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Friday, June 5, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 28 — 179
"True North is for opinion makers"
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You can call it a tempest in a teapot ...
That's okay unless you’re in the teapot

Lord Lansdowne Neighbourhood Group battles noise pollution
Mystery, tension, mount as protest signs are stolen from lawns
and at least one inside window sign is lost to a break-and-entry

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

The "good neighbours" of The Glebe, an upscale community in the heart of Ottawa, Canada, have hit the bricks after failed negotiations to counter noise from a rooftop industrial air conditioning unit at a new retirement home. Picket lines were set up after repeated efforts by the Lord Lansdowne Neighbourhood Group (LLNG) for a meeting in person were cold-shouldered by Brent D. Wilson, President of Lord Lansdowne Retirement Residence Inc. — 1,017 words.

From the Desk of Tom Kyle, Contributing Editor, Winnipeg, Canada

"OK, all you Gods, who spilled the tea?"

Canada has squandered international goodwill:
Louise Arbour

By Richard Warnica
Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON — One of the world’s leading human-rights experts says Canada has squandered its place as a global leader on international matters. Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court justice and United Nations high commissioner for human rights, says Canada spent years building a reputation as a global consensus-builder. By spearheading initiatives such as the UN landmine treaty and the International Criminal Court, she said, Canadians earned a wealth of goodwill from other nations. "There’s a sense (inside the UN and the human-rights community) that we’ve eroded this capital," she said. "We’re not a real presence anymore." — 541 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.

Editor's Notes

Friday, June 5, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 28 (179)

Those April showers that come in May …

When my children were young I deliberately opened doors of thought for them. Mostly just that, opening doors, letting them make their own decisions. I was however somewhat urgent about telling them that it was not safe to jump off cliffs. — 584 words.

A voice for rural Canada

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

It will take a concerted effort by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to be more successful than previous attempts to gain stronger recognition for rural issues within the federal government. FCM has called for a rural champion in cabinet and a long-term federal plan to reverse the economic decline in rural Canada. — 458 words.

Protecting Human Rights for Whom?

Bill 44 and Parental Choice in Education in Alberta

By Rebekah Sears, MA (International Affairs)
True North Perspective

On June 1, 2009 Bill 44, the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multicultural Amendment Act, passed through a third reading in the Alberta Legislature. As a Government Bill proposed by the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, Lindsay Blackett, it passed easily with the Progressive Conservative majority. Bill 44 is in many ways progressive as it officially introduces status amendments for visible minorities, and people of any sexual orientation under Alberta’s human rights laws. What is getting the attention of the opposition parties and the media, however, is not these progressive adjustments, but the creation of parental choice in schools on issues such as religion and sexual orientation. Under this new legislation teachers have to inform parents when such issues will be covered in class, and parents have the opportunity to pull their children out. — 1,043 words.

Canadian government spending on climate change: $3.2 billion and counting

By Steve Aplin

A note attached to documents left behind at the CTV studio in Ottawa may hint at the dollar figure the federal government will pitch, or has already pitched, to Ontario to sweeten the province’s incentive to buy Canadian in its nuclear reactor competition. The figure: roughly $538 million. i.e., the same amount that former prime minister Paul Martin promised Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty in May 2005. — 698 words.

B.C. pot grower won't forfeit house, Supreme Court rules

By Staff Writers
CBC News

In a landmark ruling, the country's top court said Friday that a convicted marijuana grower in North Vancouver won't lose her house as part of her sentence. It's the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has tested federal drug laws that allow confiscation of assets related to crime. — 456 words.

73 year-old disabled man breakdances

Britain's Got Talent's breakdancing pensioner is claiming £70 a week in disability benefits for 'bad leg'

By Staff Writers

A 73-year-old breakdancing grandfather may have more skills than just the moves he's flashing on Britain's Got Talent, reports the Daily Mail.

Fred Bowers also collects more than $100 a week in disability for a bum leg not evident on the British reality show.

"I've no idea how he expected to get away with carrying on claiming while pulling off such amazing dance moves in front of millions," a neighbor told the Sun.

Bowers says that despite his dancing, he can't walk without a cane.

Onstage, "it's mostly my back, neck, and head that I move so I don't see what the problem is because it is my leg that's bad."

Click here for the source.

Australian company launches men's 'wondershirt'

By Staff Writers
CBC News

First women got the Wonderbra, and now after decades of stagnation in the development of men's underwear comes the "wondershirt." — 152 words.


Now for the pests who inhabit our gardens ...

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of "The Neglected Garden/Le jardin négligé" and "Une prière pour Hélène". Her website is

Two weeks ago, I shared some of my stories about uninvited critters and mentioned that garden pests would be another story ... Well, I thought I could tackle the topic this week while we are still waiting for warm weather. It looks like we are in for a cooler than normal month of June! Another challenge gardeners have to deal with. — 545 words.

