Friday, February 15, 2008
"True North is for opinion makers"
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"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

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Editor’s Notes

Political expediency rules in Ottawa
ummm . . . what’s new?

Opposition leader Stéphane Dion has failed those who had high hopes for him as a principled political leader. — 106 words.

Canadian Media Guild challenges CanWest plunder
of freelancers’ moral rights in new Freelance Contract

At a very successful meeting hosted by the Media Club of Ottawa Saturday, January 26, attended by several members of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) , the recent CanWest MediaWorks Freelance Agreement aka Freelance Contract, was discussed with Graham Green, executive editor of the Citizen. As a result the 6,000-member CMG has written the following open letter to The Ottawa Citizen, dated Wednesday, February 13, 2008, which is the latest Canwest paper to implement a new blanket contract for freelance writers. — 446 words.

The News That Doesn't Get Reported

By Yulia Latynina
The Moscow Times
A division of The New York Times

There is something very strange about the way news is presented in Russia. On one hand, there is news of which we are all aware -- news of Medvedev meeting with dairy farmers, for example, or Medvedev outlawing inflation and increasing pensions. But there is another type of news that distinguishes Russia from most countries in the West. I'm speaking of the news that doesn't exist. — 666 words.

How Obama Does That Thing He Does

A professor of rhetoric cracks the candidate’s code

By Jack Shafer
Slate Magazine

Barack Obama

Barack Obama bringeth rapture to his audience. They swoon and wobble, regardless of race, gender, or political affiliation, although few understand exactly why he has this effect on them. — 1,180 words.

China Canard

The U.S. Air Force doesn't need any more F-22s.

By Fred Kaplan
Slate Magazine
A division of The Washington Post

It's time for Congress to rein in the U.S. Air Force. Last December, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to stop production of the Air Force's beloved stealth fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor, at the end of fiscal year 2008. This would leave the program at 187 planes costing a total of $65 billion. On Feb. 13, according to today's issue of Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Gen. Bruce Carlson, chief of the Air Force's materiel command, told a group of reporters, "We think that [187 planes] is the wrong number" and that the Air Force would find some way to build 380 before the program's done. He joked that 380 is a "compromise," since the original plan calls for 381. — 1,189 words.

Genes that conquered cold blamed for fat

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Genes that helped early humans adapt to cold climates may be driving metabolism-related diseases such as obesity or diabetes in many countries, U.S. researchers said on Thursday. — 423 words.

Prudent Policy for Kosovo

By Ruth Wedgwood
The Moscow Times

Ruth Wedgwood is a professor of international law and diplomacy at Johns Hopkins University. This comment appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Small events in the Balkans have a way of getting out of hand, as Emperor Franz Joseph might once have remarked. Thus, it is good news that Serbian voters defeated ultranationalist presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolic in the Feb. 3 election, instead approving incumbent Boris Tadic for a second term. Tadic wants to link Serbia's future to the European Union. — 754 words.

The End of Pax Americana?

We’re seeking the Palestinianization of
Sinai and the Lebanonization of Egypt    

The Israeli military says it is planning a major operation in Gaza that could happen once it receives the go-ahead from "the political echelon.”  — 1,043 words.

To honour Black History Month we present a fresh perspective
on Paul Robeson with a brief biography about his brilliant wife

Eslanda Goode Robeson with Paul

By Carl Dow

When I was in grade eight at Ottawa’s Devonshire Intermediate School, the music teacher introduced us to Paul Robeson. Even to my tin ear he had a rich magnificent voice. Years later, at about three in the morning, I was directly south of Ottawa on my way from Toronto to Montreal. I was fiddling with the dial on my car radio, desperately trying to escape the lunacy of American commercial radio by landing on an American oasis of sound sanity known as NPR (National Public Radio). — 738 words.

U.S. election with a dash of Bolshevism

By Alexei Bayer
The Moscow Times
A Division of The New York Times

It is sometimes striking how the United States is beginning to resemble the late, unlamented Soviet Union in so many ways. John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who in Tuesday's primaries solidified his lead in the race for his party's presidential nomination, has been brutally savaged on the airwaves and in the media. But not by his future Democratic rivals in the Nov. 4 election, as you would expect. His meanest critics have come from the evangelical Christian right and the populist and social-conservative wing of his own Republican Party. — 635 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!

  1. The Robertson screwdriver you received for a house-warming gift was invented by a Canadian. True or false?

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:

France’s oil giant Total to stay in Venezuela and Iran
but considers Iraq still too dangerous for investment

By Barbara Lewis and Marie Maitre

PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) - French oil company Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) pledged on Wednesday to stay in Venezuela and Iran, two OPEC nations locked in disputes with the United States, but said it was still too dangerous to invest in Iraq. — 694 words.

Clinton, the woman

‘If Hillary fails it will be her failure, not ours’

By Maureen Dowd
OP-Ed Writer
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Russell Berman, a young reporter for The New York Sun, trailed Bill Clinton around Maryland all day Sunday. The former president was on his best behavior, irritating the smattering of press. — 798 words.

Writers and staff with "CSI: NY," including Anthony Zuiker, left, creator/executive producer, and Peter Lenkov, foreground, executive producer, back at work in Los Angeles. (Ric Francis/The Associated Press)

Back to work, writers search for new plots

By Brooks Barnes
International Herald Tribune

LOS ANGELES As 10 writers for the hit CBS drama "NCIS" returned to work Wednesday following a 100-day strike, Shane Brennan, the show's writer-producer, asked a question that drew blank stares. "Can anyone remember what we were working on three months ago?" — 1,239 words.

The claim: never drink hot water from the tap

By Anahad O’Connor
The New York Times                   

The facts

The claim has the ring of a myth. But environmental scientists say it is real. — 195 words.

Ferrari sure to win 2008 title - Truli

Before a single racing lap has been completed in 2008, Jarno Trulli has declared Ferrari as the near-certain world champions. The Toyota driver last week spent six days testing alongside the Maranello based marque in Bahrain, where the performance of Ferrari's F2008 seemed ominous for the other team teams.

Fascinating historical notes … by George Laidlaw

George Laidlaw is a novelist and President of the Ottawa Independent Writers.

Our supremacy in the air can be very tenuous
when challenged by natural feathered flyers

Man is the interloper when he challenges the medium of air. There are other creatures that have developed through evolution the ability to fly.  — 245 words.

How to Promote Your Book or Your Business:

An April 19, 2008 Workshop

Ottawa publicity experts Barbara Florio Graham and Randy Ray will share their expertise on how authors and businesses can get their message out to the public effectively and inexpensively.

The three-hour workshop opens at 1 p.m. on April 19 at the National Library in Ottawa and is sponsored by Ottawa Independent Writers.

Cost: $50 for OIW members; $60 for non-members.

For more information: Randy Ray: (613) 731-3873 or

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. Looking forward.

A Matter of Family  

“Jefferson Dawes is a forensic accountant hired by PanGlobal Inc. who suspect they may be the object of an attempted hostile takeover. Dawes not only discovers that PanGlobal's concern is real, but the most likely perpetrator is the Russian mafia.”

New web site may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a new Web site 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 eb site is:  He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, and his colleague George Carlin succinctly deal with profound questions of life and living:When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

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 , and he will be more than happy to assist you.

Answer to Homes Quiz Did You Know?

1. True; the screwdriver with the square head and the screws used in conjunction with it, were invented by Peter Lymburner Robertson in 1906 in Milton, Ont.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Yvette Pigeon, Assistant Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Rosaleen Dickson
Geoffrey Dow
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright