October 09, 2005

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

Who's the most incompetent one of all?

You don't have to guess hard to know who's number one on this list of 15 worst hacks in Dubya's administration. Even knowing that the prez has hired folks like former FEMA head David Brown, the banality of the people on the list is still stunning:

9: Hal Stratton Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission

A former state representative and attorney general in New Mexico, Hal Stratton never asked for his current job, protecting American citizens from such dangers as lead-laced toy jewelry and flammable Halloween costumes. Instead, the former geology major who went on to co-chair the local Lawyers for Bush during the 2000 campaign initially wanted a job in the Interior Department. "That didn't work out," he told the Albuquerque Journal, "but I told them, 'Don't count me out' ... and they came up with this." "This" being the not-unimportant position of deciding which of 15,000 types of consumer products pose a health risk and might need to be recalled. Shortly before Stratton's confirmation hearing, Senator Ron Wyden expressed concern that Stratton "has no demonstrable track record on public safety." (Bill Clinton's cpsc chief, Ann Brown, spent 20 years as a consumer advocate and served as vice president of the Consumer Federation of America.) But now he does have a track record: rare public hearings and a paucity of new safety regulations, as well as regular (often industry-sponsored) travels to such destinations as China, Costa Rica, Belgium, Spain, and Mexico. But at least Stratton won't let personal bias influence him: Despite saying that he wouldn't let his own daughters play with water yo-yos--rubber toys that are outlawed in several countries because of concerns that children could be strangled by them--he refused to ban them in the United States. [...]

3: Rear Admiral Cristina Beato
Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services

In June 2004, Cristina Beato admitted to her hometown newspaper that she hadn't paid much attention to the details of her resumé. That's too bad, because those silly little details seem to have stalled her confirmation for assistant secretary for health for over two years now. Beato said she earned a master's of public health in occupational medicine from the University of Wisconsin (but the university doesn't even offer that degree). She claimed to be "one of the principal leaders who revolutionized medical education in American universities by implementing the Problem Based learning curriculum" (but the curriculum was developed while Beato was still a medical student). She listed "medical attaché" to the American Embassy in Turkey as a job she held in 1986 (but that position didn't exist until 1995). She also boasted that she had "established" the University of New Mexico's occupational health clinic (but the clinic existed before she was hired, and there was even another medical director before her). For her part, Beato has offered a simple explanation: English is her third language, after French and her native Spanish, and sometimes the language barrier is just too much to handle. How does one say "pants on fire" in Spanish?

Via New Republic.

Posted by Magpie at October 9, 2005 06:52 PM | Corruption & Graft | Technorati links |

Um, howzabout "pantalones en el fuego"?

Posted by: MFA at October 10, 2005 11:01 AM