Current Bird Flu Czar Another Michael Brown Clone?

by Last Night in Little Rock

The press is beginning to hit us with fears of a bird flu pandemic as noted virtually everywhere: NY Times, WashPo, Chicago Tribune, and CNN.com. Each source has more than one article everyday now as the fear grows.

Moveon.org has a post calling the nation's bird flu czar unqualified for anything in public health.

Replace Simonson, Prepare for a Flu Pandemic

The Bush administration official in charge of making sure America is ready for a flu pandemic is a crony with no experience related to his job. Stewart Simonson is Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—the Bush administration’s point man for a flu pandemic. But, Simonson has no public health management experience. He got his job because he is a close associate of former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. Will you urge that Simonson be replaced with a more obviously qualified person by signing our petition to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt?

Well, what is the source of this information? Who is this guy, and how did he get appointed? I Googled his name, and what comes up? He's a lawyer (J.D., anyway), which, I suppose shows why he has no business being in charge of preparedness for the potential bird flu pandemic. His credentials (actually, lack thereof) are listed in an article titled Executive Government Positions of Influence in Biodefense: The Bio-Plum Book (pdf), which is published in Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, vol. 2, no. 4, at 338-341 (2004).

What about cronism? What is a purported lawyer doing in charge of bioterrorism? What, for that matter, was Michael Brown, a hack lawyer who contributed to the Republican Party, doing in charge of FEMA?

NOLA, Gulfport, Biloxi, and all points in between got an overdose of Bush cronyism with Brown and the Administration's own utter incompetence. Then, they send in Halliburton to clean up the dough. Will Halliburton also come in to clean up the hundreds of thousands of potential deaths from a bird flu pandemic?

Karl Rove is probably already planning for how to capitalize on any catastrophy. I wonder what he has planned for the catastrophy named United States v. Karl Rove?

< Broadening Juror Participation | WSJ Columnist Parrots DeLay's Statistics for DA >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I had to ask my wife the anthropologist the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic. A pandemic occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. It can also mutate and become more difficult to suppress. Nothing like trying to scare the hell out of all of us. The "End Times"?

    Re: Current Bird Flu Czar Another Michael Brown Cl (none / 0) (#2)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    Right wing (and a few others): the president deserves to appoint people who share his political philosopy. So prepare to die. Get your affairs in order. Personnally, I am a food hoarder. They say during a pandemic, food supplies will be disrupted. I have a few more things to stock up on.

    Re: Current Bird Flu Czar Another Michael Brown Cl (none / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    Pat Robertson wing: the pandemic will kill gays and prevent them from marrying. So, prepare for the Rapture!

    Re: Current Bird Flu Czar Another Michael Brown Cl (none / 0) (#4)
    by chupetin on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    Maybe slightly off topic, but I found this at TPM. Funny, no?

    It's not simply that Bush doesn't reward competence. The problem is, competence is a foreign concept to him. Bush, like most people, probably uses himself as the standard for does-this-guy-know-his-@ss-from-his-elbow? Since practically everyone passes muster on that account, he has to turn to a secondary qualification: what he calls "loyalty" and what the rest of the planet calls "being a suck-up."

    There are three levels of ignorance: those who are ignorant and aware of their ignorance, those who are ignorant and UNaware of their ignorance, and finally, those who are so thoroughly ignorant as to mistake their ignorance as a source of pride. Putting unqualified people such as Simington in responsible, even vital positions places one in the last category. In fact, doing so even begs for a newer, even more extreme category. Staying the course on an unwise choice should be a criminal offense when it involves human lives.

    Postscript: aware of my own ignorance, the czar's correct name is Simonson.