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New York City Prepares for Thanksgiving Day Parade; Some Stores to Remain Open on Thanksgiving

Aired November 28, 2013 - 07:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We are waiting to see if the giant character balloons will get to fly or have to sit this one out. Of course, it all depends on just how strong the wind is. Jason Carroll is live along the parade route. His eyes are peeling. He's got a front row seat to all the action, lucky fella.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, lucky. It's cold out here, but it's looking good. And that's the good news. Behind me there, you have the Snoopy-Woodstock balloon. You also have the balloon handlers warming up. All the parade goers are starting to line up here for what the organizers say is so far the balloons are a go.


CARROLL: And 16 giant balloons are filled and ready for liftoff. Thousands showing up Wednesday night to get a look at the helium- filled stars of the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, hoping they soar high above New York City later this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the first time we've seen them blowing up. And that's like the best part to see the beginning, and then tomorrow we'll see the end result.

CARROLL: Whether it will be safe enough for Snoopy and Woodstock to take flight will depend on the wind and this man's decision. He's New York City police incident commander James Hall. He will make the final call.

How is it looking so far for tomorrow?

CHIEF JAMES HALL, NYPD INCIDENT COMMANDER: It looks good. It looks very good. And there are, you know, gust numbers and wind numbers that we have locked into our head that allows us to fly or not to fly.

CARROLL: That's a lot of pressure, is it not, to be riding on your shoulders to make the decision, fly or not fly?

HALL: I'm used to it.

CARROLL: Parade director Amy Kuhl will be waiting for the incident commanders call before the balloons get the go ahead.

AMY KUHL, DIRECTOR, MACY THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE: I think I'm going to depend on him to make that decision. You know, I've been through so many of these parades where we've had really bad weather, inclement weather on a Wednesday and Thursday, and it has just been magnificent before, and I have a feeling that this is going to just like that again.

CARROLL: Safety is key. If sustained winds exceed 23 miles per hour or gusts at 34 miles per hour, the balloons may have to be grounded. That would be the first time since 1971, but, again, officials are optimistic, and so are the fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, seeing the balloons live will be incredible. I'm hoping that the winds hold up and that we'll be able to see them go through the parade and be up in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm disappointed by the fact that they are not, they might not happen, might not have the balloons up in the air tomorrow.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's minute by minute. And it does appear as if the wind will not be strong enough to keep the balloons down. The balloons it seems now will be flying.

PEREIRA: The threshold is 23 miles per hour for sustained winds. And they can't if its over 34-mile-per-hour gusts. I think we are below 30 right now, so we're going to watch it.

BERMAN: The big balloons. All right, besides the turkey and football, there's also a new Thanksgiving tradition. We're talking about holiday shopping. Stores across the country throwing open their doors this morning, millions are expected to hit the aisles. But some say turning Thanksgiving into sort of a black Thursday is just plain wrong. Nick Valencia is in Mapleton, Georgia, at a K-Mart store that is already open.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Black Friday has warped into black Thursday. K-Mart, one of the handful of retailers open for business on Thanksgiving.

Are you guys ready for it?

BILL MONSOR, KMART MANAGER: I think so, yes. We are excited about it.

VALENCIA: For those who think it's something new, K-Mart has been doing this for over 20 years. More retailers have followed suit, and that's no coincidence according to the National Retail Federation.

KATHY GRANNIS, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: Shoppers still want to shop on black Friday to get those amazing deals. So we don't expect black Friday to ever lose its luster. But there is a new player in town. And Thanksgiving is certainly giving black Friday a run for its money.

VALENCIA: Of the nearly 140 million people expected to shop this holiday weekend, nearly a quarter will hit the stores Thanksgiving Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm out here to get some great deals, man.

VALENCIA: Outside at Best Buy in Florida, tents were in place more than a week in advance of the sales. Just how serious are they? This man brought a generator to run his many electronics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know they do it every year and every year I say the exact same thing, it's just crazy.

VALENCIA: "Crazy" is one word for it, "angry" is another. On more than 100,000 people petitioned for Target to stay closed writing, quote, "Family should be more important than corporate greed or materialism, and because it's the right thing to do."

Back at K-Mart in Mapleton, Georgia, store manager Bill Monsor says working on Thanksgiving is no bother. For him it's about meeting the customer demand.

MONSOR: One thing you have to understand this year we have one less week for shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas than we did last year.

VALENCIA: And the big demand here at this K-Mart is for electronics. We have been seeing people slowly trickling in and out. It was about 22 degrees when we got here this morning, but factoring in the wind- chill, felt more like 17 degrees. That was not enough to stop 30 people from showing up and quite simply they are doing it for the deals. Michaela, John, back to you.


BERMAN: Nick Valencia in Mapleton, Georgia. People were lined up at that store and it's been full for the morning.

PEREIRA: We asked you what you think about the stores being open so early on Thanksgiving. Andrew says on Twitter, "I think if the workers are willing to work, then let capitalism reign."

BERMAN: I think that's an important reminder here. There are a lot of people who choose to work on Thanksgiving. Some people get overtime. And this economy, if you have a job or if you can get work, that's what it takes.

PEREIRA: And maybe you're lucky enough to be able to go home early like we'll be able to and catch up with our family after we're done here.

We have some other stories that we're watching. Pamela has the headlines for us today.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, everyone. Making news on this Thanksgiving, Canada apparently granted the United States permission to spy on world leaders at the G8 and G20 summits in 2010. CBC News reports the NSA spied on the gatherings in Ontario, though no particular target was identified. CBC has documents shared by NSA leaker Edward Snowden which say the spying was closely coordinated with Canada.

And hundreds of families are out of their homes this Thanksgiving morning because of a leak of flammable liquid from a derailed rail car. More than 425 homes were evacuated in Willard, Ohio, just about 65 miles southwest of Cleveland. About 13,000 gallons of a liquid used to make plastics were spilled on Tuesday. No injuries were reported. Officials will be back on the scene today to see if some people can return home. Hopefully they will be able to.

And an Amish girl and her parents have abandoned their Ohio home so the 10-year-old won't be forced to resume chemotherapy. Sarah Hershberger has leukemia and doctors say she could die within a year without treatment, but the family decided to stop treatment, saying it was making their daughter sick. A state appeals court appointed a guardian to take over medical decisions in the event that girl is found.

A new incentive this morning for Oklahoma shoppers to brave the black Friday frenzy -- for the first time in 70 years, they can truly get a bargain. Lawmakers repealed a law that forbid retailers from selling items for less than they paid. Until now stores had to mark up items by at least six percent. Wal-Mart is reportedly taking advantage of the change, selling a 32-inch television for $98. Last year it was $148. Pretty good deal there.

And behold the world's largest gingerbread house, amazing, look at this. This is more like a village.

PEREIRA: A town.

BROWN: It's kind of making me hungry looking at this. The 1.5 ton creation includes 400 pounds of candy 500 pounds of dough, and 2,200 pounds of icing. It took a New York chef 10 months to create this gingerbread masterpiece on display at the New York hall of science.

BERMAN: If he's been working on this 10 months, maybe the stuff he started ten months ago shouldn't be eaten right now.

PEREIRA: I can never get my icing to stick. That's my issue.

BERMAN: I'm sorry that happens to you.

BROWN: John can help you with that.

PEREIRA: You have your issue with balloons and I have my issue with icing.

We are watching the weather for the Macy's parade and the balloons, will they fly or now. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in from Indra Petersons. She's looking at all the weather, but specifically we're talking about wind speed in Manhattan.

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Winds in Manhattan, that is the big question this morning. Will the balloons fly? It looks like right now the forecast is just under that criteria, which is good news. Right now New York City sustained winds of only seven miles per hour. We are seeing gusts up to 18, not so bad. Look at Boston this morning, though, 21-mile-per-hour sustained winds with gusts almost 40. So a windy start for you.

Here's an hour-by-hour breakdown of how the winds should be. These are wind gusts at about 9:00 this morning when the parade starts. We should see wind gusts in New York City about 30 miles per hour. The threshold is 34, so we're just under that. So if this can hold true, then those balloons will be good to go.

And look how dramatic the winds drop off as we get into the evening hours. Only 10-mile-per-hour winds by 6:00. So we go from 30-mile- per-hour gusts to 10-mile-per-hour gusts in just a couple of hours. It will be improving quickly throughout the day.

