Criticisms and Backlash from Early Black Friday Sales

Camping outside a store right after a Thanksgiving meal with the family has practically become a tradition for most people. During Black Friday sales, most retail shops open their doors at 5 a.m., which means shoppers will need to reserve their spot in line the night before if they want to be one of the first to get inside once the door opens.

However, in an effort to become more competitive, some shops are now opening a few hours earlier. It actually started a few years ago when some places began opening at midnight, which didn’t seem like a bad idea because shoppers can make their trip immediately after having dinner with their families. It also meant they didn’t have to wake up super early the next morning. However, in an effort to really drive up sales, some businesses are now opening their doors in the evening on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday has now essentially become Black Thursday.

Both shoppers and retail employees are now beginning to rebel at the idea. By opening so early in advanced, most shoppers need to get in line by afternoon or even in the morning if they want to be ahead of the pack. This means forgoing Thanksgiving with their families. The same holds true for employees who have to be on the clock when they should be at home at the dinner table.

Stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Sears, for example, plan on opening their doors by 8 p.m. Some shoppers and employees have signed petitions urging these companies to “save Thanksgiving” by returning to the traditional Black Friday store hours. For Wal-Mart, at least, they have no plans of changing their opening store hour and say it was the shoppers who requested the earlier time in the first place.

For those that truly value holiday family time and are not willing to give it up, there is always Cyber Monday, which offers similar discounts from participating online stores.

Childhood Obesity on the Rise despite Efforts of the First Lady

It is common knowledge that poor urban areas tend to have a higher rate of childhood obesity. Since her husband took the presidential office more than three years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama has campaigned vigorously to encourage physical activity and sensible eating among America’s youth.

While studies have showed that there are more fast food diners and convenience stores in poor neighborhoods, there were also more grocery stores, which made fruits and vegetables far more accessible. Recent studies have also showed that there is no noticeable correlation between obesity and number of fast food diners within a city.

This raises questions whether increasing access to healthy foods is really the answer as the First Lady has been advocating for. According to federal data, childhood obesity rates remain relatively the same in spite of efforts and programs to get Americans to exercise and eat healthier foods.

Michelle Obama’s crusade for a healthier and leaner nation has also included a call for schools to serve more nutritious meals. Her campaign has been praised by liberals while criticized by some conservatives, claiming that it is a move towards a nanny state.

Helen Lee, a member of the Public Policy Institute of California, conducted a study of 8,000 children in urban areas. The results indicated that poor neighborhoods did indeed have about twice as many fast food joints compared to more affluent neighborhoods. However, they also had just about as many super markets and grocery stores.

Childhood obesity is without a question a growing epidemic. However, the notion that children in poor neighborhoods are at a disadvantage due to a lack of access to healthy foods is just an excuse. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their kids get daily exercise and eat a proper diet. If given a choice between a hamburger and a plate of vegetables, children are obviously going to go for the burger because it tastes better. This is where parents need to be the role model and help them make the right decisions. Government intervention is not the answer.

Navien to Recall 13,000 Tankless Water Heaters

Navien is recalling about 13,000 tankless water heater units because of the potential risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The South Korean company has a California distributor for the tankless water heaters that deliver instantaneous hot water. Tankless water heaters are a known source of cutting down on electricity consumption for any home. However, these units could make your home deadly.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the units contain an unstable connection that causes the water heater vent to separate from the unit when enough pressure is applied. The carbon monoxide then escapes from the unit and into the air in the home. The recalled tankless water heaters were sold from Febrary 2008 through March 2009 and cost between 1,500 and 2,100 dollars.

The parts numbers include CR-180(A), CR-210(A), CR-240(A), CC-180(A), CC-210(A) and CC-240(A). The parts numbers can be found on the side of the unit from a lable. The label shold have the model number and the manufacturer’s year. Consumers are warned to not use the units until they can be repaired. Navien has reported that they will repair the units for free. It is recommended to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you have one of these water heaters installed.

Tankless water heaters are a great way to go green. They typically use about 35% less electricity than a standard water heater through electrolysis. Navien is one of the top manufacturers of tankless water heaters and have several models on the market. If you believe that you might have one of the faulty units, you can get more information from Navien at their website through If you want immediate access to the company, you can call their customer support line at (800) 244-8202 from 8 am to 5 pm Money through Friday.

2011 Green Year in Review

As we bring 2011 to a close, we look back on a year filled with green technology. Primarily brought on by President Barack Obama, the US has seen a rise in the amount of green technology and green investments. 2011 was wrought with the United States trying to compete with overseas agencies who manufacture green technology such as solar panels, alternative fuels and other products. 2011 was also the year of the Solyndra scandal. Solyndra was backed by the United States to the tune of 500 million dollars which later turned out to be a complete waste.

Mayor Emanuel won a substantial grant from the federal government to implement green efforts in the Chicago area. Chicago has seen a number of green grants. Some organizations that also received green grants were, Ford and the Chicago Transit Authority. One of the biggest stories in the green movement was the how the Navy is testing alliterative fuels for their Mean Green Killing Machine, an eco-friendly ship that has the ability to transport up to 24 troops. The ship is 49 feet long and burns a 50-50 blend of diesel and algae based fuel. The Navy also has an eco-friendly fighter jet, the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

But the Navy wasn’t the only organization that was releasing their own eco-friendly vehicles. 2011 was also a big year for car manufacturers. The Chevy Volt, Toyota’s Prius and the Volkswagon Bulli were the talk of the town in green technology. 2011 was also a year of great home technology. The home solar kit was offered for the first time through Costco. This kit has the ability to store solar energy in a generator to power an entire home.

When the recession hit, many people in America’s heartland were affected. The loss of jobs was devastating to families. However, a lot of jobs were created in 2011 to help install and maintain wind energy through turbines. Michigan was another region that was hit hard when car manufactures closed up shop. But thank to OnSite Energy, there is hope that jobs will become affluent in the new year. OnSite Energy is trying to turn urban lots into centers for manufacturing biofuels.