Monthly Archives: November 2008

Wal-Mart’s Black Friday: the Tragic Death of Jdimypai Damour

The death of Jdimypai Damour is a tragedy that has been further compounded by the circumstances under which it occurred.

Mr. Damour, 34, a temporary employee of the retail behemoth Wal-Mart who worked at a Long Island, New York store, died Friday after being crushed by a frenzied mob of consumers who pushed through the store’s front doors and trampled him in pursuit of promised ‘Black Friday’ sale items.

What is even more disconcerting about this incident, however, is the fact that the people pushing their way into the store were so blinded by their consumptive greed that they “did not stop to help the employee as he lay on the ground” and continued to obstruct those who attempted to come to his aid and save his life.

At 4:55 a.m., just five minutes before the doors were set to open, a crowd of 2,000 anxious shoppers started pushing, shoving and piling against the locked sliding glass doors of the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, N.Y., Nassau County police said. The shoppers broke the doors off their hinges and surged in, toppling a 34-year-old temporary employee, Jdimypai Damour, 34, of Jamaica, Queens, who had been waiting with other workers in the store’s entryway.

People did not stop to help the employee as he lay on the ground, and they pushed against other Wal-Mart workers who were trying to aid Mr. Damour. The crowd kept running into the store even after the police arrived, jostling and pushing officers who were trying to perform CPR, the police said.

“They were like a stampede,” said Nassau Det. Lt. Michael Fleming. “Hundreds of people walked past him, over him or around him.”

The irony of Mr. Damour’s death under such horrific conditions is devastatingly ironic, given that this November 28, 2008 had been named as a day both to refrain from consumption altogether (for Buy Nothing Day) and, simultaneously, as a day to encourage as much spending as possible by consumers whose “declining confidence” has been weighing heavily on the minds (and balance sheets) of North American retailers and businesses.

Public reaction to Damour’s death has been full of incredulity, outrage, and sadness.

Many have condemned it as a symbolic representation of the ultimate excess of American consumerism — a greed-driven, mass transgression of humanity perpetrated by a group of people seemingly devoid of compassion, self-awareness, or respect for their fellow human beings.

But, sadly, the violence did not end there. In Palm Desert, California, an alleged “fight over a toy” at a Toys-R-Us store resulted in a shootout that ended with two people being killed.

[O]ne witness thought the incident began as a fight over a toy that got louder and louder before shots were fired.

Sarah Pacia of Cathedral City told The Desert Sun newspaper she was in the store with her two boys, ages four and six, looking at colouring books when she heard a commotion in the next aisle.

She thought it was people rushing to get a sale item. Then she heard three or four shots.

At this point it is unclear whether or not the conflict was a result of ‘Black Friday’ sales.

This horrific incident, along with the tragedy at Wal-Mart, raises a critical societal question: is there a limit to North America’s distorted form of hypercapitalism?

Today’s events should stand as a reminder to us all that this collective obsession is, literally, killing us.

This goes beyond the ephemeral feeling of a fleeting  ‘purchase high‘ — this is the pursuit of a bargain buy in exchange for a human life.

And no product, sale, or thing will ever be worth that — no matter the price.

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2 Killed in ‘Black Friday’ Shootout at Toys-R-Us

Black Friday has gotten even blacker. 

Two people have been killed after a shootout took place at a Toys-R-us store in Palm Desert, California on Friday morning.

The incident, allegedly the result of a dispute over a toy, occurred just hours after the terrible news emerged that a Wal-Mart employee had being trampled to death by a stampede of ravenous consumers at a Long Island store.

This is a shocking indication of consumption gone overboard and material greed leading to the tragedy of death.

Black Friday has turned violent after reports of shots fired at the Toys-R-Us on Highway 111 in Palm Desert.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputies tell News Channel 3 at least one people was shot. One person, a juvenile, was reportedly held by police.

The incident happened just before 11:30 a.m. at the store located at 72314 Highway 111, according to deputies on scene.

Deputies told News Channel 3 that some shoppers inside were evacuated while others were kept in the store shortly after shooting as deputies swept the store for suspects.

Authorities are possibly looking for a green-colored getaway car, either a Nissan Maxima or a Kia.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as well as officers from the Cathedral City and Indio police departments are on scene.

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Eight-Year Old Connie Talbot Tops US Pop Charts

Eight-year old “talent show star” Connie Talbot, who placed second in the UK singing competition television show “Britain’s Got Talent” is now topping the U.S. Billboard charts with her single “Three Little Birds“.

And, it just so happens, that her hit song (watch the video) is not her song at all, but a cover of this classic reggae tune.

Bob Marley must be rolling in his grave.

America, what have you done to popular culture?

Connie Talbot, an eight year old girl from Walsall, has gone to number one in the US Billboard Hot singles sales chart.

