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

Friday, May 28, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 25 — 229
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'What we do know is that we have not yet stopped the flow.'

Gulf oil spill: BP resumes 'top kill'

Company says operation pumping thick mud into ocean floor to plug oil leak could continue for two more days

By Andrew Clark, Suzanne Goldenberg and Matthew Weaver

28 May 2010 — BP has resumed its high-risk "top kill" operation to stem the oil and gas leak from the ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, signalling that the operation could continue for two more days.

Engineers last night began a second round of the procedure, pumping thick mud at high speed into the well, which lies 1,500 metres (5,000ft) down on the ocean floor, about 50 miles off Louisiana.

Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, insisted the operation was going to plan but admitted: "What we do know is that we have not yet stopped the flow."

He said BP engineers would soon use additional materials to try to plug the well, suggesting the heavy mud would not work on its own. — Read the full article at Guardian.co.uk, 898 words.

Cartoon by Cam Cardow, Comics.com, 22 May 2010.

Me-too'ing on environment not good enough for Mexican president

Calderon breaks diplomatic ranks with host Harper,
says 'we cannot wait' to follow U.S. lead

By Campbell Clark and Brian Milner
The Globe and Mail

27 May 2010 — Mexico's president, in Ottawa as Stephen Harper's guest, has taken a whack at his host's wait-for-the-U.S. policies on climate change.

Prime Minister Harper has said Canada will wait to see what policies the U.S. adopts to regulate major emitters of greenhouse gases, because the two countries' economies are so closely integrated.

But Felipe Calderon, who leads the United States' other border nation and trade-bloc partner, expressed exasperation at waiting for rich countries to step forward.

Mr. Calderon said Mexico couldn't wait for rich countries to do something about climate change, as droughts hit his country and Mexico City's water supply shrank, and had to take its own action. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 922 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, May 28, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 25 (229)

Billion-dollar security tab is loud admission of incompetence
by those who are in charge of security business in tiny Canada

'... we are being taken for a ride on the train of fear and panic that has no place in our experiment in democracy.'

Canada is a small country by population. It takes only intelligence and imagination and a little effort to find out who's where, and who's doing what, or planning to do what.

When I was writing for Weekend Magazine I worked out of an office beside the Food Editor where I became unofficial taster of recipes that appeared each week (yum-yum).

One story angle I developed was on women who suddenly vanish from home and are never seen again. These women, fed up with being taken for granted, had decided that leaving home was in their best interest. — 521 words.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The article "Unexpected twists and turns in the mating season" should be read in high schools, by both teenage boys and girls. Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's talent does not limit itself to writing only, but also encompasses the ability to communicate honestly interesting and captivating subjects.

Thank you so much!

— Anita Bourdeau, Ottawa, Canada

"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.

Spy watchdog growls over 'deeply concerning' mistakes by CSIS

'These instances of non-compliance and errors are not isolated to one program or one set of processes. They do appear in key core activities of the service ... the number of non-compliance issues and the number of errors identified continue to increase each year and are a very real concern'

By Jim Bronskill
The Canadian Press

25 May 2010, OTTAWA — The ministerial watchdog over the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has warned the government of "deeply concerning" inaccuracies in CSIS's work — errors that could have serious "negative consequences" for people the spy agency investigates.

In her latest top-secret report card on CSIS to the public safety minister, Eva Plunkett reveals a "notable increase" in errors spotted in the spy service's records and a "substantially larger number" of cases of policy breaches.

Plunkett uncovered dozens of instances of failure to adhere to CSIS policy and 43 errors in operational reporting. — Read the full article at The Winnipeg Free Press, 717 words.

Undercover CSIS agents carry guns in foreign flashpoints

Spies get only few weeks training; 'amateurs with guns are dangerous to everyone,' says critic

By Colin Freeze
The Globe and Mail

25 May 2010 — Ottawa's spies are carrying guns in Afghanistan, a new practice for the clandestine civilian agents who are not authorized to bear arms inside Canada.

In response to Globe and Mail questions, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service confirmed for the first time that intelligence operatives can carry firearms in overseas hot spots.

That revelation shocks many long-time spy-service watchers, who say Parliament never contemplated this power. CSIS's request for firearms was never publicized or debated publicly. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 865 words.

Telling it like it is in agriculture

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

It's not every day that a farm leader has the opportunity to explain what agriculture in the 21st Century is really all about to a roomful of young people who could well shape the country's future in a few decades.

A couple of hundred of the brightest high school and university students in Canada were in workshop style competition on Parliament Hill to be selected as delegates to the G8 and G20 conferences in Canada next month. — 542 words.

800,000 desperate Canadians use food banks
37 per cent are children and 9 per cent are first-time clients

By Rebekah Sears MA
True North Perspective
First written for Citizens for Public Justice

Rebekah Sears is the policy intern at Ottawa-based Citizens for Public Justice, www.CPJ.ca, an ecumenical social advocacy organization.

Hunger has become a reality for too many Canadians. No Canadian should go hungry. — Food Banks Canada.

June 1 is Hunger Awareness Day in Canada. It is a wake-up call to the need to address hunger in Canada and around the world. — 443 words.

