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Sunday, July 21, 2013
Volume 6, No. 28
IS RACISM ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA?
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, I don’t know how it is in your house but here at Northstar, we’re waiting for the arrival of the next Royal and pondering the implications of the Trayvon Martin verdict.
I honestly try not to have an opinion about some issues, events and people. I tend to be more value-related. For instance, I don’t know whether the verdict was appropriate. But due process was served and it doesn’t look like the decision has been appealed.
I watched several of America’s black leaders ~ including President Barack Obama, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairman of the House Black Caucus, and US Attorney General Eric Holder ~ discuss racism in America.
According to them and others, it still exists and I think that’s very sad. I am adopted but I grew up in a racially prejudiced household. I clearly remember watching on television when police dogs were unleashed against Civil Rights protestors during the Sixties. My father ~ a California Highway Patrolman ~ was sitting in “his” chair, having a beer and cheering the canines on, this guy responsible for law enforcement in his corner of America.
As sometimes happens, I came out of that bastion of bigotry loving all the colours of the rainbow, much to my stepfather’s mortification. Granted, it took “escaping” to the service and service in a theatre of war, where I served with men and women of all colours, religions and ~ though closeted ~ gender preferences.
I think it was with them, under those circumstances, that I learned my greatest lesson about humanity in general. When it comes to running a ship ~ which is like a floating city at sea ~ none of this crap about what is “supposed” to be important in assessing (or passing judgment on) a human being matters. What matters is whether the person assigned the job can do it.
Since then, I’ve also learned a couple of things about bigots Most of them have very low self-esteem. No one who really respects themselves needs to put someone else down to feel good. And no honest person needs to exploit someone else to be happy either.
I don’t hang out with people like that unless it’s to sell them a white sheet made by someone they would not like. If racism still exists in America, the victims need to cash in on it as well.
We can use the money to stop this practice of inter-species breeding which produces these flipping idiots in the first place.
IN OTHER NEWS
Last week, we told you about Malala Yousafzai. When the Taliban shot this young Pakistani last October for campaigning for better education, they thought they had quelled a movement. They thought wrong. She survived and came out swinging. If Malala Yousafzai ever runs for national office, I will probably immigrate to that country just for the privilege of voting for her. This past week, the Taliban apologized for that attack.
We join much of the world and certainly the Fourth Estate in marking the passing of American journalist Helen Thomas. Described in a New York Times headline as a “barrier busting White House reporter,” she was ~ across the board ~ a great deal more than even that. Along with former California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird and feminist and human rights activist Joanne Elizabeth Blossom, Ms. Hunt was an outstanding role model, professionally and privately. For an outstanding tribute to a totally stellar individual, please go here.
Great Britain legalized gay marriages last week, with the approval of Queen Elizabeth II. The United Kingdom joins the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain and Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway and Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2006 & 2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), New Zealand and Uruguay (2013). Source: AFP, Paris, July 13, 2013
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
TOPICAL NEWS SHORTS
Industry forecasters turned out to be wrong. The housing boom is back, if ~ in fact ~ it ever ended in the first place.
After the train wreck in Lac-Megantic, Canada’s two largest rail carriers are instituting tighter safety measures.
Well, it looks like at least in Canada, drone aircraft ~ also known as unmanned air vehicles (UAV) ~ are here to stay. Despite my initial concerns of an Orwellian, Big Brother Can See Me nature, they seem to just be automation in action. They’re still controlled by a human pilot. The pilot just isn’t in the aircraft. I discussed this with a retired Boeing engineer who pointed out to me that technology as basic as the human hand is only as good or as evil as the purposes to which it is employed.
When we see behaviour like this, we’re inclined to believe that the compassion gene is alive and well in some human beings. Check this out. It’s about a diver freeing a huge Right whale from a fishing line before she drowned.
Last week ~ in Seattle Scenes ~ we ran a photo and a short article about one of Seattle’s alternatives to private transportation. Here’s further endorsement of this particular good example.
Apparently the United States Marine Corps has had its bellyful of sexual assaults among the ranks. Now maybe the Department of the Navy will start taking this seriously. And then the Joint Chiefs. From Northstar’s mouth to God’s ear. And Semper Fi, guys. Bravo zulu and nice going.
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
If you’re at least as big a fan of undersea exploration as I am, this article Incredible Technology: How to Explore the Deep Sea: From underwater robots to submersible vehicles, technology has begun to give humans a glimpse of the deep sea landscape. will absolutely fascinate you.
If you are one of these intrepid people who enjoys going where you need to take your own oxygen and tee pee, imagine landing on a planet where the dominant life form seemed to be this rather destructive flying ant that made a lot of noise that made absolutely no sense to you. See if the following will help you. WATCH: Are We Too Stupid For Alien Attention?
CLOSER TO HOME
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY READER QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about elephants?
THE GREEN AGENDA
Peru’s poorest will soon have solar power: Two million of Peru’s poor are getting solar panels (a nice upgrade from oil lamps). Why can’t we do that?
Wind power is a steal: Big deals in Midwest show wind’s affordability: New wind farms in the Upper Midwest are cheaper than natural-gas plants, so utility Xcel plans to boost its wind capacity by 33 percent.
If you want to help the environment, try not being a jerk to your friends: Here is a research-backed tip on green evangelism: Act nicely, and don’t make people feel like hypocrites.
Deepwater Horizon blamed for still more oil spills: Mysterious oil sheens spotted in recent months in the Gulf of Mexico have been traced back to the submerged wreckage of the rig, scientists stay.
Obesity, which kills about three million people a year, could soon be a condition of the past. British researchers believe they have discovered the gene responsible for it. They believe that as they study how it works, they will be able to modify its behavior.
Lose two pounds or 9/10ths of a kilogram and gain of gram of gold worth $45. It’s a Ramadan contest and the only catch is that you need to live in Dubai. We still think it’s a good idea except that with obesity rates as high as they are in some countries, $22.50 a lb/.45 kg would likely bankrupt the national treasury.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Could one of the most popular soft drinks (sodas) in America be carcinogenic? If you don’t live in California, yep, it could be.
If you still do not believe in the power of love, perhaps this will convince you. Separated By War, Childhood Sweethearts Reunite After 70 Years And Tie The Knot
BEST OF THE NET
Clouds Cover NYC’s Last Manhattanhenge Sunset of 2013: Cloudy skies blocked New Yorkers’ view of “Manhattanhenge” this evening, a phenomenon when the sun hits the horizon precisely in line with Manhattan’s rectangular grid of streets.
Video: Fun Factory: After spending a shift on the factory floor, young workers in China’s manufacturing cities let off steam.
SITES WE PERSONALLY ENJOY EACH WEEK
BLOGS WE FOLLOW
The Tomatoman Times – Sardonic, ironic, sometimes poignantly incisive, this is also one of the longest running human interest blogs on the Net and well worth the read.
Meade’s California Coast is moving commentary and photos by one of that state’s premier photojournalists. Short, poignant and memorable, it is a tribute to both the craft and the subject.
No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News is like a blend of Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and the science pages of the New York Times and the Huffington Post. I totally geek out when I read these folks.
SEATTLE SCENESAll photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor. For a virtual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here.
Like a growing number of American cities, Seattle is going “mini park happy.” Around the corner from the House of Northstar, is Pinehurst Pocket Park. It’s a great place for a picnic table lunch, laptop conversation or park bench afternoon nap. It’s also my current favourite place for a “first green date.”
NEWS, WEATHER & INFORMATION
Well, our portion of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound) was apparently the vacation destination for a family of tourists who are not known for spending a lot of money or asking where all the rain is when they hit town on a sunny day. They’re a fun group, nonetheless and since we have two resident pods up here, they also could have been orcas in laws. Yep, check them out here AND here.What’s Going On In Seattle? Seattle Restaurant Guide Here’s the 10 day forecast SEATTLE DIRECTORY Seattle Weather Map of Seattle Seattle City Cams More Seattle Facts & Figures KOMO 4 News (ABC) KIRO 7 (CBS) KING 5 News (NBC) Seattle Times
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Remember Lucky, that tiny kitten whose rescue from a burning home was recorded on the helmet camera of the fireman involved. That footage has been reworked into a short “Indie Video” reminiscent of the epic films of the Golden Age of Hollywood. If you do nothing else today, call whoever else is around to the screen and share this invitation to die of acute Cute.
Positive Buzz: One Bumblebee Species Makes A Comeback: In A Hopeful sign for bee fans, the once-common Western bumblebee has been glimpsed in Washington state for the first time since the mid-90s.
We’re delighted to report that a large pod of Minke whales has been seen in the Irish Sea, 19 miles east of Irish Eye, on the Dublin Coast. For more and an excellent source of worldwide animal news, yep, please go here.
SHORTSWorld Wildlife Fund RELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
In six years as a weekly and three as a monthly, this is absolutely the weirdest story we have ever shared. It’s about a Canadian teenager who volunteered to work at a South African wildlife park because she really wanted to hug one of the big cats. She was warned about the total inappropriateness of this mode of affection expression. She was caught hugging or trying to hug several animals. She was seen doing that to a big lion, whose mate was looking on. Later that day, when she got too close again, both attacked her and attempted to drag her into their cage. She survived and now blames the wildlife park for making it too easy for the lions to get ahold of her in the first place. I know, so go here.
AVAILABLE FROM NORTHSTAR
WRATH OF THE TESTAMENT
an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion
| NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES
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A FINAL WORLD
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Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty