News & Commentary, From Olya ~ Ukraine Train Stories, Good Examples, Bad Examples, From Santa ~ Gifts For Our Readers, Northstar Interactive, Our World & Beyond, Northstar Mailbox – US Senator Patti Murray On US Refugee Resettlement Program, The Green Agenda, Health & Lifestyle, Northstar Comics, Thought Of The Week, Best Of The Net, All Creatures Great & Small, Northstar Endorses, You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up, About Us
December 20, 2015 Vol. 9 No. 15 429th Consecutive
This edition is dedicated to the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and in particular to Ms. Christina Magdaleno
SINCE CHRISTMAS BELONGS TO EVERYONE…
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. At a time of such religious controversy, it might seem terribly inappropriate to wish those of you who are not Christians a Merry Christmas.
In the House that Northstar built, Christmas belongs as much to every human being on this planet as the man whose birthday this holiday celebrates. We also happen to feel that way about Mohammed, Buddha and the principles of all the other faiths this teeming planet has to offer.
I like Jesus but I am not awed by him. I believe all that the New Testament says about him. I imagine him as a tall, sunbronzed man with carpenter’s hands and a real softspoken way about him. I’m betting that people learned as much from the expressions on his face and the timbre of his voice as they did from his sermons themselves.
I think that Jesus was also a very working class kind of guy and it’s not that much of a stretch ~ as sacrilegious as this may seem ~ imagining having a pint and a game of darts with him after working on a house together. I also imagine Jesus was a pretty good poker player, loved to dance and probably had a real cool singing voice.
I apologize if that takes some of the shine off the icon but I don’t think that any messiah was sent down here to lead us. They were sent down here to teach us how to lead ourselves. All of us are as much the children of God as our prophets and with all due respect, when we pray standing up, we’re that much closer to touching the face of the Divine One.
Merry Christmas, then, gang. Oh, and by the way, St. Nicholas swung by early and left some cool links for you guys. Scroll down to FROM SANTA. And just a reminder. The Northstar Journal is supported entirely by its readers. This keeps us free to provide what you want, rather than what an advertiser might. That $5.00 or $10.00 you contribute every year makes that possible. If you’d like to do that now, please go here. Thank you.
Take care, stay well and have a great week, gang
This is good news close to home. PNW can power itself for the next 20 years with energy efficiency
This, on the other hand, is not so good. In Victoria, pollution ruins First Nation’s traditional shellfish harvest
CLIMATE CHANGE & WEATHER
ESPIONAGE AND TERRORISM
UKRAINE TRAIN STORIES
December 25th is very important astrologically because that is when the days begin to grow longer again. For three days, Mercury and Orion’s belt stars make a visible line that points down to the same place of sun rising. This is recognized as a possible source of the tale about three magi who followed the Star. Then sun gradually shifts south, signalling the start of its way to spring.
My family, being Orthodox Christian, has Christmas on January 7th. But from this astronomical perspective, I appreciate the 25th of December too. I like celebrating two Christmases and two New Years, the Western and the Orthodox. It also reminds me that we all are more alike than different.
Our year of 2015 was an interesting and dramatic one, one which makes you appreciate simple things and joys like a sunny morning smile, peaceful city streets, people who enjoy communication with each other. As I have mentioned before, I often travel and when I do, I prefer ordinary economy class trains. So many tales one can hear during long choo- choo hours, the sound the best lullaby for me at night.
Last week I met on a train a wonderful woman from West Ukraine who shared with me her admiration of Russian language and culture. I shared my inspiration of Western Ukraine and Ukrainian language too. We agreed that as long as people continue to build cultural bridges with each other, there is still a hope. A soldier in next car was complaining about lack of water, only 1.5 liter (1.5 quart) to drink a day and no opportunity to wash for weeks. He about went off about the cereals they receive to eat. Volunteers help a lot but they can’t replace the shortage of those responsible for their logistical support.
Thousands are the stories that flow from people on long train rides. Their opinions, impressions, emotions, dreams hopes, prayers and reflections are all a part of Ukraine for perhaps more than any other nation, Ukraine is her people and their stories. And the truth of Ukraine is they all are right in their vision or perception as every story is a part of their own story, and every part of their story influences our common heritage.
As I have also mentioned before, I was truly inspired and touched by a beautiful romance told me once on an evening train showing that sometimes ~ even under the harshest circumstances of a swiftly changing world, passion, love and courage find the way for two people. I am hoping next year, with my cousin Mishka’s help, to complete a novel based on this true life love story and the belief that every cloud does, indeed, have a silver lining.
So wishing to all readers and my fellow staff of the Northstar Journal a silver lining.
And for you, Mishka, hoping St. Nicolas be nice this year as you deserve a few presents. Big smile and warm hug.
