It’s not like the (strange) thrill is gone, but the numbers are shifting. At Fortune magazine, Phil Wahba reports, “Have retailers’ earlier and earlier deals each holiday season made Black Friday, the Super Bowl of shopping, moot? Not quite. Some 87 million Americans still hit stores on Friday, according to a National Retail Federation survey released on Sunday. But by ramping up holiday sales events more intensely than ever, and as early as the first week of November, retailers took a big bite of what has long been the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Total spending for the four-day weekend that started on Thanksgiving is expected to reach $50.9 billion, down 11.3% from last year’s estimated $57.4 billion, according to NRF projections. … both Wal-Mart Stores and Target reported record online sales for Thanksgiving.”
In the New York Times Hiroko Tabuchi says, “Sales fell despite many stores’ opening earlier than ever on Thanksgiving Day. … Walmart came out ‘the undisputed leader in terms of traffic, where lines were deep at all registers and parking lots were overflowing … . Best Buy, Target, Old Navy and Kohl’s were also busy Thanksgiving night.”
Skullduggery in NFL. At USA Today Tom Pelissero says, “Conversations between banished Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson and NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent will be at the center of Peterson’s appeal of his suspension – and Peterson has them on tape. A person with knowledge of the recordings and the appeal filing said Peterson recorded the conversations because he became suspicious of Vincent’s motives for pushing Peterson to attend a Nov. 14 hearing involving outside experts. … Per the transcript, Vincent told Peterson he would not be subject to the enhanced version of the personal conduct policy Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in August.”
A guy can be forgiven for a lot of heinous behavior, but torturing dogs is a tough reputation to shake. Kay Fate of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says, “A man police believe was training dogs to fight, resulting in the death of at least one dog, has pleaded guilty to torturing an animal. Douglas Wayne Seidel, 26, of Austin, entered the plea Wednesday in Mower County District Court … The investigation into the case began Oct. 6, when an Austin Police officer responded to a complaint of animal cruelty. He met with a man who told him there was a dead dog at Seidel’s house, and the man believed Seidel had his two pit bull terriers attack and kill the animal, also a pit bull terrier. The officer saw a text message from Seidel to another person that said, ‘hey you (expletive), i’m gonna kill you like i did her dog.’”
Don’t bore me with facts, I know what I want to believe. Paul Strubas at the Green Bay Post-Gazette reports: “It turns out that the famous halftime flush, when water usage surges dramatically throughout the community as a couple hundred thousand Packers fans rush off to the bathroom at the same time, is nothing but a myth. Or, at least, it doesn’t register on any important dials and gauges. The Green Bay Water Utility checked water consumption for two of this season’s biggest home games, the Oct. 2 Vikings game and the Nov. 9 Bears game, both played in the evening, and water usage was unremarkable, according to Russ Hardwick of the utility.” And what about half-time use of home stills in the garages?
Another shot at the Common Core curriculum comes in a Strib commentary from history professor Chuck Chalberg. “Let’s take a look at the recommended post-Civil-War American history ‘curriculum framework.’ This was the age of great business growth, including the rise of the corporation and, yes, monopolies. There is nothing wrong with pointing out any of this. Business certainly did grow; corporations did rise, and monopolies did monopolize — or at least try to. But did these monopolies seek to ‘maximize the exploitation of natural resources’? Apparently so, according to the proposed curriculum. And did these enterprises ‘increasingly look outside’ the United States to establish ‘control over markets and resources’? Actually, at that time the market for American manufactured goods was overwhelmingly domestic. But to the authors of the new curriculum framework, imperialism was essentially what Marxists have long claimed it to be: namely, the last stage of capitalism.”
You know what is sliding downhill from South Dakota … and it isn’t tax relief for job creators. The Strib’s Tony Kennedy reports, “[Civic leaders of prospering Hendricks, Minnesota] say their efforts are now threatened by a giant 4,000-cow dairy farm proposed just across the border in South Dakota, on top of the area’s highest hill. They say the operation will produce as much sewage as a city of 657,000 people and operate with less regulation than any similarly sized feedlot in Minnesota. … Similar livestock confinement operations in South Dakota have experienced spills and field runoff capable of polluting rivers and lakes. In November, the Hendricks City Council filed a lawsuit against Brookings County, S.D., to stop the $30 million to $50 million corporate farm.” It’s like, “deal with your [bleep], man!”
It was terrific hysteria while it lasted. At MPR, Lorna Benson says, “Five weeks after Minnesota health officials began tracking travelers arriving from Ebola-affected countries, each of the 120 people screened has been deemed low-risk and none has developed Ebola symptoms. Public health workers say the effort remains time-consuming and, occasionally, complicated by language barriers or bad contact information. Officials, though, say they’ve worked through many of the program’s early kinks.”
Hey, in three more weeks it’ll be winter! On his Strib blog, Paul Douglas says, “Monday will be the coldest day of the week with high temperatures struggling to get into double digits. Some spots across the northern part of the state will have a tough time even getting above the sub-zero range. Wind chill values will likely sub-zero for much of the state Monday with readings as low as the 20s below zero across the northern part of the state.” Our climate, still keeping the riff-raff out after all these centuries.