Friday, November 06, 2009

Teabags, Food and Drugs

OK, I blew it. The Constitution, indeed, has a preamble, but that's not what John Boehner thought he was quoting the other day. I was pressed for time because I was behind in my emails due to the fact I was in a conference all day Thursday (and Friday) and no longer have a BlackBerry, since I am no longer employed at the National Institutes of Health.

Although I hate to jinx things until I get a desk and a BlackBerry on Nov. 23, I have been formally notified that I have been hired to join the public affairs staff of the Food and Drug Administration. I will have now worked in the private, nonprofit, academic and public sectors.

Ever since I left journalism near the end of the Reagan adminstration, I have worked in media relations and public information in organizations that did very little media and had very little public impact. This will be different.

FDA regulates at least 25 percent of the U.S. economy and, under this administration, it is hiring more people (yay!) and starting to actually enforce the laws and regulations necessitated by the predations of corporate bastards a hundred years ago. This is an agency that today's teabaggers would have opposed. Of course, they wouldn't be here today because their ancestors would have been killed by infection, chronic disease, poisoned food or industrial accidents that are the price conservatives believe is worth the fight against "socialism."

I don't know exactly what my duties will be, but I am pretty sure I will be on call 24/7 for responses to news inquiries about the latest drug or food recall and other crises. And that could either be the most energing job I have held since leaving the White House beat, or it could kill me.

It will cut the time I have for blogging, and I have a sneaking suspicion this blog may have to take on an entirely different tone, dammit!

When I was a kid, most adults I knew who didn't own their own business had a job that lasted for their entire career, and then they retired. Well, retirement now is in our hands -- my pension from UPI is paid by the federal government at a grand total of $199 a month after 18 years service -- and this will be my ninth job; 12 if I count college summer jobs and 13 if I count the 10 years of teaching once a week.

That's a lot of jobs, but luckily it is no longer stigmatic to move around.

I just got my annual Social Security Statement, and it was bracing for two reasons: I began earning money before Medicare existed! And I have earned since age 17 just a shade over $1.5 million. Which seems like a lot, but isn't that much when you average it out over the decades. Still, it is above the average salary for most Americans, and I consider myself not deserving of good economic fortune but lucky. And proud to pay taxes so that others can have a chance to share in what is good about this country by having the same educational and health opportunities that I had.

But that's not the America the all-white, Jew-hating ruminants that rallied at the Capitol on Thursday want. They want the country run by Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, Jon "Midnight Cowboy" Voigt and John "artificial-coloring-added" Boehner. They support people who hold signs like the one posted in this space yesterday and they support terrorists like Greg Evensen whose views circulated through the right-wing blogosphere are summarized as "the choice is simple, the ballot box or the bullet box."

By the way, it was reported that during that teabag protest against government-run health care, five people apparently the least fit of the species, including one heart attack victim, were treated free by government-run health care.

1 comment:

  1. WTF does knowing whether or not the Constitution has a preamble have to do with having a Blackbery handy or not?


    How lame do excuses get?

    Dog pissed on your homework too?