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

Friday, March 12, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 14 — 218
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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Quote of the Week:
"Why would a dead anti-Russian combatant named Khattab send a sleeper to Canada
to wake up seven years later just to chauffeur someone around? It just seems counter-intuitive."
— Professor Brian Williams452 words.

Excerpt: Soul of a Citizen: The real Rosa Parks

The myth of Rosa Parks is inspirational
The real story is even more so

One reason people despair so easily these days is that we often have little sense of how change has occurred in times past, and of what it took for ordinary people to persist until they prevailed. The Rosa Parks story offers an example that we all think we know, but where the story as usually told omits the key context and blurs the key lessons.

By Paul Rogat Loeb

We can learn a lot from the tales we tell about our heroes. I once had the privilege of appearing on a CNN show with Rosa Parks. "We're very honored to have her," said the host. "Rosa Parks was the woman who wouldn't go to the back of the bus. She wouldn't get up and give her seat in the white section to a white person. That set in motion the year-long bus boycott in Montgomery. It earned Rosa Parks the title of 'mother of the civil rights movement.'" — 1,159 words.

Cartoon by Matt Bors, Comics.com, 10 March 2010.

Two-thirds of Quebecers identify as 'Canadian nationalists' — poll

Post-Olympics polls suggest federalist revival in la belle province

By Chantal Hébert
Toronto Star

MONTREAL — For decades, discretion has been the better part of valour for many Quebec federalists. But now two post-Olympics polls hint at a federalist coming-out. — 591 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, March 12, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 14 (218)

On International Women's Day
Remember all is not doom and gloom

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor
True North Perspective

I think it was 1980, the year I saw my first woman subway driver. I was a teenager, heading to a party with friends, when Mike stopped, pointed, and shouted, "Look! There's a woman driving the train!" And we did stop, we did look; we thought there was nothing wrong with such a thing — indeed, I believe we all thought it was a good thing — but the sight of a woman driving a train was one we had never before experienced. — 600 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.

New stirrings in Canada's women's movement?

Toronto rally's turnout is biggest, most diverse in years

By Carol Goar
The Toronto Star

More than 2,000 Torontonians took part in this year's International Women's Day march. It was the biggest turnout in years. The gorgeous springlike weather might have had something to do with it. It might have been a spillover from the recent protests on the prorogation of Parliament. Or it might have been a response to the government's latest attempt to scrap the gun registry, created as a living legacy to the women killed by a feminist-hating gunman at Ecole Polytechnique in 1989. Judy Rebick thinks the reason goes deeper. — 643 words.

Health Canada talking food — too often, behind closed door

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency plays a key role in agriculture and food production enforcing rules and regulations set by Health Canada to ensure the safety of food produced or imported into Canada. — 548 words.

Why are Tories giving up on Canadian innovation?

We could lead in mobile communications and other tech, but Harper doesn't seem to agree

By Steve Anderson

There is something uniquely powerful about everyday people having access to the Internet from tiny devices in their pocket. That ubiquitous access to each other creates possibilities that are worth fighting for and saving. The mobile- and wireless-accessed Internet, combined with emerging open web and open-data applications, has the potential to usher in a new era of connectedness and, with it, dramatic changes to social practices and institutions. If we get digital public policy right, Canada could become a leader in mobile communications, leading to empowerment, job creation and new forms of entrepreneurialism, expression and social change. — 778 words.

Same old story: Hewers of wood, drawers of water

We've sold off assets so often, branch plants 'R' us

In a global economy, a country needs global companies, headquartered at home

By Jeffrey Simpsons
The Globe and Mail

North Bay is not far from Ottawa — 50 minutes by plane, four and a half hours by road — but the city and, indeed, all of Northeastern Ontario, might just as well be a million miles away from the national capital. — 737 words.

Minority numbers to rise significantly by 2031
One-third of Canada's population will be non-white: StatsCan

CBC News

About one-third of Canada's population — up to 14.4 million people — will be a visible minority by 2031, Statistics Canada projects. The country's foreign-born population is also expected to rise to as much as 28 per cent, about four times faster than the rest of the population, the Statistics Canada study projects. — 345 words

Quebec woman kicked out of class a second time for wearing niqab

By Jonathan Montpetit
The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — A Muslim woman in Quebec has been kicked out of a language course for the second time because of her refusal to remove a religious face covering. The Egyptian immigrant made headlines last week when it was revealed provincial Immigration Department officials expelled her from a government-sponsored French class several months ago after she refused to take off her niqab. — 589 words.

Only in Canada ...

Passengers held up flight to watch hockey

The Canadian Press

Travellers the world over know the pains of flight delays due to fog, weather, late pilots or just plain busy airports. But how about a delay due to a hockey game? — 166 words.

The last word on Vancouver 2010?

On leaving Vancouver, MSNBC's anchor leaves a thank-you note behind

By Brian Williams
Anchor and managing editor

After tonight's broadcast and after looting our hotel mini-bars, we're going to try to brave the blizzard and fly east to home and hearth, and to do laundry well into next week. Before we leave this thoroughly polite country, the polite thing to do is leave behind a thank-you note. — 330 words.

