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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vol. 6, No. 51

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington

The Space Needle from Capitol Hill, with Elliott Bay in the background.  Photo by Merritt Scott Miller

The Space Needle from Capitol Hill, with Elliott Bay in the background. Photo by Merritt Scott Miller


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Seattle is an interesting place to live.  Even in America, which is young as nations go, this jewel on the shores of the Puget (pew-jet) Sound’s ElliottBay, is recent.  And the first white people who settled here were not Mr. & Mrs. Albert Einstein.

They landed in a beautiful place that was mostly deserted by the Native inhabitants, who came here for the salmon, the clams and the shellfish but did not establish a permanent presence.  It never occurred to Seattle’s European antecedents to wonder why. 

So they ended up building right down on the water during a period of low tides and were doing fine until that cycle ended.  When their toilets started backing up, they realized it was time to move to higher ground or make some.  With some 60 regrades of the immediate topography in a massive infrastructure program the Pharaohs would have envied, they did the latter.  When you take a tour of the Seattle Underground, it’s not a good idea to take a deep breath.  It still doesn’t smell very good down there after over 100 years.

The signal landmark of the community is over 50 years old and rises majestically above the more pedestrian cityscape as a yet colorful reminder of a time when the Space Age was young and so were Baby Boomers.  What bothers me is that the Needle sits on a hill and at the top of the column, there is a restaurant which does a 360 on a regular basis.  Seattle is on an isthmus between a big fresh water lake and a saltwater sound.  Salt’s other name is sodium chloride and the same seasoning so prized by our species also corrodes metal. 

There is also an unconfirmed rumor that the Needle is actually an alien vessel waiting for the right dinner crowd before it zooms off into the wild blue yonder and has tourists for lunch, literally.   I’ve never been up in the Space Needle.  Nothing short of a date with the traffic lady I have a crush on, will ever get me up in the Space Needle.  I was not raised to be an entrée on some Venusian Delicatessen’s lunch menu.

Seattle’s Pike Place market started out with onions and grew to be a multi-leveled labyrinthine mercantile Mecca.  If you’re one of those “Shop ‘Til I Drop” people, you’ll die happy here.  And if you’re both idealistic and masochistic, you can come down and really feel bad about materialistic our species has become.

Seattle is built on several hills.  Beneath downtown and under several of those hills are tunnels for trains and buses.  Another reason the Natives never built permanent structures here is that occasionally the earth shakes and even giant trees go boom.

That did not stop the people who live here now from importing from Japan the largest earth boring machine in the history of the galaxy to build yet another tunnel to replace an aging infrastructure called the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The boring machine’s name is Bertha.  Bertha is currently stuck some 60 feet underground.  She hit a locomotive that was part of the bigger recyclables used as landfill during all those regrades at the turn of the 20th Century.

The University of Washington’s seismologists tell us that we can expect “the big one” any time now.  I hope they get Bertha unstuck before that occurs.  It’s embarrassing enough that it happened in the first place.

Sometimes this toddler of a city is much better at messing its diapers than it is at changing them.


This has to be a little humbling.  Humans Topped by Pigs on the Food Chain

This is more like the American Motor Industry I know and love.  G.M. Names First Female Chief Executive

We’ve been expecting this but it is still good news.  Wind energy becoming cheaper than natural gas


AFGHANISTAN Justice for Abused Afghan Women Still Elusive, U.N. Report Says

Afghan Leader Agrees to Talks on Closer Iran Ties

In Afghanistan, Women Betrayed

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Stopping Bloodshed in the Central African Republic Amid Ghosts of Genocide
CHINA Crowd Battles Police in Singapore District

Export Surge Sets Up Big Surplus for China

Xiaomi Plans to Expand Into Southeast Asia

China imposes first-ever West Coast shellfish ban

EGYPT Snow In Egypt For The First Time In 100 Years, Reports Say (PICTURES)
EUROPEAN UNION Europe Moves to Curb Some Deep-Sea Trawling
GERMANY German Coalition Hangs on a Vote by One Party

Social Democrats Secure a Third Term for Merkel

INDIA The Beast in India’s Midst

India’s Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex

IRELAND Hardships Linger for a Mending Ireland
ISRAEL Israel Shelves Plan to Move Bedouins Amid Outcry
JAPAN A Building Boom in Japan Has Echoes From the Lost Decade

Japan’s Top Voice: High, Polite and on the Phone

MEXICO Mexico’s Pride, Oil, May Be Opened to Outsiders

Ciudad Juarez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back to Living

NORTH KOREA North Korea Releases List of Accusations Against Purged Official

A Gamble for North Korea’s Young Leader

Public Ouster in North Korea Unsettles China

North Korea Says Leader’s Uncle Was Executed as a Traitor

Execution Raises Doubts About Kim’s Grip on North Korea

RUSSIA With No Notice, Putin Scraps Kremlin News Agencies
SOUTH AFRICA In Soweto and Beyond, Mandela Still Serves as a Beacon of Hope
SOUTH KOREA South Korea Announces Expansion of Its Air Defense Zone
THAILAND Members of Thai Opposition Party Quit Parliament

Thai Premier Calls for Elections as Opposition Quits

Thai Prime Minister Facing Leadership Questions Old and New

UNITED KINGDOM Should The UK Follow Uruguay’s Lead And Legalise Cannabis?