Here's the parade forecast. Man, it's going to be cold -- 30 degrees at the start of the parade. We'll see 18-mile-per-hour winds with gusts up to 30 possibly. And we are going to stay cold in the northeast. We had about a foot of snow in Pennsylvania yesterday, Ohio, five inches, and in New York City, almost -- or upstate New York, rather, five inches of snow.

Still seeing lake-effect snow near the lakes, and we are going to see an additional possible half a foot of snow in some locations for today. So it is going to be a cold day in the northeast. Of course, it looks like the winds are going to cooperate. We're going to keep our fingers crossed so we can all see the balloons.

PEREIRA: Thank you so much, Jennifer. Glad to have you here with us today.

BERMAN: Next up on NEW DAY, the deadline to fix the Obamacare website is just two days away, but we'll tell you why the team making the fixes does not have much to be thankful for today.

PEREIRA: Remember, we told you about comet Ison. Well, the countdown is on. Will the shooting star survive a close encounter with the sun today? Will it loop around, slingshot around the sun? We'll have a spectacular show in the skies, and tell you what NASA scientists are saying next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, my name is agent Makita Jones stationed at Marine Corps air station in South Carolina with Marine Wing Squadron 273. I would like to wish my mom, dad, and little brother in Alabama a happy Thanksgiving.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Comet Ison is alive. Just a day after the spectacular comet was thought to have been completely cooked by the sun is not only still here, it's getting dramatically brighter. According to NASA, hopes are high that Ison will survive its close encounter today with the sun and reappear to put on a breathtaking lightshow in the skies. Scientists actually say that it might even be visible to the naked eye. This is such a big deal because it comes from the very edge of space. It is coming -- it took 5.5 million years to get here.

BERMAN: It has worked hard to get here.

PEREIRA: Boy, are my arms tired.

BERMAN: Ison is alive!

PEREIRA: Ison is alive. I can't wait to see it.

BERMAN: All right, 15 minutes after the hour. More stumbles for the Obamacare rollout with the White House scrambling to find a workaround to the troubled website. Small businesses are now getting the red light; they will now have to wait to sign up online for coverage. CNN's Jill Dougherty is in Washington with the latest. Good morning, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. The administration set its own deadline of Saturday to make improvements in this website. And they've got a team of experts working around the clock to make that happen, but there's still some problems.


DOUGHERTY: With just two days to go before a self-imposed deadline to get the Obamacare website working right, another delay. The Obama administration now says that won't be able to enroll small businesses for another year, after promising this, too, would be ready.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT, (D) TEXAS: Will the shop website for small businesses that was delayed, be fully functional during November?

MARILYN TAVENNER, ADMINISTRATOR, CTR. FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Yes, we will institute the shop component at the end of November.

DOUGHERTY: Republicans, quick to pounce on the administration for announcing another delay just before the Thanksgiving holiday. House majority leader Eric Cantor charging once again President Obama has unilaterally delayed another major portion of Obamacare, and once again, he's tried to bury bad news around a holiday, hoping no one will notice.

Small businesses shopping for healthcare will be able to use direct enrollment with an insurer, agent or broker. But during a conference call with reporters, the administration was downplaying overall expectations.

JULIE BATAILLE, CMS SPOKESWOMAN: To be clear, November 30th does not represent a re-launch of It is not a magical date.

DOUGHERTY: The spokeswoman admits there will be times after November 30th when the website does not function properly. Programmers still have a lot of work to do. The goal? Make sure it can handle 50,000 users at one time. Yet there might be times when demand exceeds that. And consumers will be directed to a virtual waiting line.


DOUGHERTY: And HHS also says it is changing its web-hosting provider from a subsidiary of Verizon to Hewlett-Packard because there have been some glitches. John, Michaela?

BERMAN: Jill Dougherty, a big couple of days coming up at the White House. Thanks so much, Jill.

PEREIRA: Next up on NEW DAY, dessert or doorbusters. Forget black Friday, some of the retailers are breaking out big deals before you've even digested your turkey. Some are open right now. The question is, should you go shopping?

