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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Volume 5, No. 52

Published by

Northstar Media Services

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington



 Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, like probably a lot of you, I find that the holiday season this year is some compromised by the shootings at Sandy Hook.  

Like many of you, I have seen this before.  I’ve never gotten used to it.  I keep waiting for society to do the responsible thing.  Weapons control doesn’t work.  If a human being is angry enough to engage in an orgy of slaughter, they’ll find a way.  Sandy Hook’s been going on since the Stone Age.

We need to pay more attention to one another.  Until we make that a priority, the slaughter of the most vulnerable will continue.  It’s not the healthy who kill.  It’s the people our way of life ignores or breaks who do that.

How does a society institutionalize compassion and that kind of caring?  How does the constituency legislate it?

For me, I’m thinking about the birth of another very special child.  I’m reflecting some on the man he grew up to be and how much he cared about kids.

I’m thinking it’s not that hard to protect our kids.  I’m hoping it’s no longer an issue of that being important enough. 

If it’s not, those kids from Sandy Hook on back died for nothing.

They deserve better than that and we’re going to do a lot better than that.  At least among Shannon’s twinkling lights.


Apparently, compassion for children and the impaired goes back at least as far as the Stone Age.

Time Magazine has named its Person of the Year.  Their choice might be controversial but I don’t imagine there will be much public debate on the runner up or the list of candidates.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

What are the cleanest cities on the planet right now?  The answers just might surprise you. 

And the happiest people on the planet live where?


Afghanistan:    Soviet-era Landmine Kills 9 Girls

AfricaCongo’s Never-Ending War,


IndiaDarjeeling Tea Growers Get Protection From E.U.

International:  Life Expectancy Rises Around World, Study Finds‘Peak Farmland’ Is Here, Experts Predict, As Crop Yields Rise And Population Growth SlowsBy 2017, the world will be burning enough coal for another U.S. and Russia

JapanLiberal Democratic Party Returns to Power in Japan

North KoreaA Rare Look Inside the Hermit Kingdom

The PhilippinesPhilippine Lawmakers Pass Reproductive Health Bill

Poland:  Poland Finds It’s Not Immune to Euro Crisis

South KoreaPark Geun-Hye, South Korea Presidential Candidate, Wins Election

RussiaPutin Evasive On Banning Adoptions By Americans, Russia Evacuation From Syria

South AfricaSouth Africa Since Mandela

SpainIn Spain, Having a Job No Longer Guarantees a Paycheck

US:  More Young Americans Are Homeless,


Record Drought Could Stop Shipping on the Mississippi River | News from the Fi

A Reminder of What Midwest Winters Are Abou

U.S. Wildfires: Burn Area Expected To Double By 2050


Syrians Airstrike Kills Palestinian Refugees

Farouk Al-Sharaa, Syria Vice President, Says Army Can’t Win

The Fight for Aleppo – Video

Russia Evacuation From Syria

Syria’s Al Qaeda Grows More Powerful

Syria War Increasingly Sectarian, UN Says

Cluster Bombs Used on Civilians in Syria – Slide Show –


The Canadian Space Agency’s Colonel Chris Hadfield last week became the first of his nationality to command the International Space Station.  He’s up there with an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for what is projected to be a five month stay.  For more on this one, please go here.

Why are prices higher in Canada than in the States:  The answers just might surprise you.

Why is Kevin Page Huffington Post Canada’s Story of 2012?


Life Expectancy Around The World: How Healthy Is Canada

Shell Scraps Drilling Plans in British Columbia Contested Area

Young Entrepreneurs And Trades In Canada: Generation Y Not All About Universit

Generation Y’s Job Fears Prompt Parental Envy, Poll Finds

Canada’s Natural Gas Industry Could Be Worth $1 Trillion

Canadian Police Arrest Three in Connection With Syrup Heist


We applaud President Obama for nominating US Senator John Kerry (D, Massachusetts) for secretary of state.  We agree with his reasons for doing so and hope this is an indication that good judgment is returning once again to the Oval Office.

Portland, Oregon’s five ecodistricts have moved from private sector funding to public as the City assumes fiscal responsibilities for them.  This is consistent with the city’s green evolution and a strong indication of how solidly it is supported by the citizenry at large.

As a result of a federal investigation, Shelby County, in Tennessee, is dramatically overhauling its treatment of juvenile offenders.  Apparently too many kids have been killing themselves while incarcerated there and while that seems to have been acceptable to authorities on the lower tiers of government, it was not deemed appropriate by national agencies also responsible for protecting particularly the young.


Wynwood, in Miami, Getting a New Life, and Art –

To Solve the Gender Wage Gap, Learn to Speak Up

Companies See High-Tech Factories as Fonts of Ideas


Tree poaching in the Pacific Northwest of America is no longer a real good idea, as one Washington man learned recently, to his extreme dismay.

The National Rifemans Association’s solution to the period public school massacre of American children has to be about as brilliant a piece of brainwork as bunkering up in anticipation of the end of the world simply because too many people never bothered to learn how to read a Mayan calendar.  This whole idea that the only way to deal with a bad person with a gun is to face them off with a good person with a gun is also a throwback to one of the most romantic and mischaracterized periods of American history and another indication to me that while a society at large might evolve, not every member of it does.

Now that it looks like the sale of assault rifles might be banned in some jurisdictions, there is, of course, a run on the flipping things.  It’s also a good indication of what prohibition of anything as a national policy tends to do in America.  It popularizes it; creates an increased demand for it; and fosters enterprise among that segment of the population not afraid to break the law to get what they want.  I can’t help thinking that if the government tried doing that with things that are actually good for us, we might be a healthier nation for it.


