Strib: Target Black Friday protesters ‘grossly self-indulgent’

MORNING EDITION

The Strib goes full paternal with its editorial on Anthony Hardwick, the ingrate who had the temerity to complain about Target’s Black Friday hours: “Hardwick’s intentions are good, but when nearly 14 million Americans are unemployed, complaining about work hours is grossly self-indulgent. Many unemployed workers would love a steady paycheck to stave off a home foreclosure or, in the most desperate cases, to cover the cost of Thanksgiving dinner. When times were better, retail giants forcing employees to work on treasured family holidays could easily be painted as corporate greed run amok. But today it’s hardly fair to paint merchants as retail Scrooges. Our nation’s economy is struggling to recover from a deep recession. … Americans are shaken by uncertainty about the country’s financial future. Too many people are out of work, struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Many are lacking health insurance and foregoing staples that in different times were a given. So please, protesting retail workers, stop whining about having to work holiday hours. Be grateful to have a job.” And that, my friends, would be an embarrassment if it were written by the Bird Island Clarion-Shopper.

Not only has the NBA brought its labor suit here to Minnesota, but it also would like it handled just like the NFL’s case was. The AP is saying: “Union executive director Billy Hunter said Tuesday he expected that a Minnesota magistrate judge would mediate the players’ lawsuit against the NBA, as the court did in the NFL’s labor dispute. Hunter specifically mentioned U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the court-appointed mediator in the NFL talks. Boylan is not the magistrate assigned to the NBA antitrust suit, although the district judge has the discretion to appoint a different magistrate to mediate. The NBA owners have locked out the players, and little progress has been made in negotiations. ‘What may very well be is the judge there directs the magistrate, as they did in the NFLPA case, to host a settlement conference, and that could possibly occur as early as next week,’ Hunter said. One reason the players’ lawyers decided to consolidate two suits against the NBA in Minnesota, he said, was that the district court there routinely uses magistrates to mediate cases.” Yeah. They’re not coming here for the weather.

Today in Bachmannia: Our Gal gave CNN an interview and touted the value of a mom in the Oval Office: “In a Tuesday interview on CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ Bachmann said 70% of voters are still undecided about who they’ll support for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and the ‘flux’ of the race could be a boon for her. … Bachmann implied it was time ‘to let a woman speak,’ a reference to a recent debate controversy where she was asked fewer questions than some other candidates. A CNN poll released Monday placed her in sixth place with five percent support. … she added, ‘It’s time to have a mother in the White House. We never had that before — to have a mom in the White House — I think it’s time.’ Five percent of women back Bachmann, according to the CNN poll.” It’s a shame what’s happened to sisterhood in this country.

This was close to tragic. A young mother and her 4-year-old daughter nearly drowned when their car flipped over into a ditch filled with waist-deep water. WCCO-TV’s Bill Hudson’s story (with video) says: “Struggling to release [daughter] Haley from her booster seat, the mother and daughter remained trapped by car doors that wouldn’t open. It was at that instant, [Gretchen] Wolbeck recalled, that a Good Samaritan used a 2×4 piece of lumber to smash the passenger door window and pulled Gretchen and Haley to safety. ‘I am so thankful to be alive and that my little girl is here, and thankful for the man that stopped,’ Wolbeck said. A second man joined in the rescue and helped comfort the two while waiting for firefighters and sheriff’s deputies to arrive on the scene. He is identified as 21-year-old Craig Harden of rural Rice.”

Like a duck with a bone, City Pages’ Kevin Hoffman will not let go and now has posted the notorious “duck, not dog,” video that still has WCCO-TV cringing with embarrassment (and Viacom’s corporate suits fearing legal action). “Despite WCCO-TV’s attempts to scrub all evidence of the Duck/Dog debacle from the internet, a video of the original report has surfaced on YouTube. The video was posted yesterday evening by TVSpyShopTalk, which is part of MediaBistro. Previously, we posted the transcript of the errant report, but the actual video remained something of a Golden Fleece for local media reporters — the material was even deleted from WCCO’s internal servers. But now it’s available for all to see, including the embarrassing moment where James Schugel pesters a guy who can’t speak English over the phone.”

There are plenty left. The DNR says hunters have bagged 180,000 deer so far during Minnesota’s season. Doug Smith of the Strib says: “Firearms hunters have killed 161,000 deer, down 10,000 — or 6 percent — from 2010. The decline still is blamed on poor harvest opening weekend of the firearms season because of high winds. “Since the opener, the harvest most days has been up from last year,” said Lou Cornicelli, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) big-game coordinator. Cornicelli said he still thinks total harvest — including archery, regular firearms and muzzleloader — will approach 200,000 for the season.”

There’s a popular line of thinking that the country as a whole dodged a bullet (and a nasty precedent) in the utter failure of the “supercommittee.” MPR’s Brett Neely detects an upside for Minnesota in the spectacular flame-out: “A big reason why Minnesota’s financial status is unlikely to change much is that the largest portion of the money that the state of Minnesota receives from the federal government goes to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. The program is exempt from the automatic budget cuts that are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. So are Social Security, Children’s Health Insurance and a bunch of other social net programs. Still, as [State Economist Tom] Stinson said, uncertainty is the new watchword because no one really knows whether Congress will prevent the cuts from taking place, shift some of the reductions to other parts of the budget, or make even deeper cuts. But even if automatic budget cuts take place and federal spending falls by a scheduled $110 billion next year, the state’s economy may weather the storm better than places with lots of military facilities, said Art Rolnick, an economist at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.”

