THIS WEEK: Mars, Jupiter, Venus And Mercury Aligning For Spectacular Sky Show

No coffee? No problem. To wake up any morning this week, all you need to do is look out the window. Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are aligning in the eastern sky for a spectacular dawn conjunction. only half a degree apart. 

“It was an awesome morning with an unforgettable view: four planets packed in just a 7º piece of sky,” says Ribas. “The very compact Venus-Mercury-Jupiter triangle was simply hypnotic. And Mars, below them, was faint but still clearly visible to naked eye. Marvelous planetary gathering, but the best is yet to come.”

Indeed, on May 11th, Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the Solar System, will converge to form a pair less than 1/2 degree apart. Set your alarm for Wednesday morning and begin the day with an eye-opener–no caffeine required

Osama Bin Laden Killing Could Have Included Fighting Pakistan Military Forces

This is a huge nugget to the story of killing Osama bin Laden.

The fact is the United States needs, for better or worse, Pakistan.  The region can not allow for this country to fall into the hands of those who have no sense of modernity.   Like it or not we need to play ball with the government of Pakistan, and not allow the forces that seek to undermine the region to gain sway.

Having said that it makes the following story from CNN even more troubling.  The last thing Pakistan needs at this time is to be further humiliated on the world stage.  As much as we may have substantive issues with Pakistan I am trusting that much of the hard-nosed lessons that Pakistan needs to better understand can take place through diplomatic and behind the scenes moments.

The Obama administration had “very detailed contingency plans” for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan.

Their names are not disclosed because of the sensitive intelligence information involved.

“No firepower option was off the table” during the Navy SEALs’ 38-minute mission on the ground, or during the time U.S. helicopters were in the air, one official told CNN. “We would have done whatever we had to in order to get our men out.”

The two U.S. officials also told CNN about the plan if bin Laden had been captured alive, which included taking him to Afghanistan and then out to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

All of the senior U.S. officials in the White House Situation Room during the assault were prepared to call their Pakistani counterparts if fighting between U.S. and Pakistani forces appeared imminent, one of the officials told CNN. The SEALs at all times retained the right of self-defense, and they could have fired at the Pakistanis to defend themselves.