PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS RAPED, AGENCY UNDER INVESTIGATION

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish SeaWhen President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961 and appointed Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger’s father, Sargent Shriver, its first director, I seriously doubt either man would envision a day when women volunteers who had been raped “in the line of duty” would not only be censured and forced to quit but compelled to contend ~ on a training video no less ~ that there might have been measures they could have prevented this most heinous of all violations of female personal space. 

In the wake of an American Broadcasting Company (ABC) investigation into these allegations, some of the several hundred victims testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this past week and although he refused to talk to the news media, Peace Corps director Aaron Williams was also slated for interrogation. 

The victims have formed First Response Action, with the intention of bringing the Peace Corps into the 21st Century with regards to how it treats women who have been sexually abused and/or assaulted but the reaction from a largely male dominated Congress is mixed.  Democrats in particular seem reluctant to move, apparently fearing that this organization, created by a Democratic president, might lose funding and that Republicans will have a field day with it as the 2012 election year draws closer. 

Although this writer has absolutely no doubt that these women were raped and molested and that Peace Corps management right up to the director level not only did very little about it but covered it up and silently sanctioned such treatment, it is difficult to come up with one damned good reason why this rank and bestial strain of chauvinism still exists in government and particularly in an organization whose website proudly boasts, “Safety Is Our Priority.” 

This is a bipartisan disgrace that should shame every American of voting age.  We therefore call for a thorough investigation, the firing and criminal prosecution of those responsible for tolerating it, and the expeditious passing of regulatory legislation to insure that this disgusting and demoralizing institutionalized behavior is never permitted again, in the Peace Corps or any other government agency. 

The Northstar Journal urges each of you to write your legislative representatives and I especially encourage the International Community to weigh in on this one.  For appropriate email addresses from the president on down, please go here

IN OTHER NEWS 

Aerospace history will be made tomorrow ~ weather permitting ~ as the space shuttle Endeavor makes its final flight.  According to a NASA spokesperson, “all systems are go.” Technical difficulties forced cancellation of liftoff two weeks ago.  And although President Obama and the First Lady will not be able to make this one, Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly’s wife USCongresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be there.  The launch is scheduled for 8:56 a.m.Eastern Daylight Time and you folks can watch it on NASA TV

While hard times tend to polarize the constituency along party lines, many Americans are increasingly voting issues rather than along party lines, according to a study recently released by the PewResearchCenter.  This seems to reflect a growing belief that no party has the market cornered on solving such chronic problems as a stalled economic recovery, an abusive banking establishment and a continuing reliance on fossil fuels and the manipulation of the prices thereof.  This study also offers a reader-interactive quiz to determine where along the existing political spectrum one fits in.  Not surprisingly, this writer is among the 14% of the population considered solidly liberal.  For more, please go here

The Seattle Police Department just can’t seem to stay out of the negative news, it seems.  A 17-year veteran of the force who was given a 30-day suspension but not fired for using racially charged language during a robbery investigation last year  ~ to whit threatening to beat the “Mexican piss” out of a Latino male suspect – says he is grateful that he was not fired by Chief Diaz.  The SPD is currently under investigation by the US Department of Justice for chronic use of undue force, aka “being badge heavy.” 

We continue to hold our collective breaths as the Mississippi Riverflood tide of severe spring storms continues to roll its way to the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking sodden havoc along its 2300 mile/3700 km course.  It now threatens the one city in the American South which can perhaps least afford it and whose citizens have known the savage ravages of wild Mother Nature entirely too often in recent years.  To see what the citizens of New Orleans are doing to prepare for THIS one, please go here

OH CANADA 

Even as their cousins to the south are battling some of the worst flooding since the Great Depression, extreme measures are being taken in Manitobato relieve pressure on dikes which have traditionally prevented or mitigated the impact of unprecedented monsoon style rains.  To see how the sons and daughters of the Maple Leaf are handling this one, please go here

Our prayers go out to Canadian double gold medal winner Alex Baumann as he recovers from his April 26 surgery for the removal of his cancerous prostate gland.  The 47-year-old swimmer has been described as “a poster boy for midlife health and fitness.  This to us is another reminder that no adult male is immune from this disease and that men should be checked for it annually. 