Kidnapped woman saved from captor by pizza delivery man

By Ed Pilkington

NEW YORK &Mdash; It was unusual enough for Chris Turner to drive 30 miles into the secluded Smoky Mountains to serve a customer. But then this turned out to be no ordinary pizza delivery. — 247 words.

Health Watch

What you should know about chiropractic

By Edzard Ernst

For many people, chiropractic appears almost mainstream. Some chiropractors even call themselves "doctor". In the UK, chiropractors are regulated by statute, and in the U.S. they like to be seen as primary care physicians. It is therefore understandable if people hardly ever question the evidential basis on which this profession rests. — 1,211 words.

Medical bills cause 60 per cent of American banqruptcies

By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON — Medical bills are behind more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in a report they said demonstrates that healthcare reform is on the wrong track. — 520 words.

A Florida epidemic: female teachers sleeping with their students

By Tim Padgett

MIAMI — If you're the parent of a teenage boy in Florida, you probably muttered "Not again" while reading your morning newspaper this week. There on the front page was yet another case of an adult female teacher being arrested for admitting to having had sex with an underage male student. This time the alleged perp was Maria Guzman Hernandez, a 32-year-old instructor at the private Our Lady of Charity school in Hialeah; her victim was 15. But she just as well could have been the 34-year-old Jacksonville public-school science teacher arrested last month for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old student, once in her SUV; the 32-year-old St. Petersburg teacher collared in March for allegedly "sexting" nude pictures of herself to an eighth-grade boy; or the 45-year-old teacher at a private Christian academy in South Daytona who was arrested days before for allegedly having sex with a boy from her class in various Daytona Beach hotels. — 1,390 words.

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 be found in the True North Perspective Archives. — Mike Heenan, Literary Editor.

High Noon for General Motors

By Michael Moore

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled. — 1,749 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Volvo Cars and Vattenfall to develop new plug-in hybrid

Unique co-operation on environmental cars

By Volvo Car Corporation

A Volvo that can be fuelled with electricity from a standard wall socket will be a reality in 2012. Swedish energy company Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation are launching an industrial joint venture partnership to introduce plug-in hybrids on the market. The ground-breaking technology will considerably lower the environmental impact from traffic. In addition, owning a plug-in hybrid vehicle will be convenient since you can fuel up at home and fuel costs are significantly lower.

In January 2007, the Volvo Car Corporation and Vattenfall launched a joint project with the aim of testing and developing plug-in technology. Now their cooperation is being taken to the next level.

"We are investing in an industrial joint venture to series-produce plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden in 2012, cars that can be powered by both electricity and diesel. This is an important business development for us and our partnership with Vattenfall allows us to take a giant step toward offering our customers cars with an even smaller environmental footprint," says Stephen Odell, President and CEO of the Volvo Car Corporation.

Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation believe that series production of plug-in hybrid cars and the development of infrastructure can generate new jobs and help Sweden maintain its position at the cutting edge of advanced pro-environmental technology.

For more on this please see

U.S. general hammers U.S. on Iraq

Former U.S. commander in Iraq calls for truth commission

By Staff Writers

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq who retired over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal is calling for a truth commission to investigate Bush-era policies behind the abuse and controversial interrogations of detainees. — 708 words.

This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. The same-sex crimes against detainees have been documented

Why the Pentagon is probably lying about its suppressed sodomy and rape photos

By Naomi Wolf

The Telegraph of London broke the news — because the U.S. press is in a drugged stupor — that the photos President Barack Obama is refusing to release of detainee abuse depict, among other sexual tortures, an American soldier raping a female detainee and a male translator raping a male prisoner. — 1,348 words.

Ventura on Cheney and Cuba video

By Emily Kaiser

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura appeared on CNN's Larry King Live to talk about President Obama, the GOP, and the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. — 223 words and two videos.

Sex, lies and nicotine

My mother was right. Fibbing really doesn't pay, especially when talking to curious taxi driver

By Ariane Sherine

When I was ­little, my mother used to say: "Never tell a lie, because one lie can turn into a dozen." Mind you she also used to say "I don't know where the chocolate is" when everyone knew she'd stashed it under the fridge, so I never took this advice particularly seriously. Until one night a while back, when I was in a taxi and realised I'd forgotten an essential item, so asked the driver to stop off. "Anywhere's fine," I assured him. "Petrol station, supermarket, ­pharmacy ..." — 699 words.

Gay penguin couple adopts abandoned egg in German zoo

By Staff Writers

Keepers at Germany's Bremerhaven zoo couldn't get two penguin parents to take care of their egg, so they're trying an experiment — they gave the egg to a gay male penguin couple. — 225 words.

U.S.-Russia deal on nuclear weapons soon

By Staff Writers

MOSCOW — Russia does not rule out reaching initial agreement with the United States on nuclear arms cuts by the time President Barack Obama visits Moscow in July, a Kremlin spokeswoman said on Tuesday. — 158 words.

Torture and truth

By Jonathan Schell

Jonathan Schell is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute and teaches a course on the nuclear dilemma at Yale. He is the author of The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger.

It has fallen to President Obama to deal with the policies and practices of torture inaugurated by the Bush administration. He started boldly, ordering an end to the abuses, announcing the closing in one year of the detention camp at Guantanamo and releasing the Bush-era Justice Department memos authorizing torture. Subsequently, he seemed to grow cautious. He discouraged formation of an independent commission to investigate the torture and reversed a previous position in favor of releasing Pentagon photos of abuses and instead opposed release. In his May 21 speech at the National Archives, he seemed to try to create a framework for understanding his policies, but they remained very much a work in progress. He surprisingly embraced a number of Bush policies, including military commissions for trying detainees, the use of the State Secrets privilege to protect information in court and the indefinite use of preventive detention — all to be revised in ways that were left vague or unspecified. Yet among these reversals and improvisations, one very general preference has remained steady. Throughout, Obama has expressed a desire to concentrate on the "future" rather than the "past." — 2,569 words.

U.S. military ex-interrogators are mad as hell about torture, and they're not gonna take Cheney anymore

MoveOn, VoteVets, and Brave New Foundation amplify testimonies of former interrogators

By ZP Heller

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.

More and more former interrogators and counterinsurgency experts are using Dick Cheney's recent ubiquity to expose his iniquity regarding the torture and abuse of detainees. Earlier this week, I wrote about Major Matthew Alexander, the former Senior Interrogator who conducted over 300 interrogations in Iraq and supervised 1,000 more. Alexander relied upon conventional means of interrogation, and his efforts led to the capture and killing of al-Qaeda leader Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. Yet Alexander also witnessed the perilous consequences of Cheney's torture policy. — 581 words.

Everyone should see Torturing Democracy

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

Bill Moyers is managing editor and Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers Journal, which airs Friday nights on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at

In all the recent debate over torture, many of our Beltway pundits and politicians have twisted themselves into verbal contortions to avoid using the word at all. During his speech to the conservative American Enterprise Institute last week — immediately on the heels of President Obama's address at the National Archives — former Vice President Dick Cheney used the euphemism "enhanced interrogation" a full dozen times. — 1,227 words.

Who is to blame for the next attack?

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

After watching the farce surrounding Dick Cheney’s coming-out party this month, you have to wonder: Which will reach Washington first, change or the terrorists? If change doesn’t arrive soon, terrorists may well rush in where the capital’s fools now tread. — 1,676 words.

U.S. bombing mistakes in Afghanistan

By Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — A U.S. military probe has found U.S. staff made significant mistakes in implementing deadly airstrikes in western Afghanistan May 4 that killed dozens of civilians, The New York Times reported Wednesday. — 332 words.

U.S. sells 'bunker-buster' bombs to South Korea

By Staff Writers

SEOUL — The United States has agreed to sell "bunker-buster" bombs to South Korea that are capable of destroying underground facilities in North Korea, a military official said Tuesday. — 328 words.

Maybe we should take the North Koreans at their word

By Tad Daley

Tad Daley is the Writing Fellow with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the Nobel Peace Laureate disarmament advocacy organization. His first book, Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World, is forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in January 2010.

Shortly after North Korea exploded its second nuclear device in three years on Monday, May 22, 2009, it released a statement explaining why. "The republic has conducted another underground nuclear testing successfully in order to strengthen our defensive nuclear deterrence." If the Obama Administration hopes to dissuade Pyongyang from the nuclear course it seems so hell bent on pursuing, Washington must understand just how adroitly nuclear arms do appear to serve North Korea’s national security. In other words, perhaps we should recognize that they mean what they say. — 2,418 words.

Evidence for liquid water on early frozen Mars

By Ruth Dasso Marlaire

NASA scientists modeled freezing conditions on Mars to test whether liquid water could have been present to form the surface features of the Martian landscape. Researchers report that fluids loaded with dissolved minerals containing elements such as silicon, iron, magnesium, potassium and aluminum, can remain in a liquid state at temperatures well below freezing. The results of this research appear in the May 21 issue of Nature magazine entitled "Stability Against Freezing of Aqueous Solutions on Early Mars." — 464 words.

Research demonstrates potential for liquid water on present-day Mars

By Staff Writers

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have shown that salts formed from perchlorates discovered at the Phoenix landing site have the potential to be found in liquid solution under the temperature and pressure conditions on present-day Mars. — 414 words.

The search for life in the universe

By Aaron Gronstal

Four hundred years ago, the Italian scientist Galileo revolutionized the science of astronomy by inventing the first telescope. People began to consider the possibility of discovering other worlds like Earth — fantastic worlds inhabited by weird and wonderful civilizations. — 1,546 words.

