Black Friday spending down; Target reports record online sales

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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.

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Comments (20)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/01/2014 - 07:31 am.

    Of course the Ebola hysteria is over

    After all, there is no longer an impending election which requires fear-mongering among the general populace!

  2. Submitted by E Gamauf on 12/01/2014 - 07:48 am.

    A Shopping Crisis!

    Black Friday sales down.

    Meanwhile, trying to cut each other off at the knees, retailers tried to get the jump on each other, and thereby diluted the one-day shopping frenzy.

    This is a sign of the coming Zombie Apocalypse, for sure.

    An earlier harbinger: WalMartians!

  3. Submitted by Linda Vanderwerf on 12/01/2014 - 10:47 am.

    Common Core

    A picky quibble with your piece on the Common Core.

    Common Core is a set of standards that set out what a state wants its kids to learn. It is not curriculum

    Curriculum is a local decision and includes the teaching materials and practices a school chooses to helps its kids meet standards.

    Also a note: Minnesota has adopted the Common Core standards in English/language arts only. The state has its own standards for math. Those decisions were made when Tim Pawlenty was governor.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/01/2014 - 11:22 am.

    Another Black Friday tidbit

    “The busiest shopping day of the year also saw a major boom for gun sales, with the federal background check system setting a record of more than 175,000 background checks Friday, according to the FBI.”

  5. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/01/2014 - 11:50 am.

    SD Dairy

    Just more rhetoric and hysteria from people opposed to livestock. This one would have to follow the same federal rules any other feedlot would. These larger types of feedlots in general pose fewer risks to the environment due to stricter rules they need to follow as compared to smaller feedlots with little oversight. It seems silly that a farming community would be against farming.

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 12/01/2014 - 01:36 pm.

      That’s hardly farming.

      That’s Industry.

      Corn and soybeans are also Industry.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/01/2014 - 01:44 pm.


        Sure if you want to call it that. Everyone with 10 acres to 25k acres and beyond or with 1 cow or 4000 animal units and beyond are an industry. Whether it is an industry with the owner as the sole employee or if there are thousands. We’re all part of an industry of some kind in some way whether we like it or not. That really makes no difference. It’s still a community against something that is part of the reason they are there in the first place. It would be like Minneapolis or any other city saying no new businesses here we have enough already.

    • Submitted by Robert Henderson on 12/01/2014 - 01:49 pm.

      Cow manure

      A 1400lb cow generates, on average, 14 gallons of manure waste per day – a mix of wash water, manure and urine. 4000 cows would then generate 20 million gallons per year. All those gallons need to go somewhere.

      What could possibly go wrong?

      I think it is a reasonable argument that large operations concentrate the risks.

      And they should be held to strict standards to safeguard the environment. It’s not anti-farming and it is not hysteria, it’s being responsible.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/01/2014 - 02:36 pm.


        MN Rules Chapter 7020, Clean Water Act. Those are the standards that safeguard the environment. Large farms such as this one follow the strictest of rules for all feedlots. Sure things go wrong from time to time but does that mean no one else can construct a feedlot? Things go wrong for other types of businesses in the world also. Should no one have a business anymore? Farms adhere to federal and state standards and to oppose one because some other one had an issue that may or may not have a bit to do with this one is simply anti-livestock and hysteria. There are chemical and fuel spills and other spills and accidents of other kinds all over the world in many types of businesses. Dairy is no different in that they do everything they can to avoid incidents and should not be prevented from creating a new dairy because someone else made a mistake or had an accident.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/01/2014 - 03:24 pm.

          The farm they are objecting to is in South Dakota

          The Minnesota statute you cite would not apply to a farm in South Dakota.

          Care to cite the Federal regs which you are saying will solve this mess?

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/02/2014 - 10:31 am.

            Federal Regs

            EPA Clean Water Act as I cited in my previous post. This applies to all feedlots in all states. The Minnesota rules are derived from this and any SD rules would be derived from this as well. States that do not follow these rules can be taken to federal court.

        • Submitted by Robert Henderson on 12/01/2014 - 09:07 pm.

          Cow Manure

          No hysteria or anti-livestock emotions here. I consume dairy, it’s got to come from somewhere.

          But I don’t buy spills here and there. That is well and good if you are not there when the spills happen.

          Spills are not confined to the spillers property and no one has a right to cause harm to their neighbors or those downstream from their activities.

