Friday 1 March 2013

Click here for True North Perspective's International Women's Day Special Section

By Felix Imonti

February 28, 2013 — Russia is back. President Vladimir Putin wants the world to acknowledge that Russia remains a global power. He is making his stand in Syria.

The Soviet Union acquired the Tardus Naval Port in Syria in 1971 without any real purpose for it. With their ships welcomed in Algeria, Cuba or Vietnam, Tardus was too insignificant to be developed. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lacked the funds to spend on the base and no reason to invest in it.

The Russian return to the Middle East brought them first to where the Soviet Union had its closest ties. Libya had been a major buyer of arms and many of the military officers had studied in the Soviet Union. Russia was no longer a global power, but it could be used by the Libyans as a counter force to block domination by the United States and Europeans.

When Gaddafi fell, Tardus became Russia’s only presence in the region. That and the discovery of vast gas deposits just offshore have transformed the once insignificant port into a strategic necessity.

Earlier at the United Nations, Russia had failed to realize that Security Council Resolution 1973 that was to implement a new policy of “responsibility to protect” cloaked a hidden agenda. It was to be turned from a no-fly zone into a free-fire zone for NATO. That strategic blunder of not vetoing the resolution led to the destruction of Gaddafi’s regime and cost Russia construction contracts and its investments in Libyan gas and oil to the tune of 10 billion dollars. (More)


In the spirit of balanced reporting we offer this Video

'Assad pulls ahead in Syrian war'


Falling into a Burning Ring of Fire

Will wisdom or plunder prevail in mineral-rich Ontario north?

By David McLaren
Special to True North Perspective
David McLaren is an award-winning writer living at Neyaashiinigamiing on Georgian Bay. He has worked in government, in the private sector, with ENGOs (Environmental Non-Government Organizations). He has worked with First Nations in Ontario for the past 22 years. He is author of two reports for the Ipperwash Inquiry or the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Some of his writings are collected at
01 March 2013 — The Ring of Fire. It sounds like something out of a Tolkien novel. Welcome to Mordor Ontario, an area of 5,120 square kilometres in the James Bay watershed chock full of nickel, copper, zinc, gold, palladium and chromium — especially chromium (the element at the centre of Erin Brockovich’s crusade).*
The Lords of the Ring are some 30 exploration companies, such as KWG and Noront, who have staked more than 31,000 claims. Cliffs Natural Resources from Ohio is the principle mining company. They’re after chromium, a vital ingredient in stainless steel. But others are coming in, including the Chinese state-owned Sinocan Resources Corp.
The Crown, in this realm, has two heads — Stephen Harper and Kathleen Wynne. Ottawa has responsibility for some environmental oversight through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and Ontario collects royalties, or will, after the 10-year tax holiday it gives remote mines. (More)
True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 8, No. 4 (332)
Friday 1 March 2013
Editor's Notes

No. True North Perspective has not changed its name. True North Perspective is simply better than ever. We publish together with our new hard-hitting companion True North Humanist Perspective, a news magazine that may appeal to those who prefer a greater focus on analysis. So please be sure to click on the announcement to gain the cover of True North Humanist Perspective.

As you may have already noticed we have published an additional section in celebration of International Woman's Day, 08 March 2003.

Some say we don't need a special day for women. And they're right. Women are our mothers, our sisters, our lovers, our spouses, and our best friends, so every day is women's day. TNP has an excellent record of advancing the cause of women with stories of their struggles and victories throughout the world.

But it doesn't hurt, at least once a year, to pay special tribute to women.

Four of our regular columnists are women. We don't say all this in a patronizing way. It's just that we recognize ability regardless of gender. Currently, I'm in negotiations with a woman to become our volunteer National Editor. I'll keep you informed.

The only thing that that brings tears to my eyes is when I'm made aware of intense struggle against seemingly impossible odds, with the participants of whatever gender refusing to quit, then winning despite all.

Tears of joy. (More)

"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.
Or use our new Paypal system! Just click the secure link below —
and if you're paying by credit card, you don't need a PayPal account to make a donation!


Click here for True North Humanist Perspective

Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is Readers will be aware that his columns in True North Perspective have foreseen political and economic developments in Canada. This week in ...

The Binkley Report

Melancholy moments

In fond memories of Eugene Whelan and John Wise

'When Parliament was a much better place than it is now'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

01 March 2013 — Among the first MPs I got to cover when I came to the Parliamentary Press Gallery in 1975 were John Wise and Eugene Whelan. Their recent deaths have me thinking back to the 1970s and 80s when Parliament was a much better place than it is now.

Political differences were accepted then, if not always appreciated, and the strident nastiness of the current Commons was unheard of.
Wise was always a true gentleman in the Commons. Whelan of the green Stetson and inability to speak either of Canada’s official languages may have been one of the last true characters in politics.
Whelan was appointed agriculture minister in 1972 and except for Wise’s nine months on the job in 1979-80, held the post to 1984 when John Turner became Liberal leader and appointed a new minister.
Wise was also agriculture minister for the first four years of the Mulroney government. In government, as in opposition, he was open and friendly and treated MPs with the respect they deserved.
For all his wise cracking, Whelan did as well. (More)
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Billionaires secretly funded vast climate-denial network

By Suzanne Goldenberg
Mother Jones
This story first appeared on the Guardian website as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
15 February 2013 — Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120 million to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.

The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarizing "wedge issue" for hardcore conservatives.

The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1 million or more. (More)

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Family Day

'Creating a holiday requires months of hard labor!'

By Geneviève Hone
True North Perspective

Geneviève Hone is a grandmother, family therapist and social worker. With her husband, Julien Mercure (also a family therapist), she has co-authored three books on couples and family life. Her home on the web is

01 March 2013 — I sit at the dining room table, flipping through a couple of books, hoping to stumble on a perfect definition of the word “family” for this article on Family Day, a statutory holiday in Ontario, this year on Monday 10 February.

The introduction of this holiday in 2008 provoked all kinds of reactions, ranging of course from negative: And is it the Government that will mind my kids while I’m at work? to positive: Great, we’ll do a special project together.

But now most people seem to have adjusted to this holiday accorded to them right in the middle of February. They may have had to rework their schedules, but I suspect that many are actually managing to enjoy the day with their family.

Family Day Holiday reminds me of a scene in The Bells of St-Mary’s, the first film I ever saw in my life, when I was seven. Father O’Malley, divinely played by Bing Crosby, is asked by Sister Benedict, no less divinely played by Ingrid Bergman, to address the children assembled in the school yard on his first day in the parochial school. (More)

Spirit Quest

God Save The Church

The Pope's resignation was no ecclesiastic April Fools joke

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

1 March 2013 As I awoke, well partially, early Monday morning, I heard the news on our bedside radio that Pope Benedict XVI had resigned. I was surprised, even shocked, as were many others even among his Curia. But then I realized that it was in fact Rosa Montag, as Mardi Gras is known in Germany, particularly in Catholic regions of the republic such as Bavaria which is the home of Pope Benedict.

Rosa Montag comes at the end of Fasching or the carnival season and terminates in a wild outburst of frivolity, ribald celebrations and of course fuelled by beer. The following day is Shrove Tuesday, a day of headaches, fatigue, repentance and eating pancakes. It is followed by Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of spiritual reflection and prayer which ends forty days later with the joyous celebration of Easter. (More)

Alarm sounds on homeless deaths

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

01 March 2013 — This issue I would like to focus on the homeless and the critical situation that exists not only in Toronto but across the country.

In Toronto, Councillor Adam Vaughan put a motion before Toronto City Council on February 20 calling for more shelter beds for the homeless at a time of extreme weather warnings.

A friend of mine, Catherine Holliday, sent a letter to our Parkdale Councillor, Gordon Perks, asking him to support the motion. Which he did. Cathy's letter is so revealing of the terrible conditions that exist in Toronto that I would like you to read it. (More.)


700 names new total at the Toronto Homeless Memorial

Toronto sees 8 homeless die since New Year

32 were found dead on city streets in 2012

Thursday 7 March OCAP will occupy Metro Hall as emergency shelter

01 March 2013 TORONTO The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) plans to occupy Metro Hall as an emergency centre to releive overcrowded homeless centres in Toronto.

A representative of OCAP said that "The City of Toronto refuses to admit that the homeless shelter system is in a lethal crisis of overcrowding.

"By the City's own admission, homeless shelters are operating at 96% capacity. This represents conditions of such overcrowding and tension that people are being forced onto the streets and lives are being lost. Every effort has been made to convince both the administration and politicians to act and open an emergency facility but we have been met with steadfast refusal. City Council refused even to debate the issue when this was proposed by Councillor Adam Vaughan."

In 1999, the Council of the day voted to give Hostel Services the right to open more space whenever the capacity in the shelters exceeded 90%. Indeed, during that year, Metro Hall was opened for three weeks as a shelter so that the pressure on the rest of the system could be eased.

"Yet, today, under the Rob Ford administration, fully committed to an agenda of austerity, an even worse situation is being dismissed and the line coming from the City is to deny the crisis." (More)

Beating the Drum

Beverly Blanchard is an Ojibway First Nation from Northern Ontario.  She holds a degree in Economics. During the last twenty-two years, she has worked as a consultant to First Nation and Inuit organizations in a variety of disciplines including: homelessness, suicide prevention, violence prevention, childcare, HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, business planning, and economic development. She has also designed and delivered Aboriginal awareness and stress management workshops to Federal government employees. Currently, Ms Blanchard is a life strategy coach, author and energy healer in Ottawa.

The Indian Act

Clarification on the scope of Bill C-45 and land ownership

By Beverly D. Blanchard
True North Perspective

01 March 2013 — When Idle-No-More gained prominence in the media in the later part of 2012, there was much discussion about the Indian Act. Many cited that the legislation was at the root of many of the problems in today’s First Nation communities.

Some called for it to be abolished. Others wanted the status quo. Still there were others who were looking for broad sweeping changes and an overhaul. But what exactly is the Indian Act? And how does it impede economic growth? (More)

Cross Town with Carl Dow

Women on the Street

01 March 2013 — There's Bank Street in Ottawa's Glebe and there's Elgin Street up north under the Queensway and more or less three long block east.

I like giving gifts as I walk along. Gifts of good will, that is.

In the Glebe, I'll say to a woman walking toward me in the opposite direction, Looking good.

Invariably she'll respond with a surprised smile and say, Thank you!

When they're pushing babies or walking toddlers, I'll say, Beautiful. Nice work.

Invariably, a big smile of appreciation and a thank you.

Over on Elgin Street, a location of a lot of pubs and mostly expensive restaurants, catering to government bureaucrats, the atmosphere is more closed and less friendly. (More)


From the Desk of Darren Jerome

A continuing update on the war against WikiLeaks transparency

Please be advised that the below is not just the same old thing. By clicking on it you'll find the petition in support of Julian Assange and discover fascinating on-going reports and videos related to one of the most important events in modern history, and the desperate attempts to put a lid on information that everyone should know. Don't miss this special opportunity to stay informed.

There can be no life without laughter

An old Jewish Joke:

Louie:  Moshe, is that you?  You’ve changed so much! You used to be so tall and now you’re short. You used to be so fit and now you’re fat. You used to have a full head of hair and now you’re bald.  What happened?

Murry:  I’m not Moshe, I’m Murry.

Louie:  You changed your name too??!


Does this man qualify as the proverbial Mad Russian?

Tough laws that crack down on smoking should be extended to cover “excessive” sex and eating, declared a Russian political leader on Monday 18 February.

Far-right nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky said: “We need eating restrictions. Our people are overfed and too fat. Sex should be restricted to one time per quarter through issuing licences, quotas or coupons.”

He spoke out as the Duma, or parliament, was due to pass laws today banning smoking in public places.

Mr Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Duma’s deputy speaker, said: “People have too much sex, they eat, smoke and drink too much and die 20 years earlier.

“Everywhere else - in Europe, America or Japan - they live longer. Why should we perish?” - Daily Mail

(The non-smoking in public places law was passed by Moscow Monday 25 February 2013. There was no mention of restrictions on sex or food. — Editor)

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Your Home

By Randy Ray and Mark Kearney

Randy Ray of Ottawa and Mark Kearney of London, Ont. are the authors of eight fascinating books about Canada. For more high quality trivia, visit their Web site at:
Canadians spend long hours at home but most take for granted many of the housing essentials that keep them comfortable and happy, including the roofing that keeps out the rain, the bulbs that light their rooms and the birds that make their gardens a haven to appreciate.

But like dust bunnies found under a bed or a set of "lost’’ photographs discovered in the attic, there are plenty of surprises between the rafters and foundation that most homeowners aren’t familiar with.

Here are 10 things you may not know that just might make you appreciate your home even more.

.1. Up on the roof: The asphalt shingles on an average size home with 2,000 square feet of roof area weigh 2,106 kilograms, or about the same as two Honda Civic sedans. The tiny granules that coat the shingles weigh about 792 kg. and the asphalt base contributes the remaining 1,314 kg. The granules, which number up to 1.3 billion on the average roof, are made from gravel that is ground into tiny pieces, then pigmented into hundreds of colors and cooked to achieve a ceramic finish.  The granules protect asphalt shingles from ultra-violet rays, says shingle manufacturer Emco Building Products.

.2. You know the drill.  Ever wondered how the Black & Decker name found its way onto the power tools in your home workshop?  The company began in the U.S. in 1910 when S. Duncan Black and his friend Alonzo Decker powered up a business that produced industrial machines and tools.  They diversified the company toolbox with power drills, sanders and saws after learning during World War II that a significant number of workers were stealing power tools from U.S. defence plants.  Seeing a market ripe for the picking, they launched their own line of household power tools in 1946.  The rest is home do-it-your-selfers history. (More)

France charges 'French-bashing' when

U.S. executive alleges ‘3-hour workday’ 

French Productive Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg accuses U.S. tire maker Titan chairman Maurice Taylor of “French-bashing.”

By Clare Byrne
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

21 February 2013 PARIS — The French government hit back Thursday at the boss of U.S. tire maker Titan over his charge that French tire workers work just three hours a day and that investing in the country would be a “stupid” move.

Titan chairman Maurice Taylor made the remarks in a letter to French Productive Recovery Minister Arnaud Montebourg, in which he dismissed out of hand France’s proposal to invest in a troubled tire factory in the west of the country.
Titan would not be so “stupid” as to take over the Amiens plant of U.S. rival Goodyear, where workers “get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three,” Taylor wrote.
“Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one euro per hour wages and ship all the tires France needs,” Taylor added, telling Montebourg he could “keep” his “so-called workers.”
The letter, published in Les Echos daily, caused shock in France. (More)
By Evert Hoogers, Donald Swartz, and Rosemary Warskett
Evert Hoogers is a former Canadian Union of Postal Workers National Union Representative. Donald Swartz taught in the School of Public Policy, and Rosemary Warskett taught in the Law Department, at Carleton University.
It has been widely reported that Pierre Poilievre, the Federal Conservative MP for Nepean-Carleton, has launched a campaign to change the rules regarding the payment of union dues [See his November 2012 letter to his constituents]. The object of Mr. Poilievre's ire is the “Rand Formula” — the union security clause found in most collective agreements and labour relations legislation in Canada. Under this formula, no employee in a unionized workplace is required to be a union member, but all have to pay union dues, with the employer deducting the money from the pay checks of all employees and transferring it to the union.
Mr. Poilievre's concern to challenge the Rand Formula stemmed from his unhappiness with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the largest union in the Federal Public Sector, for engaging in political action. For a number of years at its triennial convention the PSAC has voted to earmark money for political action campaigns as well as social justice activities, and at each Federal, Provincial and Territorial election the PSAC uses some of these funds to issue report cards on political parties identifying which party policies best fit its members’ interests. (More)

Will the 'Man of hope' act true to form

and yield again to his corporate masters?

By Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
22 February 13 — Bill McKibben, a prolific writer and organizer on global warming and climate change, has had a busy year teaching environmentalists not to despair and will soon be learning some lessons himself.

In August 2011, he organized an unprecedented demonstration in front of the White House urging President Obama to deny a permit for the giant Keystone XL pipeline that would haul very dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to Texas refineries, largely to be exported. More than 1200 people were arrested over the course of the month to protest the construction of the pipeline. This could be the largest mass arrest before the White House in decades. Kudos to Bill and his associates.