The continuing success of her single Three Little Birds has made her the top-selling artist across the US this week.

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Kanye West Will Never Be Elvis Presley

If Elvis were alive today, would he be snatching mics and awards out of other peoples’ hands, blogging about his latest sequined stage outfit, or recording albums with every vocal filtered through a vocoder? No, he wouldn’t.

Somebody call me once Kanye West has taken over Celine Dion’s permanent Las Vegas show. Then we can start talking about Elvis comparisons.

But despite his delusions of grandeur, the fact remains that Kanye will never be The King.

As you may have heard, Kanye West announced at the American Music Awards that he wants to be the next Elvis. Then West had to take it even further.

“When I said the statement, ‘I want to be Elvis,’ I really should have thought that out more because that statement was actually really incorrect,” West told E! News’ Ryan Seacrest Tuesday. “Actually, the true statement was ‘I want to be better than Elvis.’ “

So does West have what it takes to get anywhere near Elvis’ stratosphere? We talked to some industry insiders to find out…

“Kanye is one of the biggest hip-hop stars in the world right now,” says Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of urban lifestyle magazine Giant. “But I do believe he has delusions of grandeur.”

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Lil Wayne Releases ‘Drought Is Over 6’ Mixtape

The ever-prolific Lil Wayne has released a new mixtape, his latest in his The Drought series, and his most recent collaboration with The Empire. Check the full tracklist below.

Lil Wayne owes much of his current success to his mixtape hustle from about two years ago. The two particular mixtape series that put him over the top was Dedication and The Drought series where he showcased his drugged out, crazy, stream of consciousness flow to extraordinary effect. He returns to The Drought series with his new collaboration with The Empire entitled The Drought is Over 6. My favorite Wayne mixtape is still Drought 3, let’s see if this one can live up to it. Download it below and check the tracklisting after the jump.

Lil Wayne – The Drought Is Over 6

01. Lil Wayne – The Reincarnation (0:50)
02. Lil Wayne – I’m A Monster & Eat You Alive (3:35)
03. Lil Wayne Feat. The Game – Red Magic (5:08)
04. Lil Wayne – Nina (3:42)
05. Lil Wayne – Best Thing Yet (5:16)
06. Lil Wayne Feat. Swizz Beatz – First Place Winner (5:04)
07. Lil Wayne – Gorilla (2:21)
08. Lil Wayne Feat. Lil Boosie – Lousianimal (1:56)
09. Lil Wayne Feat. Rick Ross – Down Here (2:24)
10. Lil Wayne Feat. Brisco – Get It On (1:29)
11. Lil Wayne – I Feel Me [Produced by Mental Instruments] (1:26)
12. Lil Wayne – Put Me In The Game (4:01)
13. Lil Wayne Feat. Nu Jerzey Devil – Different Girl (4:06)
14. Lil Wayne – Blinded (1:16)
15. Lil Wayne Feat. Chris Brown – Forever (2:18)
16. Lil Wayne – See It For Myself (0:39)
17. Lil Wayne Feat. Kanye West – Tell Everybody That You Know (4:15)
18. Lil Wayne Feat. Jae Millz & Young Gutta – Whatever You Like (4:36)
19. Lil Wayne – Shootout (3:50)
20. Lil Wayne Feat. Jae Millz – Dick Pleaser (3:42)
21. Lil Wayne – Street Life (3:02)
22. Lil Wayne – Drought Is Never Over (1:21)

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Beyonce’s ‘Sasha Fierce’ Tops U.S. Album Charts

Beyoncé’s powerhouse alter-ego Sasha Fierce has stomped her way to the top of the American music charts — debuting at #1 and selling 482,000 in its first week of sales.

For more on Beyoncé’s transformation and first reviews of the album, see NowPublic’s previous coverage.

Beyonce has scored her third straight No. 1 debut on the pop album chart with the double-disc “I Am … Sasha Fierce.”

The Music World/Columbia album shifted a whopping 482,000 copies in the United States during the week ended November 23, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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Madonna and A-Rod Make Public Debut in Miami

“Madrod” has gone public. Madonna and Alex Rodriguez made their public debut in Miami last night, just one week after Madge’s divorce from her former husband Guy Ritchie.

As Madonna completed her second song before a sell-out crowd in Miami’s Dolphin Stadium Wednesday night, New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez handed her a bottle of water.

“It was easy for him to hand it off because he was sitting in the front row,” a witness tells E! News. “He was all excited watching her perform.”

And, just like that, Madonna acknowledged in public, less than a week after her quickie divorce from Guy Ritchie, that A-Rod is indeed the superfan (and waterboy) he’s reportedly been for most of this year in private.

The two arrived in town together on Monday and spent most of Wednesday hanging around town with pal Ingrid Casares, a prominent Miami party promoter, who introduced the pair.

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