decus, integritas, probitas

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Volume 5, No. 13

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish SeaLast 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.


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.


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.


Two recent studies have concluded that in some cases, surgery works better than standard weight loss protocols in defeating diabetes.

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.

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


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.

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.



Watch Steven Cameron plunge to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.



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.


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?

Space Pictures

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).


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.


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 of Seattle 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.


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.

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


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


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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