decus, integritas, probitas

Winner of Two Hersh Best Read On The Net Awards

Now reaching informed readers in America, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Russia & Australia

Volume 5, No. 11

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish SeaThe world is understandably outraged at the homicidal slaughter of 16 Afghani civilians, including nine children, by a four tour American soldier.  He did this alone with absolutely no pretext of a military mission.  This trained killer, this human being with so much experience at doing the one thing that is censured by every religion and most societies, does what he is programmed to do. 

The killing of civilians and even of children is as traditional as it is repugnant and horrifying to most of us.  No army ever assembled is innocent of it. My Lai, Sand Creek, the Holocaust, the Babylonian conquest ofJerusalemand at least a score of Old Testament wars form a bloody chain extending back, I suspect, to the birth our species itself. 

In his letter to the mayor of Atlanta during the American Civil War, northern general William Tecumseh Sherman offered perhaps the starkest definition of war and one he himself practiced with devastating devotion.

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.”

I have been to war.  I am not a fan of it, by any means.  But as profoundly sorry as I am that such atrocities occur, I am not surprised. 

What does constantly shock and amaze me is that for as much lip service as our species gives to the sanctity of human life and particularly the lives of children, war itself is still an acceptable alternative to the harder and perhaps less glorious enterprise of learning to live at peace with ourselves and the rest of the life on this planet.


Rising sea levels over the next several decades pose a severe problem for many North American coastal communities.  For more and to see how you area will be impacted, New York Times environment writer Justin Gillis reports.

Executions in the 34 American states which still have the death penalty are very likely going to slow down for awhile.  The drugs involved are imported from Europe and earlier this month, the European Union banned the export of them.  YES magazine’s Jennifer Kaye reports.

American actor George Clooney and his father were released last week posting bail on a charge of civil disobedience.  The pair were among other demonstrators arrested outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC.  They were attempting to bring attention to what has been termed a humanitarian crisis in the frontier area between Sudanand South Sudan.  The BBC reports.


Canadacontinues to be a friend of Irish workers fleeing Erin’s economic version of The Troubles.  Some 4,000 sons and daughters of the shamrock immigrated in 2011 and 5,100 in 2011.  CBC News Canada reports

Southwestern Ontarioand northern Michiganare facing a longer tornado season than usual.  CBC News Windsor reports.

The interior of British Columbiais under avalanche alert for the third time in four weeks.  CBC News British Columbia reports.


It’s going to be a lot harder to injure or kill a cop in Washingtonstate and get away with it for very long.  Last week, Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law HB 1820, the “Blue Alert Bill.”  Seattle’s Q13 News reports.

Perhaps because the average Canadian is slightly smaller than about half the rest of the world, “small is beautiful” works better for them than it does for many others.  That having been said, the origins of the movement ~ in our hemisphere ~ which bears that name are Californian in etymology and Eureka Staters are not short.  Metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC have been evolving for decades smaller and more energy and space efficient units.  Now, Saint Johns, New Brunswick is joining a growing number of other communities in rewriting land use legislation to accommodate them.  For more on this and an outstanding photo, The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal’s Reid Southwick reports.

Traffic congestion has been around at least as long as chariots and a great deal of that comes from trying to find a parking space.  The City of San Franciscojust might onto a 21st Century solution to that problem.  The New York Times Michael Cooper and J Craven McGinty report. 


Technology has always been noisy but has it reached the point where it now critically threatens perhaps our greatest and least discussed global natural resource?  In a visually stunning article entitled “Is Silence Going Extinct?” The New York Times Kim Tingley reports.

If you think earthquake preparedness is something the people across the street need to worry about but not your house, step through your local Stargate to Portland, Oregonand live through the first four minutes of a tremblor the magnitude of which shook Japanon March 11, 2011.  The Portland Mercury’s Nathan Giles reports.

In sure what must mark the end of one era and the birth of another, the publishers of the Encyclopedia Britannica will focus totally on its online version, which is available by annual subscription.  Sales of the print version account for less than one percent of its sales so the 2010 edition was the last one.  We see that as not only a wise move economically but an appropriate one environmentally.  The 244-year-old publishing company’s carbon footprint stands to shrink some as a result of this fiscally-based decision.  The New York Times Julie Bosman reports.


How much of what we’re told about supermarket food as opposed to organic is actually true?  The Mail Online’s Joanna Blythman, for two decades an investigative food reporter, set us straight on several of them.

In what has been a campaign longer than some nations have had to wage war for their independence, we sally forth once again to save you guys from dying of over-indulgence and, in particular, of obesity by providing new grounds for living long and prospering.  (Yes, I KNOW where that comes from.  Who said this war has rules?).  When you stop to think about it, in internationally humanitarian terms of all the rest of the people on the planet who aren’t getting enough to keep their bellybutton and their backbone from committing incest , your gluttony is actually almost immoral now.   So, to help you do something about that,  we offer this from the good folks at Health Age.  Health Guide:  Managing Belly Fat and Cholesterol

Because I drink the stuff whenever I can afford it and have since my first visit to the Hawaiian Islands, I was intrigued by this article entitled Is Coconut Milk Really Good For You?  Hint:  It has certainly not hurt several million Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians, Floridians, Gulfporters or Californians. 

Center For Disease Control Disease FAQs Index
Tips and Tools For Staying Young
Weight Watchers:  Calculate Your Body Mass Index 


Because I lost someone very, very, very close to me of cervical cancer, I’m more inclined to share news in this column about additional tests for early detection.  However, there’s enough evidence, not only in this article I’m curating for you, but in other research I’ve done to suggest that an annual pap smear is not necessary.  We urge those of you to whom this applies, however, to consult your health care provider and your peer support groups before arbitrarily discontinuing them, however.

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


Living well does not necessarily involve spending more money.  It often means simply living creatively as Sightline Daily’s Anna Fahey reports in her article entitled “Living the Good Life, Not the Goods Life



Surging Seas is an interactive map of the contiguous United States showing the predicted impact rising oceans will have on some 3,000 communities.  The map is also searchable by Zip Code.

Get a bunch of your friends together for a ‘clothes exchange” party.

Bring the wild inside with these animal watch webcams.



Animal Tracks is’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.

How hearing dogs help change deaf children’s lives

Baby pandas soak up sun for the first time

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.

Watch Andrew Trites, UBC marine mammalogist, discussing his sea lion research.

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.


The Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspirational videos equaling ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.

OH AMERICA – Celtic Woman expresses my love forAmerica far better than I have thus far ever been able. 


This National Geographic slideshow of an underwater park comprised of lifesized human statues is nothing short of incredible.

National Geographics Photos of the Week are of a newly discovered tiny galaxy.

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).


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 Space Pictures


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.


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.


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.

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

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.


We totally like the idea that there are people trucking around in the snow in Montana gathering more information on wolverines.  This is a micro-documentary with some outstanding video on this largest and most elusive member of the weasel family.

Apparently, human males are not the only species to turn to alcohol to ease a broken heart.  Apparently so does the fruit fly.

Here’s something that should make you feel real good about having a picnic or going swimming where these creatures live.  The crocodile’s bite is the strongest, per square inch, of any in the animal kingdom ever measured and right up there with a computer model of a great white shark.  Humans generally tear into ex-spouses, politicians and a good steak with a jaw force of about 175 pounds per square inch (psi).  If you get chomped by a crock, you’re looking at 3,700 psi.  National Geographic’s Brian Handwerk reports.

Animal Tracks is’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


And just about the time we think we’ve heard it all, how about the thief who stole another man’s prosthetic foot?  One can only hope it was another one-legged person and not someone supplying the black market for artificial limbs.  Seattle KING 5 News Natasha Ryan reports.

Well, that’s about it for this week.  As a final word, The Northstar Journal is supported by contributions from readers like yourselves so if you enjoyed what you read here and would like to toss a dollar or two in the pot, as it were, please go here.

To have an illustrated version of The Northstar Journal delivered each week to your email box, please contact us at with Sub Req in the subject line.

Take care, stay well and God Bless.

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller


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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