Cost of the War in Iraq
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Political Nepotism - Nevermind Qualifications - Give my friends jobs instead

That's exactly how washington works. Anyone who does favors for a president, senator, congressman, or even your local politicians, that help them get elected get paid off with cushy agency jobs whether they are qualified or not. That just pisses me off.

Let's take FEMA for example. Why not?

Michael Brown was made the director of FEMA after he was asked to resign from the International Arabian Horse Association. Asked to resign? From the International Arabian Horse Association? What about that uniquely qualifies him to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

Well let's take a look at his resume/biography. That bio and a White House news release says Brown worked for the city of Edmund, Okla., overseeing its Emergency Services Division. That still wouldn't qualify him to run FEMA, but wait . . . there's more!

But Carolina Miranda, a reporter for Time, tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler that doesn't appear to have been the case.

"His bio, the White House press release, and a number of sources list him as assistant city manager in Edmund, Okla.," Miranda says. " When we called the folks in Edmund, they told us that, no, his position in fact had been assistant to the city manager, which is a purely administrative job, a very different job. He was an administrative assistant. It's sort of an entry-level, intern-type job for somebody who's interested in learning about government. …When he began that job in 1977, he was still a college student. He didn't graduate with his B.A. until 1978."

Oh, now I see. That's what qualifies him to run FEMA. Wait . . . he has more qualifications that explain everything! Mr. Morris was a press handler with the Bush presidential campaign. Previously, he worked for the company that produced Bush campaign commercials.

Other top officials at FEMA don't exactly have impressive résumés in emergency management either. The Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday that neither the acting deputy director, Patrick Rhode, nor the acting deputy chief of staff, Brooks Altshuler, came to FEMA with any previous experience in disaster management. Ditto for Scott Morris, the third in command until May.

Patrick James Rhode, Chief of Staff, FEMA. Patrick Rhode was appointed chief of staff for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the new Department of Homeland Security, by President Bush in April 2003. As chief of staff, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency and for directing the implementation of Under Secretary Michael Brown's priorities and policies. FEMA coordinates federal disaster relief activities, including the response and recovery operations of 26 federal agencies and departments and the American Red Cross.

Before joining FEMA, Mr. Rhode was associate administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration and White House liaison for the Department of Commerce. His first position with the Bush Administration was as special assistant to the President and deputy director of National Advance Operations, a position he assumed in January 2001.

Previously, Mr. Rhode served as deputy director of National Advance Operations for the George W. Bush Presidential Campaign, in Austin, Texas. His other professional credits include serving in communications and public affairs roles in the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, and Entergy Corporation. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rhode was an anchor/reporter with network affiliated television stations in Alabama and Arkansas.

Mr. Altshuler and Mr. Rhode had worked in the White House's Office of National Advance Operations. Those are the people who decide where the president will stand on stage and which loyal supporters will be permitted into the audience - and how many firefighters will be diverted from rescue duty to surround the president as he patrols the New Orleans airport trying to look busy. Mr. Morris was a press handler with the Bush presidential campaign. Previously, he worked for the company that produced Bush campaign commercials.

That's what FEMA needs. PR men to spin the public a story when there is a disaster, instead of people who actually know how to respond in an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced this week that it didn't want the news media taking photographs of the dead in New Orleans. A FEMA spokeswoman talked unconvincingly about the dignity of the dead. But the bizarre demand, a creepy echo of the ban on news media coverage of the coffins returning from Iraq, is simply the latest spasm of a gutted federal agency.

It's not really all that surprising that the officials who run FEMA are stressing that all-important emergency response function: the public relations campaign. As it turns out, that's all they really have experience at doing.

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More things that just piss me off


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heil Hitler! err Bush that is.

He will continue to surround himself by cronies, all the while moving towards the dictatorship he craves so badly.

Citizens...? Or political prisoners...?

11:37 AM  

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