Northern Iraq. I really love to hear his stories of how God is working in this Muslim area of the world and how he and his family are living and adapting to the community.

I spent time visiting the other displays in the exhibition hall and picking up all of the freebies that they offered. I now have a new supply of pens, pencils, notepads, key rings, key rings with flashlights, even a toothpick carrying case! One booth that I spent some time at was the Pillsbury College and Seminary booth. They offer free tuition to bi-vocational pastors. In talking to them about my ministry as an evangelist/air traffic controller, they said that I would also qualify for the program. That eliminates the biggest hurdle of going back to school. There is still the time thing...but that will always be there. I am always reading/studying anyway, I might as well use an organized study program and work towards a degree.

In true procrastinator form, I told them to expect to hear from me about the beginning of the year!

There was also a booth from a new organization that is like Focus on the Family but at the state level. I can't remember the name of the state organization. The lady there was very excited about the group and their promotion of traditional family values. I hope that I didn't hurt her feelings as I expressed my concerns over Focus on the Family and their group. While I believe in traditional family values, I also recognize that we have very few traditional families in our society. Are we to make them feel like they don't fit into our (religion based) idea of what a family is?

The other day I spoke with a divorced mother of two kids. She grew up as a pastor's kid. Her husband was a deacon in the church. She had a job as a church secretary. In her mind, she had a dream life. Then one day her husband announces that he's been having an affair and wants a divorce. All of a sudden, she no longer fits into the standard church mold of what a family should be. She feels like an outcast among the people that she was a part of a few weeks ago. Through no fault of their own, the kids are now a part of a blended family (ex and wife2 are having a baby) and a split family. I'd like to say that through no fault of her own, this woman is now a single parent (but I know there are always two sides and we are rarely completely without fault). So how do we teach and promote traditional family values without ostracizing those that are not in traditional families? I don't have the answer, but I feel like James Dobson's Focus on the Family often comes across as a right-wing, judgmental, self-righteous, you're going to hell and you're not welcome here kind of organization. Surely there has to be a better way.

My St. Louis adventure ended with meeting Mike at Ted Drewe's as I was heading out of town. It's tough to beat a week that has Ted Drewe's!

Aaron topped the week off by making a trip home for the weekend. I doubt that we'll see a lot of him, but it's good to have him home.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Letter That I Wish I Would Have Written

It has been a number of days since I've had the time to sit and write a short post. It seems that just reading the many blogs that I read and keeping up with my e-mail has taken all of the computer time that I have. It has been a busy, but enjoyable week.

As one could imagine, my inbox has been filled with political forwards. Most of them are hateful and inaccurate or plain old outright lies. It's too bad that the truth has little place in politics. Among all of the political horse manure I ran across a letter that I wish I had written. I hope that Christian people can join this author and understand what he is saying and what he is promising to do for the matter who it is.

Here is the letter:

Dear Mr. President:
I do not yet know your name, but in a few days you will be elected to our nation’s highest office, and become the leader of the free world at the end of a long and engaging election season.
I wanted you to know that I will be praying for you. Not praying against you, or about you, but for you. That is both my pledge, and my obligation as a follower of Christ. In the Bible, the apostle Paul writes, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
And I will do so with a full and undivided heart.
I will be praying for you from my position as a father of four children, and God willing, future grandchildren; that you will have the foresight to think through what your decisions will mean for them as the next generation.
I will be praying for you as a citizen of the United States; that you will seek wisdom from God and humbly submit yourself to His leadership as you lead our nation through economic turbulence, domestic divides, and cultural diversities.
I will be praying for you as a member of the global population; that you will work with other well-intentioned leaders from around the world as we face environmental challenges, wars and rumors of wars, and humanitarian crises.
And finally, I will be praying for you as a Christian; that you will encourage faith in God to flourish and never allow deeply held spiritual convictions to become a matter of ridicule, instead encouraging everyone to grant them a respectful hearing, even if they go against the political policy of your party.
It is being widely spoken that the next president will inherit more that needs immediate attention than any other president in recent memory. As a result, it has been a hard-fought and hotly contested election. Yes, I will vote, and I do not know if you will be the one for whom I cast my ballot. But following November 4th, all that must be set aside no matter how deep the divides may be.
So while I do not know if you will be the candidate I voted for, I do know that no matter your name, I will support you in one way without question.
I will be praying for you.
James Emery White
Scripture reference: I Timothy 2:1-2, New International Version.
For an online community committed to praying for our leaders that is both non-political and non-partisan, see

