When thinking about the state of our economy, gangsters of the last Depression came to mind.
Al Capone controlled Chicago and Giuseppe Masseria was the baddie in New York. Add Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese and, from the Midwest, John Dillinger. In fact Pretty Boy Floyd was holed up for a short period of time on a farm just down the road from my grandparents in northern Iowa.
But among all of these bad boys, none of them can compare to my all-time favorite crook (aside from those in Washington, of course) -- good old Bernie Madoff. Bernie pulled a lollapalooza $50 billion scam and, with his reptilian eyes and smile, he conned friends and strangers alike. If he had paid more attention to his ancestor Moses, who brought us a listing of 10 do's and don'ts (from you know who), concentrating on Nos. 1 and 8, he would still be enjoying the good life.
But poor Bernie will never feel the sun on his face again, or catch a snowflake on his tongue as he bustles down the streets of Manhattan, nor eat a lobster with butter dripping off his chin and ending the meal with a satiated burp.
He reminds me of a story about two farmers living side by side. One was a believer, the other an agnostic. The agnostic worked his fields on Sunday (rule No. 4) and bragged that he reaped a harvest as abundant as the Christian, who observed the Sabbath. "And how do you answer that?" he declared one fall day. "That's easy," said the Christian. "You see, God doesn't collect all of his debts in October. But there is a payday coming."
John Quincy Adams said, "The law given from Sinai was civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes of universal application -- laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws."
Happy October, Bernie, your day has come as it will to all of us, believer or not.
Patricia Carter Harding,