Sudbury's Vale workers reject settlement by almost 90 per cent

Offer has rank-'n-file fired up

The Sudbury Star

If anyone was voting yes to Vale Inco's offer to settle the eight-month strike by United Steelworkers, they were not admitting it out loud in the halls, the basement and the parking lot of the Caruso Club on Thursday morning and early afternoon. — 905 words.

How far have we come?

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.

This year, International Women's Day celebrated its 100th anniversary. Yes, it was first marked in 1910. This year's theme is "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all". If I look back on my own life, I can attest we have made progress. — 1,183 words.

Spirit Quest

The Spirit in the heart of the Women's Movement

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Throughout my life I have been surrounded and nurtured by strong and compassionate women. Having just come through International Women's Week (March 8 - 12) these special women have come to my mind. — 901 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

What is a reformed Senate for?

Canada West Foundation

CALGARY, Canada — A new report from the Canada West Foundation answers a key question about parliamentary reforms: What is a reformed Senate for? The debate about Senate reform often slips into a discussion of technical details. This paper skips to an examination of the ultimate goal of Senate reform: healthier Canadian democracy. — words.

Health Watch

'Epidemic' of vitamin D deficiency: MUHC study

McGill research has discovered that low levels of vitamin D is linked to muscle fat and decreased strength in young people

CBC news

A deficiency of vitamin D in study subjects has surprised doctors at the McGill University Health Centre. A study, released last week, found that 59 per cent of study subjects had too little vitamin D in their blood and nearly a quarter of the group had serious deficiencies. — 290 words.

Porn: good for us?

Scientific examination of the subject has found that as the use of porn increases, the rate of sex crimes goes down

By Milton Diamond

Pornography. Most people have seen it, and have a strong opinion about it. Many of those opinions are negative—some people argue that ready access to pornography disrupts social order, encouraging people to commit rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And even if pornography doesn't trigger a crime, they say, it contributes to the degradation of women. It harms the women who are depicted by pornography, and harms those who do not participate but are encouraged to perform the acts depicted in it by men who are acculturated by it. Many even adamantly believe that pornography should become illegal. 1,085 words.

Is there really a backlash against casual sex?

According to a spate of recent articles, a new sexual conservatism is on the rise. But is it really that simple?

By Vanessa Richmond

Sexual pleasure without shame is one of the defining characteristics of third-wave feminism. But some avidly pro-sex feminists are increasingly pointing out that casual hookups may not be the best way to achieve it. Slate's Jessica Grose reports on the trend in "The Shame Cycle: The new backlash against casual sex." — 1,398 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.

Billionaires and mega-corporations behind immense land-grab in Africa

20+ African countries are selling or leasing land for intensive agriculture on a shocking scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era

By John Vidal
Mail & Guardian

AWASSA, Ethiopia — We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia's largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 50 acres* — the size of 20 soccer fields. — 2,385 words.

Utah Governor signs controversial law charging women and girls with murder for miscarriages

By Rose Aguilar

On Monday afternoon, a controversial Utah bill that charges pregnant women and girls with murder for having miscarriages caused by "intentional or knowing" acts, was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert. — 2,132 words.

France to buy 14 Soyuz rockets for 1 billion dollars


MOSCOW — France has put aside some $1 billion to buy 14 Soyuz carrier rockets from Russia, French satellite launch firm Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said Tuesday. "We have ordered 14 Soyuzes from the Russian Federation; the contract's cost is about $1 billion. These are ambitious plans," Le Gall said at a Russian-French business forum, held as part of President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to France. — 396 words.


The worldwide war on baby girls

Technology, declining fertility and ancient prejudice
are combining to unbalance societies

The Economist

Xinran Xue, a Chinese writer, describes visiting a peasant family in the Yimeng area of Shandong province. The wife was giving birth. "We had scarcely sat down in the kitchen", she writes (see article), "when we heard a moan of pain from the bedroom next door…The cries from the inner room grew louder—and abruptly stopped. There was a low sob, and then a man's gruff voice said accusingly: 'Useless thing!'

"Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me," Miss Xinran remembers. "To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. 'Don't move, you can't save it, it's too late.' — 3,817 words.


'I don't want to be famous. I want our people to get enough rice'

From sweatshop to stage

The Messenger Band interview

By Anne Elizabeth Moore

"My name is Saem, and the name of my group is the Messenger Band," the singer more formally known as Vun Em explains. We are in Phnom Penh's Meta-House, where four members of the six-member Messenger Band are about to give a quick a cappella concert to the reporters ex-pats, and tourists gathered. It's not their usual venue. The Messenger Band was formed by the Cambodian NGO Women's Agenda for Change in 2005 to bring the concerns of the young women who move to the city to earn money for their families back to the provinces. They write songs in the traditional folk style, and choreograph moves to accompany their laments, and villagers are often riveted: the subjects of these songs are their daughters, their nieces, their friends. — 1,491 words.

With alcohol, big men quicker to anger study finds

By Bruce Bower

As St. Patrick's Day approaches, it may pay to keep in mind that there is a kernel of truth to the stereotype that large men are especially prone to being DWI — dangerous while intoxicated. — 540 words.


Study finds potent greenhouse gas methane
being released much faster than anticipated
from East Siberian Arctic

Thawing by climate change of subsea layer of permafrost may release stores of underlying, seabed methane

National Science Foundation

A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov. The research results, published in the March 5 edition of the journal Science, show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming. — 1,126 words.

Growing ocean 'dead zones' worry scientists

By Les Blumenthal
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Lower levels of oxygen in the Earth's oceans, particularly off the United States' Pacific Northwest coast, could be another sign of fundamental changes linked to global climate change, scientists say.

They warn that the oceans' complex undersea ecosystems and fragile food chains could be disrupted. — 989 words.

Looking forward ...


IBM researches invent plastic made from plants

Agence France-Presse

SAN FRANCISCO — IBM researchers on Tuesday said they have discovered a way to make Earth-friendly plastic from plants that could replace petroleum-based products tough on the environment. — 318 words.

Venezuela celebrates International Women's Day, discusses abortion rights

By Tamara Pearson

MERIDA — Yesterday Venezuela celebrated International Women's Day with a ceremony involving 200,000 women and some of Venezuela's highest political female leaders. The women also formed a Bicentenary Front of Women. Meanwhile, a National Assembly committee is discussing women's right to abortions. — 503 words.

Reality Check

The city that wasn't: fraud isn't just for bankers

Target of the biggest offensive of the war, "City" of Marjah exists only as propaganda

By Gareth Porter
InterPress Service

WASHINGTON — For weeks, the U.S. public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan War against what it was told was a "city of 80,000 people" as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marja was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centres in Helmand. — 1,095 words.

Looters hand back goods as Chile mourns quake dead


CONCEPCION, Chile — Looters in Chile have handed back stolen goods worth two million dollars, the government said, as the country mourned the hundreds killed in last month's earthquake and tsunami. — 611 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Public money, public health

How Canada used a publicly-owned bank to build its public health system

By Ellen Hodgson Brown, J.D.
Edited by True North Perspective

Editor's Note: As the health reform debate continues to rage in the United States, some Americans have looked north in hopes of learning lessons from Canada's more-than fifty-year history of publicly-funded health care. The following article has been edited only to remove specific references to the American political situation at the time of its original publication back in January.

[How is it that all industrialized countries except the United States have managed to foot the bill for universal health care[?] How is it that they can afford it when we can't? Do they have some secret funding source that we don't have? In the case of our nearest neighbor, Canada, the answer is actually that they do. At least, they did for the first two decades of their national health service — long enough to get it up and running. — 1,988 words.

Money and Markets

Looking for oil demand in all the wrong places

By Jeff Rubin
The Globe and Mail

It's Wednesday, and the week's U.S. oil inventories numbers will soon be out. I have no clue what they will say, nor much interest, either. But others do. Exactly why oil traders and speculators think the data has anything to do with the state of world oil demand is beyond me. I suppose, like Pavlov's dog, they're only doing what they're trained to do. But their training comes from a world that no longer exists. — 492 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Gunning for the Prius

Is Chinese-American electric car sign of things to come?

By Joseph B. White
Wall Street Journal

By 2050, there could be two billion cars on the road—twice as many as there are today—and 40% of them could be electric. That's the view of Peter Voser, the chief executive officer of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC. — 913 words.

Driver lacked razor-sharp focus (but not razor)

By Adam Linhardt

As authorities nationwide warn motorists of the dangers of driving while texting, Florida Keys law enforcement officers add a new caution: Don't try to shave your privates, either. — 512 words.

Annals of Education

Mississipi prom cancelled after lebian student's date request

American Civil Liberties Union files law-suit

By Chris Joyner

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi county school board announced Wednesday it would cancel its upcoming prom after a gay student petitioned to bring a same-sex date to the event. — 576 words.

Fastest woman in South Asia breaks records — and taboos

Interview by Zofeen Ebrahim
InterPress Service

KARACHI — Dressed in an abaya (long, loose gown worn by women to cover their dress) and a headscarf, Naseem Hameed cannot be recognised as she alights from a crowded, rickety public bus to reach her destination — the sports stadium. — 1,212 words.

Film and television

Wonder where the women are?

Katherine Bigelow's The Hurt Locker made Oscar history,
but real women's film and television still struggles to find an audience

By Geoffrey Dow
True North Perspective
Original published at Edifice Rex Online

Now that Katherine Bigelow has made history as the first woman to an Oscar for best picture, you might conclude that women have finally taken their rightful place at Hollywood's creative centre stage. — 1,732 words.

Where Michael Moore dared
Kathryn Bigelow played it safe

Michael Moore was booed when he denounced the Iraq war at the 2003 Oscars. This year, Kathryn Bigelow made sure she received only applause

By Megan Carpentier
The Guardian UK

At this year's Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow won best director and her film, Hurt Locker, won best picture despite criticisms from veterans that it failed to take into account much of the daily life of the men and women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and criticisms that the film itself was as pro-war as it was pro-soldier. Although Bigelow dedicated her award to the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, she didn't touch on the lies that sent them there to risk their lives in pursuit of a political coup. — 690 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