This is from the site Serious Times Update and you can subscribe to receive regular postings.

More about my week in another post.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Government vs. Religion

I had thought about a post that expressed what I expect from government and what I expect from religion as they both pertain to my interaction to society in general. The things that I expect from government vary greatly from the things that I expect from religion. One of the most important things that I expect from government is the right to practice religion as I choose--without coercion and without penalty. In accepting that I have the right to practice religion as I choose, I also have to accept that I have to give that same right to others.

I think that this is the point that presents us with our big problem. We want to impose our religious beliefs into our governmental beliefs...but we can't. If we are allowed to impose our religion into government, then we have to allow others to impose their religion into government. Clearly, this isn't going to work. We certainly have the right to elect officials that best represent our beliefs and desires, but somewhere we still have to recognize that the best that they can do for us is to introduce and support legislation that keeps order in our society and still supports every citizen's constitutional rights.

In some way, every law that is written and passed restricts our freedom. The more laws...the less freedom. A law that restricts you to driving at 30 mph will keep you from getting across town as fast as you might like, but it also provides safety for yourself, other drivers, pedestrians and property. A perfect society would need no laws. Everybody would play nice. But ours is not a perfect society. We need laws (order) and we need to have those laws enforced. We also need freedom. Laws should be to maintain order and to protect freedoms. While restricting one freedom, speed limits protect other freedoms by keeping us safe (from ourselves!).

Laws can be burdensome. We'd be better off if we could get along without them. I think that the best way to keep from having our own freedom restricted is not to restrict the freedom of others. That may mean that we have to practice our religion in our daily lives without forcing others to our way of believing. Live and let live sounds too simple. Jesus said that we should love each other...not just our friends, but our enemies, too. Maybe we've forgotten that last part.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Looking Ahead

I know that it's only Friday (or soon to be) but I am really looking forward to the coming days. Saturday afternoon/evening we will be with many of our church family to celebrate a marriage. I'm looking forward to the whole event--wedding ceremony, reception dinner and the party that will follow. I'll have to plan a little bit ahead to get my bags packed and car loaded up so that I can be on the road by 6 am Sunday morning.

Sunday morning will find me across the state in Herculaneum, MO at the New Testament Baptist Church for the morning service. I'll spend the afternoon with Chris' dad and then be back at their church for an evening magic show. Afterwards I'll drive into downtown St. Louis and check into the Millennium Hotel where I'll be spending the next few days. The Millennium is the host hotel for the Annual Convention of the Missouri Southern Baptist Convention. (That sounds a bit like The Department of Redundancy Department).

For anybody that cares (if indeed anybody cares) the one thing that is worse than the politics surrounding the Presidential campaign, it is the politics found in large religious organizations! Fortunately, I'm only there as a representative of the Fellowship of Missouri Baptist Evangelists and won't have anything to do with all of the posturing and politics. I will get to meet many old friends and make some new contacts for future engagements as the retirement date keeps getting closer...3 years, 2 months and 13 days. I also hope to get together with some friends that are unassociated with the convention but that I don't get to see often. Ted Drewe's will be on the menu for the week and I'm looking forward to sharing that experience with some friends that have never been there before.

I am expecting to have a grand time. On the downside...I'll be in St. Louis on Hannah's 17th birthday. We'll make plans to celebrate on the weekend.

Life is sooooo good!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did You Know...

