Proudly serving North America and the International Community

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2007 – 2014

No. 369

Northstar Media Services

Rusty Miller – Editor

Seattle, Washington



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  It’s been another interesting week, hasn’t it?

First, our prayers are with Dixie now as the American South reels under weather literally unprecedented in that part of the country.  We hope that by the time this magazine goes to print, people finally get it that it’s not their mayor’s fault that Atlanta was unprepared.

One thing I absolutely detest about smug weather and climate analysis is that it misses important practical realities.  “An inch of snow on the ground” does not mean a uniform carpet of white that thick.  It is an average over a wide area.  

What these condescending meteorologists also fail to explain is that an inch of snow on flat ground is not the same as an inch of snow on a steep street.  If it is cold enough, traffic will thaw a very thin film of snow.  As temperatures plunge, this turns into ice and freezes everything beneath it. 

Additional falling snow hides that frozen mass so motorists don’t exercise as much caution as they would if their streets and rivers looked like the sheets of ice they have, in fact, become under those conditions.

Since I can’t stop it, I can only hope that Atlanta’s mayor is being vilified by the ignorant and not ~ because he is black and a Democrat ~ by racists or people who disagree with his politics.

In the wake of President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address, we came across an excellent essay in YES magazine very simply outlining eight things America needs to do to fully recover from the 2008 Recession.  Our compliments to Sarah Van Gelder for the kind of analysis that clears muddy water rather than stirring it further.

We would also like to wish all of you a Happy Groundhog Day.  Whatever would we do without Punxsutawney Phil and his buddies?  I think it is quite remarkable that with all the weather satellites in orbit and all the young men and women in colleges and universities around the world training to be forecasters, when it comes right down to it, we seek the counsel of a rodent in these regards.

Sometimes I think American humourist Mark Twain was not so far wrong when he places on species on the evolutionary scale somewhere between apes and the French.

Have a good week, gang.


One of the cornerstones of this weekly is the equality of all creatures great and small.  We are therefore absolutely delighted to report that the State of Idaho has stopped exterminating wolves. 

We join several generations of folk music lovers in mourning the passing of Pete Seegar.  My favorite song of his is this one.  Waist Deep in the Big Muddy – YouTube  For an outstanding tribute to a genuine American hero, please go here.

Since our Canadian co-founder succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2001, we are profoundly glad to share this.  God forgive me for wishing it had come in time to help Shannon.  Ottawa researchers herald combo cancer therapy as breakthrough


AFGHANISTAN Report Says Afghanistan Can’t Be Trusted to Prevent Misuse of U.S. Aid Afghan Justice Proves Complicated in Killing of 9-Year-Old Boy U.S. and NATO Plan Afghanistan Force Small Enough for Quick Exit
AFRICA A Sudanese Refugee Crisis, Photographed From the Ground Up
ASIA REGIONAL Asian Markets Slip After Fed’s Decision on Stimulus
AUSTRALIA Crocodile snatches swimming 12-year-old boy and vanishes into Australian outbackMore Than 90 Wildfires Rage In Australian State1 Dead In New Round Of Australian Wildfires

Will Australia Go All The Way For Gay Marriage?

