Proudly serving North America and the International Community  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2007 – 2014

No. 366

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington

Photo courtesy of fashionphilosophers.com

Photo courtesy of fashionphilosophers.com


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s been another of those “interesting weeks” about which we occasionally write.  I’d like to start off this edition by wishing America’s First Lady a Happy 50th Birthday.  Michelle Obama was born January 17, 1964 in Chicago, where she was raised.  (Two other First Ladies were born and raised in that city, Betty Ford and Hillary Clinton.)  We searched several biographies to come up with one that would present the background and achievements of this exceptional American in an easy to read format.  We thank people.com in these regards and direct you their most excellent biography of America’s preeminent.

We would also like to applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. for taking a proactive stance on Utah’s gay marriages.  He said last week that regardless of what their governor says, as far as the federal government is concerned, those folks are legally wed.  So will any other same gender couple married in that state.  Pragmatically, it means that same sex couples are eligible for all of the same federal benefits, etc., as heterosexual married folks.  Gay Rights 1:  Homophobia 0

We join our readers in Israel and the International Jewish community in mourning the passing, Saturday, January 11, of Ariel Sharon.  He was 85.  A leader in both war and peace, Reb Sharon led his young nation through some of its most perilous times.  Daring, controversial and unforgiving in battle, to many of us, he epitomized those Jews who survived the Holocaust and vowed, “NEVER AGAIN.”  For an outstanding and detailed obituary, please go here.

We are aware, as I imagine much of the Western World is by now, that a certain American governor is under fire now for an incident last year which tied up traffic in a major city adjacent.  We will comment when there is something truly substantial to report.

Have a great week, gang.


Snagging sexually explicit images and distributing them on the Net is now against the law in Canada.  Ottawa has decided that enough is enough.  We could not agree more.

We are definitely glad to read about this.  Ireland Stirs Homegrown Flavor Into Tech Scene  — Irish officials are using grants and tax breaks to help small start-ups find room among the Silicon Valley giants that employ thousands in Dublin.

At the moment, I cannot think of anything that can top this in the Extremely Poor Form Department.  Japanese wrestling win compared to Pearl Harbor in Alberta newspaper


AFGHANISTAN Afghanistan Frees Prisoners Accused of Killing Americans
AFRICA High Stakes for Sudan in the South’s Conflict

Video: A New Age for African Artists

Tunisia’s Islamist Leader Resigns, Formally Ending His Party’s Rule

BANGLADESH Bangladesh’s Governing Party Wins Vote Amid Unrest
CHINA Even as Wages Rise, China Exports Grow
EUROPEAN UNION Another Worryingly Low Inflation Rate for the Euro Zone
FRANCE French Far-Right Leader Aims for E.U. Parliament
GERMANY Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot
INDIA Claims of Diplomats’ Mistreating Household Staff Are Far From the First

As Indian Diplomat Exits After Arrest, a Culture Clash Lingers

IRAQ In Iraqi City Under Siege, More Support for Militants Than Officials
JAPAN Japanese Begin to Question Protections Given to Homegrown Rice

Pesticide in frozen food sickens hundreds in Japan

Defying Japan, Rancher Saves Fukushima’s Radioactive Cows

PAKISTAN Call to Honor Pakistani Boy in Fatal Tackle of a Bomber
RUSSIA Russia Arrests Five Terror Suspects
TURKEY Hundreds of Police Officers Are Reassigned in Turkey

