mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Turkey Day photoblogging

Some more random pics from Turkey Day:

mmm... turkey

my black friday haul

More coming.

BTW, these pics and the mushroom tree pics below were taken with a Konica Minolta Z10 ($95 from Target on clearance as a floor model in May)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A tree grows in New Jersey... (for now)

My parents have lived in the same house since the early 70's -a 3 bedroom ranch in suburban New Jersey. Growing up, we had two huge maple trees - one in our front yard and one in the back. They were great- they provided shade and privacy, and were huge.

The one in the back yard died a number of years back, and was replaced by a shed and additional deck space. It's limbs were chopped up and burned in my parent's fireplace.

Now, it looks like the one in the front is dying too. While most of the limbs still have leaves in the final stages of turning yellow and falling off, other branches have nothing. The trunk has several places where the bark is falling off, and huge mushrooms are sprouting out of the tree trunk.

It makes me sad - the tree is older than I am, and thus is something I've always associated with home. It's kind of a signiture of my parent's house - the house with the huge maple in the front. It's death is a reminder of my own mortality and that of those I care about.

I took some pictures of it while I was home for thanksgiving. It was creepy, like visiting a family member who you know will soon be dead of an untreatable illness. yet the mushrooms that sprout from it are beautiful in their own way. I don't know if they are what is killing the tree, or just a symptom of it's death.

So here are the pics, in no particular order:












Friday, November 25, 2005

Why Buy Nothing Day is... nothing...

A poster on a deal discussion message board I read keeps posting about Buy Nothing Day. Considering he's posting about buying nothing on a forum about buying stuff, he's not being too well recieved.

My day was more like buy everything day - I spent around $400, although about $300 will be coming back in rebates. Some of the stuff will wind up on eBay or for sale at Hamfest, but some of it is consumables that I can use - SD cards, blank DVD's and CD's, ect. If I can either make money reselling stuff or save money on stuff I would otherwise buy, it seems silly not to buy it in order to stick it to the man. Especially since I someday hope to be the man.

But Buy Nothing Day (BND) reminds me of the famous and fruitless attempts to boycott gas for a day in hopes of driving prices down. It never works, because people just buy gas the day before or the day after.

The way I see it, there are two ways to look at someone who says they are celebrating BND. The first is that they weren't going to buy anything in the first place. Either they don't have any money, or they don't like fighting crowds, or they have to work. Basically, they are doing what they would otherwise do, but pretending to be doing it in the name of protest. Chances are they bought stuff yesterday, will buy stuff tomorrow, and are using stuff they have bought in the past. Because unless you want to grow your own food, sew your own clothes out of cotton you grew yourself, and build your own computer out of sand, you are going to have to buy stuff.

The second possibility is that you actually did want to buy stuff, but aren't out of protest. Big whoop. Chances are you will buy the stuff some other day, so the big evil company that you hate so much still gets paid. But you might wind up paying more for whatever you are buying by skipping the sales. So the only person who loses is you.

I don't see what's so wrong with buying things. I can't make a hard drive, but I use hard drives, so I bought one at Staples today. It wasn't those flashy Maxtor ads that convinced me to buy a hard drive, but rather the massive quantity of movies I stole from eMule and BitTorrent.

If you want to protest against the consumer culture, join a commune, live off the land, and grow your own food while wearing homemade clothing made of burlap. Otherwise, admit that you are just a poser who is trying to look like you are a rebel while accomplishing nothing.

Are you calling me thin?

I've lost some weight in the last year or so - about 60 pounds. I still have a long way to go, but I do feel like I've accomplished something, and it's nice to get a complement every now and then. My parents, my coworkers, and even a guy I went to high school with who I bumped into at Radio Shack while deal hunting have complemented me on my weight loss.

I have an aunt who is, umm, a very unique woman. I was curious if she would notice my weight loss at Thanksgiving, since I hadn't seen her in a couple months. I was banking on either no comment or maybe a complement.

Nope. The exchange went something like this:

Aunt Rosie: Are you eating enough? You look like you are losing weight.

Mad Anthony: I'm trying to

Aunt Rosie: Well, you look like you've lost enough. I don't want you getting anorexic.

Before she left, in front of my mom, she said something to the effect of "and you better look the same the next time I see you" My mom shot her a dirty look (Aunt Rosie is my father's sister).

Now keep in mind, Mad Anthony is less fat then he used to be, but he's still fat. By government standards, I'm still on the line between Obese and Overweight. My waist, while several inches smaller than it used to be, is still too large to wear jeans made by trendy manufacturers. In other words, I need to stop losing weight the way an alcoholic needs to drink more beer or a hooker needs to get laid more.

I can't win.

Mad Anthony's Black Friday stock tips, part 1...

If Black Friday volume is an indicator of store profits, I would say to be long on Circuit City, Best Buy, and Staples and say to short Toys R Us and OfficeMax.

Staples and CC were mobbed - I bought stuff at both stores. I drove past Best Buy but didn't go in - I figured the odds of me finding the one thing I wanted there were slim, and even if I found it I would have to wait an hour to pay for it. The parking lot was that full.

The Staples I went to is right near a Toys R Us. Both open at 6am. TRU looked dead - I ended up parking in their lot because the Staples lot was full. There were more cars by the time I rolled out an hour later, but they might have all been going to Staples. TRU does a huge chunk of their business at Christmas (I worked there one Christmas when I was in high school). If they can't get people there on Black Friday, I can't imagine they will do well.

OfficeMax in the past has had some good deals but horrible customer service. This year, they seem to have kept the horrible customer service but gotten rid of the good deals. I guess they don't want to compete on price, but there is no real reason to shop there except price. If they don't start offering some deals, I think they will have a cold Christmas season.

NOTE: these are just observations and are not to be taken as investment advice. assumes no liability for losses acting on this information (but if it turns out to be right and you make money, I expect 10%).

Black Friday 2005...

I have to say I was kind of disappointed with Black Friday this year - there was not nearly as much on sale as in previous years, and there were way more people at the stores. I wasn't able to get a couple of the items I wanted from stores where I haven't had a problem in the past getting what I want.

But I still got a bunch of stuff cheap. Got all the rebate forms filled out. Now I can relax and eat a nice leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich - before I start my homework.

My schedule:

Circuit City
Arrived 4:20 am. store opened 5. Out by 5:40

Samsonite camcorder bag - FAR
Samsonite camera bag - FAR
Ipod mini case - FAR
Sandisk 512 sd card - 9.99 AR
Discwasher cd cleaner - FAR
monitor cleaner thing - FAR

Arived 5:40. store opened at 6. out by 7:00

Calculator - FAR
Sandisk 512 sd - $15 AR
playo dvd-r 50 pack 2.99AR
Netgear g router/card $29.99AR
Maxtor 200 gig hd - 29.99AR
universal remote FAR

stopped by radio shack looking for the bluetooth headset and wireless keyboard. Didn't have either. Did run into a guy I went to high school with who now works there...

stopped by dunkin donuts, stopped to get gas, stopped at the 'rents to drink my coffee and pee, then back out the door.

Coconuts -
Fuji CD-R 50 pack $2.99AR

I went into OfficeMax. Found two of the three items I wanted, but then looked at the lines to check out and realized I didn't want them that badly, and left empty-handed.

Ace Hardware

palm sander - FAR
Stanley crowbar $1.99 AR
chistmas lights - FAR

Back home by 9.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving...

Haven't been posting much of late, and probably won't be for the next couple weeks. I've got a ton of homework and projects due in the next couple weeks, plus I'm trying to list a bunch of stuff on eBay to take advantage of the Christmas rush.

But I probably won't do a whole lot of homework today or tomorrow. Today is thanksgiving, and I'm in NJ with the family. I drove up yesterday, I'll be returning to Charm City sometime on Sunday. This is actually the second time I've been in NJ in the last week - I drove up Thursday night last week and borrowed my dad's minivan so my car could finally go in the shop to get the gauge issue fixed. Of course, while checking it out, they also checked out the clunking sound the right front tire was making, and found that a large chunk of my suspension had been sacrificed to the gods of the Baltimore City pothole. Between that and the gauge issue, which needs a new circuit board of some sort, I'm looking at over $1500 worth of repairs. So there goes a part of my "buy a house soon" down payment fund. Crud.

