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Friday 12 August 2011
We can't do this without you
Please see Editor's Notes below
The National devoted its entire first section to coverage of Will and Kate smiling and shaking hands at the Calgary Stampede. (This followed endless, excruciating weeks of fawning over two pretty celebrities who had never actually done anything of note except get married and come visit us on their honeymoon. Adding to this fiasco, was The National’s hugely expensive weeklong pilgrimage to London to broadcast that wedding live.)
So the thirteenth day of the Will and Kate tour was lead story on The National. Then, after a commercial, a murder trial in Florida, floods in China, a stadium collapse somewhere and a dust storm in Arizona.
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Effective tomorrow, Saturday 13 August, due to financial constraints, True North Perspective is taking an enforced summer holiday during which we'll do our best to inspire readers to send pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and mucho-mucho loonies.
We operate at a severe financial deficit and have, from time to time, seriously considered abandoning our determination to bring you honest news and honest analysis of what's behind the news. However, we'll take a deep breath during the next three weeks and take one more proverbial kick at the can by resuming publication Friday 9 September.
We are dedicated to the success of True North Perspective because we believe that an accurately informed people are a free people. All of us at True North Perspective have ambitions aside from this project and would be immediately and happily otherwise occupied should we have to, albeit most reluctantly, bury True North Perspective.
We know we can't succeed in publishing True North Perspective without you. We desperately need your financial support to "Keep Carry On" as a great man once said. — 630 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.
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“The only organized or collective physical aggression at that location that evening was perpetrated by police each time they advanced on demonstrators,” Justice Melvyn Green ruled on Thursday. He was referring to a demonstration at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. on Saturday, June 26, 2010.
Green stated police criminalized political demonstration, which is “vital” to maintain a “viable democracy.” — 760 words.
'The Senate should be seen as a permanent Canadian think tank'
12 August 2011 — In a few short weeks, Parliament will be back in session and Prime Minister Harper will be pushing his agenda forward. While there will be lots of chatter about balancing the budget and the state of the international economy, we’ll also be hearing about his pet projects.
Just before Parliament broke for the summer in late June, Harper introduced his Senate Reform Act. It doesn’t reform the Senate. It tinkers with the upper chamber by proposing to elect Senators and restrict them to nine year terms. It doesn’t offer any ideas why an elected Senate would be better than the current appointed one.
As new rules send more people to prison for longer periods of time, correctional investigator Howard Sapers argues, it’s putting a greater strain not only on Canada’s aging prison infrastructure but also on its inmates.
“The indicators that we look at in terms of getting a measure of institutional violence are all going in the same direction,” Mr. Sapers said. “And they’re all going up.” — 714 words.
They've only done it in three patients so far, but the results were striking: Two appear cancer-free up to a year after treatment, and the third had a partial response. Scientists are already preparing to try the approach for other kinds of cancer. — 766 words.
12 August 2011 — I noticed him at the bus stop. It was winter and he was.wearing an old parka but around his middle he wore a brightly coloured sash. It was this colourful cummerbund that drew my attention.
Report from Obama's America (Reality Check)
The BIJ reporting begins to fill in the actual numbers. It's a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought, including an estimated 160 children overall. — 751 words.
Scientist jailed after enforcing 'coerced servitude'
The Daily Mail
11 August 2011 LONDON — A scientist dubbed an 'African Cruella De Vil' who forced a young woman to work as her house slave has been jailed for six months in a landmark case.
Rebecca Balira, 47, brought 21-year-old Methodia Mathias to the UK from Tanzania and made her work as a servant from dawn until midnight seven days a week.
The 21-year-old woman cooked, cleaned and washed for the HIV expert while acting a nanny to her three children for six months without pay.
She was made to share a bed with Balira's 12-year-old son, stripped of her passport and banned from contacting her family or friends.
— Winston Churchill
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.
Slums in 'small and cozy' $6.46 million London starter home
12 August 2011 — This week, Roman Abramovich’s teenage daughter reportedly moved into a starter home in London worth £4 million ($6.46 million), soon after calling off an engagement that had raised eyebrows in the British press.
