That List Of 33,000 Migrants Who Have Died Is Just A Slice Of The Tragedy

Last week a list of more than 33,000 migrants who had died on their way to Europe made headlines worldwide after a Berlin newspaper printed it as a 48-page insert in its Nov. 9 edition.

People on Twitter declared the lengthy document, which named migrants who had died journeying to the continent since 1993, “heartbreaking” and “shameful.” 

But the worst part is, the list of thousands likely reflects less than half of those who have actually died trying to get to Europe in the last couple of decades, said Geert Ates, director of the nonprofit United for Intercultural Action, which created the list. The list is also nothing new ― United has been compiling and releasing it to the public annually since the 1990s.

“We had thousands of cases in the 1990s. We thought media would care, but nobody was interested when we published the first list, nor when we published 10,000,” Ates told HuffPost on Wednesday. “Now we have 30,000 names and all of a sudden everybody jumps on the list. I don’t know why.”

“Once a year, we publish the list. Once a year we make the call: People are dying at our borders, and no one does anything to stop it,” he added.

Why the list is only a fraction of those who have actually died

It’s a difficult task to track all of the migrants who have died while traveling to Europe, whether they perished while crossing its borders on land or while traveling to its shores by sea. Hundreds of thousands journey each year across the Mediterranean alone, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. Tracking those who have drowned is particularly difficult. 

What’s more, United’s list doesn’t even account for migrants who have died on the African continent, many of whom may have been journeying across countries toward Europe but perished before making it to the Mediterranean.

“Most probably thousands more are never found,” Ates said. “Many are frozen in mountains, or boats disappeared or smugglers let the boat sink.”

“When a boat sinks, the survivors estimate how many they were on the boat, but that can well be wrong,” he added. “And their families will have no idea.”

Even when a body is found, it’s another challenge to identify it, as many migrants travel without documents, with fake names, or have lost papers along the way, Ates noted. Just a cursory glance at United’s list shows just how hard naming the dead can be: The vast majority are listed as “N.N.” ― or “no name.”

One line from February 2016, for instance, lists the deaths of a 14-year-old girl and a 40-year-old woman as “N.N., Iraq, froze to death after crossing the river from Turkey to Bulgaria.” Another line from April 2017 records the deaths of an 8-year-old boy and a pregnant woman as “N.N., unknown, died on sea from Libya to Italy.”

“We get calls from family in Africa,” Ates told HuffPost. “‘Do you know where my brother is? He went to Europe and disappeared.’”  

Tony Gentile / Reuters
Migrants on a rubber boat are rescued by the SOS Mediterranee organization during a search-and-rescue operation off the Libyan Coast on Sept. 14.

As the number of migrants dying has grown, efforts to account for them have gotten better

So far this year, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) has counted more than 3,000 migrants who have died journeying across the Mediterranean or in Europe, fleeing war or persecution or simply seeking a better life.

Over the past few years, the number of migrants dying on their way to Europe has swelled, from more than 3,200 in 2014, to close to 4,000 in 2015 to a record of more than 5,000 last year. The vast majority die in the Mediterranean as smugglers take them on dangerous trips in boats unfit to carry so many across such distances.

United has been keeping track of migrants who have died while traveling to Europe since 1993, counting those who perished at sea, on land while crossing borders or in detention centers. For decades it was one of the only groups compiling a systematic list of migrant deaths in Europe. A handful of volunteers would release the list each year, compiling it by scouring local news reports, collecting information from the group’s now-550 partner organizations across 48 countries, and enlisting help from journalists and researchers.

In the last few years the IOM has also started an initiative to count migrant deaths. Their findings largely match up with United’s, with a difference of a few hundred each year.

While the numbers on United’s list ― and in IOM’s reports ― are staggering, neither group can possibly capture every single death, Ates said.

For us the figure is not the most important. Each unnecessary death is one too many. Geert Ates, director of United for Intercultural Action

Ates estimates that United’s numbers from its early years in the 1990s accounted for only about 30 percent of actual deaths. Their network of partners was smaller then, and Google alerts didn’t exist, making tracking local newspaper reports of deaths harder.

In recent years, as governments and international organizations like IOM have also started efforts to track, Ates estimates the figures are closer to capturing information on 80 percent of those who have died. 

“It’s hard to give a figure, but surely 50,000 [have been uncounted] since 1993, and probably 80,000,” Ates wrote HuffPost by email. For us the figure is not the most important. Each unnecessary death is one too many.”

Ismail Zetouni / Reuters
Rescuers carry a bag containing the body of a migrant at the coast of Tajoura, east of Tripoli, Libya, on June 27.

This is what happens when countries close their borders

Many European countries have closed their borders in recent years in response to the refugee crisis. Hungary slammed its border shut in 2015, leaving thousands of migrants stranded. Last year, Denmark and Sweden tightened their border controls. Even Germany, once a leader in opening borders to refugees, recently capped the number of refugees it would allow in.

As a result of such restrictive migration policies, many of the people trying to reach Europe’s shores have had to resort to taking higher risks to get there.

“Migration policies making it harder to enter is killing people who are taking more risks,” Ates said. “If you build a wall, people will try to go around it ― with more risk ― and end up dying.”

“These are the consequences when Europe shuts its doors and eyes,” Ates said. “How big must our message get before something will change?”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/united-for-intercultural-action-list-migrants-died_us_5a0ced2be4b0c0b2f2f7afa2

You Have To Find Your There

dpc_photography_

A few years ago, I was asked to work on a book project for a blogger and internet entrepreneur in the finance space. This was a person with an enormous list and a very successful business. They had more than 100,000 email subscribers, and from the paying subscribers they had created a business worth several million dollars annually.

As I sat down and read the emails and articles that this site created, looking for the bones we’d build a book around, I quickly ran into a problem: this person was not actually saying anything at all.

The emails were very compelling, don’t misunderstand. They sucked me from sentence to sentence, paragraph break to paragraph break, and then from one article to the next. They were in fact brilliantly written. I just could not figure out what this person was actually selling. The best I could come up with, after really digging into it, for hours and hours, was that the entire premise of this person’s pitch was: Buy options on stocks that go up in value.

Now, I’m certainly a proponent of simplicity and I will grant that often the most powerful messages are the most obvious ones, but that’s not what was happening here. Skilled copywriting and marketing was covering up an undeniable fact: There was basically nothing there. And as a result, it didn’t matter how big the email list was, how great a marketer the owner was, there was not much in the way of a book there. Because a book is about something.

In the short term, this had worked well for him. It kept people coming back subscribed to the emails, thinking that eventually the secrets were going to be revealed. In truth that was never going to happen. It was one of those situations that Gertrude Stein famously said, one where there is no there there.

It’s great to know your why, but if you haven’t nailed down your there, as in, what the hell is this?, that’s a big problem. One that you can only cover for with marketing or being ahead of the curve technologically for so long.

Much of the work that’s created online falls into this category. It’s not that Lele Pons or Amanda Cerny or Logan Paul aren’t funny. Humor is subjective. It’s that there is genuinely nothing there. When one watches their work, you can’t help but feel, as Marc Maron perfectly described, that you are actually being assaulted by a lack of talent. To paraphrase a burn from a classic New York Times piece, while it’s true that less is more, some sadly set new standards of lessness, and actually bask in the void of lessness.

This is not a criticism of the entire medium or generation, of course. If you watch Jerry Seinfeld’s interview with the YouTuber Colleen Ballinger (Miranda Sings), you see that outside the context of her medium (short-form DIY YouTube videos), she’s able to improvise, exhibit a mastery of her character, and keep up with another quick mind. Or if you look at the work of Kirby Jenner, you see that in addition to being truly skilled at photoshop and hitting the same Kardashians joke over and over, he can apply his absurd and strange humor in his stories. Even Tank Sinatra, who built his account mostly in popularizing other internet humor (or tweaking existing constructs and established memes), can make solid jokes on Twitter and create memes of his own (see a good interview with him here). The same goes for Casey Neistat’s videos. He’s not the biggest by any means, but he’s actually doing real work, so he will almost certainly outlast most of his peers.

This critique is not limited to art, it’s true for people too. The person who says their passion is social entrepreneurship but builds nothing and cares about no one. The person who pontificates about every political and cultural issue they can but never departs from a party line or leaves a virtue unsignaled. There is nothing actually there. And they wonder why they never accomplish anything. One of the ironies of Donald Trump, of course, is that a portion of the population responded to him because he seemed authentic and real and stood for things. In fact, he was a crazy mess of contradictions and this allowed him to provoke that reaction from all sorts of different people on different issues. But he was able to win because his opponent, someone far more qualified for the office, could not, for the life of her, give a compelling answer to the question:Why are you running for president?”

Without a there, what is there? There is nothing.

And yet this is the strategy that most people allow to guide their work and their lives.

Pete Carroll, the coach of the Seattle Seahawks, talks often about the moment that he realized that he didn’t actually have a coaching philosophy. He had, up until that point, just been winging it—doing a little of this, a little of that, changing for each situation. How old was he when he figured that out? 49! (Thank God he did figure it out—and within 14 years he’d won a national championship and a Super Bowl).

It’s essential that we cultivate this ability to stop and look objectively at our own work. One must step back from it and say: Am I really doing good work here? What do I stand for? Am I actually moving towards mastery? Is there any substance to what I am doing?

I know this is not easy to do. I’ve resisted it too. There’s a story I’ve told before, but I’ll do it again: Early in my career, a piece I did on Stoicism took off and I got some interest from a small, hybrid publishing house about turning it into a book. “This would be a great book,” they said, “Many of our clients turn articles like this into books and then speaking careers.” Of course, I was flattered and excited. It was only by the intervention of Robert Greene, a real writer and a mentor of mine, who pushed me to decline. “You’re not ready,” he said. “Put in the work to develop yourself and in a few years you will be capable of actually doing this book at the level it deserves to be done.” He was right. There was not much there there, for me yet. When I looked at the material, I saw that I only had enough for a few chapters.

Now I could have paid to have someone help me work around that weakness. Or I could have, with my marketing abilities and platform, found a way to gloss over it. I am fortunate that I didn’t do this—that someone told me “Fuck your dreams” politely enough that I sobered up. Because if I had, that book would not have gone on to sell a half million copies the way that The Obstacle Is The Way did, and it would not have made its way through the NFL, through the US Senate, or to the CEOs and executives and celebrities that it has. That only happens when there is something actually there.

People often think that ego is helpful because it makes people ambitious. It makes them confident that they can succeed where so many others have failed. This might be true, but more often it’s toxic for precisely the reasons that I have outlined above. To make work that actually sells—that is perennial and important and meaningful—requires humility and dedication. It requires the objectivity and awareness that is made impossible with ego. Ego wants big numbers, not hard work. It wants to be everything for everyone, and often ends up being nothing for nobody.

The client above thought I could slap together a book—but I couldn’t. No one could. And he didn’t like hearing it when I told him that to succeed as a writer outside of his niche (where he was admittedly quite successful), it would require real work. It would require abandoning the crutches of medium. They didn’t, and that’s fine. Their choice.

But if you want to do meaningful and important work you have to push yourself toward substance, stretch your capacities until they are no longer such a stretch. If you want to be a person who people respect, you have to stand for something. Not everyone will like it, but if it’s sincere, they will respect it.

You have to find your there.

Because without it, what are you?

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2017/10/you-have-to-find-your-there/

Killer drivers to receive life sentences

Image copyright PA
Image caption A Government consultation in December 2016 found support for the law change

Drivers who kill someone in the most serious cases of dangerous and careless driving will now face life sentences.

Causing death by dangerous driving, or death by careless driving while drunk or on drugs, will carry the top-level punishment.

Jail terms in cases involving mobile phones, speeding or street racing will now be the equivalent of manslaughter, the Ministry of Justice said.

Road safety charity Brake said it was a “major victory” for victims’ families.

It follows criticism that sentences for those convicted over road deaths were too lenient.

The increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.

Barrister Matthew Scott told BBC Radio 5 live the change would not increase road safety.

Announcing the change, justice minister Dominic Raab said: “Based on the seriousness of the worst cases, the anguish of the victims’ families, and maximum penalties for other serious offences such as manslaughter, we intend to introduce life sentences of imprisonment for those who wreck lives by driving dangerously, drunk or high on drugs.”

A new offence of causing serious injury through careless driving is also to be created.


‘This is something serious’

A woman who lost her partner to a driver distracted by his mobile phone believes a life sentence may be the deterrent needed to make drivers take more care.

Meg Williamson’s Australian boyfriend Gavin Roberts, 28, died after his BMW was hit by a Vauxhall Corsa driven by Lewis Stratford on the A34 in Oxfordshire in June 2016.

Stratford, who was speeding and having an argument with his girlfriend over the phone, admitted death by dangerous driving and was jailed for three years and eight months in March.

Image copyright Meg Williamson
Image caption Gavin Roberts with Meg Williamson in the last photo taken of the couple together, on the night before he died

Ms Williamson told BBC Radio 5 live that if a harsher sentence had been in place at the time “it might have prevented Lewis from doing what he did”.

She said: “It’s about re-educating people now. I think it might just take that one person to get the life imprisonment if some fatality occurs then people will start to realize this is something serious.”

Ms Williamson met Stratford, who was also badly hurt in the crash, before he was sentenced at Reading Crown Court.

She said the meeting had been difficult but had helped them both move towards “closure”.

She said: “In time I think I will forgive him. It’s something everybody has got to live with.

“He now has to live with the guilt of what he has done and we are all dealing with the fact that somebody is missing from our life on a daily basis.”


The changes follow a public consultation in December 2016 which generated 9,000 responses.

Of them, 70% backed increasing the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving from the current 14 years to a life term.

Death by careless driving carries a maximum term of five years, increasing to 14 years if alcohol or drugs are involved.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Atif Dayaji was jailed for four years for death by dangerous driving, after killing a nine-year-old boy

Last week a man who killed a nine-year-old boy while driving at more than double the speed limit was jailed for four years.

Atif Dayaji, 27, had admitted death by dangerous driving after hitting Adam Imfal-Limbada while travelling at about 67mph (108kph) in a 30mph (48kph) zone in Blackburn, Lancashire, in August 2016.

Department for Transport figures show that while three in five killer drivers are jailed, the average sentence is four years.

In 2016, 157 people were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving and 32 were convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence, the MoJ said.

‘Grossly inadequate’

Brake has argued that penalties faced by drivers who kill and injure are “grossly inadequate” and cause added anguish to their families.

Jason Wakeford, Brake’s director of campaigns, said: “We applaud the government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law.”

Mr Scott argued that the announcement was a “crowd-pleasing gesture” and that life sentences “should be reserved for the most serious offences”.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: “Bad though it is and wrong though it is, taking out a mobile phone while driving without any intention to cause death, I don’t consider that is the sort of behaviour that could possibly justify a life sentence.”

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41627240

Are Fixer Upper’s Chip & Joanna Gaines Holding Out For A Bigger & Better Deal With Discovery??

Show them the money!

As we reported, Chip and Joanna Gaines shocked their fans when they announced season five would be the last of their hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper.

Now we’re hearing the renovation duo may be holding out for a potential deal with Discovery Communications, which is in talks to buy Scripps (the company that owns HGTV).

Related: Frankie Muniz Reveals He Suffers From Memory Loss

A network insider told Page Six:

“Many years ago, when Scripps, which also owns Food Network, signed Rachael Ray, they didn’t think about Rachael starting a magazine, launching product lines, getting endorsement deals and her books selling millions of copies. And so while Food Network turned Rachael Ray into a star, she made tens of millions and Scripps got none of it. After Rachael, they made sure no talent deal would ever put them in that situation again. Since the Gaineses were relatively unknown when they started, they signed the general Scripps talent contract.”

The source went on to add:

“Scripps talent contracts are very restrictive. The talent can’t do anything without their approval — any appearance, any publicity, any endorsement, any product — you have to ask them for permission. It is awful. And on top of that, Scripps takes a big percentage of everything you make — books, appearances, endorsements, products. If you make money, they take most of the money.”

So it sounds like the Gaines’ are ready to take their talents elsewhere for more money and more control:

“As Chip and Joanna grew more famous and popular over the years, the HGTV conceded to a few changes to their contract — like not taking a percentage of their Target collection — but they still wanted the Gaineses to shoot long days, promote the show and just work their butts off. So they are using this end of their contract as a total renegotiation to get the deal they really want: more money, less work, more control. The timing of Discovery buying Scripps worked well in their favor. With Discovery hopefully now about to own Scripps, they are rolling the dice thinking the new owners will come running after them and give them the deal they really want.”

Considering Chip and Joanna’s popularity, we can’t imagine Discovery not wanting to hop on board!

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-10-10-fixer-upper-chip-joanna-gaines-discovery-deal

The internet couldn’t disagree more with this school district that has dropped ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

A Mississippi school district is pulling To Kill A Mockingbird from its 8th-grade curriculum after receiving complaints about the “wording” of the novel.

According to the Sun Herald, the Biloxi School District is replacing the novel in its curriculum. While the book will no longer be part of the grade’s English language arts lessons, it is still in the district’s libraries.

“There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books,” Kenny Holloway, vice president of the Biloxi School Board, told the publication.

In further detail, a “concerned reader” told the publication that the book’s use of the “N-word” led to complaints and that this change was made midway through the lesson plan. According to the district’s middle school website, the “the Golden rule” and “taking a stand” are the current themes for language arts classes, and students were anticipated to learn that compassion and empathy do not depend on race or education.

To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, is a celebrated novel taught throughout middle schools in the U.S. for its lessons on prejudice and injustice.  Across the internet, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Piers Morgan, and critics in between slammed the district’s decision, particularly in the context of re-emboldened bigotry and racism in the U.S. sparked by white supremacy and police brutality.

The novel is one of the most challenged and banned classic literature novels of all time, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, via PBS. In 2012, a high school student in Colleyville, Texas was given an alternate book assignment when the parents took issue with the novel’s themes of race and politics.

Dramatic Publishing Vice President Chris Sergel has even said the publisher is often asked to change or remove words, but the requests are always denied.

“There are many resources and materials that are available to teach state academic standards to our students. These resources may change periodically,” Biloxi Superintendent Arthur McMillan said in a statement. “We always strive to do what is best for our students and staff to continue to perform at the highest level.”

H/T Associated Press

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/to-kill-a-mockingbird-ban/

JAY-Z Wore A Colin Kaepernick Jersey On ‘SNL’ For The NFL Protests And People Lost It

Everyone’s favorite late-night show kicked off its latest season on a political note.  “Weekend Update” took aim at President Donald Trump’s response to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which caused quite an uproar —  regarding Michael Che’s words for the commander in chief. Alec Baldwin returned to imitate the president. Even the musical performance featured political undertones. JAY-Z wore a Colin Kaepernick jersey on , so it’s safe to say that everyone had a message for #45.

During his performance of “Bam” alongside Damian Marley, the rapper turned around to face the camouflage background and revealed a “Colin K” on his black number 7 jersey. Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is the one who got the ball rolling with Trump. He was the first to take a knee during the National Anthem to demonstrate against injustices. Needless to say, plenty of other players have followed suit over the past few weeks, making for a very unhappy president.

Though JAY didn’t actually say anything, his clothing options definitely spoke volumes, especially considering the president had a word of wisdom for the nation regarding their Sunday football games (a message he delivered via Twitter, naturally).

In between tweets about Puerto Rico, Trump said, “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!”

Naturally, Twitter responded to JAY-Z’s Kaepernick jersey.

Some took issue with his performance.

Regardless of personal stances on the rapper’s outfit selection, it definitely got everyone’s attention.

As of late, JAY-Z has not only made political statements, but worked with his wife Beyoncé to respond to what’s happening around the country. The power couple hosted a benefit concert for those who were affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s hurricane benefit concert will be held on on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. Speculation is high that Bey and JAY-Z will take the stage with other Roc Nation artists, which could possibly include, Rihanna, HAIM, Willow Smith, DJ Khaled, among others. The show is a mere 10 days before JAY-Z kicks off his world tour for his new album, .

According to Queen Bey’s video, she and her husband want to take a stand with what’s happening around the world. She said,

It’s impossible to watch the news without seeing violence or racism in this country.

Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools, and nursing homes, and countless families are now homeless.

In my hometown city of Houston, people need food, clothing, cleanig supplies, blankets, shoes, diapers, and formula for babies, and of course, clean water. The elderly need wheelchairs and kids need books and toys so they can continue to dream.

Natural disasters don’t discriminate. They don’t see if you’re an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re from [Houston neighborhoods] Third Ward or River Oaks, we’re all in this together.

While JAY-Z took on the NFL issue that’s pit the players vs. the president — and caused the rest of the country to take sides — “Weekend Update” decided to focus on the devastation in Puerto Rico.

Colin Jost kicked off the digs by commenting on the president’s response to the destruction in Puerto Rico via Twitter. He joked,

Well, after President Trump was criticized for a terrible response to Hurricane Maria, this morning he gave the people of Puerto Rico what they needed most: a bunch of tweets straight-up calling them lazy.

Jost’s co-host, Michael Che, took the political commentary up a notch. In a fiery response to the president’s actions, he made no bones about stating his feelings — even calling the president a “b*tch.” He said,

This isn’t that complicated, man, it’s hurricane relief. These people need help. You just did the same thing for white people, twice. Do the same thing…

It seems like we’re in for a very interesting 43rd season of .

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/entertainment/jay-z-colin-kaepernick-snl-nfl/2084976/

Priscilla Presley Left Elvis Over ‘A Lot Of Infidelity’ And She’s Ready To Spill EVERYTHING!

She was the King’s wife. But she wasn’t always his queen.

Priscilla Presley is tired of hearing other versions of her own story, so she’s opening up about her rocky marriage to Elvis Presley in a new speaking tour.

Elvis And Me: An Evening With Priscilla Presley is doing its initial run in Australia — four dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Perth — so that was her first publicity stop.

Already we can tell this is going to be a more frank, candid Priscilla as the 72-year-old explained to WSFM‘s Jonesy And Amanda:

“I’m at a time in my life where I feel a lot more comfortable with people…

I’m asked so many questions all the time. There’s a lot of books that I have been glancing through that are just so altered and the truth is just not there… I don’t want to leave this world in the hands of other people writing my story.”

One thing we know she’ll open up about? Why she left Elvis in 1973 after just six years!

Photos: Conspiracy Theorists Say Elvis Attended His Own 82nd Birthday Party

She spelled it out simply:

“There’s a lot of temptation, a lot of infidelity and I just couldn’t live it any longer, I wasn’t willing to share my man.”

Now should she! She continued:

“It was just a very difficult lifestyle, rock n’ roll is not glamorous.”

We cannot wait to hear all about what Elvis was really like straight from Priscilla’s lips!

Would YOU go see this tour??

[Image via Guillermo Proano/WENN.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-09-22-priscilla-presley-elvis-divorce-infidelity-interview

African-American university students offended by cotton

The president of Lipscomb University issued a public apology after an untold number of African American students were offended by a dinner table centerpiece made from stalks of cotton.

Yes, good readers – a group of college students was triggered by the fabric of our lives.

Click here for a free subscription to Todd’s newsletter: a must-read for Conservatives!

Randy Lowry, president of the Christian university based in Nashville, had invited African-American students to his home for dinner last week.

One student who attended the gathering posted a diatribe on Instagram – along with a photo of the “offensive” centerpiece.

“We were very offended,” the student wrote. “My friend … asked why there was cotton on the table as the centerpiece. His response was that he didn’t know, he seen it before we did, he kind of thought it was ‘fallish’, THEN he said, “it ISNT INHERENTLY BAD IF WERE ALL WEARING IT.”

Continue reading at ToddStarnes.com.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/16/african-american-university-students-offended-by-cotton.html

Amazon Cuts Whole Foods Prices as Much as 43% on First Day

Amazon.com Inc. spent its first day as the owner of a brick-and-mortar grocery chain cutting prices at Whole Foods Market as much as 43 percent.

In a sign of how the retailer is changing, the Amazon Echo, a voice-activated electronic assistant, was also for sale, for $99.99 – a sharp pivot into electronics for a company known for kale and quinoa. The Echo Dot, a smaller version, was advertised for $44.99.

The tech giant’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods has sent shock waves through the already changing $800 billion supermarket industry. The wedding between Amazon and the upscale grocery promises to upend the way customers shop for groceries. Cutting prices at the chain with such an entrenched reputation for high cost that its nickname is Whole Paycheck is a sign that Amazon is serious about taking on competitors such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp.

How Amazon’s Price Cuts May Not Solve Whole Foods’ Problems: Gadfly

At the store on East 57th Street in Manhattan, organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound; organic avocados went to $1.99 each from $2.79; organic rotisserie chicken fell to $9.99 each from $13.99, and the price of some bananas was slashed to 49 cents per pound from 79 cents. The marked-down items had orange signs reading “Whole Foods + Amazon.” The signs listed the old price, the new price and “More to come.”

Discounts were comparable at other Whole Foods stores in San Francisco and Seattle. Amazon declined to comment.

For more on Amazon, check out the podcast:

In the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, Catherine Oshiro, a 33-year-old product designer, said lower prices may make her change her shopping routine.

“I usually buy my staples like toilet paper and paper towels at Target and Safeway,” Oshiro said. “If I see the lower prices at Whole Foods, I would start buying those basics here.”

Katie Bennett, 24, was one of many customers who said she hoped Amazon would offer delivery of Whole Foods items. She picked out a rotisserie-cooked half chicken for lunch at the New York store.

“Last time I came in, I was thinking about getting the rotisserie chicken, but it was too expensive,” she said.

Organic Foods’ Premium Prices and Uncertain Benefits: QuickTake

Rivals Adjust

Some rivals have already reacted to the kickoff of what could become a new era of selling food in the U.S. 

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has already invested billions into lowering prices across the board over the past year or so, and has revamped the produce section at its U.S stores, improving sight lines, adding more fresh-cut fruits and even creating a sweeter bespoke cantaloupe. That, along with an aggressive rollout of curbside grocery order pickup, helped the company record its best food sales growth in five years in its most recent quarter.

Costco, meanwhile, has a full slate of organic items that are priced about 30 percent cheaper than the same products at Whole Foods, according to Sanford Bernstein. It’s able to price lower thanks to a business model that charges membership fees, focuses on selling a limited assortment of bulk-sized goods and features a treasure-hunt experience in the stores.

Maarten van Tartwijk, a spokesman for Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch retailer that owns the Stop & Shop chain in the U.S., said the company has invested heavily in its online operation. And Germany-based retailers Aldi Stores Ltd. and Lidl, touting lower prices, continue to expand in the U.S.

Investors React

“We have the human connection, assets, scale and expertise to win with customers and we are leveraging our deep expertise in data to provide value and build loyalty — so we can continue to serve customers anything, anytime and anywhere,” Kroger spokeswoman Kristal Howard said by email Friday.

After falling 37 percent this year on disappointing sales and investor concern over the Amazon-Whole Foods union, Kroger stayed essentially unchanged on Monday in New York.

Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., an upscale grocer that competes with Whole Foods and is cited by analysts as a possible consolidation target, decreased about 10 percent. Shares of Wal-Mart fell 0.8 percent and Target Corp. was down about 1 percent. Costco increased less than 1 percent. Amazon shares rose 0.08 percent.

“Goodbye, Whole Foods as we know it,” Karen Short, an analyst at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said in a note. “The conventional supermarket has not evolved much in decades. But Amazon will likely drive drastically different shopping behavior in grocery. The survival of the fittest has begun.”

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-28/amazon-cuts-prices-at-whole-foods-as-much-as-50-on-first-day