Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective

Friday, December 25, 2009, Vol. 5, No, 4 — 208
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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Copenhagen's failure belongs to Obama

The American President was uniquely placed to lead the world on climate change and squandered every opportunity

By Naomi Klein
The Guardian UK

Contrary to countless reports, the debacle in Copenhagen was not everyone's fault. It did not happen because human beings are incapable of agreeing, or are inherently self-destructive. Nor was it all was China's fault, or the fault of the hapless UN. There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. — 682 words.

Cartoon by Henry Payne, Comics.com, December 23, 2009.

Editor's Notes

Friday, December 25, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 4 (208)

The left hip resents what the right hip do

This December we entered our fifth year of publication. Back then we came out five days a week. A few months later we reduced to three days a week. Then we settled down to once a week mostly on Fridays but sometimes, for logistical reasons, on a Saturday. — 435 words.

"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.

Merry Christmas, eh!

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

A journalist buddy in the Parliamentary Press Gallery was selling a special Christmas ornament as a fundraiser for his church last year. The size of a small plate, it showed a nativity scene set in white plastic over which are the words Keep Christ in Christmas. — 446 words.

In Sudbury it's restive, not festive

Workers' mettle gets test as Vale Inco strike drags into bitter northern winter

'It's a war zone here. Their tactics are designed to provoke us like never before.
They're not interested in getting back to bargaining.'

By Tony Van Alphen
The Toronto Star

SUDBURY, Ontario, Canada — Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" is blasting from a satellite radio in the tent's makeshift living room. A couple of plush La-Z-Boy rockers and a couch surround a blazing wood stove. The fresh Christmas tree in the corner gives the place a cozy holiday feeling. Three hearty men in heavy overcoats and toques hover around the stove, slap their gloves and exchange brotherly greetings. The song ends and they step outside into another world.

There's not a lot of love or warmth there. They're on the picket line just after sunrise a few days before Christmas at Vale Inco's Clarabelle Mill. It's a flashpoint in the five-month standoff between some 3,100 workers and one of the world's biggest mining companies. — 1,543 words.

Top court transforms press freedom with new libel defence

Updated law extends defence to new media

By Kirk Makin
The Globe and Mail

The Supreme Court of Canada transformed the country's libel laws yesterday with a pair of decisions that proponents say will expand the boundaries of free speech. The court ruled that libel lawsuits will rarely succeed against journalists who act responsibly in reporting their stories when those stories are in the public interest. — 607 words.

Spirit Quest

Here is wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Blessings come in many forms not always recognized as "blessed." Blessed are they who give and those who receive, clearly means that blesssings are a two way street. Unfortunately being blessed is generally seen as being on the receiving end. — 262 words.

A True North Perspective classic

More than ever Zoomers are embracing the arts

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

I was quite amused when Moses Znaimer renamed the Carp magazine Zoomer. At first, I thought it was a bit pretentious but then I realized that today's retirees are a very special brand of 50+ individuals. — 647 words.

My word!

Microsoft loses patent appeal

CBC News

A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld a $290-million U.S. judgment against Microsoft Corp. in a patent case launched by Toronto-based i4i Inc., and issued an injunction that will prevent the sale of its popular Word software. — 486 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

We need to get citizenship right

By Jack Granatstein
Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Historian J.L. Granatstein writes on behalf of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

Canada, someone once said, is a nation of immigrants that doesn’t want any more immigrants. If that was once true, it is likely not so any longer. With its aging society and low birthrate, Canada will need plenty of immigrants in the next decades to do all the jobs – and to pay the taxes that will be needed to support our ever-expanding cadre of seniors. — 873 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.

Obama now aims to close Guantanamo by 2011

By Jason Leopold

United States President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison facility by 2010 was dealt a major blow when lawmakers refused to earmark funds in a military spending bill Congress approved last week that would have allowed the federal government to purchase a near-empty maximum security prison in Illinois to house some detainees. — 1,152 words.

America's secret ICE castles

'ICE agents regularly impersonate civilians ... in order to arrest longtime US residents who have no criminal history.'

By Jacqueline Stevens
The Nation

"If you don't have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he's illegal, we can make him disappear." Those chilling words were spoken by James Pendergraph, then executive director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008. — 3,129 words.

From Guantánamo to desk at Al Jazeera

Never charged with a crime, journalist released from Guantánamo after seven years

By Brian Stelter
The New York Times

Of the 779 known detainees who have been held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — terrorism suspects, sympathizers of Al Qaeda, people deemed enemy combatants by the United States military — only one was a journalist. The journalist, Sami al-Hajj, was working for Al Jazeera as a cameraman when he was stopped by Pakistani forces on the border with Afghanistan in late 2001. The United States military accused Mr. Hajj of, among other things, falsifying documents and delivering money to Chechen rebels, although he was never charged with a crime during his years in custody. — 1,255 words.

Cuban rum has no secrets

A brief tour of its history

Why and where big cuts in emissions can be achieved

By Lucía Arboláez

The history of Cuban rum is as old as colonization itself, given that is a product extracted from sugar cane, which was brought to the island by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to this continent. What followed is well known, the roots of sugar cane from the Canary Islands flourished in fertile Cuban soil, where they found an ideal microclimate to grow, primarily around indigenous villages and trading posts. — 850 words.

Billionaire philanthropist gives 70 per cent of his company to charity

China Daily

If Cao Dewang was told at the age of 14 that he would one day be one of China's richest men, he probably would have laughed it off as a joke. And donating billions of yuan to charity wasn't even in his wildest dreams. — 229 words.


First Jesus-era house discovered in Nazareth

The Associated Press

Just in time for Christmas, archeologists on Monday unveiled what may have been the home of one of Jesus' childhood neighbours. The humble dwelling is the first dating to the era of Jesus to be discovered in Nazareth, then a hamlet of around 50 impoverished Jewish families where Jesus spent his boyhood. — 878 words.

Become a True North 10 per center

True North Perspective invites our readers to join us in celebration of our 200 series, that began with the Friday, October 30, 2009, Edition — #200.

While most of our readers are in Canada and the United States we are being read in growing numbers in as many as 88 countries. October saw us reach a record number of 59,493 hits. Ever more high-end readers are finding satisfaction in what we publish. However, we're operating at a severe financial deficit. That's why we're asking readers, effective Edition 200, to become True North Perspective 10 per centers.

Ten per cent of 200 is $20. If all readers were to send in $20, it would help ease us back from the edge of financial desperation. We need the nourishment. We are happy to rely on our readers to provide. Please take time to give this request a key moment of attention by mailing your 10 per cent to:

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

The racist in the machine?

HP camera 'can't see' black faces

BBC News, 24 December 2009

A YouTube video suggesting that face recognition cameras installed in HP laptops cannot detect black faces has had over one million views.

The short movie, uploaded earlier this month, features "Black Desi" and his colleague "White Wanda".

When Wanda, a white woman, is in front of the screen, the camera zooms to her face and moves as she moves.

But when Desi, a black man, does the same, the camera does not respond by tracking him.

The clip is light-hearted in tone but is titled "HP computers are racist".

"HP has been informed of a potential issue with the facial-tracking software included on some of its systems, which appears to occur when insufficient foreground lighting is available," an HP spokesman told BBC News.

"We take this seriously and are looking into it with our partners."

Tales from the Rock, by Wayne Mullett


It wasn't really so much about water as it was about hot. I mean "really hot", like in being scalded to death if you did not move out of the way of that loud voice coming towards you and screaming out HOT WATER! HOT WATER! The first time I ever heard this warning I was in a line-up with my father on the stairs to the second floor of our community town hall. We were waiting there on the stairs to get into the dining hall to have our bowl of Ladies Aid Soup. — 1,661 words.

The Book End


By Sigrid MacDonald

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 and about the product of the author's literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we'll publish it. Today we present GETTING HIP, by Sigrid MacDonald. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor. 275 words

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at: TriviaGuys.com.

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25 per cent of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

In case you missed it ...
The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

The short story, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story, in the Friday, April 24 edition of True North Perspective, concludes the collection titled The Old Man's Last Sauna, written by Carl Dow. On Friday, April 17, you'll find O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series began Friday, February 20, with Deo Volente (God Willing). The second, The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Friday, February 27. The third, Sharing Lies, Friday, March 6. The fourth, Flying High, Friday, March 13. The fifth, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, Friday, March 20. On Friday, March 27, One Lift Too Many, followed by The Model A Ford, Friday, April 3. The out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only, Friday, April 10. The series closed Friday, April 24, with the collection's namesake The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

Website may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a website to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies. Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: www.randyray.ca. He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or rocket@intranet.ca.

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, send an email to Carl Hall  chall2k5@gmail.com , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

Alex Binkley, Ottawa
Dennis Carr, Vancouver
Rosaleen Dickson, Ottawa
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa