Friday, April 18, 2008 Vol 3 No 16 (130)
"True North is for opinion makers"
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Flying saucer fleet shot over Vancouver Island

"Intrepid, brilliant, Vancouver Island photographer known only as David wins The True North Perspective Award for Excellence in Journalism for this fantastic camera work. No, this is not the work of fancy mouse-and-key-boarding. Except for delivery to your desktop, it has nothing to do with computers. It’s the result of knowing what makes an award winning photograph and having the well-honed intuition to know where to be when things happen. Carl Dow, Editor.


"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:

Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

Or quick and easy and perfectly safe, via Pay Pal. No donation is too small.

True North No Gas Fridays
Don't be shy! Just don't buy!
And here’s a good reason why!

Join True North No Gas Fridays and hit back at Big Oil price gouging. When enough drivers make the point that they're mad as hell and won't take it anymore Governments will act. You can count on it. Protect yourself with True North No Gas Fridays.

dont go here

Take care, beware, don't go near that thing on Friday . . . theres a gouger lurking, with a very greedy eye on your hard-earned money.

Editor’s Notes

Words of welcome and advice to new and would-be subscribers

I’m happy to report that our readership is expanding not beyond our hopes but beyond our immediate expectations. This fact and comments we receive assure us that we’re satisfying a need with the high-end reading public. — 394 words.

Screen actors Guild Chief is no pacifist

‘I have two great loves in my life: acting and fight for social justice’
"This is not about wealthy actors trying to get
wealthier — All we want is to be compensated fairly."

According to some estimates, two-thirds of the union's members earn less than $1,000 a year acting. On the other extreme are stars who routinely take home $20 million a movie in salary, plus millions more in perks. — 1,037 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Vitamins A, E, beta-carotene increase mortality, not longevity: study

Vitamin E, vitamin A and beta-carotene may not be the life prolonging, antioxidant wonders they were once believed to be, suggests new research. — 362 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Forget about speed records
what about effieciency records

The Shell Eco-marathon Americas, which took place from April 10 to 13 at the California Speedway, in Fontana, allowed students from Canada, Mexico and the United States to showcase their skills in the development of extremely fuel-efficient vehicles.

From the Desk of RCAF Lt. Col. (Ret’d) Harold Wright

Ombudsman highlights health-care inequities for injured reservists

OTTAWA, April 3, 2008 — The Interim Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, Mary McFadyen, released a special report Thursday, April 3, entitled Reserved Care: An Investigation into the Treatment of Injured Reservists. The investigation marks the Office's first systemic investigation involving Canada's Reserve Force. — 629 words.

Canada Logging May Ignite "Carbon Bomb": Greenpeace

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canada threatens to ignite a "carbon bomb" that could drastically worsen global warming if it continues heavy logging in areas of its vast northern forest, Greenpeace warned in a report on Thursday, April 10. — 535 words.

Spirit Quest

‘There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will.’ — Shakespeare.

By The Reverend Hanns F. Skoutajan

Far be it for me to argue with Gretta Vosper, she is too brilliant as well as a powerful woman. The Reverend Gretta Vosper is minister of West Hill United Church in Scarborough.  She has recently hit the press both print and air, Gretta is the founding president of Progressive Christians. Her book with the intriguing title, With or Without God (HarperCollins) focused attention on her. Michael Valpy interviewed her for the Globe and Mail and brought to light her, as some would say, “heretical” ideas and beliefs. — 747 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Harold Wright 

Amazing fun with math
Try this for a pleasant surprise — 2008 is the only year that it works!


Don't tell me your age; you probably would tell a falsehood anyway — but  
your waiter may know!


The truth about Iraq was in the cards
The Civil War Bush and the media hide

While the majority of Iraqis know that the current Sunni-Shiites tension did not exist before 2003, no one can deny that after five years of U.S. occupation, sectarian tension is now a reality. Sectarianism is another disaster that was brought to Iraq by the war and occupation of Iraq. The U.S.-led invasion did not only destroy the Baath political regime, it also annihilated the entire public sector including education, health care, food rations, social security, and the armed forces.  — 1,443 words

Fastest growing SEIU local organizes 500 more

SEIU's fastest-growing local union just grew even larger. On April 9, 500 healthcare workers at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside officially joined UHW. Tri-City workers join the 1000 recently organized St. Francis and CHW clinic workers as the newest members of UHW for a grand total of over 1500 healthcare workers who have become UHW members in just the past month. — 241 words.

