Wandering Eye: Black Friday isn't what you think it is, America's water use, and more

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and that, of course, is followed by Black Friday. We all know what that means: Panic! Chaos! People clawing and trampling each other to save a few bucks on consumer goods! Global capitalism run amok! It's just not the case, according to the WaPo's retail reporter, Sarah Halzack. Yes, there are crowds and lines are long, but stores have gotten wise to things like people rushing the door by using things such as a ticketing system or different lines. "Bottom line? Black Friday is still full of commotion. But in 2014, there’s usually some method to the madness," she says. (Brandon Weigel)


Good news out of the U.S. Geological Survey, which yesterday released its national water-use report, done every five years: The U.S. in 2010 used about 355 billion gallons per day, "13 percent less than in 2005" and "the lowest level since before 1970," despite ongoing population growth. The Maryland numbers show that Montgomery County is the state's most profligate water consumer, using the most freshwater of all Maryland counties, while its per-capita use of domestic, publicly supplied water, at 207 gallons per day, blows every other county—and the national average of 89 gallons per day—out of the water, so to speak, making it one of the worst 100 counties in the whole country on this score. Baltimore City's per-capita public-supply use, by comparison, was 70 gallons per day. (Van Smith)


Mother Jones adds to the news coverage of the institutional racism of the justice system by comparing the cases of two men who killed cops in Texas. Both faced no-knock drug raids by SWAT, both fired at the intruders after flash-bang grenades were deployed. Both faced grand juries on capital murder. We know what Texas does to cop killers. But one man, Henry Magee, got off when the grand jury decided he acted in self-defense. Score one for the prospect that cops can't just go barging in! The other, Marvin Guy, was not so lucky. He faces the death penalty. Says MoJo: "The cases are remarkably similar, except for one thing: Guy is black, Magee white." Another open-and-shut case of institutional racism, right? Maybe. Except for this: Guy had previous felony convictions—including for bank robbery—that made him ineligible to own a firearm legally. Magee did not. Is Mother Jones, a great liberal magazine icon whose positions on SWAT raids and gun control both tend to match ours, arguing that felons ought to have the right to possess firearms? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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