Recently I picked a up a book titled The Intellectual Devotional. It is set up to provide the reader with 365 brief bits of knowledge from seven different categories: History, Literature, Visual Arts, Science, Philosophy and Religion.

From the Science category this week was about Eratosthenes. This Greek scientist lived from 276-194 BC and was the chief librarian at Alexandria. He developed a way to measure the circumference of the Earth and came up with a surprisingly close measurement.

Eratosthenes knew of a well near Syene, Egypt that was directly below the sun at noon on June 21st, the longest day of the year. This was known because the sun shone directly down to the bottom of the well. Knowing that if the sun was overhead in Syene it must be hitting the Earth at an angle in Alexandria(due north of Syene, Egypt). At noon of the 21st of June, he measured the angle of the sun's shadow in Alexandria.

Eratosthenes knew that the angle of the shadow of the sun would be equal to the angle formed by the two cities and the center of the Earth. He divided the angle by 360 (degrees in a circle) to determine the fraction of a circle that separated the two cities and came up with one-fiftieth. If one were to travel the distance back and forth between the two cities fifty times it would be the equivalent of traveling around the world. Eratosthenes hired a pacer--a professional walker trained in taking perfectly equal steps--to measure the distance between the cities. Using the information from the pacer, Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth to be 24,700 miles. Using the same principles today the Earth's circumference (pole to pole) is measured at 24,860 miles (24,902 around the equator).

Amazing! The pacer walked a distance of approximately 494 miles and Eratosthenes came up with a measurement that is off by so little a margin of error (.6 of 1 percent)!


By the way, if you want to hear a great endorsement from a high profile Republican, check out this post at FAA Follies. Do yourself the favor of listening to the long version (8 minutes) at the end of the post.
I know, I know. Pointing you to another political blog isn't much different than posting it myself--but Paul does a much better job than I could do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Last Political Blog for '08

Well maybe. I've decided that the reality of this fall's Presidential election is that most of us have made up our minds already and the bantering about of what "that one" said or what my opponent's plan will do (interesting at how everyone can explain their opponents plan as well as their own) isn't going to change anybody's mind. There is so much deception mixed in with a little bit of truth that one hardly knows the difference between the two.

I'm sure that both Presidential candidates are genuinely proud of the United States. I'm sure that they both believe that they are the best candidate for the job. I'm sure that the American voters will let them know which one we believe will lead us out of the current economic mess we're in and back to a world standing that is not one that has diminished over the past eight years.

Living in Southwest Missouri is pretty much the buckle of the Bible belt. The Assemblies of God World Headquarters are located in Springfield. The General Baptist World Headquarters are located across the state in Poplar Bluff, MO. It is a predominantly moral conservative area. As such, most have aligned themselves with the party that claims to be the morally conservative party--the Republicans. At present, Missouri is still a red state but within the margin of error that makes it pretty much of a toss-up. In the past 100 years, Missouri has sided with the winning candidate every time--but once. This year, though there are still the die-hard party faithfuls, there are more and more disillusioned Republicans (myself included) that the balance may tip the other way.

There is so much material available on the web that it is difficult to digest it all. I'm glad that several of my fellow controllers that blog have helped to sort some of them out. Here is an article that another disillusioned-Republican-now Independent-blogger found. It's a long article but one that points to the character of one of the candidates and exposes much that would be unsavory in a President. Thanks, Kevin.

I always enjoy the well written posts from The FAA Follies. While maintaining a very pro-union stance, this blog always recognizes that we (the controllers) and the FAA have (in theory) a common goal of aviation safety. It's unfortunate that the FAA no longer wants input from the men and women doing the job of separating airplanes and would rather rely on the advice and direction from political appointees and hired guns that have never actually given control instructions to a pilot. Here's a post that addresses some of the stupid (my word, not his) lies and half-truths that the McCain campaign continues to spew forth.

