February 13, 2006
The Mean People Are Back
The CIA’s top counter-terrorism official was fired last week because he opposed detaining Al-Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad, sending them to other countries for interrogation and using forms of torture such as “water boarding”, intelligence sources have claimed.

Robert Grenier, head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, was relieved of his post after a year in the job. One intelligence official said he was “not quite as aggressive as he might have been” in pursuing Al-Qaeda leaders and networks.

Way back when I was in the sixth and seventh grades, I had a teacher named Roberta White who, as far as I was concerned, was the epitome of everything evil in the world. The woman was mad as hell at the world, but she had a target. That target was the Soviet Union. She railed and rallied against the evil communists; we heard it every day in class and she spared us none of the propaganda she read in the Reader’s Digest and the John Birch Society newletter. Perhaps some of it was true.

But that wasn’t her point. She was really pissed off at something else. They had put, by way of the Freedom of Choice Program, as she described them, “Nigras” in her classroom. (“Nigra” was her intentionally impolite way to say the real word while disguising as a “proper pronuciation”) Not only that, to try to head off full scale integration in the town of 60% “Nigras”, the powers that be in the town had given the just-built brand new school to the black children, which meant she had to teach in the unair-conditioned, broken down, elementary schoolhouse. They kept her in the "lower school” rather than send her to the fancy air conditioned high school, where all the “upper class” white women were allowed to teach. Which really wasn’t so bad for kids; old folks don’t handle the heat so well. I could handle the heat, it was the teacher I couldn’t stand.

Roberta did give us one thing, though, and that was lots of homework. I mean hordes of homework. So much homework it was practically impossible to get done, especially for a kid with a paper route after school. Many of my friends’ parents wrote letters complaining about the homework; it was that bad. However, she wasn’t about to budge. She knew how to strike back at the crowd in power, and that was through their kids.

So there I was, but how was I to protest without getting myself in trouble with my parents? Well, she did give us an opportunity, and no one knew about it but me and the old bitch herself. We were given assignments to write sentences with certain words. Aha! There was my chance. I turned my full attention to writing sentences that not only were grammatically correct, but blasted the old bitch’s railings against communism and even the old bitch herself. Yes indeed, I even got good grades, but she hated me for it, so eventually I was consigned to the back of the black row. There was one row in the class in which all the black children were required to sit. She caught me talking in class and sent me there for the rest of the year. What joy. The large Afros of the late 60s and 70s kept me hidden back there. I could finally get all my homework done. Mrs. White had finally “put me in my place” — the back of the black row — and I was glad to be there. I even made some lasting friendships on that row.

Now, to get to the point. Old Uncle Joe Stalin used to send off folks who didn’t agree with his policies, or write properly, to the concentration camps. And a CIA chief was just let go because he didn’t approve of the government’s policies. How are these two stories connected? Beats me, but the story reminded me of the old bitch, so now you have it.

Oh yeah, and one more thing I almost forgot. Richard Nixon was the President back then.



Posted by Buck Batard at February 13, 2006 06:01 AM
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Yesterday I watched the Olympics on TV, and there was an American athlete, and she said: I believe in myself and in God, and that's all that matters. She was a snow-boarder, if I remeber well.
Water-boarding? To whom it may concern.

Posted by: Peter on February 13, 2006 12:43 PM
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