Olya Bereza – European Associate EditorOlya
Ed. Note: Olya, St. Nicholas visited me big time the day God sent this kind of dopey looking little baby with hair the colour of Russian wheat, eyes as blue as the Dnieper and a smile as vast as the steppes themselves to live among us. She grew up real nicely and I thank God every morning and every night for that. Merry Christmas, Cousin Mine. Rusty
Good for these folks. VIDEO: First Saudi Women Politicians Elected
This makes me very proud. Canada’s refugee program draws praise around the world
There’s a special place Up Yonder reserved for this man. Video: The Man Who Rescues Trafficked Children
This absolutely should not be happening. Young Muslim Americans Are Feeling The Strain Of Suspicion
This should never have been necessary but good for him! The Father Of A Fallen Muslim American War Hero Puts Trump In His Place
Some of these actually work. 9 Comebacks for Dealing with Rude People
These are YouTube links. All are g-rated and meant to be watched alone or with family and friends. You can also take the ones you don’t like and re-gift or copy the ones y0u do and pass them along. So take some time to relax over a cup of hot cocoa and good company. Enjoy, then, from our house to yours, the best the season has to offer from Olya, Dennis, Amy Sarah and a couple of other anonymous hooligans who bring you the Northstar Journal. Here’s a song each, then, for the 12 Days of Christmas. Rusty Miller
- Because All Men Are Brothers – Peter, Paul & Mary
- Bless the Beasts and the Children – Film Theme Song by The Carpenters
- Colors of the Wind – From Soundtrack of the Film Pocahantas
- Dick Van Dyke and The Dustbowl Revival
- Dueling Banjos – Kermit the Frog & Steve Martin
- Encouragement – Foundation For A Better Life
- Glenn Miller Medley – Andre Rieu
- I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seekers
- Katyusha – Varvara
- One World – Celtic Woman
- William Tell Overture – Glen Campbell
- A World of Our Own – The Seekers
OUR WORLD AND BEYOND
This is fascinating. Scientists Say That 6,000 Years Ago, Humans Dramatically Changed How Nature Works
I love this. Why Moon Colonies Will Live Underground
JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE
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.
To Our Associate Editor Denny Steussy From US Senator Patti Murray On The US Refugee Settlement Program
Dear Mr. Steussy:
Thank you for contacting me concerning your thoughts on the U.S. refugee resettlement program and humanitarian assistance for refugees. As you know, our world is experiencing a crisis of women, children, and families forced to flee their homes to escape conflict, violence, or persecution. I appreciate hearing from you on this critical subject.
The United Nations estimates there are nearly 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons which is more than any time since World War II. These are people fleeing not only war torn Syria, but nearly every region of the world. They are fleeing the worst forms of persecution based on who they are or what they believe, including religious discrimination, violence against women, and violence against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Responding to and ending this international humanitarian crisis will require all nations of the world working together. The United States has a moral, legal, and national security responsibility to assist those who flee conflict, violence, or persecution in their home countries and cannot return.
Further, the United States has been and must continue to be a compassionate member of the international community, accepting a specified number of refugees who cannot return to their country of origin and providing them the opportunity to pursue the American dream. Washington state has long been a welcoming community for refugees, with our state continually ranking as one of the top 10 resettlement states in the country. From Seattle to Spokane, Vancouver to Bellingham, refugees are placed in every corner of our state, every year. Upon first arriving to Washington, people and organizations throughout our state offer recently arrived refugees a safe and welcoming community. I am proud of our state’s long history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution from throughout the world.
We currently have a robust vetting process in place for refugees coming to the United States, but I will continue to work with my colleagues here in Congress and with the President to make sure we continue to take steps to keep our country safe. That is why I have written to the Administration urging them to continue to carefully screen refugee applicants for all national security and terrorism concerns while also urging them to devote sufficient resources and staff to ensure that this critical process does not hinder resettlement for refugees who pose no threat to our public safety or national security, many of whom are living in difficult, at times life-threatening, situations.
The bottom line is Washington state has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants from throughout the world, and I believe that we can keep our country safe without slamming the door shut on the mothers, children, and families who have turned to the United States for help in escaping violent extremism and persecution.
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please sign up for my updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates.
United States Senator
THE GREEN AGENDA
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE
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.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
A most cool radio show with a great, insightful website . . .
To subscribe and experience Thoughts in their original, please contact Amy at SpringggRain@aol.com
BEST OF THE NET
WRATH OF THE USS TESTAMENT
A super power no longer, a resource hungry and repressive America faces a Latin American armada rampaging its west coast and a strong, silent and powerful Canada manning the North Wall. The fires of rebellion burn in the Pacific Northwest and it is into this crucible and forge that the cybernetic patrol boat Testament and her crew of three men and three women are thrust. Individuals of duty and conscience both, when they join the other side, all Hell breaks loose. A rollicking adventure for anyone who loves the sea, a good yarn and characters which spring to life even as Testament herself leaps the waves. Now available in both paperback and Kindle at amazon.com
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.
NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES
Whatever your editing, writing, tutoring or consulting needs, chances are I can handle them. Negotiable rates, flexible payment plan, Paypal and from your email to me and back. Simple, friendly, professional. I also accept barter and trade. International clients encouraged. If you need it done quickly, simply and for a price tailored to your budget, shoot me a brief project description at email@example.com I’ll get back to you one way or another within 24 hours. For a list of specific services provided, please go to http://nstarmed.wordpress.com My name is Merritt Scott Miller and my friends and clients call me “Rusty”. I look forward to hearing from you.
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
This is weird. Imagine Seeing One of These in the Ocean — This Thing is Crazy!
I absolutely love this and I am guessing you will too. Adorable! The Lion Whisperer Gets a Full Cuddle Treatment
Here is another chance to die of cute. I almost did. This Lion Loses His Brother — Their Reunion is Priceless!
FOLKS WE FOLLOW
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
The Northstar Journal is an international news, commentary and general interest weekly Internet magazine reaching readers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceana. We also have a website linked to both Facebook and Linked-In. While we occasionally accept classified advertising, we are otherwise entirely reader-supported. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org