CHRISTMAS 2012: SANDY HOOK REFLECTIONS

THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL

Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Volume 5, No. 52

Published by

Northstar Media Services

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington

minstrel312@aol.com

CHRISTMAS 2012:

SANDY HOOK REFLECTIONS

 Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, like probably a lot of you, I find that the holiday season this year is some compromised by the shootings at Sandy Hook.  

Like many of you, I have seen this before.  I’ve never gotten used to it.  I keep waiting for society to do the responsible thing.  Weapons control doesn’t work.  If a human being is angry enough to engage in an orgy of slaughter, they’ll find a way.  Sandy Hook’s been going on since the Stone Age.

We need to pay more attention to one another.  Until we make that a priority, the slaughter of the most vulnerable will continue.  It’s not the healthy who kill.  It’s the people our way of life ignores or breaks who do that.

How does a society institutionalize compassion and that kind of caring?  How does the constituency legislate it?

For me, I’m thinking about the birth of another very special child.  I’m reflecting some on the man he grew up to be and how much he cared about kids.

I’m thinking it’s not that hard to protect our kids.  I’m hoping it’s no longer an issue of that being important enough. 

If it’s not, those kids from Sandy Hook on back died for nothing.

They deserve better than that and we’re going to do a lot better than that.  At least among Shannon’s twinkling lights.

IN OTHER NEWS

Apparently, compassion for children and the impaired goes back at least as far as the Stone Age.

Time Magazine has named its Person of the Year.  Their choice might be controversial but I don’t imagine there will be much public debate on the runner up or the list of candidates.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

What are the cleanest cities on the planet right now?  The answers just might surprise you. 

And the happiest people on the planet live where?

WORLD NEWS SHORTS

Afghanistan:    Soviet-era Landmine Kills 9 Girls

AfricaCongo’s Never-Ending War,

Australia

IndiaDarjeeling Tea Growers Get Protection From E.U.

International:  Life Expectancy Rises Around World, Study Finds‘Peak Farmland’ Is Here, Experts Predict, As Crop Yields Rise And Population Growth SlowsBy 2017, the world will be burning enough coal for another U.S. and Russia

JapanLiberal Democratic Party Returns to Power in Japan

North KoreaA Rare Look Inside the Hermit Kingdom

The PhilippinesPhilippine Lawmakers Pass Reproductive Health Bill

Poland:  Poland Finds It’s Not Immune to Euro Crisis

South KoreaPark Geun-Hye, South Korea Presidential Candidate, Wins Election

RussiaPutin Evasive On Banning Adoptions By Americans, Russia Evacuation From Syria

South AfricaSouth Africa Since Mandela

SpainIn Spain, Having a Job No Longer Guarantees a Paycheck

US:  More Young Americans Are Homeless,

CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTS

Record Drought Could Stop Shipping on the Mississippi River | News from the Fi

A Reminder of What Midwest Winters Are Abou

U.S. Wildfires: Burn Area Expected To Double By 2050

SYRIA SHORTS

Syrians Airstrike Kills Palestinian Refugees

Farouk Al-Sharaa, Syria Vice President, Says Army Can’t Win

The Fight for Aleppo – Video

Russia Evacuation From Syria

Syria’s Al Qaeda Grows More Powerful

Syria War Increasingly Sectarian, UN Says

Cluster Bombs Used on Civilians in Syria – Slide Show – NYTimes.com

OH CANADA

The Canadian Space Agency’s Colonel Chris Hadfield last week became the first of his nationality to command the International Space Station.  He’s up there with an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for what is projected to be a five month stay.  For more on this one, please go here.

Why are prices higher in Canada than in the States:  The answers just might surprise you.

Why is Kevin Page Huffington Post Canada’s Story of 2012?

SHORTS

Life Expectancy Around The World: How Healthy Is Canada

Shell Scraps Drilling Plans in British Columbia Contested Area

Young Entrepreneurs And Trades In Canada: Generation Y Not All About Universit

Generation Y’s Job Fears Prompt Parental Envy, Poll Finds

Canada’s Natural Gas Industry Could Be Worth $1 Trillion

Canadian Police Arrest Three in Connection With Syrup Heist

GOOD EXAMPLES

We applaud President Obama for nominating US Senator John Kerry (D, Massachusetts) for secretary of state.  We agree with his reasons for doing so and hope this is an indication that good judgment is returning once again to the Oval Office.

