Letters: Social Mobility, Romantic Comedies

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including social mobility, romantic comedies, and Japan's recovery from the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Thursday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked about new Pew research on social mobility. NPR's Marilyn Geewax told us that education was the key to maintaining middle-class status. Pam Sebastian in San Francisco wrote to add a point: You keep talking about the importance of education, but you don't talk about the gulf that exists between those who have to take out and pay back loans for their education and those whose parents pay for their education - or who, at any rate, don't have to pay back loans. This gulf is growing exponentially and remains for more than one generation. This is a huge problem, she added, and one our country needs to address. There are a lot of reasons. The rich get richer and poor don't, and this is one of the biggest.

We asked for a moment when you knew you were moving up or down the socioeconomic ladder. Ryan Moses in Toledo emailed: I'm 30. My wife is 28. After years of putting off having children, I just went and had a vasectomy. We knew it was irresponsible to have a child with our incomes, so we decided to wait till after graduation. Now with student loans coming due, we both have accepted we have a choice in front of us: We can have kids, or we can have a life. The American dream is no longer the car, the kids, the house, vacations and barbecues with the neighbors, he wrote. The new American dream is looking at what our parents had and deciding how much and what exactly we will give up.

After our show on the triple-disaster in Japan two years ago, Tricia(ph) in Oakland, California asks: My understanding is that if you include those people never found, the number of fatalities was more than 25,000, not the 19,000 being quoted. Could you ask your guests? Yuri Kageyama, the AP reporter in Tokyo, told us that more than 2,000 remain missing, in addition to those 19,000 dead. Some Japanese media reports add in people who died at evacuation centers and in other places after 3/11 and include their deaths as disaster-related.

Also, a follow-up to a story we reported on last month about a new medal to recognize cyber warriors and drone pilots. In a response to complaints from veterans and lawmakers, the new secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, ordered a review of the issue this week. Some veterans and callers to our program argued that the distinguished warfare metal should not rank above metals awarded to troops how served in harm's way.

And after last week's talk with NPR's Linda Holmes on romantic comedies, many of you wrote in in defense of Cher and Nicolas Cage, this from Susan Lewis(ph): What? No mention of "Moonstruck"? I believe I have it memorized, same with "Groundhog Day." And Kathy Tinson(ph) wrote to push back against a film we described as a classic rom-com: Excuse me, but has anyone noticed the theme of "Sleepless in Seattle" is that stalking is good?

If you have a correction, a comment or a question for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please, let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. And if you're on Twitter, you could follow us there @totn.

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