Tuesday, November 01, 2005



In keeping with BushCo tradition, Stewart Simonson, the guy Bush has put in charge of dealing with the US response to the avian flu crisis, is not only a Bush crony, but a Really Big Hack who knows next to nothing about the job he's supposed to be doing:

According to his official biography, Stewart Simonson is the Health and Human Services Department's point man "on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies." Hopefully, he has taken crash courses on smallpox and avian flu, because, prior to joining HHS in 2001, Simonson's background was not in public health, but ... public transit. He'd previously been a top official at the delay-plagued, money-hemorrhaging passenger rail company Amtrak. Before that, he was an adviser to Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, specializing in crime and prison policy. When Thompson became HHS secretary in 2001, he hired Simonson as a legal adviser and promoted him to his current post shortly before leaving the Department last year. Simonson's biography boasts that he "supervised policy development for Project BioShield," a program designed to speed the manufacture of crucial vaccines and antidotes. "That effort, however, has by most accounts bogged down and shown few results," The Washington Post reported last month.
Okay, kids, say it with me: HACK! And again: How can we trust Bush to appoint good people -- or handle anything at all? (Answer: We can't. Which is reason enough to oppose Alito.) [UPDATE: A friend who follows railroad-related issues claims that Simonson was tasked by Bush to kill Amtrak whilst pretending to 'save' it, but that he was so heavy-handed about it that Amtrak's Congressional backers were able to convince Bush to remove him and put him somewhere else. That 'somewhere else' turned out to be HHS, where his patron Tommy Thompson took him in 2001.]

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