Tomorrow, I plan on hitting a bunch of the black friday sales. They aren't as good as previous years, but there are still a few decent deals to be had, and I intend to have them. That means I'll get a couple hours of sleep tonight. Hopefully I'll be motivated enough by tomorrow afternoon to get some homework done.

But I've got a couple days off, even if I'm going to be busy, and that's something to be thankful for. And I'm with family, which is good, and I'm going to be gourging myself on food not from a microwave, so that's good too.

So happy thanksgiving - and happy black friday shopping tomorrow morning...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

We're number two!

Baltimore has been ranked the second most dangerous city over 500,000 and the sixth most dangerous overall. The Baltimore-Towson metro area is the twentieth most dangerous metro area overall.

These stats are from Morgan Quinto, which publishes an annual dangerous city survey based on crime stats.

According to WJZ, Baltimore has yet to comment on this achievement. Camden, NJ - the most dangerous city in America - has it's officials complaining, though, saying it's "unfair" and that people are "bad-mouthing" Camden. Never mind that the rankings are based on hard data.

But the best quote of the WJZ article is this quote:

Some residents say their neighborhoods feel a bit safer.

"I haven't heard that many gunshots," said Gracy Muniz, 22, a mother of three who lives in North Camden.

Hmm, 22 and 3 kids? Guess Camden also ranks #1 in least birth control. But "not that many gunshots" is not a ringing endorsement. I know few people in my parent's suburban NJ neighborhood would be thrilled if gunshots only rang out occasionally.

While I do think Camden's reaction is kind of funny, I don't think being a dangerous city is a huge deal for a city like Baltimore. Baltimore is very dangerous, especially in certain neighborhoods. However, there are also a lot of very safe neighborhoods. Also, many of the murders and violence that are so pervasive in Baltimore are related to it's drug trade. If you don't sell or consume drugs in Baltimore, you sharply reduce your chances of getting shot up. That's not to say that you are not at a slightly greater risk of getting robbed or accidently shot by a stray bullet, but it's not like you can't walk down any steet in B-more without encountering a hail of bullets.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I have to wash my hair.. I mean, I work for

Via InstaPundit comes this article about a guy who is suing claiming that the date he got off the site was a shill who worked for He says he found out when she told him.

Now, it's hard to believe would pay someone to date a loser just to keep them from cancelling a subscription- it seems like it would cost more than just losing the subscription. But I'm thinking if you are a girl who is very disappointed with your date, telling them that you work for might be a good way to get out of the date - at least if you don't have a rescue ring set up.

Personally, I've never used an online dating service. I keep saying I will eventually post an ad and give it a try, as I know several people who have met their significant others online. But lack of free time, self-doubt, inability to write a decent ad, fear of rejection, my unphotogenic apperance, cheapness, and total lack of social skills have made me decide to stick with the crushing lonelyness of my single life.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My domain admin says I'm sending out spam? But I AM my domain admin!

Hint to virus writers - viruses that extract the domain name of the email address they are sending to and insert it in the body of the text work better when the person recieving it doesn't own the domain name

case in point

And that "MadAnthony Antivirus" must suck, if it let a randomly-named zip file through...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Scenes from work, pr0n edition

My boss keeps talking about how one of her cats has to go in for surgery. Apparently, the cat has to be shaved first.

And all I can think of every time she tells someone this is "heh. They are going to shave her pussy."

Man, I'm sick.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I've been passing props from one of my favorite shows and didn't know it...

I'm a big fan of HBO's The Wire, which is filmed in Baltimore. Part of it is it's complex characters (even the bad guys are a little good, and even the good guys can be bad) and it's gritty portrayal of city life. Of course, it's also fun to see some of the landmarks - one of the scenes of this episode was filmed about a block away from my house.

For the last month or so on my way back from work, I've been driving by a parking lot on Cold Spring and Falls Road that has a bunch of movie trailers, along with some Baltimore City police cars and random other cars. There's been some buzz about the Nicole Kidman movie that's filming in Baltimore and I always assumed it was related.

But I was driving back from the gym today and noticed that one of the vehicles was a white Ford Econoline van - covered with a bunch of "Carcetti for Mayor" posters. Which means they are vehicles for The Wire - Carcetti is a councilman with designs of running for mayor in the third season. Guess he will be in the fourth.

And I guess I'll have to pay more attentions to the cars in the lot.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My lame attempt at food-blogging...

There are certain bloggers, like the lovely Jane Galt, who manage to mix econoblogging with zesty Brushetta recipies.

I'm not one of those people, on account of the fact that most of my cooking is of the microwave variety. It's not so much as I can't cook as I can't justify taking the time to walk down to the first floor kitchen and standing over a pot for an hour when I have so much other stuff to do.

But I made a decent sandwich today that I thought I would share. Think of it as a French Dip without the French or the Dip, or a Reuben minus the saurkraut and thousand island dressing.

The MadWich

2 slices Peppridge Farm Dark German Wheat Bread
2 slices lowfat swiss cheese
1/3 package Oscar Meyer Roast Beef

Place one slice of cheese on each slice of bread. Place roast beef on one side of bread. Cap with other side, with cheese side on beef. Place sandwich on George Forman Grill for about 5 minutes until bread starts to brown and cheese looks melted.

Eat. Serve with lowfat potato chips, if only to remind yourself that regular potato chips taste good because they are deep fried and not because they are made of potatoes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Because Steve Jobs can do no wrong...

Well, I am a part-time Apple user - I primarily use Windows machines, but I also own a Powerbook. Thus, I am obligated to buy whatever Apple puts their name on. It's part of the vow you take when you join the Apple cult and get your little white Apple sticker.

so I did as Steve Jobs commanded

I fought buying a Nano for a couple months, but I finally bought one yesterday. My inititation into the iPod cult was back in May of '03, when Target had the 2nd gen iPod on clearance, 50%. I bought a couple, sold most of them, and decided to keep one. I found myself using it frequently - I worked nights at the time and would plug it into an old Powermac G4 I had in my cube and listen to music, and also use it around the house and in the car.

When I started exersizing earlier this year, I decided to buy a shuffle, because I didn't want to carry a heavy, hard drive based mp3 player with me. Lately, I've found myself having to delete songs off the 1 gig shuffle. The headphone jack has also been kinda wonky. I wanted bigger, and I wanted flash-based. And the nano was so sexy.

Don't you have iPod envy?

I got the educational discount, plus Towson Town Center, where I bought it, was participating in a Discover promo where you get a $20 Discover gift card if you spend $200 and pay with your Discover card.

So far, I like it. I bought an iSee case and stuck it in as soon as I took it out of the package so it wouldn't get the notorious Nano scratches. The screen is super-sharp, it's super-tiny, and it sounds good. Apple really knows how to pay attention to the little things, too - it even mounts in iTunes with shows it in the correct color. How cool is that?

I plan on selling my old 10 gigger on ebay, even though I feel like I'm selling my firstborn child. But I haven't used it in 8 months or so since I got the shuffle, and it's just collecting dust. I need to get the shuffle fixed before the warrenty expires, but I don't know if I'll eBay it too or just keep it as a 1 gig thumb drive.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Adventures in shopping

I usually have some time to kill on Saturdays after work, and since I'm in Timonium, which seems to have one of every major store in the world, I go shopping.

So my first stop is Target, to load up on 75% off candy and poke around the clearance items. Target keeps clearance stuff on the endcaps of isles, on the side near the wall, so I usually shop around the edges. I'm taking a quick spin through men's clothing and run a women coming out of one of the isles nearly hits me. I wait for her to go, but she motions for me to go, and I do.

So I finish my shopping and head to the checkout. Target has two rows of cash registers. I spot one with a short line, and go for it, walking vertically past a bunch. I get in line and hear a voice behind me go "geeze, you keep cutting me off". It was the women from menswear. I get out of line to go to another register, and she goes "No, you can stay in line". I mumbled "that's OK" and got in another line.

