Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2012
Volume 5, No. 49
Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor
 Seattle, Washington


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s real comforting to read that apparently some folks dislike journalists enough to declare war on them; individuals, groups, agencies and nations, apparently.  A third of the annual fatalities in the working media can be attributed to constructive criticism taken to the max.

This isn’t just happening in the Middle East.  Violence against the media is prevalent to some degree in almost every nation on earth.  It is certainly worse in places like Syria right now and in Latin America and Mexico.  But it has become a societal endemic and it is on the rise.

I know that a lot of people are not going to take this as bad news.  Some of the press can be incredibly rude and intrusive.  Some of them are downright dishonest, especially in their violation of the space and privacy of others.  They are the same ones ~ essentially ~ who bring bad press to any profession. 

The cowardly, the dishonest, the inept and the homicidal, these seem to attract more interest than the virtuous.  So the media leans toward pandering to the lowest common denominator because that is what it appears people want and will pay for.

It seems to me that in a consumer driven media at least, the criticism for its content, if not its practices, belongs on those who pay for it.  Develop a taste for higher class content and spend the money on that instead of the tabloid stuff.  If you don’t like something, get on the Internet and tell people.  That in itself will become news.

Also, I think it helps to realize that tabloid journalism is not the predominant form in the world.  From single news journalist bloggers on up to outfits as large as the New York Times or the Toronto Star, they are just professionals doing a job.  Honesty is no more important to their profession than it is to any others.  But it is certainly no less, either.

They do not need to be shot at to get their attention.  It is not necessary to murder them to enhance the sincerity of sentiments in these regards.  Many of them take fire every day in war zones and they are always there when their nations need to know. 

Hundreds of them have been targets of intimidation.  Some of them have been an assassin’s commission.  More than a handful of them know what it is like to live in fear of retribution for the truth they report and their media publishes.

Violence against journalists never shuts them up.  It has, in fact, the opposite effect.  It brings them good press, the kind that empowers others.  With the new support, it makes their jobs easier.  Proactive audiences are always more rewarding than passive media consumers.

It should also be noted just because journalists prefer the pen to the sword does not mean they do not know what a good blade is or how to use it. 

Especially in a land of big evergreen trees and axes.


Here’s a kind of interesting ~ if not occasionally harsh ~ look at what different states in America are good at and those at which they are not.

Two astronauts ~ one American, the other Russian ~ are now in training for what will be America’s longest mission in space.  I hope they get along better than the American Congress.  Otherwise, we’re going to be hearing a lot of noise from the International Space Station.  But not a lot is going to get done.  For more, please go here.

The World Justice Project has just released its 2012 Rule of Law Report.  To see how your nation scored, go here and in that little rectangle at the bottom, type in 63 for the page and hit enter.  The Report ranks 97 nations on a variety of factors and on a master list by total scores in the various factors.


China:  China Lands First Jet On Its Aircraft Carrier

Egypt:  Israel, Hamas Truce Talks Start In Cairo

International:  U.N. climate change talks: Glossary of terms | OregonLive.com

Italy:  A Billion-Euro Artificial Island Is Being Planned for Italy’s Adriatic Coast

Middle East: Palestine UN Recognition: Nonmember State Endorsement Makes Palestinians Euphoric

New Zealand:  Air New Zealand Unveils Special Hobbit Livery on Boeing 777-300

Poland:  Europe’s First 787 Dreamliner Goes to LOT Polish Airlines

Ukraine:  In Ukraine, Mystery Man Fakes a Natural Gas Deal

US:  Agency Investigates Deaths and Injuries Associated With Bed Rails

US:  Most Americans Face Lower Tax Burden Than in the 80s

US:  2012 Drought Will Probably Last Through Winter In The Midwest

US – California:  California Shows Signs of Resurgence


Superstorm Sandy Deaths, Damage And Magnitude: What We Know One Month Later

Hurricane Sandy Victims Get Help From Facebook To Connect With Lost Photos, More

Hit by Drought, Mississippi River May Face More Challenges

Cost of Coastal Living to Climb Under New Flood Rules

Top 10 Hottest Years On Record Will Probably Include 2012, Despite Early Cooling


Winter Threatens Syrian Refugees as Aid Falls Short

Syria Crisis: Tishrin Dam Seized By Syrian Rebels Near Manbij

Syrian Rebels, Gaining Savvy, Shift Their Tactics

Syria Olive Press Bombing By Regime Warplanes Kills Dozens

Copter Downing May Show New Syria Rebel Capability

U.S. Is Weighing Stronger Action in Syrian Conflict


Rob Ford was removed from office last month as Toronto’s mayor.  What’s in store for him now?  For more, please go here.

A Canadian is now headed for London to run the Bank of England.  For more on this incredibly rare event, please go here.

The Maple Leaf national flag is flying as proudly over Montreal as it is over the rest of the country.  Yep, for more, please go here.


Canada Winter Forecast: Chris Scott, Meteorologist, Expects More Cold, Snow

Best Provinces In Canada To Find A Job

World Justice Project: Canada Scores High In 2012

Vancouver unveils $2.8-billion vision for Broadway corridor subway

Oprah Winfrey Vancouver 2013: Former Talk Show Host To Speak At Rogers Arena


A Minnesota grocery owner who is retiring is giving the business to its 400 employees.  For more on this one, please go here.

By failing to extend an oyster company’s lease, the US federal government effectively established that nations’ first marine wilderness in the continent United States.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

Unused inner city lots are providing farmer’s market growing and vending opportunities for the poor and for refugees.  For more on this one, please go here.


International fossil fuel giant British Petroleum has been barred from new business ventures in the United States as a result of its adjudicated responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.  For more, please go here.

John McAfee, the anti-virus mogul wanted in Belize for first degree murder, continues to elude authorities in that South American nation, much to the consternation of law enforcement authorities.  For more on this one, please go here.

A top Iranian police official has been dismissed and could face criminal charges after the death of a blogger who was critical of the country’s financial policy and who was murdered in prison while awaiting trial.  For more on this one, please go here.


This sounds like one of those Fifties science fiction movies like The Tomato That Took Over Toledo or The Eggplant That Ate Evanston.  It’s an invasive plant, however, which could pose a big problem or be the solution to one.

Scientists are seeing striking similarities in the structure of the universe, the human brain and the computer.   Also:  check out Artificial Brain: ‘Spaun’ Software Model Mimics Abilities, Flaws

Well, it turns out dinosaurs might not have been quite the “thunder lizards” they’ve been previously thought.  Some of them, as a matter of fact, might have been delicate for their size;


Water On Mercury: NASA Announces Discovery Of Ice At Planet’s Poles

Stonehenge: New Study Challenges Timeline For Construction Of Ancient Monument

UX Tauri A: Alien Planets Observed Forming Around Distant Sunlike Star


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 Discovery: Curiosity Rover’s ‘Earth-Shaking’ Find Downplayed By NASA


How the myth of oil abundance impedes progress on climate change

Oil boom in center of country resonates on Washington shores

Big Tar Sands Rally in Washington, D.C.

Will Jay Inslee, Washington’s next governor, fight coal trains?

Global Warming Threat: Permafrost Thawing Across Siberia And Alaska Poses New Threat

Up On The Roof:  Two models for rooftop gardens that will feed New Yorkers

This Could Be the Key to Making Downtowns Greener – Technology

It Takes a Cluster to Build a Rain Garden

Former BP Executive, Arraigned In Federal Court Along With Robert Kaluza And Donald Vidrine


What are 10 of the worst ingredients found in food?  The answers just might surprise you.

What are the most overrated exercises?  The answers just might surprise you.

What countries will be best to be born in next year?  The answers just might surprise you.


Stress Relief Tips From Around The World

Manage Chronic Pain with Helpful Self-Care and Exercise Videos

Marathon Running: Bad for the Heart?


Personal Financial Advice – Money Saving Tips from Experts

TODAY Money: Family business: Putting Mom on the payroll

Charles Schulz’s 90th Birthday: What The Peanuts Comic Strip Taught Us

Restaurant Health Inspections: How To Make Sure A Restaurant Is Clean

Where the Middle Class Spends 75% of Its Income on Housing and Transportation

Test-Flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner


Thermography, a cancer diagnostic test becoming popular in Canada and the United States, is considered useless by most of the medical community and by oncologists in particular.

More and more cancer patients with no other choice are going public and putting their lives in the hands of strangers.  That is turning out to be not such a bad idea.

Once strongly recommended on an at least annual basis, breast examinations may have failed and may, in fact, be responsible for 50,000 – 70,000 surgical procedures unnecessary.  Yes, for more, please go here.

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


He has been historically touted as one of the America’s most passionately freedom loving founding fathers.  He was certainly more of its more eloquent.  He was also a life-long slave holder who was not always the kindest of masters.  For a controversial but supremely historically accurate portrait of Thomas Jefferson, please go


The Nature Cure is indeed that.  It is geography and weather from all over the world.  Fantastic visual therapy for the flat-screen addicted, it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable recreational experience.  It also provides a perfect visual backdrop against which to meditate and is linked to several other equally outstanding examples of this art form.

Funny talking penguins

French Exhibit of Cellphone Photography









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.


Signs of Christmas and Chanukah are coming to Seattle.  This is the house across the street

Signs of Christmas and Chanukah are coming to Seattle. This is the house across the street





Queen Anne Science Café: Weather Forecasts


Weather forecasts used to be very unreliable with major events, like the 1962 Columbus Day Storm and the New England hurricane of 1938, being essentially unforecast. A lot has changed since those days. At the December Queen Anne Science Café, join UW Atmospheric Sciences professor Cliff Mass, PhD. to explore the improving technology of weather prediction. That’s next Tuesday, December 4, 7:30 p.m. at T.S. McHugh’s on Lower Queen Anne. We expect this event to fill quickly so get there early. As always, all Science Cafés are free and open to all ages. Learn More


New Business in Wedgwood


If your child is into ballet or modern dance, like quite a few of them are in my neighborhood, you should check out http://www.twirldancewear.com/.  They’re just north of 35th & 85th, between the dance studio on the corner and the Wedgwood Alehouse.


Also in Wedgwood:  Northwest Harvest is holding a fundraising evening at the Fiddlers Inn, Tuesday, Dec. 4th.  Entertainment includes Ciscoe talking about gardening.  For more on this, see Gail Manahan’s online press release.


Home Team Harvest


Home Team Harvest is an outstanding way to help feed Seattle’s hungry.  It’s endorsed by KING5 TV, which holds an annual food drive.  They’re very accessible and the donation process is both convenient and easy.  For more, please go here.


THE TODAY FILE:  “Your guide to the latest news from Seattle and around the Northwest”

Seattle Weather
Map of Seattle
Seattle City Cams
More Seattle Facts & Figures
Komo 4 News (ABC)
King 5 News (NBC)
Seattle Times




Late last month, in England, a dog named saved one of his mistresses’ children by pushing the young man out of the way of a speeding truck.  The dog took the full impact himself but survived and is expected to make a full recovery.  Yes, for details, please go here.


They’re taking back the ‘hood, as it were.  Check out the resurgence of wildlife in American cities.


Here are 15 wild animals who think they are part of the family.




Polar Bears: Up Close and Personal Photo Gallery


Shepherd Dog Adopts Tiger Cubs Abandoned At Russian Zoo (VIDEO)


Ancient redwoods, giant sequoias to be ‘archived’ on Oregon coast | OregonLive


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




And then there was this impossibly small dog who fetched the cat and brought it home.


A FINAL WORLD Bust with glasses


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 as a kindle book, for $3.99 at amazon.com.


For a preview, 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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