The Northstar Journal:  The Magazine With Heart News & Commentary; From Olya ~On A Train With Soldiers; Meade Fischer Travels ~ Adventure Photography & Other Travel News;  Sara's Fulbright Year: Taichung, Taiwan; Good Examples; Bad Examples; Our Science Section Abridged; The Green Agenda; Health; Lifestyle; Best Of The Net; Thought of the Week; From Northstar; All Creatures Great & Small; Northstar Endorses; You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up; About Us

The Northstar Journal: The Magazine With Heart
News & Commentary; From Olya ~On A Train With Soldiers; Meade Fischer Travels ~ Adventure Photography & Other Travel News; Sara’s Fulbright Year: Taichung, Taiwan; Good Examples; Bad Examples; Our Science Section Abridged; The Green Agenda; Health; Lifestyle; Best Of The Net; Thought of the Week; From Northstar; All Creatures Great & Small; Northstar Endorses; You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up; About Us

Pacem, Libertatem, Justitiam

100% Reader Supported.  Contributions Accepted Here.

April 10, 2016  Vol. 9 No. 200  445th Consecutive

Rusty Miller – Editor

Olya Bereza – European Editor

Dennis Steussy – Associate Editor

Meade Fischer – Contributing Editor

Amy Goldstein – Contributing Editor

Sara Goldstein – Contributing Editor

Cartoon by Thomas Nast

Cartoon by Thomas Nast


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Sometimes, as action-packed as April is, I think we should make the 11 other months longer and let this one go to the Great Calendar Heaven up yonder.

First, the month itself does not get off to a promising start when it is known as “April Fool’s Day.”  That’s a 24 hour stretch when sadistic people with entirely too much time on their hands get to really mess with the lives of the gullible.  The cost of that in terms of lost production alone is incalculable.

April is also the month when Americans pay federal taxes based on what they have made and what they have saved, what they have spent and what they have spent it on.

Many view the process as an artful game in which the tax payer tries to spend as little as possible for the maximum of services provided.  Others consider it a penance paid annually for being born in a land of taxation with questionable representation.  But the majority of us pay the band for the music and do not entertain private fantasies of replacing the musicians.  I personally think taxes should be paid in December, when people are already in a giving mood.

This April also falls during the American presidential primaries and in 2016 tends to mirror rather dramatically, if not somewhat appallingly, the decline in manners in America in general.  What other nations must think when they hear former First Lady and Secretary of State being slandered and libeled not only by her opposition but by members of her own party?

What kind of a nation have we become when a man with a billion dollar mouth and the tact of a porcupine in a tanning salon feels so above it all that he can say and do whatever he wants without thought to consequences or collateral damage?

What kind of testimony to our national character is it when we can castigate in such pathetically parochial and racist terms a fellow American who has won the mandate of his state and then his nation; has proven to be a good father and one of the few presidents in recent history whose libido has not been a source of national shame?

Both parties are equally guilty of promoting behavior that would be a national disgrace under most other flags on the planet and yet consider themselves still fit to suggest to other countries how they should live.

It’s been a very good week for hypocrisy, gang.  Happy April.


To comment, email us at  To contribute to the next edition, please go here.


I hope no one is surprised by this.  I’m not.  Facebook is a marketplace just as much as Craigslist and Ebay.  Only peace will eliminate the demand.  Facebook Groups Act As Weapons Bazaars For Militias

Way to go, you guys!  SpaceX Nails Historic Rocket Landing

If ever there was a time for this, surely it is now.  Francis’ Message Calls On Church To Be Inclusive



Deadly Diabetes In ‘Unrelenting March’

Executions Highest In 25 Years, Amnesty International Says

The United Nations April 2016 Global Update is now available.  Headlines include:  Progress For Girls’ Education, Why Gender Data Matters, and How Energy Empowers  Girls and Women


Myanmar Releases Dozens Of Student Activists From Jail

Cambodia Diplomat Charged With Fraud

Thailand Police Investigate Royal Family Stickers On Line

Illegal Pet Trade In Madagascar May Threaten Conservation And Survival Of Endangered Lemur Species


Video: How People Get Money Out Of China

Small Voice Of Dissent Pays Big Price As China Guards Its Image

China, Switzerland Forge Innovative Strategic Partnership

Premier Li Confident In China’s Economy, Eyes Cooperation With Germany

China’s Cosco Signs Deal To Buy Greece Largest Port At $419 Million


In Face Of Water Crisis, Indian Minister Praises Israeli Technologies

Hot Weather Kills 80 In South India

Why Saying Hello Can Be Tricky In India

New Frog Species Discovered In India’s Wastelands


Ivory Coast: Politician Acquired Tons Of Weapons, U.N. Investigation Finds

Global Health: Yellow Fever Outbreak In Angola Strains Health Organizations

2 Libyan Guantánamo Inmates Are Transferred To Senegal


American Held Captive In Syria Is Released

Lebanon Sentences Ex-Official To 13 Years On Terrorism Charges

Moshe Katsav, Jailed Ex-President Of Israel, Loses Bid For Early Release
Iran Plans Visit To Rival Saudis To Discuss Hajj Pilgrimage
Jerusalem Journal: Risk Of Collapse At Jesus’ Tomb Unites Rival Christians


Russian Court Accepts Lawsuit Demanding Putin’s Impeachment

Putin: Obama ‘Personally’ Invited Russian President To Nuclear Summit

Russian Teenager Shot Dead After Game With Friend Goes Awry

Melting Snow Causes Road Collapse In Russia’s Ulyanovsk

Extensive Road Maintenance In Moscow To Start April 8

Family Of Russian National Guard Chief Owns Properties Worth $10M – Investigation

Moscow Metro To Add 30 Composting Toilets For Public Use

Putin’s Personal Army: Analysts On Russia’s National Guard


Greece Expels First Migrants To Turkey

Dutch Voters Reject EU-Ukraine Deal

France Outlaws Paying For Sex

Migrant Deportations To Turkey Resume

Tiny Baby Bears Rescued From Forest In Romania


Pope Urges Greater Family Understanding


Cameron Under Pressure Over Tax Havens

Archbishop Of Canterbury Says DNA Test Shows His Father Was Churchill’s Private Secretary

Explaining ‘Brexit,’ Britain’s Vote On European Union Membership

Scottish Wildlife Trust & Buglife Scotland Call For Permanent Ban On Damaging Insecticides

Nature Improvement Areas: Thousands More Hectares For English Wildlife

Polar Bear Breeding Begins In The Highlands

Brighton Badger March


Eco-Friendly Home Built Free Of Charge For Six Nations Woman  

How Canada Can Champion Reforms At The United Nations

Ottawa To Boost Overseas Visa Staffing To Speed Up Refugee Processing


Anti-Gay Laws Bring Backlash In Mississippi And North Carolina

San Francisco Approves Fully Paid Parental Leave

Obama Administration To Transfer Ebola Funds To Zika Fight

Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms ‘One Person, One Vote’ Principle

California Enacts Highest Statewide Minimum Wage In The Nation

Big-City Mayors Take Aim At States With Anti-Gay Laws


Insider’s Account Of How Graft Fed Brazil’s Political Crisis

A Rare Conviction For The Slaying Of A Latin American Environmentalist

This Huge Region Of Brazil Is Even More Deforested — And Less Protected — Than The Amazon


These Australian Feminists Got Rape And Death Threats For Charging White Men More For Cupcakes

An Heir To A Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

Devastating: Scientists Say The Great Barrier Reef Is Experiencing Its Worst Coral Bleaching Event On Record



Dame Vivienne Westwood Joins Sea Shepherd In The Fight To Save Our Oceans

NASA Is Facing A Climate Change Countdown

When I Dream Of The Planet In Recovery

World Bank Hikes Aid To Poor Nations Fighting Global Warming

Why Uncertainty About Climate Change Is Definitely Not Our Friend

It’s Not Just Antarctica — Why Greenland Could Also Melt Faster Than Expected

As The Climate Changes, Risks To Human Health Will Accelerate, White House Warns

Climate-Related Death Of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists


John Kerry Makes Sudden Trip To Iraq, Affirming U.S. Aid In ISIS Fight

ISIS’ Industry Of Rape: Our Reporters Answer Questions
How ISIS Built The Machinery Of Terror Under Europe’s Gaze
ISIS Abducts Workers From Cement Factory In Syria


Flares Fired At Iceland PM Protest

Ottawa Under Pressure To Calculate ‘Tax Gap’ In Wake Of Panama Papers

China Links Revealed In Panama Leak

Panama Vows Change After Offshore Leaks

Russia’s Offshore Bandits: Hypocrisy Laid Bare By Panama Revelations


As The EU Stalls On Refugees, Volunteers Provide A Taste Of Home


An Ukrainskije Schelesnyje Dorogi class ChS7 is hauling train 28 Kiev - Sevastopol and will soon reach Inkerman. Picture taken between Bakhchysarai and Inkerman, Ukraine.  1 May 2013 AuthorKabelleger / David Gubler (

An Ukrainskije Schelesnyje Dorogi class ChS7 is hauling train 28 Kiev – Sevastopol and will soon reach Inkerman. Picture taken between Bakhchysarai and Inkerman, Ukraine. 1 May 2013 Author Kabelleger / David Gubler (


Hi Mishka:

A few days ago, I had another train ride in quite usual for me railway passenger open carriage. It is always a different experience spending about 20 hours alongside random people.  As there were no walls separating them, everyone became quite friendly and opened up to one another.

This time, there were demobilized soldiers going home. According to official news about 45 thousands soldiers, subscripted in July 2014- January 2015 are to come back home before Easter, which for Orthodox falls this year on the first of May.

Their commanding officer was in his early sixties and one of those kind of people in whom you have immediate confidence and for whom you feel immediate respect. Already a grandfather he was looking forward to returning to family life and again running his village household.

Mishka, what was especially moving was his attitude toward the younger of his soldiers.  He made everyone feel comfortable, talking to them not as their superior but as their shoulder to shoulder comrade, which he also obviously was.  He had a very soothing way and because he had been through the hell of combat with them, they appreciated that.

At night one of soldiers had bad dreams, talking and moaning in his sleep.  The officer said that contract soldiers will take their place on the front line. This, he believes, should make the Ukraine army more professional

It was a really nice spring sunny morning by the time the train arrived at the station.  As the soldiers were leaving, one of them gladly said, “My dear land, hometown. Good to be back”.

That’s all for this week. And Happy Mother Earth Day!

Olya Bereza, European Editor  To comment for publication, email her c/o 


Where has one of North America’s foremost kayaking photojournalists and writers been lately and who or what has he been shooting?  Yep, find out here. 

World Wildlife Foundation Trips

Undiscovered Cuba

The Great Kenya Migration Safari

Beluga Whales & Arctic Wildlife Of Churchill

Safari America: Under The Desert Sky

5 Reasons To Visit A US National Park


Monday, April 4, 2016

Before I formally start this blog post, here are 3 wonderful websites that I ask you to visit for at least one minute! These are all projects and ideas that have caught my interest over the past few weeks. Part of my goal for this blog is to further help facilitate cross-cultural exchange, which often simply means encouraging exposure to new ideas. I love giving updates as to what I have been doing and seeing andexperiencing here in Taiwan, but it is also my hope to inspire others to stop and think for a minute about a new idea (or two or three…)

1) This is a nice way to quickly see a wide variety of sites in Taiwan. I have been to many of these places – please take the opportunity to gain a visual sense of this fascinating country via photography:

2) I have been working with one of my co-teachers to coach a Grade 4 student in preparation for an upcoming storytelling competition. Like many Taiwanese students, he tends to be shy when in the spotlight and we have found it challenging to help him present the English narrative in a more dynamic, engaging way. I came across this article as I was doing research about strategies for reaching students like him, and I find this to be an amazing story. I hope that you will take a minute to read about the power teachers possess when they truly believe in their students, and about the wonders that that power can bring about.