For more direct, in-your-face posts, try the Main Bang's insight to Joe the Plumber. Or this stat filled post from Politigal (not a controller). If you haven't yet made up your mind, you still have a couple of weeks. Whatever your decision, make it count by voting on election day. As for me, my yard signs are for Jay Nixon (Democrat for Governor) and Obama-Biden.

You will have plenty to watch and hear for the next couple of weeks if you are in the US. As far as Out of My Hat is concerned, I'm done. (I think)


This Guy is My Hero

Heidi, you're not going to want to read this story! Look away now.

This guy managed to eat the 20.2 pound burger that you see pictured here. Look at the size of the man and then look again at the size of the sandwich!

If I lived any where near this place, I'd be tempted to give it a try. I know that it would be way beyond eating 6 Burger King Whoppers in a single lunch break (hey, I was challenged), but I might feel like pushing my luck just the same. Oh, I'd like to think that I'm more mature than to accept such a challenge, but the truth is I'd give it a go just for the bragging rights. The $400, three T-shirts and certificate would be mere trinkets compared to the right to say I did it! I'm sure that my wife would be so proud! We may have to grow up, but we can still be immature!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Good News and the Bad News

So today I had my annual review at work. That's no big deal and since I haven't had a raise for the past two years and won't see one this year either (thanks to the imposed work rules and new/15 year old pay scale of the FAA). I generally get good reviews (one would hope that a guy that sidelines as a preacher would be a decent employee) and this one was no exception. The good news was that I may be getting a break from training for a while. My trainee is doing well and my supervisor said that since I've been training him for about a year and a half now, I deserve a break. The bad news is that we are getting several more new controllers in the next few months and I'll probably get another trainee. For the record--I'd prefer not to train anybody.

I really don't care for training too much. The ATC manual--the 7110.65--is a big book that is full of all kinds of rules. I keep telling my supervisor that I only know two of them! In the terminal environment (that's where I work) standard separation for aircraft is three miles at the same altitude or 1000'. All of the other rules are pretty much to satisfy the lawyers if something goes wrong and a plane falls out of the sky or gets too close to the ground or another plane. Three miles or a thousand feet works well for me. Whenever I hear another instructor telling their trainee something from the .65, I tell my trainee that he should listen in--that's probably something that I should be teaching, too! I doubt that it instills a lot of confidence in his instructor--fortunately, he's seen me work busy traffic.

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday about how much legalism we tend to put into Christianity. The Old Testament is full of laws and rules. Our churches today still burden members with unnecessary rules that are made in the traditions and judgments of men. It occurred to me that Jesus may have taken my approach to ATC training. When questioned about the greatest Law of the Old Testament (it was just the Law back then) He said that there were two. The first is found in Deuteronomy 6:5 and says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Jesus then said that the second was like it. It's found in Leviticus 19:18 and says, "... love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus then said that the rest of the Law is built on these two.

I'm a pretty simple guy and tend to try to keep things as uncomplicated as I can. I can remember the two main rules of air traffic control--three miles or one thousand feet--and that works for me. If I can remember the two main rules for life--love God and love others--I think that would work for me, too.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Update

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that it's Tuesday and typically Monday's are the day for summarizing the weekend. Yesterday's unexpected article in the local paper deserved it's mention and so this post got pushed back a day.

On most weeks I would have just skipped the weekend rehash, but this was a particularly good weekend. Sunday morning I was at Living Waters Community Church in Nixa. This is the third consecutive year that I've been invited to be a part of their Fall Festival Celebration. The main event for the morning was singer Paul T. Flemming. I want to encourage you to go to his web site and listen to some of his music. I really enjoy the Caribbean flair that he gives to the old hymns and especially like the music that he has written. It was a wonderful morning of praise and I'm sure that everyone enjoyed the food and games afterwards.

On Sunday evening we had a very special service at Hopedale Baptist Church. It was the ordination service for Les Day. Members from three congregations gathered to celebrate with Les and to affirm God's call on his life to pastor a local New Testament Church. Pastor Terry's message was challenging for all of us.