G8/G20 security bill to approach $1-billion

Ottawa argues no country has ever hosted both summits at once, but cost is five times that predicted two months ago, 20 times higher than for 2009 G20 in Britain

By Steven Chase
The Globe and Mail

Liberals ask for audit

CBC News

27 May 2010 — The Opposition Liberals have asked federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser to conduct an audit into the government's cost estimates of $930 million for security measures at the upcoming G8 and G20 summits. Read the full article at CBC News, 432 words.

25 May 2010 — The Harper government is preparing to spend close to $1-billion on security for world leaders gathering in Ontario this summer — meetings in which one of the top items on the agenda is reining in state profligacy.

The soaring security bill for safeguarding the late June Group of Eight and Group of 20 summits is now several orders of magnitude greater than the costs of similar meetings in Japan and Britain.

The Canadian government disclosed Tuesday that the total price tag to police the elite Group of Eight meeting in Muskoka, as well as the bigger-tent Group of 20 summit starting a day later in downtown Toronto, has already climbed to more than $833-million. It said it's preparing to spend up to $930-million for the three days of meetings that start June 25. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 905 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Unsustainable development: Suburban sprawl erases cities' efforts to go green: study

Report finds that although individual cities are taking steps to be environmentally kind, supercities remain polluting carbon gluttons

By Anna Mehler Paperny
The Globe and Mail

26 May 2010, TORONTO — Would-be eco-friendly metropolises know it's not easy being green. And it's near impossible if you're a sole Canadian municipality in one of the country's regional urban supercities.

A Pembina Institute report published Wednesday finds that although individual cities are taking steps to combat climate change, the regions those cities are a part of remain polluting carbon gluttons.

Municipal governments acting on their own risk missing the regional forest for the city-specific trees — and that's hampering their ability to make a real difference in shrinking carbon footprints.

And Toronto — centre of the sprawling urban mass that's home of the vast majority of Ontario's population and responsible for the lion's share of its greenhouse gas emissions — is no exception. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 554 words.

While oil gushes into the the Gulf of Mexico
Ottawa to lower environmental standards

Just before a scheduled review, Canadian government introduces revised Environmental Assessment Act with weaker rules that permit Environment Minister to exempt many projects from environmental assessment

By Geoff Dembicki

26 May 2010 — Months after proposed changes to Canada's ecological safeguards infuriated green groups across the country, critics are still looking for answers.

They wonder why Stephen Harper's Conservative government introduced big revisions to the federal Environmental Assessment (EA) Act right before a seven-year review. And why an independent advisory committee staffed with EA experts was apparently disbanded in 2008 without any notice.

The critics — which include lawyers, green NGOs and federal Liberals — can only speculate who stood to gain from pending amendments that turn one of Canada's most important green pillars "into hash," as one academic lamented.

Federal lobbying records might provide some indication. In the months and years preceding the spring legislation, industrial proponents supporting such projects as a bitumen pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., and major Alberta oil sands expansions may have lobbied for Assessment Act changes. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 1,554 words.

Canadian municipalities and Dignity for All

By Rebekah Sears MA
True North Perspective
First written for Citizens for Public Justice

Rebekah Sears is the policy intern at Ottawa-based Citizens for Public Justice, www.CPJ.ca, an ecumenical social advocacy organization.

This week, from May 28-31, over 1,500 representatives from municipalities across Canada will convene in Toronto for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) annual conference. — 286 words.

From the Desk of RCAF Lt. Col. (Ret'd) Harold Wright, True North Perspective Contributing Editor

Salute to a brave and modest nation

By Kevin Myers
The Sunday Telegraph

LONDON — Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops are deployed in the region.

And as always, Canada will bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always, will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does ... It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored.

Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again. Read the full article inside, 811 words.

'We went by Emily Dickinson's saying,
"The soul should always stand ajar,
ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
And we were never disappointed.'

Always expect the unexpected on a day trip

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.

My late husband and I always enjoyed day trips, from the onset of mild weather to the glorious days of autumn. We enjoyed discovering new venues in Ontario and "la belle province". Vacation planning guides were always used to plan a day trip or weekend outing. Of course, some of our day trips took us back to favourite spots like Merrickville, Perth or Kingston, Wakefield, Montréal or "le vieux Québec". — 1,025 words.

Spirit Quest

What has the spirit to do with finances, taxes and economics? Everything

The 'trickle-down' theory is spiritually bankrupt
and doesn't make good economic sense either

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

"Have you been trickled on lately?"

I first heard this question more than 25 years ago. Cynical as it may seem it is still a relevant economic question today. I remember that I thought it was very funny when I first heard it mentioned but over the years it has lost its tickle.

The Trickle Down theory is of course a pejorative term for a policy of providing across the board tax cuts or benefits to business, such as tax breaks which will indirectly benefit the broad population, or so they say. Wealth would eventually trickle down to the masses, it was hoped. — 886 words.

'Lock 'em up and throw away the key!'

Fear-driven policies are politically seductive

Ottawa's harsh new penal proposals won't make us safer, just poorer — and less humane

By Michael Jackson and Graham Stewart
Literary Review of Canada

1 May 2010 — How do you create effective public policy in a field that sparks high emotion? Homelessness, the gun registry, Afghanistan, euthanasia, interest rates — in volatile and unstable times almost anything can be turned into an irrational bogeyman that all the research and studies in the world cannot combat ...

