COLUMN: Random thoughts from over break

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break and found some time to relax. There's only three more weeks 'til the semester is all over! It's really hard to concentrate on just one thing for any long period of time during the holiday season. That being the case, I thought I would share some random thoughts with you today as opposed to one organized thought.

First off, the holiday shopping season was kicked off this past weekend. Good news was reported as sales were up 2.4 percent on Friday from the purchases at the same locations last year. Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving is no longer the busiest shopping day of the year? The Saturday before Christmas is now the busiest day. The early Thanksgiving means this year's holiday shopping season will be longer than normal, which could also help sales. With everything being the way it is, any good news is welcome!

As if we didn't already know, economists say that we have been in a recession since March. The National Bureau of Economic Research, composed of academic economists from Harvard, Stanford and other universities, this week joined many other economists who say that we've entered a recession. Now economists are trying to pinpoint just when the recession will end. The decision seems to be split between first quarter of 2002 or late in the second. I believe it will be earlier rather then later, but we'll just have to see.

If you didn't get a chance to see my column last week I suggest you check it out on the web in the Daily News archives. I've received mixed comments on my thoughts from last week and that's why I suggest taking a look at it again. My main concern is with those who accuse it of being "mean spirited." I can only assume that these concerns are over my very strong feelings towards how myself and others were treated by the Northern Illinois University student body two weekends ago.

My main point last week was that everyone at Ball State can be very proud of how a small group of students represented our school despite overwhelming negative feelings towards our presence at NIU. I think some who read my column last week may not have seen this. Whatever the case may be, I am responsible for what I write in this column and welcome any discussion that it brings.

On a similar, patriotic note I am glad that I live in a country where I have freedom of speech and the press that allows me to express my views and opinions in a positive way. I do not take this lightly and respect this freedom in the manner that it was written. I ask that all of you who do not share in my opinion at least share in your right to exercise this freedom.

I share this with you because in light of discussions I had last week with many people, I think there are many students, faculty and staff here at Ball State who are afraid to write about anything that is controversial.

There is no need to be afraid if you believe in what you say and express it in a constructive, respectful manner. This is a freedom granted to us all long ago. We should use it, and above all else respect it every day.

Here ends my random thoughts for today. Have a good week, study hard for those finals coming up and get that Christmas shopping done early!

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