Anna Abramovich’s new place in Belgravia is a mews cottage with three bedrooms, which is all you get for a few million pounds in such a chi-chi area. The house belongs jointly to Roman Abramovich and his ex-wife Irina, the London Evening Standard reported, with Anna describing it as “small and cozy.”
The same could not be said of Roman Abramovich’s own house. He must find football pitches too poky and claustrophobic because he is extending his mansion to 30,000 square meters, the newspaper reported.
A cool story to take our minds off the sweltering heat
Hazel (Gulka) Johnson is the author of RV-ING and Other Adventures North of 60. She lives in Ottawa and has published travel articles in the local media, as well as in several anthologies. She blogs at www.travelnorthwithme.blogspot.com.
12 August 2011 — It's been a long, hot, dry summer, and I am reminiscing about some of my trips North – wish I were up there now. I realize that one of our reasons for often heading north in the summer was to avoid the 30 plus temperatures of Ottawa at this time of the year. Five of our nine trips North have been in the last six years – no wonder I'm feeling the heat this summer.
America is in trouble, but in Europe the markets see disaster on the periphery and Japanification at the core. For once, Paul Krugman agrees with the markets
The Book Shelf
Reviewing Crysis: Legion, by Peter Watts
First-person shooter meets hard science fiction
10 August 2011, OTTAWA — As you might know, I've been serially reviewing the latest Torchwood series, a work that (I presume) is as much the product of Russell T Davies' personal vision as is possible with an inherently collaborative medium.
So it is rather difficult to ignore the irony, that there is more credible social commentary, more humour and more excitement in Peter Watts' 300 page adaptation of a first-person-shooter video game, which (again, I presume) was written strictly for the money, than there has been in the first five hours of Davies' brain-child.
Watts' story, about a an accidental cybernetic soldier's brief campaign on a ruined island of Manhattan a scant 12 years in our future is also fairly rigorous science fiction, as one might expect from the "reformed marine biologist", but probably not from a novel about a super-soldier and his mysterious battle-armour.
The Glass Teat — Serial-reviewing Torchwood: Miracle Day
An unabashed (if often critical) fan of all things Doctor Who, Geoffrey Dow is writing about Torchwood: Miracle Day each week. Click here to for an overview and links to all the postings.
7 August 2011, OTTAWA — Why am I writing this? Why am I even still watching?
At the half-way mark of Torchwood's miraculously boring 2011 series, there are two answers to both questions.
The first is that I said I would and that I am trying to develop a reputation for reliability. The second is that there is some morbid fascination in watching to see just how bad this thing can get.
Contrary to a prediction made in an early draft of my my review of last week's Escape to L.A., the return of Jane Espenson, whose keyboard was behind the best episode in the series so far, didn't make for any improvement after all.
The Categories of Life is so slow moving and so driven by idiot plot devices that it's tempting to imagine Russell T Davies is playing some sort of Zen game of Patience with his audience, but on reflection, the evidence doesn't support that hypothesis.
A far more plausible explanation for the ineptness on display is that Davies was so excited about the huge sums of American money at his disposal, that he was so distracted by fantasies of crane shots and exploding helicopters, that he forgot to write a story in which to blow his toys up until mere days before shooting was scheduled to start.
The Book End
Ottawa artist announces completion of all-ages graphic novel
True North Perspective will feature a book by a Canadian writer each Friday or, as often as we can. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author and information about the product of the author's literary labours. Today we present Stargazer, Volume Two, by Von Allan, the first volume of which we reviewed in last year's November 19 edition of True North Perspective. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.
By Von Allan
“In Volume 2, I really wanted to play with people's expectations of an all-ages comic, especially one with younger girls as the protagonists,” said Allan. “I think a lot of people take all-ages to mean safe or gentle. But graphic novels and comics are flexible and I don't think a children's comic has to be completely tame for it to qualify as 'kid-friendly.' — 667 words.
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 County 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.