Death in the Afternoon

Another bird banged into my kitchen window.  (I have just lowered the hawk outline; maybe that will help.)  A beautiful Dusky Flycatcher, its wing feathers outlined in white, its breast a pale yellow.  It didn’t immediately die, and I held it as it panted for breath.  Poor thing.  I am glad that my cat rarely hunts birds, but saddened that that particular window has caused so many deaths.

Three deer passed by my fence as I was doing my homework.  The cat perked up her head, interested, but know enough not to growl (as she does with coyotes).

Sebastian E

This guy’s sculpture and furniture are off the wall:

The Military Budget

A column in the NY Times, The Big (Military) Taboo by Nicholas D. Kristof:

It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

For the cost of one American soldier in Afghanistan for one year, you could build about 20 schools.

They should remind themselves that in the 21st century, our government can protect its citizens in many ways: financing research against disease, providing early childhood programs that reduce crime later, boosting support for community colleges, investing in diplomacy that prevents costly wars.

A Time magazine article, How to Save a Trillion Dollars by Mark Thompson:,8599,2065108,00.html

Across Washington, all sorts of people are starting to ask the unthinkable questions about long-sacred military budgets. Can the U.S. really afford more than 500 bases at home and around the world? Do the Air Force, Navy and Marines really need $400 billion in new jet fighters when their fleets of F-15s, F-16s and F-18s will give them vast air superiority for years to come? Does the Navy need 50 attack submarines when America’s main enemy hides in caves? Does the Army still need 80,000 troops in Europe 66 years after the defeat of Adolf Hitler?

And yet we feel less secure. We’ve waged war nonstop for nearly a decade in Afghanistan — at a cost of nearly a half-trillion dollars — against a foe with no army, no navy and no air force. Back home, we are more hunkered down and buttoned up than ever as political figures (and eager defense contractors) have sounded a theme of constant vigilance against terrorists who have successfully struck only once. Partly as a consequence, we are an increasingly muscle-bound nation: we send $1 billion destroyers, with crews of 300 each, to handle five Somali pirates in a fiberglass skiff.

While the U.S.’s military spending has jumped from $1,500 per capita in 1998 to $2,700 in 2008, its NATO allies have been spending $500 per person over the same span. As long as the U.S. is overspending on its defense, it lets its allies skimp on theirs and instead pour the savings into infrastructure, education and health care. So even as U.S. taxpayers fret about their health care costs, their tax dollars are paying for a military that is subsidizing the health care of their European allies.

Please write your congressmen and ask that the military budget be cut, that our submarines be mothballed, that our forces be brought back from Europe, rather than cutting the programs for the poor.  Or to help reduce our debt!   “If the Chinese want to slay us, they don’t need to attack us with their missiles. They just have to call in their loans.

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