Obama's appointees: Some ‘Plum’ assignments when looking for a job

If you’re looking for something dull to read but have already completed the phone book, here’s a great choice: The Plum Book.

If you’re looking for something dull to read but have already completed the phone book, here’s a great choice: The Plum Book.

It’s got more than 8,000 characters in it, but there’s no storyline, no theme and no sexy passages. It’s like an infomercial in print.

The book’s formal name is United States Policy and Supporting Positions.

The book contains a list of all the government jobs that are up for grabs now that incoming president Barack Obama is soon to start taking measurements for new drapes. It’s as if Mr. Obama has just been picked to manage a huge Fred Meyer store.

Some of the best jobs may already be gone as you read this: Secretaries of everything from Defense to the Treasury. There’s a position called Secretary of the Interior, but no Secretary of the Exterior.

Secretary of State was once called Secretary of War. But I guess somebody thought that sounded too hostile. On the other hand, Secretary of Peace is probably too optimistic.

But those are only the tip of the big-government iceberg. There are thousands of lesser gigs.

One of the “plum” government jobs that a new president gets to appoint is that of Deputy Director of Intermodalism. One of the principal qualifications for that job is a working knowledge of what the word “intermodalism” means. So far, only six people in the entire United States have ever passed that part of the test – and four of them are deceased.

Most of the jobs listed in The Plum Book are positions that the president can freely hand out to friends and campaign workers. It’s all perfectly legal, if also perfectly goofy.

For example, there are several jobs in the Office of Government Ethics. I wonder if the people in those jobs have even shown up for work the last 30 years or so?

And then there’s the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. That sounds like a real fun group. So do the wacky folks on the Chemical Safety and Hazard Board.

The Secretary of Education has three senior advisors, nine special assistants and 11 confidential assistants. Quick, Mr. Secretary of Education! How much is 3 + 9 + 11? For that matter, what is a special assistant?

There are a number of positions in the U.S. Patent Office. They are all pending.

Here’s one for you: Architect of the Capitol. Excuse me, but wasn’t that place built over 200 years ago?

I like this one, too: Director of Speechwriting for the Agriculture Department. There’s nothing more exciting than listening to a speech from an agricultural spokesman.

While some departments have scores of employees, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization has just one person on staff. File that one under “ironic.”

Another select gig is the director of the Tobacco and Peanuts Division. That person’s implied goal is to keep kids from getting hooked on cigarettes and Jif.

Someone will be hired to be our next commissioner for the U.S./Canada International Boundary. Apparently they still haven’t quite decided where to put it.

Meanwhile, here’s a joke making the rounds in D.C.: “How many intermodalists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. The president will appoint other people to do that.”

If you’re looking for something dull to read but have already completed the phone book, here’s a great choice: The Plum Book.

It’s got more than 8,000 characters in it, but there’s no storyline, no theme and no sexy passages. It’s like an infomercial in print.

The book’s formal name is United States Policy and Supporting Positions.

The book contains a list of all the government jobs that are up for grabs now that incoming president Barack Obama is soon to start taking measurements for new drapes. It’s as if Mr. Obama has just been picked to manage a huge Fred Meyer store.

Some of the best jobs may already be gone as you read this: Secretaries of everything from Defense to the Treasury. There’s a position called Secretary of the Interior, but no Secretary of the Exterior.

Secretary of State was once called Secretary of War. But I guess somebody thought that sounded too hostile. On the other hand, Secretary of Peace is probably too optimistic.

But those are only the tip of the big-government iceberg. There are thousands of lesser gigs.

One of the “plum” government jobs that a new president gets to appoint is that of Deputy Director of Intermodalism. One of the principal qualifications for that job is a working knowledge of what the word “intermodalism” means. So far, only six people in the entire United States have ever passed that part of the test – and four of them are deceased.

Most of the jobs listed in The Plum Book are positions that the president can freely hand out to friends and campaign workers. It’s all perfectly legal, if also perfectly goofy.

For example, there are several jobs in the Office of Government Ethics. I wonder if the people in those jobs have even shown up for work the last 30 years or so?

And then there’s the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. That sounds like a real fun group. So do the wacky folks on the Chemical Safety and Hazard Board.

The Secretary of Education has three senior advisors, nine special assistants and 11 confidential assistants. Quick, Mr. Secretary of Education! How much is 3 + 9 + 11? For that matter, what is a special assistant?

There are a number of positions in the U.S. Patent Office. They are all pending.

Here’s one for you: Architect of the Capitol. Excuse me, but wasn’t that place built over 200 years ago?

I like this one, too: Director of Speechwriting for the Agriculture Department. There’s nothing more exciting than listening to a speech from an agricultural spokesman.

While some departments have scores of employees, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization has just one person on staff. File that one under “ironic.”

Another select gig is the director of the Tobacco and Peanuts Division. That person’s implied goal is to keep kids from getting hooked on cigarettes and Jif.

Someone will be hired to be our next commissioner for the U.S./Canada International Boundary. Apparently they still haven’t quite decided where to put it.

Meanwhile, here’s a joke making the rounds in D.C.: “How many intermodalists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. The president will appoint other people to do that.”