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On the Bus

We had our Outlook meeting yesterday and it looks like I'm writing about busing (some people insist on spelling the word "bussing" -- but isn't that kissing??? I'm sure I'm right -- check AP style) circa 1970. Pegged to the Supreme Court's recent decision revisiting (gutting?) Brown v. Board of Education. I was bused across town for 5th and 6th grade as part of a court-ordered desegregation plan. There's a piece in there somewhere. If anyone remembers that era (particularly in the Deep South), please post a comment. Or just write the article for me. Thank you.

[The New Guy -- I might as well tell you his name -- Newman -- says, "Our readers know more than we do." Or something like that. Maybe that's someone else's line and he's endorsing it. In any case, he insists on me blogging about what we're doing in the upcoming Outlook section. The idea is, the Internet lets us be more collaborative and less, I don't know, hierarchical, and omniscient, and bossy. I agree in principle, but continue to worry that if we get any more collaborative, people will begin demanding payment, and a vacation plan and a 401k. The A-blog is Ground Zero in that future legal nightmare.]

At one point during the Outlook meeting, my editors suggested that I come up with some actual facts about busing and school desegregation.

"You might want to do some research," said my editor Zofia.

WHAT!!??? RESEARCH??? I was flabbergasted.

The impertinence.

It's like they don't know who they're dealing with.

There was also discussion about other Outlook stories coming up this weekend. Something about the Mideast. Something about Intelligence Reform. Or maybe the Mideast story and the Intelligence Reform story are the same story.

I am pretty sure stories about the Mideast spontaneously generate in the Outlook office. There are ancient Mideast-punditry spores in the carpeting.

Also we have stories arriving from local think tanks via pneumatic tubes that date to the 1950s. At the mouth of each tube is a label: Brookings, CSIS, AEI, Heritage. I find the whooshing sound to be highly distracting.

Also there might be a story this weekend on politics and sex. Hear hear!! (Or do I mean Here Here?) (Don't answer that.)

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I love the ending of Gene Robinson's column today, in which he offers one possible reason why the U.S. hasn't recently had a terror attack along the lines of what we've seen in the U.K.:

'...the United States, for all its faults, is still the most inclusive society on Earth. Our nation has a way of making outsiders into participants, a way of convincing people that they are protagonists, not just pawns. The United States can fall short of its promises, but it has a genius for manufacturing possibility. If people have even a glimpse of a better tomorrow, no matter how unbearable today might be, they are less likely to pack a car with explosives and crash it into an airport.

'There's hope for us yet. Have a happy Fourth of July.'

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Philosophy's Trolley Problem: Why it's not a good idea to shove someone in front of a speeding trolley even though you might in the process save the lives of 5 other people. Explained, finally.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 3, 2007; 7:56 AM ET
 
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