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

Friday, July 30, 2010, Vol. 5, No. 34 — 238
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The Explainer

How Communist Is China?

They sure buy a lot of cars for a society built on collective ownership
For a Communist country, China is not without capitalist luxuries

By Christopher Beam
Slate Magazine
A division of The Washington Post

26 July 2010 — General Motors sold more cars in China than in the United States in the first half of 2010, and China now accounts for one-quarter of the company's global sales. That seems like a lot of capitalism for a country that calls itself communist. How communist is China, really? — Read the full article at the Slate Magazine, 449 words.

Cartoon by Ed Stein, Comics.com, 30 July 2010.

Latin America opposition to U.S. militarism grows
while Columbia and Venezuela make sounds of war

Relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate

By Moira Birss

30 July 2010 — On July 15 the Colombian government held a press conference toannounce its possession of evidence that the Venezuelan government is harboring Colombian guerrillas, including high-ranking leaders, on Venezuela's side of the border.

The following week Colombia's Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Alfonso Hoyos, presented to that regional body high-resolution graphics of more than 80 camps said to be housing nearly 1500 guerrillas.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez responded immediately by severing diplomatic relations and putting Venezuela's armed forces on high alert. Over Venezuelan 20,000 troops arenow stationed on the two nations' 1250-mile border. — Read the full article at AlterNet.org, 966 words.

Editor's Notes

Cheops' Law strikes again

Friday, July 30, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 34 (238)

30 July 2010 — Though True North Perspective might not quite match the great pyramids of ancient Egypt in size, our intentions are every bit as ambitious.

Unfortunately, we are also every bit as vulnerable to budget shortfalls, cost over-runs and over-optimistic plans.

We now firmly expect to present the new True North Perspective with our August 6 edition.

Until then, we hope you enjoy this, trimmed-down, 'summer special'.

Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

"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.

Senator Richard Neufeld thinks for himself
Harper Conservative Senator now says no to elected Senate

By Alex Binkley
Contributing Editor
True North Perspective

30 July 2010 — Richard Neufeld is among the troop of Senate appointees who promised to support Prime Minister Harper's proposal for an elected upper house.

Now he realizes that having another crop of elected politicians in Ottawa isn't the best solution for the Senate's stagnation. Of course, Neufeld's heresy is getting slapped around by scribes and politicians who don't appear to have spent enough time thinking about the potential to make a significant institution out of the upper house rather than another political playground. — Read the full article inside, 791 words.

Harper's census push no gaffe, but months in the making

Scrapping the mandatory long form stems from libertarian convictions, insiders say

By Michael Valpy
The Globe and Mail

26 July 2010 — Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided at the end of December to scrap the mandatory long-form census despite being told by Statistics Canada officials that important data would likely be lost or impaired as a result.

He considered going further by making the whole census voluntary, people familiar with what transpired have revealed. On the long census form, he overrode objections from his own officials in the Privy Council Office and senior finance department staff, although Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on the weekend that he thinks census data can be collected voluntarily without being compromised.

The government announced at the end of June that the long form would be voluntary in the 2011 census.

Mr. Harper's decision has baffled political analysts familiar with his thinking – people including political scientist Tom Flanagan, who played a key role in Mr. Harper becoming prime minister – but not University of Calgary economist Frank Atkins, his graduate thesis supervisor. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 710 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Alberta hides dirty truth as U.S. demands tar sands facts

Potential buyers of tar sands oil want to know its true carbon footprint, but industry won't come clean.

By Andrew Nikiforuk

29 July 2010 — In recent weeks a number of well-informed U.S. Congressmen along with the Environmental Protection Agency have been asking some uncomfortable questions about a large metallic snake connected to the tar sands, Canada's largest single growing source of extreme climate-warming gases.

The 2,700 kilometre-long python in question is TransCanada's proposed Keystone pipeline. The snake's unhappy controllers are now seeking a crucial State Department construction permit in order to build a line that would daily pump 900,000 barrels of bitumen from the tar sands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

But many Americans don't think the $7 billion pipeline should be allowed to sneak across the Midwest without a thorough assessment of its impact on climate and energy security. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 2,413 words.

UN declares access to clean water a human right

Canada, other rich nations refuse to vote for 'momentous step' toward future treaty

Agence France-Presse

28 July 2010, UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly on Wednesday recognized access to clean water and sanitation as a human right, a move hailed by water advocates as a momentous step toward a future treaty.

After more than 15 years of contentious debate on the issue, 122 countries voted in favor of a compromise Bolivian resolution enshrining the right, while the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and 37 other nations abstained. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 562 words.

West Quebec Wisdom

Letting Go

Even now in mid-summer mothers have in mind the opening of school. Lakshmi recalls a tearful goodbye time with her eldest son.

'Bob Marley isn't my name. I don't even know my name yet.' — Bob Marley

By Lakshmi Sundaram
True North Perspective
First published in the West Quebec Post

30 July 2010 — My eldest son is starting university, he's on a new path to trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to be. He's letting go and it seems a lot easier for him than it is for me. What's that about? I am Not une mère poule, never have been. My parenting style has always been one of availability. If I am needed, I am there, if not I will try not to interfere. The Friday before the Monday that Son was to commence university, there was a dramatic change of plans and I had to drop everything and drive to Montreal to emergency register him for three new courses. That is what I am good at, taking charge, suggesting course changes, dealing with the registrars office, getting him organized. I was in Olympic mother mode. — Read the full story inside, 659 words.

China passes Japan, becomes world's No. 2 economy

China has overtaken Japan to become the second-largest economy in the world, a senior Chinese official said Friday

CBC News

30 July 2010 — China has overtaken Japan to become the second-largest economy in the world, a senior Chinese official said Friday.

"China, in fact, is now already the world's second-largest economy," China's currency regulator, Yi Gang, said in an interview posted on the agency's website.

Estimates from the IMF, World Bank and independent economists predict China will likely supplant the United States' economy as the world's largest by 2025. — Read the full article at CBC News, 261 words.

A True North Perspective Classic

'May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks ...'

Live well because you can't give what you don't have!

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.

23 July 2010 — In June while Ontarians celebrated Seniors Month which is an opportunity to recognize and value the contributions made by seniors everyday across the province, my dear friend, Colette St-Denis launched the Orléans Villa Memoirs, a collection of wonderful life stories of "unsung heroes" as Colette calls them ... Simple people whose courage and faith saw them through the depression and the war, resourceful people who knew how to "make do" with what was available and enjoyed happiness one bite at a time till things got better ... Today these seniors enjoy life at Orléans Villa and look back with fond memories and pride in what they accomplished. Let me introduce some of those residents. — Read the full article inside, 1,175 words.

Spirit Quest

Reflections on God and Disturbed Ground

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

The Reverend Doctor Hanns F. Skoutajan

30 July 2010 — One afternoon in a coffee shop that I frequent, some friends would say that "frequent" is not an adequate description of my coffee drinking habit, I encountered a person from my past. I hadn't see her for many years, long before my retirement I would guess. She lit up as I came into the shop. We embraced, a kiss on each cheek as is customary in cities where the francophone influence is palpable.

"So Hanns, what have you been doing with yourself?" she demanded as we sat down together.

Good question, I thought, what have I been doing? When she knew me I was the busy pastor of an uptown congregation in a metropolitan centre. I no longer live there and that was probably the reason for her surprise at seeing me here in Ottawa. — Read the full article inside, 2,368 words.

Money and Markets

Income of very richest Americans shot up by 281% since 1979

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane

28 July 2010 — In the wake of BP's calamitous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, CEO Tony Hayward is stepping down, but he will be receiving a severance package amounting to an estimated $18 million.

"That's what he gets for presiding over a record oil disaster and massive losses," commented Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, who was guest hosting MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday.

Hayes went on to note, however, that "Tony Hayward's $18 million payoff is an absolute pittance compared to the kind of cash top CEO's are raking in."

He cited a recent Wall Street Journal story which revealed that over the past decade, the two highest-paid CEOs at public companies each took in over a billion dollars in compensation, while others in the top 25 received compensation in the hundreds of millions. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 430 words.


Photo by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com.

A poem, chiefly narrative

A Bar In the Middle

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

It was a morning walk to the lake
Everything was alive
The sun shining, the lake clear and calm
Calm, that is how I felt
Friends on their morning jog, hi!, hi!
Dogs, dogs, dogs, running, playing, happy
What a wonderful, cheerful, morning
Then, as I continued along the boardwalk
My eyes glanced at the benches
Each one with a separation in the middle
Not to rest your arm, I knew
But to prevent the homeless from sleeping
My mood changed
I was reminded how cruel our society can be
I continued walking
Bench after bench, a bar in the middle!

— My Parkdale.

(30 July 2010)

Meet Josie: 9 years old and proudly transgender

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star

25 July 2010 — Wearing a khaki skirt and black tank top with a splash of heart-shaped rhinestones, 9-year-old Josie Romero skips across her family's living room, eager to show off her Great Dane, her little sister, and the birds in her backyard.

When asked about her necklace — a silver triangle on a black cord — she beams.

"This is a transgender symbol," she says of the circle that joins the symbols for male and female with a third symbol that combines the first two.

She whispers something in her mother's ear.

"You decide what you want to say," Venessia Romero, 42, tells her daughter.

"I haven't had my surgery yet," Josie says as she goes into the kitchen to help her mom make cinnamon rolls. — Read the full article at Arizona Daily Star, 2,161 words.

Health Watch

Connected 24/7: are we cooking our heads in a microwave oven?

By Joe Fiorito
The Toronto Star

30 July 2010 — Paul Grieve stood at the corner of Bloor and Yonge and he pointed a Christmas tree at the surrounding buildings. Okay, he didn't point a Christmas tree, but the device he was holding had that familiar pointy shape.

He was using it to measure microwave radiation.

When he waved it at the corner — we were standing on the north side of Bloor, facing west — and again when he turned in a circle — and yet again as we walked across the street — the needle that indicates the presence of microwaves jumped hard.

They are everywhere. — Read the full article at The Toronto Star, 527 words.


Studies show 'massive decline' in animals at base of oceans' food chain

By Jess McNally

28 July 2010 — The warmth of the ocean is the critical factor that determines how much productivity and biodiversity there is in the ocean, and where.

In two separate studies, researchers found that warming oceans have led to a massive decline in the amount of plant life in the sea over the last century, and that temperature is tightly linked to global patterns of marine biodiversity.

"We are just now understanding how deeply temperature affects ocean life," said biologist Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, a co-author on both papers appearing July 28 in Nature. "It is not necessarily that increased temperature is destroying biodiversity, but we do know that a warmer ocean will look very different."

In one study that looks at historical records of algae abundance over the last hundred years, Worm and his co-authors found that warming ocean temperatures are correlated to a massive decline in the amount of marine algae, or phytoplankton. Marine algae are the base of the entire ocean food chain, and were also responsible for originally creating oxygen on the planet.

The study estimates the decline in marine algae has been approximately 40 percent since 1950. — Read the full article Wired, 784 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.

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

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes 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 Source, Source, 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.


Yvette Pigeon, 1934-2010, National Editor, 2006-2010

Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing 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

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