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Marc Bloomquist addresses a panel brought together to discuss school discipline within Guilford County School system Thursday night, December 9, 2004. The panel, not all show, consists of a principal, teacher, students, chairman of Guilford County School board; superintendent of Guilford County School and editorial page editor at the News & record sponsored event on Greensboro College campus. Photo by Lynn Hey

Readin’, writin’ and rationalization — A Cary Christian school assigns readings from a book that suggests a biblical justification for slavery and contends that slaves weren’t treated all that badly after all. Among the lessons in “Southern Slavery, As It Was” was that the Peculiar Institution “was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence.”

Conversations about our schools — An overflow crowd shows up on a raw, rainy night for a News & Record-sponsored forum about school discipline. The tone of the discussion is rich, informative and hopeful. And the dialogue needs to continue.

New political wattage for Watt — Seven-term U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, whose district includes part of the Triad, becomes the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Good for him, good for North Carolina and good for the caucus.

Phillips’ vow of silence — Greensboro City Councilman Tom Phillips has not talked to the News & Record reporter who covers the council for more than a year. Now, in light of a factual error in the paper from a previous meeting (which the paper promptly corrected), Phillips suggests other council members follow his lead and clam up as well. The biggest loser when elected officials don’t talk to the media is not the newspaper; it’s the public to which they are accountable.

A creative perk — The city of Greensboro comes up with a unique incentive arrangement with Cone Mills, providing methane produced by the White Street Landfill at no charge. Who knew getting gas could be good for you?

If you name it, bucks will come — For a reported price tag of $3 million over 10 years, the new downtown ballpark will be named for First Horizon National Corp., a much more bearable moniker than, say, the Piggly Wiggly Pavilion.

Still more concerns about school safety — Parents pull about 200 students from High Point’s Andrews High School Monday after unsubstantiated rumors of guns and a hit list. Meanwhile, an anonymous hit list at Greensboro’s Northwest Middle School prompts heightened security, and a series of copycat hit lists surface at other schools.

The hit list parade — But the lists do not begin or end here. They began surfacing as early as November in places such as Hoke County, Granville County and Apex. And they have spread to Wayne County.

More questions about Jones — As allegations and new revelations swirl about pro athletics and steroids, the International Olympic Committee opens an investigation into doping allegations against Marion Jones, the former UNC-Chapel Hill track star who could be stripped of her five medals from the 2000 Olympics. It’s gotten to the point that the names of athletes not suspected of using illegal substances may make a shorter list.

Street fight ends — After an interminable debate (though not as long as High Point’s), Chapel Hill names a street after Martin Luther King Jr. And the world does not end.

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