This essay deals with just such a public policy conundrum: whether to respect the constitutional rights of citizens, even when imprisoned, versus the need many people feel to punish prisoners by depriving them of most of their rights.

In a country with an aging demographic such as ours, politicians are fully aware that older citizens (who are also prime voters) are afraid of crime and criminals and are generally convinced that life is getting more dangerous, despite Statistics Canada data from 2009 showing the fifth consecutive annual decline in police-reported crime and crime rates overall that we have not seen in Canada since the 1970s. The "lock 'em up and throw away the key" mentality, to be expected among Conservatives, is spreading to traditional Liberal and NDP supporters as well, and the Harper minority government knows this. — Read the full article at Literary Review of Canada, 3,451 words.


Spring in my neighbourhood

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

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

It's been years now since my husband Paul had a stroke.

When I was looking after him at home I used to take him for walks in the neighbourhood and we would end up sitting on a bench in front of Parkdale Collegiate, and enjoy watching and talking with the children.

Many students remembered Paul as the man who had helped save their school.

As I walk by the schoolyard now, I see the basketball players have returned. In this case mostly Tibetan. There is a large community from Tibet in Parkdale. — 876 words.

Ottawa hires private media company to monitor online discussions

$75,000 pilot project 'correct' what Tories call 'misinformation'

By Sheila Scott

23 May 2010 — The Harper government has been monitoring political messages online, and even correcting what it considers misinformation. One local expert says the government is taking things too far.

Under the pilot program the Harper government paid a media company $75,000 to monitor and respond to online postings about the east coast seal hunt.

UBC Computer Science professor and President of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Richard Rosenberg, says it seems unnecessary for the government to be going this far. "The government has a lot of power, that it feels the need to monitor public bulletin boards, or places where people express views and then to respond to that, seems to me going beyond a reasonable action the government should be taking."

Rosenberg says knowing that the government is monitoring certain topics online could result in people being more careful with their identities when they're posting about political issues on the internet.

He says it's the first time he's heard of this happening in Canada. — Read the full article at News1130.com

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

With the end of Canada's military involvement coming to end
should the country turn its attention to United Nations peacekeeping once more?

By J.L. Granatstein
Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, originally published in The Globe and Mail

26 May 2010 — With the Canadian Forces' Afghanistan commitment scheduled to conclude next year, should Canada turn its attention back to United Nations peacekeeping?

The CF was good at the peacekeeping job, even if it never was a major priority of the government and the military, no matter what Canadians believed. Nor did United Nations peace operations ever absorb more than a small percentage of budgets or personnel. Moreover, Canada did peace operations not out of altruism but because they served Western interests, for example, as at Suez in 1956, the Congo in 1960, and Cyprus in 1964.

We did them because of our history: we had an expeditionary military with good logistics and communications, and not many other smaller states did. And we did them because the public liked peacekeeping: it did not divide Canadians the way the world wars had. — Read the full article inside, 860 words.

No kilt at graduation, school tells Alberta teen

Hamish Jacobs, 19, was told he couldn't wear kilt to his high-school graduation in Raymond, Alta. Nineteen-year-old wins support around the world after school nixes his Scottish attire

By Nathan Vanderklippe
The Globe and Mail

23 May 2010, CALGARY — Hamish Jacobs has only worn a kilt once. He tried on the blue-and-green tartan of his mother's Forbes clan two months ago, to make sure he could wear it to his high-school graduation in late June.

"It fit perfect," he said.

His decision to wear the kilt stirred pride in his family, who immigrated to Canada from the Scottish city of Perth in 1965, but has tried to hold on to some of its roots.

But that was before, in the spirit of politeness, he asked his principal whether he could wear the kilt on stage, before he was told that he could not — and well before his plight would win him thousands of supporters on Facebook and around the world. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 716 words.

'In my area, there's a walk-in clinic. There's people there to talk to if you have any questions about birth control and stuff like that.'

Canada's teen pregnancy rate falls 37 per cent

Percentage of sexually active girls unchanged

CBC News

26 May 2010 — Teen pregnancy rates in Canada dropped nearly 37 per cent over a decade, say researchers who point to some of the reasons why.

The study, released Wednesday in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, showed Canada's rates of teen pregnancies between 1996 to 2006 declined 36.9 per cent, compared with a 25 per cent decline in the U.S., a 4.75 per cent fall in England and a 19.1 per cent increase in Sweden. — Read the full article at CBC News, 370 words.

NHL playoffs quiz

By Mark Kearney and Randy Ray
True North Perspective

Mark Kearney of London, Ont. and Randy Ray of Ottawa, have written nine books about Canada, with total sales of more than 50,000, including The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which was published last May. Their web site is: www.triviaguys.com.

28 May 2010 — A whole new season. Anything can happen. Watch out for the underdogs.

Pick whatever cliché you want, but once the NHL regular season ends, they all apply to the playoffs.

See how well you score with these playoff questions. — 624 words.

Health Watch

Conflict of interest, unethical research and bribing children
are only some of the sins committed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield

British doctor who drew false link between autism and vaccine loses right to practice medicine

'Dishonest', 'misleading' and 'irresponsible' disbarred physician's campaign against MMR vaccine has led to child deaths, resurgence of Measles in Britain

By Tom Chivers

24 May 2010 — This is quite a long post, and not funny at all. Sorry about that. I hope it's worthwhile.

Wakefield's role

Let's look at what he did. First, it has long been the case that he pushed his belief in the links between MMR and autism long after the evidence came back saying that there was none. Back in 1998 when his original Lancet article was published, it was not unreasonable to ask for more research; the measles virus was found in the guts of eight autistic children (out of a total group of 12) whose parents believed that the MMR "triple jab" had sparked the condition.

