Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, I’ve just finished reading a New York Times (NYT) story headlined “Employment Data May Be the Key to the President’s Job”.  I found it real interesting for several reasons. 

First, my initial reaction was to go, “Duh?  I mean, where does President Obama’s salary come from?  We pay it so he works for us.  And we’ve told him that one of his tasks as president is to reduce unemployment and restore economic prosperity to America.” 

I didn’t expect him to be able to do that by himself, though, no more than a quarterback wins even a single play without his team mates.  I sent him toWashington, DC to organize, coordinate and direct an campaign against poverty that included every elected official with any influence in these regards.  It is a daunting job description, leading an effort like that, particularly given the persistently pervasive presence of bipartisan politics which continue to treat economic recovery as a proverbial political football. 

It’s a little too early for me to decide who I will vote for in an election still 18 months or so away.  Economic recovery is one of TeamAmericaCoach Obama’s responsibilities.  It certainly is not his only one.  I’m going to do my personal best to give him a hand and I expect most Americans not actively engaged in walking dogs and riding ponies along thePotomacprobably will too. 

I’m also going to reserve judgment and temper any assessment not so much with an allowance for his character but for the magnitude of the job and the chimerical and often capricious nature of a constituency which occasionally takes responsibility for its own role in the process. 


As human society in the flood and tornado ravaged south continue to dig among the wreckage for survivors, tend the injured and mourn the dead, marine life the entire length of the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico faces toxic poisoning on a cataclysmic scale.  It’s the result of all the dangerous chemicals used in agriculture.  The rains are washing them out of the soil and into the water supply.  This is a reminder to me that no living organism on this planet is safe from what human beings have done to the environment and what “Mother Nature” seems to be finally doing about it in return.  In more specific terms, it’s also yet another reason to go with organic agriculture, both from a producer and a consumer perspective.  This house already does that on a small scale by shopping organic.  The price differential is sometimes a little intimidating but that’s sometimes what it is needed for a new industry or philosophy to take hold, people willing to pay a little more for something a lot safer.  For more on this one, please go here

We are glad to report that the American space shuttle Endeavour and her six astronauts touched down safely at Cape Canaveral in the predawn hours, Wednesday.  It was the craft’s final voyage and the next to the last mission of the Shuttle Program.  Atlantis, four of whose crew were on hand to watch the Endeavour’s landing, will fly one last time in July.  We found this story very moving so yep, for more, please go here

Although it’s not likely to have an immediate impact on cell phone usage, the World Health Organisation is considered a report issued by one of its agencies Tuesday suggesting that these devices or ~ more precisely prolonged and extended use of them ~  could cause brain cancer.  For more and to learn how to mitigate the risks, please go here

Anyone who still doubts that for whatever reasons, the whole planet is experiencing totally nutzoid weather, just ask people in Massachusettswhen was the last time a tornado did any real damage in their state.  They’ll tell you that it was in 1995.  For more, go here


Even some Americans are now admitting that taking a closer look at Canadaand how things are done there might be worth the time and trouble.  The Canadian economy is in much better shape than that of the United States.  Its jobless rate is lower.  Its citizens live longer and are healthier and happier.  And Canada~ because no other country is angry enough to attack it ~ is also one of the safest places in the world to live.  For more, please go here. 


Few things are more irritating and unhealthy for a city dwelling human being than big trucks which idle their engines to either warm up the cab or cool it off.  There’s also strong evidence to suggest that the noise level isn’t any better for life on this planet than to toxic emissions turned loose on clean air.  The OregonStatelegislature agrees and decided to do something about that.  They recently passed a law forbidding truckers to do that, particularly now that the technology is available to preclude the need.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here

As Seattle Times journalist Lynda V. Mapes reports, it is the end of an era on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  Two large dams which once supplied most of the electricity to the logging industry have shut down their turbines and will very soon be physically removed from their respective waterways.  The economic nature of this part of Western Washington has changed and so has the nature of electrical generation technology.  Ms. Mapes provides us with a nostalgic look at Pacific Northwest history and a quiet look at peaceful transitions.  So for more, please go here


Sometimes surviving bad times is knowing that eventually, times get better.  And then watching for signs that is happening.  This may be particularly true and even easier to notice in those areas devastated by nature.  Sometimes losing a home is an opportunity to build another and better one.  Sometimes living in a decimated neighborhood is an opportunity to finally get to know the people next door, across the street and down the block.  Rebuilding itself takes healthy human contact and cooperation.  It can also provide employment and generate other positive economic activity.  My Grandpa Seamus used to say that you could never grow rich predicting the weather but you could making the best umbrellas.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here


Ever since Victor Appleton wrote what turns out to be an extremely prophetic novel called Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout, in 1910, the technology involved has been steadily, albeit quietly evolving.  It is now apparent electric cars are here to stay.  Imagine them being built with materials which actually stored electricity, just like batteries do.  The goal, of course, is to extend the range one of these vehicles can drive on a single charge.  Right now, that averages about 100 miles/160 km.  What’s nice about these new materials, as well, is that they also weigh about 15 percent less than those in popular use now.  The source article is something straight out of Popular Mechanics and I loved it.  So for more, please go here


