There’s much debate in Washington – and much discussion around the nation – about whether or not to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Realistically, everyone knows that the debt ceiling must be raised. In recent history, neither party has had a track record of balancing the budget. There’s chatter about cutting spending, but when the rubber hits the road, members of both parties have their own pet projects.

Wondering how to make some money in the financial markets?  Figure out where the money will go after the gold bubble bursts.  When people realize that the speculators have turned gold into a de facto currency – while at the same time criticizing de jure (fiat) currency – they may realized that investing in shiny rocks might not be the best idea in the world.  When the crash comes, investors will be scrambling for a safe place to put their money.  If you can figure out where they will put their money, you might be able to ride a bit of a surge when demand outstrips supply in that market (at which point, you should consider selling).

The NFL owners ratified a new labor deal with the union. It could be a while before the players ratify the same deal. More often than not, I side with players in sports labor issues – but not this time. I really feel that many of the tactics of the players – most notably their sham decertification of union (a union which continues to bargain on their behalf) – amount to bargaining in bad faith. I’d actually be interesting in having the courts weigh in on the issues. If a deal isn’t done soon, we’re looking at the possibility of some lost games (pre-season, at least) and a compressed off-season. The proposed shortened free agency period seems like a very bad deal for the players – giving them little time to shop around for a deal. Personally, I’ve been staying away from the NFL for the last two years after my team signed Brett Favre – and I’m really close to walking away from the NFL permanently. There’s plenty of baseball year-round to keep my occupied.

The Colorado Rockies have been listening to trade offers for ace Ubaldo Jimenez.  In talks with the Yankees, they were reportedly looking for a deal in which Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero – an elite hitting prospect – did not make up the bulk of the value in the deal.  Although Jimenez’s number are not close to his 15-1 start at the beginning of last year, he’s not doing as poorly as you might thing.  After a horrible start to the year (0-5, 5.86 ERA though the end of May), Jimenez is 6-3 with a 2.58 ERA since June 1.  A big key to his success has been a dramatic reduction in number of walks.  Jimenez has also been downright dominant this year on the road – a 2.28 ERA and a stunningly low .158 batting average allowed.  I’d prefer to keep Jimenez, but I trust GM Dan O’Dowd.  After all, he did very well in the Matt Holliday trade, obtaining Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street in the deal.

I’ve been reading an old book by a favorite author lately. The Kindle edition of Lawrence Block’s Killing Castro is available for $2.99.  Not only in the story set in 1961, it was published in 1961 under a pen name.  I’m about 75% of the way through the book, and am thoroughly enjoyed it.  How often can you read a 50 year old book by an author who is still producing new books?

Speaking of Amazon … if you like The Soap Boxers, consider using the big Amazon ad at the top of the right side of the screen as your entry point into Amazon.  This will give us a small commission when you buy things, and there is no additional cost to you.  Consider this to be payment for the many articles on this site :)

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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