Ho Ho Humbug

As war threatens in the gulf and the recession tightens its grip, Americans endure one of the gloomiest holiday seasons in recent memory

Merry Christmas!

That was about the cheeriest sentiment Americans could manage last week, as the country caroled, gift-wrapped and tinseled its way through the holidays in search of some deeper tidings of comfort and joy. For those with a global perspective, there is plenty to inspire gratitude this season: the country is not (yet) at war; there are families in Romania, Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia sharing the holidays in freedom and safety for the first time; Frank Sinatra just celebrated his 75th birthday. But try as they will to count blessings, many Americans who read the newspapers, check their bank statements...

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