Vol. IV  No. 28

Monday, July 11, 2011 

Seattle, Washington

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller, Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, several of you in the UK made real sure we knew about the latest debacle on Fleet Street involving your “Fourth Estate.”  Since the NSJ still considers the media an honorable profession, I was disgusted, angry, disappointed, ashamed and embarrassed.  I was not, however, surprised. 

If Australia had a native species of jackass, Rupert Murdoch would shame it.  Not since the heyday of Hearst has tabloid journalism and its gooey ethical morass been more ardently promoted, extensively financed and practiced with such flagrant disregard for privacy and legal rights of the individual. Murdoch has used his publications not to enlighten, inform and empower but as tools of conquest and of accumulation.  His Machiavellian perception of the role of King Publisher gave him the moral precedent sanction if not order the bribing of public officials and law enforcement officers; the hacking into the email of private citizens and the  targeting of 4,000 people in the United Kingdom for wiretapping.  

I do not, however, hold Rupert Murdoch entirely responsible for the abuses of the media and that individuals like him must be endured or suffered because they are too powerful to oppose.  That’s bullshit, pardon my language.  The media is consumer-driven.  People like you and I watch, read or listen and theoretically purchase the products advertised.  If we’re buying those supermarket tabloids, we’re not only financially supporting practices we claim to abhor, we’re telling the Rupert Murdochs of the world that we approve. 

The one really sweet thing about living in a capitalistic democracy is that even if we don’t believe in the ballot, we still usually believe in the buck.  Add to that, boycott as a tactic and then the prescription for socio-political change becomes very simple.  If you don’t like it, stop buying/using it and don’t buy from anybody who advertises in it.  I’m sorry, but in my house, that is NOT rocket science?

For now, the good news is that Murdoch and his minions are now under investigation by several protectors of the public interest.  Litigation is expected to last years.  That might be almost long enough time for us to accept our own responsibility for this and correct for course.


As a nation, Americans are losing the war on obesity.  In their joint eighth annual report, entitled, “F As In Fat,” the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation noted that rural Mississippi was again the fattest state in the union, while Colorado was the leanest.  No state’s obesity rate declined since the previous report and in 16 states, that rate actually increased.  To see how your state fared and for other relevant statistics, yep, please go here

I’m really beginning to wonder about what it is about some men in positions of considerable responsibilities can’t seem to keep their libido in their own relationship.  Washington State Prisons Director Eldon Vail has admitted that the reason he resigned last week is that he was afraid that an affair he was having with one of his staff would become public.  Someone apparently got some good video and Vail, of course, is married.  It is at times like this that I feel like commissioning a sign above my house in Seattle that can be seen from the moon and which reads:  “I am not responsible for the profoundly stupid things others of my gender tend to do when their brain goes south on vacation.” 

Well, apparently one person got gored (an Australian) and six others injured during the running of the bulls in Pamplona this year.  This really interesting sport has been around for a long time and was mentioned by author Ernest Hemingway in one of his novels.  Most of the people who were hurt this year were tourists.  That does not surprise me.  This is a tourist attraction.  What Spanish local would be dumb enough hassle two tons of angry beefsteak, with horns, on streets originally designed for pedestrians and donkey carts? 


If ever there was a place which actually enjoyed paying its taxes, it would like be Canada, where people believe that even good change has a price.  Three years ago, British Columbia enacted a carbon tax.  Three years later, as it is about to be renewed and increased, a recent poll indicates that 74 percent of the constituency approves.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

For some reason, then, we are not surprised to learn that according to a study by Statistics Canada, residents of BC are the healthiest in a nation which already ranks as one of the fittest in the world.  Those in the Maple Leaf’s westernmost province exercise more, smoke less and engage in better dietary habits.  Way to go folks.  You guys rock. 

A bit further east, Edmonton, Alberta is not only actively engaged in what appears to be a successful campaign to bring affordable housing to all of its residents but has provided for its artistic community as well.  Located on 118th Avenue, ArtsHab Alberta Avenue recently received $2..4-million from the city and the province and now 16 very creative people are living and working together.  I totally loved this one so yep, for more, please go here


We’re all familiar with the expression, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” which to me is a little like if you’re being mugged, punch yourself in the face and steal your own wallet..  Well, now some pretty respectable folks are pushing a version of them with regards to lionfish and Asian carp.  What the two have in common besides being fish is that in America, both are  invasive species and millions have already been spent trying to control them.  It turns out that they’re also tasty so the Nature Conservancy, the Smart Seafood Guide, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and others are recommending that rather than wage war on them, we bring them home to dinner.  Some of these folks are the same ones who have also suggested adopting dandelion greens as a salad accessory.  I haven’t seen a consumer stampede in that direction either yet but the new millennium is young.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

There is a promising new Internet site which just might bring about understanding between people whose attempts to get to know one another and resolve their differences have, as often as not, intensified the violence and estrangement among them.  In the  month or so since its former Israeli diplomat created it,, has had 91,000 views.  Of its 22,500 active users, 60 percent are Arabs — mostly Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Lebanese and Saudis.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

The American West is still very much a land of small towns, many of them built on “strikes” of one sort or another.  While certain adding colorful pages to the history of a relatively young nation, the boom and bust nature of many of these communities has meant the difference between demographic immortality and the lifespan of a Mayfly.  This is probably no more true than in Colorado, where there are also exceptions, Steamboat Springs being one of them.  To learn more about how this one has survived for over a century now, please go here. 


Sometimes surviving hard times is also about developing a back up plan.  For instance, if you drive and something happens to your car, what are your options?  It turns out that people in Portland, Oregon have 16 ways of getting to work


History was definitely made Friday with the final flight of the last space shuttle.  Atlantis had a perfect liftoff and flawless entry into orbit, traveling almost 2,600 miles an hour.  For NASA’s video of this, please go here

Its manufacturers insist it is not a car that flies but a small plane that is street and air legal both.  With an exemption by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, owners of the Transition can fly over miles of commuter traffic, land at an airport, push a button, wait until the wings fold up and lock, and then hit the road for a hopefully shorter drive home.  Promoters of this interesting aeronautical hybrid foresee the day, of course, when these will be popular sights over the skies of the world.  Me?  I’m not quite so sure I’m ready for this particular Jetson Family mode of getting around. 


Ever since we tried it and got incredibly sick after a week of doing it, I’ve been questioning the logic and the alleged health benefits of riding a bicycle to work when it necessarily involves sharing the same streets, at the same time, with cars and trucks that use gasoline and diesel fuel.  Now, I feel validated, thanks to a joint study by Health Canada, Environment Canada and the Universityof Ottawa, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.  To me, it’s still kind of no brainer, this need to prove that exercising in smog truly puts the “S” in Incredibly Stupid.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

Now that summer is here for real (apparently), it’s real important to remember to stay hydrated.  That dragged out depressed feeling we sometimes get from a hot day is often the result of not drinking enough water and/or getting enough protein.  That’s real easy to fix however.  For more on this one, please go here.


 Here’s good news for tracheal cancer patients and, by implication, others, as well.  A man in Swedenis now using a brand new windpipe grown not just from stem cells, but ~ get this ~ from HIS OWN stem cells.  When that can be done, it suggests to me at least that the wait for a donor for other replacement parts might possibly be shorter in the future.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here


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



In the past, it has been fashionable ~ at least in idealism-speak ~ to talk about making a better world for our children than we had.  The way that’s been mostly applied has been about more and better stuff and the power to buy, use, sell or trade better stuff, whether it be diamonds from South Africato enough political clout to make a political issue out of national health care.  It has not been until relatively recently, about making the planet clean enough and safe enough to enjoy that more and better stuff.  And since it involves those for whom we say we are seeking a better world, should our kids and our grandkids be dynamically involved in helping clean up the mess of the Industrial Age?  For another person’s opinion on that one, please go here.  And yep, if you want to weigh in directly on this one, we’d love to hear from you at


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. 



Is it just me or does anyone else find something just a little incongruous about a seafood truck being parked in front of a famous Seattle hamburger establishment? Photo by Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller


It takes a lot for us Seattleresidents to start complaining about the weather.  But even those whose families have been here so long now they’ve got webs  between their fingers and toes have observed that this winter seemed particularly long and soggy.  It turns out, this was not our collective imagination.  It was both longer and wetter.  And for several reasons, apparently.  I’m not especially scientifically savvy, so most of the explanations are lost on me.  When one of these meteorological experts tells me, for instance, that there are eight micro climates within the city limits, I shrug, remember my university years inSouthern California and say to myself, “Well, at least this place has personality.” 


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 

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 or click on the graphic above. 


Employment in the Seattle Area:  AppleOne is looking to fill the following positions.

Site Spvr- Redmond, $12.50, 1 month, facilities, reception backup, shipping receiving, deliver mail

On Site Specialist- Bellevue, $10, 1 month, Mail delivery, shipping/ receiving

Field Support Rep- Bellevue, $13, 1 month, switchboard, mail room, shipping clerk, facilities services (room set up, light bulbs… etc) general office support Support Rep– Seattle, $10, 1 month, Copy room, Mail Room, Reception

Mobility Specialist- $18, 3 months, relocation/mobility, immigration, HR
Recruiter- $35, 5 months, 3+ years full desk corp recruiting
Market Coordinator- $15, 1 year, Hotel experience, Marketing experience, quick learner, admin experience
Reporting Analyst- $25, 6 months, business requirements and documentation, SQL, road mapping, inventory of reports, process improvement.

Project Manager- $30, 5 months, very general Project Manager, 5+ years, Bachelors degree

Email Karen Ford at 


In a tribute to both the resiliency of the species and a more enlightened attitude on the part of those with whom it shares the land, wolves are definitely returning to Washingtonstate.  They were virtually exterminated by the mid-Twentieth Century but over the last two decades, individual animals were spotted.  Now an entire pack has been identified near the town of Cle Elum (klee EL um), about 90 miles east of Seattle.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here

We were sorry to hear about the 57 year-old hiker in Yellowstone who was fatally mauled by a female grizzly bear defending her cubs from a territorial intruder.  National Park officials said that they too regretted the attack ~ the first fatal one since 1986 but the third mauling incident in a year and a half ~ but are not punishing the bear for reacting within the parameters of accepted and predictable animal behavior.  Another grizzly bear has been seen in the North Cascades of Washington State and British Columbia, Canada.  Several of you from there have since confirmed that more brown and black bear are also being observed.  That is certainly true in the suburbs of Seattle, as well.  So and since it’s also vacation season, we thought we better link you all up to a place where you can learn how to behave around bears,  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

One of the SalishSea’s resident orca pods just got bigger by a factor of one.  This brings the population of K pod to 20.  The calf was spotted recently with its mother as the orcas returned to the San Juan Islands.  The 17-year-old mother, K22 aka “Deadhead” was obliging enough to roll her new offspring over so human observers could see that it the new offspring is a little male killer whale.  For a picture of this little dude, his mom and the San Juan Islandsof WashingtonState, please go here.

Recommended Related Links:

How to Behave Around Bears
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 – 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 


 I think we’ve probably met the dumbest person on the planet.  Hs name is Josh Seater and last week, after a night of drinking, he trespassed onto and urinated into an open reservoir which supplies drinking water directly to city residents.  Since it’s the kind of “this guy is too stupid to breathe without a teleprompter,” the local media got hold of the story and the city decided to drain the entire reservoir, not so much because of a health threat but on the disgust factor alone.  I’m also glad this jackass wasn’t a terrorist with something more toxic than recycled fermented hop juice to share with his neighbors.  Yep, for more on this one, 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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