Woman’s Search For Son Ends In Lockerbie Grief

The Sun Puts Maternity Leave MP On ‘Lazy’ List

UNITED STATES Mandela, Self-Declared Yankee, Gets Plaque in Monument Park

Travel Snarled on East Coast in a Blast of Snow and Sleet

Eastern States Press Midwest to Improve Air

Though Growth Is Slowing, States See More Budget Stability, Report Finds

F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for Livestock

Broader Approach Urged to Reduce Gun Violence

In 2 States, Corner Cannabis Store Nears Reality


Postcard from the edge: Urban conundrums on the front lines of climate change

Is global warming stoking an Arctic cold war?


Spies’ Dragnet Reaches a Playing Field of Elves and Trolls

Tech Giants Issue Call for Limits on Government Surveillance of Users

A Senator Plans Legislation to Narrow Authorities’ Cellphone Data Requests

China Is Tied to Spying on European Diplomats

Snooping Derails Diplomacy

A Disappearing American Spy, and a Scandal at the C.I.A.

Officials Say U.S. May Never Know Extent of Snowden’s Leaks

France Broadens Its Surveillance Power


U.S. Suspends Nonlethal Aid to Syria Rebels

Chemical Arms Used Repeatedly in Syria, U.N. Says


Protesters in Kiev Topple Lenin Statue as Rallies Grow

Ukraine on Edge as Protesters and the Authorities Face Off

Ukraine Raids Party’s Office and Encircles Protesters

Ukraine on Edge as Protesters and the Authorities Face Off

Ukraine’s Forces Move Against Protesters, Dimming Hopes for Talks

Ukraine’s President Convenes ‘Round Table’

In Ukraine’s East, a Message for Protesters: Stop

Signs of Momentum Shifting to Protesters in Ukraine


In the wake of the Lac-Mégantic, Que. disaster last summer, Ottawa has officially designated crude oil a very dangerous substance.  New and tougher rules regarding the shipment of this fossil fuel are imminent.

Santa must be in rapture about this.  Canada has formally claimed the North Pole.

Considering there was a time when it took a letter a week to get from Surrey to North Van, perhaps this isn’t really that bad an idea after all.  Sigh.  Canada to Stop Delivering Mail to City Homes Over 5 Years

She’s Canadian.  He’s American.  Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.

She’s Canadian. He’s American. Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.

 Felina:     Samuel, would you mind joining Arnold and I in the den for a moment?  And please bring that CD that has all of the life on the planet on it.

Sam:        Gotcha.  Anything else I can get for you and Arnie?

Felina:     Arnold, dear.

Sam:        Yeah, him too.

Felina:     Well, it is brunch time.

Sam:        One onion and sesame street bun and lox for the Lady Mountain Lion and the CD with All The Life on the Planet for Arnold the television set.

Felina:     Thank you, oh mate of my three lives.

Sam:        Not a problem, Sweetheart.  Hang on a second.  And by the miracle of instant teleportation, “Shazaam, ma’am.  My name is Sam.”

Felina:     You make me smile, Dear.

Sam:        I think that’s what I love most about you Canadians.  Sometimes you are very easily entertained.

Felina:     Careful, my dear.  You Americans have an occasionally lethal habit of not watching the ice on which you are skating.  Did MacGyver teach you nothing?

Sam:        Point well taken and gotcha.  However, we digress.

Felina:     We are the mistress and master of ceremony of digression.  We are the Fred and Ginger of digression.

Sam:        Go for it, Felina.  You’re on a roll.

Felina:     A poppy seed roll, with creamed cheese and smoked salmon.  A real she-cat roll.

Sam:        Is there any other kind, my love?

Felina:     Quite so.  Samuel, what is this creature called Bertha and what is it doing at the bottom of a deep hole beneath the streets of this majour human community of Seattle?

Sam:        Okay, that’s going to take a little explaining.

Felina:     It looks like it is going to take a lot of explaining.

Sam:        We already know that some human beings prefer to live under the ground, rather than on top of it.

Felina:     Like earthworms, yes.  And I know they like to travel under it as well as on it and over it.

Sam:        Yep.  That’s a good course you’re charting, Sweetheart.

Felina:     This is not a living creature, then, this Bertha?

Sam:        Nooope.

Felina:     So it did not fall in?  And if it did not fall it, it must have…  Oh no.

Sam:        Yep and sorry, Felina.  I hate to be the one to break it to you but these creatures you insist on studying so intensely and love in spite of themselves are using the biggest human-built “mole” in the history of the Constellation to dig a tunnel to drive their fume-spewing metal camels, horses, jackasses and mules through.

Felina:     No wonder Arnold did not want to tell me.  They are digging this tunnel into dirt they already moved one hundred years ago and in a land where the earth shakes violently sometimes and volcanoes belch flame and smoke into the sky?

Sam:        Ummm, well, yep.  That’s about the size of it.

Felina:     This is absolutely preposterous. 

Sam:        That’s one word for it, Sweetheart.  Not necessarily the one I would use.

Felina:     You are a Colonial.  I do not curse in American.  Even for them, Samuel, this is insane.  The Creator should give them all a big spanking.

Sam:        If you stop and think about it, between three volcanoes and “the big one” they’re expecting any day now…

Felina:     I would settle for a very small one.

Sam:        Just enough to bury Bertha.

Felina:     Deeply.  And forever.

Sam:        Gotcha.  Then on that note, Felina?

Felina:     On that note, Gentle Readers, may you be blessed with the harvest you have sown.  And may the Creator keep you safe in the palm of Her paw.  Until next week then, eh?


This will move you.  Teacher who survived Sandy Hook, saved lives, opens up

We thought this was incredibly creative.  A Copenhagen trash incinerator doubles as a ski slope.

In one of the last conversations I had with him before he died, Ernest Callenbach said that re-greening the planet would take place one community at a time and that kids would play a major role.  He was right on both counts.  Smokestack city: An industrial neighborhood decides it has had enough


We know where these folks are going.  I hope they have lots of sun screen. Thieves broke into a convent and stole all their organic Brussels sprouts

You can help find this veddy bad dudeFunding Hunt for African Warlord Joseph Kony.

Not only is India not safe for women, it looks like it could soon be lethal to gays.  India’s Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Law Banning Gay Sex


Meet perfluorotributylamine, the world’s worst greenhouse gas

18 Charged in Inquiry Into Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office

Energy Department to Give $226 Million to Support Nuclear Reactor Design


Is aging necessary?  Apparently not as much as we think.

Guess who landed on the moon?  Nice going, guys.

And can a coal fired plant do this for us?  How offshore wind farms could protect us from hurricanes

Here On Earth

At Your Door in Minutes, Delivered by Robot

Turns out those old-fashioned ways of farming were actually pretty smart

Yellowstone Super Volcano is HUGE!


Is genetic engineering a doomed effort to reinvent nature’s wheel?

Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots

Bird Poop May Be Key To Protecting Planes, Passengers

Outer Space

200,000 People Apply for One-Way Ticket to Mars

WATCH: How Earth Might Look To An Alien Spacecraft

Death of a Comet: What We Learned from the Passing of ISON


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

And for others so addicted, here is a 10-question daily trivia we have emailed to us.


Six good reasons to watch the Supreme Court’s interstate air pollution case

People in China are beating the smog by sticking cigarette filters in their nostrils

Harvard Votes to Ban the Bottle

Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes

2014 World Cup to nearly double carbon emissions over 2010

Secondhand smoke: Why East Coast cities are still choking on Midwest pollution

Journalist for China’s state TV station says that smog makes you funnier and smarter


Healthy eating actually costs less than previously thought, according to a recent 10-nation study.

We’ve long suspected this.  Now if they could just bring the price down.  Organic milk is better for your heart

Along these same lines and with all due respect to 21st Century technology, check out these eight tricks our ancestors knew about preparing healthy food.


Magnetic nanoparticles to cure cancer

NOURISHMENT FOR BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT:  Leah Libow, Wellness Coach, Nourishing Educator, Cook, Writer

This week I have found myself lounging a lot – giving into winter’s pull towards rest and rejuvenation, towards the darkness and quiet that comes with rooting our energy underground like trees.

Along with lounging, one of the things I love to do when it’s cold outside is to cook! This week’s blog is a continuation of my exploration with using food and cooking as ways of connecting in with all parts of ourselves and the world around us. What is Wellness? Attending to Making Love goes a step beyond being “present” with our bodies and our food by looking at how attending to our lives through intention and love can bring about a whole new way of being. And there’s a Kraut recipe included!

