Is there an ornithologist in the house?

Any opinions are welcome. These aren’t the best photos, which is why I’m not sure. They were both taken today.

1.I believe this to be a red-shouldered hawk. The other choice would be broad- winged, but I’ve seen quite a few of them and this guy looked different to me. His chest was darker and his tail was longer.


2. Mexican jay or Scrub jay? I’m thinking Mexican because there was no coloration on the chest. I don’t see these guys often enough to know for sure. jay

Playing hooky photo blogging

I had to get outside today, away from the computer, television and work. Heartily recommended. Spring is just about sprung here in Central Texas.




Because at the Pentagon, “warfighting” is Job One

This movie sponsored by Halliburton’s Ready Made Trench Installation Division:

| AP | February 26, 2007


Compare 11:45 PM EST version10:47 PM EST version10:22 PM EST version07:35 PM EST version with 11:45 PM EST version10:47 PM EST version10:22 PM EST version07:35 PM EST version

WASHINGTON — Strained by the demands of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a significant risk that the U.S. military won’t be able to quickly and fully respond to yet another crisis, according to a new report to Congress.

Well then, by all means, let’s plunge into one with all due speed.

The assessment, done by the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, represents a worsening from a year ago, when that risk was rated as moderate.

The report is classified, but on Monday senior defense officials, speaking on condition on anonymity, confirmed the decline in overall military readiness. And a report that accompanied Pace’s review concluded that while the Pentagon is working to improve its warfighting abilities,

Comforting, given that “warfighting” is, like, their job.

it “may take several years to reduce risk to acceptable levels.”

Pace’s report comes as the U.S. is increasing its forces in Iraq to quell escalating violence in Baghdad. And top military officials have consistently acknowledged that the repeated and lengthy deployments are straining the Army, Marine Corps and reserve forces and taking a heavy toll on critical warfighting equipment.

The latest review by Pace covers the military’s status during 2006, but the readiness level has seesawed back and forth during the Iraq war. Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the risk levels are classified, said the risk for 2005 was moderate, but it was assessed as significant in 2004.

However, it’s my assessment this assessment needs to be quickly re-assessed because

…. wait for it:

His assessment was submitted to Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the beginning of this year, and therefore does not reflect the latest move to pour 21,500 more troops into Iraq over the next few months.

Outer Crazy-Scary, aka “the more adventurous clandestine initiatives”


Mister you no understand. Look, he’s a spy and I’m a spy, he work-a for me. I want him to find out-a something, but he no find out what I wanna find out. Now how am I gonna find out what I wanna find out if he no find out what I gotta find out?


I’ve gone through Hersh’s The Redirection a couple of times since yesterday and I’m still confused. Or maybe just unable to focus. And I’m the queen of circular thinking, folks. I think this just hit some retaining wall in my brain that is still intact, against all reason, based on the belief that these goons in the administration really wouldn’t go there. “There” being so much farther out along the crazy-scary continuum than they’ve already scrabbled out so far. I know, I know, what a “quaint” little idea, no?

I am obviously just not thinking outside the box. I mean, really, why is it so hard to fathom that Iran Contra was just a training exercise?

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

Basically, they are obviously so beyond that crazy-scary point that the light from crazy-scary won’t even be reaching them for a hundred years. As Josh Marshall says:

That takes strategic incoherence into truly uncharted territory.

In other words, for all the attention to who we’re going to attack and how and how many soldiers we need to do it, there appears to be a basic debate (to be generous) or confusion (to be less generous) within the administration over which side we’re even on.