However, even at that stage, Wakefield went further, calling for the triple jab to be scrapped for single vaccines until "the issue had been resolved". This was despite good clinical reasons for giving the three together.

By 2002 there was pretty solid evidence that the MMR jab did not cause autism. But Wakefield continued to campaign for single jabs. It has since emerged that he earned £400,000 in fees as an expert witness for campaign groups preparing a lawsuit on behalf of parents of autistic children. He also owns the patent on a single vaccine, which he developed a few months before he called for the scrapping of the triple jab in favour of a single injection. — Read the full article at Telegraph.co.uk, 1,234 words.

Childhood deaths down 60 percent since 1970: study

Agence France-Presse

24 May 2010, PARIS — The proportion of children under five who die each year across the globe has dropped 60 percent over the past four decades, according to a study published Monday.

In the last 20 years this salutary decline has accelerated, with the number of deaths among newborns, infants and one-to-four year olds falling from 11.9 million to an estimated 7.7 million in 2010, the new figures show.

That remains a staggeringly large number of young lives lost, many to preventable diseases and overwhelmingly in the world's poorest nations. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 626 words.

Can Everyday Things Cause Cancer?

There's a stigma that accompanies those who question the safety of familiar things. But as cancer rates rise, maybe we ought to be asking more questions

By Lisa Bennett
More Magazine

20 May 2010 — There is something about the familiar that makes us assume it is safe. Rachel Carson observed this nearly 50 years ago in Silent Spring, when she exposed the dangers of toxins in the pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers being used to grow the food we eat. There is also something about pointing to the potential danger in familiar things that can make one come across as a kook — paranoid, fringe, alarmist.

Indeed, most of us are inclined to dismiss challenges to the familiar, especially if they are things on which we believe ourselves to be dependent, such as cell phones, cosmetics and plastic food containers. Being caught up in the moment has tremendous power to trick us in this way. That is why people throughout history have done astoundingly misguided things that, from a distance, we look back on and wonder: What were they thinking?

Yet the truth is that many of the everyday things now in our homes and workplaces are filled with chemicals that were not around as recently as the 1950s. When exposed to heat or simple wear and tear, some of these chemicals have ways of getting out of the things they are in and into us. And there are now growing suspicions about a connection between our exposure to chemicals and the rise in numerous diseases and other health-related issues. — Read the full article at More Magazine, 1,207 words.

'...I wouldn't have it that much because of the calorie intake. I don't mind the kids having it though because they don't have to worry as much about their calories right now...'

Cold Stone beats McDonald's for worst drink in America

131 grams of fat, 153 grams of sugar ...
and as much saturated fat as in 68 strips of bacon


26 May 2010 — A 2 000-calorie milkshake that is the equivalent of 68 rashers of bacon or 30 chocolate chip cookies has been dubbed the worst drink in the US.

Called the Cold Stone PB&C, the fat-laden drink has left TV chef and food revolutionary Jamie Oliver speechless.

When the celebrity chef spotted a Men's Health piece about the fatty drink, he tweeted: "There are no words."

Made with chocolate ice cream, milk and peanut butter, the Cold Stone PB&C packs a whopping 2 010 calories, 131 grams of fat - 68 grams of which is saturated - and a massive 153 grams of sugar. — Read the full article at Iol.co.ca, 692 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.

'Hillary Clinton: "We need to apply our power in different ways.'

Washington takes a turn toward sanity
follows China policy on diplomacy first ...

BBC News

27 May 2010, LONDON — The Obama administration has unveiled a new national security strategy, saying armed conflict should be a last resort when diplomacy is exhausted.

The document puts constraints on ex-President Bush's concept of pre-emptive war and calls for better co-operation with China and India.

It maintains the desire to destroy al-Qaeda, but also highlights home-grown terrorism for the first time.

It offers Iran and North Korea "a clear choice" on their nuclear programmes. — Read the full article at BBC News, 698 words.

... but continues to take hard line on Iran

Clinton blasts Brazil-Turkey approach to Iran

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

28 May 2010, LONDON — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the move by Brazil and Turkey to reach a nuclear-fuel exchange deal with Iran, calling the initiative "dangerous" for global security.

Speaking May 27 at a forum in Washington, Clinton said the Obama administration sees the deal as helping Iran avoid international unity against the Iranian nuclear program.

She said that the Brazil-Turkish approach makes the world "more dangerous, not less," and said the U.S. had voiced its "serious disagreements" to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. — Read the full article at Radio Free Europe Radio Libery, 222 words.

'Deepwater Horizon is not an anomaly — it's the norm'

10 things you need to know about the BP oil spill
(but were too appalled to ask)

How the owner of the exploded oil rig has made $270 million off the disaster, and nine other shocking, depressing facts about the oil spill

By Daniella Perdomo

27 May 2010 — It's been 37 days since BP's offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, crude oil has been hemorrhaging into ocean waters and wreaking unknown havoc on our ecosystem — unknown because there is no accurate estimate of how many barrels of oil are contaminating the Gulf.

