decus, integritas, probitas
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Volume 5, No. 6
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Election years are not fun for me. However, 2012 isn’t going to be nearly as difficult as others in the past have been. For one thing, I’m not being paid by someone else to do this.
I’m also no longer sure it really matters anymore who’s in charge. As I look back, neither party alone caused the Recession. Al Gore did not invent global warming. The Republicans alone are not responsible for whatever it is we hoped to accomplish or feel we did achieve by military intervention inIraqandAfghanistan. President Barack Obama’s administration cannot claim credit for taking down any high profile terrorist because the pursuit of them began when the current president was a first termUSsenator fromIllinois.
Those we elect ~ and whose salaries we pay ~ can no more function without our input than any employee can without direction from those who sign his or her time card. Despite the ease with which this can be done, many of us would apparently rather whine and declaim amongst one another than to email or telephone those we’ve chosen to run the government for them.
One of the salutary effects an increasingly dysfunction government is that we are turning closer to home for things for which we’ve traditionally depended on Washington, DC. We are finding that one solution does not work for all so we’re coming up with those which work for our communities. As we’ve reported before, economic recovery is not uniform in America. Why should we expect it to be when not every city or town in this nation was impacted the same way or to the same degree?
We’re finding out that nobody’s going to save us from ourselves. We’re not going to equably redistribute the wealth of the nation. Whoever earns it is entitled to it and when you have enough of it to hire a security staff bigger than the armies of some European countries, nobody’s going to take it away from you and certainly not a collection of white collar politicians living from election to election.
When our ancestors first got here, they beheld a civilization that had been doing pretty well sinceRomulusand Remus were pups. So naturally, they figured to improve on it and in the process, managed to take the land away from its rightful owners, slaughter or quarantine most of them, cut down all the trees, dam up some rivers, use the land until it couldn’t produce anymore, then move further west until they reached the Pacific and, like Alexander, wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.
A dubious heritage but certainly the legacy of rugged individuals who didn’t need a strong federal government or really even much law west of the Pecos, to make this mighty nation what it is today.
If we screwed things up pretty much without the help ofWashington,DC, it probably stands to reason we’re going to correct for course without much real help from them either.
IN OTHER NEWS
The American economy is continuing a slow and not always steady recovery, according to the federal jobs report for January. Gains in job creation and a decline in unemployment continued for the second straight month.
When I read that the speaker of the house of a Midwestern state in an email referred to American First Lady Michelle Obama as ‘Mrs YoMama,’ I didn’t know who to feel sorrier for, the people of Kansas or the parents who sired this elected moron. After I read about how he invoked Psalm 109 and called for the death of America’s chief executive, I’m truly not certain Mike O’Neal can claim two human parents. My problem is that I cannot think of a life form which deserves the slander of that role. Here’s this turkey’s email address if you’d like to let him know what YOU think. firstname.lastname@example.org Give ‘em Hell, Harriet.
Eastern Europeand Russiaare in the throes of one of the coldest winters in recent history. Temperatures have plunged to well below freezing, with snow drifts as deep as a tall person. So far, 110 have perished from the extreme weather. For more details and some stark imagery, please go here.
February 1 marks the start of Celtic Spring and it could be a better one than troubled Irelandhas seen since the Recession began. A vast deposit of natural gas estimated large enough to take care of the nation’s energy needs for 12 years, has been discovered north of Leitrim.
Well, this was kind of cool, I thought. There was a 5.7 earthquake off Vancouver Island, at a depth of about 12.8 km/7.9 miles. Apparently the seismic event went all but unnoticed, for the most part. I thought the comments on this story were hilarious. And sooo True North.
They advertise themselves as healthy, preservative free, made from all natural ingredients. But are they really? CBC News Canada reports on 10 misleading food product labels.
A project which could bring cheap electricity to thousands of homes along the AmericanAtlanticCoastis a major step closer to reality this week. NRDC’s Kit Kennedy reports.
If you’re really interested in the spirit, ingenuity and talent fueling the Green Movement, we suggest you might want to follow this year’s International Cities Summit, hosted by Vancouver, and make plans for following the next. This is definitely exportable.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE & EXPLORATION
It’s hard to believe there might be even a tribe of people who have had virtually no contact with the rest of society since the Stone Age. One has been discovered and photographed in Peru.
Scientists have recently discovered a way to change the skin cells of mice into mice brain cells. Since so much of what starts with experiments on these tiny creatures ends up helping human beings, researchers are hopeful that this will end the stem cell controversy. A patient’s own cells could be programmed to change into whatever was needed, essentially enabling the patient to heal themselves, as it were.
We have the technology to bring light, heat and power to every domicile on the planet. What has stopped us from doing that? Now that we are, in fact, bringing life-saving/life-enhancing technology to the biggest (and poorest) segment of the human population, how do we keep that momentum going? New York Times writer Tina Rosenberg definitely has some visionary (and to me very practical and imminently do-able) ideas.
HEALTH NEWSRESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Center For Disease Control Disease FAQs Index Tips and Tools For Staying Young Weight Watchers: Calculate Your Body Mass Index
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Here’s a first person experience from a New Hampstead, England housewife about a new therapy which beat back a very aggressive cancer. It appears a lot less stressful, invasive or reactive than most protocols and it just may be working. She has been ‘free’ now for two years.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: 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
There is an expression in my family which has survived for many generations. It translates, “when the Devil is wearing mink”. Americans have an equivalent. “It will be a cold day in Hell when…” One of the young people in my life has decided they want to devote a portion of their body to promoting individuals and causes in which they believe. We are not talking Greenpeace t-shirts and we are not talking cute decals that wash off in a good rain. We are not talking Sixties retro Day-Glo, sports apparel or a blouse made from a national flag. We are talking tattoos. We are talking about art that involves a medical procedure to remove. We are talking about a passionate young canvas who loves a full pizza so much she needs to date brothers to help her carry it to the table when she is in a mood for deep dish. “Yeah, right. When the Devil is wearing mink.”
I am meeting with some resistance. She wants to convince the young man with whom she is currently involved that despite the reputation of a romantic mayfly, she really is serious this time. I ask her where on her anatomical canvas she intends to pin that list. She feels that in a previous life, she was a dolphin. So she wants one of those. She has the predatory instincts of a killer whale but about this, I remain silent, for fear of engaging said instincts. That does not mitigate the fact, however, that making this right will involve some major derma erasure, as it were. She is also passionately liberal but still believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Beaver. I point out to her that people tend to become more conservative as they grow older. She points out to me that I am the only person she knows from our nation of birth who still ends half his sentences with the “eh?” word. I tell her I do not see the connection. She replies that this is because I do not understand the true cosmic significance of tattoos.
I point out that this is beginning to sound a lot like a conversation we had about her wanting a training bra at the age of ten, simply because her older sister got one. She asks me how come if I can remember things that far back, I have to make a list if we need more than four things from the grocery. I tell her I do not see the connection. She replies that this is because obviously I do not understand the true cosmic significance of training bras either.
I observe that sometimes it is not easy being quasi responsible for an individual with an IQ of 8-million. She points out that if more men really talked to the women with whom they intend to make passionate (and unprotected) love, fewer geniuses would grow up feeling as though they had been deprived of one human parent.
It’s going to be real interesting to see what that first tat looks like.
TAKE A BREAK ON NORTHSTAR
BEST OF NET VIDEO THIS WEEK
NORTHSTAR EDITOR’S NET VIDEO FAVORITES
Animal Tracks is msnbc.com’s Critter Stuff. They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial. This is a great stress buster for me and a profound pick-me-up if I’m having a “poor me” day.
The Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspiratoinal videos equally ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup. These are human stories, sans preaching, and to me, their appeal is universal. Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.
FREE VIDEO is for those of us who in whom the Inner Child is still alive and well. It’s a joyful romp with totally ingenuous music and outstanding video footage, including scenes of trolley cars inSan Francisco. This one gets fives stars from us.
NASA Probe To Explore Jupiter is a National Geographic video whose production values I found outstanding. This is one you might enjoy sharing with the family.
National Geographic’s Video Page is the diversion the doctor ordered If you’re looking for a video experience that will definitely take you out of wherever you are and you don’t mind your reality coming at you in relatively short bursts (about long enough to keep a fussing child occupied).
OH AMERICA – Celtic Woman expresses my love forAmerica far better than I have thus far ever been able.
A baby polar bear whose mother could not produce enough milk to feed it is being cared for at a wildlife refuge in Denmark. If you’re allergic to cute, avoid this one at all costs.
Winter, A Dolphin’s Tale is the Flipper of this generation and is the true story of a dolphin so snarled in commercial crab trap that her fluke had to be amputated in order to free her. She was adopted by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where she was fitted with a prosthetic. The film, starring Kris Kristopherson and Morgan Freeman, is out now and I highly recommend it.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Daily Crossword: This one from Universal has two levels. It is extremely easy to use and it has some features like music and clues that we thought were pretty cool.
National Geographic Kids Page: If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?
Vocabulary Quiz: Take this 10-word daily test and see how you rank with people your age, younger and older.
Word Games: Merriam Webster has a totally creative menu.
HOSTILE FEELINGS RELEASE GAME
Tank Hunter – This puts you behind the controls of a tank on a vast battlefield in which everything from small tanks to big ones to invisible ones is shooting at you. Definitely the best game play of its type I have personally encountered.
NEW Amnesty International has a long, honorable and effective history at championing the rights of human beings all over the world. The Northstar Journal is proud to carry this link to their activities, gatherings and fundraisers in your area.
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.
Irish Central is absolutely the best commercial source of news, entertainment, politics and all things Irish and hyphenated Irish.
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.
The Legacy Project was originally designed as a course teaching students to make appropriate life choices personal and particular to them. Its exercises have kids answering such questions as what they would like to learn, how would they like to make a living and what they can I do for their community. What I found remarkable about these exercise is that so many adults these days are addressing these issues as well in order to survive hard times and stabilize in spite of them.
Safercar.gov is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA) website. It contains a wealth of safety and reliability information on motor vehicles. You can also, as have we, subscribe to an email newsletter which informs its subscribers of all vehicle recalls and the reason for 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 throughout the American west, northwest, Western Canada and Alaska.
USA.gov has a comprehensive email directory of American federal and state elected officials and government agencies. You fill in two or three blanks, hit Enter and you’ve got what you need to offer support or air a grievance.
Yes magazine is the editorial hammer of the Green Movement and the most deeply rooted, informative, insightful and magazine on the Net.
AVAILABLE FROM NORTHSTAR
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.
The Northstar Photo Gallery features photography ofSeattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art.
Sponsorship ads are another way begin at $5.00 a week for a simple small logo and web page link. Ads more elaborate than that are negotiated and charged on an individual basis. For more details, email us at email@example.com.
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 Burmese python has apparently taken over vast tracts of the Florida Everglades as its top predator, often displacing even the alligator in that role. Biologists believe this invasive species once very popular as an exotic pet accounts for the chilling drop in sightings of local mammalian fauna, either alive or as road kill. Wildlife experts are working on legal and physical means of containing this huge water snake with a voracious appetite. They hope that what they learn can be used to prevent other invasive species from taking over. I can see a lot of visiting in-law jokes coming out of this one.
It’s been referred to as the “cockroach of the seas” and normally, this small crustacean, which is a distant cousin of a shrimp, rarely grows larger than seven tenths of an inch/2-3 cm. One has been discovered about four miles deep in the Kermadec Trench off New Zealand that is 13 inches/34 cm long. What I wonder about now is that if things on the planet are in scale and there are foot-long bugs crawling around at the bottom of the oceans of the world, how big are the things that are eating them? And so on up the food chain. And what happens if we send a human into a submarine trench to photograph them and that photograph gets devoured? What happens if something in that food chain decides that human beings taste better than sea cockroaches? I think that the Creator put them where they are and us where we are for a good reason. We do not belong on each other’s menus.RELATED LINKS: Animal Tracks is msnbc.com’s Critter Stuff. They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial. 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
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Twin sisters born in Indonesia, separated at birth and adopted by families from another country found one another after almost 30 years. The two of them were living 25 miles from one another inCanada, where both were school teachers. They had even been married within a year of one another and played the same song at the wedding. If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye and make you believe ~ even for a few moments ~ in miracles, you’ve got more bionic parts than are healthy.
Take care, stay well and God Bless.