GOOD EXAMPLES 

A Washington State woman and her riding partner set out on a 5,000 transcontinental ride to a state park in Delaware to raise awareness of cancer and funds to fight it.  Her name is Tracy Delp and she is a very remarkable human being.  To follow her 13-state, several month odyssey and to learn how you can contribute, please go here

We applaud the Japanese government for making sure that those impacted by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster receive full compensation.  The two-pronged approach is designed to provide owners of the operation with the funds to do so but also forbids them from putting a cap on the amount of damages awarded.  For more on this one, please go here.

Korean Air earlier this week evoked its right under international law to refuse to seat a terminally ill cancer patient attempting to make it back to her home in order to spend her last days with family and friends.  A spokesman for the airline said they were afraid she’d die enroute.  We’re happy to report that Delta Airlines intervened and agreed to accommodate Crystal Kim and her daughter Mimi on one of their flights.  The pair landed without incident inSeoul Friday.  Nice going, Delta. 

One of the first black students to integrate North Texas State College in Dentonin 1956 faced so much overt bigotry that she dropped out.  Burlyce Sherrell Logan proved, however, that ultimately, she was no quitter.  A half century later, she re-enrolled and this June, she graduates.  For this remarkable story, told by Ms. Logan herself, please go here. 

SURVIVING HARD TIMES 

Having a bad day or would like to have a better one?  Try a little nostalgia.  Remember something from the past that you recall fondly.  New research strongly suggests that good memories actually enhance the present.  Yep, for more, go here

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 

We keep finding out that humans ~ in one form or another ~ came into the Garden, as it were, and stuck around a lot longer.  A recent discovery in a cave near Russia’s Arctic Circlestrongly indicates that Neanderthal man actually survived some 6,000 years longer than was previously thought.  An international team discovered over 300 stone tools these primitive humanoids used and the remains of several wholly mammoths.  I found this absolutely fascinating so yep, for more, please go here. 

This is going to sound like a really stupid question but what do you think are the number one cause of traffic jams?  If you guessed motor vehicles, you’re way ahead of me when one of you readers in, of all places, Detroit, Michiganposed this apparent no-brainer.  So here’s another one I couldn’t answer.  What might possibly be the simplest way to eliminate the noxious expressway headaches?  How about designing a car that does NOT cause them?  It’s coming folks and for more, check it out here

HEALTH NEWS  

Chocolate lovers have yet another reason to rejoice.  This ever so sweet delectable is also good for the gut.  Yep, go here for more on this one

We totally loved this one.  For years in our culture, men who enjoyed a good cup of ginseng or saffron herbal tea were in many cases viewed with a bit of derision by their gender peers.  We suspect they were not, however, dissed by the people to whom they made love.  It turns out both these blends enhance sexual performance and yep, for the details, please go here

ON THE CANCER FRONT 

There’s a new test which can determine which breast cancer patients will most likely respond positively to chemotherapy.  Based on genetic characteristics, this one is based on a decade of research and clinical trials and testing.  For more, please go here

RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:

NORTHSTAR FAVORITES

Celtic Woman is The Northstar Journal’s favourite musical performance group.  When it is inspiration in a song we seek, they invariably provide it and they look as good as they sound.  The production values of their performances, whether at the Helix in Dublin or on a television stage in Adelaide, are flawless.  Perhaps most endearing for me is that these Irish ladies are totally ingenuous, and totally free of pretense or posturing.  They have a global following and for a sampling of why, please go here.

(The) Clearwater Marine Aquarium inFlorida is the home of Winter, the rescued dolphin who was fitted with a prosthetic fluke and continues to amaze marine lovers the world over by her recovery.  The CMA is in the marine mammal rescue business for real, both as a public amusement site at which they also take care of a variety of species, and on the web as well.  Their videos and other information also make for a nice “educational” experience to share with others.

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 inErin ~ literally tell it like it is.  While theRepublic ofIreland’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 bestPacific Northwest source of environmentally friendly news we’ve encountered yet.  They draw from newspapers and National Public Radio sources inAlaska,Alberta,British Columbia,California,Idaho,Montana,Nevada,Oregon andWashingtonState.

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

 The Northstar General Store is a truly unique online shopping experience and reflects what you, the readers, have said interests you the most.  Whether it’s a specialty food item for that proverbial someone who has everything else or just to browse with some discretionary capital to spend on a whim, you’ll find everything from quality camping gear to interesting CDs, DVDs and books to totally fun and otherwise useless toys, women and men’s apparel and a wide variety of other items and wares you simply will not find under a single roof anywhere else on the Net.  And by shopping here, you help us pay our bills.  To enter and check it out, please click the picture of the store above.

 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 amazon.com. 

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. 

SEATTLE SCENES

For all I’ve tried to convince you folks that it does not rain ALL the time here, when it does, even the ducks and the Canada geese use umbrellas. Wallingford neighborhood, Seattle, May 2011

FOR SEATTLE READERS ESPECIALLY 

Seattle residents are among the first in the nation to have the option to stop the delivery of phone books to their homes and offices.  Thus far, some 135,000 of us have taken advantage of the program.  If you’d like to join us, please go here BEFORE May 16, 2011. 

SEATTLE FACTS

  • Population:                   612.000
  • GreaterSeattleArea      3,707,400
  • Area:                            84 sq mi/217 sq km
  • Density:                        7,286 people per sq mi/2,821 per sq km
  • Annual Rainfall:             36.2 inches/92 cm
  • Compared to:
  • San Francisco                     19.5 in —  50 cm
  • Chicago                               34.5 in —  88 cm
  • Dallas                                   37.1 in –  94 cm
  • Washington,DC                  39.0 in —  99 cm
  • New York City                      40.3 in –102 cm
  •  More Seattle Facts & Figures
  • Upcoming Events

CRITTER STUFF

What do whales and the petroleum industry have in common?  More than you might think.  For the answer, please go here

Loud noise has long been known to damage human beings.  Rather belatedly, we thought, marine biologists now suspect that in addition to causing serious harm and in some case death to creatures like whales, porpoises, dolphins and other aquatic mammals, the decibel pollution given off by oil drilling, large commercial vessels and dense recreational boating may be compromising the welfare of ALL water life.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here

Well, this one’s right up there with dancing with wolves, swimming with dolphins and other intra-species interaction I most decidedly avoid doing.  But for those who really want to get up front and personal with other species on this planet, it is now possible to go to Alaska and live among bears.  Yep, you’re way ahead of me.  For more, please go here. 

Recommended Related Links:

YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP 

I live in a weird town.  This week that was confirmed for me yet again, vis a vis shades of Chicken Little.  This time, it wasn’t the sky itself that was falling.  It was parts of an airplane manufactured in 1965 and apparently still flying.  And they didn’t just land in someone’s backyard or in one of our several lakes.  They landed on a major freeway and a busy intersection.  And the irony of ironies is that a Boeing Aircraft engineer was one of those reporting this (thankfully) not every day occurrence.  Yep, for proof, go here.

 Well, this week it’s a doubleheader of weird.  Seems it wasn’t a good idea for a Seattleman to steal the tip jar in a downtown restaurant.  As he was attempting to flee the scene, he got hit by a Metro bus and is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.  The Fates are not always so subtle after all, eh?  And 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, please go here

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 minstrel312@aol.com and we’ll see what we can do.  See you next time.  Be well. 

Rusty

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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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