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

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

The Northstar Journal:  The Magazine With Heart

News & Commentary, From the Ukraine,  Good Examples, Bad Examples, Our World & Beyond, The Green Agenda, Health, Lifestyle, Northstar Comics, Best of the Net, All Creatures Great & Small, Northstar Endorses, You Guys Think I Make This Stuff Up, About Us

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Pacem, Libertatem, Justitiam

April 19 2015  Vol. 8 No. 30

Rusty Miller – Editor

Denny Steussy – Associate Editor

Olya Bereza – European Associate Editor



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea  .  This Wednesday, April 22, a great many people on this planet celebrate Earth Day.  For a comprehensive overview of this international holiday, please go here.

Earth Day was first observed in 1970.  I was overseas then and until I left Southern California, I didn’t experience this holiday personally.  But when I returned to Sacramento after an absence of nearly eight years, Jerry Brown was in office, Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia had been on the New York Times bestseller list and the entire community was in the midst of the “green revolution” the founders of Earth Day hoped it would inspire.

That Green Movement was not as violent as those that sought the true freedom of all Americans over the same period in history.  But it was not without its casualties, particularly when well intentioned young idealists with few actual land skills decided to immigrate to places like Oregon and rural Washington and pioneer, as it was.

One thing that the Greens and their descendants in the Pacific Northwest seem to have learned is that you don’t move into a place and expect it to conform to your idea of how things should be done.

You learn the lay of the land, as it were.  Sometimes generations-old ways of doing things are done that way because they work.  Even rocket scientists do not usually try to fix something that is not broken.  You join the community and help it improve itself along lines that everyone ~ or most of those who live there ~ agree with.

Implicit in this too is recognizing that like it or not ~ right or wrong ~ some places will not change because they do not want to change.  As sad or as tragic as the results may be, it is their decision, not ours.  Our Constitution guarantees us the freedom to choose.  It does not say those choices need to be wise ones.

I am proud that the Green Movement was able to get beyond the rhetoric and successfully court the scientific, technological and industrial communities, without whose assistance, the tools necessary to repair the damage we have done ~ as a species ~ to this planet would not have evolved.

We could have done better at convincing our elected officials not to use the salvation of the planet (and us along with it) as a political football.  But then sometimes it is easier to teach a jackass to sing than to dance,  I have absolutely no issues with my own Congressional delegation, governor state legislature, mayor or anyone else in that realm.

But then I live in Washington State and these folks have had about 45 years of making mostly the right decisions, coal trains, The Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the over-industrialization of Tacoma notwithstanding.  I sincerely wish that was true everywhere on the planet.  Perhaps in time it will be.  I hope it does not take another 45 years.  I sincerely doubt we have that much time left.

Have a good week, gang.  And thanks for the ear.


This gets a Northstar Standing Ovation.  Young, Female, Succeeding In Gaza

This does not surprise me but now that I know it, it is no longer a dog eat dog world.  Our ancestors were cannibals

This is awesome.  WATCH LIVE: Global Citizen Earth Day Takes Over National Mall


‘Preventable Rabies Kills 160 Per Day’


Two Killed In Shooting At South Korean Embassy In Libya

A Year After Girls’ Abduction By Boko Haram, Nigeria’s President-Elect Signals New Approach

VIDEO: The African Migrants Risking Everything

Mali: Suicide Bomber Attacks U.N. Base

Egypt: Blast Kills Military Cadets

U.N. Asks Kenya Not To Close Somali Refugee Camp In Wake Of Garissa Killings

Sierra Leone: Schools Reopen As Ebola Outbreak Subsides

Shabab Carry Out Deadly Attack On Ministry Building In Somalia

Egypt: Barring Of Gay Man Upheld

Chimps That Hunt Offer A New View On Evolution

Nigeria: Militants Have Displaced 800,000 Children, Unicef Reports

Sierra Leone: Ebola Trial Begins


Nuclear Reactors in Japan Remain Closed by Judge’s Order

Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, Blames ISIS For Deadly Suicide Bombing At Bank

One Killed In Kashmir Valley Protest

Tibetan Dies After Setting Himself On Fire In Protest

Doubling Of Search Zone Planned If Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Isn’t Found Before June

Japan: TV Executives Are Questioned

American Woman Wounded in Shooting in Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistani Justices Suspend Executions Ordered by Military Courts

Japan: Tensions in the Region Keep Defense Forces’ Jets Busy

After 15 Years, Legal Victory for Family of Pastor Believed Abducted by North Korea

Jailed Azerbaijani Journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, to Be Honored by PEN

25 Injured as Asiana Jet Skids Off Runway in Japan


China Restricts Hong Kong Visits

China ‘Building Runway In Spratlys’

Lost In Translation: The Strange Tale Of Two Chinese Investors, Their Friends And A Disappearing Fortune

Beijing Was Covered In A Massive Sandstorm, And Locals Freaked Out

Chinese Journalist Sentenced to 7 Years on Charges of Leaking State Secrets


In Historic Speech, Indian PM Modi Vows Closer Canadian Ties

India And Canada, By The Numbers: A Look At The Mind-Boggling Differences Between The Two Countries

Canada And India: The Nuclear Genie, 40 Years On

Delhi Bus Service Hires Its First Female Driver

India: Violent Protest in Kashmir


Israel and Palestinians Reach Tax Deal

Under Bombardment in Yemen, Civilians Voice Terror and Despair Online

U.N. Calls on Western Nations to Shelter Syrian Refugees

Yemeni Army Tries to Safeguard Oil Fields as Qaeda Fighters Advance

Obama Urges ‘Creative’ Talks to Bridge Divide With Iran on Sanctions

Next Round of Nuclear Talks With Iran Set for Next Week

Palestinian Driver Suspected of Deliberately Hitting Jerusalem Bus Stop

Iraqi Premier Softens Tone About Saudis

On Holocaust Day in Israel, Strangers Answer the Call to a Funeral

U.N. Security Council Sees Video Evidence of a Chemical Attack in Syria


Putin Lifts Ban On Russian Missile Sales To Iran

Putin Defiant Over Russia Sanctions

VIDEO: What Russians Want To Ask Putin

Russia’s Most Daring Theatre Company

In Exile, But Ready To Save Russia


Video: Far-Right Jobbik Wins First Hungary Seat

Portugal’s Wheels Of Change

Memorial Service For Alps Crash Dead

Video: Greece Turning To Commune Life

The Danish Politician Who Accused Google of Antitrust Violations

Planned Motorcycle Rally by the Night Wolves, a Putin Ally, Has Poland on Edge


Pope Calls Killings of Armenians ‘Genocide,’ Provoking Turkish Anger


Her Majesty’s Jihadists

Jobless Total Lowest Since July 2008


Ex-Blackwater Guards Sentenced to Long Prison Terms in 2007 Killings of Iraqi Civilians

Mighty Rio Grande Now a Trickle Under Siege

Chicago Pays $5 Million to Family of Black Teenager Killed by Officer

Celebrating Boston Marathon, While Honoring Victims’ Memory

Federal Judge Keeps Marijuana on List of Most Dangerous Drugs


Cyberattackers Tried To Shut Down The Canadian Government Service That Synchronizes Clocks: Memo

India And Canada, By The Numbers: A Look At The Mind-Boggling Differences Between The Two Countries

Interest Rates, The Bank Of Canada, And The Trauma Of The Oil Shock


Video: Mass Protests Sweep Through Brazil

Obama Endorses Removing Cuba From Terrorism List

Video: Dead Fish Problem In Rio Rowing Lake

Colombian President Says Peace Talks Will Continue Despite Fatal Attack Attributed to FARC Rebels

Colombia To Resume Bombing FARC Rebels After Deadly Ambush


Police ‘Foil Melbourne Terror Plot’

Australia’s Radicalised Muslims

Video Australia Arrests Over ‘Terror Plot’

Australians With IS ‘Serious Threat’

Timeline: Australia’s Terror Threat



Come On, People. We’re Going To Need A Lot Better Than This If We Want A Strong Paris Climate Treaty

Record Low For Winter Sea Ice In The Arctic

Tired Of Bizarre Weather? Blame The North Pacific Mode

California’s Wet Era May Be Ending 


U.S. Steps Up Bombing Raids In Anbar After Shiite Militias Withdraw

Why Western Girls Move To Middle East To Marry ISIL Fighters — And What Life’s Really Like When They Get There

Iran Is Raising Sophistication And Frequency Of Cyberattacks, Study Says


Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains.  Photo credit  olyasoloviova.com

Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains. Photo credit olyasoloviova.com


In about three weeks, two young lady photographers will be walking across their war-torn nation capturing not the ravages of conflict, but of a people embracing peace.  Their project is called Inside of Living.  The Northstar Journal’s European associate editor, Olya Bereza, reports.

Hi, Rusty, from Dnipropetrovsk:

I am this week sending you a wonderful picture of the project Inside-Of-Living 

At this time I think constructive news and positive ideas here are as much if not more important than political life for people to come back to peace in their minds.    Here is an example.  Inside of Living is this project by two brave east Ukrainian girls from Dnipropetrovsk walking through the country from border to border (1.500-1.800 km) taking pictures of villages and towns on the way to show beauty and culture of Ukraine.

They will start this Saturday and they are also going to make videoblogs in English as well. More information can be found on the page of their Kickstarter campaign  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/289052912/inside-of-living

Stay warm, Mishka.


What’s Behind The High-Profile Deaths In Ukraine?

Two Major Orthodox Churches In Ukraine Mulling Merger

VIDEO: Inside Ukraine Plant Hit By Rockets

Video: Trapped in a Torn Country

Kenney Says Canadian Troops Won’t Be Training Nazi Sympathizers In Ukraine


This might be taking political correctness a tad too far.  Which country has the least sexist banknotes?

This is one of those symbolic gestures that in a cynical world means nothing.  But positive change does not come from a world which has given up on itself.  It comes from a world in which gestures like this mean everything.  Get Inspired To Hugatree! See Photos Of 10 Species That Hug Trees.

The city in which I live has the same problem so I can definitely get behind this.  The Haida’s War On Rats: After three centuries of infestation, locals reclaim idyllic island from rodent invaders


This needs to change.  With Driver’s License Suspensions, a Cycle of Debt

If this starts happening in the two nations in which my heart and mind reside, it’s time for this little E.T. to call home.  VIDEO: Prison for insulting a president?

Probably not the best idea in the world, eh?  VIDEO: Gyrocopter lands on US Capitol lawn


Here’s an offer I found impossible to refuse.  Find a Tree. Hug It Out.

This is cool.  ~ Netflix is teaming up with the World Wildlife Foundation and Silverback Films on an ambitious four-year project.  It is an eight-part series that explores never-before-filmed wilderness areas in stunning 4K HD entitled Our Planet

I wrote about these in Wrath of the USS Testament in 1985.  VIDEO: US navy shows off ‘swarming’ drones


Beyond Compost: 5 Ways to Get Your Soil Ready This Spring

The Truth About Wolves

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, Preserving a Site and a Ghastly Inventory


Astronauts Capture First-Person Perspective Of Space Walk Using Gopro

SpaceX Shipment Arrives at International Space Station

What You Need to Know About the International Space Station Launch


Easy Solution for Shrimpers and Smelt Alike

Apes Reveal Secrets To Good Sleep

60 Facts About Our Awesome World


The Plane That Can Fly Backwards

The Robotics Inventors Who Are Trying to Take the ‘Hard’ Out of Hardware

A Rare Look Inside Chrysler’s Research Facility


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.


4 Surprising Reasons Why Clean Energy Is Gaining On Fossil Fuels

‘I Rule My Own Ocean Micronation’

The 10 Best Housing Designs Of 2015, According To Architects


Being a Night Owl May Be Bad for Your Health

Take the Habit Personality Quiz ~ What’s your habit personality? Take a quiz to find out the factors that influence how you form habits, both good and bad.

The Most Fitness-Friendly Cities In America


After 50 Years of Smoking Marijuana, Her Life Turned Out Nicely

Finding Happiness In Family Life

Big City Living May Help You Slow Down, Stress Less, and Be Happy‏. Really!

The Worst Office Habits


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.


Watch: A Woman’s Outback Odyssey

America’s 59 Amazing National Parks (PHOTOS) 

A Field Guide to the American Sandwich


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, please go here   To purchase the kindle book at amazon.com for $3.99, please go here.

THE BACK COUNTRY GALLERY’S new free monthly nature wallpaper is available here.  Lens jockey Steve Perry also has a newsletter offering a great deal of cool stuff for wildlife photographers, amateur and professional, alike. 



Political, Classified and Commercial Writing, Editing, Proofing

Book Projects

Jokes and Monologues

Online Writing Tutoring

Song Lyrics


Special Projects

Online, from my computer to yours,

Paypal or direct deposit to account

Negotiable rates & payment plans

International clients welcome




This is beautiful.  Strange new whale song heard

This is really cool.  Trees have traits many of us aspire to: strength, resilience, the ability to branch out and more. Answer seven simple questions about your habits, personality and interests to discover the tree you relate to most. Find out which tree you are

I am not sure this is the best news for the creature kingdom.  We Aren’t Alone in Our Cities: 12 Ways Animals Have Adapted to Urban Life


Eye Contact Helps Strengthen The Bond Between Pooches And Their Owners

Truck Of BEES Overturns On Washington State Highway

Angry Gorilla Scares The Heck Out Of Zoo Visitors


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s Wildlife Finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Amnesty International

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


Ontario’s new beer strategy has already gone skunky

At a Long Island Beach, Human Tempers Flare Over Claws and Feathers

A Project to Turn Corpses Into Compost


The Northstar Journal is a reader supported, international news, commentary and general interest weekly Internet magazine.  It goes out by direct email to readers in 18 countries.  It also has a website linked to both Facebook and Linked-In.  Founded as a monthly in 1999, it is the winner of two Hersh “Best Read on the Net” awards” for its coverage of Bosnia and Washington State’s Nisqually Earthquake.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here.  For more information and to receive us in your email, contact us at minstrel312@aol.com


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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