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Sunday, January 5, 2014

2007 – 2014

No. 365

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Sometimes it gets a little scary around here.  Last week, I made several predictions for 2014.  They included this one:

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.

Now, in an article in the Vancouver Sun, we’re reading about a book whose author contends that obesity is not a disease but a decision.  He places responsibility for excessive weight directly on the shoulders of the individual carrying it and his approach to taking pounds off is simple, practical and predicated on personal responsibility.

According to Statistics Canada, 4.7 million Canadians ~ 18.4 percent of the population ~ are obese.  In America, that is 105.3 million or 35.1 percent, according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC).

This Vancouver Sun article also addressed what reporter Denise Ryan referred to as “push back” by obese people, claiming discrimination and staunchly defending their right to be the way they are.

Obesity, however, is a condition which ~ like the use of nicotine and the abuse of alcohol ~ impacts those who do not over-indulge.  Obesity causes a wide variety of other conditions, including diabetes, stroke and dementia.  It is also being linked now to cancer.

When the demand for something increases, so does the price or cost.  Apply this to health insurance, medicines, medical treatment, hospital stays and the taxes necessary to sustain obese people when they do get sick, obesity in fact becomes the problem of everyone.

So for me, like the author of this book Denise Ryan wrote about,  the immutable bottomline ~ whether overweight people like to hear it or not ~ is that if you are obese, you are not only a threat to yourself but to the rest of society.  Isn’t that what we have legal sanctions to protect ourselves from?

I think we need to ask ourselves something.  Does the right of every human being on this planet to be a glutton mean the rest of us have to pay for it?

I’m going to add something I usually do not add to anything we publish.  If you’re obese and angry after reading this, don’t write and cuss me out.  I don’t take shyte from someone whose life I’m trying to save.

If you’re angry, do something about it and lose the flipping weight.


I admire anyone who digs for real answers, even if I personally have already made up my mind.  My infamous Uncle Seamus used to remind us that disagreeing with someone did not make them wrong.  This is certainly a case in point.  A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

In the same vein, messing with Mother Nature, I do not imagine anyone whose state or province borders on one of the Great Lakes is going to be real happy to read this.  Bracing for Carp in Great Lakes, but Debating Their Presence

Since North America in general seems to be slammed with neo-Ice Age weather, we thought it would be interesting to see how Canadians deal with blizzards


AFGHANISTAN Afghanistan’s Worsening, And Baffling, Hunger Crisis
AFRICA Uganda Issues A Warning Over Fighting In South Sudan

Old Rivalries Reignited A Fuse In South Sudan

U.S. Is Facing Hard Choices In South Sudan

Fear Keeps Thousands Of South Sudanese On The Run

Lethal Malfeasance In Malawi

BANGLADESH Clothing Brands Sidestep Blame For Safety Lapses
CAMBODIA Cambodian Police Fire On Protesters As Clashes Turn Violent

Cambodia Cracks Down On Protest With Evictions And Ban On Assembly

CHINA Good Earth No More: Soil Pollution Plagues Chinese Countryside

Chinese Refuse To Meet Japan’s Premier After His War Shrine Visit

Pollution Rising, Chinese Fear For Soil And Food

China Says Local-Level Debt Soars, Stirring Fear

8 Million Acres Of China’s Farmland Are Too Polluted To Grow Food

EUROPEAN UNION Unemployed In Europe Hobbled By Lack Of Technology Skills
FRANCE French ‘Millionaire Tax’ Cleared
INDIA American-Style Start-Ups Take Root In India

After Fleeing Violence, Many Indian Muslims Refuse To Return Home

IRAQ Qaeda-Aligned Militants Threaten Key Iraqi Cities

Iraq Fighters, Qaeda Allies, Claim Falluja As New State

JAPAN Chinese Refuse To Meet Japan’s Premier After His War Shrine Visit
KOREA, SOUTH Once Labeled A Traitor, Korean Aims To Be A Hero
LATIN AMERICA Brazil Forging Economic Ties With Cuba, While Hiring Its Doctors
LATVIA With The New Year, The Euro Arrives In Latvia
MYANMAR Myanmar’s Leader Backs Change To Constitution
RUSSIA Second Blast Hits Russia, Raising Olympic Fears

Bomb Attacks In Russia Echo Threats By Chechen Insurgent

Russian Tycoon Is Free, But His Money Is Still Tied Up

Putin, After Silence, Condemns Bombings In Volgograd

Putin Visits Volgograd, Says Suicide Bombings Indefensible

Putin Eases Protest Ban In Sochi For The Olympics

THAILAND Despite Protests, Thailand Says February Vote Will Go Ahead
UNITED KINGDOM Slide Show: Food Need Grows Among Britain’s Working Poor
UNITED STATES U.S. Names Domestic Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

U.S. Struggles To Keep Pace In Delivering Broadband Service

U.S. Population Rises Just 0.72 Percent, Census Bureau Finds

Second Official To Leave After Health Site Trouble

Florida Law On Drug Tests For Welfare Is Struck Down

U.S. Frees Last Of Uighur Detainees From Guantánamo

Concern Over Safety Grows As More Oil Rides The Rails

From Chicago To Boston, Winter Storm Creates Havoc For Travelers

Annual Sales For U.S. Automakers Reach 6-Year High

50 Years Later, War On Poverty Is A Mixed Bag


On Defense: Cities Get Serious About Climate Resilience In 2013

Behind the Scenes, Kerry Makes a Pact on Climate a Priority

Cloud shortage will push temperatures higher as climate warms

At least there’s one positive thing happening because of climate change


Apple Says It Is ‘Unaware’ of N.S.A. iPhone Hack Program

Moves to Curb Spying Help Drive the Clemency Argument for Snowden


Hezbollah Moving Long-Range Missiles From Syria to Lebanon, an Analyst Says


Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has denounced the Russian government for its anti-gay policies, which Canada has opposed since they were introduced last summer.  This issue is expected to escalate the closer it gets to the Winter Games in Sochi

Vancouver’s six homicides in 2013 is the lowest annual number in the city’s history, police say  Nice going, folks!

The new “Mood of Canada” poll is out now.  The news is not good for the Harper administration.


The Canadian Dollar Is Apparently A New Favourite Among The World’s Central Banks

More Grocery Gift Cards Coming From Province To Help Ice Storm Victims

Mercury Levels Rising In Expanse Around Alberta Oilsands

Air force bending on medical requirements to deal with experienced pilot shortage

Newfoundlanders lose power after doozy of a storm

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:     Good morning, Samuel Alexander, mate of my three lifetimes.

Sam:        Okay, Felina.  When you’re this nice to me before breakfast, something’s up.  What’s on that beautiful but labyrinthine mind of yours on this fine winter’s day?

Felina:     You make me smile, Samuel.

Sam:        Which, with all due respect, is better than a snarl.

Felina:     Quite so.  Much better.

Sam:        However, we digress.

Felina:     We are the Jack and Jill of digression.  And the Lancelot and Guinevere of the Smooth Segue.

Sam:        Which to is to say…

Felina:     Can you explain to me this human custom of making New Year’s resolutions?  Arnold tried but it just made me more confused.

Sam:        Arnie the television set in the den.

Felina:     Arnold, Dear.

Sam:        Yeah, him too.  I’m kind of surprised that didn’t blow every cathode ray tube that old dude’s got, trying to explain New Years resolutions.

Felina:     It would be nice to think that my mate ~ being respectful of how faithful Arnold has served us and being the extraordinarily compassionate cougar he is ~ could enlighten the one to whom he is mated for life and with whom he shares a very small cave.

Sam:        Aaand, when you put it that way, how could I possibly refuse?

Felina:     You are so very ingenuous when your survival instincts are showing, Samuel.

Sam:        Cool.  What does “ingenuous” mean?

Felina:     Cute to the tenth power.

Sam:        Oh, okay.  In that case…

Felina:     Samuel, New Years resolutions?

Sam:        Well, as we know, human beings insist on believing that they or their compatriots are the sole authors of their own misery.

Felina:     I have noticed that.  However, I must also observe that we are all ~ to a degree ~ responsible for the choices we make.  We may not be able to control a rainstorm but that is no reason to stand out in it attempting to talk it into stopping doing what a rainstorm does.

Sam:        Yep.  They’d rather try to convert it to their way of thinking than they would come in out of the wet.  Which is cool, if you’re a duck.

Felina:     As we have also observed, however, usually the ducks are by themselves when they do that, with you and some of your South of My Border cronies selling the rest of us tickets to the concert.

Sam:        It’s the American Way.  So being the rather self-centered creatures they are, they aspire to the divinity they blame it on and set lofty goals for themselves.

Felina:     Goals that would be lofty even to eagles and mountain goats and to which they can only really aspire.

Sam:        Yep.  No matter how much perspiration, they’ll never make it.  But see, humans see nobility in that.  You can be lame in one leg in front and one leg in back but as long as you suit up and start hobbling around the track, you’re a winner, whether you ever really compete or not.

Felina:     Their writer Cervantes addressed just such an individual.

Sam:        Yep, and that was the story of this old, poor, half senile male human being with sympathetic friends going out with rusty armor and a busted lance attempting to knock off the windmills that were ravaging the countryside at the time.

Felina:     So this making resolutions is a ritual engaged in only by humans of diminished capacity?

Sam:        Pretty much.  Except, they’re not as much the authors of their misery as the Devil is.  The Devil preys on human weakness so when human beings make resolutions and broadcast them, he knows right where to start going to work.  He’s behind this whole self-improvement thing of theirs.  That was his idea from the start.

Felina:     So humans shouldn’t make resolutions or try to improve themselves because that is playing into the hands of Satan?

Sam:        Make resolutions and grow.  Just don’t tell anybody, not even your priest or rabbi.  No human being is temptation-proof.  And the Devil wears many robes.  He’s also a cross-dresser so if you see someone like that hanging around eavesdropping, for sure dummy up.

Felina:     That seems like very sound advice from someone who has only the best interests of the species he calls homo sap at heart.  Samuel, I love you dearly but sometimes you are so full of it.

Sam:        This is also true, oh sun and moon of my life.  And so on that note and stuff, then, Felina?

Felina:     So on that note, Gentle Readers, godspeed and may the Creator keep you always safe in the palm of Her paw.


This is absolutely good news.  Chicago Killings Fall, as Officials Praise Progress

Not to discourage high school sports, but we really thought this was cool.  This college turned its football field into an organic farm

Electricity use in the United States has fallen to the lowest level in decades.  Go here to find out why.


I hope these people have plenty of sunscreen.  Where they’re going after doing this, they’re going to need it.  New York developer tears down a huge, productive community garden in the middle of the night


I found this totally fascinating.  Viewing Where the Internet Goes

I thought they were all doing this already.  Listen to Pandora, and It Listens Back

If you’re really tired of living on earth, this will come as good news.  Mars Colony Plan Takes Next Big Step


Mysterious Light Associated With Earthquakes Now Linked To Geologic Rift Zones

The World S Second Largest Oil Field, As Seen From Space

Civilian Airplanes, 1914 [Slide Show]


Dry Run for Commercial Drones

From Ford, a Plug-In That Tracks the Sun

Tech predictions: Looking ahead to 2014


Near-Space Tourism Takes Off

International Space Station Crew to Connect with Virginia Students

Astronomers Spy First Asteroid Of 2014 (Just Before It Slams Into Us)


Okay, gang.  How much do you know (or REALLY know) about snow?

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


13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013

Concern Over Safety Grows as More Oil Rides the Rails

For the birds (and the bats): 8 ways wind power companies are trying to prevent deadly collisions


As we continue to expand our coverage of health news and issues to include those individuals who inspire us, we would be very much remiss if we did not introduce you to Kira Peikoff and her New York Times article headlined “I Had My DNA Picture Taken, With Varying Results”.

Part of defeating cancer is educating people about it.  That’s what the Colorectal Cancer Society of Canada had in mind when they constructed a 40-foot/12-meter high colon people can walk through to learn about this disease.

I found this extremely interesting.  New Study Reveals Where Our Bodies Feel Emotions


A.D.H.D. Experts Re-Evaluate Study’s Zeal For Drugs

Do Electronic Cigarettes Really Help Smokers Quit?

Historic Smoking Report Marks 50th Anniversary


“A Dancer’s Morning”, Folgers Commercial

The Alamo (7/12) Movie CLIP – Mrs. Robertson’s Courage

Steve Martin and Kermit the Frog in “Dueling Banjos”


Check out Outsider magazine’s 100 Best Places In America To Work

Looks like it’s now possible to fly to Cuba, legally and safely.

Video: This Week’s Movies: Jan. 2, 2014

After Fleeing Violence, Many Indian Muslims Refuse to Return Home

One Marine’s Dying Wish — The military found dishonor in Hal Faulkner’s homosexuality. He didn’t want that senseless verdict to survive him.


Video: Hawaiian Roots — Armed with hatchets and herbicides, Paul Zweng and his volunteers thin a forest of invasive trees one section at a time. Their mission: to return the land to its natural state.

Video: A Desperate River Crossing  — residents of Bor, a city in the Republic of South Sudan, fled deadly violence there by taking ferries across the White Nile to Awerial, where an estimated 76,000 displaced people are stranded.

VIDEO: Chile: Realm of the Puma


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.


Photo courtesy of Rent A Ruminant

Photo courtesy of Rent A Ruminant


Yep, our favorite four-legged vegetation control agents are on the case.  And we totally love it.


In what I am sure will one day become known in the annals of Salish Sea History as “The Ballad of Bertha,” the world’s largest drilling machine is still stuck at the bottom of the 60-foot tunnel she dug.  Now, apparently, her weight poses some risk to the existing infrastructure under replacement.  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 and sample read, please go here

For the kindle book: ($3.99) at 


Business Correspondence



Copy Writing


Feature Magazine Articles

Ghost Writing




Online Research





Song Lyrics

Special Projects


Travel Copy



Yet another reason why I do not surf, SCUBA, walk on or immerse myself in waters where these live.

We suspected dolphins got high.  Until now, we just were not sure how.

For the birds (and the bats): 8 ways wind power companies are trying to prevent deadly collisions


Wild Turkey Versus UPS Driver

False Killer Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins Swim Together for Years

City Dog Share is a free dog-sitting co-op


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Some things are so profoundly strange to me that I am almost rendered speechless.  Walmart in China recalls donkey meat because it doesn’t taste like ass

  Rusty's Birkenstocks


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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