Yes, I know, I'm a pushover. I should have just ignored her, and figured she was joking. I get jokes -when they are from people I know. I don't expect people in Target to deliver me sarcastic comments, and since there isn't any context from people I don't know, I tend to take them at face value. Personally, I'd prefer not to interact with random people at target - I just want to buy my stuff, check out, and leave. Which I guess is because I'm an antisocial loner.

I then went to Old Navy. I've found myself in the position of having to buy new pants on a regular basis, thanks to my shrinking waistline. They had a bunch of stuff on clearance, and I had a 10% off coupon for doing a survey the last time I went to an Old Navy. Found a bunch of stuff on clearance:

-pair of jeans for $14.50
-pair of pants for $6.97 (one size too small, but hopefully I'll lose enough weight to fit into them someday)
-trendy pinstripe jacket for $14.97
-cord hat for $1.97

I had to point out that the pants scanned at the wrong price.

I then paid with my Amex, and she looks at the card, goes "can I see some ID, the signiture is rubbed off?". I show her my license, and she does a double take - probably because I had brown hair in the picture on my license and was about 40 pounds heavier. I mention that I bleached my hair, and she completes the transaction.

I guess I should be glad they are concerned about credit card theft. But what kind of credit card thief would buy only stuff on clearance and use a coupon?


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Spyware hits the fox...

Well, I was looking for lyrics for a song because of a post I was making in a forum, and clicked on the second search result from google - and a piece of spyware tried to install a toolbar on my computer.

Which wouldn't be surprising, except I was using FireFox. Here is the screenshot - note the toobar install on the top. When I closed the tab the first time, it also gave me an applet. I forgot to take a screenshot, and when I tried hitting the site again and closing it it didn't come up.

Granted, FireFox worked as it was supposed to - it prompted me, and I said no. But I'm kind of surprised that spyware writers would bother targeting Firefox, since it's somewhat more secure than IE, and because the people who use it tend to be more tech-savy than average. So I guess this post of mine from April has been proven false.

Maybe I should switch to Opera...

Scenes from work, the hair up there edition..

Coworker: You know, one of your coworkers was making fun of my hair. Said that he couldn't understand why it would take 4 hours to do braids. I'm surprised you didn't say anything about them... you always seem to say something about everything else.

Mad Anthony: (pointing at head): I don't think I really have the moral authority to question anyone's hair anymore.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Obligatory thoughts on Alito

I know, I haven't posted anything on Alito, despite the fact that he was announced almost a week ago. As an evil neocon, I should be welcoming the forthcoming repeal of Roe v Wade other reenforcement of the white maile power structure. Plus, you know, as a (mostly) Italian from NJ with a name like Anthony, I must be mobbed up and will look forward to his soft on the Mafia stance.

Right. Except that none of those accusations are really true. I think the debate over Casey is a pretty good sign. If that is the worst decision the Left can come up with that Alito has been involved in, it bodes pretty well. First of all, I've seen a bunch of stats that most people are in favor of husband abortion notification, so it may not play as well as the left thinks. Many on the far-left seem to regard abortion like warm puppies or free beer - the more the better - while many Americans who are pro-choice are somewhere in the middle - they tolerate abortion, but don't like it, and would like to see it as rare as possible, so are willing to accept some limits on it.

But the question that Alito was answering wasn't if husband abortion notification was a good law or not, but rather if it was constitutional. Those are two different things. I think that Baltimore parking regulations, which manage to get me ticketed a couple times a year thanks to parking signs that contradict each other and bus stops whose size seems grow regularly, so that you can park a block away from a bus stop and still get a ticket for parking in a bus stop, are unfair. But they aren't unconsititutional. James Tarantino @ WSJ's Opinionjournal sums up this argument.

I think Alito is a good choice. I was less hostile than most in the blog world to Miers, because I thought it would be good to have an easy-to-confirm nominee. But in retrospect, it's much better to have a good nominee than an easy-to-confirm one, and to have one with a documented solid pro-consititution, narrow interpretation philosophy than one like Miers who had no documented philosophy to speak of. Alito seems to be uncontroversial enough to get through, but solid enough to stick to the constitution.

And he's Italian and from New Jersey, too. Not that ethnicity should matter.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Scenes from home, booze and drugs edition

Mad Anthony's Landlord: I don't know about that new roomate. She complains a lot. And she only showers like twice a week. And she drinks all the time. Downs like a bottle of wine a day.

Mad Anthony: I've never understood wine drinkers. They get all excited over the stuff, saying that it tastes like chocolate and pencil shavings and apricots. To me, it all tastes like spoiled grape juice.

Mad Anthony's Landlord: True. I've never liked wine either. That's why I stick to smoking dope.

Using race to hide the issues...

Jeff at PW has a good summary of the Steele debate - ie, is it OK for Dems to basically label conservative African-Americans like Steele as "race traitors" because they don't hold the majority political view, and then argue that it's OK because of their race? (My answer would be no).

But the biggest problem I have with dismissing someone's views because of their race is that it ignores the real debate. The argument the Left has been making is that Steele is a race traitor because he is a Republican and Republicans are bad for African Americans. What the Dems don't seem to be saying is WHY being Republican is bad for African-Americans.

And it would seem that if this was a questions that the Dems had a clear, sellable answer to, then they would be answering the question instead of tossing Oreos at a Lt. Governor. My opinion is that African Americans, like any other group, are not homogeneous, and that there are some members who would benefit or prefer from policies touted by the left and some would prefer those of the right. I think that there are some policies (school choice, lower taxes, the disgust by many on the right with Kelo, faith-based initiatives) would benefit many African-Americans.

The fact that the left seems to want to use racism to duck the debate over WHY they think being Republican and African American is a bad thing by basically saying it should just be assumed seems to me to be an indicator that they are a little nervous what the answer might be. African Americans vote Democrat by something like a 10 to 1 margin, so Dems have little to gain and a lot to lose if a few African-Americans start asking the question and don't like the answers they get.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Why I think Dave is wrong and some debt is fine...

Insty links to this NYT profile on his old clasemate, Dave Ramsey, who is a self-described "anti-debt crusader".

The dude hates debt - including credit cards, student loans, and mortgages. Yes, mortgages.

Now, much of what he says in the article makes sense - don't run up credit card debt for stuff like a wedding, work extra hours if you need to to pull yourself out of debt, read books instead of watching TV (although I don't do as much of the last one as I should).

And I realize that most of the people that Dave is aiming at are not the most responsible with money, and keeping them on an all-cash budget may be the best way to keep them from running up debt.

But credit cards can be good if used properly. I try to put all my gas on my Discover Gas cash back card (5% back for the first $1500 per year) and everything else on my Amex Blue Cash (tiered, up to 5% on certain purchases after I hit $6000 in charges in a year). This is basically free money - I pay off my bill every month, so I don't carry a balance or incurr intrest, and they basically pay ME to buy stuff.

Other people (ie many of the posters on fw finance like to take advantage of 0% balance transfer promos. Even if you don't need money, you can borrow the money, put it in a savings account, and make money for nothing. I haven't done this, because I'm hoping to buy a house in the next 6 months or so, and I want to keep my debt down.

Speaking of houses, Dave also advocates paying cash for a house if possible, and if not taking out a 15-year fixed rate mortgage with at least 50% down. While I am no fan of some of the wierd financing vehicles out there now (ARMS, zero-down, interest only, less-than-interest only, ect)- if only because the people using them are pricing first-time buyers like me who don't want to take the risk- out of the market. But with housing prices the way they are, putting 50% down is unrealistic. With the amount I have saved, that would put me in the market for a $50,000 house. What kind of house can you get in Baltimore for fifty g's? The kind with no windows, floors, or plumbing, and that comes with a homeless guy pooping in the basement.

With housing prices rising the way they have been, someone who isn't willing to go into a conventional mortgage is going to have trouble saving because prices have been climbing faster than most people's savings rate. That may change if/when the "housing bubble pops" - but my thought is that if you buy a decent house in a decent neigborhood and hold it long-term, you will probably be ok. Waiting 10 years until you have 50% down saved up - and paying rent all that time - doesn't seem like a great idea.

