Sanctity v. Cents (5×8 – 11/17/11)

The morality of Thanksgiving shopping, coverage of today’s Occupy march, PETA vs. Super Mario, the undersea world of a mine pit, and why turkeys can’t have sex.


1) BLACK AND BLUE

Much was made this week of the petition started by Target employee Anthony Hardwick on his website, calling on the company not to open at midnight on Thanksgiving evening, and restore the sanctity of the holiday.

Target has fought back, the Pioneer Press reports, by letting the world know that the Omaha man has the day off:


The Target email said, “In early November, he (Hardwick) informed his Target managers that he was scheduled to work at his other job on Black Friday and indicated that he needed the day off from Target. We honored that request.”

But John Stankus, a stocker at the Target store in Cypress, Calif., has to work. “It’s their greed and their wanting to take advantage of us — because they’re not missing their Thanksgiving dinner,” he tells the Associated Press.


Stankus, 22, said his extended family gets together only once a year, so he’ll miss the chance to see relatives who probably won’t arrive at his aunt’s home before he has to leave to get enough sleep before starting work around 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night.

“I’ll just get the crumbs and the leftovers they leave behind, but I won’t get any turkey at all and won’t get time to spend with my family,” he said. Stankus said he had considered not showing up and taking the consequences.

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, who writes the On Faith blog at the Washington Post, considers this all “immoral.”


This system is profoundly immoral. First, the basic premise is false. These retailers don’t need to encroach on Thanksgiving in order to survive. Corporations are making huge profits, and they are increasingly doing so on the backs of American workers. “In the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent,” according to Dan Gilson of Mother Jones. This is not only due to the Internet and automation, but also as a “result of Americans working harder–often without a big boost to their bottom lines. Oh, and meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent.”

Second, the human toll of this increased “productivity” is “heartbreaking and harrowing,”as shown by personal stories of overworked Americans. The stories are crucial to understanding the human cost of our skewed economic values. From warehouse workers to surgeons, from teachers to mental health technicians, the stories in this article show how few escape the productivity treadmill powered by human overwork.

But people will vote on this issue with their wallets.

2) POLICE VS. PROTESTERS IN NEW YORK

The big Occupy protest march in New York is underway, and there have already been several confrontations with police, who tried to stop the march by telling the protesters they didn’t have a parade permit. The marchers went around them.

Here’s a live video feed. I don’t know how long it will be up, and can’t swear by its suitability for the workplace. It’s been a very dramatic feed so far:

Another feed can be found here, although it’s less reliable.

Here’s the view from the news helicopter for CBS:

NPR’s Two Way blog is monitoring things.

If you can afford to quit your job to protest with the Occupy Wall Street movement, are you part of the 1 percent or part of the 99 percent?

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports today that Democrats are keeping an arm’s length relationship with the movement.

The detention of Associated Press reporters in the Occupy crackdown this week prompted the AP to send out a memo to its staff telling employees not to tweet about events before they’re reported on the AP wire, a backwards approach that fails to acknowledge that we’re in an era when news organizations no longer can dictate the terms on which people seek and obtain the news.

There was backlash to the memo on social networks, and a subsequent memo didn’t do much better, suggesting that AP employees who tweeted their their colleagues were picked up in the NYPD sweep endangered them. This BBC article, however, says it’s about preventing journalists from appearing to be human.

Having trouble understanding the Occupy movement? It helps if you’re a geek and think about it as an API, The Atlantic says.

3) PETA V. SUPER MARIO

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is blasting Super Mario for wearing fur in the latest Nintendo version of the game.

Nintendo responded yesterday:

“Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer. “These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play. The different forms Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves.”

In any event, it’s perfect fodder for the Taiwanese news animator, NMA:

4) THE UNDERWATER WORLD OF THE MINE PIT

SCUBA diving in the Huntington Mine Pit in Crosby, from the Brainerd Dispatch:

An even better production is here.

5) WHY TURKEYS CAN’T HAVE SEX

If you like white meat on Thanksgiving, it’s your fault, according to Freakonomics. Turkeys were bred to have more breast meat, and now that’s keeping them in the way of doing the deed. It’s a tragic tale, really.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Around the country, some Occupy demonstrations are being shut down and others are facing new limits on their activities. And winter is coming, which will bring other pressures to bear on outdoor protests. Today’s Question: In the Occupy movement, are we seeing the end of something, or the beginning of something?

THE BIG STORY

The Big Story blog will look at the taxation of goods sold online. We’ll examine what the law says now and how it might change, as Minnesota brick and mortar retail change push for the closing of loopholes that allow Internet shoppers to dodge taxes they’d pay if they were shopping in physical stores.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: What parents and school professionals can do when they think a child has a mental illness.

Second hour: Melanie Dunea, portrait photographer whose work is regularly published in magazines such as Vanity Fair, Time, People, Redbook, and Ladies’ Home Journal. Her latest book is “My Last Supper; The Second Course.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A profile of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Second hour: A debate from NPR’s Intelligence Squared series: “Should Congress Pass President Obama’s Jobs Bill in Pieces?”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Raising a terminally ill child.

Second hour: Behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil.