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Friday, October 9, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 46 — 197
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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Congratulations for the Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama —
Now Please Earn it!

An open letter to the President of the United States

By Michael Moore

Dear President Obama,

How outstanding that you've been recognized today as a man of peace. Your swift, early pronouncements — you will close Guantanamo, you will bring the troops home from Iraq, you want a nuclear weapon-free world, you admitted to the Iranians that we overthrew their democratically-elected president in 1953, you made that great speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, you've eliminated that useless term "The War on Terror," you've put an end to torture — these have all made us and the rest of the world feel a bit more safe considering the disaster of the past eight years. In eight months you have done an about face and taken this country in a much more sane direction. But... — 531 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:

Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

Editor's Notes

Friday, October 9, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 46 (197)

Former military man Venezuela President Hugo Chavez
marches to the beat of his Bolivarian drum

Hugo Chavez is entirely out of character for a South and Central American military man. During the 19th and 20th centuries those who stepped out of the ranks and into politics practiced savage regimes drenched in blood and misery. Unfortunately for its good name the United States funded and otherwise supported the pillaging and plundering. — 289 words.

Voice from the South

Straight talk from Venezuela president Hugo Chavez
on the present and future of South America

'But I wanted to go to Brasilia. There, Lula told us that we needed a project that covered all of South America. He knew that this challenge needed to go beyond Lula, beyond Chávez, and beyond Evo. When each of us are gone, the people are left standing, and South America is South America, with its own voice.'

By Greg Grandin
The Nation

Three years ago, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez caused a stir when, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he called then-US President George W. Bush a "devil." "I can still smell the sulfur," he said, standing at the same podium where, a day earlier, Bush had given his own address. Last week, Chávez once again followed a US president in the UN podium, but this time he caught a whiff of something different — "the smell of hope." In the following interview — conducted at Venezuela's mission to the United Nations in New York — Hugo Chávez talks about his relationship with Barack Obama and what his election could mean for the United States, as well as about the Honduran crisis, plans to extend the Pentagon's presence in Colombia, domestic successes and challenges, and the legacy of Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. — 3,384 words.

Convergence fever buried CanWest

"Anyone who buys anything from Conrad Black will be sucking gas." — merchant prince Galen Weston, at a 1980s food industry seminar, on his decision to go ahead anyway and buy a bakery from Black's dismantled Dominion Stores Ltd.

By David Olive
The Toronto Star

Time ran out yesterday on Winnipeg's Asper family and its quest to relocate decision-making over English-language media from Toronto to the West. That had been the lifelong ambition of the late Izzy Asper, former leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party. His legacy outlived him by just six years. — 770 words.

Muslim group calls for ban on burkas, niqabs

By Staff Writers
CBC News

A Canadian Muslim group wants the federal government to ban two kinds of garments, the burka and the niqab, worn by some women. The Muslim Canadian Congress said the garments, which cover the face, have no basis in Islam. The group's spokesperson, Farzana Hassan, said the practice of wearing the burka and niqab is more rooted in Middle Eastern culture than in religious teachings. She added that there is nothing in the Qur'an that stipulates women must cover their faces. — 445 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Building green has health benefits

'People heal faster in green hospitals, they are more productive in green offices, they have fewer accidents in green factories and learn better in green schools'

By Korky Koroluk
Daily Commercial News and Construction Record

With all the worries about energy efficiency, environmental degradation and climate change, most of us overlook the everyday health benefits that go with working in a green building. — 629 words.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor

Experts agree: Stop studying and implement existing solutions to street level ills

By Robert Roach
Director — West in Canada Project
Canada West Foundation

It’s at the tail end of a recession that its human impact is felt most acutely — jobs are scarce, emergency savings and credit dry up, charities are stretched to the limit and hardship grips many Canadians. This reminds us that recessions are not just about GDP and stock prices — they are about human beings, many of whom are in dire straits. — 767 words.

'Smart Systems for Health':
Chronology of a worthy initiative gone awry

By Staff Writers
The Toronto Star

The idea of creating a nation-wide electronic database for medical records was a key recommendation of Roy Romanow's 2002 royal commission report on the Canadian health-care system. — 472 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.

Health Watch

Chronic fatigue syndrome linked to 'cancer virus'

By Ewen Callaway

Chronic fatigue syndrome, the debilitating condition once dismissed as "yuppie flu", has been linked to a virus that is also common in people with a certain type of prostate cancer. It's still not clear if the virus, called XMRV, causes chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or is just more common in people with the disorder. But the discovery is sure to reignite the debate over whether CFS is fundamentally a psychological condition or a physiological one. — 707 words.

Three sewing needles removed from heart

By Staff Writers

Doctors in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, successfully removed three sewing needles stuck in a woman's heart for 23 years.

Jiang, 44, an avid knitter, said she was unaware the needles had been sticking out of her heart for so many years.

Doctors spotted the needles, each 4-cm-long, in Jiang's heart during a random health checkup last month.

Behind every long-living man is a smart woman

By Anne Harding

NEW YORK — Men wanting to enjoy a long life should marry a well educated woman, according to a Swedish study. Researchers from the Swedish Institute for Social Research in Stockholm found that a woman's education was a stronger factor in her husband's risk of dying over the next decade or so than the man's own level of education. — 494 words.

Give until just before it hurts

I'm delighted to report that readers are responding to our plea for financial support. So far it's a trickle, but trickles are known to grow and, eventually, to become nourishing rivers. Give us the flow and we'll take the current as it serves to provide you with the True North Perspective you deserve. Don't be shy. Shake your purse or your wallet or last winter's coat for a stray dollar you may have forgotten. If you find one send it to us. You won't miss it. We need it. We ask our readers to voluntarily donate $80 a year. But we'll be happy to receive whatever you can spare. So please give until just before it hurts. No subscription will be cancelled because of non-payment. For those who can't afford anything, we simply ask you to introduce True North Perspective to others. Please take time to send whatever you can afford to:

Carl Dow, True North Perspective, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

Venezuela moves up four positions in
United Nations Human Development Ranking

By James Suggett

MERIDA — Venezuela improved it's ranking from 62nd to 58th in one year, according to the United Nations Human Development Report 2009, which measured life expectancy, access to education, and income in 182 nations worldwide in the year 2007. — 369 words.

Venezuela opens investigation of assassination plot following key testimonies

By James Suggett

MERIDA — The Venezuelan Attorney General's Office formally opened an investigation into an alleged assassination plot against President Hugo Chavez, following recently publicized declarations by a former paramilitary hitman and a former Colombian intelligence official. — 668 words.

Afghan Taliban say they pose no threat to the West

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL — The Afghan Taliban pose no threat to the West but will continue their fight against occupying foreign forces, they said on Wednesday, the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that removed them from power. U.S.-led forces with the help of Afghan groups overthrew the Taliban government during a five week battle which started on October 7, 2001, after the militants refused to hand over al Qaeda leaders wanted by Washington for the September 11 attacks on America. — 615 words.

Searching for roots of U.S. violence in teen's murder

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO — Much soul-searching and speechmaking has followed the videotaped beating death two weeks ago of a Chicago honor student that has been viewed around the world on the Internet. The sight of Derrion Albert, 16, getting whacked in the head with a wooden board and set upon by other black teenagers triggered heated discussions about the root causes of youth violence in America and whether it is getting worse. — 893 words.

Avast! That be a battleship, not a cruise-ship!

Why are Somali pirates mistaking warships for cargo vessels?

By Brian Palmer

Somali pirates attacked a French naval vessel on Wednesday, mistaking it for a commercial cargo ship. (Five pirates were captured.) A similarly ill-advised assault was launched on a different French naval ship several months ago, and back in September, pirates inadvertently went after a U.S. naval vessel. Is it really that hard to distinguish a military ship from a commercial freighter? — 572 words.

Kalashnikov maker faces bankruptcy

By Staff Writers

MOSCOW — The Russian company that makes the famous Kalashnikov rifles is facing bankruptcy. Izhmash Arms, founded in 1807 by Russia's royals, has come into financial trouble because pirated versions of its AK-47 Kalashnikov rifles are produced all over the world, Russian media report. — 351 words.

Diplomats urge return of ousted Zelaya

By Staff Writers

Tensions rose before Wednesday's meeting began as riot police fired tear gas to disperse about 200 Zelaya supporters protesting near the US and Brazilian embassies. Delegates from the United States, Canada and eight Latin American countries were mediating negotiations between representatives of Zelaya, who was ousted by the military three months ago, and interim President Roberto Micheletti, who has the support of Honduras' Congress and Supreme Court but has faced intense international pressure to allow his predecessor's return. — 420 words.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Electric concept car throws commuting a curve

Nissan Land Glider serves and swivels around corners

By Yuri Kageyama
The Associated Press

ATSUGI, Japan — Nissan's Land Glider electric vehicle tilts from side to side, sashaying into curves by up to a 17-degree angle, as though showing off in a fashion statement that it's zero-emissions. — 341 words.

What is an orgasm, anyway?

So you think you know what an orgasm is (and isn't)? Think again

By Staff Writers
SexIs Magazine

The female orgasm: whether you have them, you want to have them, you want to give them, or all of the above – it tends to engender a great deal of application from a great many people. From screaming O-faced portraits and ads to poets waxing eloquent on the exact moment of ethereal delight, it's official: the female orgasm is a very good thing indeed. — 1,611 words.


Earth-sized planets are just right for life

By David Shiga

The discovery of extrasolar super-Earths — rocky planets about five to ten times the mass of Earth — has raised hopes that some may harbour life. Perhaps it's a vain hope though, since it now seems that Earth is just the right size to sustain life. — 455 words.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wants China
to speed up process of relaxing restrictions on the yuan
But China remains firm on renminbi policy

By Staff Writers

ISTANBUL — China will stick to its current exchange rate policy and aim to maintain market stability, Yi Gang, a central bank official, said on Saturday. "Our exchange rate policy is very clear," the deputy central bank governor said on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Turkey. — 723 words.

Money and Markets

Three Government reports point to fiscal doomsday

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

JUPITER, Florida — When our leaders have no awareness of the disastrous consequences of their actions, they can claim ignorance and take no action. Or when our leaders have no hard evidence as to what might happen in the future, they can at least claim uncertainty. — 1,595 words.

Time to count your blessings ...

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

'Tis the season ... Not Christmas or Halloween! It's Thanksgiving! Time to sit back, relax, count your blessings and give thanks ... As I take time to reminisce, I am proud to say I have come a long way and as all travelers will tell you, it's the people you meet that make the voyage worthwhile. Thinking back to my paternal grandfather who lived with us till he died in his early sixties, I still feel his love — 672 words.

Spirit Quest

Rife with blessings, there is a spirit in the land

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

It is the Thanksgiving weekend. If you haven't already drained the pipes, secured the dock and have done all the many chores that await a cottage owner, this is probably your last chance. — 1,049 words.

Abide with music

By Rosaleen Leslie Dickson
Contributing Editor
(also published in the CAMMAC Newsletter)

Last year, after my first adventure at the CAMMAC Music Camp, I wrote: "Music will save the world," and it will, eventually. In the meantime, with faith and energy, we can help to make it happen. My second summer holiday with CAMMAC supports this belief. — 395 words.

The Movies

Cinememe — 15 memorable movies in 15 minutes (sort of), Part II

True North Perspective's Managing Editor takes a strictly personal trip down a cinematic memory lane

By Geoffrey Dow

The following is adapted from a post originally published at

Fifteen films in fifteen minutes!
(May not actually be do-able in 15 minutes!)

Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that still keep a powerful hold on your mind. The first fifteen you can recall within no more than 15 minutes.649 words.

Eric Braeden talks about controversial exit as Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless

By Lynette Rice

In yet another blow to the already ailing soap opera world, Eric Braeden, the venerable star of CBS' The Young and the Restless, has exited the top-rated daytime drama after a nasty negotiation with Sony. The production company wanted the popular actor to take a pay cut for playing mega mogul Victor Newman, but Braeden—who's been on the soap since 1980—opted to leave instead. Barring any last-minute change, Braeden's final episode will air on Nov. 2. — 658 words.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at:

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25% of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

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

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, send an email to Carl Hall , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Manager, Business and 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