November 25th, 2011
By: JeeYeon Park
Stocks closed in negative territory in thin, shortened trading Friday as investors were reluctant to go long ahead of the weekend and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone.
The Dow and S&P posted their worst Thanksgiving week since the Great Depression on a percentage basis.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended above 34.
Among key S&P sectors, consumer staples and utilities led the gainers, while energy and techs lagged.
"Again, we're trading on very thin volume—You're going to have continued downward pressure over the next 30 days," said Todd Schoenberger, managing director at LandColt Trading. "It's very difficult to be long this market because you have so many issues—there's more potential for negative headlines than positive ones."
In Europe, S&P downgraded Belgium one notch to AA from AA-plus, further underscoring worries over the euro zone debt contagion.
Earlier, EU officials said euro zone member states were discussing dropping private sector involvement from the permanent bailout mechanism.
An Italian T-bill auction offered a fresh indication of investors’ lack of confidence in the country’s newly-appointed government and broader fears that the euro zone debt crisis cannot be contained. Yields shot up to new euro era highs.
This comes after a failed German bond auction earlier this week spooked markets and stoked fears that not even the euro zone’s strongest performers are immune from the debt crisis.
Meanwhile, shoppers flocked to stores on Black Friday, kicking off the holiday shopping season.
In company news, AT&T [T 27.41 -0.14 (-0.51%) ] said it would take a $4 billion charge in case its takeover of T-Mobile USA fails.
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November 25th, 2011
Forest City's senior vice president of marketing, Jane Lisey, emphasized that the company was not collecting personally identifiable information about shoppers from their phones, and that customers' phone numbers and other information were protected by their wireless carriers. "Before agreeing to test this technology it was essential to determine and guarantee that the personal information of our shoppers would be completely anonymous to all parties," she said.
While Footpath uses only the signal fingerprint of the phone, it does give a fairly accurate record of where the phone has travelled through a mall. According to the editor of trade site Storefront Backtalk, Evan Schuman, the data can be paired with other sources of data, including surveillance video and point-of-sale transaction information. If they went this route, retailers would get a very detailed profile of who's carrying each phone.
"Some malls are even using facial recognition software," Schuman told Ars Technica in a phone interview, with the primary purpose of "loss prevention"—identifying shoplifters. But that data, he said, could be tied to location data to be turned into customer relationship management data. Mall operators could then theoretically sell data to retailers, alerting them when big-ticket shoppers were approaching so that they could be given personalized service.
There's just one problem with this type of detailed tracking: it's technically illegal, according to Mark Rasch, the director of cybersecurity at CSC. Thanks to court interpretations of provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act, he said in a recent blog, devices that measure cell phones' signal strength could be considered to be "pen registers"—monitoring devices that require a warrant.
"Although this mall technology might not identify specific individuals, it raises a bunch of privacy red flags," he wrote. "First, the instant the consumer identifies himself or herself anywhere in the mall (say, by using a credit or debit card to buy something), it is a trivial task to cross reference the cell phone data with the payment data and realize that the person hanging around outside the Victoria’s Secret dressing room was your 70-year-old neighbor."
That's more information than many consumers are interested in divulging. So far, however, there's been no sign that the legality of the service will be tested in court. And retailers could conceivably use the same justification for the technology that they use for facial recognition software: "loss prevention." In many jurisdictions, real estate owners are given wide latitudes about what they monitor on their own premises.
November 25th, 2011
Detriot Free Press
Violence erupted overnight during Black Friday shopping as at least 24 people were injured in a series of incidents, including nine at Walmart stores in the U.S.
The violence included a California shopper who was shot during a failed robbery attempt, a fight over $1.88 towels, a trampled girl in western Michigan, a police officer who used pepper spray to quell a crowd, and a pepper-spraying shopper who injured 20 people in her haste to keep other people away from the merchandise she wanted to buy.
Among the incidents:
In Fruitport Township, authorities say a teenage girl was trampled at a western Michigan Walmart store and suffered minor injuries after getting caught in a rush to a sale in the electronics department.
The Muskegon Chronicle reports the girl was taken to a local hospital this morning. Fruitport Township Supervisor Brian Werschem says the girl was knocked down and stepped on several times in the store near Muskegon.
In Los Angeles, authorities said a woman shot pepper spray to keep shoppers from merchandise she wanted during a Black Friday sale, and 20 people suffered minor injuries.
The incident occurred shortly after 10:20 p.m. Thursday in a crowded Walmart as shoppers hungry for deals were let inside the store.
Police said the suspect shot the pepper spray when the coverings over electronics items she wanted were removed.
"Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand," police Lt. Abel Parga told The Associated Press early today.
Parga said police were still looking for the woman. The store remained open and those not affected by the pepper spray continued shopping.
In Florence, Ala., a shopper was subdued with a stun gun at a Walmart store as shoppers gathered for Black Friday sales.
WAFF-TV reports police said they used a stun gun twice to gain control of 22-year-old Christopher Blake Pyron before arresting him.
Police said they made the arrest around 11 p.m. Thursday, about an hour after the Alabama Walmart opened its doors for late-night and early-morning shopping. Authorities said he is charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
In Northern California, authorities said a Black Friday shopper is in critical but stable condition after being shot by armed robbers outside a Walmart store.
San Leandro police Sgt. Mike Sobek says the victim and his family were walking to their car around 1:45 a.m. when they were confronted by a group of men who demanded their purchases. When the family refused, a fight broke out and one of the robbers shot the man.
Sobek says other family members wrestled down one of the suspects, who was taken into police custody.
Investigators are reviewing store surveillance video to identify at least three other suspects.
Witnesses say the Walmart parking lot was crowded with Black Friday shoppers at the time, and the store was briefly closed as police investigated.
In North Carolina, one man was arrested after a holiday shopping scuffle at a Walmart store in Kinston which police quelled with pepper spray.
Public Safety Director Bill Johnson says the incident happened early Friday. An off-duty Kinston officer was working a security detail for the store when some customers began trying to get electronic equipment that wasn't yet available for purchase.
Johnson says the off-duty officer used a short burst of pepper spray in the air to control the scene. Johnson says no one was sprayed in the face or eyes.
One man was arrested, but information on the charges he is facing was not immediately available.
Shopper Angel Bunting told WITN-TV that the incident began when a man waiting in line for discounted cell phones fell into a display.
In central Florida, a man is behind bars after a fight broke out at a jewelry counter during Black Friday.
Kissimmee, Fla., police tell the Orlando Sentinel that two men were fighting at a Walmart store during Friday's early hours. One man resisted when a police officer tried to escort him out of the store. Officers had to force him to the ground to put him in handcuffs.
The unidentified man is charged with resisting arrest. No shoppers were hurt.
In the Toledo suburb of Oregon, police responded to three separate reports of fighting at a Walmart on Thursday night. One officer told The Blade newspaper that one of the fights was over towels selling for $1.88.
In upstate New York, police said two women were injured and a man charged after a fight broke out at a Walmart.
In Colorado, a bomb threat today prompted the evacuation of employees and customers of a Woodland Park Walmart for about four hours as police and federal agents checked for explosive devices but found none.
Woodland Park police dispatch supervisor Karen Glenn says the threat arrived around 8:30 a.m. CST today during one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season. Police from Colorado Springs as well as agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau responded.
A check of the store that included the use of a bomb sniffing dog found nothing.
Glenn said officials declared the store safe around 11:30 a.m. and were planned allow employees back inside around noon.
WalMart Stores Inc. officials did not immediately return a message.
In non-violent shopping related Walmart news, in northern Ohio, Black Friday shoppers had to leave their bargains behind when a car accident knocked out power, forcing the store to be evacuated.
A driver hit a utility pole near the store just before midnight near the town of Port Clinton, along Lake Erie.
Authorities from around the area including police, firefighters and agents from the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol were called in to get hundreds of Black Friday shoppers out of the Walmart.
The State Highway Patrol says the driver who caused the blackout had been drinking and was arrested.
In the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye, police are coming under fire for a video posted online Friday that shows a grandfather unconscious on the floor of a Walmart with a bloody face after police said he was caught trying to shoplift.
The video shows 54-year-old Jerald Allen Newman unconscious and covered in blood after a police officer took him to the ground Thursday night.
