Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Photo: Brookie (CC)

Following on the heels of its story that sex is only for rich people, the Washington Post now claims that rich kids can do everything wrong and still beat conscientious poor kids:

America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others.

That’s because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on “enrichment activities” for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.

But, of course, it’s not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s also a matter of letters and words. Affluent parents talk to their kids three more hours a week on average than poor parents, which is critical during a child’s formative early years.

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The US justice divide: why crime and punishment in Wall Street and Ferguson are so different

By Debra Sweet via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Debra Sweet via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Guardian:

Like nearly all white, American journalists, I’ve spent most of my career a million miles from places like Ferguson, Missouri. The mainstream media in the US hates the urban racism story and always has: too depressing; no patriotic angle; too hard to sell to advertisers.

So, reporters like me often find themselves tugged in the direction of less commercially upsetting beats. It might be presidential politics, gay marriage, global warming. In my case, it was high finance. As a correspondent for Rolling Stone, I spent years covering Wall Street corruption, briefly earning disrepute in lower Manhattan for calling Goldman Sachs a “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”.

But about two years before an unarmed 18-year-old named Michael Brown was shot and killed on the streets of Ferguson by a white police officer, my Wall Street beat started leading me inexorably in the direction of the US’s growing urban disaster.

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Sustainable Psychedelics: Cultivating a Viable Relationship with the Medicine

Moderator dreamer042 of the DMT-Nexus elaborates on more sustainable approaches to utilizing psychedelics:

As the global demand for entheogenic medicines 1grows, we are seeing a simultaneous rise in unsustainable harvesting, poaching, and related ecological damage. The question we, as responsible explorers of expanded consciousness, should be asking is, “What are the hidden costs associated with my personal path of healing through medicine work?” From the cultural and environmental impact of the ever-growing ayahuasca tourism industry in the Amazon, to the ripping up of mature mimosa trees for their root bark in Brazil, to the stripping of protected acacia trees in Australia, to the poaching of iboga to near extinction in Africa, to the destruction of what remains of the ever shrinking North American peyote habitat. It’s time for a radical shift in the way we relate to these sacred plant teachers.

You will often hear people endlessly expounding on the idea that you should never drink ayahuasca without a shaman or that the only way to have an authentic experience is to jet-set halfway around the world and attend a ceremony in Peru or Gabon.… Read the rest

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What do Occupy and the Tea Party have in Common? More than you Might Think.

In an article entitled “The Six Principles of the New Populism (and the Establishment’s Nightmare)” Robert Reich outlines six points of agreement between “Occupy” leftists and the “Tea Party” right:

[Editor's note: We only took the first few sentences of each point, follow the link to read the entire article.]

1. Cut the biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where they’re no longer too big to fail. Left populists have been advocating this since the Street’s bailout now they’re being joined by populists on the right.

2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking and thereby preventing companies from gambling with their depositors’ money. Elizabeth Warren has introduced such legislation, and John McCain co-sponsored it. Tea Partiers are strongly supportive, and critical of establishment Republicans for not getting behind it.

3. End corporate welfare – including subsidies to big oil, big agribusiness, big pharma, Wall Street, and the Ex-Im Bank.… Read the rest

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I Grew Up in a Family of Crack Addicts. So Why Did I Fear Being Taken Away?

Photo Credit: Psychonaught/Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Psychonaught/Creative Commons

via Alternet:

Growing up in a household with 15 people – four of whom were strung out on drugs and sobered up only by drinking 40-ounce King Cobras malt liquor and pints of E&J brandy (known around my home as “Erk & Jerk” or “Easy Jesus”) – meant that by the time I was five years old, I was accustomed to the acrid smell of burning  crack cocaine. I was used to the unending fear that my cousins and I would be accosted by “The People” and carted off to live separately in dilapidated homes, where we’d be forced to call a stranger “Ma Dear”.

As a child raised in California in the 90s – at the time,  one of three states with the largest average population of foster children – I was all too aware that I could become a statistic and join the then- 78% of children removed from homes where “at least one parent was a drug abuser”.

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Curious Signal Could Be Dark Matter Pouring From The Sun’s Core

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via io9:

This could be historic: Astronomers from Leicester University have detected a strange signal in the X-ray spectrum that appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ — a hypothetical dark matter particle. It could take years to confirm, but this may be the first direct detection and identification of dark matter.

The study has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of dark matter and the way our Universe works. Though it has never observed directly, astronomers are certain dark matter exists because, without it, galaxies would just unravel and fly apart. Moreover, even though it doesn’t emit or absorb light, it exerts gravitational pull on celestial objects we can observe. To put it bluntly, it’s dark matter that holds the Universe together — and it may comprise up to 85% of all the stuff within it.

The idea of axions has been around for a while. It was postulated by the Peccei-Quinn theory in 1977 to resolve a nasty problem in quantum physics.

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[Rap News] The Singularity – feat. Ray Kurzweil & Alex Jones

“Today we travel into the pure world of sci-fi to investigate the much vaunted, mysterious potential future event known as ‘The Singularity’. What will a machine consciousness mean for humanity? What are the ethical, political, military and philosophical implications of strong A.I.? And what would an AI sound like when spitting rhymes over a dope beat? All this and more shall be revealed in Rap News 28: The Singularity – featuring a special appearance from famed technocrat, futurist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil, in full TED talk mode; everyone’s favourite warmonger, General Baxter; and we welcome back the dauntless info warrior Alex Jones, who last made an appearance in RN6. Join Robert Foster on this epic Sci-Fi quest into the future/past of humanity.”

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Ebola Conspiracy Theories, Through a Mainstream Lens

It’s always revealing to see the spin that the establishment places on conspiracy theories and this week it’s the turn of the New York Times, reacting to theories about the Ebola scare:

The spread of Ebola from western Africa to suburban Texas has brought with it another strain of contagion: conspiracy theories.

The outbreak began in September, when The Daily Observer, a Liberian newspaper, published an article alleging that the virus was not what it seemed — a medical disaster — but rather a bioweapon designed by the United States military to depopulate the planet. Not long after, accusations appeared online contending that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had patented the virus and was poised to make a fortune from a new vaccine it had created with the pharmaceutical industry. There were even reports that the New World Order, that classic conspiracy bugbear involving global elites, had engineered Ebola in order to impose quarantines, travel bans and eventually martial law.

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