Portland, Oregon’s five ecodistricts have moved from private sector funding to public as the City assumes fiscal responsibilities for them.  This is consistent with the city’s green evolution and a strong indication of how solidly it is supported by the citizenry at large.

As a result of a federal investigation, Shelby County, in Tennessee, is dramatically overhauling its treatment of juvenile offenders.  Apparently too many kids have been killing themselves while incarcerated there and while that seems to have been acceptable to authorities on the lower tiers of government, it was not deemed appropriate by national agencies also responsible for protecting particularly the young.

SHORTS

Wynwood, in Miami, Getting a New Life, and Art – NYTimes.com

To Solve the Gender Wage Gap, Learn to Speak Up

Companies See High-Tech Factories as Fonts of Ideas

BAD EXAMPLES

Tree poaching in the Pacific Northwest of America is no longer a real good idea, as one Washington man learned recently, to his extreme dismay.

The National Rifemans Association’s solution to the period public school massacre of American children has to be about as brilliant a piece of brainwork as bunkering up in anticipation of the end of the world simply because too many people never bothered to learn how to read a Mayan calendar.  This whole idea that the only way to deal with a bad person with a gun is to face them off with a good person with a gun is also a throwback to one of the most romantic and mischaracterized periods of American history and another indication to me that while a society at large might evolve, not every member of it does.

Now that it looks like the sale of assault rifles might be banned in some jurisdictions, there is, of course, a run on the flipping things.  It’s also a good indication of what prohibition of anything as a national policy tends to do in America.  It popularizes it; creates an increased demand for it; and fosters enterprise among that segment of the population not afraid to break the law to get what they want.  I can’t help thinking that if the government tried doing that with things that are actually good for us, we might be a healthier nation for it.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION

Yet another life-sustaining planet has been discovered orbiting a star relatively close to our own.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

his past year was a bunker one for archaeologists professional and amateur both.  To see what new discoveries were unearthed in 2012, yep, please go here.

It was also a great year for finding other planets in other solar systems which might support life.  For these highlights, go here.

THE GREEN AGENDA

Idle No More: Alberta Highway 63 Blockade Near Fort McMurray By First Nations

Opposition to Port Metro Vancouver’s coal shipping expansion grows

Railroad to Disaster? Inland Tribes Fight to Avert Coal-Train Destruction

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber releases 10-year energy action plan

Markese Bryant: From the mean streets to the green economy

HEALTH

Kids are apparently a lot tougher than many of us previously thought.  They can and do heal from extremely traumatic events, providing all other preconditions are in place.  Yes, for more, please go here.

Here are seven things we learned about longevity in 2012.

We found several more natural headache remedies and some holiday fitness tips from a professional trainer.

LIFESTYLE

With more and more families living with several generations under one roof, we thought it might be helpful to offer this article on how to better understand 21st Century Teen Speak.

New statistics are in on the changing face of America.  For a fascinating look at a nation truly in socio-cultural revolution, please go here.

In another article on living better with less, check out Erin McCoy’s “How I Survived Breaking Up With My Car

SHORTS

Sex Surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene, 68: I’ve Slept With Over 900 People

How to Have Better Sex – 7 Steps to Take to Improve Your Sex Life

Mormon Women Wear Pants to Church

Meet the Minimalists

Living Large in Small Houses

ON THE CANCER FRONT 

See how much you know about the five most prevalent types of cancer among men; how to spot symptoms early and generally, what kind of treatments are most effective.

RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society
 

BEST OF THIS WEEK’S NET MEDIA

Check out Sergi Reboredo’s photos from around the world.  These are fantastic.

Go into the heart of a volcano with this Discover Channel video from the hit series “Curiosity”.

If you love photos from earth, this site offers some classics from as far back as the 1960s.  Some of these make fantastic wallpaper.

Check out this week’s images of the planet from the satellites which comprise NASA’s “earth observatory.”

NORTHSTAR ENDORSEMENTS

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

BACK COUNTRY GALLERY:  BEST NATURE PHOTOS ON THE NET

BLACK SEA AGRO: AGRICULTURE IN THE BLACK SEA REGION

CREAM MAGAZINE & MILLENNIUM ART GALLERY

THE SEADOC SOCIETY: PEOPLE & SCIENCE HEALING THE SEA

SIERRA CLUB

SEATTLE SCENES

NEWS

Psychoanalyzing Washington: What we now know about ourselves

Projects to Transform Seattle, All Along the Waterfront

Obama: Pot Users In Washington And Colorado Not A ‘Top Priority

Peter Steinbrueck to announce run for Seattle mayor

THE TODAY FILE:  “Your guide to the latest news from Seattle and around the Northwest”

SEATTLE LINKS

Seattle Weather

Map of Seattle

Seattle City Cams

More Seattle Facts & Figures

Komo 4 News (ABC)

King 5 News (NBC)

Seattle Times

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

The arachnidophiles among you are going to love this.  I am sooo NOT a spider person but I’ve got to admire the intelligence of this little dude in Peru.  Its creativity is downright scary and one more argument for the sentience of all creatures, great and small.

And then there was the Golden Eagle who decided she wanted to raise a human child.  She heard the best of the species were to be found in Montreal.  She went there and tried to swipe one from a city park.  It was caught on a video we predict will go viral because it is claimed to be fake.  Check it out here and get back to us about what you think.  If we get enough answers, we’ll run them in the New Year edition.  Here’s the link.  And thanks to Jessica and Benoit, from Quebec City for this gem.  Some of you have a sense of humour bordering on the flipping bizarre.

And at the other end of the world and some down under, the daycare center in Australia which needed to close down because of an infestation of pythons

SHORTS

Megapiranha, Prehistoric Piranha, May Have Had Strongest Bite Ever

Pygmy Right Whale: Rare Sea Mammal May Be Sole Survivor Of Supposedly Extinct Species

It Looks Like Dinosaurs Were Around Longer Than Previously Believed

RELATED LINKS:
Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals
 

YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP

And then there was the dock which came loose from its moorings during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March of 2011.  It embarked on a long voyage across the Pacific Ocean and very recently came ashore of a remote stretch of WashingtonState’s Olympic Peninsula, where it is being checked for radiation and invasive species while local authorities figure out what to do with it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Northstar Media Services, publisher of The Northstar Journal

From Northstar’s house to yours, here are several links that I have used for years and have shared with family and friends.  May you and yours know the best the Season has to offer. MS(R)M

INFLATION CALCULATOR is something I use when people start talking about how inexpensive things were in the past.  It introduces the cost of living and prevailing wage indices for a more realistic look at how much things really “cost.”  Here’s the link again:  http://www.percentagecalculator.net

KING 5 LIVE is Seattle’s NBC affiliate website.  In a geographic area the size of the American states of Delaware and Rhode Island, they provide streaming newscasts and other outstanding videos.  They are the best source for a non-resident to learn about Seattle and the greater Puget Sound and are in the same league professionally as the ABC affiliate in New York I use for a window on the Big Apple.  Here’s the link again:  http://www.king5.com/live-stream

MERRIAM WEBSTER ONLINE is the best pocket reference site I’ve ever found.  It also has a very engaging word game and puzzle section and an excellent crossword.  I visit this site daily and spend about a half hour with it doing mental calisthenics.  Here’s the link again:  http://www.merriam-webster.com

SAYIT is a talking pronunciation international dictionary.  In this day and age of Skyping and other multimedia communication, it’s just as important for us to know how to speak as to spell.  I’ve found it’s also fun to be able to greet some of my international friends in their own language.  Here’s the link again:  http://www.howjsay.com

SIMON is a “Simon Says” memory game in which the player presses four colored panels in a sequence prompted by the game.  It’s also a little addictive but the up side of that is that it can quickly become extremely energy intensive.  And yes, it’s another way to exercise the brain.  Here’s the link again:  http://neave.com/simon

TANK HUNTER is a shooter game that takes place on a radar screen, with sound effects.  It’s a good hand-eye coordination exercise and challenging because the targets fire back.  And the game learns from those who play it so it’s not a matter of learning a few tricks and zooming through all the levels.  Here’s the link again:  http://www.javagameplay.com/tankHunterb.html

A FINAL WORLD

The Northstar Journal is one hundred percent supported by readers like you.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute ~ however modestly ~ to the next, please go here   and with our thanks.   If you’d like to receive the graphically enhanced edition of The Northstar Journal by direct email, contact me at minstrel312@aol.com and we’ll make that happen too.  Rusty

 Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available as a kindle book, for $3.99 at amazon.com. For a preview, go here

 

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