Yet another life-sustaining planet has been discovered orbiting a star relatively close to our own.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

his past year was a bunker one for archaeologists professional and amateur both.  To see what new discoveries were unearthed in 2012, yep, please go here.

It was also a great year for finding other planets in other solar systems which might support life.  For these highlights, go here.


Idle No More: Alberta Highway 63 Blockade Near Fort McMurray By First Nations

Opposition to Port Metro Vancouver’s coal shipping expansion grows

Railroad to Disaster? Inland Tribes Fight to Avert Coal-Train Destruction

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber releases 10-year energy action plan

Markese Bryant: From the mean streets to the green economy


Kids are apparently a lot tougher than many of us previously thought.  They can and do heal from extremely traumatic events, providing all other preconditions are in place.  Yes, for more, please go here.

Here are seven things we learned about longevity in 2012.

We found several more natural headache remedies and some holiday fitness tips from a professional trainer.


With more and more families living with several generations under one roof, we thought it might be helpful to offer this article on how to better understand 21st Century Teen Speak.

New statistics are in on the changing face of America.  For a fascinating look at a nation truly in socio-cultural revolution, please go here.

In another article on living better with less, check out Erin McCoy’s “How I Survived Breaking Up With My Car


Sex Surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene, 68: I’ve Slept With Over 900 People

How to Have Better Sex – 7 Steps to Take to Improve Your Sex Life

Mormon Women Wear Pants to Church

Meet the Minimalists

Living Large in Small Houses


See how much you know about the five most prevalent types of cancer among men; how to spot symptoms early and generally, what kind of treatments are most effective.

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


Check out Sergi Reboredo’s photos from around the world.  These are fantastic.

Go into the heart of a volcano with this Discover Channel video from the hit series “Curiosity”.

If you love photos from earth, this site offers some classics from as far back as the 1960s.  Some of these make fantastic wallpaper.

Check out this week’s images of the planet from the satellites which comprise NASA’s “earth observatory.”










Psychoanalyzing Washington: What we now know about ourselves

Projects to Transform Seattle, All Along the Waterfront

Obama: Pot Users In Washington And Colorado Not A ‘Top Priority

Peter Steinbrueck to announce run for Seattle mayor

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


The arachnidophiles among you are going to love this.  I am sooo NOT a spider person but I’ve got to admire the intelligence of this little dude in Peru.  Its creativity is downright scary and one more argument for the sentience of all creatures, great and small.

And then there was the Golden Eagle who decided she wanted to raise a human child.  She heard the best of the species were to be found in Montreal.  She went there and tried to swipe one from a city park.  It was caught on a video we predict will go viral because it is claimed to be fake.  Check it out here and get back to us about what you think.  If we get enough answers, we’ll run them in the New Year edition.  Here’s the link.  And thanks to Jessica and Benoit, from Quebec City for this gem.  Some of you have a sense of humour bordering on the flipping bizarre.

And at the other end of the world and some down under, the daycare center in Australia which needed to close down because of an infestation of pythons


Megapiranha, Prehistoric Piranha, May Have Had Strongest Bite Ever

Pygmy Right Whale: Rare Sea Mammal May Be Sole Survivor Of Supposedly Extinct Species

It Looks Like Dinosaurs Were Around Longer Than Previously Believed

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


And then there was the dock which came loose from its moorings during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March of 2011.  It embarked on a long voyage across the Pacific Ocean and very recently came ashore of a remote stretch of WashingtonState’s Olympic Peninsula, where it is being checked for radiation and invasive species while local authorities figure out what to do with it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Northstar Media Services, publisher of The Northstar Journal

From Northstar’s house to yours, here are several links that I have used for years and have shared with family and friends.  May you and yours know the best the Season has to offer. MS(R)M

INFLATION CALCULATOR is something I use when people start talking about how inexpensive things were in the past.  It introduces the cost of living and prevailing wage indices for a more realistic look at how much things really “cost.”  Here’s the link again:

KING 5 LIVE is Seattle’s NBC affiliate website.  In a geographic area the size of the American states of Delaware and Rhode Island, they provide streaming newscasts and other outstanding videos.  They are the best source for a non-resident to learn about Seattle and the greater Puget Sound and are in the same league professionally as the ABC affiliate in New York I use for a window on the Big Apple.  Here’s the link again:

MERRIAM WEBSTER ONLINE is the best pocket reference site I’ve ever found.  It also has a very engaging word game and puzzle section and an excellent crossword.  I visit this site daily and spend about a half hour with it doing mental calisthenics.  Here’s the link again:

SAYIT is a talking pronunciation international dictionary.  In this day and age of Skyping and other multimedia communication, it’s just as important for us to know how to speak as to spell.  I’ve found it’s also fun to be able to greet some of my international friends in their own language.  Here’s the link again:

SIMON is a “Simon Says” memory game in which the player presses four colored panels in a sequence prompted by the game.  It’s also a little addictive but the up side of that is that it can quickly become extremely energy intensive.  And yes, it’s another way to exercise the brain.  Here’s the link again:

TANK HUNTER is a shooter game that takes place on a radar screen, with sound effects.  It’s a good hand-eye coordination exercise and challenging because the targets fire back.  And the game learns from those who play it so it’s not a matter of learning a few tricks and zooming through all the levels.  Here’s the link again:


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.   If you’d like to receive the graphically enhanced edition of The Northstar Journal by direct email, contact me at and we’ll make that happen too.  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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