LOOK: 4 Year Old Pens ADORABLE Letter Calling For Marriage Equality

12 Neglected Children Rescued From Australian Settlement

CHINA China Sentences Xu Zhiyong, Legal Activist, to 4 Years in Prison As China’s Economy Slows, the Pain Hits Home In China, ‘Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone’
EGYPT Egyptian Military Commander Set to Run for President Glass Cage Silences Morsi During Egyptian Trial Egypt Charges 20 Journalists With Conspiracy
EUROPEAN UNION Europe Puts Pressure on Greece to Meet Budget Targets Putin Is Given Cool Reception at E.U. Headquarters Europe’s Banking Risk Plan Is a Long Shot
GERMANY Spurred by Global Crises, Germany Weighs a More Muscular Foreign Policy
GREECE Thai Aristocrat Joins Political Fray, Backing Elections
INDONESIA Major Volcanic Eruption Kills at Least 14 in Indonesia
IRAN Its Great Lake Shriveled, Iran Confronts Crisis of Water Supply
IRELAND UN Court Holds Irish Govt Complicit in Child Abuse
ISRAEL Palestinian Leader Says He Can Accept Israeli Military in West Bank for 3 Years Tension Builds in Israeli Coalition at a Critical Juncture in Peace Talks
ITALY A Mafia Legacy Taints the Earth in Southern Italy
LATIN AMERICA As Argentine Peso Falters, President Keeps a Low Profile
PHILIPPINES Peace Deal to End Insurgency Came After Philippine Leader’s Ultimatum to Rebels Canada played role in peace talks between Philippines and Muslim rebels
RUSSIA Putin Is Given Cool Reception at E.U. Headquarters U.S. Says Russia Tested Missile, Despite Treaty N.S.A. Choice Is Navy Expert on Cyberwar
THAILAND Thai Aristocrat Joins Political Fray, Backing Elections Gun Battle in Bangkok Escalates Election Protest
TURKEY A Leader Shows Vulnerability in Turkey’s Cash Crisis
UNITED KINGDOM Past Sins Haunting Royal Bank of Scotland Queen Elizabeth down to her last million as royal palaces left crumbling
UNITED NATIONS U.N. warns us to eat less meat and lay off biofuels, or we’re in for it
UNITED STATES Cannabis Legal, Localities Begin to Just Say No U.S. study warns of risks in shipping Alberta oilsands products to B.C.In State of the Union Address, Obama Vows Solo Action on the Economy

U.S. Says Russia Tested Missile, Despite Treaty

Shell Will Not Drill in the Arctic Ocean

Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst


Video: Pete Seeger on Climate Change in 2007

Based On Observations Of Other Planets, Climate Change Is Not Just Manmade

US Map Shows Where Biggest Snow Wimps Live


Spy Agencies Scour Phone Apps for Personal Data

Did spying take Copenhagen from Hopenhagen to Brokenhagen?


Syria Talks Appear Deadlocked as Sides Disagree Over Goals

At Neutral Site, Syrians Feel Free to Confront the Other Side

Syrian Opposition’s Calm at Talks Surprises as Officials Falter

Syria Peace Talks End in Rancor

Indonesian Militants Join Fight in Syria

Syrian Talks, Ending First Round, Fail Even to Agree on Easing Aid Blockade


Ukraine Protests Spread as Overture Is Spurned

Ukraine Leader Faces New Pressure to End Unrest

Ukraine’s Leader to Revoke Curbs on Dissent, but Opposition Remains Wary

Ukrainian prime minister resigns in effort to encourage ‘compromise’

Ukraine’s Uncertainties Include Its Financial Lifeline

Canada Bars Ukrainian Officials Over ‘Repression’ Of Protesters

Talks Stall as President of Ukraine Calls in Sick


The commercial fishing rights of five bands of Native Canadians on Vancouver Island have been reaffirmed and these folks are resuming a way of life that was old when Moses set sail in a wee reed boat.

Is Canada ready for Russia’s hardball approach to the North Pole?  We better be.  They’re coming.


Court orders B.C. to restore class sizes and pay $2 million in damages to teachers

Canada played role in peace talks between Philippines and Muslim rebels

Canada bars Ukrainian officials over ‘repression’ of protesters

Ontario Raises Minimum Wage to $11 an Hour

Excitement builds in Metro Vancouver for Year of the Horse

Senate Calls On Health Canada To Improve Monitoring Of Off-Label Drug Use

Stunned by Tragedy, a Village in Rural Quebec Turns Inward

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.  Happy breakfast.  What’s with the good silver?  We having company?

Felina:     I have invited George to share our morning meal.  I did not think you would mind so much, mate of my three life times.

Sam:        Nope, I don’t mind at all.  Any friend of yours is a … well, never mind.  It’s a little early for clichés.  We know several Georges and they’re all pretty cool.  Which one’s coming for the shredded wheat, beaver milk, bagels and lox?

Felina:     Today is Groundhog Day, Samuel.

Sam:        Gotcha.  One of the more important human holidays.

Felina:     One which has been kind to the species for which it is named as well. 

Sam:        Yep.  Humans don’t generally commemorate a critter they’ve extinctified, only the attempts they made to do it to themselves.

Felina:     Groundhogs are very important to them, Dear.  Without these woodchucks, as they are also known, human beings would not know for sure when winter will end and spring will come.

Sam:        This is true.  It would be tragic if they had to just wait, like the rest of us.

Felina:     They are a busy species.  They need all the help they can get.

Sam:        Absolutely and totally no argument there.  They make fun of a big baby duck that runs into things all the time, without realizing they are the parents of said Baby Huey.

Felina:     Quite so, Samuel.  We must remember, however, that the loon we are speaking of has not only matured into a very handsome drake but has become one of Canada’s national symbols.

Sam:        Yep, right along with beavers, humans with hockey puck gaps in their smile and the Quebecois, whose pronunciation of their mother tongue would get them the guillotine in Gascony.

Felina:     Samuel, you make me smile.

Sam:        That’s because you weren’t born in…

Felina:     Samuel, mate of my three lifetimes and father of all our kittens, be very careful.

Sam:        Gotcha.  When in Tel Aviv, do NOT order a ham sandwich.

Felina:     Precisely and simply because many of our Gallic humans are in profound denial about it does not make them any less Canadian.

Sam:        Yep, you guys accept everybody.  It’s like they should move the Statue of Liberty to the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

Felina:     Yes and so eloquently expressed.

Sam:        Hey, that wasn’t nice.

Felina:     I am not the one whose sense of humour caused me to be the first mountain lion banned by the province you were about to name.

Sam:        This is true.  Thank the Creator I’m on your health insurance plan.  And that the CMA recognizes paw in mouth

Felina:     And that the Canadian Medical Association recognises paw in mouth removal as a legitimate surgical process.

Sam:        Yep, I am indeed blessed.  And on that note, Felina?

Felina:     And on that note, then, Gentle Readers, Happy Groundhog Day.  And until next week, may the wind be always at your back.  And may the Creator keep you forever safe in the palm of Her paw.


We will miss you.  Waxman poetic: Climate hawk leaves an impressive green legacy

As long as there is any disparity in the treatment of women in America, their century and a half struggle for full emancipation has not ended.  And until it ends, there will be a critical need for women like this.  “So My Daughter Won’t Have To”: Why Kelly Sue DeConnick Fights to Make Women Welcome in Comics

These students designed what might just possibly be the most beautiful small home on the planet.  Once again, we’re reminded to NEVER underestimate Kid Power.


Honvenring: Floating Bridge for Bikers, Walkers Creates a Stunning Vision

Man of the cloth: Zace the Great grows organic, heirloom veggies

Waitress With Financial Woes Receives ‘Miracle” Tip


Do not ever wonder why a Jew says, “Never again.”  Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps

This is something that concerns everyone with access to the Internet.  Why internet abuse matters more than ever

To deny the humanity of the few is to deny humanity to all.  Gay Play Closes After Homophobic Backlash


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Ticketed For Jaywalking In Metro Vancouver

B.C. Liquor Laws Now Allow Booze Sales In Grocery Stores, Kids In Pubs With Parents

New York State Wants To Ban A Symbol Of Love


Drone technology is taking us one step closer to a pushbutton battlefield.

Lest we get too high off the fragrance of our own cork, it appears we may owe more than we think to our Neanderthal ancestors.

Here’s something we’ve been expecting and are glad to see.  Icelandic Drilling Project Opens Door to Volcano-Powered Electricity


Can a Scientific Utopia Succeed?

Plant-Killing Fungi Found to Preserve Rainforest Diversity

Weird Underwater ‘Fairy Rings’ Explained At Last


New Hybrid Solar Device Exploits the Best of Both Worlds

Inside the Head of a Science Cartoonist

Nazi Scientists Tried To Use Mosquitoes As Weapons?


Continental Telescope Array Could Usher Astronomy Revolution in Africa

Massive Asteroid Spurts Plumes of Water Vapor

Light from Ancient Quasar Reveals Intergalactic Web


Okay, gang.  How much do you know about the history of the Olympic Games?

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

Merriam-Webster Online offers a short battery of games to improve one’s spelling and vocabulary.  They are short, timed and the scores are ranked by age group.  These are also activities you can share with friends and family.  In my house, learning together is also considered cool.


Five Foods That Are Killing the Planet

Midwestern Farmers Harvesting Solar Power

Shell Will Not Drill In The Arctic Ocean

Sustainable Farming Needs Math As Much As Mulch, Says One Veteran

Waxman Poetic: Climate Hawk Leaves An Impressive ‘Stache Of Green Achievements

Up The Creek By Pedal Power: An Englishman Bikes The Hudson Valley


If you are going to follow-up with this one, please do so after consultation with your family healthcare provider.  Want to get the flu? Volunteers paid $3,000 to sneeze for science

Chubby babies may be cute but what the extra weight could mean later is not cute at all.  Obesity Is Found to Gain Its Hold in Earliest Years

It turns out that if you are not getting enough sleep, you’re really letting your country down too.  Get Some Sleep, and Wake Up the G.D.P.


Ottawa Researchers Herald Combo Cancer Therapy As Breakthrough

Video: What’s in It: Protein Bars

A Shot against Breast Cancer


Red Skelton And John Wayne


Someone close to us who enjoys hearing how other people live creatively asked us the other day why we don’t talk about that in here.  In lieu of no good answer, we’re going to start.

I think I might have invented something that can get kids or truculent adults to eat their greens.  I got some coleslaw mix on sale and blended in a 16 ounce can of store-brand chili and another of refried beans, topped it with chopped onions and shredded cheese, mooshed everything together and nuked it for like five minutes.  A 100 yard dash of Tabasco sauce and a couple sprinkles of Cayenne pepper later and viola!  It made three adult servings at a cost of about $1.00 per.  Taco Bell, eat your flipping heart out.

Okay, that’s an example.  We’re looking for simple everyday things that save money, are good for the individual and the planet.  And are fun.  As most of you know, we’re at minstrel312@aol.com  Let’s hear from you.


Five Foods That Are Killing the Planet

Shedding Light on a Vast Toll of Jews Killed Away From the Death Camps

Cookbook celebrating historic food of Fort York offers glimpse into past culture

Up The Creek By Pedal Power: An Englishman Bikes The Hudson Valley

Snacks Laced With Marijuana Raise Concerns


Photos: Top images from around the globe

Video: Obama’s State of the Union Address

City Sea Otters Live Better Than Their Country Cousins [Slide Show]


NEW ADDITION ALERT:  We were asked to give this new online dictionary a try.  We already use Merriam-Webster and have that on our browser’s tool bar.  M-W is linked to a medical dictionary and an encyclopedia.  When we need to cite the source for a definition, etc., M-W also packs the gear.  That having been said, this new dictionary is great for everyday writing, editing and email correspondence.  It is simple, extremely user friendly and was obviously designed by people who use these tools themselves.  Yep, check it out here.

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 which 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 WSDOT

Photo courtesy of WSDOT


Kiro 7 News does a lot better job explaining this than I ever could, replete with on the scene videos /


Who will come?  Yep, to find out, 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






The American Kennel Club has just published its list of 2013’s most popular canines.  Did your pooch “make the cut”?  Find out here.

Starfish along the North American coastline need your help.  For more, please go here.

Squirrels are the true threat to America’s infrastructure  We suggest that if the infrastructure is that vulnerable, the problem is NOT rodent control but technological upgrading.


Video: ScienceTake: Moles on the Move

Locals To Golden Gardens Beavers: Please Leave

Rice paddies providing respite for birds in drought-ravaged California

For Already Vulnerable Penguins, Study Finds Climate Change Is Another Danger

Arctic Snowy Owl Lands at Logan Airport in Boston


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Besides the fact that I think it is tampering with a complex plan about which we are Grand Canyon-abysmally ignorant, another reason genetic engineering is that a disgruntled brilliant scientist or several could take some of these dudes Sexual Cannibal Spiders May Have Poor Impulse Control, make them as big as grizzly bear cubs, reprogram them to eat everything carbon-based and then use them as a form of “green” population control.


Since several of you have asked, yes, the Northstar Journal is non-profit and entirely supported by its readership.  It costs about 25¢ (twenty-five cents) U.S. per reader to produce.  If you would like to toss a quarter in the can, please go here

If you are 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, stay well 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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