New Masthead

A weekly ezine of news, commentary, health, humor and general interest

Sunday, December 28, 2014

No. 429

“If your two brothers were fighting with sticks, would you give one of them a knife?”  Olha Bereza

Northstar Media Services

Merritt Scott “Rusty” Miller – Editor

Dennis W. Steussy – Associate Editor

Olya Bereza – European Associate

And in Dedication to Danny Quinn

Here is a symbolical photo from Dnipropetrovsk (East Ukraine). Times change: in the middle of the square, instead of the Lenin's statue which was ultimately dethroned in February this year, there is a beautiful Christmas tree.  Photo by Olya Bereza

Here is a symbolical photo from Dnipropetrovsk (East Ukraine). Times change: in the middle of the square, instead of the Lenin’s statue which was ultimately dethroned in February this year, there is a beautiful Christmas tree. Photo by Olya Bereza


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s traditional in the media to review the past year and make some predictions for the one ahead.  I think the more infamous among us do that because their readers don’t remember.  You guys do so we can skip that part.

The second part is risky for a couple three reasons.  If the predictions are way out there, they can be interesting but cast some doubt on the prophet’s sanity.  If several of them come true, the prophet’s sanity is off the hook but the world as we know it comes into question.

If most of the predictions come true, the prophet becomes very much in demand and remains so until enough of his soothsaying fails to materialize.  Then, of course, the process goes into reverse.

Western society is not unlike Tsarist Russia in one regard.  Whoever reigns does so at the discretion of those who anoint and appoint.  The throne is never secure and few who aspire to it keep it long.  Most of the time, being famous is not a good way to live long and prosper.

Predictions also suggest that the future is already written, that it has, in fact, already happened.  I’m no rocket scientist but I know the theory of relativity well enough not to buy into that mellifluous malarkey.  If it had already happened, it would be the past, not the future.  Hello?

We who live today determine the shape, flavor, texture and tone of tomorrow.  All the socio-political and technological extrapolations of trends which are the bedrock of contemporary prophecy cannot measure the infinite capacity of our species to fail abysmally, try again and succeed spectacularly.

As one of us said, “We’re going to run this play over and over again until we get it right.”  It worked for the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame and it works for the rest of us as well.

Happy New Year, gang.  Have a great week, eh?  And yep, if you enjoyed this edition and would like to kick down a dollar or two for the next one, please go here


This is certainly an example worth following.  Australians Promise To Muslims “I’ll Ride With You

It still puzzles me that we can be so dependent on this stuff in an otherwise energy-enlightened new century.  In Oil States, Bracing for a Price Bust’s Ripple Through the Economy

Here we go again.  Sigh.  AirAsia Jet From Indonesia Is Missing, Airline Says


Oil Price Fall ‘Not OPEC’s Fault’

Human Costs of the Forever Wars, Enough to Fill a Bookshelf

Cyber spying thrives as mankind bids farewell to a private life


Nigeria Makes Crucial Progress In Eradicating Polio

U.N. Set to Cut Force in Darfur as Fighting Rises

Shabab Fighters Ambush Base of Peacekeepers in Somalia


Attack Is Suspected as North Korean Internet Collapses

South Korea Cuts Growth Forecasts

S Korea’s Nuclear Plant Operator Holds Cyber Drill After Hack

Plastic Surgery Tourism Brings Chinese to South Korea

North Korea Struggles To Stay Online

Shinzo Abe Begins New Term With Push to Revise Japan’s Constitution

In Takata Shake-Up, President Is Out as Founder’s Grandson Expands Role

Suu Kyi: More Myanmar Action Needed


Rise In Australia ‘Terror Chatter’

‘God Knows What’s Left Out There’: Tape Captured Chilling Sounds Of Cyclone Tracy

Satellite Images Show Australian Fire Scorching Area The Size Of Massachusetts 


In China, a Rapid Jump to Mobile Advertising

Air China Buys 60 Boeing Aircraft


Alstom to Pay U.S. Record $772 Million Fine in Bribery Scheme

Ukraine Votes To Drop Neutral Status

French PM Assures Public On Attacks

France Puts More Troops on Streets After a String of Attacks

French Unemployment Hits New Record

Snow, Icy Weather Sweep Parts Of Europe, Stranding Drivers And Leaving UK Homes Without Power

Kiev and Separatists Swap Prisoners as Peace Talks Break Down


Fighting for India, and Against Prejudice


Cuba Seizures Now Present Opportunities

Cuba’s Promising New Online Voices

Decline of a Political Family Opens the Way for a Shift in Brazil

US City Sues Petrobras For Corruption

Amazon Tribe Raids Peru Village

Nicaragua Breaks Ground On Canal

Argentine Town Bans Beauty Contests

Cuba ‘Will Stay On’ Communist Path

Colombia FARC Truce Follows Killings


Egypt’s President Replaces Influential Intelligence Chief

In Israel, Antitrust Regulator Reviews Natural Gas Development


Facebook Angers Russian Opposition by Blocking Protest Page

Trying to Save Russia’s Punch Line of a Car


Agreement In Northern Ireland Averts Collapse Of Power-Sharing Government

We Let Passengers Down, Says Rail Chief

Ice Warnings Issued For Sub-Zero UK


Despite Cheaper Gas, Public Transit Ridership Is Up

Ceding to Florida, New York Falls to No. 4 in Population

Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Takes Second Chance to Shape Court

Little Noticed in Immigration Overhaul: A Government Hiring Rush

Volunteers Get License to Drive in Presidential Motorcade


Pope Francis, in Christmas Speech, Has Stern Rebuke for Vatican Bureaucracy

Pope Condemns Religious Persecution

Francis, in Christmas Day Message, Focuses on Children in Peril



Mount Rainier: Case Study Of A Changing Earth

The White Christmases We Used To Know Are A Lie, In One Chart

Climate Change Means Greater Risk Of Dengue Fever


Rare Visit Reveals ‘Brutal’ ISIS

How a Syrian Boy, 14 and Sheathed in Explosives, Escaped ISIS’ Hold

2 Drone Strikes in Pakistan Are Said to Kill 9 Militant Suspects

Somali Islamist with $3 million U.S. bounty on head surrenders – government source


This cannot possibly bode well for Vancouver Islanders.  ‘Catastrophic’ earthquake and tsunami brewing off B.C. coast

This is absolutely inspirational.  A Canadian soldier re-learns how to be a civilian

This is definitely a step in the right direction.  Court places cap on involuntary detention of mental-health patients


Sometimes the House of Homophobia needs to be dismantled one brick at a time.  F.D.A. Easing Ban on Gays, to Let Some Give Blood

This is great news and also long overdue.  Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

This is one of those “stand up and cheer” stories.  Stephen Hume: Good Things Happen When A Small Town Fights Back

His Holiness Also Had a Busy Christmas:

Pope Francis, in Christmas Speech, Has Stern Rebuke for Vatican Bureaucracy

Pope Condemns Religious Persecution

Francis, in Christmas Day Message, Focuses on Children in Peril


No guts, no glory.  In About-Face, Sony Will Screen ‘The Interview’ in a Small Run

This looks like the best of a bad bargain.  Firing of V.A. Clinic Chief Is Upheld Over Gifts, Not Wait Lists

Now, now, guys.  No need to libel another life form.  North Korea Accuses U.S. Of Shutting Down Its Internet, Calls Obama A ‘Monkey In A Tropical Forest’


We totally loved this.  The Year in Robots

Good move, Academia.  Colleges Reinvent Classes to Keep More Students in Science

This is starting to creep me out a little because it reminds me of these mechanical cockroaches in the television series Stargate SG-1.  Robot Leads a Six-Legged Race for Knowledge


