Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Volume 5, No. 47

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington


Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want, from his Four Freedoms Essay


Well, hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  This Thursday, November 22, America celebrates its own annual harvest fest, Thanksgiving.  This year, it comes in the wake of perhaps most of the most controversial national elections in the last one hundred years and certainly during a time when a good portion of those who live on that country’s AtlanticCoast are recovering from two epic catastrophic meteorological events.  It could well be asked, then, what do Americans have to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful that I live in a nation which can determine the course of an ineffectual national administration by exercising the ballot rather than the bullet.  As justifiably disgusted and frustrated as Americans are with the inability of both the Congress and the Executive Branch to enact national health care, facilitate economic recovery and determine the status of immigrants to the great melting pot who arrived here under less than sanctioned circumstances, it is surprising to me that citizens of the United States have not engaged in violent revolution.  Historically, constituencies of other nations have done so and with far less justification or provocation.

I am grateful that I am a member of a world community which is realizing that the Industrial Revolution and the standard of material comfort it made possible for a fraction of the global population has, in fact, poisoned the planet and is taking dramatic, albeit hesitant and sometimes reluctant, measures to prevent its own extinction.

I am thankful that I am a member of a species which, for all its ambivalent ethical, moral and humanistic nature, is capable of as much compassion as it is holocaustic bestiality and that it seems to be moving in the former direction and away from the later.  The Age of Reason has survived.  Each day sees scientific breakthroughs which are not only prolonging human life but improving the quality of it.  The arts are flourishing.  Nature is returning to places it was eradicated in the name of skyscrapers which could never come close to the majesty of the mountains they sometimes mimic.

Perhaps most of all, I am grateful that Benjamin Franklin’s desire to make the turkey, rather then the eagle, America’s national emblem was not one of that great Philadelphian’s realized dreams for I would rather be inspired by the latter than the former and feast once a year on the former, rather than the latter.

Happy Thanksgiving, America.


Sometimes, it is not the message that is most important, but the timing of it.  We are aware that thousands of those victimized by Hurricane Sandy are still struggling to recover.  It is, therefore, with some reluctance that we offer this advice about rebuilding, in the hopes that the inappropriate construction priorities which contributed to the massive devastation are not repeated.

In what appears to be a haunting echo of the sex abuse scandals which have rocked the Catholic Church in Ireland, the United States and other nations, Australia’s prime minister has ordered a federal investigation into allegations of sex abuse in state and religious institutions and community groups.

In what environmental experts are calling the largest punitive settlement in US history, British Petroleum agreed to pay $4.5 billion in an out of court settlement for its liability in the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.  Three former employees are also under federal prosecution; two for felony manslaughter in the death of 11 employees on the rig itself and one for obstruction of justice.  For more on this one, please go here.


Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years

Iceland Name Change? Contest To Rename Island Draws Controversy, Novel Suggestions

Spanish Woman Says She Sells Organs To Pay For Rent

George W. Bush War Crimes: Detainees File Complaint With UN

Residents In More Than 30 States File Secession Petitions

Meet China’s New Leader

Toyota Recall 2012: Prius, Corolla, Wish Among Models As 2.77 Million Vehicles


Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rose 2.5 Percent In 2011

Global Warming Gas, Carbon Dioxide, Found To Affect Orbiting Satellites & Space Junk

Sea Level Rise Mostly Caused By Melting Glaciers In Past Century, Experts Find

North Carolina Sea Level Rise Accelerating, Researchers Report

Netherlands Sets Model of Flood Prevention

Hurricane Sandy Challenges Short-Term Thinking On Nation’s Coasts

Connecticut Power Outages After Sandy Highlight Preparation Lapses


I first fell in love with streetcars in San Francisco, when they looked like the ones on those old Rice A Roni – A San Francisco Treat commercials.  Well, Toronto’s just acquired some new ones and these look more like the fastest trains in the world.  Yep, check them out here.  (Editor’s Note:  Our thanks to RetroCalgary for the Rice A Roni link)

Congratulations, Vancouver, for making Outside Online’s list of Best Bicycle Cities in North America.  Seattle, your sister city in the States, also made it.  For more and the whole list, please go here.

We knew Canada Post could, on occasion, take a bit more time than usual to deliver a letter.  But 70 years?


Canadarm Anniversary: Google Celebrates Iconic Space Innovation With A Doodle

Accenture Report: Canada Economic Growth Won’t Match Demand For Services

TVOntario Job Cuts: Budget Shortfall Forces 35 To 40 Layoffs, Cancellation Of Iconic TV Show


New housing for America’s veterans is not only cheaper but “greener”.  Check out five new projects currently underway.

In an attempt to bring a total end to gender discrimination, Sweden is trying something really innovative.  They’re eliminating the appropriate pronouns from the language.

Even if you’re financially challenged, in America’s WashingtonState, you can still visit the state parks, if you’re willing to work one day to pay for your admission.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.


Landmark global warming law goes into effect

Vancouver entrepreneur’s kit brings herb gardens indoors

In Romania, the Number of local organic farmers is up 2.4 times in 2012


The United States armed forces just doesn’t seem to be able to stay out of the scandal sheets these days.  In the way of the resignation of General David Petraeus for disgracing his uniform and his country by cheating on his wife with his biographer, another top general apparently can’t keep his libido out of his emails.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the US Air Force training center in Texas is under investigation for allegedly widespread sexual exploitation of young women and men seeking to serve their country in this branch of the service.  If your stomach can handle it, for more, yep, go here.

In what is probably the most brutal American war crime since the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, the US Army is seeking the death penalty for a soldier accused of slaughtering 16 civilians in Afghanistan.


Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers’ Ethics

Gender Wage: Men Get Bigger Raises Than Women At Small And Medium Business        

Antivirus Founder John McAfee On The Run In Belize After Rival’s Murder


In response to our Veterans Day lead in the last edition, michelek710@aol.com   writes:

In honor of all the men and woman who have fought and continue to fight to protect our freedom, I salute you for an article well written. My father was a man who believed in those very same principles, and yet never found cause to speak much about it; only to say it was an honor to serve his country. I agree with you that peace must be celebrated and our youth needs to understand that war is not the norm. Violence saturates our media with video games glorifying the concept of war as being entertaining. Education should begin to focus more on peace and understanding and in time our nations may learn to heal and grow. Great article!


It looks like scientists have now perfected an invisibility cloak.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here. 

As the incandescent light bulb continues its slide into antiquity, some new and innovative replacements are hitting the market

It is beginning to look like China and the US might be in a robot space race.  Yep, for more, please go here.


Burial Practices & Science: What Does The Future Of Death Hold? (VIDEO)

Kepler Space Telescope Mission Enters Extended Phase

‘Orphan’ Alien Planet? Starless Body Dubbed CFBDSIR2149 Discovered Near Solar System

New planet in Goldilocks Zone very likely to have life


Editor’s Note:  Mars Rover Curiosity has been busier than the Energizer Battery bunny so to keep up with the little dude, we’ve creating this special shorts section.  Go, Curiosity.

Mars Rover Is Set To Move On


“‘Tis the season to be jolly,” as the lyrics of a popular Christmas song go.  It’s also, as we all know, one of the most stressful times of the year.  Check out these diet tips for headache relief, eh?

In our ongoing campaign to keep you guys on the Hit Parade until we’re rich and famous, check out yet another set of reasons, including cancer prevention, to exercise.

Are you left or right brain dominant?  Take this test to find out.


States’ Deadline Extended for Health Insurance Exchanges

Immune system: Is yours old before its time? Here’s how you can stop it ageing

How dancing just once a week could relieve the pain of arthritis | Mail Online


Even as education costs in America continue to increase, quality knowledge acquisition is still within reach of most, thanks to such innovative online programs as this one being offered by a 10-college consortium which includes such respected institutions as Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

In another major leap for women as top executives of international corporations, Julie Larson-Green has been chosen to replace retiring Steve Sinofsky as president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live operation.  For more on this, yep, go here.

If you think Americans work hard without taking enough vacation time, you might just want to check this out.


Thanks to a new technique developed by a Seattle doctor, each child born can now save a cancer patient

Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society


Climate change activist Bill McKibben has done the math and if we keep polluting the planet at the rate we’re doing it now, we won’t be here by 2028.  For a full discussion and to learn what each of us can do to forestall this self-inflicted Armageddon, please go here.


Arlington, Washington photographer captures the beauty of Pacific Northwest weather

If you’re allergic to cute, this is not for you.  It’s a beautiful video about two buddies, a Great Dane dog and a deer.

NASA’s Images of the Week









All photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor.  For a visual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here. 

I so intensely dislike the term “tree hugger” but I’m more patient with it now because I’ve seen some of the places where people live who use the term. If your neighborhood had these magnificent evergreens to embrace, tell me you wouldn’t love them enough to wish they could also dance. This just happens to be the street on which I live in Seattle’s Wedgwood (98115) neighborhood

After the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Seattle replaced its open air reservoirs with four underground.  Four years ago, it was discovered they were leaking.  City officials say they’ve taken care of that problem and the reservoirs are working find.  But because Seattle is prone to a certain natural disaster it has in common with San Francisco, they’re being examined to see if they can withstand earthquakes.  Yep, for more, check it out here.

Seattle has sometimes been referred to as a collection of neighborhoods in search of a city.  Therein, however, many of us feel, is both its charm and the key to its sustainability.  Crosscut’s Knute Berger takes a closer look at both ideas and what we who live here can do to fine-tune our own growth.


Seattle Weather

More Seattle Facts & Figures


Komo 4 News (ABC)

King 5 News (NBC)

Seattle City Cams

Map of Seattle

Seattle Times


Here’s another, “if cute will kill ya, don’t go here,” video featuring a baboon in an Israeli zoo who adopts a kitten.  Yep, please go here and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The planet’s fauna ~ and particularly birds ~ have a much better ability to survive natural disasters than their allegedly more evolved human counterparts.  Why is this?  New York Times science writer Nancy Angier offers some insights.

What is it that grows to about 4.5 inches/11.43 centimeters, has 325 pair of legs, an incredibly complex anatomy and lives in a very small area in America’s Northern California?  Hint:  If you were camping out, you would not want to wake up and find it in your sleeping bag with you.


SeaDoc Society Update:  What our favorite marine wildlife protection group is up to now

Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals


And then there were those creatures in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo who create works of art.


The Northstar Journal is one hundred percent supported by readers like you.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute ~ however modestly ~ to the next, please go here   and with our thanks.  Rusty


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


For a preview, go here

To borrow and read, go here

To purchase, go here




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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