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

Friday, February 26, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 12 — 216
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'It is a small picture of Doomsday'

Marjah: Success for the military, hell for the residents

As 15,000 coalition troops battle a few hundred Taliban, Afghans count the cost

By Jean MacKenzie and Mohammad Ilyas Dayee
Global Post

MARJAH, Afghanistan — The dusty squares of Marjah are empty; there is no life, the soul of the place seems to have disappeared. Those residents who are left cower in their homes, afraid of bullets or mines if they venture out, even for food. "It is a small picture of Doomsday," said Alishah Mazlumyar, the head of Helmand's Department of Information and Culture, and a member of the Marjah shura, or council. — 1,198 words.

Cartoon by Mike Thompson, Comics.com, 26 February 2010.

Hottest January ever: University of Alabama Huntsville

Human-caused global warming easily overwhelms much-hyped "cold snap"


Yes, the mid-Atlantic region enjoyed an epic snow storm as amazing moisture fed into what was already a gigantic system, according to the Capital Weather Gang. But while the anti-science crowd will no doubt tout that as evidence we aren't warming — just as they did with the "cold snap" in early January — in fact, climate science predicts we will see more extreme precipitation events year-round as warming puts more moisture into the atmosphere. — 366 words.

Guest Editorial

Friday, February 26, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 12 (216)

Farewell to our cult of mediocrity?

Own the gurney, plus the podium

Reaching beyond one's grasp ought to be encouraged. Canadians, including their leaders, need to be stirred from an acceptance that Canadian means second-rate

The Globe and Mail

Even as Own the Podium expresses Canadians' aspirations to be excellent, Danny Williams, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, revealed a deep-seated sense of inferiority about what Canada is capable of when he chose the United States for heart surgery. — 438 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.

Letters to the Editor

Arrows of accolades for Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Thank you for the article "You can't always trust Cupid"! It's good for long-time married couples such as Michel and I to read your comments and verify that the parameters of our relationship still stand despite the reversals and obstacles life can reserve for us. It is so true that we must be adaptable and willing to embrace change. I know couples who were not capable of evolving (stuck in the sixties) and unfortunately did not survive. I firmly believe a network of good friends is an excellent way to keep your couple in good health. When you can exchange with others who are going through the same things, they become your "sounding board" and allow you to re-evaluate your relationship. Lise Châtelain, Gatineau, Québec

"You can't always trust Cupid..." Yes, you are a romantic, and so am I. You take dark clouds and turn them into white ones. Well, maybe a few grey clouds that turn white eventually. You express yourself very well. You have credibility, which people need. I respect you so much, and your written word is amazing. Good therapy for anyone having a dark cloud day. Dawn McBride, Haines City, Florida.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Woodward's designer reveals secrets

Architect Gregory Henriquez gives a tour of his creation's quirky nooks and crannies, and replies to his critics

By Christine McLaren

In 2003, Vancouver's city council was in opposition to the 2010 Olympic bid. They gave their support for it, however, contingent on a trade. They would endorse the bid if the province would sell them the land on which to build what has become the largest, and one of the most controversial developments in Vancouver's history: the Woodward’s complex. — 1,978 words.

Tories face backlash over cuts to Lest We Forget program

Teachers, critics denounce move to digitize award-winning collaboration between students and veterans

By Kate Hammer
The Globe and Mail

Cuts to a program that connects students and veterans has ignited a storm of criticism from teachers and politicians who say the award-winning project provides a vital link to the past. — 485 words

Missing the boat on Senate reform

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

For all his talk about Senate reform, Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped the ball when some senators lobbed him an easy way to get the Upper Chamber to change its role in Parliament. Of course, with the prime minister, it’s my way or not at all. And what the senators have done could cause some criticisms of the government. Can’t have that. — 616 words.

Canadian internet slow, expensive: Harvard

p>By Peter Nowak
CBC News

A new report from Harvard University says that contrary to what the CRTC states, Canada has some of the slowest and most expensive internet access in the developed world. — 768 words.

Who is protecting your blind side?

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.