Officers in the video are shown trying to sop up blood as outraged customers yell expletives and say, “That’s police brutality,” and “He wasn’t doing anything.”
The man’s wife and other witnesses say that Newman was trying to help his young grandson after the boy was trampled by shoppers, and only put a video game in his waistband to free his hands to help the boy.
- Black Friday Live: Warm, sunny weather keeps metro Detroit shoppers in good spirits
- As customers pack malls, local shop owners look forward to Small Business Saturday
- Black Friday updates, with video: Shoppers pass up sleep to snag deals
- Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers trying to get Xbox in wealthy California suburb
- Black Friday: Tell us what it's like out there; you might win a prize!
November 25th, 2011
By Barry Secrest
Everyone has an opinion when it comes to immigration, but as alluded to in a number of our past postings, Romney has flip-flopped yet again, and this time it was so that he could advantage any possible backlash against Newt Gingrich on immigration.
Gingrich, who has had a few notable flip-flops of his own, as outlined by this site, simply put forth the possibility that some long- time illegals need not be uprooted; however, he said nothing about citizenship.
Romney, like a fish on a wicked hook, has taken the bait and run with it only to show how completely flip-floppish he actually is. Romney was recorded several years ago clearly stating his desire for a path to amnesty for illegal aliens, only to change his mind later on, no doubt, to suit a certain mood.
Many Conservatives are trying to like Romney, but unfortunately, when Romney pulls issues like these out of his opportunistic hat, he comes across looking like a desperate man who simply has no bedrock principles whatsoever.
Romney just doesn't quite get the basic mechanics of Conservatism, it would seem, but he may yet learn how it works; we'll wait. Below is Romney on Meet The press a scant four years ago:
And below is a report from the NY Daily News which outlines Romney's attack on Gingrich:
Mitt Romney has a message for undocumented immigrants who want U.S. citizenship: Get in line.
The Republican presidential candidate reiterated his hardline stance a day after the GOP debate where immigration reform took center stage.
"My view is that people who come here illegally should not have a special break or a special pathway to become permanent residents or citizens of this country," Romney said Wednesday during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa.
"They should be in line or at the back of the line with other people who want to come here illegally," he added, as first reported by ABC News.
The fiery remarks came after Romney's rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, broke from his fellow GOPers and spoke out against deporting illegal immigrants during Tuesday's debate on in Washington D.C.
He argued while newly arrived undocumented immigrants with no U.S. connections should be deported, law-abiding immigrants who have been in the country for a long time shouldn't have to be ripped from their families.
"I don't see how the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter of a century," said Gingrich, who has been surging in recent polls.
"And I'm prepared to take the heat for saying let's be humane in forcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so they are not separated by their families."
Romney, who some conservatives have labeled too moderate, hit back at Gingrich and said it would be a mistake for the government to decide which people who come here illegally are allowed to stay.
"I just think we make a mistake as a Republican Party to try to describe which people who've come here illegally should be given amnesty to be able to jump ahead of the line of the people who have been waiting in line," he said.
Ben LaBolt, Obama's campaign spokesman, jumped on Romney's immigration remarks, declaring Romney has "demagogued the issue of immigration in a politically craven way" and labeled him "the most right-wing presidential
November 25th, 2011
By: Cadie Thompson
Anti-Occupy Wall Street" groups are taking on the protesters of "Occupy Black Friday" with "BUYcott Black Friday."
Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America, a Tea Party coalition of groups countering the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, are challenging the latest move by Occupy Wall Street protesters to occupy or boycott publicly traded retailers on Black Friday by instead encouraging consumers to shop on Black Friday to help the economy recover.
"At a time when our economy is most fragile and ratings agencies are talking about another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, it's completely irresponsible for Occupy Wall Street to attempt to bring the U.S. economy to a halt on the busiest shopping day of the year," Liberate organizer and a spokesman for the Tea Party, John Sullivan, stated in a press release.
Although "Occupy Black Friday" is not meant to be an anti-capitalist movement, according to the group's website, supporters of Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America claim that the entire "Occupy Wall Street" movement is not in support of a free market.
"Occupy's message is frequently one of destroying the American free market," Liberate organizer and President of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, Teri Adams, stated in a Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America press release.