I really miss being at Hopedale for Sunday morning services. I get handed visitor's cards when I show up and I often ask if anyone can participate of if you have to be in regular attendance to take part in the special events. I'll be there next Sunday for the first time in a month and will miss again the following Sunday! C'est la vie!


Monday, October 13, 2008

A Ray of Light; A Glimmer of Hope

I know that I have posted about the tragedies of religion and politics in the past. I have read recent posts by a young man that is so frustrated at being put down by his brothers in Christ because of his political views that today he just prefers not to talk politics or share his thoughts.

Well, today I want to offer a bit of hope. This article appeared in today's Springfield News-Leader. It was written by a local Assemblies of God minister and should serve as an example for all of us that claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I have a feeling that this is just the kind of thing that Jesus was talking about when He said, "They will know that you are my disciples by the way you show love for one another."


And a quick addition: An apology from a friend that recently said, "I don't know how anyone can be a Christian and vote Democrat." Today he said that he was out of line and that it wasn't his place to judge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Blame Game

It's a great game, isn't. Point the finger at somebody else. Make what ever excuse you can fabricate on the spot. It seems that this game has been going on for quite some time.

There's an old, old story about a woman (Eve) that disobeys God by doing the one thing that He says not to do. She then entices her man (Adam) to do the same thing. So now we have Adam and Eve hiding in the garden because they know that they are naked. God comes through the garden and asks, "Who told you that you're naked? Did you eat from the tree?"

At this point, I suppose that Adam could've said something like, "Uh, God, I'm really sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. I ate from the tree that you said to leave alone. I'm sorry."

But instead, Adam begins The Blame Game. "The woman that you gave to be with me gave me the fruit and I ate."

To the woman God asks, "Why did you do this?"

She replies, "It was the serpent. He tricked me."

And The Blame Game was invented. Over the past several millennium man has managed to perfect (or pervert, depending on your point of view) this little game. Played well, you never have to be accountable for your bad choices. Pick somebody that is poorly equipped to defend themselves or just conveniently blame the villain of the day. Make it the Republicans. Make it the Democrats. Make it the church. Make it the corporations or just do what Eve did and say, "The devil made me do it." Nobody is really expecting anybody to admit to having made a mistake anymore. Just offer your best excuse and condemn the nearest bystander.

Abuse the power of your political office; consort with people of questionable character; sell bad investments; condemn people that have different beliefs...whatever. If it's all for the good of the state, the school, the investors, the church--it's okay. Lie if you have to--everybody does it. It's all apart of the game.

It would be nice if somebody could come up with a new game, wouldn't it?


Friday, October 10, 2008

Read this post!

I'm cheating today. But this is a very good post--one that is worth the read and will make you think.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I've been chastised by a friend and called out as a slacker blogger! I've decided to retaliate by posting a really long post!

The Good:

I have had a really fantastic weekend and week!

I started the weekend by taking Chris out to breakfast for her birthday. Then the really big birthday present...I left town for the rest of the weekend! I was on my way to Centralia, MO for a weekend Revival. Centralia is about a half hour north of Columbia. I left early enough to meet Aaron for lunch before continuing on my way.

I had really been looking forward to this particular Revival. My part was to provide magic and share the Gospel message to kids on Saturday afternoon and during the Sunday School hour on Sunday morning. I also spent some time with the youth on Sunday night, plus a few moments in each of the three services. The preaching evangelist for the weekend was Clyde Chiles. It was an incredible honor to be invited by Clyde. He is one of my evangelist heroes! Last summer, Clyde was honored by the Southern Baptist Convention as an inaugural member of the Hall of Faith. You'll find his name among the likes of Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea and Billy Graham to mention just a few of the honored members. Needless to say, the preaching was fantastic and many responded by making decisions to trust Jesus and to live according to His teachings. I was a guest in their home and owe Clyde and Betty a great debt of gratitude!

Returning home was also a great treat. At my home church, we were also in the midst of Revival meetings. Our guest evangelist was another of my heroes. Ron Mills has probably had the greatest influence on my own ministry. He has been a great encourager and has really helped to introduce me to many pastors. He has helped me to get involved with the Fellowship of Missouri Baptist Evangelists (FMBE) and many of the Associational Evangelistic Conferences. My own ministry and work kept me from most of the meetings at Hopedale, but Chris and I did get to enjoy breakfast with Ron and Cheryl Tuesday morning and I managed to be at Tuesday and Wednesday night services. The services were very well attended and once again, many decisions and commitments were made. Kudos to Rich for all of the work to bring the music and musicians together and to Dan and the guys in the sound booth! Great job to all!

The Bad:

Have you ever had one of those moments that you later really regret? I'm not just talking about saying or doing something stupid...I have those all of the time. I'm talking about acting out of character; doing something that can change somebody's opinion of you...or worse--change somebody's opinion of the God that you're supposed to love, honor and obey. I've had a couple of those moments recently and it really frustrates me. It frustrates me because I usually have a pretty good handle on what was once a very bad temper. Today, there isn't too much that makes me mad enough to lose control. Even the little outbursts that I'm referring to are nothing like they once were. But still, they are unnecessary, they are hurtful and they do irreparable damage to your personal testimony and reputation. In a day when cultural sensitivity and political correctness are the themes, insensitivity and offensive attitudes are seen as primitive and immature. Jesus teaches that humility is a better way when it comes to dealing with others. So it would seem that apologies are in order. Man, I hate that!

The Ugly:

The Presidential Campaign continues on. Wednesday morning's NPR had a fact check on the Tuesday night debate. It was disturbing that both candidates were either telling boldfaced lies, giving misleading information, telling half truths and making promises that everybody knows they can't and won't keep. It's less than four weeks to the election and the end of the political ads. At least we have that to look forward to!


(OK, so it wasn't really that long of a post!)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Talk About Your Bridge to Nowhere!

Hey! How about a blog post to celebrate the brilliance of the human mind? Enough about the idiots that govern the world societies. Here is something that indicates that there is hope and that there are creative minds to overcome any obstacle.

I recently ran across these two engineering marvels. The first is the Monitor Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (MMMBT). I was looking for this image -> but thought that it was for the bridge/tunnel that connects Denmark with Sweden. The MMMBT is right here in the USA.

Below is the bridge that I was looking for. Built to accommodate the large ships that use this straight and still allow for auto travel, this is truly an engineering wonder. The Oresund Bridge was opened in July of 2000 and is the longest border connecting bridge in the world. To give you an idea of the marvelous design, I've included this satellite image.
With brilliant minds like the ones that design these concrete and steel structures to keep mankind connected, why can't we solve the relationship problems of our world? Do greed and power always have to overcome common sense and good judgment? If money is the root of all kinds of evil and absolute power corrupts absolutely, can't we do away with absolute power and find a way to take care of ourselves and our neighbors without the greed?

Just a thought.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm John Hill and I Approve This Message

I can understand why politicians would want to lend their personal endorsement (or not) to their campaign commercials. If an organization other than their own says something that offends a group or might cause problems, well obviously they don't want to be associated with those comments. A voice over or short clip of them approving ads makes sense. But when it is the politician that is delivering the message in the ad, it sounds stupid for them to end their own commercial by saying, "I'm the guy running for office and I approve of everything that I just said."

That would be enough for me to say, "You're a moron and don't deserve my vote." Of course I would be saying that to every candidate. Either they are all morons or they think that we are all morons. I'm sure that some really smart lawyer (with no common sense) has advised them that this little blurb is necessary on every ad to limit their liability. And so in a scary, mindless sort of way, these politicians do what others direct them to do--even though it makes no sense.

Anybody for a $700 billion bail out? Where did that figure come from? According to this article on
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

If the people that are supposed to be watching this industry (and weren't) tell us that it has to be $700 billion, I guess we're just supposed to believe them. "We're Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and we approve this figure!"

Give me a break!