Olympic fever has overtaken Canada. I have never watched so many Olympic events in my life. Mind you, with a sports-minded boyfriend, it's easier to keep it up. And although we (Canadians) will not "own the podium", I am in total awe of our athletes. I watched Alexandre Bilodeau's amazing ski run and Maëlle Ricker's incredible snowboard performance. What we are not privy to is the grueling hours of practice, the personal sacrifices, the injuries ... — 838 words.

Spirit Quest

'We do not contend against flesh and blood
but against principalities and powers'

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Religious people are sissies and there are a number of evangelical churches in the United States that are intent on changing that image, an article in the Globe and Mail (Feb. 4, 2010) reports. The title of the article in L4 section of the paper is: "Where feet, fists and faith collide." "Hundreds of evangelical churches," it goes on to say, "are using mixed martial arts to draw young men into the congregation." Nor are their cheering sisters far away. — 810 words.

Health Watch

Life expectancy in Canada nears 81

CBC News

Newborn Canadians may live to celebrate nearly 81 birthdays on average, a Statistics Canada report on life expectancy suggests. — 694 words.

Stronger, faster ... harder?

Olympic athletes to use 100,000 condoms

Assuming that most condoms are used by couples, the number presupposes 29 encounters over two weeks for each athlete — that's two a day

By Vanessa Richmond

One of the Olympic stats most talked about around Vancouver this weekend wasn't medals or scores, per se, but condoms. One hundred thousand condoms are being given out in Athletes' Village, which adds up to 14.6 condoms for each of the 6,850 athletes and officials expected to attend the Olympics and Paralympics. 1,091 words.

'Those who run the banks have interests that are not necessarily coincident with the banks' shareholders and bondholders. We saw that over and over and over again. The bankers have done very well, but the shareholders and bondholders have not always done so well.'


Joseph Stiglitz on how bankers made reckless bets on (and against)
the American (and world) economies
Because they knew taxpayers were going to pick up the tab

Nobel Prize-winning economist argues the banking industry 'failed in their core societal function,' helping lead to the great economic crash of '08

By Zach Carter

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has served as the Chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and Chief Economist for the World Bank. He has been a persistent critic of free-market economics, whose recent book Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy (W. W. Norton & Co., 2010) traces the roots of the financial crisis and details the government's flawed response. Dr. Stiglitz discussed the crash of '08 in an interview with AlterNet economics editor Zach Carter. — 4,101 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.

China circled by chain of US anti-missile systems

By Qin Jize and Li Xiaokun
China Daily

Washington appears determined to surround China with US-built anti-missile systems, military scholars have observed. According to US-based Defense News, Taiwan became the fifth global buyer of the Patriot missile defense system last year following Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. — 515 words.

Good girl/Bad girl

America's newest Olympic sweetheart
is a badass helping to break down gender stereotypes

By Vanessa Richmond

Every Olympics, a new sweetheart is born. And there's no question Lindsey Vonn's sweet star is shining brighter than any others in Vancouver. She joins reigning Hollywood sweethearts (like Jennifer Aniston) and singing ones (Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood), and the many Olympic ones that precede her like Nancy Kerrigan or Michelle Kwan. 1,077 words.

U.S. diplomats add a moat to their expenses at $1bn London embassy

By Catherine Philp
The Times

LONDON — The United States has unveiled plans for its new $1 billion high-security embassy in London — the most expensive it has ever built. The proposals were met with relief from both the present embassy’s Mayfair neighbours and the residents and developers of the Battersea wasteland where the vast crystalline cube, surrounded by a moat, will be built. — 491 words.

'The people in arms'

Venezuela creates Peasant Militia, enacts Federal Government Council

By Kiraz Janicke

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the creation of a new Peasant Militia, which will form part of the national Bolivarian Armed Forces (FAB) and also enacted the new Law of the Federal Government Council, during a ceremony to commemorate 151 years since the Federal War lead by peasant leader General Ezequiel Zamora in Venezuela on Saturday. — 732 words.

