. . . listening and not talking for a month is a good thing to do. One problem with this blog format is that, in the absence of deadlines and a publication rhythm, bloggers tend to spew continuously. And, gotta be careful when the better half sends you to Koch's to buy a seersucker suit, or when in a New Orleans oyster bar and the shucker has an intestinal disorder.
That said, after a period of watching and taking a deep breath, I'd say we've reached the top of the second. Hopefully, this is a play in three acts and not a nine-inning ball game. If the former, civil society and the political order as we know them emerge intact. If the latter, all bets are off.
Assuming a play in three acts. The Annus Horribilis of the financial markets has come to an end. The Annus Horribilis for the general economy will be 2009. Give the dialectic another year for the feedback loop, wherein 2010 the financial sector in its present form is finished off by the consequences of the state of the general economy at the end of 2009, and in the second decade of the third millenium, well, community banks, like small mammals after the asteroid finished off the dinosaurs, will rule the earth (if by rule the earth, you mean not being squished by a passing thunder lizard).
If a game in nine innings, the outcomes are likely to be far more unpleasant for those of us who enjoy provincial prosperity and tranquility. The social fabric will tear cloth. Exemplary justice will come into fashion. Pity Mrs. Madoff, with her master's in nutrition, who apparently made the phase shift from writing cook books to cooking books . . .