September 6th

Jeff Goon’s Birthday!
Happy Birthday oh hiker of the 93 mile Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in 3 (yes, I said 3) days!

The Wonderland Trail is 93 miles with 23,000 ft of elevation gain. It circles Mt Rainier in Mt Rainier National Park. This trail usually takes 1-2 weeks to complete. Wonderland Trail

Not bad for an old man!

2 Views on Pakistan and Waziristan

Captain Ed sees cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in ousting the Taliban.

The Times of London reports that a new pact between Pakistan and Afghanistan regarding border security will force the Taliban to run for cover. Pervez Musharraf will travel to Kabul for the first time in two years to seal the treaty and to coordinate the implementation of the new border protocols:

Michelle Malkin sees surrender from Pakistan.

Milblogger Bill Roggio warned about Pakistan’s deal-making with the Taliban. Now, Bill reports on the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan and has details of the “truce” (that is, surrender) meeting:

There is no way in hell that the US is going to allow a free w independant Taliban country. I’m going with Captain Ed’s opinion. There is something going on all right, but it isn’t as straight forward as a truce. I’ll be back with perfect hindsight later! lol

Mark McClellan

is stepping down.

McClellan’s signature task was overseeing the implementation of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, which now helps more than 3 million seniors pay for their prescription medications. The start-up was anything but smooth…….(is any startup of this magnitude smooth?) Seniors complained of confusion during the enrollment process, and more than a dozen states stepped in with emergency measures after many of the poorest beneficiaries were turned away or overcharged at pharmacies. Despite that rough transition, recent polls have found that most beneficiaries are satisfied with their choice of plan.

It was a HUGE job and it went well!
Now, who to replace him??

Possible successors, at least on an interim basis, include Leslie V. Norwalk, the deputy administrator of CMS; Herb Kuhn, director of the agency’s Center for Medicare Management; and Julie Goon, a special assistant to Bush and formerly the director of Medicare outreach at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Good luck Mark!
And a very big congratulations for your recognition Julie!

Flying

I hated flying before it was cool to hate flying. Now if this sort of thing spreads, I may never fly again!

Jewish man removed from airplane for praying

(Yes, it was a misunderstanding)

Plame (again)

Yesterday David Corn wrote this item for The Nation.
“What Valerie Plame Really did for the CIA”.
If you don’t care to read it, the summary is that Valerie Plame had a real job there, managing a secret group of people that were investigating WMD in Iraq.

Valerie Wilson was no analyst or paper-pusher. She was an operations officer working on a top priority of the Bush Administration. Armitage, Rove and Libby had revealed information about a CIA officer who had searched for proof of the President’s case. In doing so, they harmed her career and put at risk operations she had worked on and foreign agents and sources she had handled.

Let’s walk back through history once again.
Joe Wilson, Plame’s husband went to Niger to find out if Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake from the Nigerians. He returned, wrote a memo saying:

Wilson’s reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.

Later he then wrote an oped for the NYTimes essentially saying that Iraq never tried to get yellowcake and that the administration didn’t listen to him.

if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them.

In and amongst all of this, Wilson also said:

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because “the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.”

“Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the ‘dates were wrong and the names were wrong’ when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports,” the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have “misspoken” to reporters. The documents — purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq — were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

Based on all of this, I personally can only conclude that Valerie Plame likes to pillow talk. It seems that Joe returned, briefed everyone, went to bed, came up with different conclusions from his trip, later came up with some dates he shouldn’t have known, wrote a new memo for the NYTimes based on his wife’s data and caused this whole affair to start rolling.

Richard Armitage should not get the blame for ending Valerie Plame’s career. (though he should be blamed for many, many things including wasting my taxpayer dollars)
Valerie’s very loose lips should be blamed and she should be sueing herself!