Monday, September 15, 2008

Gimme A Cabinet Position

The other day I interviewed for a job I’m not likely to get because my experience doesn’t quite dovetail with what they’re looking for. So I drove home thinking, “Damn. Two college degrees, lots of experience and an impressive clip file … what the hell does it take to land a decent job these days?” Then I read this article in the New York Times and figured it out. “Of course! That’s what I’m missing: connections. If I’d had the foresight to become high-school buddies with a politician I wouldn’t be stuck in this career rut today.”

Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.

With the presidential cabinet due to be restocked in a few months, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that I too love cows. Indeed, many of my friends and former colleagues are cows (assuming they haven’t lost weight since last I saw them). And though I don’t technically belong to Palin’s buddy clique I did send a “friends” request to her daughter’s babydaddy on MySpace. If he accepts it and Palin makes it to the White House, I hope she’ll consider me “one of the gals” and thus worthy of a job leading the USDA.

Unless that position’s been reserved for Ms. Havemeister, in which case I’d like to point out my qualifications to lead other government agencies:

The Department of Energy

I love energy and am proficient in the use of several types: electricity, gasoline, even candles. I’ve also pioneered the adoption of renewable technologies: back in junior high I did that thing where you use a potato to power a digital clock, and today I own several solar calculators and no-battery shake-em-up Faraday flashlights. Also: my late father, a Disabled Veteran, spent most of his Navy career working in nuclear-sub power plants, so I grew up with a respectful understanding of the hazards and potential of nuclear power. I also know how to pronounce “nuclear” (no vowel between the “c” and the “l”).

The Department of the Interior, or maybe the Environmental Protection Agency

I love interior environments, and have visited several of America’s national parks.

The Department of Homeland Security

I love secure homelands. I also love disaster porn, which means I know how to protect the country in case of emergencies. For example: if there’s a hurricane, I’ll tell my fellow Americans to evacuate coastal areas and avoid substandard levees. If there’s a terrorist attack, I’ll tell them to buy duct tape. And if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts on my watch, I’ll evacuate everybody in America to safe locations outside the ashfall zone (i.e., somewhere east of the Mississippi), and stockpile enough food to feed the country’s population during the resulting ten-year volcanic winter.

The Department of Health and Human Services

I love healthy people, and have ample experience in various human-service endeavors. I’ve even worked on a phone sex line, which is service indeed and suggests I’d be fun to have a beer with, which is a very important trait to consider when choosing your leaders.

The Department of Veterans Affairs

I love veterans, and have already mentioned that my father was one. So was my grandfather, who single-handedly (as he told it) defeated the Nazis in World War Two. If it weren’t for my family you’d all be speaking German right now.

The Department of Education

I love education. My entire educational history took place in public schools; I’ve been both a student and a teacher, giving me firsthand perspective from both sides of the desk when regarding the problems and challenges facing today’s educational – no. Never mind. Where education policy is concerned, I have actual professional experience directly relevant to the issues, which is obviously not what employers are looking for when they hire people for high-paid government gigs.

Besides, I don’t really want to work in education again. Best to focus my energies on jobs I actually desire; if I can’t land another gig like Snarky Staff Writer I’ll gladly settle for something along the lines of Head of the Department of Homeland Security. And I’m not averse to honest competition for the job, either. If you think you’re better qualified than I am for any of these lucrative government positions, feel free to explain why in the comments.


Blogger Jadagul said...

Well, clearly, I should be the secretary of the interior. I like interiors. I like them so much, in fact, that I don't go outside at all if I avoid it; that's how much being inside means to me.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

You only like interiors. I said I love them.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous mds said...

Well, I was going to fight for the Department of Education, due to my extensive experience in higher ed. But then I realized that it actually left me more qualified for the Agriculture Department, because of all the bullshit.

Then again, my flirtations with Democratic Socialism have apparently prepared me to run the current Treasury Department.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Jennifer, I'm not as ambitious as you, so I don't need a cabinet-level position. Some sort of department or agency head sounds about right.

How about this? Next time you're in Chicago, I'll buy you that beer and then you can be my influential friend who gets me a cushy high-paying job.

What job, though... Let's see, I like guns, I like driving around aimlessly, and I'm sick and tired of taking shit from people. I want to be the one in charge. I want to kick ass and take names and make sure everybody's gonna get it who's got it coming! I want people to jump when I tell them what to do and obey my commands like the word of God! Kneel before me, you pathetic losers!!!

