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Volume 5, No. 11
Sunday, March 18, 2012
SHERMAN DID NOT SAY “WAR IS HECK”
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. The 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.
IN OTHER NEWS
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.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE & EXPLORATION
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.RESOURCE 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
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.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
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”
TAKE A BREAK ON NORTHSTAR
BEST OF NET VIDEOS 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.
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.
HUMAN INTEREST & FEEL GOOD STUFF
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.
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.
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.
AVAILABLE FROM NORTHSTAR
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The Northstar Photo Gallery features photography ofSeattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art.
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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.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
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.
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Take care, stay well and God Bless.