Vol. IV  No. 29

Monday, June 13, 2011 

Seattle, Washington  

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller, Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  We were disappointed in and embarrassed for New York Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, after his Tuesday press conference in which he admitted to some pretty heavy duty and extra-marital online flirting.  Suspicion of this activity surfaced about two weeks ago in a column by Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who subsequently published photographs Representative Weiner has since admitted sending to young women he met on the Net.  Although he has apparently not violated any laws nor ~ as far as we know now ~ has not actually met any of his correspondees.  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation but Weiner himself has not plans to resign.  He took full responsibility for it, including lying about his innocence when first accused.  It will be interesting to see how his wife and his constituencies respond.  I don’t personally think that what Mr. Weiner did was cool.  Certain jobs require more of one’s self than certain others.  That’s part of the tradeoff for the adrenaline of power, the spotlight of instant recognition, and for some but not all.  You’re expected to keep your pants zipped or your skirt pulled down, especially if you’re married.  At the very least, you’re expected not to get caught at it.  Rep. Weiner has been characterized as a shining star in the Democratic Party and is seen as a possible future mayor of New York City.  These are the folks who survived the big 9/11 and rebuilt.  So we’ll see if they accept Mr. Weiner’s apology.  If they do not, his career in New York, state and city, has ended.  For more on this one, please go here. 


Even living trees are warning us about our part in global warming.  Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Universityof Washingtonhave been measuring tree-ring growth from forests all over the American West that included 800-year-old trees.  It is a living archive which also recorded fat and lean years, periods when natural greenhouse gases like volcanic eruptions reduced the oxygen level.  The conclusions these researchers reached is another stark reminder of several things.  Global warming is real.  We, as a species, have contributed significantly to this latest period of it.  We need to do more to stop further polluting and to clean up the messes we’ve already made.  It is technologically possible and it also creates jobs that will last for several generations.  For more on this one, please go here

The US government just issued a warning about the carcinogenic properties of formaldehyde and styrene, both of which are used extensively planet-wide and in a variety of ways.  The health bulletin was aimed more at those involved in its production than its use as a consumer of the products which contain it.  But at the same time, the advisory also urged people to avoid formaldehyde as much as possible.  For more on this one, please go here.

 Global warming is a reality, planet-wide, and if nothing else proved it, these last 12 months certainly have.  I’m reminded that Darwin, with whom I do not totally agree, postulated that survival belonged not to the strongest, as most of us view the term, but to the most adaptable.  Our reaction to what has happened from one pole to the other and across the hemispheres, seems to indicate that we’re accepting this and preparing for it.  Here’s another nudge in that direction

Well, it turns out that in Portland, Oregon, another good reason for “greening” one’s home is that it commands a higher price on the real estate market.  Depending on the certification involved, this can add up to almost a third more market value.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 


The same heavy rains and subsequent flooding that have made life so tragically interesting in the United Stateshave not left Canadaunaffected.  Manitoba, already flood-ravaged, is on alert for more.  And in Quebec’s Richelieu Valley, thousands are dealing with the aftermath of a solid 30 days of high water.  Both stories cited here are examples of human courage in the face of adversity and quiet strength in the face of the worst a sometimes hostile planet can throw at all who live on it.  Our hearts and our prayers are with them.  As I’m sure yours are, as well. 


 The town of Winthrop, Washington, population 394, is now dropping off the (Bonneville) Power Grid, thanks to a community solar collector system funded by private investors, the community and the state.  This is one of those imminently exportables, meaning if they could do it there, others can do it elsewhere.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

We’re solidly behind the bicycle as alternative transportation and particularly the kind that have small electric motors to assist with steep streets, hills or mountain trails.  As far as using one to commute, we would still prefer to have a separate window so we’re not sucking up quite so much carbon monoxide from gas and diesel driven transportation.  But by and large, we are very pleased with how the bicycle has again become a non-polluting, health-stimulating mode of personal transportation for so many around the world.  We were therefore even further delighted to read this article headlined The Grand Tour: How Bike Tourism Helps Local Economies.  This is another of those exportables that would work from Auckland to Victoria and as well for the cultural connoiseur as for the ardent high peaks camper or outback devotee.  So yep, for more, please go hereTo see how and when America’s love affair with the bicycle began, please go here. 

We’re not sure how successful this is going to be but we certainly applaud the spirit.  In an effort to prevent invasive species from destroying Oregon’s forests, lawmakers in Salem have banned untreated firewood from out of state.  While this wood source is not yet considered a major threat, the new regulations are aimed both at specialty firewood vendors and at campers from other parts of the North America who may have picked up some invasive-species-contaminated firewood enroute to Oregon.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here

 In recognition of the shortage of skilled environmental labor, the Workforce Development Council of Seattle and King County is offering free green training and certification, through its Greenlight Project,  We think this is definitely an exportable, meaning that if we can do it here, it can be done other places it is needed.  So for more, please go here


Sometimes, surviving hard times also means having the courage and the caring of kin enough to take a look at the future and prepare for it.  This one comes, in some ways, straight from Joplin, Missouri.


When it comes to the creation and implementation of environmentally enhancing technology, the United States apparently lags behind a great many nations in the world.  Ironically, this is creating an international market for the services and goods associated with environmentally appropriate design, engineering and construction.  European companies as well as those in China and Japan, are greening America and making good money doing it.  Yep, to see how, please go here. 

Now that summer’s pretty much here, we thought you might appreciate a virtual tour of the 20 best American parks for hiking.  You may not be able to get to these places yourself, but we all know, from Canadato Australia, about our own favorite outdoor destinations.  Sometimes it’s not so much the map as the inspiration and this National Geographic magazine article definitely provided the latter for me. 


There’s an entire industry devoted to warning us about unhealthy foods or harmful amounts of nutritious ones.  We’re discouraged, for instance, from eating canned salmon because of the risk of Mercury poisoning.  We’re advised that eating red meat could shorter our lives.  Millions of Americans have turned to eating fruits and vegetables only.  Have we becomes a nation of people which fears the food it ingests?  Tne Center For Consumer Freedom seems to think so and offers a more realistic approach to deciding what is good for us and what is now.  Please go here for this one.  And for a chart looking at healthy and unhealthy amounts of fish, please go here. 

Anyone who has been around horses for any length of time at all knows that their presence can be very soothing.  What not so many others know is that these creatures who have served humans as beasts of burden and transport for thousands of years are also among the animal kingdom’s natural healers.  They’re particularly good with the young of any species, including ours.  To see how one very special woman is enlisting them to heal children, please go here


The US Food & Drug Administration has determined that some drugs currently used to treat prostate cancer may, in fact, be leaving patients vulnerable to far more serious forms of the diseases in other parts of the body.  For more on this one, please go here


To the Class of 2011, a challenge. 


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 in Florida 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. 


Boat traffic in the Ship Canal connecting Lake Washington and Lake Union to the Ballard Locks. Photo by MS(R)M

 For Seattle Readers Especially 

Washington State troopers have written over 6,000 citations in the year since much tougher cell phone driving restrictions were signed into law in Olympia.  The fine is $124 so the State has realized a significant $849,000 “windfall” basically trying to keep people focused on driving and not on something dumb that could kill them and take others with them. 

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, ranking it 41st in rainy US cities
More Seattle Facts & Figures
Upcoming Events
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera


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 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.

 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.  For more details, email us at minstrel312@aol.com or click on the graphic above. 


One of the reasons I lolve living in a city which acts a lot like a forest is that I can watch eagles nesting.  Now, thanks to this video cam on a big evergreen tree overlooking Seattle’s Lake Union, so can you.  Yep, click this link for the story.  Click this link for the camera itself. 

The living conditions of commercially productive female chickens has made the statehouses of both Washington and Oregon recently.  The former’s governor, Christine Gregoire, signed a bill requiring that commercial hens be given more room to move around.  This past week, Salem legislators delivered a smiliar bill to Gov. John Kitzhaber.  Predictibly, animal rights advocates don’t believe either measure goes far enough and intend on lobbying for even more room for egg-laying hens.  Thus far, it does not appear as if the poultry industry itself has weighed on on this one. 

I’m not a real fan of jellyfish or their larger cousins, Portuguese persons of war.  I’ve always felt that there was something more to both than a nebulous blob with long, slithery, nearly invisible tentacles that sting small fish and collectively can put a long horn steer out of action in very short order.  Whenver I’ve encountered them, I’ve left the area, figuring that where there are one or two, there are probably more I don’t want to know about.  These creatures are gregarious.  And it turns out that my suspicions of their intelligence and directed sense of purpose are also right.  For what I found to be a totally fascinating revelation about this extremely complex creature, please go here

Recommended Related Links:
Seattle/Lake Washington Eagle Camera 
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


Technological evolution has always been a controversial process, particularly when it comes to that ages old “arms race” between people who own things and people who would like to take it away from them.  In the great state of Texas, for instance, it now applies to the cattle industry and the rustling trade.  Yep, for more, please go here


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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