Here’s another reason for getting a eight hours sleep.  It will help keep you from gaining weight.  Researchers found this was true of rats and are now confirming that it is true of us.  For more on this mice to (hu) man story, please go here


The International Agency for Research on Cancer, after reviewing dozens of published studies, has determined that cell phone users run a significant risk of contracting this disease.  The agency, which is a part of the World Health Organization, issued a statement Tuesday, from LyonFrance.  Their report also included ways of mitigating the exposure and things manufacturers of these devices can and should be doing to make them safer.  For more on this, please go here

In what can only be construed as a dramatic breakthrough in the battle against melanoma, two drugs have been discovered and tested which prolong the lives of patients with advanced cases of skin cancer.  For more on this one, please go here

Cancer Research Journal
National Cancer Institute (American)
Fighting Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Survivor Stories
Science Daily:  Health & Medicine News


The US ranks far behind other nations in its penal system, from how people get there to what happens to them while they are incarcerated, and certainly the support they are given once they get out.  This article, headlined “Instead of Prison” offers some good ideas about how to change that.  This will be old news to some in the International Community, but even within that context, hopefully a good sign America is finally getting the drift.  So yep, for more on this one, please go hereAnd if you have (publishable) comments on this one, please email them to us at minstrel312@aol.com  


 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.  

Sightline Daily is the bestPacific 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. 

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. 

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 Ship Canal & AuroraBridgeat Sunset.  Photo by MS(R)M

For SeattleReaders Especially 

For the critter lovers among you and those visiting, the Universityof Washington’s BurkeMuseumhas a traveling exhibit,”Wolves and Wild Lands in the 21st Century,” running Saturday, June 4, through Monday, September 5.  This museum is a showcase and very easy to find, even for those from out of town.  It is a favorite of convention goers who take a 71, 72, or 73 bus from their hotel room, some 15 minutes or so away.  They combine the museum experience with walking along University Way (‘the Ave”) sampling its offerings of ethnic cuisine, exotic boutiques, several bookstores and a host of other entertainments and amusements supporting one of the largest and most beautiful university campuses on the West Coast.  For more information, go to the links provided or email me at minstrel312@aol.com for more details.


Population:                   612.000
Greater Seattle Area      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
Contrary to popular misconception, in terms of annual rainfall, Seattle doesn’t even rank in the top 15 American cities.  But it’s on the short list for the number of rainiest days, at 151.  For more and to see where your own city falls, please go here.
More Seattle Facts & Figures
Upcoming Events


I know I have said something to a couple of you this morning about this. But I felt the need to email everyone also.   There is a dangerous new game that kids are dying from.   It’s called the “Choking Game”.

I am really saddened by this and wanted to kind of send out an email to hopefully start conversations.



Uh, Ted. I wouldn’t…


Rusty Miller – Writer/Editor For Hire for everything from business letters to data entry to editing and proofing, to speech writing and special projects, you’ll find it here at negotiable rates.  I don’t consider any request too small and I don’t take on any that are too large.  For a full list of services and more information, please go here

The Northstar Gallery features photography of Seattle 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. 

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


The Northstar Journal is now accepting sponsorships from individuals, organizations, causes, etc. in which we believe.  Sponsorships begin at $5.00 a week for a simple small logo and link to the source.  Ads more elaborate than that are negotiated and charged on an individual basis.  This is the size of a simple sponsorship ad.  (2″ x 2″)


For more details, email us at minstrel312@aol.com



For those of you who love not just birds, per se, but birds of magnificent flight, swans have got to be right up there at the top of your avaian list.  Along with Canada geese and a couple of others, they are on mine.  And after being hunted nearly to extinction, they’re returning to Washington state, thanks to the descendants of some of the very people who nearly precipitated their extinction.  This is, then, a story of not only the return of beautiful birds to a region which has missed them.  It is also about how human beings, down the generations and sometimes within a single generation, can grow into a greater understanding of how ALL creatures on this planet have a reason for being here.  And most, a beauty, all their own.  For more on this one, please go here. 

Well, here’s a bit of news which doesn’t seem entirely logical to me but then, we’re talking about the relationship between humans and their pets, so it doesn’t altogether surprise me.  Through this entire recession, when we’ve been losing our jobs, our homes and downsizing in general, the pet food industry has been growing.  Do we actually feed our pets better than we feed ourselves?  For the answer to that question and more information in general, please go here

Recommended Related Links:

National Wildlife Magazine
Go Northwest:  Northwest Wildlife Websites
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals
Retrieverman’s Weblog: — Engaging articles on domestic & wildlife in the American South
Bugguide.net – More than most of us ever wanted to know about these critters
The National Park Service’s endangered species database
Center for Biological Diversity — profiles for a wide range of rare flora and fauna
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List – a comprehensive database for rarities around the planet 


 American history, right up to the present time, has pages and pages of stories about banks foreclosing on farms and homeowners.  It is also nice to know that once in awhile, it happens the other way around.  This involves Bank of America and a couple who paid cash for their house.  I totally loved it and I have a hunch you will too.  Sacred, thank you for this one especially.

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

Take care, stay well and God Bless 







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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