Vol. IV No. 26
Monday, June 27, 2011
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, it was interesting to read that chief executive officers (CEOs) in America are now making more money that ever before, despite a national economic recession. According to a story in the Seattle Times, in 1980, the CEO of a large US company made 42 times the average worker’s median pay. Thirty years or so later, they are making 343 times the median.
Even for strongest proponents of laissez faire capitalism, this gulf seems dramatically disproportionate. I understand that the higher up the organizational ladder, the more responsibilities and in a non-union environment, hours dictated by corporate need rather than labor contract. A CEO is never truly on vacation. Like a rock star, his/her entire life is about career and career is about making the corporation money or keeping its legal expenses down. Everything a CEO purchase for their own consumption; patronizes as a business; recommends to friends must somehow benefit the company. So even though it might be greener and in the longer run, cheaper, the CEO of General Motors does not drive a Nissan Leaf.
On the other hand, this corporate environment invented itself so as far as I’m concerned, it can UN-invent or RE-invent itself. First, I cannot think of any human being ~ on any level ~ who is worth 343 times more than any other human being. Second, hard work knows no collar and the machinist on the line is just as tired at the end of the day as the executive who spends all day on the telephone trying to explain why his company paid $100 per unit for a part that costs less than ten dollars to produce. Third, in the long run, buying green is not only better for the environment, it is usually investment in a new company with a different corporate ethic. The environmental movement has not been about competition but about cooperation and consensus building. It postulates from what is best for the consumer, not the stock holder or the board.
So I’m reviewing those products, goods and services I use and while I do not believe in radical transformations, I’m going to stop spending money on those produced and/or provided by those who believe in the divine right of corporate kings.
See also: CEO Pay | A 13% gain for Northwest CEOs in 2010 after 2 down years, CEOs of Northwest companies pocketed more money in 2010 for reasons other than performance and For 2nd year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is Northwest’s best-paid executive
IN OTHER NEWS
According to the first study of its kind, a child drowns in a swimming pool every five days during the warmer months of the year in America. Most of them are under the age of five. For more on this one and how you can protect the kids in your life, please go here.
Well, the war on terrorism came home rather dramatically to Seattle Thursday when two men ~ one a local and the other from Southern California ~ were arrested after plotting to systematically slaughter people in a Military Entrance Processing Station serving the greater Western Washington State area. They were apparently self-motivated rather than connected with Al Qaida or other groups who dislikeAmerica and the people who live there enough to kill them. They are also converted Muslims and prosecutors are urging the public not to judge them based on their religion and thereby damn the religion, but to consider them as two people who ~ for whatever reasons ~ felt it was acceptable to gun down and hand-grenade unarmed men and women after first shooting the security guards. The pair had originally planned to attack a target at the Joint Lewis-McChord Base but decided that a place teeming with professional soldier, many of them armed, would probably not be as successful as the target they subsequently chose.
In what sounds like one of the most flagrant disregards for human welfare, worker safety and professional integrity, a new federal report indicts the managers supervising the construction of a $12.2 billion project to stabilize radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation in southcentral Washington state for all three. Specifically, they are accused of “actively prevent(ing) workers from raising serious safety concerns — and sometimes punish(ing) those who do.” The down side of this, of course, is the realization that people like this still try to pull this kind of stuff. The up side is that this time, they got caught at it, big time. And before this is over, there will be the kind of national attention drawn which, albeit much too slowly sometimes, brings about quality of life reforms in a variety of industries and professions.
On Friday, July 1, Canadaturns 144. In the hearts and minds of so many of us who love her and have been nourished by her, she is a beautiful woman, not unlike America’s Statue of Liberty. As nations of the world go, she is just a teenager. But she is an adolescent with grace, wisdom, quiet strength and an amiability which is often mistaken for weakness, particularly by the ignorant and especially by the arrogant. In land mass, she is the second largest country in the world, after Russia. She is America’s largest trading partner. She has weathered the Recession better than any industrialized country and one of her airports is considered the safest in the world. Historically, she achieved her independence without firing a shot and while she still pays homage to an Old Country queen, she is very much her own nation. Despite the fact that she was colonized by Europeans who did not always treat the Native North Americans well, she did not wage wars of genocide on them and has since apologized and compensated for the hurt she did cause. During the Second World War, in the concentration camps of Europe, there were places where the clothing of gassed prisoners were sorted and where surviving inmates who did that task sometimes stole jewels and other precious possessions and funneled them back to the camp underground. These places were called “Canadahouses.” At the end of the Second World War, Canadahad the second largest standing navy in the world. Happy birthday, Canada. You’re looking well, Lass. Here is the Canadian national anthem. To hear the music and learn more about this quiet country to which some 36-million of us are passionately devoted, please go here.
O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
The City of Seattle is serious about making neighborhood solar energy projects available to everybody willing to invest in them, whether they have a roof or not. In the Beacon Hillneighborhood, the city is building a covered picnic area whose roof will be solar panels. For $600 each, five hundred residents can buy a share of the energy generated and have it used to reduce their electricity bills. If they use less than what “their panel” generated, the utility company will cut them a check. For more on this one, please go here.
The US government recently settled a 15-year law, the roots of which go back a century. It’s essentially a “nationing up,” involving treaty violations, financial mismanagement and other insults and injury against America’s First Nation tribes. I don’t personally believe I’m responsible for things done before I was even born but I also, to some degree depending on the issue, feel responsible for what some of my own misguided ancestors did wrong. So I don’t mind at all that some of my tax dollars are being spent on this. For more on this one, please go here.
SURVIVING HARD TIMES
Sometimes surviving hard times is also about taking simple steps to reduce the stress. One of the major worries of those who pay their own utility bills is how to offset global warming and two climate conditions with Spanish names. It turns out that one of the biggest consumers of electricity is the box on top of the television set. For more on this one, please go here.
NATURE ADVENTURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & EXPLORATION
Well, this one makes me proud I’m distantly related to people who live where this was invented. And I honestly have to say, leave it to the Australians to come up with this one. It’s an electric motor vehicle which has two wheels and the driver sits between them. If it also sounds like something out of Star Wars, good guess again. A team of students at the Universityof Adelaidecame up with their own version of a “wheel bike” featured in one of those films. For more on this one, please go here.
Thanks to IBM, the electrical system of the island nation of Maltais on a smart grid. This is one of those, “if they can do it there, we can do it here” stories, so yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Given that global warming and the climate changes it produces is pretty well accepted, we were curious about which cities in the USwould be most responsive to making the adaptations necessary. We were pleased to find out Seattleranked ninth on a long list. To see where your community stands, please go here.
Under the category of Eating One’s Way to Good Health, we were delighted to learn that one of our favorite foods, hummus, which is made from chick peas (garbanzo beams) and olive oil, is great for keeping the brain active, alert and sharp. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Good health and healing is also about the nourishing energy of a good example. Even before the assassination attempt which left her with serious brain injuries, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of our “favorite people”. Since that tragedy, we’ve come to admire her even more. She’s recovering and she’s doing it ~ albeit with excellent medical support, the unconditional love of a devoted husband and the love and admiration of what has now grown to a “national constituency” ~ drawing on an inner strength that in my opinion, is awesome at least. Go, Gaby. You rock, girl. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Obesity by itself is a major health problem. But when combined with cancer, the results can be more lethal than either one alone. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Research Journal National Cancer Institute (American) Fighting Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Survivor Stories Science Daily: Health & Medicine News
DEFINITELY SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Does a recovering global economy threaten continued efforts to curb global warming? Apparently it could, if we’re not careful. The Christian Science Monitor’s Pete Spotts reports.
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 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, 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.
- SPONSORSHIPS – 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 email@example.com or click on the graphic above.
Iguanas are not native to the Pacific Northwest, even the drier parts of it. So when one turned up in Spokane, Washington, it caused a little consternation and curiosity. She was two feet long. And pregnant. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
There’s a cat in Switzerlandwho may love its “owners” a little too much. Like most felines of our acquaintance, this one likes to bring home stuff to share. For most tabbies, that’s usually dead fauna, winged or four-footed and naked tailed. For this Swiss kitty, the gifts are stuff owned by other people in the neighborhood that is worth money. I know, unbelievable. So, yep, for more on this one, 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
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Redding, California nestles at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, about three hours on I-5 from the state capital. It’s the county seat and a land of small ranches, the headwaters of a river, home of a major dam and an annual rodeo. A couple of weeks back, someone dropped a section of two-inch pipe (about the size of two American quarters side by side) off at the fire station because it had a kitten trapped inside it. For more and the video, 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.