Friday, March 14, 2008
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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

A long view from the middle
Fidel Castro will be surprised to learn that he has become a Guest Columnist in True North.

This edition of True North was delayed for logistic reasons that have nothing to do with content. The content may be shocking to some, amusing to others, and sagacious to still others. For the first time we offer from the left of the political spectrum, Fidel Castro, and from the right, Christopher Ruddy. — 173 words.

Will Conrad Black’s callow youthful fantasies
be reined-in by doing time in a club-med jail?

But, is it going to do him any good? It’s a question that has come to mind as I read up on the fate of Conrad Black. — 845 words.

Why Men Do Stupid Things: The Psychological Appeal of Prostitutes

Michael Bader is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in San Francisco. He is the author of "Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies" and the forthcoming book "Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It — and Men Don't Either." He has written extensively about psychology and politics.— 903 words.

David Paterson: a NY activist, progressive, and now Governor

Paterson has been handed a remarkable opportunity to be not just a state officials but a national leader. In 1999, when New York City activists organized civil disobedience to protest the police shooting of African-immigrant Amadou Diallo, one of New York state's most prominent legislators arrived at police headquarters in Manhattan to be arrested as part of the a remarkable civil rights protest. — 1,311 words.

‘Munich conference reveals European complacency’

Last week I had the honor of joining the U.S. delegation to the Munich Conference on Security Policy, held in Munich, Germany. The congressional delegation was headed by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. The Munich Conference — closely associated with the NATO alliance — has drawn headlines in recent years.… This year, the talk was muted over U.S policies, perhaps owing to the fact the Bush administration is soon exiting. Europeans believe the next administration led by Democrats will be more sympathetic to their views. Today, Europe appears to have a mindset of accommodation and complacency. Appeasement might be too strong of a word, since there is no Hitler-like figure marching through European capitals to acquiesce to. A U.S. official with NATO told our delegation that throughout Europe, our allies are not making the connection between their own security and the alliance’s work to keep the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan. — 1,123 words.

‘Declare war on Oil before it’s too late’

Imagine if President Bush, after 9/11, simply declared war on oil and put the whole nation behind ending our crippling dependence on it.  Imagine if we had spent the money we allocated to the war in Iraq toward eliminating the oil addiction. The tab for the Iraq war hovers around the $1 trillion mark and grows at a clip of at least $12 billion a month. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the cost through 2017, including hidden costs such as veterans’ benefits, could total $2.4 trillion. There is little question that America is defending its interests in the Middle East largely because of oil. In his recent memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan wrote: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.” — 804 words.

He doesn’t know it, but Fidel Castro (the one and only)
has joined True North Perspective as a Guest Columnist

Long before I’d ever heard of Fidel Castro I found a book in a used bookstore published by two American doctors in 1938. There are three things about it that I recall: the first is that some casual friends (a couple) borrowed it (I don’t remember the title); the second is that I never saw the book or the couple again (I’ve forgotten their names); the third I remember clearly: the doctors reported that there was virus in Cuba that entered the body through the soles of bare feet and caused the legs to swell so that the patients were immobilized with pain. The doctors said that they had discovered a serum that when injected caused the swelling and its pain to disappear. The only problem was that most Cubans were too poor to buy shoes. So the obvious cycle developed among those lucky enough to receive the injection. — 896 words.

'Students want to be famous for being famous'

LONDON — An unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture is damaging students' academic success, a survey of teachers has found. — 292 words.

Gander Mountain CEO Mark Baker scorns
corporate welfare in favour of free enterprise

David Ewald ( is president of Ewald Consulting in St. Paul, Minnesota. With nearly 100 stores in 18 states, Gander Mountain is the nation's third-largest outdoors retailer. Unlike its two larger competitors, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's, Gander Mountain has achieved impressive growth without seeking targeted tax incentives from state or local governments. In this interview, Gander's chief executive, Mark Baker, tells us why he believes government officials should oppose retail tax incentives. — 1,126 words.

In response to reader request True North
now offers a regular column on the Spirit

Spirit Quest

Readers have asked True North to give space to spiritual matters. A search for more than half-a-year has confirmed the following biblical encouragement, the sense of which advises, Ye need but seek, and ye shall find. True North is proud to introduce The Reverend Hanns F. Skoutajan who has undertaken to provide readers with spiritual guidance.

Spirit Quest …

From the Pen of The Reverend Hanns

You have to be Irish to understand ‘Happy Corned Beef Day

The Roman Catholic Church has been primarily responsible for the institution and propagation of the feast of the patron saint of Ireland. Although not known for its flexibility in doctrinal matters it has in this instance made adjustments. — 570 words.

Afghanistan Envy

Bush spouts romantic nonsense about front-line action
while he dodged the chance by hiding in National Guard

If further proof were needed that President Bush resides in a dream world, he settled the issue on Thursday definitively. Speaking by videoconference with U.S. military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan about the challenges posed by war, corruption, and the poppy trade, the president unleashed this comment: — 492 words.

U.S. accuses Moscow of graft and torture in annual report
while mindful of criticism of its own human rights record

WASHINGTON -- The United States took aim at Russia on Tuesday for its human rights record, accusing the government of corruption, harassment of the media and electoral abuse and the security forces of killings and torture. — 207 words.

FBI found to misuse Security Letters
2003-06 audit cites probes of citizens

The FBI has increasingly used administrative orders to obtain the personal records of U.S. citizens rather than foreigners implicated in terrorism or counterintelligence investigations, and at least once it relied on such orders to obtain records that a special intelligence-gathering court had deemed protected by the First Amendment, according to two government audits released Thursday. — 792 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!

 How much can an annual heating bill be reduced by planting trees beside a home?
     a) 10 per cent b) 15 per cent c) five per cent d) 35 per cent

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:

Slow Katrina contractor reaps millions
while victims wait for recovery money

NEW ORLEANS — Two-and-a-half-years after Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of homeowners are still waiting for their government rebuilding cheques, and many complain they can't even get their calls returned. But the company that holds the contract to distribute the aid is doing quite well. — 444 words.

Fired UAW organizers: shortcuts hurt unions in South
The “Freightliner Five” were fired after leading a strike against givebacks.

By Tiffany Ten Eyck Labor Notes — Pounding the pavement in a two-month tour of cities throughout the Midwest and West Coast, four fired United Auto Workers members have been busy speaking to supporters in a quest to get their jobs back. — 1,337 words.

Were Brad and Jennifer doomed from the beginning?
The three stages of marriage according to Omid Djalili

Brad Pitt "despised" his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston after just six weeks of marriage, claims actor Omid Djalili. Omid, who met Brad on the set of Spy Game in 2000, gave the actor marriage advice after Brad admitted he wasn't happy with Jennifer. — 264 words.

Canadian sports official attends Cuba's Terry Fox Run
Will tour anti-doping labs and other key sports facilities

HAVANA — The president of Canada's Olympic Committee, Michael Chambers, arrived here Wednesday to attend Cuba’s Terry Fox Run. — 182 words.

Assault on U.S. Dollar Continues Unabated

There appears to be no end in sight for the sliding greenback. This dollar of ours is rapidly falling to depths where no dollar has gone before. In fact, to say that it's unclear when we can expect a recovery would be a gross understatement. — 1,176 words.

Fascinating historical notes … by George Laidlaw

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

A wonder of the New World

Sometimes we ‘Westerner’ immigrants from Europe believe that the Europeans, whether British or French or others arrived in North America and brought civilization to the Natives that were already here. Our superior attitude may not stand up to investigation. — 197 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

There Will Be Blood could have been
as good as Gangs of New York

A critical review of the movie based on Upton Sinclair’s best-selling novel, OIL

I was disappointed Daniel Day-Lewis won an Oscar for There Will Be Blood, not because he's not a great actor (he is), but because the movie was such a betrayal of the book on which it was based.  — 1,666 words.

The Book End ­

Sammy Skunk finds a friend

By Iris Winston, illustrated by Christina Clemis


Sammy Skunk is very lonely when he moves to a new part of the forest. His mother tells him to find new friends and says "the way to make a friend is to be a friend." See how Sammy tries to show Sally, Seth and the other squirrels how good a friend he can be. For more please click here.

Harold Wright, Doctor of Punology, and his colleague George Carlin succinctly deal with profound questions of life and living:Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?”

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?

b) 15 per cent


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