My Little Crony
Friday's headlines brought us the welcome news that Mike "Brownie" Brown (aka "Drownie"), the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, was relieved of his Katrina-related duties and sent back to Washington to "coordinate future relief efforts." Incompetence and tactlessness aside, it turns out the former Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association had a nasty little propensity for resume padding, as we learn from our own

"Michael Brown's experience as an assistant city manager with 'emergency services oversight' was even less impressive than we'd imagined.  According to one report from Time Magazine, Claudia Deakins, public relations director for the city of Edmond, told Tim that Brown was really an assistant to the city manager, 'more like an intern,' during his stint there.  Bill Dashner, the city manager at the time, told the magazine that Brown helped with details and wrote the occasional speech.  'He was very loyal,' Dashner said. 'He was always on time.  He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt.' "

Now, I realize the Federal government is a big place, and it must be very difficult to fill important positions, particularly when you're President and you have lots of other things on your mind.  After all, Mike Brown was a dependable party loyalist, an old buddy of Bush's original FEMA head, Joe Allbaugh, who had worked on W's first presidential campaign.  So I can certainly see how tempting it might have been to tap Brownie for the big job after Allbaugh resigned, particularly since Allbaugh himself made the recommendation. And I'm sure some of you are reading this and scoffing, "Could YOU do any better, Miss Smartypants?"

Hmm.  Let's see.

The qualifications for securing a high government position do not appear to be particularly onerous. In fact, based on what we know about Brownie, I have deduced that all you really need to become a key member of a Presidential administration are the following:

1. You must have had at least a passing relationship with or, failing that, a modicum of awareness of, the type of work the agency is engaged in.
2. You must have performed—or be closely associated with someone who has performed—some type of valuable service for the President at some point in your life.

3.  You should dress well, preferably in suits with crisp white shirts.

Well, hell—that's easy!  I'll even go them one better.  Not only will my Administration surpass all others in both patronage and fashion sense, I'll even appoint people who were reasonably competent at their pre-Talbot Administration careers, as my first four picks clearly demonstrate:

With Homeland Security the key issue on the mind of every patriotic American, I must say I am not sure Chertoff is really up to the job.  First of all, he's never done me any favors that I'm aware of; second, he always looks a bit rumpled and yellowed around the edges.  Rather like a cadaver that's been left in the bathtub a few days too long.  Thus, having failed two out of three qualification criteria, Chertoff's out, and will be replaced by Joe Flanagan of Brinks Security.  Joe installed the alarm system in my condo, and not only did he wear a very natty uniform, he added to it his own sense of style by cutting off the sleeves above the elbow.  This indicates to me that Joe is a bit of a maverick—a real rebel who's not afraid to buck the system. I think that's exactly what we need in Homeland Security—risk takers who are willing to think outside the box. Welcome aboard, Secretary Flanagan!

For Secretary of the Treasury, I am pleased to nominate Pam from Citizens Bank.  I can't remember her last name (I'm sure Secretary Flanagan will put Homeland Security right on the case and find that out in no time), but when the ATM at the Dartmouth Street branch ate my unemployment check that time, Pam credited my account instantly and didn't even ask to see ID—all while wearing a lovely floral-patterned blouse. Greetings, Secretary Pam!

There is no more highly qualified candidate for Secretary of Education than Edna the Lunch Lady from the Miller Elementary School in Aurora, Ohio.  A no-nonsense stickler for the rules, her snug hairnet, stern expression, and gravelly voice masking a true heart of gold on the inside, Secretary Edna will bring the perfect balance of toughness and compassion to this difficult post, just as she did during my grade school years, when she would wink and slip an extra pudding cup onto my tray on Butterscotch Day before wheeling around and cowing the cafeteria thugs with her trademark withering glare.  Secretary Edna—if you're still alive, that is—come on down!

Finally, to round out my Cabinet, I am extremely honored to offer the post of Secretary of Transportation to Abdul Agbladashul, proud owner of medallion 1239 and charter member of the Boston Taxicab Association.  Having gone over and above the call of duty by carrying my suitcase right to my front door after my last trip back from Logan Airport, instead of leaving it sitting in a puddle on the sidewalk as other cab drivers have been wont to do, he knows what it takes to get the job done—and his clean t-shirt and lack of pervasive body odor set him even further apart from his peers.  Now, I am aware the media will likely have a difficult time both spelling and pronouncing "Agbladashul" (after all, they've barely mastered "nuclear"), so as a condition of his nomination I have proposed that he drop the last name entirely, along with the salutation "Secretary" and simply be known throughout the land as "Abdul."  This, I believe, will not only enhance media relations but will also lend a sort of "rock star" quality to my Administration, much as if I had nominated, say, Bono, or Madonna, or Cher.  So, Abdul, glad to have you here. And don't worry about that pesky green card issue. Secretary Flanagan will take care of it.

So, to you, Abdul, and to the rest of my Administration, all of whom have done me so many favors in the past and looked good doing it, I offer my sincere and hearty thanks.  And, as they say in Hollywood--right back atcha!