Edit: Be sure to read the comments, in which I respond to a reader comment with an analogy that uses the phrase "bash someone's head in"

Avoiding the issues on campus diversity...

My roomate is a grad student at Hopkins majoring in English. Our bathroom is a reflection of our different tastes in reading material - I have copies of Maxim, Car and Driver, and Reader's Digest, while he has the New Yorker and Harper's.

While taking care of business, I noticed that the cover of this month's Harper's had an article titled "Affermative Reaction: what to do when Campus Republicans start playing the diversity card".

I took a quick glance at the article - what it did was set up four scenerios and have people discuss them. The first was if a college in a predominatly Republican area with a predominatly Democrat/Liberal faculty should intentionally hire a Republican/conservative in order to respond to complaints about the lack of diversity. Another case delt with a bio professor who belived in Intelligent Design. All the cases dealt with faculty.

My guess is that most of the people who complain about campus diversity and the lack of conservative/Republican/Libertarian views don't want affermative action. I don't. It would be hypocritcal to complain about affermative action or proportional representation in college admissions and then advocate the same for professors. Besides, there will always be more lefty profs - right-wingers know they can make more in the real world and will head to private sector jobs.

When hiring faculty, the question should not be "what are your views" but "how will you respond to students with views different than yours?". Most students whose politics lean right have at some point run accross a professor who doesn't agree with them - and knows that some professors are more tollerant and open-minded than others.

I would say in college I had two professors who leaned socialist/leftist in classes that discussed subjects where those issues came up. The first guy, a theology professor, let it show in his distain for me. While talking about a paper with him regarding social justice and distribution of wealth, he once said something to the effect of "but what if these people were your family? You wouldn't want your parents to have to work in a factory, would you?" I was speechless at the time, but regret not pointing out that my dad's office was, in fact, in a factory. He is a QA inspector for the government, and while he doesn't work on an assembly line, he supervises the testing of the stuff that comes off the line. His previous job was as a systems technician in a chemical plant. And if you go back a couple generations, his grandparents were so willing to work in a factory that they took a boat from Italy to Raritan, NJ to work in it's woolen mills. I ended up with a low grade in that class.

Another class I took - a philosophy class on Marxism - was also taught by a left-leaning prof. I felt, however, that he was always respectful of people who didn't agree with him. He let me write my final paper for the class contrasting Marx's view on capital with that of Hernando DeSoto, a South American economist who argued that more property rights would lift many countries out of poverty, because ownership of land and houses could be used as collateral to start businesses. I was very happy with my grade in that class.

But much of the complaints by campus conservatives is the environment outside the classroom. Organized lectures and events are often all left-leaning, and campus conservatives who want to protest lefty events or bring right-wingers to campus often recieve static from the administration or worse. Witness the way that campus Republicans protesting Ward Churchill were treated by DePaul or watch the excellent BrainWashing 101 movie by Evan Coyne Maloney, which deals mostly with outside-the-classroom issues.

College campuses will always be way more liberal than the population at large, and conservatives realize this. They don't want a world where professors are hired because they are republicans in the name of forcing diversity. What they do want is to be treated with the same respect that those on the left want to be treated - to not be called rasicst or evil or stupid for expressing a different viewpoint, and to have a campus where controversial issues and speakers from both sides of the isle are given a fair listen, even by people who don't agree with them.

Well, I've got Christmas dinner ready...

Well, I've got Christmas dinner ready to go - Turkey with gravy, wild herb stuffing, brussel sprouts, cranberry, and pumpkin pie.

I've even got the spork.

Yup, it's the Jones Soda Holiday pack 2005, now available at Target for $10.99. I was up in Westminster on Sunday for a Hamfest with bsom and there was a Target near the site. Since I am a Target clearance addict who can't pass a Target, I had to stop. Nothing good on clearance - too far after the big Electronics reset - but saw this by the cash register.

Last year they went for a bunch on eBay - and I didn't buy one. I figure if these increase in value, I'll eBay it, and if not, I'll bring it up to NJ with me at Christmas and see if I can convince my dad to take a big swig of brussel sprout soda.