A Race for More Than the Mayor of Istanbul

UNITED KINGDOM British Economic Debate Opens Ahead of 2015 Vote

Britain Keeps Interest Rates Unchanged Amid Signs of Recovery  

UNITED STATES Arctic Cold Blankets Midwest, Freezing Routines

U.S. Charges 4 Companies With Deception in Weight-Loss Products

Christie Faces Scandal on Traffic Jam Aides Ordered

In Annual Speech, Vermont Governor Shifts Focus to Drug Abuse

U.S. Economy Added 74,000 Jobs in December, Below Expectations

Video: See how NYC streets have transformed

Thousands Without Water After Spill in West Virginia

50 years after declaring war on poverty, numbers of U.S. poor remain high

The Wait Continues for Safe Tap Water in West Virginia


Check out this shocking map of California’s drought

The Art of Talking Climate Science


Obama Seeks Balance in Plan for Spy Programs

Keeping An Eye On Canadian Spies A Part-Time Job For Pipeline Lobbyist


Qaeda Leader in Syria Seeks to Halt Rebel Infighting

First Batch of Deadly Chemicals Exported From Syria

Qaeda Group Leader in Syria Suggests Islamic Court to End Rebel Infighting

Saudis Back Syrian Rebels Despite Risks

Syria Militants Said to Recruit Visiting Americans to Attack U.S.


Terrorism’s Fertile Ground


We are both glad and proud to see this.  Minister within rights to halt funding to Arab group over apparent anti-Semitic leanings: judge

We really need to fix this.  Wrongfully dead taxpayers a ‘systemic issue,’ says ombudsman

We’re glad to see this too.  Health Canada urges doctors to inoculate patients against H1N1 flu virus


Frost Quakes Rock Canada

Vancouver Airport Arrivals Cancelled Due To Extreme Cold At Toronto’s Pearson Airport

Iqaluit Wins The Worst Weather Contest

Canadian Consumer Technology Poll Offers Fascinating Look At Future Tech

Meet Canada’s Oldest Citizen And Last Victorian.

B.C. Gained Jobs In December While The Rest Of Canada Saw Unemployment Rate Spike

People Evacuated After New Brunswick Train Derailment Told They Can Return Home

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:        Good morning, Sweetheart.  What are you and Arnie doing up so early?

Felina:     Good morning to you too, Dear.  And that is Arnold, oh mate of my three lifetimes.

Sam:        Yeah, him too.  And what’s with the cake and candles?

Felina:     We are getting ready to celebrate a milestone in the life of a very impressive human being.

Sam:        Okay so this is like I guess until you get tired and tell me.

Felina:     Yes, Samuel.  It will be good intellectual exercise for you.

Sam:        Yeah, right. Felina.  Okay, Lass, the first clue would be?

Felina:     She is an American president’s wife.

Sam:        Living, I’m assuming.

Felina:     Oh yes, she is very much alive.

Sam:        And she is obviously someone you admire a great deal, so she would have to resemble you in some ways.

Felina:     You remind me of that Sherlock Watson person in those Irish detective novels by that human writer Doyle Conan.

Sam:        Sweetheart, we really need to research some of this a bit better.  Or fire whoever we’re paying to edit the script.

Felina:     Except that he is related to you on your father’s side.

Sam:        Gotcha.  So she’s a living First Lady who is some like you.

Felina:     And she was born in this human place, Chicago.  She grew up there very not rich and one of two offspring.  But she worked hard, got good grades and went on to show them that even a tall not wealthy female human being could go to those big rock wall places with the ivy on them.

Sam:        She went on to become an attorney and met her future husband at the law firm.  She actually mentored him, if memory serves.

Felina:     It serves you very well, my love.  You make me smile.

Sam:        That is always the most important thing, to keep smiling.

Felina:     Quite so.  And this First Lady person has a nice smile and a way, it would seem, with all creatures great and small.

Sam:        It kind of makes you wonder why she isn’t the president, doesn’t it?

Felina:     It does indeed.

Sam:        So on that note, then, Felina?

Felina:     On that note, Happy Birthday, Madam Mrs. President Michelle Obama.  And gentle readers, may the wind be always at your back and may the Creator forever keep you safe in the palm of Her paw.


We certainly think this is a good idea.  Germany Adds Lessons in Islam to Better Blend Its Melting Pot  

We thought this was cool because it’s possible.  But we do not recommend trying it unless you’re as smart as this guy.  During a storm, this guy powered his TV with his Prius

Never underestimate the ferocity of a mother of any species, including ours.  How A Chicago Mom Liberated A Foreclosure And Got A Home For Her Four Kids



This dishonors everyone ~ living and dead ~ who has so served.  Charges for 106 in Huge Fraud Over Disability

Yet another oil train explodes, this time in New Brunswick, Canada.  Sigh.


Well, the folks on the International Space Station finally got their Christmas delivery.

This is real good news.  NASA fixed one of its space telescope just in time to discover this potentially dangerous asteroid heading toward Earth.

We found this absolutely fascinating.  It looks like the remains of a woman that have been kept in a church in India belong to those of a conquered queen of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.


What In The World Is A Frost Quake?

Iconic Las Vegas Sign Now Runs on Solar Power


These bike turn signal gloves make you both safer and more rad

A Backup Drive Worth Staring At

Designing the Next Wave of Computer Chips

The Next Data Privacy Battle May Be Waged Inside Your Car


75 Canadians Among Remaining Applicants For Mission To Mars

Solar Flare Delays Space Station Re-Supply


Okay, gang.  How much do you know about Michelle Obama.

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


Slowly, Asia’s Factories Begin to Turn Green

Feather In His Cap-And-Trade: Brown Pledges Polluter Fees To Poor Communities

Elsipogtog Epic: How A Tribe’s Fight Against An Energy Company Caught Fire


How is this for inspiration?  Cancer Survivor Travels the World with ‘Anti-Bucket List’

Yep, here’s another skirmish in our war on obesity.  Sitting Is the New Smoking: Why Walking Is the “Secret Sauce” for Better Health and Happier Communities

How necessary is a good night’s sleep?  Considering that’s when your brain “clears the cache,” as it were, a good night’s sleep is very necessary


Calories Required on Vending Machines

Foster Farms Chicken Plant Shut Down Over Cockroach Infestation

How To Avoid Digital Eye Strain


Lest We Forget:  Final Scene From The Alamo (1960) Movie  – 13 Days of Glory


How To Get Rid Of Those Pesky American Spellings Across The Whole Internet

Check Out These Awesome 1916 Suffragettes Riding Around On Scooters

Polygamy as Lifestyle Choice, and a Reality TV Brand

Video: Female Pastors on the Rise

Video: Chicken Stew With Sweet Plantains

Stop Asking Me for My Email Address


Pictures of the Day: South Sudan and Elsewhere

Video: Polar Chicago

Photos: Indonesia Volcano Erupts More Than 50 Times

Video: This Week’s Movies: Jan. 10, 2014


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 don’t usually comment on buffalo stampedes, rock concerts or professional sports but exceptions are occasionally made.  I essentially got bribed with the mother of all corned beef sandwiches into watching the Seattle Seahawks play the New Orleans Saints here in the Emerald City this past Saturday.  I have to admit that I haven’t seen a contest like that since I was a kid.  Even when the Saints were down at the half, they never gave up and my hunch is that if the game had gone on even one quarter longer, my neighbors and I would probably not be still celebrating.  For more on the game, yep, go here.


So far this flu season, 11 people in our state have died, according to the Washington State Department of Health.  The WSDH is urging everyone above the age of six months to get vaccinated.  Please consult your health care provider and for more information, 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 





Even the most profound of the cat lovers among us (raising left hand) should read this, particularly in light of recent weather events.  Keeping Cats Safe and Warm in Winter.

Okay, this was weird.  Video: ScienceTake: Fluorescing Fish

We found this a very timely reminder.  Seriously, don’t feed the wildlife


Where Orcas Roam — A satellite tag attached to one endangered Puget Sound killer whale on Dec. 26 is yielding some valuable new information about the migration of orcas.

The Best Animal Photobombs Of All Time

Antarctic Emperor Penguins May Be Adapting To Warmer Temperatures


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Most people think I am exaggerating when I refer to some Seattle rain as a monsoon or use that noun as a verb; i.e.  “It is really monsooning in this city today.”  I am not exaggerating, as this video of the wind and rain knocking down a very tall tree will attest.  Warning:  This is not for the faint of heart.  Our thanks to KING5 News for this one.

Framed RustyA FINAL WORD

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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