Anything in law enforcement would be fine.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Actually, Windy, with qualifications like that I think you're better suited for the State Department. Modern American diplomacy.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

I understand your desire to trash Sarah Palin, she does so deserve mockery what with her slim figure, fair skin and Tina Fey glasses. What woman could resist dumping on such a hottie. So by all means Jennifer, do strike out at Palin whenever possible, we understand it's a chick thing and you can't help yourself.

However, the hiring of under-qualified friends and political cronies to governmental positions is a time honored tradition in not only our country but every country in the world. Why else would ones friends, family and total strangers give so much of their time and hard earned cash to ones campaign if they didn't expect a bit of cronyism to benefit either themselves directly or perhaps their children.

I would hope that if someday I were to bother supporting a candidate for office that if elected I could count on him or her to give myself or my son some cushy irrelevant position in government. There are so many useless high paying posts out there with which to reward a political pal that it should be no problem to find me one.

What real problem is there in handing over a Secretary of Bullshit Issues position to someone with no experience in government? Their office is filled with professional bureaucrats who do all the real work and know the score. They don't ask anything of the boss and the boss leaves them alone to do their work. If shit hits the fan the appointee knows the gig, they might be the next one offered to CNN or FOX as the tethered goat to distract the public from the real culprits.

5:52 AM  
Blogger NoStar said...

I drink a little wine and I have a friend who is The Wine Commonsewer. I used to smoke a pipe until smoking tobacco made my sinus swell and I lost my sense of smell and taste for several months, but I haved friends and family who smoke like chimneys. Finally, I have a concealed weapons permit and a semi auto handgun and one of my best friends has a collection of rifles, shotguns and pistols that could arm a squad of jackbooted thugs or better yet defend against an onslaught from the same.

I'd be perfect to run the ATF. (Sorry Caveman, I mean the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.)

7:30 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

Well, if non-Cabinet positions are up for grabs (if you know what I mean), I'd like to put in a plug for the DEA*. I love drugs, and would have no problem enforcing their use.

*Drug Enforcement Administration

10:01 AM  
Blogger J sub D said...


After you get your appointment as Secretary of Health and Hunam Services I hope you will consider me for appointment to the post of Assistant Secretary for Aging.
I have been aging for more than five decades and am considered one of the very best Americans* at the process.

Just last week an old friend looked at me and said "Damn, J sub, you look older than coprolite". I will, as your assistant secretary, continue to age at a rate faster than normal and diligently apply my vast and expanding knowledge of the process to whatever the hell the Administration of Aging does.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my qualifications.

* Keith Richards is not a U.S. citizen.

Very Respectfully,
J sub D

10:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I understand your desire to trash Sarah Palin, she does so deserve mockery what with her slim figure, fair skin and Tina Fey glasses.

I shudder to consider what you must think motivates me when I trash McCain, then.

I completely forgot to mention my qualifications to run the Department of Commerce: I love money, and have often used it to engage in acts of commerce.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

I completely forgot to mention my qualifications to run the Department of Commerce

Sorry, young lady, but that might be a bit too much for you to handle, since it's actually the Department of Absolutely Everything. See: "Commerce Clause."

11:34 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Comments made about McCain are obviously untainted by estrogen. After all, your attacks on him are perfectly reasonable. But when you resort to sniping about cronyism in government as an attack on a politician it's obvious you're grasping for some mud to throw for some deeper more hormonal reason.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous mds said...

Comments made about McCain are obviously untainted by estrogen.

Not necessarily true. One reason I fear McCain is because of his hips, superbly built for child bearing.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

But when you resort to sniping about cronyism in government as an attack on a politician it's obvious you're grasping for some mud to throw for some deeper more hormonal reason.

Ah, so you're saying that ordinarily I should be just fine with cronyism, unless my pesky hormones get in the way. Gotcha.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Thoreau said...

I would totally love to see you as head of the TSA, Jennifer.