3) Someone recently posted this, and the video at the bottom of the webpage (as well as the book described throughout!) is so exciting. These are the kinds of projects we discussed regularly during classes for my Master’s in urban education last year, and it is refreshing to read about a program like this one.  I find it incredibly inspiring to read about other people who believe in meeting students where they are, and who strive to teach the way those students want to learn.  Enjoy:

For photos and more of this fascinating narrative, please go here.


This will be great if it works.  Website Seeks To Make Government Data Easier To Sift Through

These folks are a trip.  Meet The Jeans-Wearing, Nature-Loving Nuns Who Helped Stop A Kentucky Pipeline

I definitely see a Kevin Costner movie in this one.  How An Army Of Ocean Farmers Is Starting A Revolution

To comment, email us at  


This, quite obviously, needs to stop.  Banned Chemical Still Used In Hospital IVs Is Linked To Attention Deficit Disorder

This is a sadness almost beyond words.  In Ancient DNA, The Story Of How Native Americans Thrived — And Then Were Wiped Out

We concur with the prosecution.  Hastert Molested At Least Four Boys, Prosecutors Say

To comment, email us at 


This is so cool.  Drones Marshaled To Drop Lifesaving Supplies Over Rwandan Terrain

You mean there might be weather stranger than where I’m living now?  Sigh.  Exoplanet Oceans Could Flow In Reverse, Creating Bizarre Climates, Scientists Say

This is like the dreams I have if I eat pizza or lasagna too close to bed time.  I’ll bet Franz Kafka had the same problem.  But with more widely published results.  This 430 Million Year Old Bug Tugged Its Kids Around On Leashes


Could Ancient Horse Poop Solve A Huge Historical Mystery?

66 Million Years Ago An Asteroid Destroyed The Dinosaurs. Now Scientists Are Drilling Into The Crater It Made To Understand How.

A Key Ingredient For Life On Earth May Have Crash Landed Here From Space


The Latest Picture Of Rosetta’s Comet Is Truly Breathtaking

It Turns Out This Planet Has Three Suns In Its Sky

The Hunt For Extraterrestrials Turns To The ‘Dim Bulbs Of The Universe’

New Horizons Sniffs Out The Space Weather Around Pluto

What Is Earthshine?

Video: Amazing Moons Of Our Solar System


Race Car Meets Military Drone

The World’s Brightest X-Ray Laser Is Going To Get 10,000 Times Brighter

The Wetsuit That Repels Sharks

Tesla’s Model 3 Orders Are Through The Roof. Here’s What That Means For The Planet.


Invisible Catastrophe: How Much Damage Was Done In California’s Gas Leak?

The Acidic Pacific: Act Now, Or West Coast Pays Dearly

BP Oil Spill Settlement Of $20 Billion Receives Judge’s Approval

Rooftop Solar Could Supply A Huge Portion Of Our Electricity Needs

Wind And Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels

Port Of Vancouver, Washington Staff Says ‘No’ To Oil Terminal On Columbia River

All The Way To A Bright Future—Of Clean Energy And Climate Stability

California Has Too Much Solar Power. It Needs Another Grid To Share With

How Reducing Food Waste Fights Climate Change


In Miami, Facing Risk Of Zika With Resolve But Limited Resources

Americans’ Junk Food Habits Start In Toddler Years. At Age 1, We Eat Fries And Brownies — But Few Veggies

How Old-Fashioned, Pen-To-Paper Letters Could Help Pull People Back From The Brink Of Suicide


Musings From The Dalai Lama: Mosquitoes Are Ungrateful, For Starters  

Video: How The Rich And Powerful Hide Wealth

Why Babies All Over The World Are Now Sleeping In Boxes


Seattle Facts & Figures

Competition for homes is heating up all over the map ­–  from Everett and Monroe to Kent, Renton and North Bend — as the housing squeeze spreads beyond King County. Our interactive map shows the price and sales trends in your area.

Overnight closures of Highway 99 began last night — and will last for three weeks. Check out the list of full closures related to tunnel construction.

People have raised $245,000 for Greenwood after last month’s blast there leveled two buildings and destroyed businesses. A new book, described as a “love letter to Greenwood,” aims to raise more money with its collection of stories and poems.

Think it’s pricey here? In San Francisco, tech workers are fleeing $4,500 rents — and they’re coming to Seattle, an influx that is helping to dramatically reshape our job market.


Eight Amazing Mammal Photographs

An Instrument Played With 2000 Marbles

Video: Beauty Of The Northern Lights


1 Nest ~ egg

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

Emily Dickinson

To subscribe and experience Thoughts in their original, please contact Amy at


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

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


Advertising Copy ~ Classified and Display

Comedy ~ jokes, monologues

Ghost writing


Editing ~ General and International

“Americanization” of International Websites

Online English Tutoring

Special Projects

Northstar Media Services



Sad but better there than in my backyard.  ‘Monster’ Alligator Is Shot In Florida

We probably should not encourage this kind of behavior.  However…Turkeys Torment Teaneck

If all of Africa could co-operate like this, that vast continent would know peace.  World’s Rarest Antelope Flourishes Under Community Conservation


Judge Prods Wildlife Service On Protection For Wolverines Rare Beasts Captured On Film

Pangolins, The World’s Most Trafficked Mammals, Move Closer To U.S. Endangered Species Act Protection

Video: Sea Shepherd Launches Viral Video Of Whale Captured In Net

Bat ‘Super Immunity’ To Lethal Diseases Could Help Protect People


If you’re feeling generous and want to spend some money making yourself feel good, instead of a trip to the mall or the deli, check out one of the outfits on this list and consider joining it.  You’ll be contributing to something really important and each month, you’ll be reminded of what your contribution is doing.  Some of them even have cool things like sweatshirts with their name on it or coffee mugs with lids.  As the King of Kitsch, that kind of appeals to me.  And if you want to throw a couple of bucks or Euros in our sugar can, here’s now to do that.   Thank you very much, guys.  Rusty

Amnesty International



GritTV With Laura Flaunders

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

Mother Nature Network

Nature Conservancy in Washington

National Wildlife Federation

No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News

Ocean Conservancy

Outside Magazine

The Rainforest Site

SeaDoc Society: People & Science Healing The Sea

Showcase Magazine:  Today’s Media For Artful Living

Sierra Club

Sightline Institute

The Sun Magazine

Wildlife Conservation Society 

Wildlife Extra Magazine

World Wildlife Fund

Writing For Peace

YES magazine


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2.0

Chihuahua Apprehended After Mad Dash Across San Francisco’s Bay Bridge

A Second Look At The Gorilla Genome Shows Just How Similar We Are

On the Big Red 1.  Photo by Zack Miller, 4/7/16

Rusty Miller on the Big Red 1. Photo by Zack Miller, 7 April 2016, East Renton Heights, Washington, USA


We are a reader-supported international news, commentary and general interest Internet weekly magazine reaching readers in 22 countries.  They range in age from 12 – 93 and cross all demographics.  We’ve been publishing for over eight years and we have not missed a deadline. If you like what you read and would like to contribute to the next edition, please go here. For more information and to receive us in your email, contact us 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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