Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Volume 5, No. 50

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington

Uncle Sam


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, some of you have asked recently why it is we haven’t taken a more proactive stance in what’s going on in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, including Israel and Palestine.

With very rare exceptions, I don’t believe it is constructive for foreign governments to meddle in the domestic affairs of other nations.  It has been tried many times in the long history of some of these conflicts and even when the nations involved were conquered and became part of empires, the contention continued.

I have a particular disdain when such intervention is conducted by Mighty Nations with a solid history of colonization.  In at least one case I can think of, what it took to make one nation Mighty involved a program of genocide that was not forced upon an ignorant or unwilling citizenry but supported by a constituency which became rich on the slaughter.  The policy became so intrinsic a part of the culture that songs lauding it and films gloriously portraying it became high art and the behavior of the victors, very much to be emulated.

If I was a small country with domestic problems, I would not want a Mighty Nation like that within my borders or off my ocean shores.  I would fear its influence and I would be extremely reluctant to accept its aid, military or peaceful.  I would certainly not want it choosing sides and thereby announcing to the rest of the world that the Mighty Nation was dictating domestic policy to My Country.

I said there were exceptions and genocide is certainly one of them.  If military intervention were necessary to prevent it or to stop it, I would support it IF it was United Nations sanctioned and clearly a UN operation and not a Mighty Nation incursion with a couple of smaller Mighty Nations along for the ride to give it global legitimacy.

I also firmly believe that even Mighty Nations have more important things ~ at least for the moment ~ to be doing besides sending their citizens to foreign places to kill people they don’t even know, much less have reason to dislike.

For one thing, we’re back in a pioneering mode.  In order to save this planet from the extreme consequences of global warming, we’re literally going to have to change the landscape of our coasts.  Perhaps even more challenging, we are going to need to replace a fossil-fuel-dependent infrastructure with materials and power sources that are also both renewable and non-toxic to produce.

We, as individual citizens, need to take a long weekend to catalogue all the things we own or would like to own and ask ourselves how many of them we could do without if we knew it would help the young man down the street with the asthma that gets really bad when the wind blows the smoke from the mill on the other side of town the wrong way.

We must find a way to embrace the culture of restoration and re-greening with the same passion with which we have so often marched off to make war on other nations, humble and mighty alike.

We need, in the final analysis, to affirm our own global humanity before we ever again accuse another nation of having none.


Who are the world’s most powerful leaders now, according to Forbes magazine?  The answers just might surprise you.

It looks like an earthquake remembered where it last struck.  The impact rocked buildings in Tokyo but was, in fact, deep and off the coast.  It also did much less damage this time.  There was considerably less to revisit. 

I am an unabashed fan of “the Royals,” so it’s with some personal pleasure that the Northstar Journal congratulates Kate and her husband on this wee spark of life they’ve started.  My hope for that spark is “that your parents’ privacy will be respected and that by the time you are born, it will be a bit gentler world for children like you.”


AfricaAfrica’s Largest Solar Plant Will Be Built in Ghana

EuropeUnemployment in Euro Zone Rises to a New High

AustriaLaw Students in Austria Challenge Facebook Privacy Policy –

CanadaHottest Canadian Millennials: Generation Y’s Talented Guys & Gals Easy On the Eyes

CanadaCanada Won’t Condemn Israeli Settlement Plans, Stands Apart From U.S.

FranceYoung and Educated in France Find Employment Elusive

IndiaIndian Official Starts Pulling Up Corruption’s Roots in Mumbai

International:  Terrorist Attacks More Than Quadrupled In Decade Since Sept. 11, 2001, Study Finds

Middle East5 Nations Summon Israeli Envoys to Protest Settlement Plans

The PhilippinesTyphoon Botha:  Death Toll Rises in the Philippines

ScotlandGreetings from Schotlandia Scotland, dairy industry is in present decline

UN:  U.N. Treaty To Control The Internet? ‘Completely Untrue,’ Says U.N. Telecom

UN2012 Quality of Living survey

US:  US Senate Passes Russian Trade Bill, With a Human Rights Caveat

USMarijuana Legalization Poll:  Americans Want Federal Government To Leave States Alone

US:  November Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Adds 146,000 Jobs As Unemployment Rate Drop


After Hurricane Sandy, Dunes Prove They Blunt Storms

Hurricane Sandy Damage In New York By-The-Numbers

Cuomo Sandy Aid: Governor Travels To White House Urging For Quick Action On Relief Funds


Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit Record in 2011, Researchers Say –

Climate Change Study Indicates Amount Of Heat-Trapping Pollution Rose By 3 Percent

Special Report: IPCC, assessing climate risks, consistently underestimates

NOAA sees sea level rise of up to 6.6 feet by 2100

Doha Talks Show Need for Climate Action in Post-Sandy U.S.


Syria Rebels Find Skype Useful, but Dangers Lurk

Syria Chemical Weapons Threat: U.S., Russia Set For Surprise Meeting

Wider Chaos Feared as Syrian Rebels and Kurds Clash

Damascus Airport Becomes Battle Zone


During the third quarter, Canada’s gross nation produce grew at about 20% the rate of its neighbor to the south.  What does this economic slowdown bode for the nation now?

Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.2 percent in November as 59,000 jobs were created.

The population of Canada hit 35,000,000 last month.  With its large land mass, it is still one of the most sparsely settled nations on the planet.  To see how it compares with other nations its size in population and for more information in general, please go here.


Neutrality On Mideast Supported By Half Of Canadians, Poll Suggests

Vancouver’s Quality Of Life Tops Canadian Cities: Mercer Survey

City Calls On Port Metro Vancouver To Delay Coal Export Expansion

What Were The Most Popular Baby Names In Canada In 2012?

Pedestrian Deaths Dominate Vancouver Traffic Fatalities


They may not have the odds in their favor and there certainly are not very many of them, but thanks to a handful of Oregon legislators, the region’s salmon are making a slow return.

It’s now law.  As of December 6th, all you need to get married in Washington State is the price of the license.

Here’s something one just does not see very often; a consortium of mining companies and environmental groups working to save trout.


Massachusetts Boy, Receives Dream LEGO Set After Sending Heartfelt Letter to Company

Protecting the Ozone: 25 Years of the Montreal Protocol

Where Are My Cars, My Good Chap?


I have a great love of the Australian people and normally I’m pretty proud to be a journalist.  But when I read about how a pair of disc jockeys from Down Under deceived a source to get information they could never have obtained honestly, I’m not so high on the Fourth Estate.  When I learn that said source subsequently committed suicide, I’m glad I know people in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and several other places down there who are as appalled and as ashamed as I am.

Deforestation in the Amazon watershed destroyed a United Kingdom/State of Oregon-sized area between 2000 – 2010.  “Save the Rain Forest” was one of the battle cries of the Baby Boomer environmental movement.  Destruction of that vital part of the planet is still going on so it’s time for the daughters and sons of those first “Greens” to take this one up too. 

President Obama is apparently considering Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour for ambassador to either Britain or France.  It’s my understanding that these postings are often used to reward the party faith.  Ms. Wintour raised over $40-million for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign.  We’d still like to know what other “credentials” this ambassadorial candidate has.  Is she familiar with the history and culture of either nation?  Is she fluent in French?  What makes her more qualified than a candidate from say, the Diplomatic Corps, to begin with?


We would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of PZ in Oregon, Wisconsin.  When we opened the envelope, we heard the same bell that rang when Clarence got his wings in It’s A Wonderful Life.


Scientists are fascinated by the Great Dying off of most life on this planet about 250-million years ago.  Now they think it might have been started by a volcano spewing oxidized nickel that fell into the oceans and was gobbled up by nickel-consuming bacteria who just ate until they burst.  So if this theory is to be believed, gluttony was responsible for a mass extinction.  Why can I not seem to escape parallels in the 21st Century?

NASA’s extraterrestrial probe Dawn has just departed a year of orbiting a huge asteroid Vesta.  It found landscape on this huge planetoid suggestive of flowing water, despite the lack of an atmosphere or any traces of moisture, at least that Dawn could detect.

In an attempt to systemize the search for life on other planets, scientists have come up with the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, which lists all heavenly bodies discovered so far that could conceivably support organisms of some kind from the fundamental building blocks to creatures a thousand times more complex than ourselves.


Sumerian Language & Climate: Long Drought Killed Off Ancient Tongue, Research

Mercury ‘Pie Crust’ PHOTOS Suggest Underground ‘Ghost Craters,’ Scientists Say

Most Distant Object? Ancient Galaxy Discovered 13.3 Billion Light-Years From E


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.

Organics On Mars: Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence Of Organic Compounds On Red Planet

The other rover on Mars has apparently also been busy and has made a signficant find.  Opportunity recently celebrated its eighth year and 22nd mile on the Red Planet.


Washington’s Outgoing Governor, Christine Gregoire, Pushes for Ocean Acidification Action

Which Is Greener? It’s Not What You’d Expect

If It Was a Matter of Life or Death, Could You Eat Your Car?