You have experience purchasing and using small tubes of toothpaste, and you've flown on planes. You've even taken off your shoes. You're perfect!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

You know, if high-paying government positions were awarded on the basis of what one knows rather than who one knows - why I should most probably be POTUS or Grand Puppeteer or something with a handle like Smartass SOB. Besides - as an sob I'm eminently qualified for most any governmental job, particularly high-paying ones. ;-)

5:53 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Complaining about cronyism in government is as pointless as griping about the weather. So what if Palin appointed unqualified buddies to positions in government. That's been the status quo since the Washington administration. The only reason it seems worse today is the quality of unqualified bozos is dropping fast. The average unqualified bozo in Washingtons day makes todays best and brightest look like one of the Three Stooges.

Either find worthwhile things to mock Palin about or admit it's a chick thing and snipe about her clothes and hair.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous mds said...

and snipe about her clothes

Which, given what we've learned so far, she probably steals from rape victims.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Well, CL, I've even been known to gripe about the weather here from time to time, and it's not because I suffer from hormonally inspired envy of Mother Nature's lush childbearing hips. And when a politician does or says something I find riffable I'll damned well riff on it, rather than subscribe to the sexist notion that I should hold politicians to a different standard if their naughty bits match my own.

Besides: I want a cabinet position, and Palin's the only candidate so far who gave me an opening for a post explaining why I'm qualified for one.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Jennifer, you are so typical of media types these days, so easily manipulated by Republicans. Here you have Sarah Palin, a fifth rate politico from a state with a population density so low that it barely qualifies for statehood who may as well be Bush in drag with a better speech coach and you go after her for something so pointless as her political appointments?

Appointed an under-qualified political ally to a state position! Oh my gawd! Stop the presses! Next you'll find out she doesn't use cruelty free cosmetics! Hey, why not go after her idiot kids for sleeping around and getting knocked up, they'd love it if you beat that dead horse some more. All the while any real issues get lost in the buzz.

A Dem party apparatchik I know said if the Reps can keep this race off the issues they will win. The media, you included, seems to be taking the Republicans bait and framing the debate on everything except the issues.

Hey, I hear she's got a kid who is a drug addict! Oh, and I understand her hair stylist didn't pay taxes in 1997! That's some great material, aint it!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

and you go after her for something so pointless as her political appointments?

No, CL, I used a line from a news article to riff on something I found funny. If you want a blog to focus exclusively on Major Issues as defined by you, go start one and I'll link to it here.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Good excuse Jen. You keep rationalizing your actions that way along with the rest of the media.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

And you keep rationalizing that if a writer disagrees with you on an issue, there must be some hormonal problem to blame.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Odd how no one ever mentions the fact - and it is a fact - that men have hormones. ;-)

7:15 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Male hormones explain why certain white men criticize Obama, Smartass: not because they dislike his policies, but because they burn with hormone-fueled jealousy over allegations that Obama has a more impressive Freudian endowment.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

a more impressive Freudian endowment.

Hm, would that "endowment" be an Ego, a Superego, or an Id? Those are the only Freudian endowments that come to mind other than the Subconscious and the Conscious, of which the former are component aspects. :-)

Besides, who is making said allegations? Come to think of it, I suppose this "endowment" of which you speak could be a real hot potato issue in the coming election. I mean, which candidate is the biggest prick? Oh wait - you said has the more impressive endowment and not who is the more impressive endowment. My mistake. Probably a close tie in regards to the latter though. ;-)

Still no lights here; not back to normal yet. One grows weary.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Not sure what endowments I'm talking about Smartass; I'm just assuming that if hormone jealousy is the only possible explanation why a female citizen would criticize an attractive female politician, then hormone jealousy must ALSO be the only reason a male citizen would criticize an attractive male politician. I'm assuming that because the only other option is to think that I'm somehow being held to different standards solely because I'm a female, and surely no libertarian would be collectivist enough to condone such sexism.

Sorry to hear about your power situation. I've been reading a few blogs and such which suggest the situation in Texas is FAR worse than what the media's letting on.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Sorry to hear about your power situation. I've been reading a few blogs and such which suggest the situation in Texas is FAR worse than what the media's letting on.

If you are speaking of the power situation, I would say that it doesn't seem to be any worse than what's been reported - guess it depends on the particular media to which one has listened. Regarding the situation in general I have heard a completely unsubstantiated rumor of a certain under-reporting by the media concerning one of the evacuated coastal communities of Texas where Ike came ashore. I have good reason to doubt the truth of said rumor, and so I do not wish to give it further life by passing it on to you here.

7:53 AM  

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