Just wondering, and a note

Any test of Joe Biden’s cognitive functions would be a waste of time. At this point, I wonder: could he pass a Turing test?

In related news, I see that the democrats have picked the most nakedly demagogic of the candidates to finish out Biden’s hypothetical term. Some months back she blindsided the senile creep for not supporting busing enthusiastically enough. At the time I wrote a brief note on an aspect of sending children to distant schools that is usually overlooked, but for some reason I never published it. I might as well put it up here now.

Why is there only one “s” in “busing”?

During the middle of second grade, my parents transferred me to the nearest Catholic grade school, 30 miles south of our home in northern Utah. My home was the second stop on the morning bus route, and the second-last in the evening. Every school morning I needed to get up while it was still dark out — always a bitter struggle — swallow something (I got thoroughly sick of Carnation Instant Breakfast) and run out to the bus before it drove off. The bus spent the next half-hour picking up other sleepy students around town, and another half-hour on the highway to school. I was barely awake, my parent were cross, the other students were cranky, and the bus driver resented us all. It was a marvelous way to start the day.

After school, the process was reversed. The main difference was that we were all tired and hungry rather than sleepy, but it was nevertheless as much a pleasure to ride the bus then as it was in the morning.

So, every school day through fifth grade, I spent two hours each day confined in a decrepit old school bus with bad shocks1, enjoying the company of 30 or so other surly children, because my parents thought I would benefit from being in a Catholic school. Were they right? No. Even assuming that the education in the Catholic school was indeed superior2, it was not worth the waste of two hours every day.3

Note that I spent those hours on the bus because my parents wanted me in a Catholic school. There was no question of good or bad neighborhoods or schools. Even so, it was a mistake. Busing itself is intrinsically bad.4


  1. Really bad shocks. When you bounced up and down on the back seat, if you timed your bouncing just right, you could attain surprising altitude when the bus hit a bump. On one occasion, I was told that my hair brushed the roof of the bus.
  2. I doubt that it was. There may have been religion classes, but the classes were large and my third and fourth grade teachers were obvious mediocrities. It wasn’t until fifth grade that my teacher was a nun.
  3. Sure, you could read or do homework on the bus, but it was hard to focus for long on anything on the noisy, shaky contraption. And why the hell does anyone give homework to grade school children? Don’t they suffer enough in class?
  4. According to what I’ve read, the only students who benefitted from busing programs were bright black students who would have been accused of “acting white” at their neighborhood schools. Such students are worth helping, but not at the expense of taking other students from their own schools and requiring them to attend inferior, less-welcoming schools.