BERMAN: And I have never seen this at a basketball game. Jason Kidd in hot water over a cold drink. Did he spill it on purpose to get an extra time-out? Sure seems like it, but you be the judge. Coming up.


PEREIRA: You need to cooperate with us. Hopefully the wind will stay calm and we'll fly the big balloons.

Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Thursday, November 28th. We wish every one of you a happy Thanksgiving. We hope you're with all the people you love and have a big spread ready for dinner later today. Kate and Chris are off today, but look who dropped by!

BERMAN: It's me!

PEREIRA: John Berman! It's him! Guess who else is here. It's her, Pamela Brown. Thank you for joining us today.

BERMAN: Happy thanksgiving, everyone.

PEREIRA: We're saying wind, wind, go away. The big beloved balloons, will they will floating down the Macy's parade route less than two hours from now, or will the weather deflate this Thanksgiving tradition? We're going to take you to the parade route in just a few minutes to bring you up-to-date.

BERMAN: Plus, the guy who made the half-court shot during a contest nailed it and scored $20,000. Honestly, that's an amazing shot right there. It happened in Oklahoma City. The thing is, now he might not get to keep the cash because he's a basketball player. He plays college basketball and his league says he can't keep it. We'll be talking to him about all this, easy come, easy go, $20,000. That's coming up in the next hour.

PEREIRA: Nothing easy about that.

We're watching a whole lot of other stories. Pamela is here with our headlines this morning.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good to be here with both of you on this Thanksgiving. Making news today, shocking new details coming from three young sisters in Tucson who say they were held captive for two years. They say they were malnourished, no showers for months, loud music or white noise 24/7. Squalid living conditions, and their doors locked and they were looked up to alarms. Their mother and stepfather now charged with child abuse and kidnapping. He's also charged with sexual abuse of a child under 15. More charges are expected.

And a growing backlash this morning from Afghan leaders over president Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a security agreement with the U.S. before year's end. That pact would allow up to 15,000 U.S. and NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan after the formal end of combat operations next year. But Karzai says he wants Washington to agree to a series of escalating demands and says he won't sign it until after Afghan elections next April.

A bizarre incident here in Ocean City, Maryland. Listen to this: a man on fire runs into the offices of a local church, sparking a larger fire that left him and a church reverend dead. A third person was badly injured at St. Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church. It's still unclear how John Raymondsterner (ph) came to be on fire in the first place, and whether it was deliberate. Now he was said to be screaming for help when he entered that church.

The Canadian rock band Bare Naked Ladies has canceled an upcoming concert performance at Sea World after watching CNN's film "BLACKFISH." That film, which aired last month, tells the story of a Sea World trainer who was killed in 2010 by an orca named Tilikum. The band posting on the Facebook page, this is a complicated issue and we don't claim to understand all of it, but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time.

And in Afghanistan, a taste of home for U.S. troops. More than 50,000 fighting men and women are spending the Thanksgiving holiday there. It's the military's 12th Thanksgiving in Afghanistan. It isn't easy giving them a proper holiday meal, but they pulled it off with more than 70,000 pounds of turkey. The Defense Department says it's more than worth it, of course, to support the men and women sacrificing so much for all of us.

PEREIAR: It's the least we can do. And we send our appreciation to not only the men and women fighting overseas, but also their families here at home keeping the home fires burning and sending their love as well. Thank you so much for that, Pamela.

We have been talking about the fact that the new tradition on Thanksgiving seems to be shopping. It seems to be the new Thanksgiving pastime. We're seeing all sorts of folks out at the stores already this morning. Here's a question, should you join them this Thanksgiving? Is black Friday really worth it? Here's a consumer spending analyst for HP Retail Advisory. We'll put the questions to her. Happy Thanksgiving, darling.


PEREIRA: Well, let's start with this and start right off the bat. It seems like we have heard stories of the fact that some of these stores opening earlier or on Thanksgiving are getting a little bit of heat for doing so. Why are they doing it?

