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

Friday, January 29, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 9 — 213
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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A note to our readers:

Over the past few weeks True North Perspective has suffered more than its share of "down-time", when our site has been inaccessible, offering only a dreaded "404 error". Without going into the boring details, we are in the process making a number of changes, including an upgrade to our servers and soon a rebuilt web-site and front-page.

Unfortunately, these improvements have come with more than a few hiccups, at least as frustrating for us as they must be for you. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working hard to ensure the problems will soon be a thing of the past. Meanwhile, we ask that you bear with us during these growing pains and, should you find us "down" again, that you'll wait an hour or so, then try to find us again.

Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor

State of the Union address

Obama vows to focus on jobs in 2010

Says 'all of our troops are coming home' from Iraq

Al Jazeera

Barack Obama has vowed that preserving and generating new jobs will be his administration's "number one focus in 2010". In his first state of the union address in Washington DC on Wednesday, the US president admitted that the promise of change that had been the message of his presidential campaign, had "not come fast enough" for many Americans who are frustrated and angry. — 839 words.

For information on how to help or on how to find your friends or relatives, visit CBC.ca's Haiti Relief information page.

Cartoon by Chris Britt, Comics.com, January 28 2010.

Afghan endgame: Re-defining 'victory'

Nine years after the war began, the plan to end the war involves making peace with the Taliban, not eradicating them

By Doug Saunders
The Globe and Mail

With surprising unanimity, the countries fighting in Afghanistan agreed, for the first time in the war's nine-year history, to a set of goals for its conclusion and a rough timetable for withdrawal. The plan, reached at a day-long conference of more than 60 foreign ministers in London on Thursday, is far removed from the optimistic vision of a prosperous and united country foreseen in 2001, when the United States and its allies, including Canada, launched their campaign to oust the Taliban government. — 1,447 words.

Guest Editorial

Friday, January 29, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 9 (213)

State of the Union address

Obama rediscovers his mojo

By Richard Gwyn
The Toronto Star

The first question put to CNN's focus group panel after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech went to a woman who had identified herself as a Democrat. Unsurprisingly, she answered that she'd very much liked what she'd just heard. She added, though: "But it made me wonder where he'd been this past year." — 615 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

Readers welcome return of Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

How interesting it was to travel with you to Florida in "Life is all about creating beautiful memories" and discovering captivating places I have never visited before.

— Anita Bourdeau, Ottawa, Canada

It was a pleasure to read your super interesting and informative article "Life is all about creating beautiful memories". I am happy to know you spent precious moments with your new sweetheart.

— Cécile Landriault, Orléans, Canada

Welcome back! I like your positive attitude, always looking for the good. It's all in how we look at things and it makes it easier with the people we surround ourselves with. I like to think I am the same way. XXX

— Debbie Stinson, Ottawa, Canada

"Life is all about creating beautiful memories" How true! When holidays have come and gone, memories live on for always. Hope you enjoyed your time in Florida as much as I did. Can't wait to read you again!

— Dianne Frigon, Carlsbad Springs, Canada

MPs victimized in drive by smear

'Stop insulting MPs with the tripe about them not working
because the House of Commons isn't in session'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Beating on Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the prorogation of Parliament is fair game. By his slide in the public opinion polls, it's a fairly effective strategy for the opposition parties and it gives the news media an easy story to feast on. — 493 words.

'We're just getting started'


'Facebook activist' Christopher White, founder of the group that sparked weekend rallies, on his cyber-allies, his politics, Michael Ignatieff, and more

Interview by Monte Paulsen

More than 20,000 Canadians rallied against the extended prorogation of Parliament on Saturday. In cities and towns from Halifax to Victoria, citizens of all political stripes called for democratic reforms to the way Canada's national assembly does business. The unprecedented demonstrations were the first public manifestation of a fast-growing online movement called Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament, which was created just three weeks ago by a sardonic University of Alberta graduate student named Christopher White. The waifish 25-year-old sat down for the following interview with The Tyee's Monte Paulsen in Edmonton last week. — 1,774 words.

Thousands protest Parliament's suspension

Rallies against prorogation organized on Facebook

CBC News

Thousands of people attended rallies in towns and cities across Canada on Saturday to speak out against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to suspend Parliament until March. More than 60 rallies were planned across Canada, with protests also slated for London, England, and several U.S. cities. — 615 words

Catching a wave to court

Veteran surfer wins small claims case after boards collide off Eastern Shore

By Michael Lightstone

A heated dispute between two adult surfer dudes, prompted by an accidental encounter in the Atlantic Ocean in 2008, landed in one of the most uncool places on Earth — small claims court. — 662 words.

Spirit Quest

In a time of big business and big government
it is important that the voice of the common man/woman be heard

Michael Schmidt: Let that Spirit speak!

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

I don't like milk, I never did, of course I mean cows' milk whether pasteurized or raw. I was raised on milk, my mother's milk that is, and she and I was were blessed with a goodly supply for many months, almost three years. — 801 words.

From the Desk of Jamie Kneen, Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Mining Watch Canada

Supreme Court of Canada gives public a voice on major industrial projects
Court ensures meaningful environmental assessments across country


OTTAWA, Canada — On January 21, 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian government has violated a national environmental law aimed at ensuring sustainable development. In a case centered on the proposed Red Chris mine in British Columbia, the Court ruled that the federal government cannot split projects into artificially small parts to avoid rigorous environmental assessments. The ruling also guarantees that the public will be consulted about major industrial projects, including large metal mines and tar sands developments. — 514 words.

Global deal might let officials unplug tour internet

Secret summit to focus on how to punish suspected copyright violators, even if proof is lacking

By Michael Geist

Canadian officials were to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico this week to resume negotiations on the still-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The discussion is likely to turn to the prospect of supporting three-strikes and you're out systems that could result in thousands of people losing access to the Internet based on three allegations of copyright infringement. — 659 words.

Romance and enchantment at Chalet Suzanne

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.

Last week, I promised to tell you about Chalet Suzanne, an enchanting Florida restaurant and country inn we stumbled upon during our January vacation in Florida. We discovered Chalet Suzanne quite by chance when I noticed a huge billboard advertisement at the corner of Highway 27 and Eagle Ridge shopping mall. — 942 words.

Health Watch

Fat people get no respect — and fat women get even less

The real reason being overweight isn't healthy

By Ginny Graves

It's shocking, but it's true: Being a woman who's more than 20 pounds overweight may actually hike your risk of getting poor medical treatment. In fact, weighing too much can have surprising — and devastating — health repercussions beyond the usual diabetes and heart-health concerns you've heard about for years. 2,875 words.

Never too late ...

Cancer survival doubles for smokers who quit: study

The Associated Press

People with early lung cancer who quit smoking could double their chances of surviving, a new study says. Until now, there has been little proof that quitting smoking after developing lung cancer makes any difference to survival. British researchers analyzed previous data from 10 studies examining how long smokers survived after being diagnosed with lung cancer. People with lung cancer who continued smoking had a 29 to 33 per cent chance of surviving five years. But those who kicked the habit had a 63 to 70 per cent chance of being alive after five years. — 374 words.


Will skin cell breakthrough revolutionize medicine?

By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON — Researchers have transformed ordinary mouse skin cells directly into neurons, bypassing the need for stem cells or even stemlike cells and greatly speeding up the field of regenerative medicine. The experiment could make it possible to someday take a sample of a patient's skin and turn the cells into a tailor-made transplant to treat brain diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, or heal damaged spinal cords. — 615 words.

Could all the freezing weather lately have something to do with climate change?

Anthropogenic warming has thrown what was once a stable climate into disarray, and may be leading as much to ruinous droughts as to record-breaking freezes

By Scott Thill

Climate change is an issue of literal and figurative polar extremes. As the planet inexorably warms, deniers mix in assertions of global cooling with their usual Al Gore insults and political assaults like the recent so-called Climategate snafu. So far this year, icy temperatures have frozen parts of England, the eastern United States, and even Florida, where iguanas have fallen out of the trees, lured into hibernation by low temperatures. — 1,677 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.

Honduras's unhappy coup

Porfirio Lobo's government may have won some recognition, but the June coup has had terrible consequences for Hondurans

By Vincent Bevins
The Guardian UK

The seven-month political crisis has ended in Honduras. That is, the supporters of the ousted president Manuel Zelaya, and the opponents of the 28 June military coup, have lost. Yesterday Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo was sworn into the presidency. The anti-coup opposition chose to boycott the election, and countries such as Brazil and Argentina still refuse to recognise the legitimacy of a government elected in a poll organised by a coup government. But the opposition will be sidelined from official political participation for the next four years. — 1,235 words.

Venezuela sanctions cable television channels
for failure to comply with media law

Kiraz Janicke and James Suggett

CARACAS — On Saturday, Venezuela's National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) temporarily closed six national cable television channels for failure to comply with the country's Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television. — 986 words.

United Nations to United States: 'Stop secret detention and abuse'

By Badriya Khan

The United Nations has called on United States and other countries to put an end to their secret detention policies and human rights abuses in their so-called global war on terrorism. It has failed, however, to demand the immediate closure of two major U.S. "public" detention centres — Guantanamo and Bagram, where human rights have been systematically violated, reaching the threshold of 'crimes against humanity'. — 1,474 words.

The women who chose the sea

By Nasseem Ackburally
Inter Press Service

PORT-LOUIS, Mauritius — She cannot swim, but Marie-Claite Hector is not afraid of the ocean. The 53-year-old pushes her small boat with all her strength towards the blue lagoon, starts the engine, and sets out to sea. — 923 words.

Russian Interior Ministry set to resume mental checks for police

'If we resume testing, we’ll find that at least a third of all active police officers have some kind of mental pathology'

By By Anastasia Ustinova

MOSCOW — Russia plans to resume the Soviet-era practice of screening police officers for mental maladies amid a surge in violent crime by on- and off-duty cops. — 403 words.

In Haiti, aid comes with an agenda

U.S., Venezuela and Cuba all wave the flag while delivering assistance

By Paul Waldie
The Globe and Mail

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The international rush to help Haiti has produced some strange bedfellows and left some Haitians confused about who is running their country. Bitter rivals everywhere else, the United States, Venezuela and Cuba have found themselves working side by side in Haiti. — 1,017 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Geely may complete Volvo purchase by May

By Li Fangfang
China Daily

Zhejiang Geely Holdings, the parent company of car maker Geely Automobile, aims to sign an agreement to buy Ford's Volvo unit by February 8 and complete the transaction in May, according to media reports yesterday. — 315 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.


Universities grapple with dorm room libidos

Is it cool to have sex while your roommate is trying to sleep in the next bed? At Tufts University, not so much

By Anna Clark

When Tufts University officially banned students from having sex in residence hall room when a roommate is present, it met with two especially strong reactions. Many are glad the administration finally spoke up about an especially awkward occurrence and pleased for the added bit of leverage in managing it. Others are skeptical, doubting that any official policy will deter those who are already prone to shrugging off the norms of social etiquette. — 1,618 words.

Rear-view Mirror

The true story of how Dr. King kept Uhura on Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols wanted to leave the starship Enterprise for Broadway
Only Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. could convince her to stay aboard

By Savas Abadsidis

On this day, January 18, 2010, which marks the historic contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, we'd like to offer you this wonderful heartwarming piece of history that reveals some of the humanity and far reaching impact of Dr. King. — 1,782 words.

Looking forward ...

Future tense: Robots will soon do all of 'our' killing for 'us'

In the years ahead, unmanned machines will increasingly fight the rich countries' wars

By Nick Turse

One moment there was the hum of a motor in the sky above. The next, on a recent morning in Afghanistan's Helmand province, a missile blasted a home, killing 13 people. Days later, the same increasingly familiar mechanical whine preceded a two-missile salvo that slammed into a compound in Degan village in the tribal North Waziristan district of Pakistan, killing three. What were once unacknowledged, relatively infrequent targeted killings of suspected militants or terrorists in the Bush years have become commonplace under the Obama administration. And since a devastating December 30th suicide attack by a Jordanian double agent on a CIA forward operating base in Afghanistan, unmanned aerial drones have been hunting humans in the Af-Pak war zone at a record pace. — 3,070 words.

Annals of Education

California school district bans dictionary for daring to define 'oral sex'

By Duane W. Gang, Dayna Straehley and Sarah Burge
The Press-Enterprise

MENIFEE, California — The Menifee Union School District is forming a committee to review whether dictionaries containing the definitions for sexual terms should be permanently banned from the district's classrooms, a district official said Friday. — 1,010 words.


I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

Howard Zinn, 87

Historian and author of A People's History of the United States dies in California

By Hillel Italie
Los Angeles Times

Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist A People's History of the United States became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts and a favorite of such celebrities as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Affleck, died Wednesday. He was 87. — 1,130 words.

The Stage

Toronto the good? Nashville the better!

Toronto production of Romeo and Juliet (almost) too racy for Nashville

By Richard Ouzounian
Theatre critic
The Toronto Star

When Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so," he must have had the city of Nashville in mind. Toronto's Classical Theatre Project presented Romeo and Juliet in the capital of Tennessee to an enthusiastic audience of 1,000 students and teachers Monday afternoon, but the performance was almost derailed Sunday night by a group of self-appointed censors who found the Bard of Avon a bit too racy for Music City, U.S.A. — 628 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