U.K. voters may have given Conservatives major victory for the wrong reasons

By Polly Toynbee

It may have taken more than a truckload of nose pegs to get voters to the polls this week. But abstention is a dereliction of citizenship: always cast a vote, if only to cast stones at the most hated. On Thursday those with two votes should have been looking at each carefully in its own light. — 1,004 words.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, sez:

"A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering."

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

Momma don’ wan’ no fiddle playin’ in here

Methodists in Upper Canada (now Ontario) once banned the use of violins when playing religious music because of the instrument’s association with dancing and merriment.

Trivia compiled by Randy Ray and Mark Kearney, authors of nine books about Canada. For more fabulous facts, visit their Web site at:

Canadian-Russian consortium makes winning bid for Opel

Fiat calls negotiations a 'Brazilian soap opera' as Magna's Stronach of Canada links with Russian group to buy Opel

U.S. President Obama is key to agreement says German Chancellor Merkel

German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg offers his resignation

By Nadia Popova
The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW — The government made no official comment on the winning bid by a consortium of Sberbank, GAZ and Canada's Magna International to buy U.S.-controlled Opel in a deal that promises to give a huge boost to the Russian car industry. — 1,820 words.

Money and Markets

Jobless rate hits 9.4%! Here's what's next ...

By Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.
Money and Markets

JUPITER, Florida — The government has just told us that the official U.S. unemployment rate surged to 9.4%, the worst in a quarter century! Now, here’s what the government has NOT told us: — 942 words.

Boy chosen by Dalai Lama turns back on Buddhist order

By Dale Fuchs

MADRID — As a toddler, he was put on a throne and worshipped as by monks who treated him like a god. But the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of a spiritual leader has caused consternation — and some embarrassment — for Tibetan Buddhists by turning his back on the order that had such high hopes for him. — 407 words.

Spirit Quest

I believe in miracles

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

I believe in miracles, indeed, I believe that I have witnessed a few myself. Having read Allana Mitchell’s book "Sea Sick" and having heard her speak about her investigation of the state of the world’s oceans, I have come to the conclusion that only a miracle can save us and our planet. — 693 words.

Not our kind of victim

Always happy to rescue the downtrodden, we recoiled when Susan Boyle gave us more guilt than we could handle

By Tanya Gold

Susan Boyle didn't win Britain's Got Talent on Saturday night because she became the wrong kind of victim. We loved Susan Boyle at first, because she was a pitiful, pathetic, unattractive 48-year-old Scottish virgin who lived with a cat — a strange creature in a dull gold dress, who didn't belong on a stage. And when we heard her singing I Dreamed a Dream at her audition we thought — we can change your life. We can make you happy. We can save you. Behold our kindness, Susan Boyle, and weep tears of happiness. — 701 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

Robert W. Service: Bard of the Yukon

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor
True North Perspective

Robert W. Service, a young Englishman with a soft Scottish accent, was probably more responsible for making the Yukon known around the world than any other writer. His books of poems, particularly The Songs of a Sourdough are still steady sellers across the country and especially in the north. — 220 words.


I see your name everywhere

By Barbara Florio Graham
True North Perspective

Barbara Florio Graham is the author of Five Fast Steps to Better Writing, Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, and Mewsings/Musings. Her website is

It's every author's dream, to have his or her name mentioned by columnists, broadcasters, and in print media. The kind of media training that produces this level of results can cost a great deal, and is usually reserved for politicians, corporate CEOs, and high-level professionals. — 413 words.

'Columbo' Actor Peter Falk Placed In Conservatorship

By Staff Writers

LOS ANGELES — A judge placed former "Columbo" star's Peter Falk in a conservatorship Monday to ensure his daughter could occasionally visit the ailing 81-year-old actor. Falk's wife of more than 30 years, Shera, will remain in control of his personal care and affairs. Falk has advanced dementia, likely from Alzheimer's disease, one of his doctors testified Monday. — 630 words.

Book Review

Afghanistan's untold story

Invisible History Afghanistan's Untold Story, by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Book review by Ryan Croken

America has many virtues; collective memory is not one of them. When history is invoked in the theater of the mass media, it generally appears as either sanitized nostalgia from our civic religion (something about the Founding Fathers), or as a one-sided flashback designed to give some oomph to some -ism (something about Hitler). Pandemic amnesia is a dangerous affliction for a democracy under any circumstances, but when it comes to our current — that is, our continuing — engagement with Afghanistan, the disorder may very well prove fatal. — 1,728 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:

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% 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.

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: He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

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.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Mike Heenan, Literary Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia
Rosaleen Dickson
Tom Dow
Bob Kay
Randy Ray
David Ward
Harold Wright