PRABHAKAR: To put it in perspective, retailers make 20 percent of their revenues during this time for the entire year. So we're talking about -- that's a lot of money coming into those stores. The Intuit and survey, they surveyed about 2 million people spending on Black Friday. For Amazon, for example, they spent $87 million, these consumers. And for Walmart, for the Black Friday weekend, they spent $78 million. So you can tell it's a lot of money coming in. The sooner they get the promotions in and get people in, the sooner they start making that revenue. If a market share play, it's very competitive right now.

BROWN: I wonder because some of the stores are losing a week this year, basically, because Thanksgiving is closer to Christmas, if that's playing a role with more stores hopping onboard with opening earlier.

PRABHAKAR: Absolutely. We have four weeks, less than now, to Christmas. So right now all the stores want to make sure -- it's one -- you'll think it's very much just a couple dollars between customers shopping, but those dollars really start to add up when you have a lot of people coming in.

BERMAN: A lot of people are doing this. A lot of shoppers are doing this because they think they are getting a lot of great deals. I've got to say, there's been a lot of controversy over just the last few days. Questions about whether the deals are, in fact, real.

PRABHAKAR: Right. So, again, not to get too wonky here, but retailers, when they purchase products, they mark it up up to 70 percent. So what you're seeing when you go and shop is almost the mark up of 70 percent before the sale. So the markdowns, they still have to, they are still making markdows so they can still make money. So what you really need to do is be on the lookout for markdowns of 30 percent or more.

BERMAN: That's the magic number.

PRABHAKAR: That's the magic number, 30 percent. So if you're seeing anything more than 30 percent, the store is still making a profit but you're getting a part of that deal.

PEREIRA: Here's the question I know you face and we all face, we are all interested in saving a buck and getting a deal and getting that new flat-screen or whatever, is it worth leaving our families?

PRABHAKAR: Listen, Thanksgiving is about spending time with your family, eating the turkey, getting some gravy on there. Do you really want to get punched over an iPad? Not necessarily. But with that said, you know, these deals, the stores have to maintain momentum throughout the weekend. As they said, it's a huge profit force for them. So these deals are probably going to get better as we get through the holiday.

BERMAN: Any specific one toss point us to?

PRABHAKAR: Right. If you are going to Old Navy, everything in the store is 50 percent off right below the magic number. Also, Kmart is offering Barbies for $5.


BERMAN: That was my outside voice. So sorry.

PRABHAKAR: And televisions, TVs at target, 50 inches are going to be $229. And Walmart, this is the golden ticket here, if you want to get a 70-inch television for watching the Super Bowl or the Oscars, whatever you're in to --

PEREIRA: Now you're making me go to Target today.

PRABHAKAR: That's going for $998.

BROWN: What about shopping online? Can we get the deals online?

PRABHAKAR: You can get these deals. It's a little different online. Again, as I said, they need to create the momentum. They will get better as we get further down the holiday season.

PEREIRA: Because the fact is, if you only have so much money, which we all can understand what it's like to balance a budget, these deals are going to make a difference on how sweet your Christmas could be. So some of the folks, this is when they are getting the holiday deals and getting the holiday shopping done. If you can get a big screen for not much, it will make a difference.

PRABHAKAR: Right, if your heart is set. This is what I'm telling everyone. If your heart is set on that big screen TV, you may want to go out and get it. If that specific 70 inches, you want it, go. Make some time out to go and get that. But if you're willing to take a break and get something a little smaller or a different brand, the deal is probably going to get better as we go along.

BERMAN: You know, we should add, by the way, this is not early for a lot of people. Hanukkah started last night. Happy Hanukkah, by the way.


PEREIRA: Wonder to feel have you here. Please go and put on some comfy clothes and dig into that turkey.

PRABHAKAR: We are going to go volunteering.

BERMAN: I love that. That is smart. (CROSSTALK)

PRABHAKAR: I will put on the comfy clothes after that.

PEREIRA: Thank you. See you again soon.

BERMAN: Up next, a celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson, called a drug addict by her ex-husband. The surprising development at this trial of their former personal assistants.

PEREIRA: This guy wins 20 grand. A half-court shot at an NBA game. Why might he not get to keep that cash? We're going to try to shoot it - to sort it out. I don't want to shoot it out with him.

BERMAN: He could hit that shot.

PEREIRA: That guy's a ringer. I'm just saying. He could hit it shot. I couldn't even try.