Poverty and Racism have a dual impact on upward mobility


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❝ The defining feature of the American Dream is upward mobility – the aspiration that all children have a chance at economic success, no matter their background. However, our research shows that children’s chances of earning more than their parents have been declining. 90% of children born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents. Today, only half of all children earn more than their parents did.

The American Dream maintains its mythic status even as it declines steadily. Political charlatans, self-described as conservative more often than not seem to have offered the best lies. The liberal flavor [in my lifetime] can be moved by the courage of citizens to grow backbone. Sometimes.

Arkansas ban on veggie-burger adverts is baloney!


Impossible Foods

❝ Tofurky is searing mad over Arkansas’ new food-labeling law that prevents makers of meatless meat products from using words such as “burger,” “sausage,” “roast,” “jerky,” and “meat” in their labeling.

Instead, veggie burgers and sausages will have to be served up with unappetizing descriptors like “savory plant-based protein.”

❝ The law is Act 501, with the lengthy title “To Require Truth in Labeling of Agricultural Products that Are Edible by Humans,” which passed the Arkansas State Legislature back in March. It essentially states that only animal-based products can be called “meat” or be labeled with the names of common meat products. Foods can only bear meat-related terms if the product is “derived from harvested livestock, poultry, or cervids [deer family members],” according to the law.

This is, of course, a straight-up matter of politicians on the take from corporate meat-packers, producers of traditional meat products afraid of competition. No surprise anywhere in the realm of American politicians fulfilling their job description of pimps for hire.

Lab-grown brain bits offer medical opportunity — and ethical dilemmas for folks who watch old movies

❝ Xuyu Qian yanked open an incubator door at the University of Pennsylvania to reveal rows of cylindrical tubes swirling, like shaken-up snow globes, with a strange and exotic flurry. The pale, peppercorn-sized spheres were lab-grown globules of human brain tissue, or, as Qian occasionally refers to them, “minibrains.”

“Minibrain” is a controversial nickname, loathed by some scientists who fear it conjures alarmist images of fully functioning brains trapped in vats, while the reality today is balls of cells that can’t think or feel…

❝ …As the technology, which scientists refer to in journal articles as “cerebral organoids,” improves, the more the “minibrain” title fits…“People are more worried about if they reach a certain level — if it’s really like a human brain. We’re not there; we’re very far from there,” said Hongjun Song, who leads the laboratory at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, where Qian works. “But the question people ask is, ‘Do they have consciousness?’ The biggest problem I have so far is I think, as a field, we don’t know…”

RTFA. Don’t worry about full-time ethicists. That job title is always ready to take on any topic regardless of knowledge – or ignorance.

My experience with scientists as a profession assures me of relevant and timely reflection. If not overdone conservatism. But, as someone who reads science as the predominant endeavor in building a better life for all – it’s always worth adding useful philosophy to material achievements.

America’s religions decline – Surprised?

❝ …the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since 2007. There are now approximately 56 million religiously unaffiliated adults in the U.S., and this group – sometimes called religious “nones” – is more numerous than either Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to the new survey. Indeed, the unaffiliated are now second in size only to evangelical Protestants among major religious groups in the U.S.

Things change. Often our understanding does, as well.

“FEAR” already “Sold Out!” at Amazon – Woodward’s book about the Trump White House

Amazon.com said it is working to restock shipments and fulfill orders for Bob Woodward’s “Fear” after the book sold out shortly after its Tuesday release.

Company officials said the title, which details a chaotic Trump administration in which staffers undermine the president, will be available through Kindle and audio books while they wait for new shipments of hardcovers. According to the website, shoppers can get it as early as Sept. 26.

Har! Trump will mess his shorts when he hears this on Faux News.