Toad in the Hole

September 17, 2005

I Think I've Just Had My Canada Moment

New FDA Appointee
FDA Appoints Official from Office of Veterinary Medicine to Office of Women's Health

September 16, 2005 CONTACT:

Washington, DC — FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford has appointed a man who has spent the majority of his career in the office of veterinary medicine to the position of acting director of the Office of Women's Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Norris Alderson will replace Dr. Susan Wood, a key women's health expert, who resigned on August 31 in protest of the FDA's handling of the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter.

You know -- that moment when you plot the fastest route to Canada and how much it would take to get that far -- gas, lodging, whatever. What you could manage to take along. And then what.

It didn't happen after the election, or any of the events since; it didn't even happen after the hurricane, because I wanted to help instead. This is my country. But I think I've just been shown my place in the Sacred Order of Things, and while it's not a surprise, or even news, it's being made amazingly clear.

Here's the thing: You can afford to look stupid and contemptuous, if you're so powerful that it doesn't matter. Somebody up there in the structure thinks that's the case now.

For some of us, the scariest part of Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale is the first part.

(Later: Evidently They changed Their minds, and fast. If it weren't for Google caches, one might think it had never happened. You'd think Pat Robertson's recent faux pas would teach a lesson, but some people think the National Memory Hole is still functional.)

((Still later: Interestingly, of the Google cache links provided one didn't work for me, and the other sent me to some memo about Canadian drugs.. If this in fact was a hoax, Salon fall for it and so did a few other moderately reliable sources. The only slender evidence I've found on the path is this sentence at the head of the memo about Teresa Toigo:

This is a revision of this statement posted earlier on September 16.

I'd sure like to see more, myself. Meanwhile, Ms Toigo's qualifications are listed in the same memo thus:

Ms. Toigo has held various FDA positions in CDER, CBER and the Office of the Commissioner since joining FDA in 1984. Ms. Toigo has collaborated with the Office of Women’s Health on a variety of FDA initiatives related to the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical trials. Ms. Toigo received her pharmacy (BS) and business (MBA) degrees from Rutgers University.

Seems a tad vague. Would you hire someone based on this resume? If you live in the USA, you just did.))

The thing is not that this was a major blow, the original announcement as I got it. As the nuns would say: In the face of eternity, what does it matter? It was just the last straw, the wafer-thin mint, the penny tip, the fart in the elevator. Or maybe it just hit me on the wrong day.

Posted at September 17, 2005 06:47 AM