Doha Climate Conference: China’s Demand For Emissions Leniency Challenged By US

Yakima Nation Contests White Salmon River Pipeline Construction In Washington

US Senator Maria Cantwell:  We shouldn’t have to rely on a research firm to police gas markets |

Oregon Governor Raises Concerns About Coal Exports


Most of us have known for years that getting out into nature is healthy.  I’d guess a lot of us have probably had a bit more of nature than we can handle.  For all practical purposes, I live in a forest and pretty much have since 1979.  But I can still remember smoggy Southern California and the sweltering San JoaquinValley.  Outside magazine has been examining getting out into nature from not only a health perspective, but of longevity.  They’ve got four beautifully illustrated articles of how this is working and why.  Please go here.

Here are ten foods we need to be worried about because they can cause us to get sick, especially during climatic extremes.

And as the season of the supreme “oink out” approaches it is probably very appropriate to provide information on How to Prevent Weight Gain Over the Holidays – a video


Real Men Visit the Doctor – Regular Checkups Prevent Heart Disease and Diabetes

Overcome Stress & Recharge

Take a Daily Morning Walk to Sleep Better and Stay Healthy


Every year, millions die on this planet simply because they lack the survival skills to do otherwise.  See how you’d do if proverbial push ever came to shove.

Residential mail and package theft always goes up this time of year.  Here are tips to keep you from being victimized, and our thanks to the Wedgwood Wide Block Watch Program here in Seattle for these. 

  1. Get a locking mailbox.
  2. If you have a mail slot in your door, request the postal delivery people to use that. 
  3. If you’re expecting a package, track it through the delivery service. FedEx, UPS, and USPS all have fairly good tracking systems. And make arrangements accordingly. 
  4. Ask your neighbors to watch for deliveries and for packages on your porch, and watch for packages on theirs. Make an agreement that you’ll do this for each other. (When I retrieved a package from a friend’s porch, her neighbor took down my license number and was prepared to report me. I can’t argue with that. It’s great Block Watch action!) 
  5. Without being too paranoid, be alert for strangers on your block, especially if they’re visiting porches. Notify USPS when going on vacation. Call 800-275-8777. Ask your local post office to hold your mail. 
  6. Outgoing mail is important, too. Never, ever, include a check in outgoing mail that you leave on your porch for USPS pick-up. Take it to the post office.

And there’s a reward for your watchfulness! The United States Postal Inspection Service offers up to a $10,000 Reward for information and services leading to the arrest and conviction of any person for Mail Theft. Theft of mail, or even possession of stolen mail, is a Federal Felony and upon conviction each offense may be punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to five years. (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1708)

Even though I believe that age is just a number if you’re healthy, grounded and doing for others, I enjoyed this humorous essay entitled, “You Know You’re Middle Aged When…


The Perfect Gift From the Kitchen Is ‘Real Food,’ Says Julia Moskin

A Smarter Thermostat To Save Energy

Vegetables That Cold-Proof Any Salad

Northwest’s Rural Gay Community Coming Out Of The Shadows

Building Homes for Modern Multigenerational Families


For the frugally minded, here are 100 gifts that can be purchased for twenty dollars and under.

For the nature minded, Adopt a black bear and protect wild places like Yosemite National Park.


At the request of several of you, we’re providing this information again.  Causes Of Cancer: What Lifestyle Changes Can You Make To Keep Cancer Away?

Anyone fighting breast cancer is aware of the drug tamoxifen.  New studies strongly suggest that it should actually be used much longer than previously prescribed.  For more information, please go here.  Also please contact your health care provider for further consultation.

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


New York Times Op Ed contributor Hilary Leila Krieger asks us to take another look at the true meaning of Hanukkah.


A delightful video interview with British actor Sir Michael Caine

NASA Images: ‘Earth As Art’ Book Will Take Your Breath Away (PHOTOS)

Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg:’ 2D House’s Machine Will Make You Question Which End Is Up

New NASA images show the Earth’s electric light show









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.

Another sign of the season, lights in a Wedgwood rock garden

Another sign of the season, lights in a Wedgwood rock garden


For years, zip code 98118 has enjoyed a reputation for being not only the most culturally diverse in Seattle but very possibly in the United States.  It turns out that it’s not.  I found this article a totally fascinating look at a city in which I’ve lived for over 20 years, including for about six months in that particular neighborhood

20 great Seattle places to take your family

Seattle legends: Truth or fiction?

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


A Native American tells us why it is necessary to restore sockeye salmon runs to a lake and the river which feeds it.  I found this as moving as it was informative.

Here’s another update from the Cornel University’s avian program, including “seven wild sounds you’ll love to listen to.

Cats in Christmas trees (and one guilty dog)


SeaDoc Society December Update:  Lots of Cool Stuff In This One

Endangered Species Canada: Bats, Snakes Among Species In Danger In Canada

Adorable Scottish Fold Kitten Really, Really Wants Your Attention (VIDEO)

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


And down in New Zealand, dogs are learning to drive.

 Bust with glassesA FINAL WORLD

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 

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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