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October 10, 2005

Worse than You Can Imagine

The Bush administration: worse than you can imagine. More personnel appointments by the man Virginia Postrel calls the "dumb, parochial, cronyist hack":

War and Piece: : What do the geniuses in the Bush administration public health bureaucracy DO ALL DAY?! From the NYT:

As concern about a flu pandemic sweeps official Washington, Congress and the Bush administration are considering spending billions to buy the influenza drug Tamiflu. But after months of delay, the United States will now have to wait in line to get the pills.

Had the administration placed a large order just a few months ago, Roche, Tamiflu's maker, could have delivered much of the supply by next year, according to sources close to the negotiations in both government and industry.

As the months passed, however, other countries placed orders that largely exhausted Roche's production capacity this year and next...

It is just hard to grasp the staggering incompetence, the lack of planning, the 'who me?' culture that pervades that place. Doesn't anyone have a brain? Doesn't anyone consider it their responsibility to stay on top of this stuff? Maybe they should hire some consultants from France, Switzerland and those other countries that manage to get their orders in on time, year after year.

Update: Reader LL points to this Tapped post about Bush's point man at HHS on bioterrorism and public health emergencies (from a TNR story on Bush hacks):

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.

Really, do we have to wait for a catastrophe every time to get these people replaced by professionals? Doesn't Leavitt have the will to fire this sort of crony?

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.

Posted by DeLong at October 10, 2005 07:18 PM