Beset by regulatory problems by U.S. agencies
Tyson Foods develops chicken market in China

Tyson's long history of health violations is catching up with it. Now the company intends to take its dirty practices overseas.

Martha Rosenberg AlterNet, says ‘No one has ever accused Tyson Foods of being green. Even as the Springdale, Ark.-based meat giant's probation ends for 20 federal violations of the Clean Water Act at its Sedalia, Mo., chicken plant in 2003 — it paid a $7.7 million fine — it is back in court. — 840 words.

From the Desk of Contributing Editor Geoffrey Dow

Once stable sea level will displace tens of millions
as it rises ‘1.5 metres by 2100’ drowning lowlands

Melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warming water could lift sea levels by as much as 1.5 metres by the end of this century, displacing tens of millions of people. That's the conclusion of a new prediction of sea level rises that for the first time takes into account ice dynamics. — 416 words.

Bush, McCain share bizarre delusions on Iraq
Time for reckoning with hard truths to end war  

‘As the old saying goes, doing the same thing over and over again and hoping you'll get a different result is the definition of insanity.’

Really, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain. As a growing chorus reiterates, their refrains that Mr. McCain is 'willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq' (as Mr. Obama said) or 'willing to keep this war going for 100 years' (per Mrs. Clinton) are flat-out wrong. — 1,589 words.

Another bubble burst

I was about six years old when I first became aware of BBC radio. I was playing with my sisters and running through the living room, laughing and calling out. I saw my father sitting with his head close to the front of the tall floor-model radio. He waved me to silence in his always, patient, loving way. I stopped to listen. Why was Daddy so interested? “This is London Calling,” came a voice that I can still hear in my mind’s ear, for I was to hear it live for at least a decade afterward. The BBC was reporting on The War. I didn’t know it then but while London was Calling my father was working, successfully, to win my mother’s approval for him to enlist for active service. It wasn’t long before he came home in uniform on a furlough from basic training (or boot camp as the American’s know it). With my Daddy in the war, as often as I could, I’d listen to London Calling at 12 noon on the CBC. For years I considered the BBC as a respectable source of news. My confidence began to falter when the BBC was getting it wrong on the American-led NATO attack on the disintegrating Yugoslavia. And then the attack on Iraq. Another Golden Icon was turning into lead I concluded with heavy heart. Another fantasy in shambles. My dismay, I’m sorry to say, is reinforced by the story you’ll find by clicking here. — Carl Dow. — 2,626 words.

Women fighting on two fronts

‘Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men.’

I still don't know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen. The people were all older than us and dull in a distinguished way, old enough that we, at forty-ish, passed as the occasion's young ladies. The house was great -- if you like Ralph Lauren-style chalets -- a rugged luxury cabin at 9,000 feet complete with elk antlers, lots of kilims, and a wood-burning stove. We were preparing to leave, when our host said, "No, stay a little longer so I can talk to you." He was an imposing man who'd made a lot of money. — 2,409 words.

Slow recovery in China Rust Belt

DALIAN, China -- The chilly streets of Dalian lie deathly quiet most winter nights, but strollers in this northeastern Chinese city sometimes spot a light burning in the offices of mayor Xia Deren. — 780 words.

U.S. Veterans Department creates roadblocks
to 2008 voter registration for injured veterans

VA Secretary says registering voters in VA facilities is a "partisan" distraction.

On the same day the Pentagon's commander in Iraq told the Senate that new troop withdrawals could not considered be for months, Secretary of Veterans Affairs James B. Peake told two Democratic senators that his department will not help injured veterans at VA facilities to register to vote before the 2008 election. — 1,088 words.

Venezuela says African nations should nationalize oil
and further develop economic links with South America

DAKAR - African nations should follow Venezuela's lead and nationalize their energy and mining sectors to secure the resources to fight poverty, Venezuela's deputy foreign minister for Africa said on Friday. — 440 words.

Did you know?

Homes Quiz – by Mark Kearney and Randy Ray

For many Canadians, their home is their castle.  It’s where they spend the greatest portion of their time relaxing with friends and family, entertaining, tackling odd jobs, or sleeping.  They also spend a large chunk of their income on mortgage payments, property taxes, repairs and upgrades.

But how much do Canadians know about the homes they live in or are planning to buy?  As you tour open houses in search of your dream home this spring, or plan renovations at your existing abode, we invite you to test your knowledge of housing with our trivia quiz.. We’ll pose one question each issue here. You can find the answer at the bottom of the page. Good  luck!

How much heat can be lost through your home’s old or ill-fitting windows?
a) 25 per cent b) 12 per cent c) 16 per cent d) 40 per cent

Randy Ray of Ottawa and Mark Kearney of London, Ont. are the authors of seven books, including Pucks, Pablum & Pingos, a Canadian trivia book to be published in April.  Visit their Web site at:

Who served in the military?

It’s interesting that the American-lawmaker loud-mouths and the war-drum beaters who mostly dodged the draft or otherwise declined to serve in the military were Republicans. They didn’t have the courage of their convictions to go themselves nor send their children to combat. But quite self-satisfied to send others. They were good at strutting their stuff in the public eye but like cowardly draft dodger John Wayne and shameless George W. Bush they pulled strings to play it safe. Another blowhard was Charlton Heston who managed a desk job in the Aleutian Islands where he hid out as a sergeant during World War 11. It grieves me that so many sacrifice life and limb by falling victim to the false urging of the despicable. Here below is a documented report on elected prominent Democrats who served and prominent Republicans who (most but not all) did not. — Carl Dow. — 3,585 words (mostly name, rank, and number)

Labors changing tune on global warming

The concept of "green collar jobs" is starting to bring organized labor on board for environmental change.

Figuring out how to respond to global warming has been difficult for organized labor. The issue can pit union against union and unions against environmentalists. Now, however, a new alliance is developing around the idea of "green jobs" -- the jobs that will be needed to rebuild our economy and drastically reduced greenhouse gases. — 1,430 words.

Cuba legalizes private titles to government homes, lifts wage limits

HAVANA (AP) — Thousands of Cubans will be able to get title to state-owned homes under regulations published Friday — a step that might lay the groundwork for broader housing reform. — 703 words.

‘Animal welfare groups need to grow up’

Ignored potential for unity with farmers, hunters, trappers

The animal welfare lobby has mostly itself to blame for the watered down animal rights bill just passed by Parliament. — 443 words.

Giving the finger to OPEC

‘ . . . put an end to the pick-pocketing of our national purse by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.’

American economist Robert Zubrin wants Western countries to embrace biofuels to choke off some of the funding for Middle East based terrorists. — 650 words.

A Book Review

Panic Attack

Richard Rhodes' book on the nuclear arms race
asks who stood to gain from a climate of fear

‘My American landscape looked so Soviet’

When I first arrived in the Soviet Union in 1987, I suffered from that sinking feeling brought on by the dismal clutter of the Soviet landscape. I walked beaches littered with washed-up machine parts, rode tattered trams past shabby housing blocks, and tripped over rebar in concrete-clad playgrounds. — 1,387 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Here’s a rural legend from The Ottawa Valley told to me as a wide-eyed, 10-year-old kid by “Peg-leg Pete”, an old Logger & Raftsman who worked the Bush and the River when they still had massive logging drives downriver to the E.B. Eddy Lumbermill in Hull, Quebec. Pete froze his leg off in the River by slipping off the Ice Bridge on an over-refreshed late night journey home to MacLaren’s Landing from Gavan’s Tavern in Quyon. — 570 words.

The Book End

Every Friday in this spot True North will feature a book by a Canadian writer. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author written by him/herself and about the product of the author’s literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we’ll publish it. Today we offer Toko Cicak: A Voyage of Self Discovery, a human drama set against the background of the greatest volcanic eruption in historic times. Looking forward.  — Carl Dow, Editor.

Toko Cicak: A Voyage of Self Discovery

In April 1815 an incredibly heavy volcanic explosion, the greatest of historical times, racked the Lesser Sunda Islands of what is now Indonesia. At first its source was a mystery, but eventually the titanic upheaval was traced to Gunung (Mount) Tambora on the remote island of Sumbawa. Please click here for more.

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, just click here, and Carl Hall will return your enquiry as soon as possible.

Answer to Homes Quiz Did You Know?

Up to 25 per cent of total house heat loss, says Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency in Ottawa. Causes can include cracked glazing, worn out or improperly fitted weather-stripping and faulty hardware.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Mike Heenan, Literary Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Photography Director
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright