I left a meeting feeling optimistic our open society can stay open. If nothing else, I was reminded we live in an age when technology again and again frustrates the powerful’s tendency toward secrecy at the expense of the weak.

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A graduate student working on a paper on the sad history of black education in South Africa reached out to me after reading my first book, “It’s a Black-White Thing.” Among her questions:

“How do we move forward without having the past always present?”

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I visited a VA hospital. And came away with some lessons in collaboration and creativity that should be kept in mind as America seeks to improve care for its vets.

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After writing “Home of the Brave,” I concluded I would have to have the audacity of a veteran who has seen war to imagine a world at peace.

Dalton Trumbo’s genius was helping us to visualize what wars really mean, and to understand it will take courage and imagination to end them.

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