On February 13, 2013, 48 people, including McKibben and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., were arrested for open, non-violent civil disobedience mostly for refusing U.S. Park Police orders to keep moving on the White House's sidewalk (with some protestors actually attaching themselves to the fence in front of the White House). (More)


Third Ways

In a village in India's poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice – with no GM, and no herbicide.

Is this one solution to world food shortages?

By John Vidal
The Guardian UK
16 February 2013, BIHAR, India — Sumant Kumar was overjoyed when he harvested his rice last year. There had been good rains in his village of Darveshpura in north-east India and he knew he could improve on the four or five tonnes per hectare that he usually managed. But every stalk he cut on his paddy field near the bank of the Sakri river seemed to weigh heavier than usual, every grain of rice was bigger and when his crop was weighed on the old village scales, even Kumar was shocked.
This was not six or even 10 or 20 tonnes. Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India's poorest state Bihar, had – using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides – grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare of land. This was a world record and with rice the staple food of more than half the world's population of seven billion, big news.
It beat not just the 19.4 tonnes achieved by the "father of rice", the Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, but the World Bank-funded scientists at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and anything achieved by the biggest European and American seed and GM companies. And it was not just Sumant Kumar. Krishna, Nitish, Sanjay and Bijay, his friends and rivals in Darveshpura, all recorded over 17 tonnes, and many others in the villages around claimed to have more than doubled their usual yields. (More.)


Incredible details about

the Russian Chelyabinsk meteor that injured hundreds
19 February 2013 —It's been four days since an asteroid tore a hole in the sky over Chelyabinsk, scaring the crap out of the city's inhabitants and pretty much everyone else around the globe. Details are finally starting to emerge about this jaw-dropping incident, so we've prepared a round-up of the preliminary findings.
The asteroid made its low angle descent into Earth's atmosphere on February 15 at 03:20 GMT, and was the largest in more than a century. In fact, events of this magnitude are believed to occur only once about every 100 years or more.
Based on extensive video evidence, the Chelyabinsk asteroid flew in at a shallow angle of 20° above the horizontal (NASA called it a "grazing impact through the atmosphere"). When it reached Earth, it was moving at about 11 miles per second, or 40,000 miles per hour (18 km/s, 64,000 km/h). (More.)

WalMart execs panic over lousy sales

They may connect that with exploitation

(Seventeen years ago (before I learned about the low pay of its staff) I bought a belt at WalMart at the South Keys Mall in Ottawa. The belt cost $10. It wore out in a year. I then bought a Made-in Canada belt at another store. It cost me $20. Sixteen years later it's as good as new. No more, no more WalMart for me, brave boys. No. More. WalMart. For. Me. Editor Carl Dow.)

By NBBooks
Daily Kos
15 February 2013 — WalMart executives are freaking out over lousy sales, according to this article in Business Insider. After a disastrous January, one WalMart exec wrote in an email that February sales so far are a "total disaster," according to a Bloomberg news story.
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, WalMart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb.
12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
Don't count on the geniuses running WalMart to figure out the problem anytime soon. Rather than looking at how meager is the pay of millions of working Americans, the execs are blaming the expiration of the  payroll-tax break on Dec. 31. The Bloomberg report noted that "For a person making $40,000 a year, that is about $15 a week." $15 a week is wrecking WalMart? Really? Or is it the fact that nearly one in every five U.S. households earns less than $20,000 a year?

WalMart, in fact, leads the list of  The 20 Companies With The Most Low-Wage Workers. As Henry Blodget pointed out, Walmart could give every single one of its 1.4 million U.S. workers a $5,000 a year raise and STILL have $17 billion in profit. (More)