In Texas, drinking while brown (or gay) is cause for arrest

America's broadest public intoxication law gives Texas cops virtually free rein to arrest anyone for drunkenness — even if they're quietly nursing a beer in a bar

By Adam Weinstein
Mother Jones

Late on a balmy Saturday night last June, six Fort Worth cops and two officers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission went looking for trouble. They had just raided two Hispanic bars in an industrial stretch of town and nine detainees now sat in the paddy wagon, hands bound with plastic ties. The rest of the city's bars would soon shut down. It seemed like the night was over, except for the paperwork. Then Sergeant Richard Morris had an idea. "Hey," he said. "Let's go to the Rainbow Lounge." — 892 words.

Private Venezuelan TV channel RCTV agrees to register with CONATEL

By Kiraz Janick

CARACAS — Venezuelan privately owned cable television channel RCTV has agreed to register “under protest” with the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) as a national producer after it was suspended for violation of Venezuela’s media law on January 23. — 321 words.


Antarctic iceberg the size of Luxembourg 'threatens marine life'
Could produce colder winters on both sides of North Atlantic

BBC News

A vast iceberg that broke off eastern Antarctic earlier this month could disrupt marine life in the region, scientists have warned. They say the iceberg, which is 78km long and up to 39km wide, could have consequences for the area's colonies of emperor penguins. — 811 words.

Mars Express? NASA examines proposal to reach the Red Planet six weeks instead of six months

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON — A journey from Earth to Mars could soon take just 39 days — cutting current travel time nearly six times — according to a rocket scientist who has the ear of the US space agency. Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says reaching the Red Planet could be dramatically quicker using his high-tech VASIMR rocket, now on track for lift-off after decades of development. — 567 words.

Rear-view Mirror

The secret history of General Alexander Haig

By Melvin A. Goodman

The obituaries in the mainstream media failed to capture the full extent of the controversy and confrontation that marked Gen. Alexander M. Haig's political career in the White House during the Nixon administration and the State Department during the Reagan administration. In his memoir, Henry A. Kissinger praised Haig's role in 1973-1974 in "holding the government together" in the final days of the Nixon era. Kissinger was respectful of Haig because the general allowed the national security adviser to do as he pleased in his stewardship of foreign and national security policy. — 1,129 words.

Money and Markets

How big banks' Greek-style schemes are bankrupting American states

By Mike Elk

Just when you thought Wall Street couldn't get any more clever in their attempts at predatory lending, they have. Big Banks have created an exotic financial instrument that is the equivalent of a payday loan for cash-strapped state and local governments, innocently labeled an "interest rate swap." — 1,490 words.

Year of the bailouts ...

... but Wall Street bonuses jumped 17 percent in 2009

By Steve Eder and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK — Bonuses on Wall Street rose 17 percent last year to $20.3 billion even as the industry faced a public backlash over pay practices. The rise in payouts, reported by New York State's comptroller, came at a time when Wall Street was recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, which forced a taxpayer rescue of the industry that, in turn, stoked widespread anger across the United States. — 668 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

GM to shut down Hummer after deal collapses

The Associated Press

Hummer, the off-road vehicle that once symbolized America's love for hulking SUVs, has hit a dead end after its planned sale to a Chinese heavy equipment maker collapsed late Wednesday. — 331 words.

Annals of Education

Detroit schools offer class in how to work at Walmart

By Muriel Kane

Walmart has been widely condemned for offering its employees only low-paying, dead end jobs. Even President Obama criticized Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign for having served on Walmart's board and stated that the firm ought to pay "a living wage." In inner-city Detroit, however, where the unemployment rate is estimated at an astonishing 50%, the prospect of a Walmart job may appear far more attractive. — 394 words.

Andy Barrie's secret? Respect for listeners

His career at CBC Radio was a model for Canadian public broadcasting

By Rick Salutin
The Globe and Mail

Yesterday was Andy Barrie's last as host of CBC Radio's Toronto morning show. It's a shame. The shame isn't that he's going after 15 years. He has good reasons. It's that he wasn't there for 15 years before that. — 740 words.

Video-game exercise bikes — not just a gimmick

Research Digest Blog

Exercise is going techno. People are playing Wii fit sports games in their homes and gyms are full of ever more interactive exercise machines. But is this trend anything more than gimmickry? Yes, according to a new study by Ryan Rhodes at the Behavioural Medicine Lab at the University of Victoria, and his colleagues. — 323 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