decus, integritas, probitas
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Volume 5, No. 13
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Last week, the US Justice Department released the report of its 11-month investigation into allegations on the part of the Seattle Police Department of undue force and other legal and ethical improprieties. Not surprisingly, the SPD has been attempting to clean its own house and came up with a set of reforms of its own.
The federal government isn’t buying it and said that whatever changes are made in the police department’s policy will need to be Court approved and monitored. Officials from the Justice Department and the City ofSeattlewill be meeting to negotiate exactly how this is to be accomplished.
We’ve been following this story from the onset and our spin on it has not changed. We don’t doubt for a moment the findings of the Justice Department’s report. Those of us who have lived in this community for any real length of time at all know that this is not the first time such allegations have been made. We also do not believe that racism, police brutality and other forms of law enforcement malpractice tarnish the badge of every man and woman who wears the Emerald City shield.
But these corruptions, these vices, these anti-social responses have plagued the SPD for at least two generations. If the Department was capable of purging itself of these, it seems to me it would have done so long ago and certainly before the federal government stepped in.
It really saddens me that it had to come to this. I grew up with two generations of law enforcement and I covered crime as a newspaper reporter. Most of the cops I knew were honest, compassionate men and women who pinned on that shield for the best of reasons. And yes, up front and personal, I’ve seen them get wounded and killed in the line of duty. I’ve seen what it does long after the flag’s been given to the next of kin and the loneliest song in the world, “taps” has resonated off both our mountain ranges.
It sickens me that those who are not like these blue knights had the audacity to aspire to this noble fraternity in the first place.
Closer to home, I can think of a great many things for which this city is justifiably admired. Somehow, it all seems a little tainted now when I see a blue and white patrol car drive by and wonder if that particular cop is on the job to help me or to hurt me.
I’m also, quite frankly, glad neither my father nor my grandfather lived to see this day in a region to which they so passionately and selflessly devoted their own lives.
IN OTHER NEWS
A young Rhode Island National Guardsman serving in Afghanistan gave his life to save that of a child over there. Seattle’s Channel 13 reports.
Burma is at last on its way to democracy as pro-freedom forces swept into Parliament in Myanmar’s first elections in decades. Agence France-Presse has more on this remarkable story.
Well, it took them awhile to add it all up but now the numbers are in and they’re “impressive”. Last September 17 was the 26th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. Over a half million volunteers around the world collected 9-million tons of litter and garbage. The Associated Press reports.
Apparently, Vancouver could learn a lot from one of her sister cities to the south, at least in one writer’s slightly tongue-in-cheek opinion. Openfile’s David Godsall reports.
Despite or perhaps as a function of its improving economy, British Columbia now has the greatest disparity between the wealthy and the financially disadvantaged. The provincial finance minister’s response to this has sparked anger from Victoria to Halifax. CBC News reports.
Prime Minister Harper goes to Washington tomorrow (Monday) for the sixth annual meeting between Canada, America and Mexico. The National Post’s Mark Kennedy reports.
If you’re looking for “green employment,” here’s where you’re most likely to find it in America. Atlantic Cities Richard Florida reports.
As most of you know, I am not a fan of sharks. I am, however, a believer in the sanctity of all creatures great and small. So I have to admire a marine biologist who is now being called “the Jane Goodall of Sharks.” The New York Times Claudia Dreifus reports.
This is another reminder to me that when all is said and done, America’s strength comes from what its towns and villages can also do for their own. In a story headlined Town Jumps Onboard To Help A Marine, New York Times James Dao reports.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE & EXPLORATION
Well, this one ought to put confirmed couch potatoes into some kind of Zen state of mind. It turns out the TV remote will soon be a thing of the past. In a story headlined The Human Voice, as Game Changer, Natasha Singer of the New York Times, reports.
By studying fossil raindrops in volcanic rock in South Africa, scientists have discovered why, when it should have been, the earth was not totally frozen. The CBC reports.
In another attempt to explain global warming and predict its consequences, scientists are now studying the ice in the Arctic Sea. The New York Times Justin Gillis and Joanna M. Foster report.
HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE
When a free diving accident left him a quadriplegic, one California man refused the prognosis and went on to found NextStep, the first community facility in the United States to offer progressive training for people with paralysis and other physical disabilities. The Huffington Post’s Janean reports.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
Surviving cancer is also about evoking perhaps the greatest and mysterious healing force in nature, hope. See how one survivor, a musician, is bringing that message to thousands.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
US Senator John Kerry (D – Massachusetts) contends that energy and the environment are no longer important to either elected officials or to much of what he calls “the core constituency.” He’s talking specifically about responsible (environmentally appropriate) capitalism. He contends that we’re not putting enough emphasis, time or investment into this area, despite overwhelming evidence suggesting that green jobs, which at present compromise less than four percent of the employment in my state (Washington), are impacting the economy precisely because they are technologically practical, provide a healthy work environment (thus reducing sick time), generate disposable incomes and are, of course, an environmental investment in our grandchildren and the generations which follow them. The Daily Planet’s Doug Struck reports.
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.
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 their love and mine for America.
Kids Page: If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?
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).
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.
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.
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.
AVAILABLE FROM NORTHSTAR
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The Northstar Photo Gallery features photography of Seattle available as postcards, computer wallpaper and workspace art.
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.
I’ve spent probably a third of my life in the wilds of places like the Trinity Alps and Sierra Nevadas of Northern California, the Redwood Coast, the Cascades of Oregon and Washington and the rain forests of the San Juan Islands. Never, from the time I was a kid, did I ever see a bear save a human from being attacked by a mountain.
I have also never seen a horse fall into a septic tank, much less be rescued from one, as this “not on an empty stomach” report graphically records.
The dingo in Australia, like the wolf in North America, has been both revered and reviled by Europeans who comprised the last wave of immigration to this island planet. The dingo arrived several thousand years before and Australia’s original human inhabitants, 50,000 years ago. I found this an absolutely fascinating look the Down Under cousin of the timber and gray wolves I’ve seen in the States.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
Well, here’s one recycling spin I’m betting the United States Mint has not considered for currency taken out of circulation for age. In a story headlined Not Worth The Paper It’s Built On, The New York Times Sarah Lyall 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.
Take care, stay well and God Bless.
Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller