Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vol. 7, No. 1

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s been fashionable ~ probably since Steve Gutenberg invented the first machine produced Bible ~ for hacks, flacks and other members of the Fourth Estate to do two things, review the year going out and make predictions for the one coming in.

It wasn’t a fun year so we’re not going there.  If you want to do that, try this first.  Whack yourself in the head with a hammer until the pain is all you can feel.  Then stop and ask yourself why in the world you would want to read bad news twice.  However, if you still want to do that, the Sun News asking viewers to vote on what they loved and loathed about 2013

I think 2014 is going to be a better year for some of us and worse for some others.  The global economy is still in transition and until the European Union is fiscally strong again ~ every member of it ~ none of us in the international community has reason to pop the cork yet.

Conversely, perhaps, I predict that 2014 will be a good year for the “localvore movement: and that it will expand beyond community or regionally grown food.  With the increasing efficiency of three-dimensional printers, drone delivery modes and the home mercantile matrix, I see a variety of goods and services coming from and serving the local communities in which they are physically sited.  Yep, we’re talking 21st Century “cottage industry” here.

I think now that Utah has joined the ranks of those states which sanction same-sex marriages, 2014 will be a good year in this regard in those nations where it is not currently a crime.  I do think we can expect one more spike in homophobia and unfortunately I think it will come from the home of some of the most horrific bigotry of the previous century.

I believe that the Catholic Church and the very religion itself will undergo what many theological conservatives will consider a radical reformation under the present pope and that it will be seen less as a millennium old bastion of wealth and power as a new international humanitarian resource.  I also predict that the celibacy requirement will be lifted as an attempt to normalize sexual relations of both male and female clergy.

I also see the publication of a major study contending that obesity ~ a national epidemic in countries all over the globe ~ will be a profound psychological condition for many, rather than simply the product of genetics and poor eating habits.  I believe it will be asserted that obesity is caused by depression, anxiety, guilt and a desire not to live long and prosper, but to get life over with because existence is simply too much to bear.  If that is the case, we can do a lot more about it than we are now.

For those of us who essentially enjoy life ~ despite the drama, the challenges, the bad news and good ~ 2014 will be a year of personal and community empowerment.  The continued progress we’re making mitigating the human contribution to climate change, the work we’re doing to bring national problems down to the local level and a new emphasis on the backyard barbecue as an instrument of political change are venues of appropriate evolution.

Happy New Year from the Northstar Journal.


We applaud the European Union for banning a pesticide which has been killing bees on “the Continent” and certainly elsewhere.  I think it speaks well of former monarchies when they put the health of their “subjects” above the GNP profit margin.  Now if that same philosophy was applied to the international arms trade, we might possibly just exercise our apparent intrinsic and organic need for mortal combat by shooting at each other with Nerf bazookas and bombing one another with snowballs.  “Dear Santa…”

Like the rest of the world, we’re starting to wonder just how far the little maniac in North Korea is going to go before one of his own says, “Okay, ya Papa Joe wannabe, enough is enough.”  I am not suggesting the truncated tyrant needs to be taken out, per se.  But something obviously needs to be done before the people who live there start fertilizing their growing rice with their own blood.  “Dear Lord, could I talk to you for a sec?”

We compliment the new leader of India for the stand he is taking on corruption.  We hope that he is also going to war on rape and brutality to women and children, both of which have been rampant epidemics in his country since before the British imposed their own rather chauvinistic views on those already in place for centuries.


AFGHANISTAN U.S. Softens Deadline for Deal to Keep Troops in Afghanistan
AFRICA Americans Evacuated From South Sudan

U.N. Chief Urges Steps to Calm South Sudan’s Growing Conflict

South Sudan’s President Condemns Ethnic Killings

South Sudan Rejects Rebels’ Call for Politicians’ Release

Archbishop and Imam Are United Across Battle Lines in Central African Republic

Uganda passes law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality’ with life imprisonment

BANGLADESH Homicide charges for death of 112 factory workers in Bangladesh
BULGARIA Change Comes Slowly for Bulgaria, Even With E.U. Membership
CHINA China Launches World’s Second-Biggest Carbon-Trading Market

Report Faults Increase In China’s Local Government Debt

China Doesn’t Want America’s Genetically Modified Corn

Markets on Edge as China Moves to Curb Risky Lending

EGYPT Egyptian Activists Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Protests

Egyptian Officials Point at Islamist Group After Blast at Police Building

Egypt, Dealing a Blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, Deems It a Terrorist Group

Muslim Brotherhood Supporters Defy Egyptian Crackdown

EUROPEAN UNION Pollen angels: The E.U.’s ban on bee-killing pesticides begins. Will it help?
INDIA Delhi Politician, in Post Known for Its Perks, Says No Thanks

Delhi’s New Leader Vows to Halt Corruption

IRAQ Bombings target Christians in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, on Christmas Day, killing at least 37

U.S. Sends Arms to Aid Iraq Fight With Extremists

IRELAND Irish Try to Eradicate Ghosts of a Housing Crash
ITALY Fears of Social Breakdown as Gambling Explodes in Italy
JAPAN Japanese Premier Visits Contentious War Shrine

Start-Up Spirit Emerges in Japan

In Textbook Fight, Japan Leaders Seek to Recast History

NORTH KOREA Off to the gulag: Kim rounds up more than 100 relatives of his purged uncle
RUSSIA After Freedom, Russian Dissident Says He Won’t Enter Politics

Amnesty by Russians Includes Greenpeace Case

Russia begins offshore drilling in Arctic

Signs of a Russian Thaw (Toward Business)

SCOTLAND Scotland embarrasses U.S. by planning to use only clean energy by 2020

Scotland Struggles to Keep an Energy Lifeline

THAILAND Antigovernment Protesters Vow to Block Elections and ‘Shut Down’ Thailand
TURKEY Corruption Scandal Is Edging Near Turkish Premier

Projects Under Scrutiny Displace Istanbul’s Poor

UNITED KINGDOM Partying Until Drunk and Disorderly in Britain

Surprising British Recovery Prompts Diverse Views on Causes and Prospects

At Lloyds, a Bank and Its Boss on the Rebound

UNITED STATES Focus on Ocean’s Health as Dolphin Deaths Soar

Wisconsin Uses Cheese to Thaw Roads

Benefits Ending for One Million Unemployed

VATICAN Pope Francis Urges Aid For Syria In Christmas Speech

Pope, Off Script, Nods to Atheists in Holiday Call for World Peace


What An Incredibly Cute Ball Of Fur Can Teach Us About Climate Change

The Climate Champions Of 2013


Judge Upholds N.S.A.’s Bulk Collection of Data on Calls


Pope Francis Urges Aid For Syria In Christmas Speech


This is certainly not good news.  But I assume that now that we know this, we’re going to do something about it, right?  Less than 10 per cent of Canadians have good cardiovascular health, study concludes

Canadian Retailers face billions in returned merchandise this year  So what ever happened to re-gifting?  I thought we invented that.

Canadian Greenpeace activists to come home soon  Welcome home, folks.  You’ve been some missed.


Canadian Navy Looking For 180k Pairs Of ‘Temperate Drawers’

Canada.Com’s Seven Most Popular Media Stories

No Injuries, Everyone Accounted For At Explosion At Refinery In Regina

Shots Of Eastern Canadian Ice Storm: December 2013

While Canada Makes Fanciful Claims, Russia Acts To Secure Its Position In The Arctic

Land-Based Fish Farms Getting Into The Swim Of Things In B.C.

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.

Sam:        Hi, Sweetheart.  Whatcha reading?

Felina:     Oh, something rather interesting, my love.  You are certainly welcome to join me.

Sam:        Now there’s an invitation that would launch a thousand canoes.

Felina:     Thank you, mate of my three lives.  You make me smile.

Sam:        And you turn the world on with your smile.  Just like that Mary Poppins human.

Felina:     That was Mary Richards, Dear.

Sam:        Yep, her too.  However, we digress.

Felina:     We are the Mary Richards and Mr. Grant of digression.  And the Butch Cassidy and that bicycle person of the smooth segue.

Sam:        We really need to spend a little more time researching some of this stuff, Felina.

Felina:     Quite so and we shall.  However…

Sam:        Yep.  However…

Felina:     Samuel, I am reading Rusty’s predictions for 2014.

Sam:        Okay, he said guardedly.  And?

Felina:     Did he come up with these all by himself or did he have a little coaching?

Sam:        He takes input from a lot of sources, Felina.

Felina:     Input is one thing.  Coaching is quite another.

Sam:        I’m not sure I understand the question.

Felina:     And I am quite certain that you do understand the question.  How many of these predictions are his and how many of them did you con him into believing simply to see how gullible he really is?

Sam:        You do know, right, that technically, it’s against the law for you to ask me that?

Felina:     I will give you a long moment to think about that, Samuel.  And I will remind you that we are mated for life.

Sam:        When you put it that way, that’s a long time to spend sleeping on the other side of the cave.

Felina:     With someone who is absolutely furious with you, as that human writer Dante so eloquently portrayed.

Sam:        Puma Purgatory.

Felina:     Precisely.  I do not require specifics.  How much of it, Samuel?

Sam:        Sigh.  Most of it, Felina.

Felina:     That is what I thought.  So just to make sure I absolutely understand this, you used the one who channels us as a ventriloquist’s dummy and let him go out there and make an international fool of himself?

Sam:        Well, when you put it that way.

Felina:     There is no other way to put it.

Sam:        Well, it could be worse.

Felina:     Be very, very careful, mate mine.

Sam:        If  some of that stuff does actually come true, they’re not really going to know who it came from are they?  And who are they going to listen to from now on?  Other ignorant humans or the rest of us with whom they share this planet.

Felina:     Brilliant, my darling!  And bravo!  Really and truly, Samuel.  That was magnifique, my love.

Sam:        So on that note then, Felina?

Felina:     So on that note, Gentle Readers, until next week and next year, then, may the Creator keep you safe in the palm of Her paw.


The death of other life forms at the hands of humans is probably the emotionally toughest thing to curate, just as it was once to report first hand.  The saving grace to it is that occasionally, those fatalities weigh in on the collective human conscience.  Focus on Ocean’s Health as Dolphin Deaths Soar

Pollen angels: The E.U.’s ban on bee-killing pesticides begins. Will it help?  Can it possibly make the fate of those bees and the plants they pollinate any worse?

If they can do it, so can you.  How a Canadian neighbourhood drove out the drug dealers who took up residence on their block


Hate to go naming names, but something definitely needs to be done about this.  2013’s climate grinches: Stealing Christmas warmth and putting it into the atmosphere

We found this a little bizarre.  McDonald’s warns its own employees not to eat “unhealthy” fast food


I’m not sure how practical this is but I have a good idea it will sell well in Seattle.  Bike-powered coffee grinder combines two of our favorite things

This kind of reminded me of that sci fi movie where a brain lived in this big glass jar and made people do weird stuff to one another.  Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience

Check out what the Huffington Post’s science editors consider 2013’s 13 most obvious scientific findings.


Ancient Vineyards Discovered In Spain Date Back Over 1,000 years

‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ Brings BBC Series To The Big Screen

Coal Mine Yields Fossils Of Never-Before-Seen Dinosaur


Video: A Woodstock for Robots

These Motion-Activated Streetlights Could Cut Energy Use By 40 Percent in Los Angeles

Video: App Smart: Equipping New Devices


Space Station Astronauts Make Christmas Eve Walk

Will THIS Explore Distant Worlds?

Where Do We Go From Here?


Okay, gang.  Match the year to the event.   

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


China launches world’s second-biggest carbon-trading market

Scotland embarrasses U.S. by planning to use only clean energy by 2020

How to land a green job in 2014

These Motion-Activated Streetlights Could Cut L.A.’S Energy Use By 40 Percent


Consider six all natural, simple and easy, and scientific ways to improve your mind.  One of them is entitled “train naked,” which threw me until I actually read it.  They don’t advocate going buff, just without all the gadgets that apparently supreme fitness folks use to measure everything from pulse and blood pressure to stuff I didn’t even know was going on inside a human being.

Shedding a light on skin cancer  — A device invented at the BC Cancer Agency offers a non-invasive, painless, instantaneous opinion on whether skin lesions are cancerous or not.  For more, please go here.

Check out Outside magazine’s 8 fitness trends of 2014.  Chances are, you are already doing at least one of them.  I am.


The Global Cancer Burden

Common Knee Surgery Does Very Little for Some, Study Suggests

Western Canada Struggles With Treating The Most Serious Of Mentally Ill Drug Addicts


Malala Yousafzai: ‘Death Did Not Want to Kill Me’

Susan Boyle: I Dreamed A Dream – Britain’s Got Talent 2009

A Dancer’s Morning


Same-Sex-Marriage Supporters Applaud Ohio and Utah Rulings

Methodist Bishop Offers Pastor Job In Split Over Gays

The Changing Nature of Fast Food Demographics:  Not Just Teenagers Toasting Buns These Days

Look out, cyclists: Southern states have the worst drivers

Meals with wheels: A fresh food movement rolls into Boston


Video: For Seamus Heaney:  The Life and Times of Ireland’s Premier Wordsmith

Video: This Week’s Movies: Dec. 20, 2013

Video: The Duck March


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 a ten, OM is an eight.

THE SEADOC SOCIETY: PEOPLE & SCIENCE HEALING THE SEA — 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.

SIERRA CLUB — 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.

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND — 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.

WRITING FOR PEACE — 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.




We thought this brief Associated Press story on our new mayor’s spouse was an excellent way of introducing him to the public at large.  He seems like a real nice guy and he’s certainly done a lot for the people who live in Seattle.  Yep, for more, please go here.


A King County man sentenced to prison ten years ago for assault and robbery based solely and totally on eyewitness testimony, has been freed thanks to the intervention of the Innocence Project Northwest.  Yep, for more, please go here.





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 


Business Correspondence



Copy Writing


Feature Magazine Articles

Ghost Writing




Online Research





Song Lyrics

Special Projects


Travel Copy





I am not a fan of these dudes or anybody else who could have me as a Canadian club sandwich for lunch.  However, it is a big planet and I would hate to see them gone for it.  So this comes as good news.  Video: Rescuing a Predator

Look who is cracking down real hard on a global problem.  Major poaching arrest in China

Check out this incredible list of North American wildlife web cams.

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


They knew those fish were in there.  They knew they could strip a large cow to a skeleton in about 15 minutes.  And yet they still went in the water?  Un-flipping-believable.  Carnivorous fish injure 70 Argentine river bathers; 7 children lose parts of fingers or toes




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 minstrel312@aol.com  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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