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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Volume 6, No. 41
ANOTHER PAGE FROM THE BOOK OF SEAMUS
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Interesting past week, eh? The Americans temporarily got their government going again, raised the debt ceiling and belatedly agreed that this better not happen again in January. We’ll see.
I woke up the same morning to a state-wide earthquake drill I’d totally spaced out. The rest of my household is even more grass roots than I am. KOMO News 4 reported three minor earthquakes overnight and all I could think of was, considering this exercise had been scheduled some months in advance, “Nice timing, Lord, and thank You.”
Quite a few of you have let us know how you feel about this Shutdown and Debt Ceiling crisis. We’re too small to run all of them but there are two which we believe are representative>
This first reader is a friend of ours whose political astuteness I value. A Texas A&M alum, she works as a paralegal at a law firm in Corpus Christi and volunteers one night a week at a local hospital. While I am not a particularly staunch Anything, I am a registered Democrat. She, on the other hand, is a stalwart Republican. She’s also a generation younger than I am.
On the surface, she and I don’t have a lot in common but we’re friends anyway and our differences tend to be complimentary rather than contentious. This dog and pony show on the Potomac has upset her deeply. The daughter of a roughneck, she has been colourfully articulate in her indignation and outrage.
We agreed that this is not the Republican Party of the two George Bushes. Nor is it the Democratic Party of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Whatever they have become, they are clearly not “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Someone else very close to me, a Persian Gulf War/Operation Desert Storm veteran now refers to Congress and the Executive Branch as “those morons on the mountain.” She has lost all respect for the Capitol Hill crowd and her expectations of them have dropped accordingly.
I sense that many Americans will be turning away from the federal government and probably, for awhile, government in general. Those still critically dependent on its services will either live in a constant state of anxiety or they will find other sources for what they need.
I anticipate that voter turn out will be strong until those responsible for this national obstruction are removed from office. That’s appropriate closure. After that, I don’t expect we’ll see much more than 55 percent participation on the national level. How long that will last will depend entirely on how Congress and the Executive branch conduct themselves.
As a necessary side note, I have absolutely no problem with how the Washington State Congressional delegation behaved. I am proud of them but I am not surprised. They do come, after all, from a place where good government is the norm, not the exception. And despite instant communication, it’s still a long way from the shores of the SalishSea to the banks of the Potomac.
In my experience, governments are a lot easier to watch and keep honest when it’s city hall, the county seat or the state or provincial capital, we’re talking about.
I’m reminded in these regards of my infamous Uncle Seamus, who ~ before he got asked to leave Ireland ~ ran sheep in SligoCounty and had a fair sized flock. One year there was a rash of wooly rustling and when they finally apprehended the thief, he turned out to be a career criminal in those regards.
Instead of looking for revenge or even damages, Seamus interceded for the sheep rustler and got him probation by agreeing to hire him and be responsible for his behaviour. When asked why in the world he would do such a thing, Uncle Seamus just shrugged and replied,
“A man that talented bears watchin’, now, doesn’t he?”
Until next week, gang, and thanks for the ear.
IN OTHER NEWS
Looks like the Shutdown inconvenienced America’s First Lady a little. Squirrels Raid First Lady’s Garden
And last Thursday was the world-wide earthquake aware event, “the Great Shakeout.”
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists
NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS
WAR ON TERROR
Well, this is not good news. Photos: British Columbians have become ruder Let’s just hope the 700 people interviewed to reach this conclusion were all like just having the same bad hair day.
A great fireball blazed across the skies of Alberta after a train carrying crude petroleum and liquefied gas derailed some 80 km west of Edmonton, on its way to Vancouver. For more, please go here.
This is probably a very good idea. Ontario weighs benefits of building its own public pension plan
She’s Canadian. He’s American. Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.
Sam: Good morning, my love. What are you and your one-eyed buddy up to this early?
Felina: Good morning, Dear. Arnold has been showing me how the American humans have apparently fixed the government. But this is still confusing to me.
Sam: You and some of the other brightest minds on the planet, Felina. And sometimes I think they deliberately make it that way.
Felina: Thank you very much for the compliment, mate mine. But why would they do that?
Sam: For the same reason that when one of their machines breaks down, a lot more is sometimes fixed than was broken in the first place.
Felina: Like Wilbur, the little duck who is always sick and quacks “Human!” every time a shadow darkens his path. But who is not sick, nor timid. Just extraordinarily enamoured of his own voice.
Sam: Yep, a lot like Wilbur. Those humans Arnie is telling you about —
Felina: Arnold, Dear.
Sam: Yeah, him too. Those humans that cyclops buddy of yours in the den is talking about get paid a lot of money to fix something, even when it’s not broken. And then put enough gas in it to keep it running for three months while they argue some more about how to fix it.
Felina: Fix what is not broken? And being paid for something that was not necessary? Samuel, mate of my three lifetimes, I am sorry but this is not helping.
Sam: That’s because even though it’s not logical, it is human.
Felina: Then these humans are insane.
Sam: These particular humans have been accused of a lot worse.
Felina: I am sure. I hope they give these scoundrels a good sound thrrashing and then run them out of town.
Sam: A little of the tar and feathers, oh gentle mate of mine?
Felina: Feathers would be an insult to the duck. Tar them with their own petard.
Sam: Darn the bloody torpedos and full speed ahead.
Felina: Remember Pearl Harbour. And to brush after every meal.
Sam: However, we digress.
Felina: We do indeed. For comic effect. But really, Samuel, fixing something that is not broken and then being rewarded for it? That is absolutely preposterous.
Sam: But human.
Felina: Sigh. Yes. But human.
Sam: Then on that note, oh sun and moon of my life?
Felina: So on that note then, Gentle Readers (but not you scoundrels), may the Creator bless and keep you. Until next week then, eh?
Some 600 young men annually are diagnosed with testicular cancer and over half of them die from it. Some college kids in Washington state are doing something about that. Visit them here sacksoflove.org or on their Facebook page.
Citizen-generated urban beautification has been a way of life in the Pacific Northwest for over two decades. It’s nice to see how the idea has caught on other places. Pretty vacants: Urban communities fill empty lots with gardens, skate parks, and creative possibility
The poaching of rhinos for their horns is going to get a lot tougher in one African country. The Kenya Wildlife Service is implanting microchips in the horns of the nation’s 1,000 or so remaining rhinos. The tiny devices act like a homing signal and authorities are looking at a broader application to reduce crime in general in that country.
This needs to be corrected in short order. We suspect that now that they know about it, it will. Britain’s Most Wasteful Towns Revealed As It Emerges That £15.1billion Worth Of Food Ends Up In Bins Every Year
FROM YOU GUYS
Dear Mr. Miller:
Thank you for writing me concerning genetically modified food. It was good to hear from you.
As you know, genetically modified foods are food products derived from plants or animals that have been genetically altered to improve production or increase nutritional value. These products may provide unique benefits, but they have also raised a number of unresolved questions regarding environmental impacts. As the science is not yet conclusive, many nations across the globe have implemented trade restrictions on genetically modified food. Washington state is a significant agricultural exporter and a place where growers and producers have to make hard choices between genetic advances in productivity and access to markets that resist these products.
On March 26, 2013, H.R. 933, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, was signed into law by President Obama. The bill was passed in order to prevent a government shutdown by providing funding to federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. Section 735 of the law directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow farmers to continue planning, purchasing, and planting USDA approved genetically modified crops undergoing a court challenge until there is a final decision in court regarding their use. This section expired on September 30, and was not included in the fiscal year 2014 funding bill.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://www.murray.senate.gov/updates.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
United States Senator
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE ND TECHNOLOGY
We found this paper battery whose voltage increases when it is folded, origami style to be really cool. Check it out here.
One reason that solar panels will cost less to install and maintain is because robots are going to start helping out.
Here’s a provocative look at the future. What will driver-less cars mean for pedestrians, cyclists and buses?
OUTER SPACE SHORTS
CLOSER TO HOME SHORTS
BIG ROCKS IN SPACE AND WHAT’S BEING DONE ABOUT THEM
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about earthquakes?
THE GREEN AGENDA
Grist magazine is looking for a few good fellows — Come work, write, and learn with them in Seattle for six months. Applications are open now.
Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, Nov. 3, at two a.m., when we set the clocks back. Autumn is also a transitional season which affects our health in a variety of ways. To see how you can mitigate the negatives and turn the changes into the health enhancing, please go here.
We’ve been beating the bloody drum deaf on this one. Check out these four ways to make exercise easier.
We did not write the headline for this one but we found it really interesting nonetheless. 10 Mind-Blowing Experiments That Will Change The Way You Understand Yourself
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Some 600 young men annually are diagnosed with testicular cancer and over half of them die from it. Some college kids in Washington state are doing something about that. Visit them here sacksoflove.org or on their Facebook page.LINKS Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
Grist magazine is looking for a few good fellows — Come work, write, and learn with them in Seattle for six months. Applications are open now.
Check out these 12 things you can use a Mason jar for besides canning. We do this in my house.
BEST OF THE NET
BLOGS WE FOLLOW
GRITtv With Laura Flaunders is about personal and community empowerment in an environmentally sane world.
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.
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.
THE GREAT SHAKE OUT
As many local residents know, last Thursday, the state and this city participated in the worldwide Great Shake Out. It’s been reported that 800,000 Washingtonians participated but I need to correct that to 799,999. I was so worried about the Great American Government Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crisis that I totally spaced it out until Brad and Liz at KOMO 4 told me about it. I have a bad habit of doing things like that. During the Nisqually Quake here, I thought the room was shaking because of something my girlfriend and I were doing in bed at the time. My ego was considerably deflated when I learned that it was not me who peaked my lady’s ardor but a flipping earthquake. For more on earthquakes and how best to survive them, yep, please go here.
CAN THE MIDDLE CLASS STILL AFFORD TO BUY A HOME IN SEATTLE?
Average home prices in KingCounty have increased 12 percent in the last year, reducing the number of homes on the market that someone making the median income of $50,000 can afford to finance. With the median home price being $420,000, only 55 percent of the residences listed fall within the middle class affordability range. For more, please go here.SEATTLE DIRECTORY THE TODAY FILE: “The latest news from Seattle & around the Northwest” What’s Going On In Seattle? Seattle Restaurant Guide Here’s the 10 day forecast 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
It is an America gone mad from the addiction to war and desperate for resources beyond her own borders. A military dictatorship controls the country and life is grim. The Republic is fighting for its very survival and for decades, especially with Latin America.
This is the world of the United States Coast Guard cutter Testament, a cybernetic patrol boat, and her six-person crew. Her mission, and those of her sister craft, is simple.
Quench the rebellion and stop the flow of Americans seeking refuge in Canada. Kill when expedient. Deliver the survivors to the Bellingham Re-Education Center.
A simple operational order and one which has served America well. Until Testament
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
When Olive Ridley hits the beach in Mexico, she has a lot of company. Go here to see why.
We’ve heard that old saying, “bees in your bonnet.” But 20,000 of them in someone’s attic?
FROM OUR GOOD FRIENDS OUT THERE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Here’s the October newsletter from our friends at the World Wildlife Fund. If you enjoy National Geographic, this will captivate you as well. Articles include Saving Reefs and the Life They Protect and Carve a Wild Pumpkin This YearRELATED LINKS: Living With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
There cannot possibly be anything stranger or more ridiculous than the Great American Government Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crisis so we’ll give this one a break this week.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
To subscribe to this Thought of the Day, contact Amy at SpringggRain@aol.com
A FINAL WORD
The Northstar Journal is entirely reader-supported. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to help out with a dollar or two towards the next, you can donate via Paypal at this website. Thank you. MS(R)M
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Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty