ANOTHER PAGE FROM THE BOOK OF SEAMUS

THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL

Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Volume 6, No. 41

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington

Seamus

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

Venice, Italy’s plan for flood-proofing itself sure seems to be working.

And last Thursday was the world-wide earthquake aware event, “the Great Shakeout.

WORLD NEWS SHORTS

AUSTRALIA Fight Resumes Against Bushfires

Abbott Says Boats Are Stopping

Fight To Save Homes In Blue Mountains

Firefighter Captures Bushfire Battles

Bikies Busted Under Right-To-Silence Law

CHINA China Reports A Modest Acceleration In Growth

Amid Heavy Pollution, Beijing Issues Emergency Rules to Protect Citizens

EUROPEAN UNION Europe Moves To Shield Citizens’ Data
INDIA In India’s Politics, Jail Time Is A Badge Of Honor

Video: Delhi’s Urban Sprawl

IRAN As Iran Shifts, Hard-Liners See Threat To Battle Cry
IRELAND Setting Pace, Ireland Predicts December Exit From Bailout
ISRAEL Tunnel Found From Gaza Into Israel, Military Says
MYANMAR Suu Kyi Calls For Constitutional Changes
NETHERLANDS DutchCity Hailed As Most Bike-Friendly
ROMANIA Romanian Villagers Block Chevron Frackers
RUSSIA Between Big Cities, A Road Passes The Russia Left Behind
SYRIA Top Syrian Intelligence Officer Is Killed In Fighting
UGANDA Uganda Fights Stigma And Poverty To Take On Breast Cancer
UNITED KINGDOM Britain Makes Overture To Repair Strained Ties With China

Britain Looks To Fracking As North Sea Oil Dwindles

Father, 29, Who Wrote Speeches For United Nations Leader Cannot Find A Job Despite Applying For More Than 500 Positions

UNITED STATES In Washington State, Home Of Highest Minimum Wage, A City Aims Higher

After Downtown Fire, A Historic South Carolina City Ponders Its Next Steps

Richmond Awaits A Bold Antipoverty Plan

Two Parties Start Work To Avoid Repeat Crisis

High Court Rebuffs Industry Over Climate Change, Lands

CLIMATE CHANGE

Sardines’ Sudden Disappearance

Moose Die-Off Alarms Scientists

High Court Rebuffs Industry Over Climate Change, Lands

NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

Eugene F. Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller Awarded Nobel in Economic Sciences

WAR ON TERROR

U.S. Army Hones Anti-Terror Strategy for Africa, in Kansas

THE WORLD

Saudi Arabia Rejects Security Council Seat

OH CANADA

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

octo 3 frame

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?

GOOD EXAMPLES

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.

BAD EXAMPLES

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

United States Senator Patty Murray — Working For Washington State

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.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray
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

Lifted From a Russian Lake, a Big, if Fragile, Space Rock

DISCOVERED: Bizarre ‘Tilt-A-Whirl’ Solar System

WATCH: Ten-Story Rocket Breaks Altitude Record, Nails Tricky Landing

CLOSER TO HOME SHORTS

The Rapid Advance of Artificial Intelligence

Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown

On Glowing Pickles and Undiscovered Galaxies: Student STEM Contest Winners

Skull Fossil Suggests Simpler Human Lineage

BIG ROCKS IN SPACE AND WHAT’S BEING DONE ABOUT THEM

Big Asteroid Headed Back To Earth

NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ

Okay, gang.  How much do you know about earthquakes?

And here’s a 10-question daily trivia we have emailed to us.

THE GREEN AGENDA

Folding up this paper battery makes it 14 times more energy-dense

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.

Stars Honored For Eco-Friendliness

Fracking Protests Turn Violent

High Court Rebuffs Industry Over Climate Change, Lands

HEALTH

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
 

LIFESTYLE

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.

A Father’s Perspective on Raising Decent Men by Christopher Zumski

Check out the ten things super successful people do during lunch.

The Roommate Revolution: Why Living Alone is Overrated

28 Female Thinkers You Should Know

IN MEMORIUM

Oldest living Medal of Honor winner dies at 96

Famed Cookbook Author Dies At 89

Zoo’s Oldest, First Chimpanzee Dies

BEST OF THE NET

Check out this tetherball-playing bear.

Meet The Rescued Hedgehog With The Heart Of A Champion

Check out these totally cool tree houses for adults.

10 Incredible Crater Lakes of the World

NORTHSTAR ENDORSES

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

BACK COUNTRY GALLERY:  BEST NATURE PHOTOS ON THE NET

BLACK SEA AGRO: AGRICULTURE IN THE BLACK SEA REGION

CREAM MAGAZINE & MILLENNIUM ART GALLERY

HELP END WORLD HUNGER & POVERTY | HEIFER INTERNATIONAL® | HEIFER.ORG

THE SEADOC SOCIETY: PEOPLE & SCIENCE HEALING THE SEA

SIERRA CLUB

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

WRITING FOR PEACE

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 TimesSardonic, ironic, sometimes poignantly incisive, this is also one of the longest running human interest blogs on the Net and well worth the read.

SEATTLE SCENES

Sometimes cute is its own reward as in this neighbor of mine and her dog, waiting for the Shoreline Metro bus.  Photo by Rusty Miller

Sometimes cute is its own reward as in this neighbor of mine and her dog, waiting for the Shoreline Metro bus. Photo by Rusty Miller

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
 

FROM NORTHSTAR

The October wallpaper from our favourite outdoor photographer is now available. 

 TESTAMENT ICON

WRATH OF THE TESTAMENT

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

For a preview, go here:

For the kindle book, ($3.99) at amazon.com

 

 NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES

Business Correspondence

Campaigns

Consulting

Copy Writing

Editing

Feature Magazine Articles

Ghost Writing

Humor

Interviews

Jokes

Online Research

Profiles

Proofreading

Resumes

Reviews

Song Lyrics

Special Projects

Speeches

Travel Copy

minstrel312@aol.com

206-478-9254

http://minstrel312.tripod.com

 

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?

You will enjoy this mysterious tale of Horrie, the hero war dog who saved hundreds of Diggers’ lives.

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 Year

RELATED 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

1Need more special people

 tod tag

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

If you’re reading this on our blogsite and would like the graphically enhanced edition delivered to you by email, please so inform us at minstrel312@aol.com

Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed.  Rusty

 

 

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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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