In dedication to Sgt. William Carney, 54th Massachusetts

Vol. IV  No. 7

  • February 16, 2011
  • A publication of Northstar Communications

Hi again, from the Shores of the Salish Sea.  As the NAACP reminded us, February is Black History Month in America and I think it is important to acknowledge the contributions these folks have made to our community, state and country.  I would like to think that this resonates with all nations in which those of African descent have settled.

 I think it is also important to say that I feel that way about ethnic groups in general, women, gays and various religions.  We seem to be still giving lip service to the melting pot concept and focusing not on what we have in common but how we are so different.  We have a national chief executive who has been described a lot in racial terms, for instance, but I have yet to hear him referred to as “half white.”  Yes, I know that sounds absurd and I hope almost as dumb as “half black” sounds to me.

To me, then, when we celebrate the contributions of any particular group, we are, in fact, celebrating what a species ~ ours in this case ~ can do.  And yes, to me at least, it works the other way.  Bigotry, despite the target, is an insult to us all.  Genocide, despite the target, is a crime against all humanity.  The tragedy which affects one part of the world impacts us all.

 English cleric and essayist John Donne pretty much said it all for me in Meditations XVII.

 “No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  


 This morning, the King County Prosecutor announced that he does not intend to bring charges against a Seattle police officer who shot and killed a First Nations woodcarver who refused to drop the knife he was carrying when so requested.  At a time when the Police Department is under federal investigation for inappropriate conduct in the field, this decision has already drawn widespread criticism and protests are anticipated.

 In the past, suburban living has been seen as a healthier alternative to the pollution, noise and other drawbacks of city living.  Is this still true?  The answers might surprise you.  Yep, for more, go here.

 The Seattle Police Department is again in the news.  One of its officers is accused of kicking a downed, compliant and cuffed suspect.  This comes at a time when Seattle’s Finest are under a federal investigation for a history of undue force.  This particular incident happened at a Ballard nightclub over an issue of allegedly stolen coats. 

Microsoft promoted to president of its Server and Tools business a man born in Hyberabad, India.  We’re personally glad to see this, particularly given the essentially-racist based jokes about the capabilities of customer service personnel when the work is subcontracted to this country.  Yep, for more, please go here

In what we see as an astute business decision and one good for all life on this planet, American fossil fuel giant Chevron is selling its three coal mines and getting out of that business.  To learn what motivated that decision and how it is anticipated to affect the energy industry, please go here. 

We congratulate the city of Portland, Oregon for having the best public mass transit system in America.  The online U.S. News magazine analyzed data from the Federal Transit Administration and the nonpartisan American Public Transportation Association to reach that conclusion.  To learn more and to see if your city made the top ten, please go here.


Our congratulations to Victoria and Vancouver, BC.  Their cities were ranked the most sustainable in Canada.  For more, please go here.

Electric vehicles are coming to the streets of Victoria but before they hit the retail market, various government agencies are going to use them for awhile to see if they live up to their own press.  To learn more about the types of cars and trucks we’re talking about, yep, please go here.

For the 11th straight year this particular Gallup poll has been running, Americans chose Canada as their favourite country, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Germany and India.  Yep, for more, please go here.


Felina: I am reading about these American human beings whose ancestors come from that place that has jungles and deserts and lions bigger than we are.  It’s horrible about how they first got over here.

Sam:    I’m going to take a shot at this and say we’re not talking about Oz and the Munchkins here.

Felina: Quite so, with all due respect to Frank Baum.  No, I am addressing the colonialisation of the African continent and an apparently time honoured custom among some of them ~ since it has been a behaviour of theirs since before they walked fully upright ~ to enslave one another.

Sam:    Jeez, Felina, when you put it like that, even an abolitionist would wince.

Felina: A white abolitionist, Samuel.  A black one has felt the lash.

Sam:    Genetic memories.

Felina: In some cases, yes.  I am thinking more though of the five thousand of African birth or descent who fought in America’s War of Independence.

Sam:    Despite the fact that there was no guarantee at the time that freedom would be extended to all of them living in the colonies at the time.

Felina: Quite so.  In their Civil War ~ which did not promise them freedom until it was well begun ~ some 179,000 of them fought on the side of the North and of these, 40,000 died.  An estimated 93,000 of them served the Confederacy, both freedmen and slaves.

Sam:    I remember we watched Glory and you said the flag carrier was the first black Medal of Honor winner, Sgt. William Carney.  There’s no doubting their courage or their passion for freedom.

Felina: A rational creature would certainly conclude that, yes.

Sam:    Gotcha.  We’re talking humans here.

Felina: Each generation of them seems to need to prove their worth, in war and in peace, at home and abroad, from Bangor to Biloxi to Bremerton. 

Sam:    And now one of them is in the white House

Felina: And look at the simply grand time he is having of it.

Sam:    Sarcasm so becomes you, Felina.

Felina: Thank you, oh sun and moon of my life.

Sam:    You’re welcome, oh endless galaxies of mine. And now that Mr. Obama is proving that a person whose ancestors came from Africa can lead a nation, most of which does not share that heritage, and considering all the crossbreeding they’re doing, it’s real possible that in another two or three generations, it willl be hard to tell whether one’s ancestors came from Norway or Nigeria.

Felina:  And hopefully by then it will not matter.

Sam:    Yep, the weather willing and the crick don’t rise.  And on that note, Felina?

Felina:  And on that note, gentle readers, until next time, may the Creator bless and keep you. 


Sometimes, surviving hard times is about finding community.  It’s been happening a lot since the start of what many are starting to call “The First Great Recession of the New Millennium”.  Here’s another example of a successful one and one we feel is exportable.


In our ongoing war against obesity and bad health, we found another way to lose weight.  Don’t multi-task for lunch.  For more, yep, go here.

During these stressful times, women are assuming more responsibility all the time and are suffering, as well, in greater numbers from stress-related conditions and diseases, particularly heart attacks.  Since some of the first symptoms of a cardiac event are similar to other less threatening conditions, it is important to understand everything that can happen.  For more on this one, please go here.

ON THE CANCER FRONT:  In dedication to Shannon Patricia Goddard, 1962 – 2001

 Periodically, it is important to present an overview.  Learning the facts about cancer treatment and its side effects, managing depression, and building strength before, during, and after cancer treatment can help you take control of your treatment plan.  Go here for this one.



 In what we consider totally appropriate and joint government intervention, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are holding a science workshop this spring to determine if it will be necessary to limit the human take of Chinook salmon in order to protect the resident orca population.

 Environmental design and construction is a passion here at the Northstar Journal so thank you, Diane and Karen from San Francisco, California for sending us this discussion on who has the greenest home in America.  If you’re in the mood to tilt toward the optimistic, this is definitely a “read” that will do it for you.

 Here’s yet another incentive to “green-ify your home.”  There’s a bank in Oregon that will give you a break on your mortgage for doing it.  Yep, for more, go here

For those who need convincing that enduring romance is still alive and well in America ~ or at least in Seattle ~ check out this story about a couple who met in the 1930s and are together even as both of them turn 100 this month.


Dear Readers of The Northstar Journal:

When I think of the word ‘hero,’ a long list of people come to mind: people like Medgar W. Evers, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, W.E.B Dubois and Roy Wilkins.

Everyone on that list of civil rights pioneers possesses courage, kindness, honor and righteousness. Characteristics that define a hero.

For Black History Month, I want to recognize the people who fit those characteristics. It could be a neighbor, a school teacher, or a sibling — anyone motivated by the desire to make the world a better place.

My parents have always been my heroes. They organized the NAACP’s first chapter in Brownsville, Tennessee and inspired me to learn the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at the age of six and to begin selling issues of The Crisis Magazine at the age of nine.

Do you know unsung heroes? Nominate them today:

Black History Month is about reflection, and also about looking ahead to the future. It is equally important to take time to honor those who paved the path for civil rights and equality as it is to recognize those who are not written about in history books.

As the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP has a duty to build upon our shared legacy by recognizing, supporting, and celebrating a new generation of heroes.

The NAACP inspired my parents to continue their determined fight for equal opportunity. As a result, I became a committed employee for more than a half century.

Therefore, this month I want to take a moment to thank you for being a part of that NAACP support system, and to assure that the next generation of heroes are celebrated. You can help by submitting a nomination today:

The world is filled with everyday people who go above and beyond expectations. They affect and improve the lives of those around them and help make tomorrow a little bit brighter.

I hope that you take the time to nominate a hero.


Mildred Bond Roxborough


 Finding Rootedness is perhaps the most empowering blog we have yet come across for those of us who value positive and empowering alternatives.  This one is for the window pushers among us.  It offers not only solid alternatives to the chaos but news of where these options are being successfully implemented.

Irish Newsletter is an outstanding pocket source of Irish life, politics and times.  Particularly well written are their news snaps (shorts) which ~ according to friends of mine in Erin ~ literally tell it like it is.  While the Republic of Ireland’s population is only about 4.5-million, there are an estimated 80 million people of Irish descent worldwide and email version of this reached 50,000 of them.  

Rusty Miller – Writer/Editor For Hire is my professional home page.  Contracts I receive through this site help finance The Northstar Journal. 

Sightline Daily is the best Pacific Northwest source of environmentally friendly news we’ve encountered yet.  They draw from newspapers and National Public Radio sources in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. 

The Northstar Gallery features photography of Seattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art. 

Words Matter: How Media Can Build Civility or Destroy It is a “Should Read” for any of us involved in the communication of the written word.

 Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available for $3.99 at

 Yes magazine is the online Life and Look of the Internet combined and their present series “What Happy Families Know is both insightful and inspirational.


A gray whale which was tagged in waters off Russia so that its behavior and rather mysterious migration patterns could be studied has crossed the Pacific Ocean and turned up about off the Oregon Coast about 15 miles from the individuals responsible for tracking he in the first place.  We totally loved this one, so yep, for more, please go here.  We have since learned that this great marine mammal has apparently lost its tag and is no longer being tracked.  Our personal spin on this is that the whale didn’t lose it.  He returned it.

 If anyone doubts that motherhood runs deep in species other than humans, this story of how a cheetah female of nine years adopted an at risk cup of another cheetah, this one should remove all doubts.  The bonding took place at the Smithsonian National Zoo.  For more on this one, please go here.

 Recommended Related Links:


How long do you think you and your “significant other” could hold a kiss?  I mean a real lip-locker?  According to the Guinness World Records, in 2009, a German couple made 32 hours.  An amorous pair who spun theirs out for almost two straight days shattered that record this week in Thailand.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

 Well, that’s it for this week.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next

 And if you’re in a shopping mood and into some interesting choices?  We have a “reader stocked” General Store that you might want to check out.  We’ve stocked a bit of everything from camping gear and cookware, specialty food items, books, music, films and fun/interesting/weird things that just somehow found their way onto the shelves at night when we were asleep. 

If you would like to sell something with us or know someone who does, email us at and we’ll see what we can do. See you next time. Be well. Rusty



About minstrel312

MERRITT SCOTT MILLER Bio Wrath of the Testament Author and Northstar Journal editor Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller is a former newspaper reporter who has published extensively in the Pacific Northwest and several times nationally. A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, he began his career in the alternative media of the mid-Seventies. His own Sacramento-based monthly ~ Rapline ~ drew praise from Sacramento BEE metro columnist Herb Michelson in a column published that that newspaper; and from Berkeley Film Quarterly editor and author of the bestsellers Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, Ernest Callenbach. A Northern California native with roots in British Columbia, Mr. Miller has written for several Northwest community newspapers, United Press International, the daily Portland Oregonian and for such Seattle publications as the Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Press and the University Herald. As an investigative reporter for the McMinnville, Oregon News-Register ~ and in conjunction with CBS News in New York, Washington, DC and Flagstaff, Arizona ~ Mr. Miller localized a story of alleged Contra gun-running by an international air freight company headquartered in that Willamette Valley community. During the 1987 Angel Complex Fire in southern Oregon, Mr. Miller worked as the lead dispatcher for the U.S. Forest Service and covered the disaster for National Public Radio and as a special writer for the Portland, Oregonian. His 1988 series on child abuse for a rural weekly earned him praise from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. In his career as a journalist, Mr. Miller has interviewed a Nobel peace laureate; an internationally renowned abstract artist; a popular folksinger and various Pacific Northwest elected officials, include a state treasurer and governor. An accomplished travel book writer, Mr. Miller has penned demographic and feature copy for the “Best Choices” series on Eastern Washington, British Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina and Atlanta. As either a contract or staff publicist, he has served a host of clients including the Olympia Music Festival, Umpqua Valley Community Hospital, the City of Canyonville, the Tiller Ranger District, The English School, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, Yamhill County Assessor Kim Worrell and Workers of Oregon Development. His freelance publications include: United Press International, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Portland Oregonian, Forest World, American Trucking, Trucks, Oregon Adventures, Oregon Education, Old Oregon, The Entertainer, the Seattle Press, the San Juan Island Sounder, Northwest Passage, Northwest Connection, Seattle Source, Seattle Forum, the University of Colorado’s Writers Forum, Clouds, The long Beach Literary Journal and the Pacific Media Group. He has worked since the age of 13 and has been a hop harvester, professional musician, civil servant, forester, convenience market clerk, lumber mill worker, temporary word processor, technical writer and editor. He has also led a social services research and development team and has six years of radio and telephone communications experience. His interests include astronomy, aviation, camping, Canada, communications, conversation, cooking, dancing, economic development, education, environmentalism, exploration, film/DVDs, fine dining, government, green technology, health. History, human rights, International community, Internet media, law, literature, marine engineering & design, medicine, music, nature, networking, outdoors, pets, photography, romance, science, sexuality, technology, travel, water, wildlife His honors and awards include: Letter of Appreciation - Amnesty International; US Senator Patti Murray Letter of Appreciation for The Northstar Journal Blog; Editors Choice, International Library of Poetry; Congressman Edward Murray Letter of Appreciation; Congressman Frank Chopp Letter of Appreciation; Hersch Best Read on the Net Award for The Northstar Journal; President Bill Clinton Letter of Appreciation; Workers Of Oregon Development Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Police Department Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Mayor’s Office Certificate of Appreciation; California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird Letter of Appreciation; Northwest Magazine Editorial Board Letter of Appreciation for Rain; Editorial Award, Society of Professional Journalists; Sacramento Bee Metro Column; Honor Roll: California State University Long Beach; Deans List: Long Beach City; Mr. Miller currently resides in Seattle, Washington, where he continues to edit and publish The Northstar Journal. He is working on two novels concurrently and a sequel to Wrath of the Testament.
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