          If one of your neighbors was planning on generating 20 million gallons of liquid manure a year would you want to know they had a responsible plan for dealing with it?

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/02/2014 - 08:39 am.


            Absolutely I would. That’s why they go through public meetings as required and are required to follow standards for construction and operation. If I wasn’t aware that they were following those I could go to the required public meeting and ask or ask the agency that regulates them and have all of my questions answered. Suing wouldn’t be the solution to go with first. That’s reactionary, anti-business and anti-livestock.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 12/01/2014 - 04:29 pm.

      Uhhh, no

      The opposition of the very real possibility of sewage contamination, doesn’t make one “anti livestock.” What’s silly is attempting to use that stereotype to dismiss their concerns.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/02/2014 - 10:33 am.

        uhhh, yes

        Opposition with no real facts to back it up is anti livestock. If they have concerns fine, state them and ask that they be addressed but to sue is silly and anti-livestock. Sewage contamination can come from other sources as well but those sources are not being sued.

  6. Submitted by jason myron on 12/02/2014 - 03:04 pm.

    No real facts?

    There are plenty of facts, just none that square with your ideology.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/03/2014 - 10:37 am.


      There are zero facts presented regarding this feedlot. This feedlot may be a similar size and milk cows but the similarities to other feedlots end there. Present some facts as to why this feedlot will pollute.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/03/2014 - 09:44 am.

    Marxism eh?

    Not Marxism, just history. Unless you have some other explanation for the United States growing from 13 to 50 states and ending up with military bases all over the world. What do you think the Monroe Doctrine was? That was 1823 by the way. Just because most of US production took place in the US doesn’t mean we didn’t pursue a policy of expansion and economic hegemony. Between 1800 and 1900 in addition to the Monroe Doctrine we invaded Canada, drove the Indians into reservations, captured Texas, New Mexico, and California from Mexico, established the United Fruit Company in Central America, and captured Spanish Territory in a “Splendid Little War”. None of this was Marx’s idea.

    Chalberg is a Center for the American Experiment guy by the way and yet another example dubious intellectual prowess. He has a record of dodgy historical arguments, you can read them on the Center’s website:

  8. Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/03/2014 - 11:35 am.

    Rules, no rules

    The fact of the matter remains, IF such a spill were occur, it would have potential to ruin, perhaps for many years, perhaps permanently, the hard work the folks in that community have done to restore their watershed. Why should it be considered anti-farming for their desire to not take that risk to be honored. Would the feedlot owners actions be similarly classified as anti-clean water? Why should his/her/its desire for increased income be given more weight than the communities desire for a clean watershed in perpetuity? It would seem the issue would be moot if not for the state boundary, as the community has spoken its disapproval.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 12/03/2014 - 01:45 pm.

      rules, no rules

      I shouldn’t have to really answer these questions because it is pretty obvious. Spills can occur and have occurred in many industries. The oil industry has had many spills, municipal sewage treatment systems have had many spills to name just a couple. Government does not regulate based on what if’s nor should it. What if my cities sewage treatment system malfunctions and sends sewage back into my house or into my drinking water? It isn’t likely to happen but it could. Does that mean there should be no sewage treatment systems? Pumping oil out of North Dakota could create a spill that ruins my water or the rail cars filled with oil could damage my water quality. Not likely but it could happen. Does that mean they should stop pumping oil and quit shipping oil by rail?

      If the feedlot owner does things that are harmful to the environment then yes I would classify it as anti-clean water and he would be fined but so far he has followed all requirements so I have no reason to believe he is.

      Why should the worry of some citizens that there might be some small and likely insignificant chance there could be a manure spill even if it is not likely be given more weight than the opinion of the experts that designed the sight and the expert analysis of the government regulators that approved the feedlot? I’d choose to believe the engineers and experts that designed the feedlot and manure system because the have the education and knowledge to back up their determination that the feedlot will not likely cause a pollution issue. To restrict and deny this feedlot because you are worried it might cause a pollution issue isn’t just anti-ag, it is anti-business. A pollution issue could be caused by the auto repair shop down the street because it might spill used oil. Does that mean we should say no more auto repair shops?

      I do not believe the issue would be moot if not for the state boundary. The community would still turn out in opposition to the feedlot but the government is still responsible to act in a reasonable manner and asses the feedlot on it’s merits despite some people who oppose it. Planning commissions are to act based on the facts not whether the publics opinion is against it because engineers, government officials and experts have already reviewed the facts of the proposed feedlot in the application.

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