A slump in defibrillator sales didn’t hurt Medtronic’s quarterly earnings. James Walsh and Janet Moore at the Strib report: “The Fridley-based company said Tuesday that net income jumped more than 50 percent in the quarter — when compared with the same period last year, which was weighed down by a large legal settlement. … Earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 2 were $871 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with $566 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier. Results from a year ago were affected by a $278 million legal settlement related to a recalled defibrillator lead.”

I admit it. I’m late on Tom Crann’s interview with Mayo Dr. Donald Hensrud on the clinic’s new guidebook, the “Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet.” A sample from the Q&A: “Dr. Donald Hensrud: Obesity started to increase in this country in the early 1970s. The complications from obesity start to occur a little bit later than that. So in the early 1990s, type 2 diabetes has been increasing since then, and it’s more than doubled since 1990. Currently, over 25 million Americans have type 2 diabetes. The interesting thing is, according to the CDC, that about a fourth of these people don’t even know they have it. What’s even more alarming is that almost 80 million Americans have pre-diabetes, so their blood glucose, their blood sugar has started to increase. They don’t quite meet the criteria for diabetes, but the are at risk for developing it. That’s one-third of the adult population. So this is affecting a huge number of people.” … With a corresponding huge bill for obesity/diabetic care, nationally.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Brian Marshall on 11/23/2011 - 08:28 am.

    “And that, my friends, would be an embarrassment if it were written by the Bird Island Clarion-Shopper.” A pox on Nick Coleman for abandoning the Strib editorial pages at a time when we need him most. It was his duty to stay and fight the good fight no matter how poorly he was being treated by management.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2011 - 08:46 am.

    Brian, considering that Nick Coleman would probably jump at an offer of employment from the Bird Island Clarion-Shopper, I think we can give him a break.

  3. Submitted by Cecil North on 11/23/2011 - 08:47 am.

    Anthony Hardwick is apparently a movie fan:

    “Now listen to me, all of you. You are all condemned men. We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live”

    Quintus Arrius, Slave Galley Skipper
    Ben Hur

  4. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 11/23/2011 - 08:58 am.

    I beg to differ, Ms. Bachmann– we’ve had a few “mothers” in the White House–LBJ, Nixon, and both Bushes jump to mind.

    If Dr. Hensrud would look at the historical data, diabetes started to increase with the mass availability of refined sugar. The more processed our foods, the more diabetic and obese we’ve become. Some MN tribes have been doing some interesting health programs of returning to native diets–with correponding huge drops in rates of obesity and diabetes. Food for thought.

  5. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/23/2011 - 09:05 am.

    “Stop whining and just be grateful you have a job” is the attitude that the union movement was created to oppose.

  6. Submitted by Fluffy Rabinowitz on 11/23/2011 - 10:05 am.

    The Strib Editorial should have disclosed that their own reporters’ were notified (only yesterday) they would be working at Midnight to cover the Holiday Sale. Several reporters had their work hours changed for Thanksgiving Day and Friday in violation of the union contract!

    Another self-serving editorial by the Strib!

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/23/2011 - 10:18 am.

    “Stop whining and just be grateful you have a job” is the attitude that the union movement was created to oppose.

    Right, and that worked out great for the UAW, the steel workers union, Northwest Airlines mechanics and soon for those poor schnuks at Crystal Sugar.

  8. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/23/2011 - 10:58 am.

    I hate to say it, but I agree with the Strib editorial (generally, though not entirely). If Target was not complying with labor laws (e.g., breaks and hours), then there would be a good reason to scream bloody murder. If Target was firing you for observing your religious holiday, then there would be a good reason to scream bloody murder. But publicly whining that your employer is open on a secular holiday is self-indulgent, especially in times like these. Maybe my view would be different if I worked in retail. I don’t, but I also don’t intend to attend the madness that is Black Friday, so I’m not going to contribute to the misery of retail workers. If we, as a nation, feel that stores have crossed the line, we simply have to refrain from rewarding them for being open. Most of the big sales on Black Friday are for inferior quality products (yes, there are special products made for Black Friday just like there are special products made for Walmart), resulting in little or no actual savings when you consider that a) you probably don’t need it; and b) you’ll probably have to replace it much sooner had you simply bought it some other day of the year.

    Some people need to learn to pick their battles. The fight over having to work on Thanksgiving will certainly be pointed to when there’s a fight to keep labor laws from being repealed. Let’s face it, we know Newt would do it in order to repeal child labor laws. Which is more important–you get an entire Thanksgiving day off, or that your 10 year old child isn’t forced into a janitorial job at his school?

  9. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 11/23/2011 - 11:48 am.

    Re: diabetes. Always forgotten, when talking numbers affected, is that when the ADA adjusted its diabetic thresholds a decade ago, the number of diabetics in the US overnight jumped by 30% only because of that simple, numerical adjustment.

    I have heard talk that the ADA now wants to further lower the threshold … perhaps to as low as 90 … which would mean a corresponding “increase” in the number of people who will now need to take medication or use daily insulin.

    Very convenient for the pharmaceutical industry, yes?

  10. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/23/2011 - 02:00 pm.

    I hope that, when the reporters arrive at Target and or other retailers at midnight, there will be NO shoppers there. Then next year, this silly plan having failed, their employees can have a full night’s sleep before starting their next 8- or 10- or whatever-hour long shift.

    People who are shopping for gifts generally have a finite amount to spend. If they spend it at midnight, they won’t spend it at 9 a.m.

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