And, since I love to support and be engaged with other folks who are promoting Wellness in this world, I’ve written my first review about a local organization that is making great strides in connecting us to our food. Check out my write-up on Übrlocal’s first annual dinner – Singing Our Landscape – Übrlocal Creates Connections! This awesome new organization is attending to making the connections between food growers and producers and the folks that love them.

As we settle further into winter and celebrate our intimate connections with family and friends, I encourage you to also consider those folks who make it easier for you to live nourishing lives: farmers, grocery store clerks, bus drivers, taxi cab drivers, mechanics, baby sitters, healers, environmental organizations, etc.  Without everyone doing their part in nourishing this world we could not thrive and survive.

AND….thank you for continued support of my endeavor to be a part of your nourishment!

May you be nourished,



Dasani: A Future Resting On A Fragile Foundation

WA Same-Sex Marriage’s Economic Boost

Video: Huishan Zhang: A Global Style Education

Wild Eats, Resilient Farms, And Freedom From Money: 3 Holiday Reads For The Radical Homemaker


Watch: Goats Outrun Avalanche

This is the awesomest bike video ever, just watch it

Photo Essay: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Joins the Green Museum Movement


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL — AI has been at the front of every human rights issue and concern since its founding in 1961 by a British attorney.  Without this organization, thousands would still be imprisoned and international justice would yet be a dream.

BACK COUNTRY GALLERY:  BEST NATURE PHOTOS ON THE NET — This nature photographer’s work is the single best I’ve seen outside National Geographic.

BLACK SEA AGRO: AGRICULTURE IN THE BLACK SEA REGION — This region feeds most of the former Soviet Union.  How they tackle issues of concern to their own agrarians deserves to be read by every farmer on the planet.

CREAM MAGAZINE & MILLENNIUM ART GALLERY  — We have a relationship with the two Canadian men in Vancouver who own and manage this gallery that goes back over 30 years.   They were the first to publish our mountain lions, Felina and Sam.  Their literary magazine features talent from all over the world and their virtual gallery is a cozy rainy afternoon virtual excursion.

GRITTV WITH LAURA FLAUNDERS is about personal and community empowerment in an environmentally sane world.

HELP END WORLD HUNGER & POVERTY | HEIFER INTERNATIONAL® | HEIFER.ORG  — This was recommended to us by a staffer who loves cows and admires the splendid work this particular organization is doing.

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.

OUTSIDE MAGAZINE — This is the comprehensive weekly for the rugged and socially responsible nature sports set, which marginally includes me.  The National Geographic is still the standard here so if NG is ten, OM is an eight.


Affiliated with the University of California – Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, these folks are headquartered on a small forested island in the north part of Washington state’s Puget Sound.  They are actively involved in research, education and legislation to protect the marine environment.  Their monthly newsletter is an animal lover’s delight.


Historically, the Sierra Club has been in the vanguard of the Conservation Movement.  They are very reflective of the mountains for whom they are named.


I like the spirit with which these folks pursue the task of protecting life on this planet.  They’re engaging, interactive and educational without being preachy.  They’ve learned early on the power of a good visual and a restrained narrative.  Reading their newsletter is like talking to a naturalist.


This is an ambitious project which I think has an inestimable value to those learning about war. These weekly blogs are written by those who have experienced that particular horror.  Because I’ve seen some of the more horrific things they write about, I don’t go there often.  Anyone who still believes that war is better than peace should.


Bertha cropped


The embarrassing news is that the world’s biggest boring machine got stuck 60 feet down when it struck a 19th Century locomotive used as landfill during the Denny Regrades.  The good news is that they’re working on getting it unstuck.


Since they’re just a ferry ride away, we thought our Western Washington and British Columbia readers might want to check out the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and what they’ve done to deserve the above headline.  If any of you do decide to go, we’d love to hear from you.







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 

  Back Country Gallery’s monthly wallpaper is now available.


To subscribe to Thought of the Day, contact Amy at 


Business Correspondence



Copy Writing


Feature Magazine Articles

Ghost Writing




Online Research





Song Lyrics

Special Projects


Travel Copy




This is certainly good news.  These little dudes are “cuters”.  Good day for snowy owls: Delaware likes them, New York has decided not to shoot them

A cloned racehorse has just won the Argentine National Open.

Check out what Outside Magazine considers the 20 best snow dogs in the world.


Check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s December newsletter.  As usual, it’s chock full of cool stuff not just for avian enthusiasts but for people who like “all creatures great and small.”


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


And then there was the ukulele playing orangutan.


The Northstar Journal is entirely reader-supported.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to help out with the next, please go here.  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  Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed.  Rusty



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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