Volume 4, Number 31

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seattle, Washington

 Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

If Seattle mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council have their way, establishments serving alcohol will not longer be required to close from two a.m. until six a.m.

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, last year, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn suggested extending bar hours past the current two a.m. closing time.  It was part of his “Nightlife Initiative” and he estimated it would bring an additional $3-million in new tax revenues.  Last week, the City Council unanimously agreed and has asked the State Liquor Board, whose permission they need, if they can do this.  The SLB has 60 days to grant or deny and most people think they’ll do the former.  Then the City Council decides what the new hours will be. That’s how the process works.

 I personally think this is possibly the dumbest idea any organized legislative body has come up with since the Roman Senate decided to pay their zoo’s exotic wild cats food bill by letting the lions eat Christians in the Coliseum and then taxing the admission proceeds.  In this case, the lions are tourists and the Christians are the local residents.  The coliseums, of course, are the clubs which dispense alcoholic beverages.

 I mean, look at this.  Because alcohol lowers inhibitions, people who drink a lot and are having a good time tend to spend a lot more money than they would passing the collection plate in church, sober (hopefully) on Sunday morning.  Capitalizing on that ~ as traditional as it is ~ seems too cynical for a city which has made second childhoods safer for many of us than our first ones.   

And that $3-million in tax revenue?  How much of that is going for the “hidden costs”?  Do the math.  The longer time you have to drink, the more you drink and the drunker you are if/when you decide to drive.  You’re also more prone to violent behavior or being a victim of same, both inside the club and in the street outside at like three a.m.  If we’re desperate for more tax revenue now, where are we going to come up with the money for extra law enforcement, emergency services, litigation, incarceration and adjudication? 

Do we, as a community, really want a reputation as another Sodom and Gomorrah with a view?  What kind of tourists is that going to attract?  Sinners, folks.  And not small time transgressors of virtue and good sense.  We are talking hardcore hedonists who travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars to satisfy their various (and occasionally shameful) appetites.  

God made Las Vegas and Fire Island for that, Mayor Mike.  Bad idea, guys.  Very, very bad idea. 


 It seems the Spanish government in Madrid is now looking for the bones of their novelist, Don Cervantes.  I’m sorry, but in the midst of heat waves, residual earthquakes, emerging nations and the willingness of elected officials to play politics with the welfare of their constituency, we totally loved this one.  

Well, the federal government has decided that killing the sea lions who follow the Pacific salmon migration because that’s what this big seals eat is not cool.  US law requires that any agency, tribe or individual who wants to take the life of one of these creatures needs federal permission, which in the past, has been granted, much to the chagrin of a reckonable coalition of wildlife protection groups.  In a statement released earlier this month, James H. Lecky, director of the Office of Protected Resources for NOAA Fisheries, told Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife agencies they can apply for a new authorization for next year.  “We have evaluated the litigation risks and discussed with your staffs various options for proceeding,” Lecky wrote. “In light of the fact that sea lion activity will be limited until next spring, we have concluded it is in our collective interest to permanently suspend the 2011 (authorization) and instead consider a new request for 2012.” 

Less than a week after the murder of 84 of his people, Norway’s prime minister pledged an even more open democracy and that his nation would not yield to terrorism, domestic or foreign, organized or the work of a single individual.  This nation, slightly larger than New Mexico and over 1,100 miles long, has a population of less than 4.7-million.  Under Nazi occupation during the Second World War, these descendants of the Vikings fought back with a savagery virtually unparalleled in any Axis conquered nation.  Their resolve in these regards, then, can hardly be doubted.  Our thanks to a reader in Ballard, the home of Seattle’s “Little Norway” and our salmon fleet, for this one.  Godspeed Eric, and good catch, then, eh, mate? 


In the last three years, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia has reduced its homeless population by 82 percent.  I have always considered myself blessed to have been born in Canada.  There are also times when I am extraordinarily proud of that fact.  For more on this story, please go here

Starting next month, locals and tourists alike in Toronto will be able to do something I think is right up there on the scale of human stupidity with sky diving, swimming with sharks and being in Vancouver the next time the Canucks don’t win the Stanley Cup.  They can go to the top of the CN Tower and walk around it, tethered to make sure they don’t fall off or yield to the temptation to make a great leap of faith.  The CN Tower is 1,320 ft / 402 km (one quarter mile) tall.  Birds don’t even fly that high without a real good reason and it isn’t for the adrenaline rush.  For more on this incredible urban insanity, please go here


We want to applaud international fast food giant Ronald McDonald for adding apple slices and reducing the portion of French fries in its meals for children.  This is consistent with their Ronald McDonald Houses and reflects ~ we believe ~ less a concern for the present government’s crusade to save as many of us from gluttony as it can, even if it means regulating the food industry ~ than a simple and consistent recognition of their responsibilities to their customers.  It is, however, anticipated that their example will be emulated. 

Now, this is how it should be done.  Washington State’s wildlife people are getting better and better at something they are already famous for through the world.  They’re the ones we call when our wild animal neighbors invade our yards and frighten our kids.  Because they get to do it so often, they are experts, then, at catch and release.  Watch how they handled this 140 lb. cougar.  No, we do NOT recommend you trying this at home. 

Here’s a love story that begs the big screen.  She’s a beautiful young blonde from the Northern California and he’s a combat medic serving in Afghanistan.  Last week, they were married by telephone at the County Vital Statistics Office.  I mean, come on, how cool is that, right?  To watch the ceremony for yourself, yep, please go here. 


Bear attacks are on the rise, according to wildlife officials, and two of the main reasons are climate change and further human encroachment on territory traditionally theirs.  There is not much we can do about the first but there is, in fact, a great deal that we can and are doing about the second.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.  Related link:  How to Behave Around Bears 

According to new research, the earth could flip because the magnetic poles are shifting.  For an excellent video explanation of this, please go here.  Our thanks to Canada’s Mohawk Nation for this one. 


We’ve always contended that birth control is just as much the responsibility of the man as it is the woman.  I think a lot of my gender chauvinistically shrug that off because there’s no possible way someone who is not capable of getting pregnant (except occasionally with thought) can begin to viscerally imagine what it is like to carry a child.  It is NOT fun, even when that child is loved by eight million of the mother’s relatives.  If the life growing within her is not wanted…(letting the obvious speak for itself)  Recent trials of several new male contraceptive drugs look very encouraging.  The theory is that if you make it so simple that even a man can do it, more men will.  Yep, for more information, please go here

The next time someone tells you that you’re full of beans, tell them you hope so and smile.  If the insult is true, you’re probably slimmer than the one who slung it at you; healthier and will probably outlive most if not all of the stupid people who don’t take in a goodly quantity of beans.  Of course, for more on this one, please go here


Okay, this one stretches my sense of logic a little but apparently the cancer fighters at the University of Washington have found a drug they can use to enlarge a brain tumor.  Why do that?  Apparently, so they can surgically remove more, if not all of it.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

Cancer:  What You Need to Know
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


As gasoline prices continue to rollercoaster and more communities are becoming cleaner and safer places to live, the Pacific Northwest has experienced a significant and growing decline in the number of miles traveled by individuals and families in their own private transportation.  Especially for shorter trips, more of us are taking the bus, ride-sharing, bicycling and walking.  Many of us have foregone traditional motor vehicle ownership in favor of pay by the trip access.  With all of this suggesting that our roads are becoming, in fact, less traveled, are highway planners and promoters of mega construction projects being realistic?, one of the consciences of our region, doesn’t seem to think so.  To learn why, please go here


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. 


Mount Rainer, still snowy, rises above Seattle Photo by MSM


Posted on 40th St. & Burke Ave. N

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. 

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. 

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


The “thrum, thrum, thrum” of helicopter rotors is being heard in the skies above Washington State’s Olympic National Park for a few days.  Not to worry, though.  The whirly bird is just taking a mountain goat census.  I’ve never heard of that being done this way before but it seems like a technological leap over trying to track them down and get them to answer a lot of dumb questions like humans do in North America every ten years.  Easier on researchers and probably on the mountain goats too.   

We are very pleased to report that the Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Department are moving jointly to protect the western sage grouse.  It has recently been given “endangered species” status.  A bird of the American West, this colorful little flyer is also an important link in the survival of other species such as the coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars with whom it also shares its range. 

Well, we’re not surprised to learn that a recent study has concluded that banning logging on federal lands to protect endangered species is actually good for the environment.  Logging and milling are energy intensive and are toxic emissions intense.  The trees they take down filter out pollution and produce oxygen.  We’re glad this has been confirmed.  Even though it sort of looked like a no-brainer.

Oceana:  The National Geographic of the World’s Oceans
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


According to yet another study, and get this, the size of the fork one uses can actually determine whether you eat more than is healthy for you.  It’s also interesting to take within context that a significant portion of the human population eats with chopsticks and a reckonable number still eat with their fingers, whatever food they can find. 

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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