Though BP officially admits to only a few thousand barrels spilled each day, expert estimates peg the damage at 60,000 barrels or over 2.5 million gallons daily. (Perhaps we'd know more if BP hadn't barred independent engineers from inspecting the breach.) Measures to quell the gusher have proved lackluster at best, and unlike the country's last big oil spill — Exxon-Valdez in 1989 — the oil is coming from the ground, not a ship, so the amount that could continue to pollute Gulf waters is indefinite.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us what can happen — and will continue to happen — when corporate malfeasance and neglect meet governmental regulatory failure.

The corporate media is tracking the disaster with front-page articles and nightly news headlines every day (if it bleeds, or spills, it leads!), but the under-reported aspects to this nightmarish tale paint the most chilling picture of the actors and actions behind the catastrophe. In no particular order, here are 10 things about the BP spill you may not know and may not want to know — but you should. — Read the full article at AlterNet.org, 2,216 words.

New Yorkers worry about another terror attack but won't change lifestyle

Majority believe anti-terrorism measures that violate civil rights are a victory for the terrorists

By Corky Siemaszko
New York Daily News

Life goes on in New York City's Grand Centra Station.

24 May 2010 — Nearly nine out of 10 New Yorkers said they're "going about life as usual" despite the recent attempt to bomb Times Square, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

Seventy percent are worried about the possibility of another terror attack, and they're split on whether the city is ready to deal with one.

But New Yorkers aren't quaking in fear or hiding out in their apartments, said Maurice Carroll, who heads the university's Polling Institute. — Read the full article at the New York Daily News, 327 words.

Zombie pedestrians make for road kill in Toronto

14 died on the Canadian city's streets in a four-week period — the highest one-month total in a decade

By Sandro Contenta
Global Post

24 May 2010 — TORONTO, Canada — The other day, I watched a very modern man crossing the street, blissfully oblivious to all that surrounded him.

It was at the corner of Queen Street West and Dovercourt Road, the bustling heart of Toronto's trendy west end. From my vantage point, it wasn't clear whether he knew the light was green: He stepped off the curb without looking up, eyes fixed on his BlackBerry, thumbs beating out a text, an iPod blaring music in his ears.

It was an act of incredible trust, if not stupidity, in a city where recently, it looked like open season on pedestrians — Read the full article at Global Post, 677 words.

Open letter to President Obama on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster

Yes, Mr. President, it was your Katrina — three weeks ago
Now it may be your Chernobyl

By Robert Redick

Robert V.S. Redick is a novelist and former editor with Oxfam America. He can be reached through his website, redwolfconspiracy.com.

Bottlenose Dolphins swim through oil-tainted waters in their natural habitat, the Gulf of Mexico, 05/06/10. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP.)

Dear Mr President,

You're a man of vision, intelligence, stamina and nerve. And you're blowing it. A hemorrhage of poison is sickening the Gulf of Mexico. And has been, for a month. What action have you taken? What direct response have you made?

Friends, enemies, drillers' families, fishing families, anyone and everyone who has been appalled by the ecological horror show: we are all asking you this question. At first you gave us a rhetorical performance, a promise to be tough, while BP invested as much effort in limiting information and liability as it did in limiting the extent of the spill, and coast guard vessels continued to monitor plankton drift on the far side of the Gulf. We don't deserve the insult of your obfuscation. No law allows you to intervene? Rubbish. Read the full article inside, 508 words.

Humour in the Court of Judge Harold Wright, Contributing Editor


Report on a crippled giant ...

Obama's rudderless foreign policy underscores America's waning power

By Dilip Hiro

27 May 2010 — Irrespective of their politics, flawed leaders share a common trait. They generally remain remarkably oblivious to the harm they do to the nation they lead.

George W. Bush is a salient recent example, as is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. When it comes to foreign policy, we are now witnessing a similar phenomenon at the Obama White House.

Here is the Obama pattern: Choose a foreign leader to pressure. Threaten him with dire consequences if he does not bend to Washington's will. When he refuses to submit and instead responds vigorously, back off quickly and overcompensate for failure by switching into a placatory mode.

In his first year-plus in office, Barack Obama has provided us with enough examples to summarize his leadership style.

The American president fails to objectively evaluate the strength of the cards that a targeted leader holds and his resolve to play them. — Read the full article at TomDispatch.com, 3,400 words.

Third Ways

Working toward woman-friendly streets in Latin America

By Marcela Valente
Inter Press Service

25 May 2010, ROSARIO, Argentina — "Violence against women is not only domestic, it also happens in the streets. Not having the right to feel safe in a city square or at a bus stop without someone bothering us, that's also violence."

This "discovery," as she called it, was described to IPS by Ofelia Retamoso, who lives in the east-central Argentine city of Rosario, 300 km northwest of Buenos Aires.

Rosario is one of the Latin American cities taking part in the regional programme "Cities Without Violence Against Women, Safe Cities For All".

Women like Retamoso consider catcalls and often aggressive come-ons that are typical in public spaces in Argentina — squares, streets, bus stops, buses, schools and even hospitals — to be gender violence. — Read the full article at Inter Press Service, 1,034 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Does DNI Metals' breakthrough technology pioneer mining industry's green revolution?

By Jesse J. Leaf
Troy Media Corporation

25 May 2010, CALGARY, Alberta — It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie: Bacteria exist in an alien environment and multiply by eating rock and living off their own heat and acid waste, leaving only valuable metals in their wake.

Well, it's not science fiction, but science fact that may soon be unfolding in the vast black shale mountains of northern Alberta.

Called bio-heapleaching, this emerging technology is being pioneered in Canada by DNI Metals Inc., a small Toronto company that just might revolutionize the mining industry. — Read the full article at Troy Media Corporation, 1,342 words.

Sovkomflot will ship oil to China via Arctic Ocean

By Anatoly Medetsky
The Moscow Times

27 May 2010, NOVO-OGARYOVO, Moscow Region — Russia's biggest shipping company, state-owned Sovkomflot, has agreed to carry oil to China across the Arctic Ocean, an unusual route for such cargo, a senior government banker said Wednesday.

Vladimir Dmitriyev, chief of the state development bank VEB, made the statement after the lender's board, chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, convened earlier in the day to approve a 240 million euro ($293 million) purchase of two ice-breaking tankers from a St. Petersburg shipyard for subsequent leasing to the shipping company. — Read the full article at The Moscow Times, 502 words.

Cuba small farmers celebrate outstanding
production on 50th anniversary of liberation

By Armando Sáez Chávez

18 May 2010, AGUADA de PASAJEROS, Cienfuegos — With the experiences of the 10th Congress of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) still fresh, the Day of the Cuban Campesino was celebrated here with the movement's ratification that its primary patriotic duty is to produce for the homeland.

At the ANAP Congress, Raúl Castro presented the 50th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution Banner to the Cienfuegos delegation.

At this central May 17 event, ANAP President Orlando Lugo Fonte highlighted the importance of the recently concluded congress and the reflections and proposals of President Raúl Castro. — Read the full article at Granma, 299 words.

Ruling party's candidates announced
as Venezuela prepares for September vote

President Chavez scores a 58% lead in public opinion. His party holds at 36% in what is expected to be an intensely fought election as opposition gears up for a showdown. The opposition boycotted the previous election and found themselves out in the cold.

By Kiraz Janicke

25 May 2010, CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced today the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates to head state-based lists for the upcoming September 26 parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile a new opinion poll indicates that the PSUV is the party with the most popular support.

Venezuela's 165-member national assembly is comprised of 110 deputies (with 110 corresponding alternates) elected via first-past-the-post elections in 87 different electoral circuits, 52 deputies elected via state-based lists, which ensures an element of proportional representation, and three indigenous representatives selected by indigenous peoples themselves.

On May 2 a massive 2.5 million party members participated in PSUV internal elections to select candidates for the 110 deputies and alternates, from 3,500 nominees. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 563 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

BP's six worst responses to the Gulf Oil spill

By Max Fisher

25 May 2010 — The disastrous oil spill still spreading through the Gulf of Mexico and onto U.S. coastal areas has everyone pointing fingers. Everything from the White House to offshore drilling to its GOP proponents have taken a beating. But what about BP, the company responsible for the damaged well now filling the Gulf with several times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez spill? How have they been performing? Not so great. — Read the full article at TheAtlanticWire.com, 772 words.

Venus Williams might be playing the best tennis of her career
so why are photographers paying so much attention to what's under her skirt?

By Greg Couch
Tennis Fanhouse

23 May 2010, PARIS — Well, this was embarrassing. When Venus Williams served Sunday in the first round of the French Open, photographers were down on the ground, getting as low as possible to get pictures up her dress.

What does it say about women's tennis, always dangerously balancing the sale of sex and sport, when photographers are shooting Venus' serve from the bottom up instead of the top down?

"The outfit is about illusion," Williams said. "And that's been a lot of my motif this year."

Frankly, I'm not even wild about an athlete talking about clothes in competition as an "outfit." But that's women's tennis.

Sunday's dress had a see-through front and skin-tone underwear. And the illusion Williams was going for, apparently, was that she had no pants on. — Read the full article at Tennis Fanhouse, 1,656 words.


Hubble space telescope observes star devouring planet

Located some 600 light-years away, the planet WASP-12b is being swallowed up by its sun. Scientists say that the gas giant may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured

By Andrea Thompson

25 May 2010 — The hottest known planet in our galaxy is being stretched into the shape of a football and rapidly consumed by its parent star, new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope show.

The extrasolar planet on the cosmic menu, called WASP-12b, may only have another 10 million years left before it is completely devoured, Hubble scientists announced Thursday.

WASP-12b is so close to its sun-like star that it is superheated to nearly 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and stretched into an elongated shape by enormous tidal forces.

Because of those phenomenal forces, the planet's atmosphere has ballooned to nearly three times Jupiter's radius and is pouring material onto its parent star. WASP-12b is 40 percent more massive than Jupiter. — Read the full article at The Christian Science Monitor, 485 words.

Annals of Education

Toronto's Heydon Park Secondary School is a haven for exceptional girls

Toronto's only public high school for girls offers safety, community and learning

By Laurie Monsebraaten
The Toronto Star

23 May 2010 — "I don't want to go to class today," complains the tall girl in black tights and a smock top upon arriving at Heydon Park Secondary School.

"All right, Jessica — maybe Mr. Thomas needs some help in the kitchen," suggests principal Iwona Kurman.

Her ash-blond hair just so, stylish in a grey sweater set with ruffles and dark slacks, Kurman is greeting students in the foyer. This is something she does each morning as the yellow buses roll in just before 9. She knows every student's name — and story.

"Hello miss, I brought my permission form," one girl chirps as she rushes past. "Good for you — you don't want to miss White Pine Camp," Kurman admonishes, referring to the school's popular three-day trip in June. — Read the full article at The Toronto Star, 2,503 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear arsenal

By Chris McGreal
The Guardian UK

The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P. W. Botha of South Africa. (Photo: Guardian.)
The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P. W. Botha of South Africa. (Photo: The Guardian.)

23 May 2010 — Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.— Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 1,048 words.

A real 'new world order' is needed — and possible

Brazil and Turkey compromises with Iran shows that peace does not have to be a dream

By Mark Weisbrot
Center for Economic and Policy Research

25 May 2010 — The efforts of Brazil and Turkey to find a negotiated solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which generated a negotiated agreement with Iran last week, must be seen in the context of a growing challenge to the international political order.

That political order has been dominated by the United States, with Europe as a subordinate partner, since the end of World War II. The replacement of the G-7 (or G-8) with the G-20 is an important but largely symbolic change. The levers of power — for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, are still controlled much as when they were when created in 1944 — by the U.S. Treasury Department, with some input from European powers. Similarly, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, who hold a veto over the most important UN decisions, are the victorious allies from World War II, plus China. — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 757 words.

Annals from the bizarre world of 'intelligence' agencies

Afghan spy agency accuses Pakistan's spies in suicide bombing

By Rod Nordland and Abdul Waheed Wafa
The New York Times

24 May 2010, KABUL, Afghanistan — A spokesman for Afghanistan's intelligence agency on Monday accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of involvement in the suicide bombing here last week that killed six NATO soldiers, including four colonels.

While Saeed Ansari, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's spy agency, did not mention the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence agency by name, he left no doubt of what he meant.

The remarks came in a news conference announcing the arrest of seven people suspected of organizing the attack last Tuesday, in which a suicide bomber drove a minivan full of explosives into a convoy of armored S.U.V.s. The blast killed 18 people, including a Canadian and an American colonel, 2 American lieutenant colonels and their 2 American drivers, as well as 12 Afghan civilians. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 659 words.

Greater protection for women from sexual harassment

By Jia Xu
China Daily

27 May 2010,BEIJING — Women in Guangzhou are to be given greater protection from sexual harassment at work when a new regulation comes into force on June 1. — Read the full article at China Daily, 160 words.

China urges restraint in warship sinking

China Daily

27 May 2010,BEIJING — China on Thursday again urged all parties to properly handle issues related to the sinking of the Republic of Korean (ROK) warship. — Read the full article at China Daily, 117 words.

Money and Markets

The old enemies return

Corporate America turns on Obama

It's time for President Obama to find his inner F.D.R.
and turn corporate opposition into a badge of honour

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

23 May 2010 — So here's how it is: They're as mad as hell, and they're not going to take this anymore. Am I talking about the Tea Partiers? No, I'm talking about the corporations.

Much reporting on opposition to the Obama administration portrays it as a sort of populist uprising. Yet the antics of the socialism-and-death-panels crowd are only part of the story of anti-Obamaism, and arguably the less important part. If you really want to know what's going on, watch the corporations.

How can you do that? Follow the money — donations by corporate political action committees. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 823 words.

Apple passes Microsoft as number 1 in tech

By Miguel Helft and Ashlee Vance
The New York Times

26 May 2010, SAN FRANCISCO — Wall Street has called the end of an era and the beginning of the next one: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand.

The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world's most valuable technology company.

This changing of the guard caps one of the most stunning turnarounds in business history for Apple, which had been given up for dead only a decade earlier, and its co-founder and visionary chief executive, Steven P. Jobs. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 1,174 words.

Al Jazeera joins True North Perspective in offering readers
world-wide, balanced perspective on what's happening and why

True North Perspective was founded in 2006 in response to the narrow, biased, gullible treatment the mainstream media was presenting with a straight face, especially the undigested lies of George W. Bush and his sycophant Tony Blair.

Our readers have grown from a handful, to tens of thousands in up to 88 countries on all continents of the world. The growing attention to True North Perspective is a clear statement that the public wants to be taken seriously.

While True North Perspective remains an on-line venture, Al Jazeera joins the battle on the television front. It's interesting that its Managing Director is Tony Burman, formerly head of CBC news.

Following is the story of how Al Jazeera entered Canada as told by Steve Anderson and Anita Krajne, in our sister publication out of Vancouver, TheTyee.ca. — Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.

Al Jazeera here on television
and that's good for diversity

'AJE offers high journalistic standards and diverse perspectives. It has a tendency to cover issues like war and peace, the environment, and the economy, from the vantage point of average people and grassroots organizations. AJE also tends to be critical of powerful institutions, government officials, and business leaders'

By Steve Anderson and Anita Krajne

26 May 2010 — A year ago, OpenMedia.ca and Canadians for Al Jazeera, along with several other groups, rallied people from across Canada to contact the CRTC in support of Al Jazeera English's (AJE) application to broadcast in Canada. Of the approximately 2,800 public comments submitted to the CRTC, all were in favour of bringing the broadcaster to Canada, except 40 parties who filed comments in opposition.

Last fall, open media advocates celebrated the approval of the AJE application. The CRTC directly cites the citizen input it received to back up its decision, showing once again that we can push the regulator to do the right thing.

While Canadians looked forward to accessing this new independent public broadcaster, many worried that AJE would be unable to convince cable and satellite companies to carry the station. After a much anticipated wait, AJE officially began broadcasting on Bell TV, Rogers, and Vidéotron, on May 4, 2010. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 877 words.

New York Times failure to report George W. Bush's AWOL
from National Guard listed as journalistic malpractice

'But I'm not overstating things when I say the Times' stubborn failure to cover the controversy really did mark one of the true cases of journalistic malpractice of that crucial campaign season.'

By Eric Boehlert

25 May 2010 — One of the striking talking points that came out of The New York Times in the wake of its controversial article last week about whether Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal had, over the years, exaggerated his military service during the Vietnam War era, was the insistence from the Times that the story was a deeply important one and one that needed to be covered. The Times, faced with stiff criticism for its handling of the Blumenthal story, seemed to suggest it had a moral obligation, not to mention a newsroom duty, to look closely at the military service rhetoric from a New England politician running in a statewide election.

A Times flack even appeared to lecture Blumenthal about how he needed to be straight with Nutmeg State voters.

But I'm having a tough time buying the Times' sudden devotion to the topic, considering that during the 2000 presidential campaign, the same Times staff went out of its way not to report on the web of detailed allegations that Republican George Bush had failed to fulfill his military obligation while defending Texas air space as an Air National Guard pilot and that the presidential candidate had routinely lied about that fact. MediaMatters.org, 1,585 words.


Hit-Girl kicks ass, Chloe sucks it

In this battle between high art and low, the violent and crass Kick-Ass has it all over Atom Egoyan's Chloe

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective

24 May 2010 — As Tom Lehrer so pithily illustrated, smut is in the eye of the beholder; one man's tasteful nude is another's hot naked chick.

A case could be made for describing both movies under consideration here as pornographic, though only one is honest about its intentions.

Kick-Ass is unabashedly devoted to making killing look easy and fun. Really, that's about it. Call it "splatter-porn" and be done with it.

Then there's "art-porn", which is as morally unredeemed and unredeeming as the regular kind, but which, not to put too fine a word on it, is bullshit, in that it uses every trick in the book to convince its viewers they are watching something of Serious Intent and Deep Insight, an heir to Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris, and not to Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction.

Atom Egoyan is no Bernardo Bertolucci and Chloe, with its hackneyed plot, leaden dialog and joyless sex is a tedious 85 minutes of nothing at all, except maybe a director's desire to pull one over on his audience — and to get his favourite actresses to take off their clothes and make out on-camera. But if your taste in smut runs to soft-core lesbian sex, a minute-and-a-half out of those 85 minutes don't add up to value for your entertainment dollar. — Read the full article at Edifice Rex Online, 2,713 words.

Mosfilm enters digital age with web service

By Yuri Pushkin
The Moscow Times

24 May 2010 — Mosfilm, the leading state-owned film studio, has launched an online service that will eventually offer 2,500 old and new movies. Thirty films with English subtitles will go up on the site in the next few weeks as the movie studio hopes to attract an international audience.

"We never sold out film rights to anyone, and now we can offer all our movies in a new media to new generations," said Mosfilm's international affairs and projects coordinator, Sergei Simagin.

"War and Peace," "Walking in the Streets of Moscow," "Incredible Adventures of Italians in Russia" and "Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation" are among the classic films that will go up with English subtitles.

The service is accessible at www.cinema.mosfilm.ru, with the current catalogue featuring 142 movies ready to be viewed and downloaded. Another 150 films will be available by July with the rest to follow. — Read the full article at The Moscow Times, 839 words.

After keeping us waiting for a century
Mark Twain will finally tell all

The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death

By Guy Adams
The Independent

23 May 2010, LOS ANGELES — Exactly a century after rumours of his death turned out to be entirely accurate, one of Mark Twain's dying wishes is at last coming true: an extensive, outspoken and revelatory autobiography which he devoted the last decade of his life to writing is finally going to be published.

The creator of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and some of the most frequently misquoted catchphrases in the English language left behind 5,000 unedited pages of memoirs when he died in 1910, together with handwritten notes saying that he did not want them to hit bookshops for at least a century.

That milestone has now been reached, and in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist. — Read the full article at The Independent, 920 words.

Elton John wows fans at 'memorable' Morocco concert

The Associated Press

26 May 2010, RABAT, Morocco — A concert by Elton John has tested the limits of Morocco's drive for modernity, probing this Muslim nation's complex and ambiguous attitudes toward homosexuality like rarely before.

Islamists in the North African kingdom were outraged by the gay pop star's visit, while the royal palace, government and his many fans backed his appearance Wednesday night.

No riots or violence was reported, said Rabat's governor, Hassan Amrani. Authorities had beefed up security with thousands of police and plainclothes officers.

In a sign of John's popularity, several thousand of his fans appeared to know his lyrics by heart even though most people in this French and Arabic speaking country know little or no English. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 987 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 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 HallĀ  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

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