Tiny House Living: How Two Families Made It Work—Teenagers and All

Hoverbike Prototypes And Hitching Robots

The Great Carnivores of Europe


Streaking Space Launches And Menacing Volcanoes

Kepler Spacecraft Finds New ‘Super-Earth’ 180 Light-Years Away

Explore Mars for Yourself


Zano’s Micro-Drone Follows You To Capture HD Selfies From The Sky

Video: Robot Jockeys

Disaster-Zone Robots Saving Lives


SFU scientists discover a breakthrough bait-and-trap for bed bugs

3D Print Your Own Homemade Superfood With Israeli Tech ‘Green Onyx’

Her Invention Changed The World Forever


The Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.


Locavore?  Meet your car

Force Big Government to Kill Big Carbon

Consume Less of This One Thing for Your 2015 Resolution


9 Popular Salads That Are Actually Terrible For You

Finding Communities That Connect And Nurture The Like-Minded

The Benefits Of Biking To School Go Beyond Better Fitness

PULSE:  By David B. Grinberg

Strategic Communications Advisor, Writer/Blogger/Editor, Former Journalist

3 Guideposts for New Dialogue on Race Relations

Embarking on a new national conversation is a common sense approach. A fresh dialogue on race can help bridge the divide between white policemen and citizens of color, especially young black men. This will help avoid more lethal confrontations. Any dialogue on race should adhere to the following three guideposts:

  1. Formulate and engage in new and creativeways to discuss divisive issues of race on a coordinated national, state and local level between public officials, police and citizens of color at all levels.
  2. Ensure the conversation results in mutually beneficial and common sense solutions for all citizens, regardless of race or color; and
  3. Continue pressing the dialogueuntil meaningful and measurable progress is made via specific progressive actions.

To read the entire blog ~and we highly recommend it ~ please go here.


Need a job? Try to do this

The Best – And Worst – Places To Lose Your Job

In Naples, Gift of Coffee to Strangers Never Seen

Video: Fish Cakes With Herbs and Chiles


We’ve collected what we consider the most wholesome, family-oriented and genuinely humorous comic strips we could find on the Net.  They include:  Adam@Home, Calvin & Hobbes, Emmylou, For Better or For Worse, Foxtrot Classics, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, and Peanuts.  Either click the banner or this link.


Why North Korea fears this film

‘Walking on water’ in Slovakia 

Video: Soaring: View From the Cockpit


 Testament Ad Graphic


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 



Business Correspondence

Communications Consulting

Classified and other Advertising Copy Writing


Ghost Writing

Humor:  Jokes & Monologues

Online Research


Song Lyrics


Special Projects




Video: Monkey saves dying friend at Indian train station

If you are into these little dudes (and we are), you will totally love this.  How many penguins can you count?

I see a movie in this one.  Pepe the autism-support dog dramatically improves life for White Rock girl and family


Protecting a Home Where the Puffer Fish Roam in Biscayne National Park

Wild Gorilla Has ‘Eureka’ Moment

Camera Trappers Are On The Hunt For Stunning Shots Of Elusive Wildlife


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Amnesty International

Black Sea Agro: Agriculture In The Black Sea Region

Cream Magazine & Millennium Art Gallery

Grittv With Laura Flaunders

Help End World Hunger & Poverty | Heifer International® | Heifer.Org

No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News

Outside Magazine

The SeaDoc Society: People & Science Healing The Sea

Sierra Club

Wildlife Extra magazine

World Wildlife Fund

Writing For Peace


The Boat That Landed On A Roof And Saved 59 People

Hong Kong Cash Spill Snarls Traffic as Motorists Scramble for Bills

Argentine Court Grants Rights To Ape


The Northstar Journal is an international non-profit news, commentary and general interest Internet magazine.  Entirely readership supported, it was founded as a monthly in 1999 and won two Hersh Best Read on the Net Awards for its coverage of Bosnia and of Seattle’s Nisqually Earthquake.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here  For more information, contact Rusty Miller at



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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