Heckuva-Job, Stewart Simonson

Worried yet about the bird flu? At least the Feds are on the job, now, right? There are competent public-health experts hammering out plans for a response to a flu pandemic, right?

Meet Stewart Simonson. He’s the official charged by Bush with “the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies”–a well-connected, ideological, ambitious Republican with zero public health management or medical expertise, whose previous job was as a corporate lawyer for Amtrak. When Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, recently speculated, “If something comes along that is truly serious…like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence,” many of those professionally concerned with such scenarios couldn’t help thinking of Simonson. They recalled his own unsettling words at a recent Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on government response to a chemical or biological attack: “We’re learning as we go.”
Germ Boys and Yes Men – The Nation – November 28, 2005 issue

A lawyer? A former Amtrak lawyer? And he is learning as he goes???

I dread the day the president announces that “Simonson, you’re doing a heckuva job!”

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