Grassroot Venezuelan activists hope for the best

By Tamara Pearson
24 January 2013 — If anyone is clearest about what Chavez’s absence means and what it could mean in the future, it is the grassroots activists and revolutionaries in Venezuela.
While private international and national media paint a picture of hopelessness, economic chaos, a power vacuum and power struggles in Venezuela, the grassroots are experiencing a different reality, and have a much more positive outlook for the future. talked to five activists from different areas, who gave their opinion on the impact Chavez’s absence has had, and their expectations for the future. (More)
The Book End
Barbara Ransby’s new book shines the spotlight on Eslanda Robeson–activist, writer and yes, Paul Robeson’s wife.
By Eleanor J. Bader
In These Times
Essie, Ransby writes, ‘had already calculated that she would go further in the world as Mrs. Paul Robeson than a smart, hard-working, attractive Negro girl could go on her own.’
19 February 2013 — Unlike the world-renowned outspoken singer and actor Paul Robeson (1898-1976), known for his leading roles in The Emperor Jones, Othello and Show Boat, few people have heard of Eslanda ‘Essie’ Cardozo Goode Robeson, the writer, anthropologist and activist who was his wife.
Eslanda coverIn a compelling new biography, Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson, historian Barbara Ransby introduces us to her, and, along the way, explores the sexism that allows “Great Men” to be remembered, while women like Essie, who make their fame and glory possible, are forgotten. The result is a social history that reveals Essie as a prolific journalist, author, public speaker, and advocate for women and people of color — and as a woman whose personal life was rife with contradictions and conundrums.

Essie’s first lessons came from her immediate family, a hard-working, multiethnic group of educators and professionals who taught her to value diversity and seek autonomy. With Spanish, Native American and African ancestry, some of the extended clan were so pale they could “cross over” into Caucasian society. Eslanda Elbert Cardozo, Essie’s light-skinned mother, rebelled against the pervasive colorist attitudes of the era’s African-American community when she married the dark-skinned John Goode. (More)

How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell

Top ten real estate deals in the United States

01 March 2013 — Our goal at TopTenRealEstateDeals is to make real estate exciting. A famous celebrity or historic home for sale? We have it. Spectacular homes, cool beach homes, haunted homes, presidents' homes, athletes' homes? We have it. Significant home sale trends and news articles? We have all that too.

Every week, we produce a Hot Home News feature where we cover five interesting, famous, historic and celebrity homes that are currently for sale. For example, this week we have a look at the Florida lake home where Ma Barker and her son, Fred, were killed in the longest shootout in FBI history. Now with a friendlier price, most everything inside the house, including the furniture, has been preserved as it was prior to the shootout.

In other home news:

In Bel Air, California, the Moraga Estate was built in 1930 for Hollywood pioneer Victor Fleming — best known for directing Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.  Today it is still an exquisite estate, but also a vineyard producing 1,500 cases of  wine per year. The entire complex including 13 acres, 7,500 square-foot home, vineyard, 4,000 square-foot office building, and $4 million in wine inventory is for sale at $29.5 million.

Jeremy Renner has won Oscar nominations for both The Hurt Locker and The Town, but his best talent might be flipping houses. Early in his career, Renner began renovating Los Angeles area homes to supplement his acting income. He started small and worked his way up through increments of 15 house flips leading to a Holmby Hills creation that is the most impressive home we have seen this year. Purchased in 2012 for $7 million, the total inside out redo brings it to its current list price of $24.95 million.

During his GOP rebuttal speech and water tricks following the President's State of the Union address, Florida Congressman Marco Rubio said, “Mr. President, I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in.” True, but Rubio's home in Little Havana has been for sale since November and there is much speculation that he will be moving the family (his wife is a  former Miami Dolphins cheerleader) to Washington. Rubio paid $500,000 for the conservative home in 2005, at the height of the Florida real estate boom.

Kurt Warner's Arizona home was for sale at $5 million, but is now going to absolute auction on February 27th. It has 6 bedrooms, home theater, in-ground trampoline and 62-foot lap pool with an overhead waterfall.

Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's most entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week. News such as weird celebrity homes, haunted homes you can actually buy, and dirty real estate tricks. also features Top 10 Condo Developer Deals, Top 10 upcoming home and condo auctions, and regional real estate agents' choices for the best deals in their areas.

Terry Walsh
Marketing Coordinator

The Old Man's Last Sauna
(To read the stories just click on the italic titles. Please tell us what you think.)
An eclectic collection of short stories by Carl Dow 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. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe 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 Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.