Random Thoughts

So let me get this right. It's okay for NFL players to shoot deer. But it's not okay for NFL players to fight dogs. Okay, I understand, training dogs to fight isn't cool. But shooting deer isn't cool either. I guess my problem is that this all seems a little ridiculous. It's dog fighting. Yes it's not a good thing, but a slap on the wrist would have been more than enough in our fair opinion. If Vick had shoot the dog with a gun, he wouldn't be in trouble right now correct?

But I think what's even more hypocritical of this entire Vick mess is that Vick didn't harm any human beings. While we don't want to get in a pissing contest of what is worse, we think it is important to point out that Vick didn't harm any humans by training dogs to fight. In our eyes, athletes who drive drunk, are charged with domestic abuse, any sort of sexual abuse, or physical abuse are the bigger 'villains'. These athletes put other human beings in harms way - directly or indirectly - and that's a much greater threat to society. Yes, we can all agree, training dogs to fight isn't cool. But driving while drunk, for example, can lead to much graver and tragic consequences.

Speaking of guns, a fantastic idea from Jason Roeder over at McSweeney's: Iraqi Free Gun.

"I suppose some of the weapons we provide could be used against us. But we all know that guns don't kill people, people kill people. All a semiautomatic does is discharge 75 poor choices per minute. Remember that so-called assault-weapons ban we had? What happened there? Thugs merely adapted and replaced drive-by shootings with drive-by pillow smotherings, and no one was any safer."

The fact that we can name 10 NASCAR drivers makes us want to puke all over those big dishes at ESPN.

Don't look now, but Goldman Sachs is saying that oil could hit $95 a barrel this year. That's like $4 or more at the pump. This would be very bad for many reasons; pretty much no matter what, commodity prices will rise, which means you'll be spending more at the pump and the grocery store (and the inefficient but politically popular corn ethanol becomes even more popular; raising prices even further). Maybe most important is the impacts to inflation - which is probably higher than anyone at the Fed would like and probably will go higher if oil prices continue to rise. As inflation rises, the Fed may have to hike up interest rates, if they do so, the economy, which is already some what delicate and iffy, will slow down. The other shitty thing about inflation is that with real wages stuck in neutral, most Americans will feel it in their pocket books. Seeing that spending by your every day American has kept the economy moving during the last five years, consumer spending really can't decrease.

And for those who say the economy is doing well... look a little deeper. Yes, unemployment is low. But interest rates could go up. Inflation looks like it will continue to be a bit of a worry. Real wages are stuck in neutral. The sub-prime mortgage crisis is hurting a lot of Americans. And we have a negative savings rate two years running. The negative savings rate is really scary because long term, this will be a problem. As people spend more than they earn, it is giving the economy a false 'perception'. At some point people are going to have to stop spending so much. The US economy isn't as 'hot' as some like to point out. No, this isn't Japan and there is no need to panic. Yet, let's not all start patting each other on the back and saying everything alright. Changes are needed in various areas. (And we freely admit that there have been very few times in history when one hasn't needed to worry somewhat about the economy. But this isn't the late 1990s. Corporations are getting richer while most people are left behind. In the 90s, both corporations and your average Joe was doing better).

Let me make sure I've got this right too: Part of the reason we invaded Iraq was to fight the terrorists there instead of here. But now the National Intelligence Agency is telling me that there's a good chance the terrorists will strike the USA. So it appears to us here at VFLOAB that fighting the terrorists on their turf has back fired. And if that's gone wrong too, has ANYTHING gone right in Iraq? As the NIA reports concludes that al-Qaeda "has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability" by creating a safe-haven in Pakistan. So while we toil in Iraq with over 120,000 troops; under 20,000 troops are in Afghanistan and near the Pakistan border fighting al-Qaeda. The very same al-Qaeda who were the enemy all along. Great job, George and Dick! (It being Wednesday, the sarcasm is free).

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